Thursday, June 14, 2007

New York Magazine “Secret Kitchen” Event

So a few weeks ago New York Magazine joined forces with our good friend Isa Chandra Moskowitz and the band Man Man to throw a crazy vegan food and rock and roll party. We were there of course, and we took pictures! But the following week was hectic for us and we didn’t get a chance to write a review, and then we figured it would be lame to post a review weeks after the event so we gave up on the idea. But Isa called us up at 3 in the morning last night, yelling and screaming and telling us we’d better “post a fucking review” or else she’d “kill Jim”. And if you know Isa, you know that she doesn’t joke about murdering people, so without further ado, here’s the review:

Shiitake Tempura with Wasabi Mayo
Holy Yum. These were so good. They were crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and salty/savory throughout. The Wasabi Mayo was amazing and should be bottled and sold. No joke. It was the perfect blend of thick and creamy with a kick. This dish was tied for my favorite of the night. -Ev
Yeah. These were super good. You really can't go wrong with crunchy, fried goodness dipped in cool, creamy goodness. -Jim

Jicama Edamame Corn Sesame Salad
I do love Edamame. I guess everybody probably does. But not everybody has had Edamame with fresh corn and shredded jicama in a tangy vinaigrette dressing. And they're missing out! This was a great salad. I think my favorite part was how the different textures played off each other. -Jim
I loved the citrus dressing on this. I agree that the texture was great, but also the freshness. This would be awesome on a really hot day. -Ev

Fresh Summer Rolls with Papaya and Avocado
A little birdie told me that these were actually an assortment of fresh summer rolls stuffed with either rice noodles, butternut squash, Thai basil and pumpkin seeds, or rice noodles, cucumber, Thai basil and peanuts, both varieties splashed with soy sauce for good measure. Both varieties were very tasty. I like how there were several different flavors and textures working together. The Thai basil was especially good and I appreciated that the soft noodles were there as a nice backdrop to all the excitement. -Ev

Udon Noodles and Peanut Sauce with Seitan
Yes, yes, yes! More please! I couldn't get enough of this dish. I think I ate more than my fair share and I hope no one at my table minded. Warm, creamy noodles, crisp veggies, crunchy peanuts, and spicy seitan all with a squeeze of lime juice. The textures and the flavors were just awesome. The seitan was just right. This was definitely my favorite dish of the night and I really wish I had some right now. -Jim
Interesting. This was my least favorite dish. It seemed like more of a tahini sauce than peanut, and while I love tahini on falafel, I often find it too bitter for me to enjoy on other things. I guess it's good that I didn't love it, seeing how Jim was all elbowing people in the face and trampling on babies to eat it. -Ev

Miso Matzoh Ball Soup
This was tied for 1st place for me. I love Miso Soup and all the different ways you can serve it. I had never had Matzoh Balls before, vegan or otherwise, but I loved it. Just a big ol' tasty ball of carbs in the middle of some delicious broth. I want to get sick just so Isa will come over and make me some. Then again, I don't want her to be so close to Jim, what with all the sharp knives in our kitchen. -Ev
The Miso vs. Matzoh contrast was pretty intense, and would probably offend Miso Soup purists or Matzoh Ball Soup purists, but I dug it. -Jim

Daikon Latkes with 5 Spice Roasted Applesauce
If there's one thing that Irish and Jewish people can agree on, it's potatoes. The only problem is that we Hibernians tend to eat our potatoes boiled and boring. I think we need to take a lesson from Jewish cuisine, and from Isa in particular. These latkes were potato perfection. Fried and flavorful, I could have eaten these plain and been very happy. But Isa accompanied them with a homemade Applesauce that was chunky and delicious. This dish wins a close 2nd place for me after the noodles. -Jim
True dat! These were awesome. I could've eaten the whole plate. And that Applesauce was incredible. Also a close 2nd place for me. -Ev

Chocolate Cupcakes
Darrrk chocolate cupcakesssss. Yeah! With choc-o-late frikkin' moo-ooo-ooousse. And a little naughty naughty blackberry, baby. Put it in my mouth. Put it in my mo-oo-outh. Oh, I'm sorry. You probably can't tell that that's an awesome R&B love jam I've written to commemorate the deliciousness that was, that is, that forever will be the Chocolate Cupcake. Now that you know, please "read" it again and think about how bad you want one. -Ev
Isa is the vegan cupcake wizard. And I'm not talking about a 1st level wizard who can only cast Light and Magic Missile. She's epic level. She regularly travels to the Elemental Plane of Cupcakes where she rules as queen. -Jim

The Bottom Line
This was a super fun event. The venue (Grand Harmony Palace in Chinatown) was very cool, the band rocked, but most importantly the meal blew me away. I never pass up a chance to eat Isa's cooking because it's always delicious. Even if she does threaten to kill me once in a while, I will never get a restraining order because then I wouldn't be able to eat her food. -Jim
Agreed. What's a little husbandacide between friends, more importantly friends who can cook? My only regret is that we can't go back to Chinatown and order some more of that Miso Matzoh Ball Soup. Achoo! Excuse me. I think I'm coming down with a cold. (Jim, hide the knives! Hide yourself!) -Ev