Every year I say this, and each year I mean it: Brooklyn Uncorked is one of my top favorite food (and wine) events of the year. It’s also one of the events that I recommend to people to grab a ticket to when they ask me what local food festivals they should try to attend. Local restaurants + local area vineyards = great food bites & wines. It’s the perfect recipe for a fantastic evening. As with the past few years, it was held at One Hanson Place in Brooklyn, which has some gorgeous architectural features, as you can see in some of the photos below.
Chef Annette Tomei and I teamed up to wander around and visit all the tables, food and wine alike. Having been at this event the past few years, it was really nice to have a wing-person and also to get another viewpoint from a more trained set of tastebuds. As we’ve worked together in the kitchen many times over the past couple of years, we have a familiar frame of reference and could shorthand some of our findings throughout our adventure. The slideshow below shows a few of the things that we sampled.
I tried to capture as much as I could, but, inevitably, there were a few tables that we couldn’t get to due to the overwhelming number of folks who wanted to taste the various foods and wines. There were also a couple of tables that were finished serving their dishes before we got around to them. It was also lots of fun to bump into our friends and colleagues in the industry, which just made the evening feel even more like a giant celebration of the region’s culinary bounty.
I even ran into one of my culinary school classmates who was helping out the team at the restaurant where he formerly used to work, The Good Fork, a returning participant. They had one of our favorite pairings of the night, a tangy-spicy Mung Bean Pancake, which went really well with the bright fruit flavors of Macari Vineyards’ Early Wine.
Tacos seemed to be the preferred vehicle for edibles this year. There were lots of them served, as the photos show. One pairing that I thought worked well was actually a table that we stopped at early in the evening. Nightingale 9 offered Vietnamese-style Tacos composed of lemongrass beef , coconut, cilantro, lime, dressed with a chili-peanut yogurt. In other words, this small plate had a lot of different levels of flavors – heat, spice, citrus – happening at the same time. Fortunately, nearby were the folks from Ravines Wine Cellars who were pouring their 2013 Dry Riesling, which had just the right level of sweetness and acidity to work well with the taco.
A couple of other dishes that I thought were stand-outs for the evening – one taco and one non-taco – were the plates presented by No. 7 and Marco Polo Ristorante. I went back (unashamedly) for seconds on the first dish and seriously contemplated doing another loop around the venue to grab a another plate of the second one. Both of these had amazing flavor combinations with or without the addition of a wine pairing.
On the wine front, there were definitely some interesting vintages to sample. Bridge Lane brought their boxed wine which are a whole different species of the unpleasant college experiences with the original boxed wines. They also had a White Merlot, which was very intriguing and, when lightly chilled, has all the hallmarks of a perfect summertime food wine. No surprise that I also enjoyed their Rosé, as they are the second label producer for Lieb Cellars, whose Rosé has been a go-to beverage of mine when I can find it on tap.
Another wine that I tasted at the event, that really made me say “Wow!” was the 2012 Barrel Fermented Riesling by Brooklyn Winery. It has some of the same acidity as a traditional Riesling, but, having been fermented and aged in oak barrels, it comes out with extra earthy, funky notes due to the time spent in the wood rather than in stainless steel. I sipped this wine independently of any food, and I’d like to spend some more time getting to know it and its particular personality.
As always, there’s far to little room in a website post to cover all the wonderful food and drink that we had that evening. Thank you to all the folks who made this event possible this year. For information on the participating restaurants and vineyards from previous years, as well as to see photos of some of what was available to eat and drink, please see my write-ups from 2011, 2012, and 2013 (links take you to other pages on this website).
Thank you to Edible Manhattan for providing me with a press pass so that I could attend this event and cover it for this website. The opinions and tasting notes are mine, as unrefined as they may be, and were not influenced by any of the food or beverage partners or by the magazine and its staff.