It just couldn’t have been more perfect. There was sunshine, there was music, there was laughter and there was food, food, food. Taste of Tribeca 2012 was better than ever. In it's eighteenth year, this neighborhood food festival just proved why it's a perennial favorite.
It was squeezing by room only on Duane Street and move out of that chair if you dare on Greenwich. Even before the starting whistle blew at 11.30 eager eaters were lining up to try some of the more than 70 treats cooked up by our fabulous restaurants.
Tribeca Citizen declared this year’s Taste “the year of the meatball”. And Gourmelle is inclined to agree especially after tasting Terroir’s superb veal meatball sandwich. That was a meal in itself but there were other meatballs to be tasted at Trattoria Cinque where they were bathed in rosemary milk, a deliciously fragrant sauce that would have made Cleopatra proud. Brick NYC also served up hearty meatballs while FDNY Ladder 8 had Greek meatballs. Locanda Verde had a twist on the theme with Duck meatballs and Lotus Blue followed suit with pork meatballs in mushroom sauce. Then there were the meatball sliders at Max and the polpette meatballs at Pane Panelle.
But that of course was not all. Gourmelle ate her way around more tastes than she will admit to and canvassed opinion far and wide about what were some of the other standouts. Mary, a PS 234 parent, was visibly swooning after tasting the blood orange sorbet from City Hall, perfect for the hot afternoon. Her husband Stewart waxed lyrical over the house-cured pastrami at Kutsher’s and reminisced about many happy summers at the original Kutsher’s upstate. Principal Lisa Ripperger made a beeline in her beautiful orange hat to Walkers for the pulled pork. “I went there first because there’s always a line later,” she said. Alex a graduate of PS234 couldn’t stop talking about the spicy Asian chicken wings from M1-5. “Legitimately the best chicken wings I have ever tasted,” he declared.
But it wasn’t just about food. To the surprise and delight of those who watched the greenmarket cook off it also turned out to be about life and love. Bill Weir of ABC’s Nightline gamely hosted the cook off and asked his panel of judges what would be their last meal if they were on death row. Former Mets champ John Franco chose a dish of pasta from Taste restaurant ROC. Michelle Park of NY1 said it would have to be Korean food to the agreement of several people in the crowd. While Alyssa Shelasky of Grub Street chose a New York cheese cake as her dessert. But she was also in a philosophical frame of mind when it came to chefs. She said every woman should have a love affair with a chef and she’s talking from experience! All this chat went on while our two competing chefs slaved over tiny gas burners Russell Moss of 92Y and John Sierp of M1-5 went head to head with ingredients from the greenmarket to concoct dishes to wow the judges. In the end, John Sierp prevailed with a tasty fish taco and what Bill Weir said was some of the best guacamole he’d ever had.
Gourmelle made slow progress not just because she was eating so much but because she kept meeting friends old and new. Lisa, who’s a lovely Aussie and an actress, was volunteering at Zuckers even though she’s no longer a parent at PS 234. “I just love working on the restaurant stalls,” she said handing over a smoked salmon mini bagel. “Everyone’s just so nice.”
Eve, one of the uber volunteers who really keep things rolling, was all smiles all the time as always. And Robert made light of his onerous task – collecting all the walkie-talkie headsets from volunteers, “I have the best job and I’m in the shade,” he said.
Gourmelle could write a book about the wonderful, fantastic, fabulous, scrumptiousness of Taste 2012 but it couldn’t convey the true spirit of the day. If you missed it this year just wait, Taste will be back again and better again than ever next year. Thanks to all the restaurants, volunteers, donors and sponsors and the residents of Duane and Greenwich Streets who made it all possible.