ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Traditional Jewish food meets Jewish fusion cuisine at ABQ NoshFest.
The Jewish food driven event, presented by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque, introduces the unfamiliar to traditional cuisine of the Jewish community and allows local restaurants and caterers to create their own Jewish inspired dishes.
This year’s event will feature 15 restaurants, caterers and food vendors. They include California Pastrami, Il Vicino, Savoy, Poki Poki Cevicheria, Ruthie’s Bagels, Sharon’s Gourmet To Go, The Montebello on Academy and Special Touch Catering. Each of the congregation sisterhoods also will be doing preparation. Congregation Albert will have challah, Congregation B’ai Israel will make baklava as well as rugelach, and Congregation Nahalat Shalom, which has a sephardic subset called Casa Sefarad, will be doing baklava.
“We have all of the Jewish food you would hope to find such as bagels and lox; pastrami sandwiches; shawarma, the grilled chicken pita; Matzo ball soup; knishes; noodle and potato kugel; latkes,” said Phyllis Wolf, director of arts, culture and education at the JCC of Greater Albuquerque. “Mid-Eastern or Israeli salad, which is the chopped up salad; Mid-East things like hummus and chopped liver; hamantash (that) people love. They’re the three-cornered cookies that are served usually at Purim with a filling; black and white cookies and rugelach which is also a wonderful dessert.”
Another traditional dessert that will be served is babka. Wolf describes the treat as a “very filling coffee cake” with a chocolate swirl in the middle. Also featured will be challah, which is twisted egg bread. Other items such as a pasta with Jerusalem artichokes will be at the event too. Guests can also bite into kugels made by The Montebello as well as brisket sliders from Special Touch Catering. Poki Poki Cevicheria will be bringing a sweet potato latke with smoked salmon and a chimichurri arugula salad. Food tickets are available for $1 each. Most of the vendors will be selling their tasty creations for $2 to $6 on average. Food tickets can be purchased at several booths throughout the event.
“There’s a lot of traditional (food) from our Jewish caterers and because we’re involving the community we get some really creative new twists on other kind of foods that are traditional so that’s something that is kind of fun,” Wolf said.
Guests can show off their cooking skills during the Kugel Cookoff. Kugels are a baked pudding or casserole usually made from either egg noodles or potato.
“They can be savory or sweet and we are going to have judges voting on texture taste and appearance for first, second and third place prizes,” Wolf said.
Food is the focus but there is also entertainment for adults and children to enjoy at NoshFest. The Rebbe’s Orkestra will perform Klezmer and Israeli music. There will be dance performances by Keshet Dance and Rikud Dance Troupe. A kids zone will have plenty of activities for young guests including a slime station, arts and crafts, games and a reading corner. Children also will be able to decorate their own cupcake. The kids zone is supervised so that parents can drop off their young ones and peruse the vendor booths or grab a cocktail, wine or beer at one of the bars set up at the event.
Guests can also purchase raffle tickets to win some great prizes. Raffle tickets are $10 each or three for $25. A three-day trip to New York City for two which includes airfare and hotel donated by Rio Grande Travel will be raffled off. Baillio’s Appliances, Electronics and Mattress Store also donated a 55-inch digital TV that also will be raffled off.
NoshFest is an event that welcomes everyone.
“The JCC is all about community, building community and sharing cultural events that are very inclusive so we love to open up to the whole community,” Wolf said. “It’s not just for the Jewish community by any stretch … The JCC is a nonprofit organization and we do quite a bit of good work in the community with Title I and other less advantaged groups. This raffle that we’re doing for example any additional monies that are raised will come back to help with our community services.”