Disclaimer: In exchange for a review of this event, I was offered a press pass. Many photos attached.
The 2016 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York, held at Manhattan‘s Javits Center from March 6-8, highlighted various food suppliers and wholesalers as well as – among many other facets of restaurant and catering life – pizza oven, furniture, hand sanitizer, point-of-sale system, and stationery distributors. The event organizers will also be holding shows in August in Los Angeles, and in September in Orlando.
I was particularly interested in attending this event, because it wasn’t solely about food vendors. Sure, the plethora of bread and chocolate – and various combinations therein – commonly found at these events are always appreciated, but just eating that considerably slows down my pace. When they had time, chatting up manufacturers of such products as 2-watt wireless transmitters (e.g., there’s a long wait at the restaurant, and the maître d’ gives you a device that buzzes when your table is ready), booths and labels was a nuanced take on the foodservice industry for me.
“Theme” areas for this year’s show included a New Product Showcase, Taste of New York, a Pastry Competition, a Japan Pavilion, The Pub, and The Burger and Beer Lounge.
Without further ado, shall we take a look at some photos from the show?
Free bagels? Already, it was worth hauling all the way over to Hell’s Kitchen.
If you bought this as a birthday gift sushi rice-preparing machine for Jiro, the world would implode.
Ever stick your tongue to one of those 9V battery terminals and get a zap? Worse yet, ever try 麻辣烫 (málàtàng), the hot and numbing Chinese soup? Now you know what it feels like to try 花椒 (huājiāo), or Sichuan pepper. Never had ’em fresh until I came across the folks at Koppert Cress, based in Suffolk County, Long Island.
Baum’s Sho, a Brooklyn-based dessert shop specializing in “tree ring cake,” or バウムクーヘン (introduced as baumkuchen to Japan from a German POW during World War I). In Japan, it’s usually too bland for me, but this had “we’re in the US now; let’s overdo it” written all over it. The crème brûlée flavor may even tempt me to Williamsburg to get another.
Direct from Japan…’s pavilion at the expo comes this plum (ume) and dekopon rice liquor. Dekopon is a Japanese hybrid fruit (deko refers to the convex nub at the top of the fruit; pon is from ponkan, the other fruit – along with kiyomi – that helped create the dekopon). It is seedless and quite sweet, and probably not what you’d expect to come from Japan.
Freekeh, meaning “to rub” in Aramaic, is an ancient, non-gluten-free grain with origins in Southwest Asia. It is chewy, nutty and smokey, has a low GI, is high in fiber and protein, and can be consumed in both wholegrain and cracked form. If you’d like to try some, check out http://freekehlicious.com.
It’s easier to illegally enter the US than it is to eat at Rao’s, an Italian-American restaurant in Harlem. That’s objective. At least they slightly lessen the blow by offering retail versions of their pasta sauces (“gravy” is the Italian-American way to say it in NY and NJ). I’ve always been a big fan of their sauces, and the “garden vegetable” one is no different.
Brandt Beef dba One World Beef was one of the sponsors of the Beer and Burger Lounge. Their pastures are in Imperial County, east of San Diego, and I’ll admit to really liking their jalapeño beef jerky. One World Beef also sells wagyu, imported from Japan.
If you happen to be walking by a booth near the end of the show, that vendor may be willing to hand you some gratis samples (they’re not supposed to sell anything on site). The Smokehouse of NY was no exception; now I’ve got smoked salmon, sturgeon and sable for the week.
Another case-in-point: although I usually ask the representative if they’re going to be donating any food once the show is done, in this case, the “donations” pile was already made. BelGioso, I look forward to not sharing the burrata with anyone.
In my previous incarnation, I drove around selling sweet potatoes.
When I’ve previously tried harissa, the North African chili paste, I was turned off by its bitter and all-too piquant flavor profile. The Mogador harissa that bebertsmoroccancondiments.com produces is very well-rounded, flavorful and tastes fresh. Give it a whirl, with or without merguez (Arab North African lamb sausage).
Thanks for the invite @TheFoodShows, and I look forward to the 2017 edition!