This past Friday was a chance to attend the now-annual Le Grand Fooding event at PS1 in Long Island City, Queens. A beheemoth food-a-thon to benefit Action Against Hunger. The event pitted world renouned chefs from New York City versus their San Francisco contemporaries. And, of course, what goes better with great food than an equally amazing cocktail.
Now, I know we’re here at I Drunk That to talk beverages but how good does that fried chicken look? Fried up by Robert Newton of Brooklyn’s Seersucker, this juicy, spicy, crispy, Tennessee-style drumstick was the hands down start of the show. Equally memorable was the Wood-grilled pork ribeye with smoked tomato jam (compliments of Laurence Jossel of Nopa in San Francisco) who’s salty, buttery texture contrasted the acidic smokeyness of the tomato jam perfectly atop a crisp slice of grilled bread. Other notable tastes were the delicate scallops with smoked stone fruit emulsion and licorice herbs (James Syhabout of Commis in Oakland) and April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig’s Braised beef & onion pie with Bleu d’Auvergne.
But the main event – for me at least – was a cocktail battle between two of the country’s best mixologists. New York’s own Jim Meehan (Please Don’t Tell) and San Francisco’s Rick Castro (Rickhouse) each presented their version of the ultimate Belvedere cocktail. Jim took a old-world bartender approach and served up a Parkside Fizz (Belvedere vodka, lemon, orgeat syrup, club soda, and mint) while Rick kept with the SF freshness vibe with his Bella Fragolla (Belvedere vodka, fresh raspberries, thai basil, soda water). Both were impecible drinks but in the end I’d say that the Parkside Fizz’s combination of sweet and sour married a bit better with the food and the vibe of the evening vs the Bella Fragolla which tasted incredibly fresh but was a bit too tart for the cool fall evening and fell flat as more of a boozed up mouthful of raspberry than anything else.
In edition to the cocktails, Veuve Clicquot was poured throughout the night as well as a selection of Rhône Valley wines paired with pizzas. Aside from the event suffering from the usual overcrowded NYC madness (lines were unbearable within 45 minutes of general attendance) this was a great evening of fine food and even finer cocktails.
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