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Mar 10, 2002 01:28 AM

No idea social was a great success

  • j

I am sure other people will post about this.

I had a reat time, had great chow, and met some great people. Thanks to the people who planned it, and everyone who attended. :)

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  1. Yeah- it was mighty delicious and loads of fun. Great meeting everyone, and special kudos to those great gals who came all the way from Boston! And thank you to whomever brought those yummy 'Calvin Trillin' sandwiches. Also- most heartfelt thank you Abby and Dennison for organizing/posting about this fine event

    34 Replies
    1. re: pearl

      My thanks too to Dennison, Abby, and Eric for organizing an evening that was a total triumph!
      Thanks to the folks at No Idea as well.

      The groaning board of food was beautiful and delicious; there was something to please everyone. And for someone like me (from the hinterlands) it was a chance to experience food I'd only been able to read about. Still, it's the people who make the party, so it's no wonder this event was a smashing success! I had wonderful time. Pat

      1. re: Pat Hammond

        I have to say I thought the social was a disappointment--I liked the idea but I didn't find much of the food that remarkable. It was a nice experiment though. My other observation was that people tended to approach mostly people they knew or recognized. As an infrequent poster to the boards I didn't really know anyone there and thought it would've been nice if at one point people did introductions or, if there was more room for people to maybe sit around a table at some point during the event.

        1. re: anonymous

          At peak the crowdedness did make it very very hard to browse and actually see and try all the food.

          Also the noise level of the crowd was a factor and limited our ability mix and meet. When I woke up this morning I could barely speak. But with space being at such a premium in NYC, particularly in a relatively central Manhattan location it would be very very hard (meaning expensive) to have a carpeted (sound muffler) well lit large area with lots of chairs and tables.

          At chow dinners where a dozen or so people are around the same table for a meal it is easier to converse and meet your fellow diners. Maybe some time we can somehow hustle up a hotel or restaurant banquet room for up to 100 people; but to spend bucks for it would divert money that would better go to support this web site that makes it all possible.

          Nearly everyone I talked to at No Idea I was meeting for the first time except for the few folks I had previously met for the first time at the Funky Broome chow dinner in January. If it was someone whose messages I had often read it did make it easier to get the conversation flowing. There was some effort to meet and greet and introduce at the beginning of the evening but as the room filled up it seemed to became unmanageable.

          I realize now, looking at a couple of restaurant names and addresses I scribbled on my note pad, that I also spoke to people whose names or handles I cannot remember. Now I have faces and voices associated with restaurant names but no name for the person. That is one reason I really hope all people who attended will post. To help connect the dots.



          1. re: anonymous
            Wendy Leonard

            Well, my husband Rob has never posted and neither of us had ever met a single chowhound before yesterday but we met literally dozens of people and had a stellar stellar time. Perhaps some of those cries of recognition were people recognizing each other's board names; I know I was very excited to meet people whose postings I follow.

            Many many thanks to Abby, Dennison and Eric for organizing this. I can't think when I've had more fun!

            (Rob and I brought two kinds of miang from Sripraphai--miang kam and miang lao. The miang kam was the bits of ginger, chili, dried shrimp, toasted coconut, lime, onion, peanuts and sauce, all wrapped in a leaf. The miang lao were the little balls eaten with chili and crunchy rice. I don't "know" what was in the miang lao but my Thai cookbooks describe miang lao as comprised of dried shrimp, ground pork, palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind, peanuts, ginger, shallots, garlic. And by the way, Wrayb brought miang too though he didn't mention it in his posting!)

            Thanks also to Nina for organizing the DiFaras lunch. The artichoke pizza was heaven and I am so glad to have gotten to try it at last. Ditto for the calzones. If you haven't gone, go! But Nina--get Dom to do something about un-encrusting his bathroom and kitchen. His food deserves it!

            I liked the format of wandering around even though it did get crowded. I don't think it would have been possible to meet so many people if we'd been sitting down at tables.

            Standouts for me were the banh mi from both places, the mushroom and potato pizzas, the Chinese rice/pork rolls wrapped in banana leaves next to the miang (what are they called?) and the St. Marcellin cheese. I wish I'd tried the Calvin Trillin sandwiches---what was in them? After a certain point I couldn't eat another bite.

            And thanks to everyone for being so friendly and interesting and charming--I loved meeting you all!

            1. re: Wendy Leonard

              The CT sandwiches are stir fried greens in bread.

              I agree the fungi pizza from Sullivan's was great. I only got a banh mi from Boston and it was great. Rubee, what place was that from in Boston? Will have to try the Brooklyn banh mi (from where?) on my own i guess.

              1. re: wrayb

                I'm absolutely astonished by how many different foods I didn't even see, let alone consume.

                The biggest surprise to me was how I gravitated towards the sandwiches. I loved the bahn mi, the CT sandwiches, and the pizza, too.

                1. re: Dave Feldman
                  Caitlin McGrath

                  I feel the same way! I'm reading the posts here and thinking "where was that? why didn't I see that!" I don't think I even tried half of what was there, and yet I had so many things.

                  I had great fun meeting people (I wish it could have been everyone, but too many people and so crowded!) and stuffed myself silly. I loved all the Thai treats, the arepas, the spinach pie, the yogurt, those beautiful dulce de leche pastries, flourless chocolate cookies, Russian chocolate cheese (who knew?)...

