DINING: Chowing down at Brooklyn Eats

July 1, 2013 Heather Chin
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BY DENISE ROMANO AND HEATHER J. CHIN

After a five year hiatus, Brooklyn Eats was back and better than ever on Wednesday, June 26 at the old Pfizer building at 630 Flushing Avenue, sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Brooklynites came to the annual trade show in droves, with 2,000 attendees chowing down on the smörgåsbord of samples, from locally grown tomatoes to salmon and beer-braised jerkies, and gluten-free cookies to horxata and homemade sodas.

“It’s important to watch our industry grow as foodies, manufacturers and Brooklynites,” said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Chamber, who, like many in attendance, sampled so many foodstuffs, he could only gush about all the flavors.

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And oh the flavors.

Unlike previous years where only restaurants were featured, this revamped Brooklyn Eats featured the borough’s best purveyors and manufacturers of food, drink and other gastrological goodies.

Savory

Grubstake Restaurant, located in the Downtown Brooklyn Sheraton, offered Chilled Gazpacho and Ahi Tuna Tartare. The gazpacho was refreshing and made with fresh cilantro and olave olive oil. The tuna was tasty – and pretty! Chunks of smoked salmon and tuna tartare were placed in a sesame seed mini-ice cream cone.

Based in Greenpoint, Acme Smoked Fish was presenting their Wild Salmon Jerky in three varieties: teriyaki, peppered and orange ginger. A nice twist on the regular jerky, it was a great alternative for those who don’t eat meat.

However, if you prefer regular beef jerky, there were plenty of options from Kings County Jerky. Co-founder Chris Woehle was on hand to chop up pieces of Korean BBQ, Sichuan Ginger, and Cracked Pepper jerkies. As if that explosion of flavors weren’t enough, Slant Shack Jerky’s beer- and other spice-marinated jerkies will have you wishing you could take whole bagfuls with you on the Oregon Trail.

Pie Corps covered all their bases with everything from savory chicken pot pies, s’mores pie, red wine braised brisket pie, curried potato and peas pie, and more—all as pies, pielettes, hand pies, and pies-in-a-jar form.

They were joined in their goodies-in-bread heaven by the likes of Brooklyn Bangers, whose hot dogs and sausages may be great on their own, but just take it right out of the park with their ridiculously amazing mustard relish.

Since this is Brooklyn, global flavors were also well-represented. Mama O’s Premium Kimchi and Mrs. Kim’s Kimchi reminded us that pickled and spicy vegetables are as popular as ever, while the sister duo behind We Rub You’s bottled Korean BBQ sauces and marinades bring traditional homemade flavors to a new generation.

Brooklyn Wok Shop appealed to the littlest of eaters at the trade show, with their spaghetti with chili oil sauce becoming a crowd favorite, and Miti Miti Latin American Foods’ dips and sauces bringing a taste of Park Slope’s Bogota Latin Bistro into your home.

Sweet

Sweet-tooths were right at home at Brooklyn Eats. Walk through the doors and you were greeted by piles of goodies from Brooklyn Cupcake, Leske’s Bakery, People’s Pops, Cookie Fairy Sweets, Sweet by Jana, and Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies. Take some more time to browse the show floor and discover Sweet Silk’s delectable Indian-inspired sweets, Erica’s amazing Rugelach, and more.

Among those that still linger in our memories are Lael’s all-vegan, gluten-free cakes and cookies, such as Chocolate with Lavender and  Lemon with Strawberry Basil, which manage to balance the essence and flavors of each herb and ingredient like no other confectioner we could think of.

On the more playful front, there was also Fred’s Marshmallows, which come in flavors such as strawberry lemonade and taste like the Turkish delight of our Narnia-loving dreams.

At Whimsical Confections, Chef Esty will customize “anything you want,” including cookies, cupcakes, macaroons for all occasions. Based in Kensington, we tasted an intricately designed gingerbread cookie, iced by hand. It was sweet enough, but not cloying. Whimsical Confections’ treat are made with all natural ingredients are and kosher.

Krumville Bake Shop specializes in gluten and dairy free baking. Head baker Alessandra Ranelli operates out of 630 Flushing Avenue. Her European-style baked goods are totally delicious. We tried the Double Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie and some Rosemary Focaccia, both moist and tasty.

Spirits and Sodas

Jack Summers of Jack From Brooklyn at Brooklyn Eats. (BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by Denise Romano)

Steven DeAngelo of Greenhook Ginsmiths, based in Red Hook, was offering his regular American dry gin and newly released Beach Plum Gin Liqueur. DeAngelo explained that beach plums grew rampantly along the east coast before it was colonized. Similar to sloe gin, the liqueur was sweet and refreshing, perfect in a summer cocktail.

Also based in Red Hook is Jack Summers’ original liquor, Sorel, which he calls a “traditional Caribbean party drink.” It’s made with hibiscus flower, which gives it as summery taste, nutmeg, clove and cassia. In the summer, it’s served ice cold and in the winter, hot. We recommend this unique and complex drink that goes down smoothly.

On the non-alcoholic side, P&H Soda Co. and Bruce Cost Ginger Ale take care of all your carbonated needs in all the natural flavors you could want, while Brooklyn Seltzer Boys bring tried-and-true classic egg creams to a new generation, along with a new home delivery service.

Brooklyn Eats was more than just a trade show – it was a taste of Brooklyn!


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