Outdoor Dining for a Cause: Just Food's "Let Us Eat Local"

New York

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Last night, we were lucky enough to eat our way through the "Let Us Eat Local" event, sponsored by Just Food, which celebrated seasonal New York ingredients and local food advocates. The setting (Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City) wasn't so shabby, either. See some of the dishes we loved and people we met, below...

posted originally from: AT:KitchenThe well-known New York City restaurants (like Gramercy Tavern and Craft) that prepared the food got the crowds through the gate. But the causes that Just Food supports — like the Taqwa Community Farm in the Bronx, run by Abu Talib, one of the night's honorees — work to get this kind of nutritious, delicious produce into our kitchens, especially the kitchens of those who might never set foot in a fancy restaurant.

Not surprisingly, we saw a lot of tomatoes and corn. Below, we're pretty sure the green tomato crostini was from Sweet Deliverance, a CSA-based organic food delivery. (It was hard to keep track!) On the right is a corn ravioli with a basil fondue from Jean Georges, probably our favorite bite of the night.

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Here's a ravioli from Telepan, filled with beet greens and goat cheese...

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The plates and utensils were all compostable. On the right, a bin of cherry tomatoes waiting to be used.
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There were many local wineries providing the booze, but we focused instead on beer and sparkling wine. We loved the Sugar Hill Golden Ale from Celeste Beatty of Harlem Brewing Co. And the Sparkling Pointe, right, is the only sparkling wine-only vineyard in the state.

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This was one of the coolest things we saw — a winter CSA that's not winter vegetables, but frozen summer vegetables. It's the project of Winter Sun Farms, which takes produce from several places in the Hudson Valley and preserves it (cooking tomatoes and blanching greens before freezing) and then prepares it for pick-up once a month. Right now, it's only in New Paltz and Poughkeepsie, but maybe it'll spread to the city.

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We also tasted a couple of ice creams (it was too dark for pictures at that point) and asked the makers whether they used eggs or went eggless, which is our newly-discovered method these days. Adirondack Creamery does. Blue Marble, in Brooklyn, does not.

We also ran into our friend Rick of Rick's Picks and got a sneak peek of some new products he'll be rolling out soon (hint: it's corn).

Find out more about some of the people we met:

Related: Urban Agriculture: Raising Chickens in the City (we met our interviewee, Owen Taylor, last night!)

(Images: Elizabeth Passarella)

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