A taste of World’s Fare to whet the appetite

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | The smells of cheesecake nachos, lasagna dim sum and woody Filipino coffee hit WeWork users in waves as they came in and out of the office at 222 Broadway last Thursday. The co-working space had transformed into a bite-sized World’s Fare, the massive food and beer festival set to take place at Citi Field on May 18 and 19 that will feature cuisine from 100 different cultures provided by more than 100 vendors. Last week’s event was a special tasting event for the press.

Buns filled with chicken parmesan were served in bamboo steamer baskets at a food-tasting event at 222 Broadway. Raviolo restaurant, one of the more than 100 vendors at this year’s World’s Fare, takes Italian classics and serves them in traditionally Asian fashions in order to create “two-bite delights.” (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

Like its namesake, the World’s Fair, this Fare seeks to highlight innovation. Counter space at the Downtown WeWork was filled with cake stand after cake stand with new takes on old classics, like mini cheesecakes made from ube, a purple yam native to the Philippines, and French pastry puffs with Asian-inspired flavors, like black sesame, hojicha and strawberry jasmin, almost too pretty to eat. Tables were filled with rows of paper food boats carrying unique flavor fusions, like Southern pulled pork slathered in spicy Korean barbeque sauce.

Pierogies from Baba’s Pierogies are stuffed with traditional and nontraditional fillings, like mac and cheese and jalapeno. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

All of the food present featured a flavor, texture or a look atypical even for the always-changing New York City food scene. And the stories behind the restaurants and pop-ups responsible for these creations are just as delicious as the food. Besides, food is also a means for learning about different cultures and people.

Miniature ube cheesecakes from the Vietnamese restaurant Ginger and Lemongrass feature a purple yam used in a variety of desserts, especially in the Philippines. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

Among the vendors on hand was Black 6 Coffee Trading Co., which started two years ago as a veteran-led nonprofit called the Black 6 project that provided disaster relief and charity aid around the world. In 2018, Black 6 traveled to the northern part of the Philippines to respond to a landslide. While there, the group saw a coffee farm and learned about the nation’s coffee history. They decided to bring back some beans to roast and sell in Queens in order to fund future medical missions.

A tray of Domi pastry puffs sit waiting to be eaten. Domi’s puffs come in Asian-inspired flavors, such as sesame, jasmine, yuzu curd and green tea and are a twist on the classic French treat. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

Then there is Bart Hubbuch, owner and founder of Memphis Seol, who started his passion project after being let go from the New York Post for tweeting about President Donald Trump’s election in 2017.

“It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Hubbuch, who, after 30 years in the newspaper business, was ready for a change. He is happy working for himself.

To learn more about the World’s Fare and to buy tickets, visit http://theworldsfare.nyc/ .

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