Gothamist loves food. Be it tearing into BBQ ribs (with Jeffrey Steingarten!) or a classy meal at Blue Hill, we enjoy the ritual of eating as well as eating itself. So when Joseph DeSalazar emailed us a few months ago, it was kismet.
Joseph DeSalazar, like so many intrepid and ambitious New Yorkers, has a day job as well as a sideline hobby that he works on in his spare time. His paying job is as an account supervisor at a top advertising agency, but the passion is for cooking and food. Joseph has worked in the kitchens of Eleven Madison Park and Cafe Boulud to learn more about the rigors of cooking for an audience, as well as has held wine tastings for his friends. But wine tastings seemed too formal and didn't have the focus on food Joseph wanted. Restaurants tasting menus do sometimes offering wine tastings that pair courses, but for a young New Yorker, that might require a small loan, as Joseph puts it - not to mention friends intrepid enough to take loans out as well.
Thus, bringeth foodie. As Joseph tells us, "I wanted to create something that filled this void. A fun, casual, affordable food and wine tasting event where people could sit with a group of friends, meet new people with similar interests, and have a high quality food and wine pairing experience that was affordable." Joseph spends a couple weeks developing his menu, and then invites around 40-50 fellow foodies to enjoy a 6 course food-and-wine pairing menu every two months. Locations change from event to event, but the same meticulous attention and care to the experience is given at each. foodie has been word of mouth of late, and Gothamist was fortunate enough to be invited to his fourth foodie last month.
On a balmy August night, Gothamist headed down to the East Village, eager with anticipation for the evening to come. This foodie was held in an apartment/gallery that had previously been a Jewish dance hall (Gothamist, oddly enough, had attended a party there a few years back), tables dotting the space, set with personalized menus and wine lists.
Joseph was in the kitchen, prepping with his small staff and overseeing dishes at various stages of readiness. The blackout, just a few days prior, had affected some of his ability to get certain products ("I bought every single piece of corn at Gristede's," Joseph told us), but the menu was essentinally in tact, with minor substitutions here and there. His cooking is based on classic French and Italian techniques, but also have more modern twists.
Gothamist mingled a bit with other foodies but we got settled in when Joseph came out to discuss the menu a bit. Then the feast began.
The watermelon and tuna was an interesting combination, very light and refreshing. The figs were delicious, reminding Gothamist that we don't eat fresh figs enough.
The crab was incredibly sweet and fresh - and there was a fair amount. (foodie course portions are smaller, so one can make it through six courses, but flavor is at full force.) Again, the watermelon added a nice refreshing touch. The Riesling, though, was a find - we'd definitely would like to try it again.
Decadence! Velvety soup that sparkled with the corn's sweetness, a piece of foie gras on top, biscuit that we dipped into the soup...mmm...
Our favorite course of the evening: The hake was perfectly poached (and poaching can be very difficult) - tender, flavorful, and tasted like the ocean (versus being fishy). The merguez was a robust counterpoint, and this merlot really grew on us - delicious and spicy.
The lime added an interesting and welcome zing to the poultry, well matched with the hearty potatoes inside.
A perfect finish to a lovely meal - light, pleasant and didn't overwhelm us.
Thoroughly impressed (and full) with Joseph's efforts, Gothamist learned that while his dream may be to some day run his own kitchen, Joseph is simply interested in bringing his of love food and wine to more people, wanting to encourage them to approach food with open eyes and excitement, through foodie. As Joseph's enthusiasm is infectious, it would hard for anyone not to be more interested in food, and coupled with his incredible dedication, we feel lucky to have had the chance to enjoy foodie. Thanks, Joseph, for a wonderful evening. We can't wait until the next one!
Joseph's next foodie will be in late October. foodie is $95 per person, for a six course meal, including wine at each course.
For more information, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org