At Grand Street Settlement’s Annual Taste of the Lower East Side [RECAP]
The Lower East Side has long been long been known for its food. So it wasn’t a leap when the Grand Street Settlement’s volunteer mentors, who were determined to raise money for its youth trips, started the fundraiser “Taste of the Lower East Side” 18 years ago.
In the beginning, they went door to door, convincing local restaurants to agree to participate. But the event has grown enormously over the years, currently bringing in over fifty culinary masters and mixologists. Taste of the LES now supports not only JUMP!, their youth mentoring program, but also all programming and services at Grand Street Settlement.
We gleefully and glutinously attended this year’s event, which took place last week at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Along with edibles and drinkables, there was a silent auction, raffles, and even a boozy ring toss. The mood within the filled-to-the-gills space was festive, with attendees searching out new delicacies along with old favorites.
We sampled some pretty incredible food, aiming for that mix of new and traditional: mini pancakes from Clinton Street Baking Company, salmon poke from Noreetuh, pierogi from Veselka, and lox from Russ & Daughters. We also made sure to stop at what turned out to be our favorite table: junior chefs from the Unity Plaza Culinary Club serving up some veggie mac n’ cheese accompanied by chocolate coconut pudding. Those kids can cook!
After taking some breaks, our reinvigorated stomachs hit the tables again, this time for desserts: a matcha chocolate chip brownie sundae from Kitsby, slushies from Claw Daddy, and miniature doughnuts from Doughnut Plant. Devouring decadent chocolate from Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, we learned a lot about the various percentages of chocolate. And, there’s never enough one can learn about chocolate, so we were pretty happy to find out more.
The event raised over $400,000 for the Grand Street Settlement’s programs. Even if you missed the food, you can still donate to help their advocacy efforts in the neighborhood.