Tag Archives: New York Wine and Food Festival

NY Wine and Food Festival 2011

Now that the dust has settled from all of the New York Wine and Food Festival hoop-la I’ve had a chance to reflect and do a blog post.  Each year that I participate I come away from the festival with a unique experience and renewed love for food discovery and elastic waistline pants.

Saturday night was spent celebrating ‘Brooklyn’s Bounty’ with the loveable Adam Richman from ‘Man vs. Food.’  You heard it here ladies and gentleman he is my new celebrity crush.  A good-ole Brooklyn boy who loves to eat, loves to laugh and likes to be challenged by his food.  What more could a girl and ask for.  Not to mention my mother would love shoveling food in his mouth!

The event was sponsored by Edible Brooklyn who I feel is just starting to get their feet wet in the big event planning scene.  Edible magazine has shot through roof with their recent James Beard win for their ‘Publication of the Year’ Award while only a few years ago sat collecting dust in the corner of neighborhood coffee shops.

A rumored 350 people attended this cocktail-party-style jammed into this beautiful historical Green Building with jaw dropping chandeleers in the middle of Carroll Gardens.  The good thing was there were no lines for food and by the end of three hours you were quite satisfied with selections.  The trick is to drink moderately to make more room for the food.  We did do one Jameson pickle back shot which was strategically located next to McClures Pickles.

Nestled in the back corner of the room was  D. Coluccio & Sons,  a fixture in my exsistence as an Italian-American.  The name Coluccio has been thrown around my house for as long as I can remember.  No holiday or family gathering would be complete without an antipasto spread from Coluccio’s.  There were countless Christmas mornings, fresh from opening gifts from Santa that I’d then move on to unwrapping and opening containers of olives, marniated mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and stuffed peppers to arrange on the antipasto platter.  Followed by rolling slices of provolone and cutting up my other love in this life, Parmigano Reggiano cheese.

I have to give credit to vendors who sign up for these banquet style events.  You really have to think about your execution and your audience.  As much as you want to impress your guests and make them remember you, head cheese and sardines aren’t a big seller.  Our biggest dissapointment was Bark Hot Dogs didn’t give us a hot dog!  Some lobster roll thing…c’mon guys.  Some of the best food came from the food trucks that were parked outside.  Food Freaks (only open 3 weeks!) had this insane grilled cheese and tomato soup with some crispy brussel sprouts.  And Papa Perrone’s rice balls were right on point.

An overall great event, but I’d tell Edible to set up more high-top tables – the drink in one hand and food in the other is still a challenge for most humans.

Link to all participants

 

Sunday was Carts in the Parc!  I remembered my camera for this one!  This was a truly great event possibly the best I’ve ever been to in my three year run.  The best of the best NYC food trucks parked along the curb of FoodParc at Eventi Hotel in Chelsea.  FoodParc is a modern-day food court and in the back is a really nice garden area with a huge big screen TV.  This event was hosted by Andrew Zimmern, another cool dude but I was happy stalking Adam Richman who showed up again as well as some other big name foodies like Chef Michael White from Marea, and Angelo Sosa from Top Chef.  I didn’t have one off-putting thing from this food marathon.  Our endurance was definitely up from the night before.  The NY Dosa Cart won my heart.  This is authentic street food and an original to whole food truck craze.  I did a little photo time lapse of the lentil pancake with the spicy potatoes and vegetable chutney.  The Biryani Cart another orignal authentic was also delcious and won fan favorite for the day.  The pictures say it all so enjoy!

Link to all participants

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Meatball Madness!!

Even though this was like a month ago I still wanted to document this glorious event!  The kick-off to the New York Wine and Food Festival,  hosted by the one and only Giada de Laurentiis.  I got the opportunity to volunteer through school and boy did they put us to work!  From about 2PM-5PM we transported the 30-some-odd participants meatballs, food warmers, table decorations and whatever else on hand-truck, and flatbeds to their designated booths.  The event space, la.venue really set the mood for meatballs with that old industrial factory-like feel.  The low ceilings, wood floors and paneling and some of the moldings gave a cozy rustic Italian ambiance.  And cozy it was!  Jam packed with the likes of some of my favorite chefs, Missy Robbins (A Voce), Michael Lomonaco (Porter House), Daniel Holzman (The Meatball Shop), and others I recognized, Nate Appleman, Spike Mendelsohn, Anne Burrell.

I had the distinct pleasure to work with Shea Gallante and his team at Ciano, which has recently opened on east 22nd St. and Park Ave!!!  Delicious non-traditional style veal meatball with onions, garlic, ricotta, parsley,  served with white polenta that had some chopped chives and rosemary with black truffle glaze on top that perfumed the entire back wall of contestants.  I must have plated about 200 of these little guys, pulling them out of the warmer burning my fingers each time. ‘Fingers were made for burning’ was the quote of the evening!

