Postcard From Meatopia

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New York, New York

Katie Hards (right) and Elizabeth Fraser (left) are photo editors with the Travel Channel in New York City. On September 8, they traveled to Randall’s Island in NYC’s East River to attend Meatopia, a one-day meat-centric festival dubbed the “Woodstock of edible animals.” Here’s Katie’s take on the event:

I went to Meatopia to: Eat! Some of my favorite chefs from NYC and across the country were cooking up a storm and we wanted to taste their dishes and see how they traveled for an event like this.

I traveled here with: Elizabeth Fraser, my co-worker and a Texan with a carnivorous appetite.

The best way to travel here is: A water taxi whisked us away to Randall’s island (there were even meat pies and wine provided in the cabin) from the 35th street East River ferry landing. But getting there involved buses and subways and even a taxi.

I stayed at: I came from home, but NYC has some fantastic hotels. My dream would be to stay at the Carlyle.

When it comes to packing for Meatopia, be sure to bring: Toothpicks, definitely toothpicks. Also comfortable, weather-appropriate shoes. I’m a native Californian, so I think sandals are appropriate year-round, but that isn’t the case in New York City, at outdoor events in our current rainy season. I was glad I wore ankle boots because the grounds were soggy and some behemoth storm clouds rolled in and showered the event.

The best thing I ate was: Wood-seared inter-coastal “Finger Meat” by Naomi Pomeroy from Beast in Portland, OR. I didn’t know what finger meat was before I got there, but Naomi kindly explained that it is the meat between beef rib bones. The sweet, sticky glaze on this toothsome morsel of meat was accompanied by a pickled watermelon remoulade. An ode to the end of summer. Yum.

I wish I hadn't: Brought my giant mom bag. Three umbrellas, my camera, a water bottle and emergency rain shoes is overkill, yes? Pack light so you can focus on the delicious food and not your aching shoulders.

Don't miss: The Whole Foods butcher demo was pretty impressive. I watched the 3 talented finalists make a Turducken (a boneless Turkey stuffed with a boneless duck, stuffed with a boneless chicken) in less time than it would take me to tie my shoes.

Next time I will definitely: Bring my own utensils (they almost ran out of forks!)

My favorite part of the trip was: Talking to all the chefs about the gear they traveled with and the prep involved beforehand. I’m an avid home cook, and the level of execution and preparation it took to cook for such a huge crowd is staggering.

My advice would be:
Go to Meatopia next year and don’t let the weather scare you, they held this event rain or shine and if they’re willing to cook in that weather, eating in it isn’t that big of a deal. Plus you can camp out in a whiskey or beer tent if it does rain!