On the road with Chef Judi in New York

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NEW YORK, NY -- Edible Communities from around the country gathered in New York last week for a 4-day seminar that explored the fishing industry, GMOs, local and sustainable food. A major focus was teaching people not only to cook -- but to also pass the knowledge forward. That’s something that Edible Sarasota knows all about.

Essential reading for Suncoast foodies, Edible Sarasota walked away from the seminar the winner of the “Best Special Edition” award, which honored the publication’s “Cooks” issue.

I traveled to NYC last week to be a part of the impressive cheering squad that made the trek in support of Edible Sarasota. Well, that and so I could get my fill of the amazing Manhattan dining scene.

For me, the temptation of food stimulation all around was too much. Anyone that goes to NYC and does not eat properly is missing the true essence of life. There’s a fine balance between eating and working, but fortunately for us eating IS working.

Here are a few reflections from last weekend.

Mark Bittman is just like a Carnegie Deli sandwich -- tall in structure and loaded with ingredients that bring foodies pleasure. While Mr. Bittman might take offense to the sandwich comparison, seeing as he only eats Vegan food before 6 p.m., I mean it as the ultimate compliment. Plus, comparing him to a tofu tower just didn’t seem appropriate.

Hearing Mark Bittman speak just days after his controversial and thought-provoking New York Times piece on the issue of GMOs was impressive. His takeaway on the subject? GMO’s are not as big of an issue as the lack of local gardens, the need to teach people how to cook for themselves, and the fight over paying fast food workers a better wage. Amen brother!!!

While NYC is home to me -- I grew up venturing into the city every few weekends to visit relatives and get good Chinese, Italian and deli (I unfortunately missed the 2nd Avenue Deli this trip) -- I tried to look at Manhattan dining through the eyes and stomachs of my travel-mates.

To me, bringing friends to Del Posto or watching them experience Gramercy Tavern the way I do makes it impressive and so comfortable, eating at Eataly and then roaming Chelsea Market with ginger brisket Ban Mi dripping down out shirts, was as rewarding to the spectator as it is the culinary player.

After checking into the Row NYC in Times Square on Thursday, we wandered to Hell’s Kitchen for an authentic Manhattan slice at Two Boots. Then it was on to the 90-year-old Poseidon Bakery for Greek strudel and baklava, and Amy’s Bread for chocolate sourdough. Basil lobster and parsley gelato at Del Posto elegantly capped off the night.

The next day: Chelsea Market, where Num Pang’s ginger brisket banh mi sandwich and Rana’s pasta fagioli filled us up before a food blogging seminar at The New School. We attended the Eddy Awards ceremony at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center (congratulations to Edible Sarasota for its three nominations and Best Special Issue win!), and toasted at the Waldorf Astoria with a champagne cocktail. Dinner? A $3 street hot dog at 9 p.m. in Times Square before bed.

Saturday, after the Mark Bittman lecture, we hit the Union Square Greenmarket for apple pie (a walking breakfast eaten with our hands, no less). That afternoon, we did Eataly (La Piazza for a charcuterie platter, Il Pesce for a whole branzino, La Pizza & La Pasta for house-made spring pea ravioli, and Birreria for cask ales). We hit Grand Central Market and had lobster spring rolls and marzipan, and indulged in kielbasa and rosemary ice cream at Gramercy Tavern. For Mother’s Day, it was hot pastrami on rye bread and latkes with applesauce at the Carnegie Deli. New York City, you are delish!

Abby Weingarten also contributed to this story.

Culinary Director

As the Culinary Director for ABC 7, I whip up cooking segments on ABC 7 News at Noon, along with recipes, cooking tips, reviews and great food finds on MySuncoast Dining at www.mysuncoast.com