I love New York. Nope, I don’t really care about why you don’t like the city because it’s got several things that are remarkable for me. In no particular order: character, family, friends, synergy, mad vibes and just crazy food all over. That said where am I going with the rest of this? I’ll let you in on some of my experiences I had on my trip there recently. So pull up a seat why don’t ya. Sorry, I’m all out of Andouille dusted popcorn and the coke is a little flat. Prosecco anyone? Okay, so I was in New York recently for the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival held there at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens. Folks were out in great numbers and to boot, the weather was fabulous for a mid summers July Sunday.
There were booths and stalls everywhere. Small and large businesses were stocked to the gill selling and giving away to their hearts content. Raging grills, tantalizing aromas of pork and chicken, roast corn, lemonade stalls, hungry lines stretching for miles (ok, 40 or 50 deep), boombastic entertainment (Etana, Maxi Priest and Mr Vegas were on the line up this year), chefs demos featuring: Chef Brandon Walker and Chef Gason Nelson; Celebrity Chef throw down with two Alumni from the Food Network show Chopped; Chef Gason Nelson from NOLA and Chef Maxcel Hardy – Personal Chef to Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks. They all threw it down and I was there to see it all. There also was the Celebrity cook off between State Committee Woman Scherie Murray & Senator Kevin Parker – Senator, call me please, I give great cooking lessons. He should have known better than to try prove his cooking prowess against a mother of two. It was mad fun. What was I doing you should ask? lol… Well, let’s just say I found a little time this year to enjoy a little aged Scotch and a stogie, Fiyah!!!! Chef Max don’t know anything about that and that’s his story, I can vouch for it . All in all a good experience it was once again this year. Now Let’s move on shall we.
So, on the eve of the jerk fest I had the privilege along with my Chef Mate Gason Nelson, of eating at a cool spot in the West Village, Sotto 13 where Chef Ed Cotton mans the helm. Gason Met Chef Ed back in NOLA where they worked together at a charity event and Chef Ed gave him an invite to come check out the restaurant whenever he was in NY again. It was a perfect night. Did I mention earlier that the weather that weekend was just superb, one wouldn’t have known it was the middle of July. I’ll skip the pleasantries, the hellos with our server, the cool martini that I had because I could, the perusal of the menu. I’ll get to the business at hand. We did come for dinner right? Then let’s eat.
Saffron risotto croquetas
Chef Irie, Chef Ed Cotton, Chef Gason Nelson
One word, okay two must be said here in reverence … Freaking Awesome. I know for me as a chef, when I leave an eating establishment inspired, something went right. Something went right in my head, my belly, my soul. We started off with the Saffron Risotto croquetas then on to the Capricola pizza with onion jam marmalade and bacon. Something killa about the salty and sweet together with the ham, the jam and that bloody bacon. The pig rules. The crunch from the crust of a NY pizza, delightful. Cheers chef, for pretty soon we will need chariots to wheel our chef asses out of your establishment. After dining on house made rabbit sausage over wilted chicory with roasted carrot puree, Fettuccine Bolognese made with beef, pork and lamb, pig feet Parmesan with sloooowww roasted tomato sauce, roasted snails with mushroom, pancetta finished off with garlic butter parsley sauce. Damn it man!!! Ummm, Oh Paris (pareee). The Memories, I could have broken out in song right here. I know, you’re saying chef, gross. But you are a foodie, isn’t all this so exciting? Everything that I was eating just felt like I was having foodilingus in my mouth. I think my tongue came. I want to spoon with a butterfly, a Mariposa. What?!!!! Don’t be giving me the side eye. Phhfft, please. Damn I’m sooooo full, aren’t you? Trust me, it was dynamite. Sweet Degustation, ooh la la. Oh crap, bloody hell! Here comes the Panna Cotta in a mini mason jar with balsamic reduction and strawberries. HeLp!!!
Chef Ed allowed us to see a deft approach to fresh ingredients and an uncomplicated culinary viewpoint. I couldn’t think in coherent terms after such a culinary treat, it was chef’s heaven I tell ya. I needed a pacifier, I needed to have my belly rubbed. Both Gason and I were transported to a creative nirvana which sparked conversation amongst ourselves about working on fine tuning our own craft. This was bolstered when we got to sit and chat some with Chef Ed. This moment with my peers was priceless. Unfortunately, this was not an all night affair, I wanted more but we had to leave. I’ll see you again Chef Ed. Now time for a flipping walk in the West Village for this was wickedly sinful. Yeah that’s it, let’s give Gason a little taste of NY. It was Food on Fiyah!!!.. More stories about the trip coming soon, stay tuned.