So the the International Restaurant and Foodservice show is happening from February 27th to March 1st, and guess who got in? [CAUTION: This post is going to be about something that happened in New York and not New Jersey as usual. You've been warned.]

The event is an industry trade show that showcases foodservice industry trends and products available to restaurants in the tri-state area. There were exhibitors from kitchen equipment companies as well as food and ingredient suppliers . A lot of the booths were occupied by companies that we as restaurant customers don’t ever consider like restaurant furniture and custom menu manufacturers. There was also the US Pastry Competition held by Gourmet Paris, where chefs were crafting pulled sugar sculptures that would cut you mouth if you try to eat them.

Seriously, do not eat this.

The shows not open to the public, and apparently writing about cheeseburgers does not qualify you as ‘part of the industry’. It doesn’t matter. I know people, so I got in.

I was primarily interested in the food wholesalers who had samples of the restaurant quality foods and ingredients for the show goers. I was trying to stick to my burger theme, so I tried to eat as many burger ingredients as I could, even if they were served separately.

The first booth I found was Rick’s Picks artisinal pickles.

Their Slice of Life pickles were tasty. They were cripsy and a little sweet, but calling them ‘classic’ wouldn’t be right because they’re definitely pickled in brine that gave them a distinct flavor. My favorite of their pickles was the Hotties flavor pickles. They were pickled with dried habanero and sriracha spices, but it wasn’t really as hot as it was flavorful. Its hard to get a good mix of hotness and rich flavor, but these pickles pulled it off without giving off too much heat. I could see them going on a spicier pepper or chipotle burger.

Next condiment: Ketchup.

I stopped by Katchkie Farm’s booth for that. Their ketchup was tasty and zesty, nothing like what you’d get out of a bottle at the supermarket. I really liked their Tomato Jam, which was similar in consistence to a jalapeno jelly, but had a bold tomato taste. They weren’t selling it at the show, but if they were, I definitely would have bought a few jars of it.

Burgers need meat, right? Let’s see what meats they had at the show.

Pilot Brands beef offered juicy patties from grass-fed Wagyu beef from New Zealand that they say has not been modified by hormones or antibiotics. The meat was a Kobe-styled beef that had a gaminess like Kobe patties, but they were kind of heartiness more similar to Angus beef.

Master Purveyors were another NYC meat provider with a booth at the show. They had a chef making sliders for them, which was smart, because their patties tasted perfect as part of these over-sized sliders. I bet they’d make great fast food style burgers, too.

When I was done with the burger ingredients, I moved on to the Japan Pavilion. Here vendors show off ingredients and products for restaurants that serve a Japanese cuisine. It was almost impossible to navigate and take pictures because, much like Japan, it was stuffed full of people.

It was impossible to get through to the booths and get good pictures and I didn’t even get a chance to record the company names. I apologize, because I have no idea what company offered this as a sample, but here it is: WASABI OCTOPUS!

Its not as gross as you’d imagine from just hearing the name. It was kind of like calamari in a sauce that had the taste of wasabi but without its stark spiciness.

I also had all sorts of stuff that I couldn’t manage to get pictures of at the Japan Pavilion. Different types of sushi, green teas, soy milks and tofu products. I even drank this strange green tea that looks like the ooze from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but tasted like green tea mochi.

Anyway, I had a lot of food and it was cool to try all of these products. It was fun, and if you’re in ‘the trade’, you should probably go and would be foolish if you didn’t go.

That’s it for the NYC stuff. Next week, I’ll be getting back to New Jersey burgers. I promise.