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A DECADE OF GOOD ’EATS’

Over 50 exhibitors to converge at 10th annual tasting event in Downtown Brooklyn

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If your idea of heaven is a vast room where chefs stand side-by-side dishing out great fare, then consider the revolving door of the Brooklyn Marriott your Pearly Gates.

Beyond the entrance, you’ll find the "Brooklyn Eats" food, wine and beer tasting festival to be held on Tuesday, Oct. 3 in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event, which is sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. Like the festivals preceding it, this year’s smorgasbord promises to be grand. With over 50 of Brooklyn’s best restaurants, gourmet groceries, caterers, wine- and beer-dealers participating, the dining is sure to be inspired.

"After 10 years, Brooklyn Eats is still going strong," said Kenneth Adams, the outgoing Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president. "It’s a great reflection of the fantastic growth of the borough’s restaurant industry, and it’s exciting for us to see the success of eateries that have participated previously. The event salutes our long time classics and shines a light on new, high quality restaurants that we hope will become destination spots."

One of the "classics," celebrating her 10th return to the festival, is Jennefier Ewers of the Brawta Caribbean Cafe in Boerum Hill and the Brawta Outpost in Park Slope. Ewers was among the three restaurants that participated in the first event when it was held in the YMCA on Third Avenue.

"Even then," she says, "I knew from the spirit of the affair that it would continue, and that it would be great. Each year we introduce something new at the festival, and every year we have diners coming to the restaurant afterwards saying, ’You know the dish you served at Brooklyn Eats? That’s what we want.’ So I know that participating drives business."

Stop by Ewers’s table at Brooklyn Eats where she will debut chicken "escabeche," with onions, peppers and carrots in ginger vinaigrette served with jasmine rice.

Like Ewers, Steve Hindy, the president and co-founder of Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Brewery, was on hand at the inaugural Brooklyn Eats and will return this year.

"Brooklyn Eats is a wonderful celebration of the diversity and vitality of the borough’s restaurant scene," he says. "The Chamber of Commerce deserves a round of applause for conceiving of and promoting this event."

Hindy will be pouring the brewery’s latest beer, "Brooklyn Blast," that he describes as "very strong and heavily ’hopped.’ "

Among the newcomers is Rafael Hasid, the owner of Miriam in Park Slope and the Hill Diner in Cobble Hill.

"I love Brooklyn. I love food. So it’s natural that I’d want to participate at the festival," he says. Miriam’s chefs Ido Ben Shmuel and Vitorio Arviv plan to serve "burek," a flaky pastry filled with roasted eggplant and peppers, feta cheese and basil.

First timers to the Brooklyn restaurant scene as well as the festival are Allison McDowell and Gary Jonas, who opened The Farm on Adderley in Ditmas Park this summer.

"It’s a pleasure to introduce our restaurant to diners at Brooklyn Eats," says Jonas. The restaurant’s chef, Tom Kearney, will be serving smoked blue fish topped with apple-onion relish on toast crisps and dates filled with goat cheese and pecans.

Adam Shepherd is participating for the second time. The chef, who recently closed Taku, an Asian restaurant on Smith Street, will be debuting his not-yet-open La Lunetta, a northern Italian small plate eatery and wine bar, also on Smith Street.

"Brooklyn Eats is one of the best food events in the city. When I attend, I know I’ll be in good company. Besides, it’s a lot fun," says Shepherd, who is still tinkering with La Lunetta’s festival menu.

The chefs and other attendees will set up tables about the stadium-sized area and load them with cheese, pate, pasta, Asian specialties, tiny quiches, towering piles of barbecued ribs and bowls of beautifully dressed salad. Wine is poured with abandon; cupcakes make a homey display while slices of elaborately iced cakes wait nearby.

A special 10th birthday celebration, still in the planning stages, will add to the evening’s entertainment.

For the fifth year, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce will announce the winners of its "Brooklyn Eats" scholarships. Prizes of $1000 each will be awarded to aspiring pastry chefs Veronica Maldonado, Rhonda Rondon and Jude Nwabuoku, students enrolled in the Hospitality Management program at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY, in Downtown Brooklyn. The trio will serve a creation developed specially for the event.

With all of these scrumptious samples in the works, here’s a few pieces of advice from someone who has attended six Brooklyn Eats events: Think big, as in big clothes (you’ll fade quickly in anything with a tight waist); big appetite (portions may be small, but it’s all in the volume); and a great big glass of Alka-Seltzer afterwards (for obvious reasons).

 

The 10th annual "Brooklyn Eats" food, wine and beer tasting festival will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, in the Brooklyn Marriott’s Grand Ballroom [333 Adams St. between Tillary and Willoughby streets in Downtown Brooklyn, (718) 246-7000]. Tickets ordered in advance are $95 for VIP admission that allows attendees to enter at 5:30 pm, and $75, with admission beginning at 6:30 pm. Tickets purchased at the door are $95, with admission at 6:30 pm. To order, call (866) 468-7619 or log onto the Web site www.ticketweb.com.

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