I’ve known about this annual event, sponsored by the Jewish Arts Collaborative, for years. And while I’ve gotten a taste of a couple of the dishes—in the form of The Chubby Chickpea’s recipe for shakshuka and Mei Mei Street Kitchen’s pierogi dumplings—I’ve never been able to go. This year I was finally able to attend, and I’m glad I did. All of the offerings—including the 10 beverage vendors, alcoholic and non—were tasty and delicious. It was hard to choose my favorites, but here’s what I was still thinking about the next day. To all those who participated: Your bubbies would be proud.
Seared Avocado with Za’atar, Tahini and Crispy Lentils from Whole Heart Provisions
A thick slice of avocado can be overwhelmingly creamy, but the golden-brown crust and crispy lentils complemented it perfectly and broke up what could be a one-note texture. A generous drizzle of tahini sauce lent the dish a slight bitterness.
Matzoh Crack Ice Cream from Fomu
This vegan, naturally kosher ice cream tasted salty, malty and coconutty (because of the coconut base). Texturally it was super creamy and custardy. I didn’t miss the dairy at all, and if I didn’t know it was missing, I probably wouldn’t even have realized it didn’t have any.
Hot Pastrami Arancini and Shaved Cabbage Salad with Grain Mustard and Dill from La Morra
This was a new take on familiar flavor. The slaw was fresh and flavorful, and heavy on the tangy mustard, which contrasted really beautifully with the meaty, creamy arancini.
Pastrami-Cured Beets, Swiss and Thousand Island on Rye from Roxy’s Grilled Cheese
If you serve me something between two slices of bread, there’s a solid chance I’m going to like it. But everything about this sandwich was easy to love. The pastrami-cured beets were grated and tender, and the Iggy’s bread was griddled perfectly—golden-brown and super crispy, but not tear-your-mouth-apart crunchy.
Tortilla-Lime Soup with Duck-Fat Matzah Balls from Gabriela Daynard
Formerly of Bistro Du Midi and now a personal chef, Gabriela Daynard packed a lot of punch into a small serving of soup, which had a citrusy, fortified broth and adorable two-bite matzah balls. I loved the hit of cilantro and crunchy tortillas.
“LBLT”: Lamb Bacon, Red Wine Tomato Jam and Shaved Fennel Slaw on Seared Challah Bread from The Gallows
This sandwich just worked. It hit all the right notes, with the salty lamb bacon, the sweet tomato jam and the fresh, crunchy fennel slaw. Each sandwich was also perfectly sized—big enough to feel substantial but small enough to justify going back for a second serving.
Gefilte Fish with Carrot Horseradish, Beet Pickles and Rye Crackers from Mamaleh’s Delicatessen
The rye crackers were crisp and flaky, the horseradish packed a punch and the gefilte fish was flavorful but not overly fishy. Altogether, the bite had great textural contrast. The crew also earned extra style points for flair—they wore bagel costumes and broke the crackers off of huge, baking-sheet-sized rye rounds.