Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Appetite for Dinner From the Movie

A poster, left, for "The World Premiere of Florent: Queen of the Meat Market.” Below, from last year's festival "Clam Pie" directors Guy Taylor and Dan Boylan with a poster for the very generous Great Island Bakery. Chef Brad, bottom, preparing shrimp stuffed pan fried morels and mushroom seviche. Top photo courtesy of Bottom two photos by Ryan Jensen.

HEAD’S UP: Welcome to the debut of “Chow Talk.” It is to be a once- or twice-monthly digest of food-related news. While Yours Truly will usually publish Chow Talk on Wednesday – ditto for standalone food stories in general – it may from time to time appear on another day of the week as breaking news dictates.

QUESTION: Does a pig ear sandwich wash down better with “Etiquette” or “Bruce Becker: Ice Cream Picasso” or “Fatty Cue - Smoking Fat Heritage Breeds for the Barbie?”

All three and, six more.

The sandwich is but one of the exotic offerings from the world over on the menu of "Edible Adventure #001: Smokes, Ears & Ice Cream” during the Fourth Annual NYC Food Film Festival, from today through Sunday.

The NYC Food Film Festival? “The films are screening at the events ... You taste what you see on the screen! Thats [sic] the whole point of the festival,” the p.r. maven gave me to know when it was clear that I was missing the point.

"Etiquette" or "label" in French is an animated montage that wonders about the produce sticker. While the artistry inherent in ice cream is brought to the fore in “Bruce Becker: Ice Cream Picasso.” And “Fatty Cue - Smoking Fat Heritage Breeds for the Barbie?” is a display of the magic of the Brooklyn barbecue joint. Some foods from the nine films screened during the “Edible Adventure #001” will be available for sampling (Friday night, 25 June at 7/Water Taxi Beach – Long Island City, Queens). So, too, will select food from the other films shown at festival venues in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

The opener is "The Great New York City Shuck 'N Suck," an all-you-can-eat oyster orgy (at 7 p.m. at Water Taxi Beach-South Street Seaport, Manhattan). Amongst the six films on the half shell is "The Mud and the Blood." This lip-smacker visits the South Carolina low country where collecting and roasting oysters is a storied past-time. Nowhere in Dixie is it done better.

The NYC Food Film Festival is a little soufflé, around nine events and 40 mostly short films this year, whipped up by George Motz (“Hamburger America,” the film and book) and Harry Hawk who used to stir the pots at Schnack and Water Taxi Beach. Being a festival, it has a competition and awards ceremony with a top prize of Food Filmmaker of the Year. It also has do-gooder aspirations aimed at the Food Bank for New York City, which will reap a portion of its proceeds, plus “top tier integration throughout the Festival.” This last bit means lot of plugs for the Food Bank to remind festival diners that some of their neighbors do not have enough food to eat.

Without a doubt, a festival highlight is “The World Premiere of Florent: Queen of the Meat Market” (Thursday night, 24 June at 8:30 at The Altman Building, Manhattan). David Sigal’s film looks at the good, the bad and the ugly in the 23-year history of the Meatpacking District fixture and its owner, Florent Morellet. FM serves dishes from the original menu of Restaurant Florent, which closed its doors last year – prey of a greedy landlord.

“It's Grits!” (Sunday afternoon, 27 June at 12:25, Tobacco Warehouse, Brooklyn) intrigues Yours Truly, a child of the South. Apparently director Stan Woodward traveled down yonder to jaw with those in the know about true … grits. The palette teaser before (12:15 p.m.) the hominies is “Perfect for the Kitchen,” a room that is the source of a heap of inspiration for painter Robert Box. Thirty grits dishes from amateur Gotham chefs and some other morsels are the palette pleasers.

Visit for complete information about the Fourth Annual NYC Food Film Festival; learn more about Food Bank for New York City at

South France Knows How to Party ...
LAST weekend, I walked out of a tasting at Vintage Grape, one of my favorite neighborhood wine shops, with a bottle of Laruent Miquel Viognier 2008 from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. It is reminiscent of that old reliable, Sauvignon Blanc, but has a fuller body and more apricot and pear.

It was on the tasting block with three other wines from the region. Foods and wines from the region will be more abundant in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens than any other time of year, thanks to the 2010 Sud de France Festival, continuing through 21 July.

The raison d'être of the festival, re-upping after last year’s debut, is simply to educate New Yorkers and all who have palettes about culinary and wine offerings from a region of France that claims to produce the most wine and the most organic wine of any wine region in the world. One can only imagine fondly what’s in store – wine tastings, dinners, classes, contests and des petits gouts at scores of restaurants, wine retailers, hotels and nightspots.

Photo from

A wine tasting tonight (7 to 10) with Timeout Magazine bills itself as an intimate tasting of select (Rives Blanques, Mont Tauch and La Tour Boisée) Sud de France wines. At festival headquarters, Maison de la Région Languedoc-Roussillon.

Introducing French Tuesday. During the festival, Languedoc-Roussillon has dibs on the second day of the traditional work week at the Hudson Hotel where its wines will be the house exclusive. From 7 p.m.

Octopus Tartelette with Ratatouille and Eggplant Cannelloni are two of the five courses on a menu prepared by Languedoc-Roussillon chef Jean-Marc Boyer and Boulud’s Cedric Tovar, also a native of the region. Among the wines that the 80 dinners at the James Beard House will enjoy with the feast are Paul Mas Estate/Picpoul de Pinet 2009 (white) and Château Lancyre “Vieilles Vignes’’ AOC Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St-Loup 2006 (red). From 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on 30 June

On Bastille Day (14 July), it’s a party at Water Taxi Beach, the site of wine to taste, music to hear and fun to have. During a special dinner (20 July at 8 p.m.), Gérard Bertrand sommelier Mark Fine promises to unravel some, but not all, of the myseries around Languedoc-Roussillon wines.

Visit to learn more about the 2010 Sud de France Festival.

... And the Russians Are No Slackers

From the Caspian Sea to your table is Sevruga caviar. Photo from

AS early as next week, Yours Truly will be able to reveal what Georgians eat. Not the people in the ATL – the ones in the former USSR.

This very evening, I will present myself at a “Taste of Russia,” a VIP reception on the roof of the Manhattan Automobile Company. The Russian American Foundation is arranging for guests to sample the cuisine of Russian, as well as that of some of its former satellites – from Armenia to Uzbekistan. It is unthinkable that there will be not caviar. And to wash down the caviar one doesn’t imagine that the advertised spirits will be from the south of France, no?

“Taste of Russia” is part of the 8th annual Russian Heritage Festival, a celebration all this month by immigrants from the old Iron Curtain countries. Besides food, there is music, dance, sports, art and so forth.

Visit to learn more about the 8th Annual Russian Heritage Festival.

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