When we were first invited to attend the American Harvest Organic Vodka’s Greenmarket Brunch, I looked at the calendar in dismay when I realized it fell on the same weekend as the much anticipated Far Hills Horse Race in New Jersey. Despite my reluctance to commit to any Sunday morning activities after a very full day at the races, I knew the event couldn’t be missed when I saw the lineup of chefs, sponsors, and contributors. So, after a sleepy car ride back to the city and a very early nightcap, we were as prepared as we could be for our brunch extravaganza the following morning.
This walk-around brunch tasting, sponsored by American Harvest Organic Vodka and the New York Times, featured a variety of New York chefs, from Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto to Geoffrey Zakarian of The Lambs Club and The National. Local farms were also present and I enjoyed sampling their products, which were featured in many of the dishes we tasted.
We were greeted with the sweet sounds of jazz band Grandpa Musselman & His Syncopators, which I enjoyed just as much as the food. I kept finding my way back to watch them; such talent!
The invitation highlighted the ability to chat with the farmers first-hand about their seasonal products and learn what makes them so unique, a promise that was unfortunately unfulfilled due to the large turnout. Lines snaked around the Standard Biergarten and adjoining Highline room and open tables were a hot commodity. Despite the Highline room being difficult to maneuver, The Standard Biergarten room was a perfect space for the event. I was pleased that it was so open and spacious; it made the brunch feel much less claustrophobic and it was a great atmosphere for a tasting. Doesn’t everything feel fancier in Meatpacking?
We started with a sampling of muffins from The Lambs Club. The goat milk yogurt banana chocolate muffins with toasted almond crumble were unreal and I was thrilled that they came with an accompanying recipe. Needless to say, I’ll be baking them soon. I also tried their goat milk butternut squash muffins, which were equally amazing. The carbs were a welcome beginning to our tasting.
The bacon cooked by Marc Murphy of Ditch Plains was epic. I went back for thirds of his Doc’s maple syrup braised lardons (thick bacon) on a stone grounded grits cake.
A lover of all things cheese, the Cato Corner Farm artisanal offerings were a standout and I found myself returning between each tasting to have more. Other call outs include a ratatouille sandwich by Chef Paul Denamiel from Le Rivage, and crisp apples from Red Apple Orchards. For a full list of chefs and more photos of their beautiful contributions, click here.
Champagne and Negra Modelos were in abundance, as well as a well stocked Bloody Mary bar and specialty gin cocktails from Monkey 47. Spectators who wanted to make the most out of their $150 ticket would have done so through the multitude of free-flowing, high end booze. Unfortunately with my marathon quickly approaching, I’d already reached my maximum number of indulgent allowances, so I was pleased that the organic Voss water company was also a sponsor.
The event was well-executed and well-attended, and there wasn’t a dish I didn’t enjoy. I left just full enough, but could have easily stuffed myself to oblivion for the two hours of unlimited eating. I appreciated that chefs were paired with purveyors to come up with dishes which highlighted their culinary talent and the local ingredients that inspire them. All that, and a bag of tricks – in this case free kale, onions, and Voss water! I look forward to next year’s Greenmarket brunch and another excuse to brunch myself silly.