Right next to us was John DeLucie of The Lion with his friend and Chopped finalist Jason Zukas (I don’t watch that show despite my fascination with Scott Conant, but I kept hearing people make comments to him and I googled it later). 

One of my favorite volunteer moments was when John asked me to bring out a meatball to a guy out by the loading dock named Stan.  He described him as a big black man.  I diligently go out the door, meatball in hand yelling for Stan up and down the street.  To my dismay there are like 10 big black men…security I guess?  There is no Stan.  I go back inside slightly disappointed at my failed attempt and ask Jason about Stan.

In his Brooklyn/Queens accent he says, ‘Just yell Stan at least one of dem should turn ‘dare head, just give it to ’em.’

Right.

I go back outside and these guys now think I’m a little nuts and I try to hand it off to one of them.  No one is interested!  I say just take it because the chef will be very disappointed if I walk back in there with this meatball!

 

More on the event from Metromix

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Scott Conant’s Faustina Menu Revealed!

I am a self-proclaimed Scott Conant groupie.  After meeting him at the New York Wine and Food Festival and my three-minute personal greeting at Scarpetta I’m smitten.  His success with Scarpetta has really rocked the NY dining scene and there are high expectations for his new place Faustina set to open this weekend.  Eater NY has gotten their hands on a copy of the menu and I have to say I was taken off guard by it’s diversity.  It seems he is adding a modern American infusion to his well established traditional Italian base.  I find it interesting how he has hand-selected certain words to be written in Italian and some in English.  From a grammar stand-point it doesn’t really sit well, but hey let’s be creative!  Who says you can’t combine languages on a menu!  It might also be a technique to make words like fish roe sound more appetizing.  Also happy to see the breads have carried over as they are definitely a Scarpetta high-lite and point of differentiation.  I like a man who is not afraid of carbohydrates!

I like how he has replaced a traditional ‘apetizer’ section with some small plates mimicking a tapas-like menu; olives, chutney’s, aged cheese and bread!  Really excited for the La Tur- spiced pineapple chutney and the Parmigiano-Reggiano balsamico.

A raw bar is a nice touch but sadly I have been cursed with an allergy to shellfish so I cannot indulge.  The Tuna avocado salad is a safe standby, and there has been much talk about the Olive-Oil Poached Sardines artichokes and preserved lemon.

The ‘hot’ section seems to have the most American influence.  I really thought we were over Fried Chicken but I guess the porcini mushrooms are suppose to sex it up.  Really interested in the Pork Belly (mostly because I LOVE grain mustard) and the Balsamic-Glazed Pork Spare Ribs with tomato chutney.

In the Pasta & Risotto section he’s splurged a little on the black Truffle.  The Cannelloni sounds like it will end up being the simple staple similar to the spaghetti dish at Scarpetta.  Burrata (a creamy mozzarella) appears twice on the menu, and seems right for a Cannelloni dish.  I love how he has disguised sea urchins in the Tajarin dish by using the Italian translation, however, Conant describes this dish as ‘sex in a bowl’.

Another American influence is large plates of meat.  Talk about the Veal ‘Porterhouse’ has been popping up on the blogosphere.

I love it when restaurants do side dishes.  I’m the type of eater that likes a little of this and a little of that.  And some sides on his menu sound amazing!  Stewed Eggplant and pork shoulder,  I might bypass cauliflower, capers bottarga but if you can handle fish roe that sounds good too!

Let’s see how long it takes to get a reservation!

Good luck Scott!

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Great Food, Good Hearts

City Harvest has posted their 2010 Edition of Great Food, Good Hearts, a guide to New York’s most generous restaurants.  One of the great things about food culture in New York is that sucessful chef’s and restauronteours are so generous to those in need.

Download the full list here: http://www.cityharvest.org/restaurant-guide/Picture 1

Some of my personal favorites on the list:

Hearth – 403 East 12th St.  Great ambiance and focus on season, and locally sourced ingredients.

Scarpetta– 355 West 14th St.  Based on previous posts one can gather my slight obsession with this place.  A portion of the famous spaghetti dish goes to charity!

The Stanton Social– 99 Stanton St.  Creative menu with a great ambiance.  Awesome for sharing and big groups.

Rickshaw Dumpling Bar– 61 West 23rd St.  A neighborhood favorite, Anita Lo took a great product and adapted it to modern face-paced living.  And the truck is fun to follow on Twitter!

Tabla – 11 Madison Ave.  Solid Indian food (even my plane jane mother loves this place!) with awesome service and ambiance.

Dawat Haute Cusine of India – 201 East 58th St.  Another Indian classic.  Some Indian friends took me here and I was widly impressed!

