Summer Fancy Food Show 2015: Day 1, Part 3 (AKA Stumbling Head First Into the Wall)
Junk Food Nation, time to continue my recap of the Summer Fancy Food Show 2015! “Jeebus, Eric, you’re STILL writing about this sh*t?? It was over a week ago, dude.” Yes I am, because apparently I 1) take too many pictures, 2) like to overshare, and 3) think you want to know more. SO, here we go!
One thing the folks at the Summer Fancy Food Show do every year is turn a few men’s bathrooms into women’s bathrooms. I’m fine with it – anyone who has ever been to a stadium or other large convention center function knows that women’s restroom lines can be huge and I like the fact that they do this. There were a few times I felt like I was taking crazy pills – I was walking up and down the side of the convention center, convinced they’d turned EVERY bathroom into a women’s one. There are olther men’s restrooms located on this level? Where? WHERE????
One fun part of the Summer Fancy Food Show is the NEW BRANDS aisle. These are the REAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLY fledgling companies. Some of these companies were JUST launched, or are just in concept phase. Some of these companies won’t make it off the ground. Some will explode and be million dollar businesses. The point is, the NEW BRANDS aisle is a total crapshoot. I’ve had great stuff and horrid things from this aisle. They put it off to the very side on the bottom floor of the show, like a Land of Misfit Toys. It’s also curtained off from everyone else like a freakshow at a circus. Fun times.
First thing I ate from the NEW BRANDS aisle – red pepper relish from Ft. Greene Farms. Good stuff – perfect on a cracker. Sweet, tangy, spicy – a nice mix of red bell peppers and scotch bonnets. Thumbs up.
I got a few emails from this company – Tava Ghee. Ghee is basically clarified butter, and Tava Ghee ca,e in vanilla bean, green chili, original, and Himalayan salt flavors. I tried some on the bits of bread. Tasted good, but to me…it was just butter. The vanilla bean one DID have a hint of vanilla flavor, but it’s not like it turned the bread into a pastry. Good butter, though.
This dude was….ah….you know, I can’t remember what he was selling. I THINK it was the Belgian Waffle Mix. Clearly the food started to go to my head.
They WERE delicious waffles, however. I wish I could remember this company’s name – I’d hype them up big time.
Wait…wait….a little Google research reveals…AH YES! IT was this place: THE BELGIAN KITCHEN! They make “special artisan Liège waffle dough to help your food business.” Nice! Someone open a food business and feed me these.
Another one of the bigger hits for me in the NEW BRANDS aisle was this Wild Zora line of “beef and veggie bars,” which is a funny description because these were basically packets of jerky. The thing that was amazingly tasty about these packets of dried meat was the spice profile – it was SPOT ON. The Turkey Masala with Spinach nailed the masala flavor. The lamb with rosemary and spinach was bursting with rosemary flavor. REALLY good – took dried meat to a whole new place for me.
Leaving the Land of Misfit products, I wandered into the New Zealand section of the show, where I met Nigel (hidden behind a pole) at the FirstLight booth. His enthusiasm was…well…non existent, but he was a nice guy. And his meat? The best tasting grass-fed meat in the world, First Light claims? Well, they were right.
Not pictured, but I had a piece of this wagyu beef burger that made the eyes roll back in my head. REALLY flavorful, perfectly cooked, and amazing beef flavor. The type of beef patty that makes you say, “Dude, what have I been eating all these years?”
FirstLight also had on display this smoked venison. I know, it looks like a raw hunk of meat, just sliced off an animal. But when I tried it, I was floored – it was soft and tender like a sashimi, and had amazing meaty venison flavor. Not game-y at ALL – I immediately wanted some sushi rice to pair this with.
More random products as the rest of the afternoon started to spiral into a haze. CRABBIES! Alcoholic soda. Actually, if a soda has alcohol in it, isn’t it just…an alcoholic beverage, period? The answer is yes, and I’d guzzle these twice on Tuesday. Nothing mindblowing; just a perfect spice on the ginger beer with a mild boozy backdrop. These would be DANGEROUS if I had a case of them. Smirnoff Ice, get the hell out of here.
Volcano Popping Candy is basically a Pop Rocks competitor. I was drawn to this booth because the packaging was CRAZY.
It comes in various flavors, like strawberry and…LYCHEE????? WHOAAAAAAA……
I tried some of these Lychee Popping Candies, and the flavor was on POINT. For anyone who has had some of those Asian snacks which are little mini jellos with lychee fruit inside? THESE TASTED JUST LIKE THOSE, BUT CARBONATED IN MY MOUTH. Wow, nice work, Volcano!
K Cups where you can make hot chocolate flavored like various old school candies? Why not?
