Friday, December 12, 2014

Awesome Eats in the City: Thrillist's Fest of The Best at Villain

If you know me at all, you know how much I love Connecticut. If you don't know me, just look at the title of my blog, and you'll get the idea. But living in Fairfield County means regular trips to the city and its many excitements and one of my favorite resources for finding fun in NYC is the website Thrillist. When I saw that they were hosting a “Fest of The Best” featuring a bunch of great restaurants in the city, I knew I had to go. Luckily, I was able to procure press access, so off to Brooklyn I went.

Photos by Kimberly Mufferi (and the photo booth!)

The event was held in Villain's large warehouse event space, and was a smorgasbord of great food, cocktails made with Grey Goose Vodka, and beers from Saranac Brewery. Wandering amongst the guests was saxophonist Kareem Wilkes, a touch I found very cool. DJ Kasey Berry was spinning all afternoon, and instagram-happy foodies milled about excitedly. This was the first “foodie” event I have attended where instagramming one's food was not met with a single sneer. In fact, there was a “VIP Food Porn Lounge” sponsored by Samsung and featuring two food stylists, Alexa Mehraban of EatingNYC and Chloe Wynnof THEPICURIST, on hand for photography tips!

After hitting the photo booth and grabbing a cocktail, it was time to start sampling the fabulous eats! Each guest was given a poker chip for voting, and one restaurant would reign supreme, so I got my taste buds in gear and forged a path through the crowd. There were thirteen restaurants featured, and photos speak louder than words...

Clockwise from top: Sweetgreen's Rad Thai salad (organic arugula, organic mesclun, sprouts, carrots, shredded cabbage, spicy sunflower seeds, cucumbers, basil, citrus shrimp & spicy cashew dressing), BLT Fish's James River oysters with wasabi peas & nori, and The Monarch Room's seared octopus with fennel, celery and citrus. Photos credit: Me
Clock wise from top left: Two Hands' Avo Toast (thick-cut wholegrain pullman loaf, smashed avocado, olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, chili flakes & a lemon wedge), Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue's wood-fired sliders with all-natural organic beef, salt, pepper, burger sauce and a fridge pickle on a potato roll, Two Hands' Cortado, Seoul Chicken's Next Day Fried Chicken (double fried chicken thighs, served on Kings Hawaiian rolls with habanero spiced honey, kimchi pickles & miso mustard aioli) - Photos by Kimberly Mufferi
Clockwise from top left: Bacchanal
​ with a mint-olive-caper relish​, French Louie's snails Merchand de Vin with Falls Mill grits (snails, bordelaise sauce, mushrooms and grits), and Crave Fishbar's Shetland Island salmon crudo with charred cauliflower, lemon prawn oil & prawn dust - Photos by Kimberly Mufferi

After getting our fill, it was time to cast votes for the best. I stole my date's chip and made both votes, which went to French Louie's incredible snails Merchand de Vin and Crave Fishbar's Shetland Island Crudo. They were truly excellent, but the official win went to Bacchanal's confit lamb shoulder. Ultimately, everyone was a winner (except for a few places that ran out early and I didn't get to try...lame. But I won't name names!) The afternoon was a smashing success and a wonderfully indulgent way to spend a day out of town.  

Special thanks to Lauren Coombs, Communications Coordinator for the Thrillist Media Group

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