KFWE2013: The Best Bites

A special thanks to Stephanie Meissner and her associate Ilya for providing me with press passes for both the day and evening events.

Where do I start? I feel like almost everything I tasted should be on this list! But what I listed below really stood out for me head and shoulders above everything else. Let’s get started:

Heavenly Caterers:  Their standout dishes? The vegetable water (which most people seemed to find bitter, but I actually found made a fantastic palate cleanser) their brisket au jus and their rice krispie treats on a stick. These were served during the day.

At night, they had these edible spoons made out of pretzel dough filled with seared tuna and adorable little cones filled with spicy salmon tartar. Delicious!

Flower Water (Heavenly Caterers) : A bitter but refreshing drink of pomegranate, tomato and hothouse cucumber.

Flower Water (Heavenly Caterers) : A bitter but refreshing drink of pomegranate, tomato and hothouse cucumber.

 

 

Brisket Au Jus (Heavenly Caterers. The softest, most tender brisket I've ever eaten.

Brisket Au Jus (Heavenly Caterers. The softest, most tender brisket I’ve ever eaten.

 

 

Rice Krispie Treat (Heavenly Caterers) This was delicious- the peanutbutter with vanilla topping was better

Rice Krispie Treat (Heavenly Caterers) This was delicious- the peanutbutter with vanilla topping was better.

 

Gemstone Caterers: There was fierce debate here: was the polenta really polenta? It had kernels of whole corn in it, and to some was on the thin side and under seasoned. Personally? I took that piece of smoked veal belly, smeared it in the gastrique and polenta and ate one of the best mouthfuls of the day.

 

Herzog Oak Barrel Smoked Veal Belly with corn polenta and blackberry & port gastrique (Gemstone Catering

Herzog Oak Barrel Smoked Veal Belly with corn polenta and blackberry & port gastrique (Gemstone Catering)

I will also mention I got the slightest bit tipsy on the jello shots. I tasted three: the rum-and-coke, the champagne bellini, and the gin and tonic.  For me, it was the champagne bellini that got the gold star – not too sweet, not too strong.

Kedem Champagne Bellini Jello Shot (Gemstone Catering)

Kedem Champagne Bellini Jello Shot (Gemstone Catering)

 

Hakadosh BBQ: Their pulled chicken slider for me was their best bite. The BBQ alone was sweeter than I would prefer (I prefer smoky to sweet) but combined with the bread-n-butter pickle and the soft roll it was nearly perfect.

So delicious - the sweet of the BBQ, the soft roll and the tang of the pickle. (Hakadosh BBQ)

So delicious – the sweet of the BBQ, the soft roll and the tang of the pickle. (Hakadosh BBQ)

Silverleaf Caterers: I went looking for them this year. And just like last year, they didn’t disappoint. This year they rolled out a churrascaria station!  My favorites: chicken thigh wrapped in Jack’s Gourmet Facon, and the flame grilled churrasco beef. The beef, slathered in the best chimichurri I have ever tasted, was a true pleasure to sample.

Churrasacaria Station - the chimchurri beef was delicious! (Silverleaf Caterers)

Churrasacaria Station -L-R flame grilled beef with chimichurri, mojo marinated chicken breast tenderloin and chicken thigh wrapped in Jack’s Gourmet Facon (Silverleaf Caterers)

Wolf and Lamb: Their slow braised veal was wonderful. Another bite where you put a bit of everything (in this case turnip puree, fried shallots and porcini sauce) onto your fork and enjoy.

Slow Braised Veal with turnip puree, fried shallots and porcini sauce (Wolf and Lamb)

Slow Braised Veal with turnip puree, fried shallots and porcini sauce (Wolf and Lamb)

Rolls: I asked the chef for his best, and I was treated to a sashimi plate with the freshest raw white tuna, seared tuna and spicy salmon tartare with a delicious honey wasabi sauce. That’s right – honey wasabi. I intensely dislike wasabi anything, but I loved this sauce.

 

The special sashimi plate the sushi chef from Rolls made for me- it was fantastic!

The special sashimi plate the sushi chef from Rolls made for me- it was fantastic!

Basil: This exhibit provided a bite of food that I couldn’t stop raving about.  Take a homemade kirby pickle. Top with icelandic cod, add a tapenade of grapes and capers. Eat all in one bite.  Try not to jump up and down and act all giddy. I know I wanted to, and could barely restrain myself.

Icelandic Cod Crudo with grape/caper tapenade (Basil)

Icelandic Cod Crudo with grape/caper tapenade (Basil)

 

The dessert that stood out far and away? It was a toss between two, but both from the same exhibit. Susan Sez Say it With Cake. Their lemon squares had me raving for days and their chocolate cake with ganache had me wondering if their cakes were secretly dairy. They’re not- they are just that good. I can say I hadn’t tasted any baked good so delicious since I left culinary school.

Needless to say, it was an experience I will not be forgetting soon, and will be looking forward to next year!

 

 

Comments

  1. so upset i could only make it during the day. the food i had was delicious, but there wasn’t much of a selection.

  2. Thank Gd we’re having sushi tonight or else I would have regretted reading this post. THe pictures make me so hungry! And of course, so jealous 😉 Wish we coulda made it but Jewhungry is in Miami and Chicago 🙁 Looks like it was an amazing event.

  3. Just got some Facon and chicken thighs. That photo looked good enough to inspire me. Thanks!

  4. Was wonderful meeting you at KFWE and I love the roundup you have shared. My Kosher New York City went up and my KFWE roundup will be up next week. So, who is planning on going to KFWE ’14?

  5. what beautiful photos! all that food looks wonderful, and i’m sad i had to work and miss the event!

  6. Great review! Made me soo hungry! Especially for sushi and sliders.

  7. Beautiful photos!!

  8. This looks like such an amazing event! Sorry I couldn’t go, but it was a bit far from CA! maybe another year.

  9. Great review of the event!

  10. It was a fun night, great to see you.

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  1. […] be Gemstone Catering with their Herzog Oak Barrel Smoked Veal Belly.  I don’t eat veal, but Foods, Words & Photos described it as tender, flavorful, and […]

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