Le Fooding, the French collective behind the chic "anti-Michelin" dining guide and some of New York's more inventive food events, set up shop at Rockaway Beach this past weekend for three days of sand, sun and small plates that captured the renegade spirit of the beachfront community itself.
On deck: Pioneering Rockaways chef Andrew Field, who opened Rockaway Taco in 2008 and helped pave the way for the homegrown food scene that lures daytrippers for premium fast-food style burgers at Rippers and fresh fruit juice from Conchos, among others. He spent the weekend turning out hearty cornmeal crostini sopes with shredded pollock and pickled vegetables.
Enrique Olvera of Pujol in Mexico City took his spicy red chilaquiles for a trip to Italy, topping the traditional Mexican breakfast with creamy burrata, raw cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs. Olvera is opening his first American restaurant, Cosme, in Flatiron this fall; we'll be there bright and early if those chilaquiles are, too.
New York-by-way-of-Tokyo noodle master Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen spooned out bowls of chilled lemon dashi ramen, and sugar queen Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar distributed cereal milk pudding pops to the sun-soaked crowd.
Live music from the nattily-attired New York Brass Band added a particularly festive feel to the boardwalk's proceedings—a welcome departure from the grim landscape caused by Hurricane Sandy less than two years ago.
"We have a lot of respect for the people who believed in the Rockaways and revived the area through food," said Le Fooding U.S.'s Anna Polonsky. "We wanted to celebrate that rebirth and help give back to the community."
A percentage of the festival's ticket sales went to Graybeards, a local charity helping with the reconstruction effort. "The food scene is different out here," says Polonsky. "It's more sincere."
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