Last week was the fifth anniversary of Food Network’s New York City Wine & Food Festival, which hosted 130 events over the course of four days of nonstop eating and drinking last week. Here’s the highlights of the four main events I’ve attended.
Blue Moon Burger Bash hosted by Rachel Ray
From top left: Burgers (and mini milkshake) from Gotham Bar & Grill and LT Burger, Shake Shack’s Smoke Shack and Pumpkin Pie Oh My custard, Ai Fiori’s White Label Burger
On Friday night, crowds gathered to sample 28 different burgers (normal sized, quartered, or minis) at the headlining Burger Bash. Josh Capon’s Bash Burger from Burger & Barrel was the audience winner, and Michael White’s White Label burger from Ai Fiori (photo above) took the judges’ award. I did really enjoyed the burgers from Gotham Bar & Grill for its flavorful minimalism. LT Burger was a pretty serious burger that has a nuance of smoke and I loved their salted caramel popcorn milkshake (and I don’t care for milkshakes that much). Shake Shack’s Smoke Shack burger (which I ate when it debuted in May) was still good and decadent as ever. My perennial favorite Shake Shack seasonal custard flavor Pumpkin Pie Oh My was one of my favorite dessert offerings from the event. I enjoyed the doughnuts from Doughnut Plant, especially the pumpkin and chocolate hazelnut filled “doughseed.” (photo of the mentioned)
Click here for the photo set of this event.
SWEET! presented by GODIVA, hosted by Sandra Lee
Starting from top left: Sandra Lee and David Funaro of GODIVA, GODIVA’s “SWEET 5”; Dominique Ansel Bakery’s Mini Me Cake; Le Bernardin’s Chocolate Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream Sandwich; Pastry Chefs Bob Truitt and Johnny Iuzzini; Bob Truitt of Nicoletta’s Pistachio gelato, lemon confit, biscottino
Cupcakes dominated at the sold-out SWEET! event later that Friday evening, which featured imaginative desserts from all over the city, like salted crack caramel ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery, and a decadent chocolate cake layered with passionfruit gelee—topped with marzipan birthday candles—from Dominique Ansel. Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country Barbecue took home the prize for audience favorite with her PB&J Cupcakes, which were fluffy, overflowing with peanut butter frosting and topped with Reese’s Pieces. There were a number of restaurant pastry chefs offered sophisticated yet fun desserts, like Bob Truitt of Nicoletta offered creamy pistachio gelato with a bright lemon confit and a crisp, anise-y biscotti. Laurie Jon Moran of Le Bernardin served large squares wrapped in gold foil of chocolate pink peppercorn ice cream sandwiches, sweet tempered by spicy. The texture of the chocolate ice cream sandwich was soft and cake-like. Hedy Goldsmith of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami, FL served up cups of bittersweet chocolate cake with curry, coconut & cardamom with cherry chutney and spiced cashew brittle (photo) that was intense with spices but it was wonderfully balanced by the bittersweet chocolate cake.
U.S. Cranberries worked with a few chefs at this event, since it is autumn it works on some chefs’ seasonal desserts. One particularly interesting one was a savory dish utilizing pork belly with cranberries (photo), Jacques Torres created a creamsicle flavored parfait topped with cranberry compote (photo), and MilkMade Ice Cream served up cranberry chocolate chip ice cream (photo).
To view the rest of the photos of SWEET!, please click here for the photo set.
Tacos & Tequila presented by Tequila Avión
From top left: George Mendes of Aldea’s Shrimp taco and Avión Tequila’s “Elevated Margarita”; Marc Murphy of Ditch Plains’ Pastrami taco and spiced sweet potato chips, Harold Dieterle of Kin Shop’s Beef brisket & bone marrow taco on crispy roti; Brad Farmerie of Saxon+Parole’s Oxtail and beef tongue taco and a platter of Avión Tequila spike watermelon with hibiscus and lime; Lee Anne Wong of “Unique Eats” (Cooking Channel) Miso braised Mangalista pork neck tacos with jicama-ginger slaw and yuzu guacamole
Saturday night at 82 Mercer, the New York City Wine and Food Festival brought Tacos and Tequila, presented this year by Tequila Avión, hosted by Bobby Flay, and benefiting The Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength. Some tacos were packed with flavor, the tequila and Corona beer were flowing. Of the tacos served that evening, the ones I liked were George Mendes of Aldea served shrimp taco with dill, pickled cucumber, avocade and coriander with a side of tomato rice. Marc Murphy of Ditch Plains’ pastrami taco and spiced sweet potato chips was surprisingly delicious. Harold Dieterle of Kin Shop’s beef brisket and bone marrow taco on crispy roti was a great Asian inspired taco. Brad Farmerie of Saxon+Parole’s oxtail and beef tongue taco was insanely tender and flavorful and his platters of Avión Tequila spike watermelon with hibiscus and lime was off the charts (and I could easily get drunk if I ate so many slices, which wouldn’t be difficult). Lee Anne Wong of “Unique Eats” (Cooking Channel) miso braised Mangalista pork neck tacos with jicama-ginger slaw and yuzu guacamole was how a taco should be – finger-licking messy.
To view the rest of the photos of Tacos & Tequila, please click here
Trucks & Train
The festival wrapped up on Sunday at Trucks & Train in the Lower East Side’s Pier 36. Train performed (seen at the bottom of the group of photos) and lines stretched and meandered in front of 25 food trucks with vendors including Korilla BBQ, Big Gay Ice Cream, and Domo Taco.
Palenque truck serves Columbian food and cooked up portobello mushroom with avocado, tomato, cheese, and chipotle mayo on corn arepa that almost didn’t make me think I was missing meat. Okadman truck served up squid okonomiyaki (essentially savory pancakes doused in lots of various sauces like oyster sauce). Big Gay Ice Cream created an “awesomesauce” sundae of vanilla soft serve, hot fudge, candied pepitas with a touch of cayenne. It was truly delicious. Melt Bakery offered adorable (and tasty) mini sandwich cookies like the red velvet (it’s sandwiched with red velvet cake or whoopie pie in vanilla ice cream) and walnut chocolate chip cookies in vanilla ice cream.
Click here for the rest of the photos of Trucks & Train.
To view more of my photos of these food extravaganza, please click through my Flickr sets (it consists of all of my photo sets).
Food Network’s Food & Wine Festival 2012