Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation New York City event was the first massive tasting gala in many months, and Grub Street was on the spot to capture the festivities. The food was spectacular: If Jean Georges' uni with jalapeño on pumpernickel toast had not been present, we would have been caught in a deadlock between Artie’s pastrami sliders, Tailor’s miso-butterscotch pork belly, and Pegu's grapefruit-vodka-and-orchid-flower cocktail. (Tailor’s Eben Freeman let us try a secret batch of masala rum, but that wasn’t available to the public.)
Spike Mendelsohn took Adam Platt's and our ribbing in a good-natured way, volunteering that “these ‘silly hats’ get me laid all the time.” Thank you, Spike! Meanwhile, a model fed provocatively on ham on a raised stage, for no particular reason that anyone could fathom. Jeffrey Chodorow was all smiles talking about his new Maxim Steak franchise, currently launching in Atlanta. “We’ll see what happens with the New York one. It might not go where you think,” he said cryptically. Paul Liebrandt, clearly horrified at being asked impertinent questions about the launch of his restaurant, said hello and then ran away like a looter at the sound of police sirens.