Blog: Plate by Plate 2015
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The driving rain couldn’t stop the crowd from showing up decked out for Project By Project‘s New York City event Friday night in Midtown, 2015′s ‘Plate by Plate.’ Vendors, philanthropists and media members crowded the space at Metropolitan West for good food and a good cause, Project by Project and their 2015 partners, Asian Americans for Equality. The organization brings awareness to and fundraises for efforts in research, advocacy, and communication centered around immigrants in New York City communities. Though the event’s organizers had a serious message, the mood was overwhelmingly light and positive.
We began our evening warming up with Nomz’ “Beef and Shiitake Soup.” The company delivers traditional, healthy soup for those without the time to make it themselves, though we wish they had a storefront as well. The weather outside now forgotten, we moved across the room for a generous serving from Coney Shack: a trio of tacos that included “Vietnamese Beef Short Ribs,” “Beer Battered Fish” and our favorite, “Five Spice Fried Calamari.” Each had its own toppings that were far from your typical pico de gallo, like lemongrass aioli, creole sauce, flat cabbage and pickled red onions. Gordo’s Cantina’s “Street Corn” with Tajin chili powder was the perfect accompaniment. Trying to pace ourselves, we next visited Red Star Sandwich Shop for their very crispy “Pork Belly with Sweet Chili” sauce and Xe May for the “Hog Sandwich” with grilled pork, chili mayo and veggies. Across the aisle, Cafe Centro served one of the richest bites we had all night, “Fossil Farms Pig’s Head Terrine” with dijon mustard and a crunchy radish salad. Switching gears again, we had some of our favorite food from Thalassa, including a “Lavraki Tartare” with caviar mousse in a phyllo cone and a seafood salad with sweet corn that broke up the thus-far spicy selections.
Also combating the high heat factor were plenty of beverage options for all tastes. Argo Tea was a refreshing non-alcoholic option, though we found ourselves visiting the Beam Suntory table much more often. Their array of whiskeys included Maker’s Mark 46, Hibiki, and Auchentoshan. Middle Branch provided cocktails crafted from Tanqueray and Tito’s Handmade Vodka and stayed committed to serving the crowd tasty, hand shaken drinks. Mainstays Asahi and Tiger Beer and newcomer Kawaba served beer options while Sake Discoveries and World Sake Importers provided plenty of sake options for all tastes. We enjoyed a sparkling, unfiltered Junmai Ginjo sake from Amabuki, a bubbly version that seemed just slightly more celebratory.
Using up the last bits of space in our bellies, we made our final round for desserts. Creme The French Bakery offered its croissants, financiers, and almond dough pastries filled with a variety of creams. Of the four we snagged, the chocolate and coconut cream topped the list. Kulu Desserts had an equally wide selection of puddings, including green tea with red beans and tapioca with fresh mango. Despite our initial reservations, the vegan, gluten-free, raw desserts from Rawsome Treats were so good that we didn’t even miss all of the excluded ingredients. The raw coconut mousse with tamarind sauce was a delicious and mostly guilt-free way to end a busy night of tastings.
Midway through the evening we were treated to a culinary role reversal: a familiar face on the Top Chef circuit, Chef Hung Huynh judged a “Quick Fire” by two of the event’s organizers. The result was something slightly less appealing than his own noodle dish, served with a variety of his hot sauces. Elsewhere Chef Kerry Heffernan was found tasting dishes from the likes of Toloache and Le Philosophe. The culinary-star studded evening was wrapped up by the announcement of the night’s silent auction winners. The bountiful outcome of the night’s offerings, including a Sleep No More experience and a Brooklyn Nets suite, was an especially exciting way to cap off the evening for the successful bidders. Of course there were no sore losers at the end of the night, the effect of good food, good drinks, and a great cause.
- Mallory Sullivan