January 26, 2010

Hot Plates Live

My Favorite of the night: Pork Belly from Bia Garden

Ricotta Crostini with Octopus Skewer from Corsino

Glazed Ribs from The Norry at Kampuchea

Deconstructed Cheesecake from Spot

You know that you're in for a fun night when you're able to have melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, deconstructed cheesecake, and cactus-topped tortilla chips under the same roof. Last night R and I went to the Hot Plates Live tasting event (hosted by Metromix) at the Highline Ballroom. Under the canopy of multi-colored spotlights, which were horrendous to take photos under, we elbowed our way through the eaters to reach our plated prizes. One by one, we conquered each table in a speedy and efficient manner. Eating first and then taking photos was the way to go.

My favorite dish had to be the pork belly from Bia Garden by Michael “Bao” Huynh. A couple of thick belly slices were served with daikon hash cubes and pickled veggies. The rich and luscious flavors melted in my mouth while the skin had a beautiful crispy crunch. (It was so good that smuggled seconds were involved.)

Coming in at a close second place was Corsino's octopus skewer and ricotta crostini drizzled with honey. I personally prefer my octopus to be a bit more tender, but enjoyed the chewiness nonetheless. The soft, mild ricotta spread was sweetened just to the right amount by the honey. I will definitely have to try that at home!

The other dishes at the tasting (and my two cents):

Glazed ribs from The Norry at Kampuchea - great flavor, but could have been a tad softer. The servers were a little too cool for school, but the girl was nice enough to hold up a piece of meat for photos.

Buttery shrimp sandwich with grilled New England style bun from Luke's Lobster - the shrimp was tasty (refreshingly cool) and the bun was perfectly toasted.

Deconstructed cheesecake (I detected goat cheese?) with passion fruit air from Spot Dessert Bar - light, fluffy, the first thing that I tried (and enjoyed).

The Irish Creme canolis that looked like panda bears from Stuffed Artisan Canolis - any food that resembles my favorite animal is a sure bet.

Safron infused gnocchi (?) with bolognese meat from Spina - the most "professional" looking tasting table offered a dish that wasn't very impressive. The flavors were alright, but there was no contrast in the textures.

Cactus and pigs feet topped tortilla chips from Ofrenda - by far the most unique items offered. I quite enjoyed both chips. The pigs feet reminded me of my childhood days when I use to gnaw on a pig's knuckle for hours.

"Nebraska beef" sliders with American cheese and carmelized onions from Mark Burger - I asked whether or not the beef was from grass-fed cows and was told that it was from Nebraska. Hmm... It would be great munchie food, but was nothing special.

Soft Gruyère paprika pretzels from Sigmund Pretzel Shop - the last item of the night was pretty good, but I was also way too full to really enjoy it.

More pix can be found here.


Anonymous said...

That pork belly pic made me drool a little bit on my shirt.

I love the Sigmung Pretzel Shop... they're petitioning the community board for a liquor license soon, and I can't tell you how ecstatic I'll be when I am able to eat a warm, soft pretzel and drink a cold brewski.

I am going to file Mermaid Oyster Bar away in my "to-try" file. I am sure they'll be just as delish as Mermaid Inn, which I also have yet to try. Thanks for the tip!

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