September 14, 2010

Food + Fashion in NYC Part II - Bon Appetit Pop-Up Cafe

We were really looking forward to this year's Bon Appetit pop-up cafe. After all, last year we saw cooking demonstrations by Iron Chef Cat Cora and Babbo's Pastry Chef Gina DePalma and met superstar chefs Joses Andres and Daniel Boulud.

This year, the cafe moved to Lincoln Center to coincide with NY Fashion Week.  We checked it out when it opened to the public this past Sunday.  Unfortunately, this year's iteration has no cooking demonstrations, only one cookbook signing (Cat Cora on Tues, Sept 14), and seemed more like a corporate cafeteria than a foodie destination.

Granted it was the first day (Sunday at 11:30am), but the place was virtually empty.  It was a far cry from the weekday lunchtime crowds from last year.
Soup and salad station featuring (amongst other selections) Cat Cora's Tomato Soup ($6.50), Rick Bayless' (Frontera Grill) Yucatan Shredded Steak salad ($9), and Mario Batali's (Del Posto) Caprese Salad ($8).  The salads are prepackaged and the portions overall seemed relatively small.
Desserts featured included Michael Laiskonis' (Le Bernandin) Double Chocolate Cookie ($3), Baked's Pumpkin Whoopie Pies ($3) and Cowboy Cookie ($2).
At the sandwich station we saw Michael White's (Marea) Open-Faced Olive-oil poached tuna ($10), Missy Robbins' (A Voce) Ricotta, Prosciutto di Parma, Roasted Fig, and Arugula on Ciabatta ($10), Emeril Lagasse's Roast Turkey panini with pesto, roasted red peppers, and fontina ($9), and Bill Telepan's (Telepan) Vegetarian Cubano ($8).
We opted to purchase the Lobster Roll ($13.50) conceived by Laurent Tourondel (BLT Market).  The sandwich itself was just okay (good not great), but can't compare to the meaty, fresher ones we've enjoyed at Luke's Lobster ($14) and Red Hook Lobster Pound ($15, which included pickle and chips).
The dining lounge is smaller with another side seating area by the coffee area.  A free sample of Trapiche's oaked Malbec was a good match with the dark chocolate complimentary bites from Green & Black's.
The most popular line (actually, the only line we saw) at the BA Cafe was for Stumptown Coffee.  (With good reason...we love their coffee!)  It's in a separate area from the food stations.
At night, the BA Cafe becomes a Wine Bar with tables and chairs taken out of the seating area and placed within the food station area.  Gone are the sandwiches and in their place are items like Daniel Boulud's terrine ($12 this year versus $8.50 last year).
The other food options were Cat Cora's marinated olives ($2), Emeril Lagasse's spiced nuts ($3), and Mario Batali's bruschetta ($10) and cheese plate ($14).  Wine offerings included Moet & Chandon's Brut Imperial , and wines from Newton and Numanthia. 

Since we had just come from a free vodka event in the fashion tents (which you'll get to see in Part III of our Food + Fashion posts), we did not buy anything at the BA Cafe wine bar.  One of the hostesses did take us around and we spotted several BA Cafe featured chefs (Marc Murphy of Landmarc, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito of Baked), but missed Momofuku's Christina Tossi (who we hoped would reveal the recipe to her Gold Gilt Gangster cookie)

The BA Cafe is located in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center (64th St and Columbus Ave) in NYC.


  1. Yes, the cafe's last day is today (9/16).

  2. THANK YOU Andrea for letting me live vicariously through your blog and "attend" all the events I just get to read about online! :-)

  3. I walked by last night, thinking it would be permanent, but it's gone after tomorrow?


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