                  We brought semolina fennel raisin bread from Amy's and Ronnybrook garlic butter.

              2. re: Wendy Leonard
                Wendy Leonard

                Oh, I forgot to rave about the leftovers I got to bring home! Sweet corn arepas, chocolate cake (thanks, shortstop!), Chinese steamed buns, durian sticky rice, mmmmm! My kids awoke to an unconventional breakfast layout this AM!

                1. re: Wendy Leonard

                  Wendy -

                  The chinese rice/pork rolls are called "Jong" -
                  the "o" is pronounced as a long "o". (I guess if
                  I were a linguist I'd have a better way of describing
                  this :-)

                  A big thank you to you and Rob for the Miang.
                  Even with a food hangover I could not resist heading
                  to Sripraphai for lunch on Sunday, and I was able
                  to pick up some Miang Kam and Miang Lao.


            2. re: pearl

              I am soooooooo ..... hung over? I only had 2 drinks. Its isn't alcohol that overwhelmed me last night.

              So much food. So many intensely wonderful people.

              My concept of "social" as a gathering of people is being altered. I say "being" because I haven't been able to absorb everything from last night. I need help.

              It would be great if everyone who was there does some response or comment to this thread. And if you brought something please note what it was and where it was from. Then over the next few days we can try to assimilate. Please, even if you don't feel compelled to ramble on as I am, at least say:

              "Hi, wrayb checking in, nice to meet everyone Saturday night. I brought Thai desserts from Sripraphai: durian and coconut creme with sticky rice and the gorgeous little peppers and fruits made marzipan style from mung bean paste and coloring."

              An incredible night. After a certain point I could not take another lucious mouthful. I could not meet and discover another outrageously sensitive, intelligent, and charming person. Total sensory overload.

              A glimpse of paradise, I wonder? No, in paradice my stomach would be bottomless, my palate ever refreshed and ready. Bitter sweet, like life perhaps, since even with all the foods I ate there were many I either missed or was just too stuffed to be able to appreciate. And even with all the people I met, there were many I missed and would have liked to thank for their messages and sharing on chowhound. And many more comments and stories from people who maybe don't write on the message board very often but talk with them for just a moment and I am rewarded with a glimpse their joy for life and celebration of food.

              After a certain point I could only manage to shuffle a bit, look at the tables of food, smile wanely at who ever happened to be standing nearby. Is this person the alpha dog? I don't know. I can't really think about it. I am experiencing strange conflictions. I am lamenting that I missed fresh empanadas from Abuelas Cocina Cuchifrito. At the same time I am having to admit that I cannot even push into my mouth even a little thumbnail of wonderfully smokey smelling babaganoosh I just noticed.

              To the many people I missed meeting or just stared vaguely off somewhere out of focus past you when you would attempt the little dance of hi, I am and you?; I apologize. I apologize, I was transfixed (some, less metaphysically inclined persons, might just say I was so stuffed I could hardly move) and could not respond but I hope and think you probably understand.

              Here's to future opportunities to again meet and share.

              I toast with just a glass of water. At the moment it is all I can handle. Plus I need to let my body and taste buds rest. In a few hours I am meeting up with a few people to take GalleyGirl to King Captain for Chinese brunch and then to explore Elmhurst and beyond for a little while.


              1. re: wrayb

                Ok, Wrayb. I brought arepas and empanadas de cambrai (guava and cheese) from Girasol Arepas (Colombian) in Richmond Hill (Queens) and those little Argentine pastries with dulce de leche from Rio De La Plata Bakery in Elmhurst (Queens).

                BTW, I can still smell the durian. LOL, just kidding. :)

                1. re: Jayask


                  I went into withdrawal last night over those dulce de leche pastries (the tartelettes in particular) and had trouble sleeping while obsessing about their soft-gooey texture and subtle caramel flavor. They represent my strongest memory from the event. I must have more... Do you have the exact street address and maybe a subway station for those of us who don't know our way around Queens?

                  By the way, to anyone reading, the Glad Corn was a truly happy discovery--softer and fluffier inside than corn nuts, yet still lightly crunchy on the outside and seasoned with a very conservative amount of salt. I can't wait to buy a sackfull of those. HealthyPleasures was the place listed.

                  Thanks to all and it was great to meet everyone. I can't wait till the next event.

                  1. re: angela

                    I missed the pastries but from the empty spot on the table where someone was pointing and telling me that I just had to try them; I picked up the business card: Rio de la Plata, 94-65 Corona Ave, 11373, 718.271.5422

                    hmmm. hopefully jayask or someone else will confirm but it looks like 7 train to Junction Blvd and then about 8 blocks south to Corona Ave.

                    1. re: wrayb

                      Seems about right. I go the long way via the R train, which is a walk. :)

                    2. re: angela

                      They were from Rio De La Plata Bakery Shop

                      9465 Corona Ave (near junction blvd)
                      Elmhurst, NY 11373-2819
                      Phone: (718)271-5422

                      If you go there and see all her stuiff they make with dulce de leche, you will be in heavan. They also amke stuff with membrillo (the quince pasts that someone else brought.)

