If there’s one thing I enjoy doing – it’s eating for a cause. Fortunately I was lucky enough to attend the Tom Colicchio Toast to the Children benefit, where a multitude of NYC’s finest chefs and restaurants were participating. The gala gets better and better every year (I’ve attended two out of three times thus far), and this year the event was hosted at Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark restaurant, a gorgeous and spacious venue that sits right next to Bellevue hospital. After making our contributions to the cause, it was time to feast…
Fava bean and pecorino Salad from Hearth. Crisp, sharp and delicious.
Border Springs Farm lamb belly with tabbouleh, benne seed tahini and cucumber from Craftbar. The lamb was delicious and tender.
Grilled mackerel in chilled, gingered pea soup with rhubarb and merkén from Riverpark. Merkén is a Chilean spice derived from hot peppers, cumin, coriander and salt. The soup was amazingly smooth and had a nice kick from the merkén.
Gnocchi in brown butter with root vegetables from Barbuto. Jonathan Waxman was cooking this dish himself for the Toast to the Children benefit – always awesome to see a chef actually be there participating in the event! Not to mention the gnocchi was DELISH.
Shrimp with organic blue corn grits from Blue Smoke. I’m sure most of you know about my love for Danny Meyer’s restaurants, so naturally, this was one of my favorite dishes of the night. Creamy, seasoned grits and shrimp? Can’t go wrong.
House-smoked sturgeon with pickled spring vegetables from Frankies Spuntino. I’m normally not a big fan of sturgeon, but this was actually really delicious. Must have been the combo of the smoked fish and pickled vegetables – the flavors really popped.
Black pudding pie with pear chutney from Saxon and Parole. People were raving about this one. Black pudding pie is not something I normally crave, but I could crave this one. That crust! So buttery and flaky…just give me that and I’m good.
Pastrami duck with orange pickled cabbage and black garlic from Craft. I love how chefs these days are making all kinds of meats into “pastrami” aka making it salty and delicious. The addition of black garlic paste was perfection.
Kerrygold cheeses and butters imported from Ireland. This was probably my last stop on the “savory train” before heading over to desserts…but let me tell you it took a while to get off that train. These cheeses were SO buttery and delicious, I couldn’t stop; the blue cheese and butter on top of baguette bread was amazing. I actually told the rep at one point that he might have to have me removed otherwise I would never leave.
Assorted chocolates and chocolate covered cheerios from Jacques Torres Chocolates. There’s not much else to say here. Chocolate is amazing. And they put this right next to the Kerrygold cheese station. To say that I was manning these stations would be an understatement.
Carrot Cake torte with honey mascarpone and candied walnuts from Colicchio & Sons. I love carrot cake, so this was the perfect ending for me. Moist cake with fluffy mascarpone and those crunchy walnuts…perfection!