For one day a year, Pier 5 in Brooklyn transforms itself into what certainly be described as one of, if not the best carnivore experiences you’ll have in our fine city. Publicized highly within the inner meat circle with its own diary, video and a backing from both Whole Foods Market and Amstel Light – Meatopia 2011 delivered on its promises of shorter lines, more food and edible animals. The bell of the ball? That would be meat with chefs and restaurants from all across the country putting their best hoofs forward to present us with their finest beef, chicken, quail, lamb, sausage, pork belly and other things I cannot remember.
The day was hot and going in we knew it would be a scorcher. The thought of a Pier event though – on the water – starting late afternoon tricked JMI and his partner Top Round into thinking it would somehow be cool. Nevertheless, we arrived by ferry pointed our noises high in the air and followed the smell of rich charred beef (and other fat guys) to Pier 5. What awaited before us was 4 hours of stress free feeding.
Armed with a ticket, map, beer passes and a book of meat poetry, you read that correctly – Meatopia was a no wait, come right in, open door invite that from start to finish was hassle free…and delicious. Inside, Meatopia was in the shape of a mega point piece (L) in Tetris with vendors all around the outside. Unlike the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party (Gramercy) or Smorgesburg (Williamsburg) which packs you in like with no thoughts about your well-being, the ‘opia never felt too much like a holiday in Rockefeller Center, but instead was roomy and comfortable in the summer sizzle. Each participating restaurant was spaced between a beer tent or their own serving table allowing you the freedom to shoot the shit with the master chefs, ask questions or pick apart their vast knowledge of meat prepping. With ice cold Amstel Light and FREE FUJI water stations nicely spread throughout the festival, liquid was never too far away.
Whole Foods Market set up camp in the back with its stage for cooking presentations but it wasn’t something we took part in. With only so many hours to eat, talk and take in each master chefs masterpiece, we solely focused on the task at hand.
More about the vendors in our next post which will also give a rundown of our top 5 favorites but let it be known, if you’re deciding on a few meat festivals for 2012, be sure to add Meatopia to your list.