                      I usually walk form the grand ave or woodhaven stops oin the R, but its quite a walk. There might be a closer stop, possibly junction blvd on the 7, but I'm not sure.

                      There are several argentine grill joints there as well, including Don Chicho, where I get entrana and argentine pizza with ham and roasted peppers. :)

                      1. re: Jayask

                        Thanks Jason. I am dying to try the Argentine steak houses too.

                        By the way, I am the one that brought the membrillo!
                        What is entrana?


                        1. re: angela

                          BTW, the mebrillo you brought is generally eaten with cheese. They serve it taht way at Don Chicho as well if you want to try it.

                          Entrana is skirt steak. make sure you put chimichurri on it, which is like a pesto, oil, vinegar, parsley and garlic. :) You ahve to ask for chimichurri at Don Chicho. The others have it on the table.

                          The two places for steak other than Don Chicho are there are La esquina criolla, and gauchito.

                          Don;t forget to eat an empanada. :)

                      2. re: angela

                        I brought the glad corn. I heard that someone at the gathering called it crack corn because it's so addictive...

                        FYI, I get it at the Healthy Pleasures on University Place between 11th and 12th. I don't know if the other branches carry it.

                        That was tons of fun! Can't wait for the next one.

                        Leslie (not Leslie aka shortstop of the blackout cake and not the Leslie who came with Rubee from Boston)

                    3. re: wrayb

                      Last night was tremendous. The generosity and warmth of all the hounds (and their friends and significant others) was amazing - what a feast! Thank you to everyone there for taking the time to share your favorites with your fellow hounds.

                      I had no idea (excuse the pun) there would be that much food there - and when the fried calzones arrived, I too had no more room for even one more bite. (would someone remind me where these are from again, they looked delicious...) My favorite morsel of the night was the Thai appetizer (that I do not know the name of) courtesy of Wendy & Rob - quite the flavor explosion.

                      A HUGE thank you to Abby and Dennison for making this happen. It was a unique evening and your efforts are truly appreciated.

                      I brought the Brooklyn Blackout Cake from Two Little Red Hens on 2nd Ave and 86th Street in Manhattan. (... a thank you to Loeb for posting about this bakery here on the board. It has been open since December yet I did not know it was in my neighborhood until I read about it here - a great find...)

                      1. re: shortstop
                        suzanne camhi

                        The calzones came from House of Pizza and Calzone on Union Street between Columbia and Hicks in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

                        1. re: shortstop


                          That cake was blindingly good even to this non-chocoholic. Definately one of the highlights of the night. My other favorites were Rubee's Beantown Bahn Mi. I'm still tasting those sweet, green spheres from Sripiphai. The famous BBQ pork buns from Mei Lei Wah were what I was looking forward to most and they totally exceeded expectations. Just the right amount of sweet BBQ goo, I can't wait to try them warm. Thanks Dennison, Abby and Eric for making this all come together.

                          Now I have so many field trips to make, to get the fresh versions of all of these great Chowhound delights I'm only limited by my appetite.

                          Aside from the great food it was really cool to finally meet all of the Chowhounds whose posts I've been enjoying for ages.


                        2. re: wrayb

                          Thank you for making me and my local friend, Fraya, feel so welcome. (Fraya is not a Chowhounder--yet--and asked me during the event--how many of these people do you know?! I had only met Caitlin and Mike before last night but you were so friendly she assumed I had met you all before. When she walked into No idea she had a flashback to boring--for her--Star Trek conventions she had been dragged to by a friend but you quickly showed her we are a different breed.)

                          (I brought the See's candy--chocolate covered ginger, chocolate covered marzipan, California crunch. All can be purchased on BTW--the bartender was very excited when she saw the See's bag--she grew up in California--so part of her tip was See's.)

                          1. re: wrayb

                            I had a similar hangover, Wray (only one beer here) and remember smiling at you wanly several times during the night, stuffed beyond the gills. I keep remembering saying, "I haven't even touched the desserts yet," as if eating samples of 30 or 40 foodstuffs wouldn't fill me up.

                            It's scaring me how many of the items described in posts I not only didn't eat, but didn't see. Just as well.

                            For the record, I brought yogurt from The Yogurt Place in Elmhurst, the vat of honey from Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights, nut and fruit and nut cookies from The Yogurt Place, and walnut pieces from the Broadway Nut Shop on Broadway between 80 & 81 in Manhattan. It might seem silly to even mention the nuts, but it isn't easy to find walnut pieces that are consistently fresh.

                            Thanks to all the organizers and all the cool Chowhounds. My only regret -- no roast pork sandwiches from Philadelphia!

                            1. re: Dave Feldman

                              "My only regret -- no roast pork sandwiches from Philadelphia!"

                              ROAD TRIP!!!!!

                            2. re: wrayb

                              Yes, you do the evening justice. In thinking back it's really hard to sort out all of my impressions. I have the most vivid memories of those people and foods that arrived first. I didn't know when I'd ever experience the food of Sripraphai, so I guess that's my standout flashback. The desserts you brought we're almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. And Rob, who stood at the table making up the tiny Thai appetizers, one after another, until I just had to ask him if his fingertips were suffering the effects of handling so many bird chilies. Those little morsels were unbelievable.

