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The Village Voice’s 8th Annual Choice Eats Tasting Event, Honestly Reviewed

Choice Eats has been on my bucket list for years. Between tickets being sold out and having 35 side hustles, I never make it. My Editor nonchalantly asked me to attend. Did she know that this text was my golden ticket? Perhaps.

I arrived at the Metropolitan Pavilion to see a line almost a block long. Splurge on the VIP tickets and soak in the early entry. (Thank me later.) It was the most pleasant check-in, ever. They greet you with a commemorative tasting glass and a small concession tray for multiple plates. Genius! From a birds-eye view, I looked like a hamster in a maze, navigating between established names, up-and-comers and 4-star brands of the world.

Queen’s Kickshaw’s broccoli soup was jam packed with flavor. Each spoonful was robust and spritely. It was easily the best vegetarian dish that I have tasted in the last five years.

NoMad’s sea urchin panna cotta was the trillest thing I’ve ever had in my life. The chef laid it all on the line. Balls in a shot glass with a granny smith foam and chives. I came to the table a caterpillar and left like the Dos Equis man.

As a proclaimed dessert hater, I come before you with a heavy heart. Ample Creamery had its way with me. Their “Snap, Mallow, and Pop”, deconstructed Rice Krispy Treat was spot on in detail. The marshmallow ice cream was just sweet enough and the cereal added texture.

The thirst was met with Stella, Rums of Puerto Rico and a host of ipas and enterprising bootleggers.

With over 60 restaurants, people tend to focus solely on the food. The energy between patrons, staff and vendors was warm and vibrant. Picky eaters, food snobs, people whose ‘grams look like Saveur Magazine — I love you all. You are my people. We were in abundance. Chatter about hot spots, techniques, and off menu items filled the air. That moment Black comic book geeks gush over pre-comic-con, the magic of self-acceptance washed over me. Yes, I am particular, and I ask a lot of questions before I order. Everyone here is super invested in what they eat.

As a nube, I wish had pointers like:

  1. Check the vendor’s list. Do your research!
  2. Go by yourself or make a plan to split up so you can fully indulge with no accommodation.

  3. The map is your best friend.

  4. Eat first. Drink later.

  5. Try everything.

  6. Save room for dessert.

  7. If you don’t like dessert, see rule 5.

If you missed this one, no worries, Choice Streets is a about a month away and tickets are on sale.

For more food reviews, just click here.

Written by Manny King John

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