Cayuga Woo! (Thanks to the Party at Roberta's)

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Blurry iPhone Party Moment: Joe Bastianich (far right) Plays Guitar in the Backyard Tent at Roberta’s Pizza in Brooklyn

Pardon the cheesy title–Cayuga Blue is one of our favorite Finger Lakes goat cheeses, natch–but last night at the Roberta’s Pizza rooftop farm fundraiser we were blown away by mussels in lemony broth; feather-light bread arancini; roasted root vegetables; buttery, sagey squash; guanciale pizzas and extra-especially the polenta from Cayuga Pure Organics.

True, we were also blown away by Del Posto, etc. restaurateur/wine guru guest Joe Bastianich playing guitar (shown above) along with the very amusing experimental bluegrass (or whatever) band Free Advice, but that’s another story.

Back to Cayuga’s polenta: The Brooktondale, NY farm near Ithaca produces good grains like organic beans (black, pinto, navy, and red and heritage varieties), spelt and wheat flour, wheatberries and that polenta. Nutty and dense, it was outstandingly creamy, though that probably also had a bit to do with Roberta’s chef Gabe McMackin, who’d topped deep bowls of this delicious stuff (already spiked with cheese) with super-slow roasted pork so soft the tongs passed around to dig into this dish were barely needed. All you had to do was look at that Heritage Foods USA pig and it fell to pieces, just like we did once we tasted it. Cayuga’s website is fairly limited right now, so until it’s up and running you’ll have to track them down, like so much other good stuff, at the city Greenmarkets. I’ve spotted them at Grand Army Plaza and McCarren Park in Brooklyn, but they should be at Union Square on Wednesdays, too.

P.S. Last night’s event was also sponsored by the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, which is running a series of similar dinners to make friends and get ideas for their mega-food-through-the-lens-of-science exhibition called Cooking to open in 2011. Right now, in true science-nerd fashion, they’re collecting ideas crowd-sourcing style at cookingexhibitchefs.ning.com

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.