                              I brought home a half bahn mi and some yogurt, which I had for breakfast.

                              My contribution was a selection from Just Pickles at 41st and 9th. A spicy mix of pickled veggies was my favorite, but the pickled green tomatoes were very fine too. Pat

                              1. re: Pat Hammond

                                Yes, Rob was definitely the hardest working guy yesterday. Mucho appreciated.

                              2. re: wrayb

                                I want to echo what wrayb & everyone else has said. It was a wonderful event, not only in terms of all the food, but also the company. It was great to meet so many people who had thus far only existed (to me) on a computer screen. My heartfelt thanks to Abby, Eric, and Dennison for organizing this event. And Dave, that yogurt was absolutely amazing!

                                My contributions: fresh mozzarella from A&S in Park Slope, proscuitto bread from Esposito Pork Store in Carroll Gardens, olives from Sahadi, and St. Marcellin cheese from Tuller in Cobble Hill (thanks to the poster on the outer borough board for letting us know Tuller was carrying this).

                                1. re: wrayb

                                  Hey. Last night was really fun. Sorry I didn't get to meet everyone but in some respects that's impossible, plus I'm sorta shy. And the whole thing was overwhelming in a wonderful way. Thanks for welcoming a newbie.

                                  Thanks to Dennison, Abby and Eric for organizing it. Thanks to everyone who shared their favorite finds. It was a foodlover's show-and-tell. I do believe I got a nosh of everything I wanted. And it was all something I would definitely track back down for more.

                                  I brought the Cypress style spinach pie from the St. Clair Diner on the corner of Atlantic Ave and Smith Street in Brooklyn- not too far from Sahadi's and Waterfalls Cafe if you want to build a whole trip out here. Funny to hear y'all say it was "surprisingly sweet." I knew that, but somehow had never really realized how it's sweet and savory at the same time. On rare occasions, they're out of it, so if you're seeking it out, either be prepared for a small chance of disappointment, or call first. And I just love this food- I am in no way affiliated personally with anything Greek or Cypriot (?).

                                  Anyway, thanks everyone. See you on the boards.

                                  1. re: wrayb

                                    In case anyone didn't catch it- I brought the pollo a la brasa from Flor De Mayo (on amsterdam). I was maybe gonna bring the chicken from El Malecon uptown, having grown up right near there back when Rev. Ike's church across the street was a grand Loew's movie palace (if anyone has a chance to check it out while dining at El Malecon it's well worth it). Also if you get chicken at Malecon and you love very strong garlic be sure to ask for a dish of ajo in addition to the regular green, garlicky mohito they serve. This powerful ajo also great on your tostones, natch.

                                    1. re: jukeboxpearl

                                      Wrayb, you said the magic words: tostones with garlic sauce...Yummy. Where is Malecon?

                                      I also LOVED the Miang Kam from Sripraphai, it was fantastic! Big thumbs up for the fungy pizza. I am so sorry I missed the pork buns...I never even saw them! :-( What restaurant were they from?

                                      There were so many delectable things screaming me, eat me. It was hard just deciding what to try. Total gustatory overload.

                                      I didn't have much room left for desert; however, one thing I did try was the yogurt. Oh my God, that was incredibly fantastic yogurt. I had read the postings about the Yogurt Place in Elmhurst and all I can say is the compliments fell short. I'm definitely trekking to Elmhurst to get some.

                                      I also tried the fresh smoked mozzarella, I just wished I knew what shop it came from; it was excellent!

                                      I brought the "still hot" empanadas from Abuela's.

                                      Thanks so much Abby & team for planning it all. All I can say is WOW.

                                      1. re: Maria

                                        There are two El Malecons in Manhattan. The one mentioned by jukeboxpearl is at 172nd St. & Broadway, nowthwest corner.

                                        The other is on Amsterdam and 98th St.

                                    2. re: wrayb

                                      Yeah, I was tag-team fed all over Queens by Eric Eto, Wrayb, Abbylovi, Dennison, and Eric's friend, Gabrielle...When one flagged, another would take over and point out the next "must-eat" treat...It was like the greatest hits of the Outer Boroughs board!!

                                      I was still glazed-eyed and suffused by carbohydrates, but hey,I had been promised dumplings at Captain King...First up was Dennison, who introduced me to soy-milk and long donuts, (that salty milk was amazing, esp. the little shrimplets in it!), scallion pie wrapped around fried eggs , ( the perfect Chinese hangover cure!) and the ever-delightful veggie dumplings, smaller than normal size pot-stickers, filled with a vegetal, "green-tasting" filling...Sorry, Jim, I dipped....

                                      Eric took over, and led us to the biggest, most temptingly stocked Asian grocery store I had ever seen, a black away....The Super 88 in Boston will never seem the same...I acquired the pet durian, which I, and the other hounds, lugged around all afternoon, and Dennison got the smallest miniature Shanghai choi I have ever seen....

                                      Perhaps a walk would make me feel better...To Jackson Heights.... Oh yeah, like, 3 countries in 3 hours!!! I'm in love!!!! Mexican hot chocolate, a chow-consultation on which dried-peppers to buy, lusting after plates of mariscos and salad but not having room yet...And then to Patel Brothers, where I bought my new favorite condiment, the cilantro and green chili chutney.....As we walked, I kept seeing the stuffed, fried peppers David Sprague brought last nite..I thought I could find room for one....

