By Lisa Autz
Photos by Bobby Caputo.
Foodies seeking to expand their refined palates and knowledge have a quintessential locale to check out: Brooklyn, NY.
Recently, the borough hosted a festive weekend of gourmet samplings and stimulating discussions on anything and everything about food. The second annual Taste Talks event, hosted by Northside Media Group, brought a variety of top-chef appearances like Mario Batali and famous food critics like Sam Sifton from The New York Times all to the area of Wythe Avenue and N 10th Street.
Taste Talks kicked off on a Friday evening with fine wine and oysters for those that paid for the swanky dinner ticket. Attendants looking for a free-for-all came to the Future Food Expo held in a large warehouse throughout Saturday and Sunday. There, visitors learned about upcoming trends in the food/drink industry such as a booze delivery service and hydroponic farming.
Samples of bourbon-infused sweets from Raaka Chocolate and imported wine from Sud de France were also offered to satisfy desires for rich flavors. Meanwhile, ongoing panel discussions took place to give insight on the industry with topics such as “Do Restaurant Reviews Matter?” and “The Inside Scoop on How Restaurants Work (and how you can benefit from knowing).”
Sunday’s All-Star BBQ, however, was the peak of food pandemonium with a cook-off event of unique bite-sized dishes made by top chefs in the biz. For a $40 fee, foodies grabbed 14 small samplings from the 14 stations set along Williamsburg’s East River State Park.
Chefs from Ducks Eatery served up grilled eel with corn, sassafras root, and crab roe creme. There were also tender duck hearts on skewers by chef Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen and charred lamb tongue on a taco-style romaine lettuce by the Black Axe Mangal’s Lee Tiernan.
Strange items were on the menu for sure, but none of these experimental options seemed to stray far from the high standard of quality Brooklyn taste. The unorthodox food assortment expanded one’s horizons to new outlets of culinary experience and combination. And though long lines did amount, nothing beats a cold brew and tasty fare when you watch the sun set over the Manhattan skyline.