NYC Wine & Food Festival 2014: Thrillist BBQ & The Blues & Saturday Grand Tasting

Sweet Chick's BBQ lam b ribs and chili
Sweet Chick’s ribs at Thrillist BBQ & Exterior of the Grand Tasting

This past weekend was the packed, food-packed weekend of the NYC Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF). This annual event hosted by The Food Network and Food & Wine magazine pull in the extended family for this blowout series of dinners, seminars, tastings, talks, demos, classes, and parties held all over the city. Along with small-screen celebrity chefs, the list of participants includes heavy-hitters from the New York restaurant scene such as Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel (the man behind the Cronut). The massive volume of events means there’s something for every taste and budget, from a $20 panel discussion to a $250 dinner.

We’ve had the good fortune to attend to four events but here’s my recap for two of them…

Click on the links below to jump to the mentioned event:

Thrillist BBQ

Saturday Grand Tasting

Thrillist BBQ & The Blues

The cast of "The Kitchen" - (left to right) Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, Marcela Valladolid, Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, and Jeff Mauro
At Mile End Deli - Smoked & cured brisket, fresh from the smoker
The cast of Food Network’s “The Kitchen” and piles of smoked brisket from Mile End Deli

This year’s 5th annual Barbecue & The Blues, celebrating the two staples of any person’s life: delicious smoked meat and good blues music. (Save the fact if you are vegetarian.) This year, Barbecue & The Blues was hosted by the cast of the Food Network hit show The Kitchen, which includes Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid, Sunny Anderson, Geoffrey Zakarian and Jeff Mauro. This shindig included custom-crafted BBQ creations from some of Thrillist’s favorite NYC chefs, complemented by a variety of tasty drinks by Tito’s Vodka, Samuel Adams beer, and Chloe wines and a live blues band jamming.

Mighty Quinn's Cured & Smoked Beef Cheek Pastrami served with housemade mustard, pickles & rye

Of the many delicious things we’ve eaten, Mighty Quinn‘s cured and smoked beef cheek pastrami served with housemade mustard, pickles on rye bread crisp was probably one of our top favorites. The juicy, tender beef cheek absorbed a good amount of smoke and the grainy, zesty mustard contrast the meat perfectly. The rye crisp gives it some texture to the tasty, chewy meat.

Tchoup Shop - Tri Tip steak, red pepper relish, tomatoes and corn

The generous plate of tri-tip steak, red pepper relish, tomatoes and corn by Tchoup Shop was a thoughtful plate that combines the sweet, zesty and piquant with the smoky, juicy slices of tri-tip steak.

The team of Do or Dine (with Chef Justin Warner on the right)
Do or Dine - Beef Heart Pastrami with Mentaiko potato salad

From the team of Do or Dine with Chef Justin Warner, I applauded them to offal; they cooked up beef heart pastrami with Mentaiko potato salad. The beef heart had this complex minerally beefy flavor that made it distinct that this isn’t regular steak but the pastrami treatment tempered the flavor a bit that makes it palatable. The potato salad was a solid one that I would love to serve for my summer picnics.

Delaney Barbecue - Macaroni & cheese (used Beecher's Flagship Cheese) with house made lamb cheddar-jalapeno sausage

I adored Delaney Barbecue‘s familiar take of mac & cheese and sausage but made it slightly upscale, using the amazing creamy Beecher’s Flagship cheese in the macaroni & cheese and stuffed within their house-made lamb jalapeno sausage.

Here’s my gallery of this event:
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Saturday Grand Tasting

Lobster bacon mac & cheese from Christos Steakhouse
Shot of Potato vichyssoise and croque monsieur
Platter of D'Artagnan salami and pates
Pig head mortadella from Charcut Roast House (from Alberta, Canada)

The Grand Tasting is the festival’s signature event presented by ShopRite. It features KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations presented by MasterCard® in a huge 130,000-square-foot space filled with nothing but food and beverages (both boozy and non-boozy). You can you meet the food stars in the country and local NYC restaurants representing cuisines from around the world. This particular event is a huge mix of restaurants, wine, spirits, non-alcoholic beverage brands and various food brands (ranging from large corporate to small independent brands).

Scallop with sardine Baby octopus skewer with baked potato cube
Mexican mincemeat wonton with pomegranate seeds

The Mexico City Tourism Board was amongst the few tourism boards that were represented in this event. What really got our attention was the volume output of modern, tasty and beautifully presented bites of Mexican food.

Toasted brioche stuffed with High Road pistachio ricotta ice cream
Broiche ice cream sandwich by High Road Craft Ice Cream

There were plenty of sweets to sink your teeth into at the Grand Tasting. We really liked the indulgent toasted brioche stuffed with pistachio-ricotta ice cream by High Road Craft Ice Cream. Small griddled brioche buns filled with intensely flavored pistachio-ricotta ice cream that’s not too sweet from the subtle salinity of ricotta and brushed in melted butter. It’s not for dieters but you definitely satisfy your sweet tooth.

To view more photos of the Grand Tasting, please CLICK HERE for Thrillist BBQ & The Blues and CLICK HERE for Saturday’s Grand Tasting or view the gallery below:

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New York City Wine & Food Festival



I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.