                                      Wrayb took over then, he had a place he liked...It was on 37th Ave...Before I could get the pepper, he suggested we try a few chaats... "Chaat? Isn't that little snacks?" Little bowls heaped with a mix of crunchy extruded chick-pea flour twig- or cracker-shaped pieces, with potato, and tomato, and onion, and mango pickles, with tamarind sauce, or layered on perfectly fried pieces of eggplant...Each bite was a different taste, so it was perfect if you didn't really feel like eating...pecking, as it were...And then Gabrielle took over, with a "sampler" of milk-sweets I was sure I didn't want...Until the first bite...One tasted like carrot cake without the flour, one tasted like sugar-cookie dough with coriander...Even the galub jamon weren't stuck in sticky syrup....

                                      I was feeling much better by then, and we headed for the Korean grocery store at Roosevelt and Broadway....Here is where I made my big mistake of the day..I bought nothing!! None of that sashimi fish, none of those pre-made selections of namul, or marinated soft-shell crabs, or fish stewed with scallions...I was a fool! But I just couldn't look at any more food!!

                                      Sometimes, I read that a lot of people on the NY board don't make that trip to Queens...Go. Go now...That half-hour subway ride leads to a food fantasy.. That was the wildest eating I've seen without leaving this country; I can't WAIT to do it again!!! Those hounds sure know how to show a girl a good time!!!!! As we got off the train, I told Eric, "Jim would be proud to see what he has wrought!"

                                      BTW, the state-trooper who stopped me on the way home didn't give me a ticket..I gottah think it was those durian fumes wafting from the trunk!

                                      1. re: wrayb

                                        This seems to be the place to post what you brought to Saturday's event so for the record, I brought the glad corn from Healthy Pleasures on University Place btwn. 11th and 12th.

                                        (Btw, in case this sounds familiar, I already posted this information further down in response to someone else's posting, but I thought it might be easier to keep track of this way...)

                                        Also, my husband Ben brought prosciutto bread from Parisi's on Mott between Spring and Broome.

                                        Thanks to Abby, Dennison and Eric for doing such a great job! In response to some of the complaints I've read on this board, I thought the venue worked out incredibly well given the spontaneous nature of the event. It allowed things to be free-form while still providing some sense of organization. It also gave us the benefits of a private room without the costs...that's pretty impressive in Manhattan.

                                        As far as meeting people went, I rarely post on Chowhound myself and don't even check the message boards that frequently. I definitely didn't have any existing Chowhound relationships before Saturday's gathering. But I found no shortage of interesting, enthusiastic and friendly people to talk to. I had a really enjoyable time and encourage the person who was disappointed not to write off future events just because he or she had a bad experience at this one. If you tell me who you are, I'll be sure to talk to you at the next one!


                                      2. re: pearl
                                        The Turtle (Bay) Dove

                                        I already see the problem with WrayB's request - realizing all the great foods that were brought that I missed! And as much as I enjoyed DiFara's - were we crazy to eat that much earlier in the day? People kept telling me I looked dazed last night; boy was I ever. Happy, but dazed.

                                        It was great to meet so many chowhounds and sample so many wonderful varied foods. For the record, I brought a number of cheeses. One was a green peppercorn aged-goat from Coach Farms that I bought at the Greenmarket at Union Square. The other three cheeses I purchased at Ideal cheese (
                                        from Holland "Prima Donna - Aged - Red Wax
                                        Farm-made in 30 lb. wheels. Sharp, aged two years. Texture like aged Parmisan, taste like aged Gouda and aged Gruyere;" from France "Munster Alsace
                                        This great full bodied cheese is one of the strongest and has most penetrating smell;" and a sheep's milk cheese which I can't remember the name or origin of! Perhaps because I wasn't so crazy about it?

                                        Thanks again, of course, to our organizers and to the visitors from far-away places! I have GOT to go make myself some coffee . . . and, dare I?, try the spinach pie that I snagged at the end having never gotten around to it before. On second thought, I might need a few hours before putting anything besides caffeine in my system --Joanna

                                      3. Abby, Eric and I want to thank everyone who came and helped make the gathering such a huge hit -- y'all really far exceeded our lofty expectations for the event. We had so much food that latecomers had to scrounge for every last inch of space to lay out their goodies. No one measured, but through the haze of my mind this morning I'd guess that we had somewhere around 25-30 square feet worth of tablespace entirely covered with some of the best food to be found anywhere. No idea how many people showed up, but I think it was at least 60.

                                        By far the coolest thing was the tremendously convivial atmosphere. It's rare to meet so many open, friendly, personable, knowledgeable and just straight-out fascinating folks in one room. Judging from the dazed glazed look that was on many a face and the crumbs aplenty dotting dozens of happy mouth corners, there's little doubt that everyone had a really good time. In true chowhound fashion, our group really impressed the folks at No Idea by cleaning up and taking up a special collection for the barstaff. They were as appreciate of us as we were of them.

                                        I had a great time meeting all of you and hope to see you again at the next gathering! Unfortunately, I may not be able to remember names cause we seem to have had a defective batch of nametags yesterday...

