For the second year in a row, I attended the Kosher Food and Wine Expo. Last year the food was, if I remember correctly, delicious … but I had a 3 month old at the time, wasn’t getting much sleep, and it was my first time going out … so all those things may have made everything taste better.
This year, I came fork in hand ready to be wowed, but overall I was mostly disappointed. I only had the food offerings so I can’t discuss the wine, which people rave over. My main focus was trying the caterers, and gourmet markets, since most of the restaurants I’ve already eaten at or I’ll never get to since they’re not in my hood. (Read my husband’s post on YeahThatsKosher.com for his review of the restaurants.)
Let’s start with Avi Glatt. They had multiple offerings including assorted sushi, herrings, crackers, and some different types of meats. I had an asian style mango cucumber salad that was really good. It was the only table offering something fresh and not cooked. I also tried the cranberry corned beef, nice for Shabbos, and chicken breast stuffed with asparagus. I would have been ok with the chicken breast despite it being ho-hum in the creativity category, if it tasted good and was cooked well; it was rubbery and lacking in flavor which was disappointing.
I was very impressed with the creativity and flavor palette offered by Silverleaf Caterers certified by the Riverdale Vaad. They had three very interesting offerings. First was a duck confit meat ball with a garlic balsamic pipette. You squirt the pipette in your mouth then eat the meatball. I think that squirting the vinegary sauce directly in my mouth was a bit overwhelming and the meatball was cold but the idea was clever and it tasted good. My favorite was the deconstructed veal shepherd’s pie. I love shepherds pie, this one had luscious mashed potatoes, and was topped with enoki mushrooms. Probably one of my favorite dishes of the evening. For their third offering they had tiramisu cake pops, while there was no mistaking that it was pareve, it was the nonetheless tasty and adorably presented in a push pop.
Pomegranate was consistent as always. They had lots of offerings from dips, to liver, to cholent and carving boards. I had the sautéed liver (a personal favorite) which was delicious. I also really enjoyed the honey mustard corned beef with a home made honey mustard sauce. It was marbled with just the right amount of fat; juicy and tender.
I was only able to try one thing from Gemstone Catering and that was the Herzog Oak Barrel & Mesquite Smoked Turkey. The presentation was pretty but the turkey was dry and flavorless. Disclosure I tried this close to the end of the evening so it could have been sitting for awhile.
I already know that Jack’s Gourmet makes delicious products because I eat them at home. By the time I got to their table I couldn’t put another bite in my mouth so my husband Dani stepped up to plate for me. He tried the Sweet Italian Sausage with olive oil, smashed potatoes, and pepper and onion ragout. He loved it. Saying it had a great spiciness that hit you in the back of the throat.
Being that Joburg Kosher had one of the first tables you see upon entering, their offerings were some of the first I tried. I had the small grilled sausage arrabiate which was spicy and tasty, as well as vegetable bean soup which had in it sausage, cream of coconut, and was topped with traditional biltong. It was smoky, sweet, rich, and hearty. Very tasty and different.
After all that eating I needed some dessert to wash it all down. I had an adorable heart shaped pink sugar coated cookie pop from My Most Favorite Food, and a delicious soy latte from Noi Due. I also tried a kosher l’pesach brownie from Finchis a company devoted to making desserts for everyone.
While much of the food did not blow me away it was still a fun and enjoyable night, but I think next year I’ll stay home and enjoy my own cooking.