I started my sampling with an elegant and refreshing yellow pepper gazpacho with nuggets of fresh shrimp meat from The Elm. Nearby, Cubana Social offered a traditional gazpacho, a little peppery with robust flavors. Why stop at two starters when you can have three? I grabbed a bite of Hotel Delmano’s fig and cheese wrapped in thin slices of Sorrento ham, and I knew I was in the right place at the right time.Several of the restaurants offered seafood fare. We cooed over the bluefish pâté with radish slaw from Delaware and Hudson, and the octopus salad from Fat Goose. Juliette served a lovely shrimp slider, Maison Premiere delivered plump raw oysters on ice. Once again, Metropolitan Avenue’s Extra Fancy wins the longest line contest by offering lobster sliders.
Meat eaters got a taste of Aurora’s juicy roasted pig, laid out whole, in all its glory, just like in the old country. El Almacen attracted the revelers with tender short ribs with mashed potatoes, while the little shepherd’s pie made a happy encore appearance, courtesy of Spike Hill. I was duly impressed with the thoughtful mini platter offered by Teddy’s Bar and Grill featuring roasted corn, cubed sweet watermelon, and a mini beef brisket slider.
There were plenty of desserts making the scene. Ovenly’s freshly baked cookies were soft and buttery with chocolate ganache and fruity fillings. A definite crowd pleaser was Moto’s signature date cake with an addictive caramel sauce; Bakeri offered a variety of cookies while promoting their second location on Freeman Street in Greenpoint; and Brooklyn Cupcake plated a set of cute mini-cupcakes with rich icing. The line for Phin and Phebes ice cream was insane, but well worth the wait. I was able to sample the banana, the pretzel & salty peanut, and the vanilla cinnamon ice creams. My favorite was the vanilla cinnamon. It tasted grown up and sophisticated. Another huge crowd pleaser was Brooklyn Star’s sweet summery icy slush.
The drink options were endless. Brooklyn Oenology offered a choice of red, white, or rosé. I chose the white wine made with 6 different grapes; it was amazingly good. Also present was Brooklyn Winery, who produce their wine right here in Brooklyn. The Natural Wine Co. introduced many drinkers to fine natural wine for their first time. There was also whiskey and gin from the New York Distilling Co. and several fancy cocktails from Reynard. Other beverages included The Juice Witches, Dona Chai tea, Oslo Coffee, Bruce’s Ginger Ale, Gus’s Grown Up Soda, and more.
Folks ate and listened to live music curated by Rough Trade, and eaters swayed to the groove of Ben Fields, Jack + Elica, and Son Little. By the end of the day, I gave the East River Ferry wheel of fortune a spin, and won myself a T-shirt large enough to hide those few extra pounds. Man-o-man, it was fun!