                                        18 Replies
                                        1. re: Dennison
                                          Hamburger Harry

                                          I'm an ardent lurker, and am crestfallen I missed this event (lurkers don't hang! : ) ), but just an idea to remind that the chowhound site is apparently broke and management has freaking for months about keeping it up and running. Couldn't this have been (or be, in future versions) a fundraiser? The phrase "25-30 square feet worth of tablespace entirely covered with some of the best food to be found anywhere" makes me think "charge cover charge: donate to site". 60 people times just ten bucks would have rasied $600, the equivelent of 40 chownews subscriptions and probably enough to handle most of the monthly server bill. Also potential for raffles, etc. Just an idea because we have to keep this service going and keep all these people together (I gave goodwill myself... you can do it by going to the link below this message).


                                          1. re: Hamburger Harry

                                            HH! You are right . Not only does Chowhound provide an incredible service on the internet it is now in this very very difficult world providing people with a way to make friends in a non threatening fashion. The boards hook people up in more ways than one! A minimal cover charge would be the norm especially since the events get free advertising here on the boards. That said its way cool you guys organised it all.

                                            1. re: bonetired
                                              Hamburger Harry

                                              A "minimal" cover charge or a less minimal one. "25-30 square feet worth of tablespace entirely covered with some of the best food to be found anywhere" isn't to be taken lightly!

                                              Or maybe just beef it up with raffles or some way for people to seize the opportunity to support the site. An opportunity was missed, but maybe some smart chowhound minds can figure out a way to harnass (sp?) this sort of idea going ahead to help keep chowhound viable. (this message board is probably not the place to brain-storm this though. start a thread on "site talk"?)

                                              1. re: Hamburger Harry

                                                Yup should be a marketing strategy here ! Maybe entry price is buying the chowhound passport or some product. Or maybe a separate board for these events where people pay to post about them and recoup cost at the event. Those are quick ideas for starters. I like the separate board idea too because it keeps chowhound more focused on its original purpose.

                                                1. re: Hamburger Harry

                                                  Thanks to the organizers but even more thanks to Jim and Bob and all the other wait staff for the site and making these events possible!

                                                  1. re: Hamburger Harry
                                                    Caitlin McGrath

                                                    This was a purely social event, and a potluck of bought foods, to boot, but the hounds are up on the fundraising get-together concept. The last NYC gathering was a fundraiser that raised over $600 for the site, and there have also been fund-raising chow meets in other cities. I'm sure there will be more in NY as well.

                                                2. re: Hamburger Harry

                                                  Harry, no doubt your heart is in the right place (re contributing to supporting the site) but I suspect that the people attending the event have probably just the type of folks who have already made contributions to the site, either by buying Goodwill, subscribing to Chownews, or buying merchandise. If everyone contributed at the same rate as these folks there would be no money problems.

                                                  I think they were all entitled to an evening of fun and socializing without having to reach for their wallets one more time to make yet another contribution.

                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                    IMO, you're ALL right. A great party just for a party's sake is a highly worthwhile thing, and Abby, Dennison, and Eric are due huge hound commendation for working so hard to make this such a raging success, and the last thing they needed was the additional burden of building in a fund-raising aspect to the proceedings.

                                                    But as for your comment on "reaching for their wallets one more time to make yet another contribution," realize that the site has ongoing expenses which roll in every month, and if people (yes, often the same people) don't REPEATEDLY take action to support us, we literally can NOT keep going, much less make badly-needed improvements. We need support in order to support all this, and it's just not a one-time thing. We need it forever and ever if we're to live forever and ever. That may sound tiresome to you, but it's terrifying to me, because I'M the one who'd have to make the decision to pull the plug, and it'd just about kill me to do it. This is exactly the community I'd always hoped to gather. Chowhounds need to stick together.

                                                    Our software and server is overburdened, our all-volunteer staff is overburdened (a few of us work many hours every day to keep this all going), and we're still in debt...and the bills keep rolling in. I'm not big on complaining, I'm not big on begging, and I find it distasteful to talk about money just generally. But just 'cuz you don't hear me publicly freaking out all the time doesn't mean things are ok. We're not close to ok. Chowhond is running on fumes, blind hope, and passionate love.

                                                    ChowMarket link is below, for those who'd like to support all this. But please, let's return to chow talk (I'm loving reading about all the foods people sounds like a biblical miracle meal), so if you want to talk finances and stuff, please do so via email so we can stay chowcentric

                                                    Again, thanks and kudos to the organizers for an event that raised the bar for chowhound offline gatherings (indeed, perhaps offline gatherings of ANY cybercommunity).



                                                  2. re: Hamburger Harry

                                                    In SF we've had a # of fundraisers--at our Chinese New Year banquet (I'm sure it was the only Chinese banquet ever that featured yak cheese!)we just passed the hat at the end of dinner. Our most fun (and VERY labor intensive event) was our pot luck picnic in Golden Gate Park. We had a cover charge, sold SF Chowhound tshirts and our cheese tasting had an additional charge (cheese was donated). We could not have done it without Melanie Wong (we presented her with a Energizer Bunny) and Rochelle F. running the show with Cheryl P., Alexandra E., and many others behind the scenes. Maybe you could simply have a table of Chowhound tshirts, pins, passports and Chownews sign up at your next event.

