“1st Look” Highlights at the 2013 Choice Eats

Last night, we ate the night away at the sold-out sixth annual Village Voice Choice Eats tasting event at the 69th Armory in New York City. Over 80 local restaurants were represented (way more than the expected 50!), serving their best bites for the hungry crowd. Here are our highlights of the night:

1. Our friends at Ditch Plains never dissapoint with their famous mac 'n' cheese hot dog, a sure crowd pleaser. It's simply a beef hot dog with a glob of warm mac 'n' cheese right on top.

2. Quite possibly our favorite bite of the night was the hog sandwich from Xe May Sandwich. Slices of perfectly marinated grilled pork were nestled delightfully on a warm, toasty white baguette with fried shallots, pickled carrots, daikon, cucumbers and chili mayo.

3. Literally one bite, Jimmy's No. 43 served a moutful of Southern love, bacon grits.

4. Slow-smoked brisket from Mable's Smokehouse & Banquet Hall had us salivating and melted in our mouths like a perfectly cooked brisket should. It was served with Grandma's collard greens.

5. An LES favorite of ours, Kuma Inn, brought the big guns with a whole pig.

6. Our favorite vegetarian option was Dirt Candy's cherry tomato tart with smoked feta, one bite with big flavor, reminiscent of smoked salmon.

7. The UES was represented with Kaia Wine Bar's chicken wings with a South African twist.

8. Fay Da Bakery provided a quick sweet break with some Asian desserts and bubble tea.

9. A chilled lobster bisque was a nice palette cleanser before moving on for some more serious eating.

10. The longest line in the Armory was by far for Red Hook's lobster rolls.

11. Swine, located in the West Village, served a delightful terrine toast.

12. We kept it classy in the VIP lounge with some Sloppy Joe's.

13. The guys at Porchetta never dissapoint with their signature porchetta, perfectly juicy and freshly carved. If you make friends with them, they'll give you some crispy skin.

14. Simple, yet delectable, Brookly Cured's chicken chorizo sandwich was two bites of yum.

15. The Institute of Culinary Education served a great lamb meatball, definitely not made by amateurs.

16. Chinese Mirch's chicken momo in spiced broth was pleasantly robust with a nice kick at the end, just where we like it... on our taste buds.

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