Evening at Taste of Greenmarket by Anjuli

Posted on 10-30-08 · Tags: , , , , ,

Taste of Greenmarket

I enjoy being one of the youngest in a room. I enjoy being one of five in a room who decided against wearing black. I further enjoy it when the person who one-ups me is a woman wearing a pink Egyptian-cotton button down (that ends up amazingly being an old Gap purchase), and a pair of bright red corduroys. I also love food (oh yeah?), chefs who go to great pains to source local and fresh ingredients, and as many small appetizer portions as I would like in no particular order. Dessert mid-meal? Sure, knock yourself out. So we did. In case it isn’t obvious by now, this is my idea of a meal saved up for.

We headed to 31st passed 10th Ave and on up to the 12th floor into Studio 450 to attend the Taste of Greenmarket. We hobnobbed with men in full beards and full suits and looked out over the New Yorker building. We ate our fill of samples from the likes of Dan Barber, Mary Cleaver, Peter Hoffman, David Waltuck, and Galen Zamarra, all standing poised behind their culinary creations. The talent in the room was only slightly overshadowed by the presence of high thread counts, stuffed suits, and overflowing wallets.

Chefs and farmers working together is a beautiful thing. It’s a shame only the wealthy are able to experience such a large turnout. Such is the case with charities. Cherry Lane Farm and Mountain Sweet Berry Farm had the most representation at the event. As for the food? Read below.

Taste of Greenmarket

Taste of Greenmarket

We surveyed the silent auction prizes, imagining a private tour of Saxelby’s or Murray’s, and I proudly observed that I own a copy of all book signed prizes. We skipped the Greenmarket talks on the premise that we were there to eat and blog, not donate. We represented the absent blogger crowd, snapping shots of the food, asking questions the staff couldn’t answer, and extracting little tidbits from the chefs in passing. We seemed to be the most excited people in the room.

Taste of Greenmarket

And then there was eating and drinking. Lots and lots of it. The premise was for the chefs to introduce ingredients from farmers they use at the NYC greenmarkets. The dishes were intended to celebrate the autumn bounty and also the marriage of farmer and chef.

I am not a star f*cker nor do I care much for celebrity chefs, so you will not see an cameos or posed shots here. I was though pleasantly surprised to see the chefs (not managers or hosts) out in action greeting the guest and being charming and approachable at the task. From a restaurant’s perspective, this was a back-of-the-house event.

The Cleaver Catering company had organized the event. It appeared each chef was given the choice of a plastic inverted cup (Dan Barber’s V8 below), bamboo app plate (Patti Jackson’s braised baby goat), or a skewer (Michael Anthony’s chicken). But it was all real cutlery folks. No plastic forks or spoons were mutilating their way into these dishes. There was an awkward exchange of handing back the leftovers of Aaron Sanchez’s bean salad to Marco Canora before accepting his Ribollita. Otherwise the orchestration of the event was smooth and friendly.

Michael Anthony’s (of Gramercy Tavern) skewers of chicken (Norwich Meadows Farm), husk cherries, and brussels sprouts (Cherry Lane Farm) were the most elegantly presented. The husk cherries were a firm and slightly sweet top to what I swear tasted like a cured tuna (chicken tastes like everything, right?).

Taste of Greenmarket

Dan Barber (Blue Hill) was out in his usual chatty form. Behind him stood these lovely little V8s (Cherry Lane Farm and Paffenroth Gardens), a panna cotta bottom (Ronnybrook), and a farro cracker. Although a little too sweet for my taste, Barber’s ability to showcase ingredients in his dishes was present and impressive. The hostess tipped me off that if I wished to visit Blue Hill at Stone Barns I need only come on a weekend, take a walk around the farm and slip in to accept the seat of the typical no show or last minute cancellation.

Taste of Greenmarket

Although produce was the focus, meat was definitely the most flavorful turnout at the event. And none more so than Patti Jackson’s (Cento Vini & I Trulli) Farotto with braised baby goat (Lynnhaven) and autumn vegetables (Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, Paffenroth Gardens and Gorzynski Ornery Farm). The baby goat was so tender and excellently contrasted with the farro and vegetable chips. Matt had two. Leave it to Patti to help you forget where you are and feel right at home.

Taste of Greenmarket

Marry Cleaver’s (The Green Table) Gumbo with pork (Flying Pigs) and duck (Quattro’s Game Farm) was also excellent and topped with some delicate squash blossoms and other produce flowers.

Kurt Grutenbrunner’s (Wallse) Borlotti Bean Soup (Mountain Sweet Berry Farm) with Bacon was an elegant pairing of beans and bacon in a light broth peppered with some carrots.

Marco Canora’s (Hearth) Ribollita with vegetables (Paffenroth and Yuno Farms) was a light spin on a heavy soup and an excellent choice for fall.

Adam Weisell’s (Il Buco) soft polenta with squash (Muddy River Farm), marjoram-infused marscarpone cream, sheep cheese and arugula (D&J) was fluffy and sweet and creamy and altogether sinful.

Taste of Greenmarket

All the while we made trips to the bar to sample Pegu’s Shiso No Aki, an awesome martini using the mint-like Japanese Shiso and Black Forty’s Concord Grape Crush.

Dessert was Neil Kleinberg’s (Clinton St. Baking Co.) pear upside down cake (Samascott Orchards), pear cider caramel glaze with butter pecan ice cream. I am usually not a fan of the upside down cake, but this was was flaky with chunks of fruit and a light sauce.

My favorite was Peter Hoffman’s (Savoy, Black Forty) quince tart (Locust Grove Farm) with creme fraiche (Ronnybrook). The chef even brought with him commemorative trays branded with the the farm’s tire tred.

In summary, head to Hearth on a cold cozy evening, spend an afternoon at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, give Mary Cleaver a second glance next time you’re in the Chelsea Market, go for after work drinks at Pegu, and spend a birthday at Il Buco. Most of all, shop at the Greenmarket, appreciate good vegetables, and be optimistic about the future of our food.

  1. A Taste of Greenmarket, but not for me « New Leaf New York: From Pharma to Farm wrote:

    [...] a bit rich for this blogger.  Fortunately, however, Anjuli Ayer at A Smart Mouth did attend, and covered the whole thing beautifully, complete with photos that’ll make your salivary glands go [...]

    October 31st, 2008 at 12:17 am

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