Not sure why they did not post this online this year. But here is the line-up of food vendors at KFWE next week. Cannot even begin to list the 600 wines...enjoy the grub instead. For the record and MODS, I am the owner/chef of Gemstone Catering & got cholent inc as well as pitboss at the Wandering Que, all of whom are listed below. This event is sold out and as such this is in no way an advertisement. Order is based on the room layout / Table Letter Name
B Gemstone Catering
B Wandering Q
B Got Cholent? Inc.
C Silverleaf Caterers
D Glatt a la Carte
E Wolf & Lamb
F Weiss Bros.
G Carlos & Gabby’s
H ETC Steakhouse
J Chagall Bistro
L T Fusion Steakhouse
M Le Maraís
N Grow & Behold
P Prime Hospitality Group Pavilion
Q Sushi Tokyo
R Abeles & Heymann
S Tirat Zvi
Table # Name
2 Cake & Co.
4 Finchi’s by Aunt Rashi
9 Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
10 Say it With Cake
11 Mr. Penguin
12 Guilty Pleasures
We are celebrating the Year of Kosher Bacon! With the permission of the MODS, I'll answer that quesion. The Wandering Que will serve our 18hr smoked brisket and a smoked chicken over purple tortilla with avocado crema and lamb belly bacon lardon. The Gemstone station will be offering bacon 9 ways... including a smoked veal pancetta (vealcetta?), lambcetta, fat slab lamb belly, Canadian style veal belly, Pastramied Duck breast, Romanian style Turkey Bacon, Beef Naval bacon and for my lovely wife, a smoked tofu/smoked beet combo. At the got cholent? station will be serving 6 cholents, Texas Smokehouse, Bubby's Polish, Buhkarian, French "Chaud-lent" Cassoulet, Moroccan Dafina and a Beef Cheek Yapsuk, not to mention an international Herring and Caviar Bar. If I may say, this is probably the premier food/wine event in the country as far as the kosher scene is concerned. My advice is to make friends with the silver buckets! 600 wines to try before the 30+ food vendors, so pace yourselves. Shavua tov!
It was fun. Really fun. There was wonderful food. For my palate, the best stuff was at Wandering Q, where in addition to a dazzling array of non-cholent, cholents (Beef cheek Yapsuk, cassoulet, Moroccan lamb dafina) and a cold herring and fish roe tasting bar, there was bacon. Smoked veal belly pancetta, perfectly crisp, smoky lamb bacon lardons served with smoked chicken and complimented with avocado mousse. There were more. Appetizers to dream of.
Chagall had a smoked salmon served with a citrus emulsion that was as beautiful as it was delicious (well, they are French) I missed their duck pastrami. I didn't try everything, I think perhaps a larger person could, it would not have been possible for me. And a lot of booths were sort of boring. A nice man at Pomegranate handed me a bowl of cholent, and it was lovely but not interesting. A steakhouse called T-fusion had a chicken roulade and a smoked brisket with a special rub - but it just tasted like mundane brisket and chicken. Wolf and Lamb's Apricot wrapped in pastrami was banal. Weiss Brothers catering served a cabbage and duck that reminded me why I don't usually bother with Chinese restaurants. You really do want to be selective at this event.
Basil had a challenge (it's milchig) but their pickle holding a piece of arctic char with salmon roe, avocado mousse and jalapeno was lovely. Grow and Behold offered samples of their delicious sausages (oh, and coupons, there were coupons in several booths) Silverleaf had lamb meatballs on toothpicks, that tasted like the good homemade lamb meatballs that I love but don't often go to the trouble to make. Prime, by contrast, offered a duck confit on quinoa pancakes. The coin-size pancake was crisp with what must have been a gallon of oil and the duck confit was so salty that I found it literally inedible. They had 6 offerings, plating them in rotation - another reason why you can't try everything at KFWE unless you are awfully ambitious. I was there for fun, flavor and novelty, so I tried Prime's charcuterie offerings. Their servers were less forthcoming than some, or perhaps it was just that they were overwhelmed. Upshot was I know I had pastrami, but not the name of the thinly-sliced, cured beef may have been. It didn't persuade me to rush down to 56th St.
In general, there were few surprises, Basil, Chagall, Wandering Q, make wonderful food.
One wish I would make would be for more seating areas, an event with this many singles ought to be more of a mixer as the evening goes on.
The surprise of the evening was that there is a kosher Jamaican caterer. I loved their jerk chicken.
There was also a dessert, tea and liqueurs section (on a 2-deck party boat tied up at the pier). "Say it with Cake" was out of carrot cake, which I had been hoping ot try. Instead I had a bite of their lemon sponge. It was wonderful, the burst of lemon and a rich sponge - not your grandmothers sponge cake. I already knew that their chocolate-dipped almond horns are as close to perfect as a cookie can be. (I'll be ordering them for Pesach)
I started with the wine, and did not venture over to the food until I'm guessing 8.15. At that time some of the booth were already out of food. The standouts for me were:
ETC - Great rib eye with a flavorful topping and red amaranth, which I've never heard of.
Grow & Behold - Great selection of sausages
Silverleaf Cateres - Their Lamb polpetine was really good with a nice coriander taste to it. Their Matza dessert with chocolate and caramel was a good end to the evening
Gemstone/Wandering Q/Got Cholent - The standout of the evening foodwise. Cassoulet, Dafina, Yapsuk were delicious. Brisket great as always. Smoked lamb belly, veal pancetta, even the vegetarian tofu with beet was great. All his stuff was great and they were serving until the very end.
Lot of great wines - Tulip, Flam, Covenant, Clos Mesorah, Yatir, Segals, Shiloh
Now multiply that by 60 pieces on a platter. They served 5 platters of the salmon app, 5 of the pastrami (same size and shape as the salmon), 5 of the mini vegetable quiche and 5 platters of guacamole dip with toasted rustic French bread to munch on while we visited and got seated. This was for a group of 40 that included 10 children under the age of 10.
I could have been content with the apps and the many glasses of wine I had, but all three courses of the meal and coffee were wonderful.
Now, if they only solve the parking issue, I'd drive in from Connecticut regularly.
Note: the non-Jewish and non-observant guests felt perfectly at home here. Plenty of women in pants, low necks, short skirts and cleavage-not just my gorgeous wife.
I'd like to echo this! Wandering Que made some excellent food. I also was surprised by Carlos and Gabbys, mostly considered "fast food" fare. Both of the dishes they served (sadly, I don't recall the names and can't find my KFWE book) really surprised me.
If I was able to taste as much as Adina (I've been recovering from a stomach virus), I'd have a much more comprehensive review, but she did a good job. I would have to say I agree with her Prime confit assessment too.
I also thought Pitopia's food was quite surprising. The buffalo chicken portions were quite large for KFWE and I'd make them smaller for the future so food isn't wasted (and note: they should also check the heating elements--mine was cold); the falafel was quite good and the pita was very fresh.
Say it with Cake's carrot cake was good, btw, but I'll also admit that it didn't leave much of a mark. Among the brownies sampled last night, I still have yet to find a pareve brownie that I really really like. The Say it with Cake lemon squares were delicious. Probably the best offering from them.