Sampling 65 NYC Restaurants In One Evening!

We are completely finished with the 1st quarter of 2016 and unlike me, it seems like everyone around me is sticking to their 2016 diet (kudos to you all). My dearest friend is sticking to her plans to lose weight before the summer begins. I want to encourage her and everyone else to continue their journey. But, I will confess that I am here to also encourage a day off. It’s super important to reward yourself for your hard work. Yes, that’s right. I am here to talk about the very important part of your diet: Cheat Day!

On Friday March 11th, my best friend Gabby and I attended the 9th annual Choice Eats event at the Metropolitan Pavilion. This was my 4th Village Voice Choice Eats event; I look forward to it every single year and each year it seems that the event gets more crowded with hungry people, anxious press and just great energy. DJ Delphine Blue of Little Water Radio was spinning a variety of music that I could hear from time to time but I was too focused on eating to really pay enough attention. Although, we were able to have a mini dance party while waiting to go upstairs into the very crowded second floor of the Pavilion :-).

The main distraction from the food was all the alcohol! Choice Eats was presented by Stella Artois. With that being said, there was an unlimited amount of good beer. Not to mention all the 13 craft brewers that were present. I’m more of a wine drinker myself but Gabby suggested I give Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer a try and it was a total win. I’m embarrassed to say that this was my first time drinking a full glass of Stella; I was also very happy to take home my exclusive Stella Artois chalice.

With 65 restaurants present, it seems physically impossible to get around to each restaurant’s presentation table or to save enough room in your belly to enjoy all the food that was available to you. Choice Eats is most definitely a foodie’s dream come true. You get the best of both worlds: to relive some of your favorite dishes and to experience some new dishes all in the same place. Not to mention all the culture exposure all at once, too! What better way to be introduced to a new culture than through it’s food? My sweet tooth was on a break during the lent season but Gabby was my taste tester for all pastries (no worries, you can trust her instincts). Gabby and I were able to make it around to enough tables for plenty of Cheat Day options (before all the food started running out). Here’s a few of our faves:

Belle Reve’s fish tacos were one of a kind! We waited around for a second batch after our first taste.

Sweet Generation Bakery was one of the few tables whose food didn’t run out; how long do you think it took for them to prepare these amazing treats?


No. 7 Veggie offered their popular double layered broccoli taco that left me wanting more.


Cabalito Pupuseria offered chicken, chorizo and vegan pupusas.


Egg is an upscale all-day breakfast spot that offered us their homemade chicken sausage made from scratch.


Black Ant offered the BEST taco of the night. Everyone knows that the trick to good mussels is a good sauce and this taco was a score of deliciousness.

Food and drinks were the main attraction at Choice Eats but I have to say that the photo booths stole the night! We had too much fun at the Jarritos red carpet photo booth and we ended the night with silly photos at the Village Voice Choice Eats Photobooth sponsored by Herradura. It’s always awesome to take home some memories from a great event.

This was Gabby’s first Choice Eats event and she ended her night with a satisfied palate and a full belly. We are both super excited for Brunch Eats coming up on May 11th (get your tickets here!) We will be taking full advantage of Cheat Day and visiting some new places thanks to Choice Eats. Let’s see if I can get back into the dieting scene for the rest of 2016 (or not). After all, life is only as good as you eat.

p.s. Shout out to whoever’s idea it was to put hot sauce in the goodie bags!

By: Denise Pina


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