                                                    1. re: Hamburger Harry
                                                      Connie Crothers

                                                      I was two hours late, but picked up on the energy anyway (and some of the food) and met some warm and friendly people. The spinach pie was just sublime. I think $10 wouldn't be too much to ask for such a great time. No doubt there will be more people next time. Besides these postings, word travels.

                                                    2. re: Dennison

                                                      I think wray put it best, there was a wonderfully dizzying array of people and food. The culinary highlight of the night was being able to compare Boston and Sunset Park bahn mi. Where else but at a Chowhound social would one be able to do that?

                                                      I also will have to dutifully correct Dennison: I think the attendance edged closer to 100 than 60.

                                                      In response to Harry Hamburger, I agree with Bob Martinez...your heart is truly in the right place and it's great that you've reminded everyone that this site needs support!

                                                      Last month, Dennison, Eric and I put on a funder at Funky Broome that raised almost $700. Almost everyone that came to Funky Broome also came to No Idea, and based on the multiple "wasn't ChowNews/ChowAlert amazing last week?" conversations that I had, I suspect that the majority of last night's attendees support the site in some way.

                                                      That said, thinking caps are already on for the next get time in Queens when the warm weather eventually hits! Email me if you're interested in helping out.

                                                      1. re: Abbylovi

                                                        If everyone who attended will post then we can make a count and find out.

                                                        1. re: wrayb

                                                          But if people do, I'd ask them to please add some chow info to their replies so we don't fill this board with a hundred "I was there!" postings.

                                                          Talk about what you brought, what you ate. Make witty observations about the gravy stains on people's shirts. SOMETHING to make your posting of interest to fellow hounds.


                                                          1. re: wrayb

                                                            I don't know which was more exciting, meeting the "celebrity" (in my mind!)people, that I know from these boards, or eating the "celebrity" foods they post about...Ooh look, it's Pat Hammond! Ooh look, it's the Miang Kum from Sripaphai!!! I mean, what do you do first, eat or talk? Talk with your mouthful? Eat while nodding sagely? Abbylovi,("I didn't DO anything!"), Dennison, and Eric Eto throw a mean party!

                                                            And unfortunately, I missed talking to as many people as I missed food..My favorites were the Miang Kum from Sripaphrai, served up by the hard-working, ceaselessly-bubbling, Leonard team, the durian and sticky rice, Octopus salad and shrimp ceviche from I-don't-know-where, fried jalepenos, stuffed with Indian cheese and garam masala, explained by David Sprague..I had no room for sweets, but Shortstop stuck a handful of the Blackout cake in my face when I thought Iwas done eating, and it had me reeling.....And after I met CypressStylePie, I had to try the cypress style spinach pie, without cheese, with raisins, which made perfect breakfast food.

                                                            I arrived already slightly , ahem, sated, by a walking trip thru Chinatown with Dennison, who assured me we'd find something for me to bring...I had already informed him i wanted to hit those Fou zou stands on E.Broadway..He graciously agreed, after taking me for turnip cakes, Hong Kong cakes, dumplings, dried oysters...You get the idea!! When we got to the desired spot, there was a cart selling mustard green sandwiches...I know, i know, you all know this stuff, but I didn't start reading the NY board til ater Sept.ll, so i didn't know the pdigree of these sandwiches...All I had read was someone posting about a greens sandwich they'd heard about, what were the greens, and where to find them again.

                                                            "Ooh, ooh, ooh; these are those sandwiches!"
                                                            "Well, yeah, these are the ones Calvin Trillin wrote about!"
                                                            "What sandwiches Calvin Trillin wrote about?"

                                                            The whole thing had transpired before my time, so I didn't know I had stumbled onto a piece of chow-lore, but I do know a good sandwich when I see it. A roll that has more body than you'd expect, filled with just-cooked mustard greens, some sesame oil, and maybe a touch of Chinese mustard. "Get these for the party", he said..The woman thought her ship had come in when we asked for 12, and by the time we selected a few more of her treats, she was throwing freebies into the bag...I barely walked away when I ripped into one of her other offerings, a vegetable bao...I'm always asking for the veggie version of stuff, and it's usually cabbage mixed with some glass noodles...but these were a revelation! Stuffed with a stir-fry of bean-sprouts, mustard greens, maybe something leek-like...And I would have brought them, at 3 for a $1, but they would have been cold, and not up to impressing the hounds..But when you go to get the "Calvin Trillin" sandwiches, at E.Broadway, under the Manhattan Bridge, make sure you stock up on those, too.

                                                            1. re: galleygirl

                                                              Don't have his books with me or the time to research Calvin Trillin's favorite restaurants in Chinatown.Anyone know what they are? I'm in NYC with my family, and what to take them to the best!

                                                          2. re: Abbylovi

                                                            I may also have to correct Dennison, it was about 25-30 LINEAR feet of food, and multiplied by about 2 1/2 feet of table depth, well, you do the math, but dude, you underestimated the food quantity!!

