Grand Tasting at NYC Food Network’s Wine & Food Festival

The location of the Grand Tasting
The location of the Grand Tasting

This late morning/early afternoon I attended Food Network’s New York City Wine & Food Festival: Grand Tasting taken place at Pier 57. This huge, historical warehouse has views of the Hudson River. Knowing that you’d care mostly about the food, there’s plenty of New York City-based restaurants (total of 34) handing out samples of their food, ranging from the casual Italian restaurant, Accademia di Vino to the highbrow, haute cuisine of Gilt. There are a plethora of wines, Champagnes, and spirits (vodka and whiskey are very well represented here), and several corporate food companies sampled out their wares. (illy, you are my life saver for the past three days with your espressi.)

Anyway, here are my five favorite dishes of this event:

Farro Panzanella Salad from Accademi di Vino
Farro Panzanella Salad from Accademia di Vino

As mentioned, Accademia di Vino had the most refreshingly tasty farro panzanella salad. Perhaps my palate is tired of fatty foods but it is so satisfying to eat their salad. It had bites of bitter radicchio, arugula, red onion, and tender farro in an almost creamy balsamic dressing.

Lobster Scrambled Eggs topped trout roe, creme fraiche and brioche from Highpoint Bistro & Bar
Lobster Scrambled Eggs topped trout roe, creme fraiche and brioche from Highpoint Bistro & Bar


The most unexpectedly amazing dish was the from Lobster Scrambled Eggs topped trout roe, creme fraiche and brioche from Highpoint Bistro & Bar. This almost reminds me of something I would find from Jean Georges rather than a casual restaurant. It’s very refined presentation but the flavors were bold. The lobster scrambled eggs was more like smooth, velvety lobster panna cotta topped with dots of fresh, briny trout roe and crème fraiche and toasted sliver of buttery brioche. I’m dreaming of eating them right now.

Cold smoked sturgeon, borscht fluid gel, potoat confit, toasted buckwheat, American Caviar
Sturgeon, potato, caviar

Gilt created beautiful cups of Cold smoked sturgeon, borscht fluid gel, potoat confit, toasted buckwheat, American Caviar. It’s like eating a miniature works of art. It was delicious from the contrast of creamy and crunchy textures to the sweet and salty flavors.

Chicken meatball coated with sushi rice, deep fried from Tanuki Tavern
Tanuki Tavern’s chicken meatball

Tanuki Tavern served a fairly large sphere of what they simply called it chicken meatball. But this name is an understatement, as it’s more like a large deep fried orb that contains an exterior of sushi rice filled with chicken meatball. It’s wonderfully crispy, as it’s kept warm in an oven behind the adorable table display. The small pipette of sauce does add another layer of flavor and salt, and the red cabbage slaw adds the needed roughage balance.

Octopus Ceviche with parnship and salsa papenteca from Empellon
Octopus Ceviche with parnship and salsa papenteca from

Alex Stupak of Empellón was there diligently plating his octopus ceviche with parnship and salsa papenteca. His octopus dish was the best of the bunch served from other restaurants. Stupak’s octopus is smoky and tender with a sweet undertone with a salsa papanteca, made with chipotles, sweet spices, and piloncillo, along with nutty, crunchy bites of pepitas. That dish gave me a reminder: I should pay a visit to his Mexican restaurant.

Just to give you a few tips about this event or any of the NYC Wine & Food Festival events: come here early (as in 10 minutes before the event starts) and hungry; eat a few bites of each dish to get an idea what tastes good, and if you still have room after making the first round, come back to the ones you really like and eat more.

For more photos of this event, please scroll through my slideshow below:

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Information:
NYC Wine & Food Festival: Grand Tasting presented by Shoprite and KitchenAid at Pier 57
On West 15th Street and West Side Highway
Website: http://www.nycwineandfoodfestival.com/2011/