Hudson Cafeteria – 356 West 58th St. I also feel so NY posh when I go into the Hudson Hotel.  And this restaurant has great food and the open kitchen pit makes for great entertainment.

Honorable Mentions that are on my hit-list:

Aldea – 31 West 17th St.  Has been getting great reviews and Mediterranean flavors sound great!

Annisa– Anita Lo is an awesome chef and contributor to the community.  Would love to patron her place!

Blue Hill– 75 Washington Place.  One day when the gods of reservations work in my favor!

Dirt Candy – 430 East 9th St.  Such an interesting concept on modern vegetarian, and always on the food blogs

The Little Owl – 90 Bedford St.  Joey Campanaro is another great contributor to the community.  Would love to stop in for the famous meatball sliders!

Locanda Verde – 377 Greenwhich St.  Right up there with Blue Hill and the gods of reservations.

Market Table – 54 Carmine St.  I met Mikey Price at the New York Wine and Food Festival Chef’s panel.  I real believer in educating kids about healthy eating.  My kinda guy!

Any of the Momofuku’s

Spice Market – 403 West 13th St.  I can’t believe I haven’t made it there yet!

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Peace Love and Pasta!

That was how Chef, Scott Conant of Scarpetta signed my NY Cooks – 100 Recipes from they City’s Best Chefs cookbook which I received at the book’s panel discussion over the weekend as part of New York City’s Wine and Food Festival.  Somehow the pasta gods joined forces and a reservation opened up for early Sunday evening (the best time for Italian Sunday Dinner).

One of the topics on the panel discussion was how has the economy effected your business.  Many chef’s including Scott replied that the ego has gone out the window and really making the guest feel welcome and taken care of  has prioritized in economic turmoil.

Walking into the magnificent dining room of Scarpetta the feeling of being welcomed could not have rung more true.  At least 4 different people welcomed our family and hoped that we enjoyed our dinner.

One of the inspirations for Scarpetta, which in Italian means ‘little boot’ also happens to be the shape taken on by bread when you dip it into olive oil.  Scarpetta encourages the bread bowl throughout the entire meal so you can gather up the last bits of the incredible sauces on the plate.  And indeed I did!!

Also encouraging was the ability to share plates to ensure maxium tasting abilities.  A nice touch was the division of the dish onto two sharing plates as seen below with our pasta course.

We of course had to try the signature spaghetti dish with a portion of the proceeds of the dish going to City-Meals-On-Wheels.  That accompanied by the seasonal flavors of Pumpkin Tortellini!  Second course was split between the Imported Turbot  served with root vegetables and pumpkin seeds, and the Sicilian Orange Spiced Duck.  For dessert, Pear and Almond Tart with Ginger Gelato accompanied by some Limoncello and Fragoli Strawberry Liquor.

Some of my favorite “Nice Touch” moments were the simultaneous unveiling of our dishes from under the ceramic food lids, folding of the napkins if you got up from your seat, constant flow of water, a visit from General Manager, Jeffery Tascarella, the restaurant support for farm-fresh ingredients, and I noticed that the bartender brings your drinks from bar to table upon your tabling being ready.  Ultimate “Nice Touch” was of course Scott Conant visiting our table at my request to the waiter.

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NYC Wine + Food Festival — 100 Mile Brunch

100 miles north of NYC on a 60 acre plot of land sits Katchkie Farm, a year-round organic farm owned by Great Performances catering company.  This year was their third harvest and lucky for us they participated in the New York City Wine and Food Festival by preparing a Sunday brunch at the Fire Museum downtown.

Upon entering the 3rd floor event space you were greeted by the sound of banjo’s and fiddles from Bluegrass band Citigrass, manificent table settings and an overwhelming feeling of the Great American Fall Harvest.

The event really drove home the importance of Farm to Table eating.  Chris Harkeness, Executive Chef of Great Performances spoke about his envy of current culinary students who are learning how to source food from local farms whereas his 1980s education focused on being a worldly master of knowing how to source and access food from all over the globe.

Each morsel of food was better than the previous.  Knowing the people behind your food and message of Farm to Table magnifies the satisfaction level beyond measure.

Here is a link the menu

Fresh Osysters provided by Widow's Hole Oyster Company, featured with a Un-Bloody Mary's

Fresh Osysters provided by Widow's Hole Oyster Company, featured with a Un-Bloody Mary's

New York Dairies Cheese Collection and Faicco's Salami

New York Dairies Cheese Collection and Faicco's Salami

Fresh veggies with Butternut Squash Soup, and Lasagna with the Farm's Fresh Tomatos, Eggpland and Squash

Fresh veggies with Butternut Squash Soup, and Lasagna with the Farm's Fresh Tomatoes, Eggplant and Squash

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