[Free Stuff by Wilfrid: March 1, 2010]
I happily frittered a few hours away yesterday sampling food and drink at the International Restaurant and Food Service Show and associated Wine Expo in the Javits Center.
And it wasn't so exciting. The thematic organization makes sense, but also instils tedium to the tasting process. Producers from La Mancha are grouped in one section - and there were a lot - producers from Greece in another. One corner was devoted to wines targeted explicitly ("Wine for Women") or implicitly ("Sassy Bitch") at women. I can't imagine myself asking for a glass of Sassy Bitch.
This gives the taster the alternative of tasting a dozen Argentinian malbecs in series, or darting from aisle to aisle seeking variety. I took the latter alternative, but didn't discover much other than that Portuguese reds are still excellent value.
Meat was the other main feature of the day. Sliders from Master Purveyors of Hunt's Point, suppliers of steak to a range of the city's best steakhouses. Slivers of imported Japanese wagyu from Wagyu King.
This was good stuff, as it should be at up to $85 per pound. And the tasting portions were understandably small. The LaFrieda team was there too of course.
Apparently they are vendors of hamburgers. Who knew? Joking aside, the LaFrieda chef was slicing and grilling superbly buttery steak.
A section in this hall was secured for Japanese producers, and I am certain that the most unusual, intriguing, and probably tasty ingredients were being prepared and offered there. I did grab a piece of smoked salmon roll with explosively flavored nori from a nori specialist, and tried some silky tofu too. Unfortunately, the aisles were so narrow and crowded as to be almost unnegotiable. So I went back and had some more wagyu instead.