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May 29, 2000 10:50 AM

food show week

  • v

Coming to NY from CA for the food show in July. Any hidden treasures out there that won't be on EVERYBODY'S short list? Any type of food would be great. All price ranges except the super expensive. Doesn't have to be near Javitts. Thanks.

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  1. I realize after reading around that I need to be more specific. I'm not interested in big celebrity chef's places where all the other attendees will want to go. I'm looking for neighborhood places with any type of delicious food. Bistro type places are great. Simple non-gimicky food. Weird places are always fun. Any ethnic food that doesn't exist in Northern California is welcome. Afghan, African, whatever. I love Vietnamese food. Thanks for being patient with new people.

    23 Replies
    1. re: Vanessa

      At the risk of shilling for the Alpha-Hound, Vanessa, I can't think of two better strategies for this than either buying Jim's book, The Eclectic Guide to Greater New York City or perusing the Manhattan and Outer Boroughs archives here. All of the cuisines you've mentioned have generated much discussion here in the past. If you haven't noticed it, the search mechanism is located ont he upper-right of the home page.

      Maybe I'll bump into you at the Fancy Food Show.

      1. re: Dave Feldman

        Thanks Dave. I hadn't noticed the search button. I will stop being lazy and do my own research. I was just so excited when I found this site, that I wanted to dive right in. I do want to buy the book anyway.

        I'll see you there. I'll be the one in the black sweater eating cheese.

        1. re: Vanessa

          Is this event open to the public or is it industry only?

          1. re: cinnamon/SDNY

            Not sure. You could try calling the Javitt's convention center.

            1. re: Vanessa
              Jessica Shatan

              Us plebes will have to suffice with Arthur Schwartz's description on Food Talk (WOR 710 AM M-F, 12-1). He usually goes and comes back with mouth-watering reviews as well as scathing send-ups where necessary...

              1. re: Jessica Shatan

                The one time I went to one of those things, I emcountered a product--a mesquite-flavored aerosol designed to be sprayed on microwaved chicken breasts--that took me two weeks to wash out of my mouth. Free samples are often free for a reason . . .

                1. re: Pepper

                  I go every year and expect to be thrilled. All these foods, all these countries, etc. And there's a lot to actually try: when it comes to conventions, freebies are directly proportional to the exclusivity/price of entrance. So there are a lot.

                  But this is not a chowhound event. it is a foodie event. Lots of fussy, showy stuff (that generally disappoints on the palate...and certainly not much soulfulness to be found), lots of people trying to make a killing chasing trends or imitating others' success (three years ago I counted 14 Nutella knock-offs). The word "Fancy" in "Fancy Food Show" says it all. It's such an empty word; glittering and hollow. Like "nice", it's a word we use for stuff we don't really love.

                  If you're real real dedicated, and know to go, for example, to the Belgian section to try can do ok. But in general it's like walking into one of those snooty suburban gourmet foods shops where everything's really expensive, beautifully packaged, and utterly disappointing. This is where the people who sell that that crap.

                  Your best hope for finding something real and delicious is to go to one of the foreign country's sections and find some clueless hopeless pathetic little company that makes, like, unbelievably great cookies (or beer, etc) and the owner has shot his life savings to come to the show, rent a booth, and try to "network". Unless he's hired a PR agency, etc, etc, he's probably not going to find someone to carry his cookies just 'cuz they're naively excellent (they're looking for FANCY, not YUMMY). So he'll be sitting alone, his brow furrowed. Find him and eat his cookies and try to cheer him up.

                  People like that constitute like .1% of the exhibitors. Combine with the 5% of the exhibitors who are big biz marketeers AND also happen to make truly great products (e.g. New Zealand lamb last year...yum) and also the opportunity to meet the distributors for some of your standby favorite products (and ask them what new products are planned) and you've got a show more or less worth attending. No big deal, though.

                  yes, you gotta be in food professionally somehow to get in. But if you know a restaurateur or wholesaler, you can probably get a pass (though you may have to pay for it). I truly wish I could get y'all chowhound press passes. might try telling the press people that you're respondents for And you know what? it wouldn't be at ALL a bad idea for them to let you guys--the savvy cream of the eating crop--in. We chowhounds do as much to sell products we love as any marketing person.

                  One more thing: don't go hungry. Even if you managed to scarf enough samples to equal a meal, you'd wind up with a nasty case of Bar Mitzvah Buffet Stomach from the unfortuitous food combinations.

                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    Jim, for the record, I totally agree with you. There's a lot of crap out there. The salsa/hot sauce thing really annoys me, but I still like to be sent to New York to eat under the auspices of business. The SF food show is the only one I've been to and it is exhaustingly huge. I hear the New York one is way over the top.

                    1. re: Vanessa

                      Absolutely agree with you and Jim. It's really no big deal. If I see another bottle of salsa or another jar of pepper jelly at the show, it's more than I could take. Most of what's there are crappy institutional stuff.

