It's been a little while since Blondie and I have done an "international" food mission so when I got word from Daily Candy that the Canadian Tourism Commission was doing a free event in Rock Center on Thursday, I knew we had to go.
Unfortunately Blondie didn't readily agree. I want to start by saying, I know that Thursday is Blondie's Lost night and tomorrow night being the season finale, I figured she would have a commitment to her show. But, the event is scheduled from 6-9pm, surely we could fit it in, no? Here's how the negotiation went:
Brownie: Free Canadian thing tomorrow night pre-Lost?
Blondie: it's also season finale of the office. can and not.
Brownie: It’s 6-9pm. I was only planning on staying until 7.
Blondie: (after looking it up on the internets and seeing "Free" + "Gin") ok. i'll go.
Yay! I heart free events. But Blondie being the Nancy Drew/Girl Scout Ninja that she is: 1) looked up the weather for Thursday (something I never remember to do) and discovered that rain seems likely in the cards for tomorrow. Not so great for enjoying the "Room with a View," and 2) figured out the event was TONIGHT and tomorrow night--Daily Candy only mentioned Thursday night, which is sure to be crowded. Good going, Blondie! I'm sticking with you.
When we arrived a crowd was beginning to gather at the 50th Street entrance of 620 Fifth Avenue. Luckily we were pretty close to the beginning of the line so we flashed our IDs to show that we are of legal drinking age, got our little Canadian Maple Leaf over 21 stamp and headed up to the 7th floor where the party was in full swing.
We were immediately drawn to the outdoor garden/patio where there were lines to try their signature drink, Gin and Pomegranate Juice (right, Blondie?) and several varieties of bubble tea--shaken, not stirred. Blondie made a beeline for the gin and I headed for the tea where I ordered a bubble tea of the lychee variety.
The tea was good, if a little sweet for me. And the tapioca balls were nice a chewy. Like tasty little gummies. Much better than the bubble teas I used to drink in college. While waiting for my drink I chatted with the "bartender" who it turns out wasn't actually from Toronto. Once I discovered she was a native New Yorker, I had to ask where her favorite bubble tea place is in the city. She recommended Vivi Bubble Tea in Chinatown. Anyone concur?
Blondie will have to do a libation recap of her gin drink, but I think that she generally enjoyed it (and the three more I had after.)
After gawking at the spectacular view, we headed inside where I picked up a free tote which was filled with Canada tourism pamphlets and free magazines (Vogue and New York Magazine).
Then we headed for the food station where we watched a chef from Le Cordon Bleu cut fruit--at the time he was chopping watermelon. At first, I have to admit, I was thinking, um, he went to the Cordon Bleu to learn to chunk watemelon? And really, is watermelon native to Canada this time of year? But seriously, the creatures he was creating out of the fruit and vegetables were really stunning.
While the end results were beautiful, chunks of watermelon were not going to make any dent in my hunger, so I was grateful when they began to bring out the trays of Canadian culinary delights.
Sea Angel Oysters flown in fresh from Vancouver. Amazing, amazing, amazing!
Selection of Canadian Wines. Who knew they made wine in Canada?
Beef Carpaccio--Blondie loves her beef, but carpaccio, not so much
Chicken puff pastry--Good, but not exceptional.
This is duck glazed with a Canadian Maple syrup, over a creamy, buttery cheese from Quebec topped with a ground cherry. Delicious and not to be missed!
Smoked salmon rounds topped with Nova Scotia Crab and cream cheese.
Cheese hors d'oeuvre, Blondie thought this was way too salty
Food highlights: Sea Angel Oysters from Vancouver, to die for. Blondie tried her very first oyster, and she wasn't a fan, but if you love oysters or even if you've never tried one, this would be a good first taste. Definitely go for the Smoked Salmon rounds, anything with Lobster, and the duck. Oh, Canada, Oh yum!
Rockefeller Center’s 620 Loft & Garden
620 Fifth Avenue, entrance on 50th Street.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Newfoundland Lobster and Cod. Delicious. Go for this one if you see it!
There wasn't a ton of food all out at once, but the staff paced things pretty well, so there was always a little something to sample. Sharpen your elbows though, if you plan on attending. There were a ton of people and this event may be celebrating Canada, but the crowd is all New York, and if you don't assert yourself when the hors d'oeuvres come around, you could starve.