                                                            1. re: Abbylovi
                                                              Ike Crichton (aka Ka D'argo)

                                                              As a mostly-lurking individual, thanks to everyone for being so welcoming, and for bringing such fantastic food! What was that great Thai thing with the leafy balls and crunchy rice? Miang ... Kao? Maing something? Was that from the Queens Thai restaurant Sripraphai? That's my vote for best thing at the No Idea gathering, though the leftover mushrooms from the pizza (pizza itself was gone when I arrived) were also amazing. And there were lots of other fantastic things there, like the double-choc-chip cookies and sticky rice w/durian.

                                                              Next time y'all'll have to charge admission if this board is so strapped for operating funds... I would have gladly put a couple of bucks in a collection bucket for the board, and much more if I weren't unemployed. Let's do this again! I'll bring some of the yummy biscotti from Giordano's bakery here in Newark.

                                                              1. re: Ike Crichton (aka Ka D'argo)
                                                                Wendy Leonard

                                                                It was miang lao from Sripraphai. Glad you liked it! I can eat any amount of it myself!

                                                          3. I wanted to Thank Dennison, Abbey and the others who planned this as well. Thought it was great to finally put some faces to the names. LOTS of great stuff to try and not a big enough stomach to try it all. Standouts for me was the Yogurt that Dave F. brought. serious stuff! and the Bahn Mi was delicious as well.
                                                            I thought everyone was real nice and hospitable. def. an interesting cross section of people. I knew no one there and had some pleasant conversation with some great chowhounds between stuffing my face with See's candy and all the other goodies.

                                                            In response to the one person who posted that we should have made it a fundraiser. point is good. but I think that the organizers had their hands full trying to put something together their first time. There's no budget and they were lucky enough to secure a space that they didn't have to rent! So hats off to them and the folks who felt obligedd to bring up the fund raising idea. we'll look forward to doing this at YOUR house next time! I'm sure we'll raise plenty of funds....

                                                            1. m
                                                              Michele Cindy

                                                              I think this may be a time consuming task but I was wondering if anyone is planning to post a list of each food brought and the address of the store it was purchased? Sounds like everyone had a wonder"full" time, next one I'm hiring a babysitter!

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Michele Cindy

                                                                Great idea. If people email me what they bought and where they bought it, I will compile a list.

                                                                1. re: Michele Cindy

                                                                  babysitter, shmabysitter. My 11 month old enjoyed the sticky rice with pork thing, the babaganoush and the corn pattie thingy (I'm bad with food names even though cooking is my profession). I actually met meny more people because of my baby than I would have had I not brought her. Bringing her was not planned, I just wanted to go, and my wife had to work. As long as they are well supervised, I think kids are very well received at these events.

                                                                  1. re: jake pine

                                                                    The corn patty things were arepas (which i bought in Queens). I'm glad the baby enjoyed them. :)

                                                                    1. re: jake pine
                                                                      Michele Cindy

                                                                      I have 2 Toddlers. Knowing my girls they'd be everywhere! I want to enjoy myself. This sounds like a night out from the kids event just for me--- :) Hope to meet you and your tot at the next gig.

                                                                  2. It's taken me a couple of days to recuperate (and make it back to Boston!) I just wanted to add my kudos to the Team of Abbylovi, Eric, and Dennison - I am so appreciative that I could come up to the gathering - what a great job organizing so many peope and so much food. It was such a nice time and I met so many interesting and gracious people. (I hope) I will be able to put a face to the posts now.... I also want to say thank you to everyone for making my non-Chowhound SO feel comfortable -- I really appreciated that.

                                                                    I brought the bbq beef bahn mi sandwiches from Boston - a market called Thai Binh and I have to say they traveled suprisingly well. I had so many favorites, including the Calvin Trillin sandwiches, the funghi and potato pizzas, the pork buns, the shrimp ceviche, and the variety of banh mi.

                                                                    Also, as many of you know - we were hoping to go for Mexican on Sunday, and ended up at Gabriela's before we went to Ground Zero. We really enjoyed it. Guacamole was fresh and chunky with lots of cilantro. The Menudo was a highlight - and now I know why it's considered the perfect hangover cure! It came with a plate of the usual accompaniements - oregano, fresh onion, lemon wedges, and chili peppers. The carnitas and cochinita pibil were delicious and they even let us order a smaller portion of the chiliquiles as a side dish instead of the brunch-sized entree. That was very good also, saturated in their sauce but still maintaining that addictive crispy-chewy texture.

                                                                    Thanks again everyone for being so warm and friendly!

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                                      Thanks for the wonderful bahn mi and the smiles. I have to say you were one of the least-dazed-looking Chowhounds on Saturday.

                                                                      Where was the ceviche???

                                                                      1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                        The ceviche was in the middle table, and it went really well with the Indian corn (?)....yummy.

                                                                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                          The shrimp ceviche and the octopus ceviche were brought in a little later and that's probably why you missed it (I, on the other hand, made it a point to prowl the tables every 1/2 hour in case I missed something - although I still missed those stuffed jalapenos!).

                                                                          I may not have appeared dazed but you should have noticed the other signs, i.e., enthusiastically pointing out to anyone that walked by "I went to Lotus of Siam thanks to this guy!" (repeatedly) ;)

                                                                          Also, to all the Hounds who suggested great places to go for Mexican on Sunday, especially Dennison and Eto who I think I incessantly grilled - I apologize for waking up the next morning and promptly forgetting every name you mentioned