                      So, for some of those readers not in the trade, don't worry you are not missing anything at all.

                      1. re: Gary Cheong

                        First- you can go to the website and get tickets for $15/per.
                        Second - Its an experience that is overwhelming. If you chose with a care there is the opportunity to sample products that are quite good, cheeses, game, etc.
                        Don't be a food snob

                        1. re: Jim T

                          You calling Jim a food snob too? You're way off base if you are. Try re-reading (if you haven't already) Jim's long post. Yes, there are some good things there but it's a real tiny percentage of what's there.

                          But really, most of the stuff is crap. That's just my opinion. No snobbery involved at all.

                          1. re: Gary Cheong

                            I've been to the Restaurant Show. Is the Fancy Food similar to the Restaurant Show? For $15.00 admission to the FFS, I'm willing to take a look.
                            The Rest. Show caters to restaurants and caterers. There are some decent foods, plenty of wine and beer. It also has a really cool Domino sugar event. Desert chefs from all over create sculptures out of sugar. Some are quite impressive.

                            1. re: MICKI

                              IMHO, the restaurant show is better than the fancy food show, largely because the foods it showcases are more diverse and "restaurant quality" whereas the fancy food show is largely limited to packaged foods, with an emphasis on candies, jams, oils, coffees etc.

                              1. re: MICKI

                                Perhaps this isn't the right forum, but your reference to Domino Sugar brought to mind the really long labor strike ongoing at the Brooklyn plant. Anyone know why there isn't a boycott of Domino sugar to support the strikers? There are other brands available in my supermarket, and I always choose those. IMHO, the fancy food show is fabulous and a lot of fun.

                            2. re: Jim T

                              PLEASE! What's the website for the Fancy Food Show? I've been taking some guesses and getting nowhere. It's not the one listed in one of the earlier messages.

                              I may not know what I will find there, but I'm willing to take a chance and expose my digestive juices to both the good and the bad.

                              PS Does this show offer much savory stuff for those of us who, sadly, lack a sweet tooth?

                                1. re: Lynn
                                  Dave Feldman


                                  Think of the FFS as displaying food/drink that can be packaged. No fresh produce, no freshly prepared salads.

                                  Think sauces, nuts, candies, preserves, bottled juices, crackers, etc. Most of the items fall into the category of things that might be sold at a "gourmet store." Immense attention is paid to the packaging of products.

                          2. re: Jim Leff
                            Dave Feldman

                            Maybe it's the popular culture student in me, but I'd like to issue a contrary post to your contrarian post.

                            The Fancy Food Show isn't a restaurant. It's a trade show. I'm fascinated by seeing how food is packaged and marketed. I'm interested in how attempts are made to broaden the appeal of regional or non-American foods and drinks. And, like you, I'm always drawn at any trade shows to the "little guys" with their product that will change the world.

                            So I don't agree with you and Gary that there is little of interest to Chowhounds, and I even think you can find good chow, although I tend to try the weird and unproven, often to my dismay.

                            I know you were making a point, but the word "fancy" as used in this show refers not to the grub's "hoity-toityness" quotient, but to the fact that it is packaged. The word "fancy" actually has a long and winding etymology, but it ultimately comes from the notion of "fantasy."

                            I will concede that the fantasy of the Fancy Food Show greatly exceeds the reality.

                            1. re: Dave Feldman

                              Actually, I don't think we disagree at all!

                              But the pop-culture slant--which you're applying to observations which we essentially share--is not necessarily the typical chowhound slant (not, of course, to say that you can't be both a pop-culture fan AND a chowhound!)


                        2. re: Jessica Shatan
                          Dave Feldman

                          If it makes plebes feel any better, no food can be taken out of Javitz, and about this the powers that be are strict.

                        3. re: Vanessa

                          I don't think that they are too strict about ID. The way that they keep non-trade people out is by charging $50 for a pass at the door (compared to the $10 or so they charge for advance registrants.)

                          I've been to the show several times, and I would say that if you really enjoy food, it is a great day's entertainment and well worth the $50.

                        4. re: cinnamon/SDNY

                          If this is the NASFT Food Show that you're talking about, they have a website at


                          It is described as being "for the trade only," which I suppose can be interpreted as you wish. This will the first year I attend--I hope it's as cool as I've heard.

                          1. re: cinnamon/SDNY

                            If it's at the Javitt's Center, you'll probably need ID. I went to the Gift Show recently--and got in, only because my friend gave me an ID from her giftwear company. They were pretty careful at the door. It sounds too good to be true that the yearly fancy food show would let in us plebes. There're too many free samples!!

                    2. tasting room and prune for memorable and not too outragious

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bryguy

                        Thanks bryguy. I'll check them out. Excited that I've never heard of either.