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The art of ice cream: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and The Steven Kasher Gallery

With the mercury hitting 90 degrees today here in New York, I think it is pretty much safe to say that summer has officially arrived (conveniently, just as the calendar hits June 21st).  I don’t know about you guys, but when the temperature rises, I start to think of cool summer treats: margaritas, white wine, gazpacho, Arnold Palmers, and, of course, ice cream.  Especially when that humidity breaks 80 percent, nothing hits the spot like some smooth and velvety ice cream.

Conveniently enough for me, the “Inspire your palate!” event this weekend at the Steven Kasher Gallery allowed me to get some of the cool stuff, while also expanding my cultural horizons and take in some art.  Since 90 percent of my photography intake consists of pictures found on Photograzing and Smitten Kitchen, I figured it would be good to expand my purview.  And an added bonus: Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams was there sampling some of her wares!

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Herrre, piggy piggy piggy.

Image from Daily Mail

Although I was greatly intrigued with tea cup pigs like everyone else that watches How I Met Your Mother Last night, a link sent over by my friend Arielle quickly changed my feelings towards pigs.

It made me want to eat them.

More than usual.

Cochon 555 is the road show of pork, dedicated to heritage breed pigs, where chefs around the country compete with the hopes of making it to the main event at the Food and Wine Festival in Aspen.  Who will be there on March 21st, 2010, in New Pork City (to their credit, they have that on the website)?

This guy.  And Burgergal.  And maybe other people I know, but they haven’t bought tickets yet, so probably just the burger duo.

Check it out.  It is going to be awesome.  Say it in French (“cinq cent cinquante cinq”) and it’s even more awesome.

Image from Cochon 555 (2009)

Le waiting.

So this weekend was Le Fooding here in NYC, the sister event to one of the same name that has been going on in Paris for a few years now.  BG got us tickets, so we headed out to Long Island City for the amero-french culinary explosion.  She and I are heading out to Paris in about a month, so the timing was very a propos.  We also were going to see Gonzales that night and Phoenix the next day, so it was le kick-off to a very french weekend.

Arriving in Long Island City, I am not sure what I expected, but I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked that every foodie in the greater NYC area was there.  Since the general admission started at 7pm, I guess it was normal for people to get there at ten to six.  JBE’s better half got there early and snagged position number 10 in line.  My crew got there at about 6:45 and we were number 1000.  The line wrapped around the block, it was insane.

All of the people that were working there wore t-shirts that said, “i hate le fooding.”  I guess it’s partially a play on the french language, like “i ate le fooding,” but I can’t be sure.  At the moment, I really did hate le fooding.

Anyway, flashforward to 7:45, when we finally got in.  The event was a madhouse.  The french, for all of the things they do well, do a lot of things not well.  Organization is one of them.  The place was out of control.  People were in line everywhere.  Lines were wrapped around the PS1 courtyard like an MC Escher drawing.  I wanted to punch le fooding in le face.

The first thing I ate was a sampler of cheeses from CHEESES of FRANCE. They don’t really win any awards for creative naming, but the cheese they were serving up was pretty tasty.  Since I inhaled the three bites of cheese in about .6 seconds, my judgment was a little bit clouded.

Then we waited in a line for a mystery product.  Complaint number 1– I’d like to know what I am eating.  We got to the front of the line and were handed plastic cups with a little toasty piece of garlic bread.  The soup had the taste of pork with a mirepoix, and some of the pieces definitely had the old “parts is parts” thing goin on.  It was pretty tasty, and I later found out that it was from Yves Camdeborde of Le Comptoir du Relais fame in Paris.  BG and I are eating dinner there one of our nights (pops came through with the rezzie), so it should be awesome.

Next up was David Chang and the bo ssam.  For dedicated readers, you will know my thoughts on it.  It was pretty much the same, although I felt like I was betraying myself by not having eaten around 23 things before it.  It was solid, per usual.

We then ran into JBE, who was already stuffed.  I was still starving, so internally directed all of my rage at him.  He didn’t know that, but it was true.  In any case, he told us that the place to be was the back room, where some deep fried corn was being served by the guys from Diner.  Again, the readers of my blog know that I am a fan of that spot, and I dig their casual attitude.

I got to the back area and immediately realized that I had no idea which line was which.  There were just crowds of people all over the place standing in lines that seemed to go to nowhere.  We ended up in the WD-50 line, where Wylie was serving up some grilled chicken necks with yuzu.  That is like the ultimate ROI dish ever.  A chicken neck must cost, what, 25 cents?  And he could probably charge a few more cents for that.  Bravo!

I enjoyed the neck, although all of the bones made it a little annoying to eat.  I did enjoy that the center of the neck had a brothy quality to it that was like a little mouthful of stock.  I think uberchef may have commented that it could be used as a meat straw to eat chicken soup.  Kinda disturbing, but it intrigues me nonetheless.

After Wylie BG and I got into what we thought was the corn line, but was in fact the line for Ze Kitchen Galerie, another french spot that I’ve heard about in several places.  They were serving up a pork rib with a teriyaki and pineapple sauce.  Although the LG didn’t really dig it, I was a fan, as was the BG and our dining companions.  Since he was there so early, JBE had around a half-slab and decided he thought they were just ok.

After much beating around the bush, I finally got me some of the bushel (I apologize for that one).  The deep fried corn with “scallop butter.”  The corn smelled awesome coming out of the deep fryer.  BG doesn’t eat scallops, so it was time for me to get my coquille st jacques on, deux fois.  I really enjoyed the scallops, although the crowd didn’t really seem to be feeling them.  They were buttery, which I guess explains the name, but they also really picked up the smoked paprika flavor from the sauce that was smeared all over the deep fried corn.  Deep frying corn, by the way, is a great way to make everyone think you are making zeppole, without actually making zeppole.  BG was disappointed I think.  I could see it on her face.  I, meanwhile, had scallop butter all over my face.  And parts of my shirt.

Believe or not, that’s all I had.  The ice cream line was way too long, and Bigarrade ran out of food before I could get to them.  They had a grilled sirloin if you were wondering.  However, the bo ssam line was nice and short (maybe all of le fooding crowd felt that the hometown champ was not shi shi enough).  So I filled up on that before heading out.

Overall, le fooding was a good experience, but I’m not sure I would go back.  I had some tasty morsels of food for sure, but I think that some logistical flaws really killed it for me.  But I am excited eat to do some fooding of my own in Paris, that’s for sure.

I didn’t take pictures, mostly because it was really dark and because I was too hungry to think about taking pictures.  This guy did, though, so you can re-live each bite here.  I’m also mad that I missed a second opportunity to devour Minetta Tavern’s Black label burger, being griddled up to perfection by Lee Hanson on Saturday night.  But I griddled up my own burgers on Sunday.  More to come there.

While it’s not food related, I suggest all of you go see Gonzales and/or Phoenix live.  They are both french love-fests (in fact, a trio from le fooding was also at gonzales), but they both rocked.  I expect uberchef to write a full recap.