Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Elements of a Food Enthusiasts In The House!

There are so many Elements of being a foodie in Princeton, that one might agree it could take four panelist to show how the range of likes and dislikes are so vast... 

THIS Examiner (Sue Gordon), plus journalist Pat Tanner along with food blog Linda Prospero and Phyllis Knight will be talking all things food at the Princeton Foodies and the Food and Places They Love event at 7 pm on Thursday, April 8th at the Princeton Public Library.

Topics will include the Princeton food scene, favorite local restaurants, food blogging and writing plus great food books, movies and so much more.

We’ll be taking questions and comments from the audience too. Come and join in the conversation.

Princeton Foodies and the Food and Places They Love
Princeton Public Library
65 Witherspoon St.
Princeton, NJ
Thursday, April 8th, 7 pm
In the Community Room
Admission is free.

The word 'Free' is not what got my attention, nor 'food', but the 'Princeton Foodies' section. Why? Because three people (two food blogs I follow) were attending I had not met before who live, eat, and breath in my neighborhood were going to be sitting in the same room with my friend Pat Tanner, and other foodies! This had been scheduled in February, but due to a 'snowageddon' it was canceled.

This panel of Princeton area “foodies” (Sue Gordon pictured here) talked about all things edible – from ethnic restaurants and family-friendly places to farmers’ markets and their favorite food blogs, and how the area has taken off as a local, organic, and sustainable community in a discussion followed by questions and refreshments.

The panelists were:

Princeton Food Examiner- Sue Gordon
She has taught cooking for more than 20 years, including a stint at Princeton’s Whole Foods Market. She is a graduate of the Cordon Bleu School in London.

Food Blog- Phyllis Knight (MeHungry)-
Knight’s blog is popular among the food-obsessed. She and her husband plan vacations around food and love nothing more than wandering the aisles of food specialty stores.

Phyllis made two desserts and brought what unfamiliar eaters might consider 'strange' ethnic food for the audience to try, such as a 'Thousand year old egg', century egg, or even called a preserved egg. People were on her table after the symposium like ants at a picnic, or excuse my use of cliches, but like 'White on Rice'!

Linda Prospero (CiaoChowLinda)-
Prospero’s blog (pictured below) focuses on home-cooked Italian food, a topic she knows well from spending a year living in Italy.

Food critic/columnist, New Jersey Life Blog, Pat Tanner-
Tanner is well-known locally for her articles and reviews in New Jersey Life, The Star-Ledger of Newark, The Princeton Packet, The Times of Trenton, and several other publications. Anonymity is part of her job as a food critic, so when she visits restaurants a few times to write solid reviews no one will recognize her.

What did you walk away from after listening to them bounce back and forth on topics such as favorite- restaurants (ethnic or other), blogs (many I follow), markets, ingredients to cook with, strangest ingredient to cook with, food network show (Top Chef seemed to be in the lead), cookbooks, chef's, and so many wonderful things about the time-line of Princeton's food scene one might not ever know.

I admit you did walk away with a lot of things to remember if you did not take notes as I did, but one of my favorite things to hear, since I have only been on the Princeton food scene for five years now- The time-line of so many restaurants I have only heard of, eaten at that are gone, and the current ones surrounding my neighborhood (chefs may or may not mentioned).

Of course 'Elements' is the hot spot for me, and 'new' favorite restaurant on the scene for much of the panel. Some Chef Scott Anderson love was going on, and it has put Princeton on the 'food' map I believe. Many people have told me over the past years that Princeton was behind and still not up to par on the quality of eateries, compared to other local townships for being such a 'literary' cultured demographic. Not to mention the money circulating in the area. In spite of the Momo group- Mediterra, Eno Terra, and Theresa's in Princeton. It was said that Momo came with offerings of Tapa's and the town's people were not quite ready for the unique dining experience, or shushi, so they closed only to reopen later.

Yet the campus alone has so many eating clubs as seen in the top photo! Food is either prepared on site, or many times one of the restaurants I worked at, Masala Grill is catered in. I loved learning that Indian restaurants had not hit the scene until the late eighties. The panel discussed how Princeton was not ready for food such as sushi and curry, but Italian and basic food chains offered the only eats in the area for years. Even a few of the eating club chefs such as Bobby Triggs became savvy by opening The Ferry House shortly before the boom of shopping boutiques came on the scene. Nassau Inn & Pub, along with Alchemist & Barrister around the corner alley, was probably the only place open in town.

HEY! Some of you out there- they mentioned quite a of you as their favorite blog reads. Some of you I have already shared that news! So be on the look out for new followers...

PS- Someone out there may (I hope you are)or may not be thinking- "Where is the Wine-Down Wednesday post"? Good point and one thing I was disappointed about the panel. I would like to see more of a marriage of food and wine. Wine is a food group right? Well Pat mentioned Elements had wine, and about how when you add wine to the high price tag of eating out it adds to the economy of things, and also mentioned a few places were BYO, but I would have liked to have been the 'Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!' element to that panel. Oh well maybe next time! I did however go home afterward and have a nice glass of Iron Horse Pinot Noir I paired with two dishes in a video Partners In Wine Club filmed earlier that day!

Iron Horse Estate Pinot Noir paired with a mild dressing, creamy feta cheese, and a black bean and grilled chicken salad. The creaminess of the cheese along with the earthiness of the beans and wine was a perfect match! Join us April 18th as PIWC Tweet for Earth Day, and share this wine! Hashtag #GreenValley