Sunday, May 6, 2012


My first experience at the LUCKYRICE festival was the celebrity-chef studded Grand Feast which was held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Columbus Circle in New York City.  And what a feast it was.  Star chefs from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Japan served their best authentic dishes.  And, to complement the diverse Asian cuisine, sake and shochu from Japan were served in addition to premium wines, Thai beer, French cognac, champagne and specialty cocktails. 

As always, whenever I attend one of these culinary events, I get some photos or no photos.  With such crowded venues, it could be difficult to sip, click and taste all the time, but I attempted to get a few (very few) photos.  Some are good, yet most are bad--the photos, that is.  But, I have to say that chatting with certain chefs was, by far, the best experience of the evening.

Since we were early (I am "always" early for every event, meeting, interview--you name it), we tried to get a seat at the bar/lounge at Per Se prior to heading to the Mandarin Oriental.  At 6:15 p.m. on a Friday night.  Not happening.  I've had dinner there, but wanted to experience just the lounge. Maybe another time. 
So we proceeded to one of the other establishments in Columbus Circle, and ended up at the Post House, Michael Lomonaco's steak house, which we've been to several times before.
Actually, it is the former convoluted V Steakhouse that Jean-Georges opened back in/around early 2003 and subsequently closed down.  Because it was the eve of the Kentucky Derby, there was only one drink to order.  A mint julep. The very nice attentive bartender did an excellent job creating one for us.  Having bartended myself, I know what it's like to get requests for drinks that are out of the ordinary.   Making a mint julep is not just opening a bottle of beer.  There's muddling of fresh mint involved, simple syrup, bourbon, and ice.  Did I say muddling? And we know how much bartenders love to muddle drinks.  Most can't stand making drinks in a blender, let alone using a stick to chop up fresh herbs in the bottom of a glass.  It takes at least five times longer to make a muddled drink versus just pouring bourbon, or scotch, into a glass on the rocks. 

After The Post House it was time to head to the Festival.  As I expected, it was very crowded and most of the chefs left early to head over to the James Beard Awards (for Journalism), which was being held at Lincoln Center.

The first dish we tried was one of my favorites. It was edamame dumplings with a shallot-sauternes broth from Buddakan.  A restaurant in my town used to make this particular dish since their chef was a former employee of Buddakan.  Unfortunately, they closed down about a year ago.  I enjoyed having this dish again, and although I've made it myself, the best part was no dishes to wash.
Buddakan Display

Edamame Dumplings
Chef Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger in Boston made an awesome red roast duck with crispy rice on gingered spaghetti squash with a sambai-lime puree.  I can't say anything else about this, other than it is Chef Ming Tsai and the description says it all.
Chef Ming Tsai
Red Roast Duck

Chef Ming Tsai

 Chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern prepared snapper with dashi and trout roe.  Chef Anthony has always been one of my favorite chefs in NYC, and it was great to see him again.  And, of course, his dish was another winner.

Snapper With Dashi and Trout

Chef Michael Anthony
I also had the pleasure of meeting Chef Susar Lee.  I've always enjoyed reading about his work or watching him create and cook on Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters.  He is extremely nice and has such a pleasant personality and his Hong Kong shrimp taro toast was incredible. 

Chef Susar Lee

Chef Angelo Sosa

Jeffrey Steingarten of Vogue Magazine
 And, the epitome of Asian chefs, in my opinion, is Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.  His signature spicy king crab legs dish is another favorite.  I've had it many times at his restaurant in NYC and also make it at home whenever I purchase Alaskan king crab legs. 

Spicy King Crab Legs
We chatted with the Chef himself and attempted to get a new photo. I'm disappointed that the photo didn't come out very well. Are there any apps out there that can turn a blurry photo into a clear one?

Iron Chef Morimoto

Chattting with Chef Todd English
Dusse Drink Preparation

All in all, blurry photos aside, it was a good food event and we decided to add it to the list for next year.

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