As most of you know, I attended the Get Real NY Craft Beer & Food Festival on Sunday. There were plenty of beers and cask ales on hand, and of course plenty of food to please my overwhelming appetite. Keep in mind I know next to nothing about beers, so I brought Hal and a couple of other friends to help me out.
I have been to many festivals of this nature before, and I have to say this one was probably the most enjoyable - mainly because they kept it at a relatively small scale and it wasn't overly crowded. I went to the Bourbon, Bacon and BBQ Festival last year and it was like trying to elbow your way through a crowded club in the middle of the Meatpacking district. Here, the layout was spacious and there were just enough vendors (but I didn't see Frites n Meats?!) so we were able to do two laps around…just to check for consistency, of course.
We did things a little backwards: we started off with gluten-free beer (this gluten-free trend is really growing) and dessert from La Bella Torte. The gluten-free beer was pretty good actually, but the focus was really on the chili-spiced brownie balls and nutella/banana bread from La Bella Torte. I'm not kidding when I say this brownie was one of the most delicious things I have ever put in my mouth. Perfect texture, moist and oh-so-chocolatey. If the chili weirds you out, it is a slow, slow heat that creeps up on you at the end and it's very mild; trust me, everyone was talking about those brownies. They are more famous for their cannolis, so I had to try one. I'm not usually a fan of cannolis, but these were different – the cream wasn't chalky and weird. I spoke to the owner, Joe Glaser (who was also on TLC's show The Next Great Baker), and he mentioned that they are looking to open a stationary truck in Brooklyn sometime this summer. Hopefully more info on that soon..
My second favorite would have to be the sausage and kraut from Loreley (the Biergarten/German restaurant located in Williamsburg). Two kinds of sausages and traditional "wieners" from Schaller and Weber (the good stuff!) served over savory sauerkraut and two kinds of mustards for dipping. I had two helpings of this. What can I say? I love a good sausagefest. And if you don't like sauerkraut…then I don't like YOU.
In terms of the drink portion of this festival, as I mentioned, I don't really have a trained palate for the stuff, so I did what any ignorant person would do: pick the drinks with the silliest names! See below for some examples.
All the booze was making me loopy (as you can tell). I needed some spice to kick me in the face. Enter hot jambalaya from Delta Grill in Hell's Kitchen. YUM. I may have teared up a little from it, but man was this tasty jambalaya. No seafood, just chicken and sausages, but it was delicious. I had never even heard of Delta Grill until yesterday, but now that I know, I will add it to my "To Eat" list.
Some other notables from the festival (in no particular order) would be South Houston, My Friend's Mustard, Grandaisy Bakery's flatbreads, Cafe D'Alsace and their duck pate, Brother Jimmy's BBQ, and Mexicue's tacos. South Houston's chili and bacon-pecan brittle were pretty awesome. They are a little bacon-crazy over there and I don't mind that at all. Bacon-pecan brittle is something everyone should try before they die, I have decided. Oh and I forgot I tried Orwasher's Six Point Ale-bread, made with Six Point stout. Bread made with beer. What will they think of next? Probably bread made with bacon…
Know what will not be on my "To Eat" list? Oysters. I'm sorry…I just don't understand the appeal. They look like giant snots. Lemon juice and Tabasco sauce doesn't distract from that fact. BUT since I will try anything, Hal and I stepped up to the plate and slurped them down. Result…