Spotlight on some of the best mini cookies I had during the show: Wackym’s Kitchen. The dude working the booth was super nice, and the Salted Sour Lemon cookies were light, crunchy, and bursting with just the right amount of lemon-y citrus and salt. It’s weird to be complementing a cookie on its level of salt, but the balance of flavors here was too good to ignore.
These Blair’s Death Rain Habanero Pepper Potato Chips were, by far, the spiciest potato chips I had during the show. WOW. It didn’t blister my mouth or anything, but I definitely started to sweat and do the lame “wave your hand in front of your mouth” bit. JFG Rob stated that he LOVED spice, but these might’ve been too spicy to enjoy. I semi-agree.
I love lemon curd. And I love Key Lime Pie. This Key Lime Curd? Sex in my mouth.
Just in case you enjoy olives, the Summer Fancy Food Show has you covered.
At this point during the show, it was around 4:00pm, and things started to spiral out of control. I remember trying this Olive Oil & Salted Almond Ice Cream from McConnell’s Ice Cream and really enjoying it. JFG Jen thought it was too subtle. Moving on.
ANOTHER WHEEL SPIN! I LOVE PRIZES! JFG Jen spun the wheel, and got a high five. I spun the wheel and got a newsletter. We did not win baseball tickets. Wheel of Fortune? Nope. Wheel of UNSATISFIED DREAMS.
Bone Broth was IN this year, which is totally weird to say, since grandmothers all over the country have been making bone broth for generations. We tried a bunch during the show, and this series of broths by ZOUP was the best one, by far. The guys running the station said these were good enough to drink right out of a mug. I was skeptical, and sipped – hot damn, they were right!
The beef broth ESPECIALLY was amazing. It was totally not what I expected – it wasn’t super salty, or salty at ALL, for that matter. This wasn’t beef stock or beef bouillon – it was beef bone broth, and each mouthful tasted like a the best beef soup I’d ever had. I imagine they drank this stuff in Narnia or something.
The website claims this broth contains no fat, no calories, gluten free, no hormones, and no cholesterol. WHAT? How do I not have gallons of this stuff in my house? This…this might be my biggest surprise of the show.
HOT MESS! My brain was sort of fried when I tried this, but Hot Mess was a kick in the ass hot pepper sauce that reminded me of a cross between buffalo sauce and tabasco. Just spicy, sweet, tangy, and POWERFUL. A tiny sip didn’t burn me up, but made all my pores open up immediately. The website has this as temporarily sold out.
At this point in the show, I had not only hit the wall, consumption-wise, but I was leaning on it helplessly. Luckily, some espresso came along, served in mini-edible cups lined with chocolate!
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Great idea, although the cups that were on display were a LITTLE stale. Still, why NOT make cookie cups? I want Starbucks to make my frapp inside a big fried crepe next time! Stuff that sucker into my mouth at the end like a wet ice cream cone.
Anyways, learn more about these cups here.
Finally, as the minutes ticked toward 5:00pm, the end of Day 1, these Takin chips caught my attention. Tajin spice is my FAVORITE. For the uninitiated, Tajin is a Mexican spice seasoning made from chili peppers, lime, and salt. It’s AWESOME on fruit, which I know sounds bizarre, but I swear its awesome – especially watermelon.
Anyways, Tajin is a spice that I haven’t seen ANYONE using, so I was ASTOUNDED when I saw these. Talkign to the proprietor, he told me these bags were just a mockup – PopGourmet, the maker, was still trying to figure out how best to sell this chip. I tried one and it was exactly what I thought it’d taste like – tangy, slight spice, and perfect pairing with a salty potato chip.
Uh, when these come out, please send me a crate, PopGourmet! Thanks.
The clock struck 500pm on the Summer Fancy Food Show 2015, and people went into cleanup mode like THAT! Seriously, I’ve never seen people throw cloths over tables faster. It was like a getaway – vendors draped a sheet, locked some stuff down, and got the HELL OUTTA THERE.
MASS EXODUS FROM THE SUMMER FANCY FOOD SHOW!
I finally made my way back with the JFG crew to the apartment in Brooklyn where we were crashing. JFG Rob laid out everything he snagged to evaluate his spoils from the day. The LONG LONG day. “Where did you grab the Honest Tea?” I asked Rob. He shrugged, “I dunno, someone just handed it to me.”
You stole it, didn’t you, Rob? ….Kidding! #sideeeye
And that was curtains for me. You’re looking at a very happy but old and tired JFG above. Can you wear a sleeveless shirt when you have crow’s feet like me? I guess…Summer Fancy Food Show 2015, Day 1, lights out.
(And we went back for a second day as well! Oh man….I’ll be blogging about that until August.)
Junk Food Guy