To the rhythm of the bongos, bubbly in-hand, we bopped down the horseshoe of booths at last night's Perrier-Jouet Bubble Q. It's an event you accept for its woes as much as its wows. Expecting fabulous food, easy maneuvering in the crowds and glimpsing the big man would have been a a mistake. The fun was in seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones. It was also about the hunt for diamonds in the rough one bite of one dish at a time. As seasoned Bubble Q veterans know, only the truly deserving dishes should be devoured after the first bite to save room, lest you not make it through the night. Here are our standouts this year, having made it through just about the entire line-up, save a few entries.
Norman Van Aken's Key West-inspired "mollete" sandwich, a decadent
medallion of deep fried dough stuffed with picadillo and topped with
cool mojo cole slaw, had our stomachs growling even more for a swift
opening of 180.
Michelle Bernstein did her thing with juicy corn
filled with kobe beef and green tomato slaw bursting with flavor.
Probably our favorite of the night.
Aaron Sanchez, too, was bundling
up some goodies, pork belly tacos with cactus (nopales) pickled red
onion salad and chili habanera rub, very typical of the state of
Yucatan in Mexico.
You just have to love this second generation Latino chef for his passion for the traditional cuisines of Mexico.
Besh was in Banh Mi mode with his Vietnamese Po' Boy stuffed full of
slabs of silken, roast sucking pig with a sambal mayo kick and the
obligatory fresh bundles of cilantro.
Tragois and Maria Manso made skirt steak skewers and chimichurri, but
what made us melt was the side of hot fresh fruit cream cracker
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"farofa," not unlike a loose bread pudding.
Dewey Losasso somehow managed to embrace excess and arrive at an understated and tasty result with his sandwich of roasted filet mignon, boneless short ribs, and lobster marmalade, not to mention the side of
almost-not-fair truffled yuca chips.
Susan Spicer from Bayona in New Orleans grilled oysters with savory artichoke bread pudding and lemon garlic butter -- rich but tasty.