Foodie Adventure: Village Voice’s ‘Choice Eats’ | A First-Timer’s Tale

Village Voice - Choice Eats 2013

I’d never been to Village Voice’s Choice Eats.  On a whim, after coming across a promotion online about the event, I registered.  Entry was at 6:30 for those of us (yes, like me) who didn’t spring for VIP tickets, which would have had us stepping in the door an hour earlier.  No worries.  I figured, I’d arrive at the venue a little early — the 69th Regiment Armory (Wikipedia) — walk to the entrance and wait about 30 minutes and then, that would be it. Right?

Wrong.  The line to get into the Armory was ridiculous. I never expected what I saw.  The first person on line stood at the foot of the entrance staircase.  The line then stretched to the end of that block, curved around to the next street, stretched to the end of that block, curved around to the next street, stretched to the end of that block, curved around to the next street (where I stood about 20 feet from the corner), and then stretched down the block.  Get the picture?  Yes, it was almost an entire circle.  But, somehow, in just over 30 minutes after the doors officially opened at 6:30, I was inside.  Shocking.  Big brownie points to Choice Eats.  BIG.

You probably didn’t know the 69th Armory, a National Historic Landmark, is located on the east side of Manhattan on bustling Lexington Avenue.  The Armory is so connected to September 11, 2001 for me.  In the hours, days, weeks and months after the terrorist attacks, the Armory’s outer walls and anywhere that was in close proximity with a bare wall, were covered with missing persons photos, posters, family notes, letters and flowers — you name it.  It is truly a unique, hulking structure of bricks — not a slick-looking skyscraper most people think of when they think “New York City”.  

Village Voice - Choice Eats - Inside the 69th Armory

I walked in.  Welcome to Choice Eats.  I was overwhelmed.  It was crowded and people seemingly walked aimlessly, almost as if they were in a trance.  (I would be in this “trance-like state” myself not too long after.)  I needed a few minutes to take it all in.  I could go right, left or down the middle.  I elected to go to the right.  “I have to start somewhere,” I thought.  

Note:  I neglected to read, “5 Tidbits of Advice for Choice Eats 2013 Attendees” until 10 minutes before getting inside. So much for that. But, I now know what not to do next year.

The first food sample table was the Institute for Culinary Education (ICE).  I passed on the sample (they had a meat item), but I signed up for a chance to win the opportunity for cooking classes — or something or other (can’t remember).  Whatever it was, I wanted it.

Institute of Culinary Education (ICE)

Between chowing down, I tried snapping photos — not an easy feat when you have people bumping into you from all sides.  I stopped at Whole Foods.  They were handing out swag.  Inside, food snacks.  And then I walked by SCRATCHbread

Whole Foods - Swag    Whole Foods - Snack Treats

Chips, Salsa, Bread...A trifecta

…and after, stopped at Dirty Candy.

Dirty Candy - 3

Just to get it out the way:  This was hands down, the absolute, best stop of my entire night.  OUTSTANDING.  They had one tasting item…one…a tomato, cheese nosh that had the sweetest, most smokey flavor.  It. was. freakin’. bananas. *drops mic*

Dirty Candy

Dirty Candy by Amanda Cohen & Ryan Dunlavey

For the almost two hours, I grazed — in a haze.  Snapping photos of my food, photos of other people’s food.  (There are a lot of hungry hipsters in Nueva York.  Who knew?)

You know what?  I’m done writing.  Just dream and drool on what follows below…(and yes, I’ll be there next year…mark my words)…

Nom Wah Tea Parlor - 1     Nom Wah Tea Parlor - 2

Nom Wah Tea Parlor - 3

Choice Eats - Can't remember restaurant

Parish Hall

Peppa's Jerk Chicken - 1     Peppa's Jerk Chicken - 2

Mexico Lindo - 1    Mexico Lindo - 2: Tamales

Banana Leaf - 2

Carlo's Bakery (yes, Buddy) Carlo's Bakery - 2

Littleneck - 1

Littleneck - Ceviche 2

Choice Eats - Can't Remember Restaurant



Thirty Acres - 1   Thirty Acres - 2

Spicy Bampa - 1    Spicy Bampa - 2

Spicy Bampa - 3



6 thoughts on “Foodie Adventure: Village Voice’s ‘Choice Eats’ | A First-Timer’s Tale

    • Oh, I have every intention of going back next year. Actually, I’d love to see what other cities have. I want to do so many things with food. Cooking and tasting. Oh, my God, I just had an idea for a show…

    • Oh, I’ve never been to the Salon d’Agriculture in Paris…hmmm…but then again, now that I think about it, I’ve never been to Paris early in the year. Mmmmmmmm….I want that! Oh, I’m sure you have a blog post. Lead me to it!

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