Food Gold: Wilding Out At Le Fooding NYC

Posted on Sep 28th, 2011 in Columns > Food Gold by Elliot Aronow

A few days ago, FOOD GOLD was delighted to be invited to Le Grand Fooding‘s Campire Session, a sort of downtown open air culinary fair meets chill music event put together by Parisian food connoisseurs Emilie Papatheodorou and Anna Polonsky. In the house for this special event were Mr. Dante Gonzalez, of Dante Fried Chicken fame, gastro-celebrity/molecular don Wylie Dufresne and his sous-chefs Andrew Andrew, Parisian uber chef (aka the David Chang of Paris) Mr. Inaki Aizpitarte and his cooking partner Mr. James Murphy. It was quite the line up. Nancy Whang from LCD/Juan Maclean and Sondre Lerche provided the tunes.  Color commentary on the bites after the jump!

Upon entering the grounds Food Gold quickly knocked back a few offerings from the Jameson-sponsored bar. There were some fancy cocktail-ish types of whiskey drinks going around across the way courtesy of date smash 101 spot Milk and Honey but I decided to pass on those and stick with the classics. One Jameson + soda and two Jameson + ginger ale, please. Once warmed up I decided to hit Wylie’s station first and see what crazy dish he was serving. Much to my surprise, he went in on the home cooking tip and served ribs. Root beer coated ribs if I remember correctly. They were Flintstones sized and absolutely delicious, falling off the bone and achingly tender. Andrew and Andrew were kind enough to hook me up with a few extra plates and I bodied all of them. Thanks dudes.

Next up was Inaki and James’s chive and beef salad. This was on another level. From my vantage point just behind the line, I saw whole peppercorns, lemon juice and lots of minced chives going into each salad, which had a wonderful crunchy texture. It may or may not have been achieved through the ingenious use of some bulgur wheat but I am unable to confirm that at this time. Government secrets, dudes. Sorry!

The real star, however, was the meat. On account of its melting texture I asked James if it was braised and he told me they just threw it on the grill and that was that. I don’t know where they were sourcing their steak from but I can tell you we are going to buy a lot of a lot of it for A-Trak’s annual Fool’s Gold family holiday meal this year. Unreal. Topping the whole thing off was the duo’s “burnt butter” or beurre noisette sauce, which tasted nutty and sweet, almost like hazelnut. Inaki was super sweet and slid me four extra plates throughout the night based on the contented look on my face. It made me very happy.

Last up was Dante’s Fried Chicken. Dante was kind enough to offer the only vegetarian option of the night, the wonderfully named “Warning: Tastes Like Chicken Tofu” but it was unfortunately sold out by the time I made my way over. The coconut honey biscuits he had prepared were a wrap too, so I had to make due with his “Sock It To Fried Chicken” and the accompanying garnish of endive with black eyed pea hummus. I am glad I didn’t miss out! The chicken was boneless and easy to eat. The breading was as light as a perfectly cooked hush puppy and the meat was insanely juicy—like the best nugget you have ever had. According to one of Dante’s partners, this particular batch’s coating had over 20 ingredients including oats, rosemary, dried fruits and some lemon zest, to pair with the hummus. Food Gold appreciated the bitter endive as a palate cleanser as well. I could have had another ten they were sold out completely by the time I was done with my first.

There was also ice cream courtesy of Van Leeuwen but my Jewish heritage (aka mild lactose intolerance) prevented me from indulging. Besides, after ten rounds of small plates and a generous amount of whiskey, I felt like I had my fill. Although I would not have been mad at noshing on a few more ribs and a 20 piece of those Dante nugs.

Finally, on a sadder note, our brother in arms DJ Medhi, who was going to DJ the event with Ms. Whang, was celebrated by a series of toasts and having his image draped across the DJ table. A fitting tribute to our dearly missed friend.

Shout out once again to the Le Fooding team for throwing such a lovely, well executed event. And shout out to Ysa for snapping way too many photos of me and Wylie for the OUR SHOW tumblr.

Hope to make it back next year!

Fork The World,

Elliot + Food Gold

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