Closing out the New York City Wine & Food Festival weekend was Lucky Chopsticks, a pan-Asian setup reminiscent of the bustling night markets of Japan, China, Vietnam, Laos, India and more. Hosted by Andrew Zimmern (who himself worked a booth), the event was a delicious reminder of what happens when an eclectic range of cultures come together to celebrate good food.
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Bobby and Michael Turned the Big Apple Into One Big Backyard BBQ at the New York City Wine & Food Festivalby Joseph Erdos in Events, October 17th, 2016
On an uncharacteristically warm fall evening, people gathered at one of the last events of the New York City Wine & Food Festival, enjoying family fun at Backyard BBQ, hosted by Bobby Flay and Michael Symon on Sunday. With this new event the two chefs and best friends invited some of the city’s best barbecue chefs and pitmasters to cook for an evening. “Anything that I can do with Michael is always going to be a good time,” said Bobby as we sat down with the two hosts to chat about the event. “We basically major in fun,” added Bobby. People might be thinking, barbecue in the Big Apple? But Bobby immediately cleared up any doubts. “New York City may not be known as the barbecue capital of the word, but it is today,” he said. After tasting the offerings, we wholeheartedly agree: All these city-slicker chefs can make some darn-good barbecue.
Michael added: “I love being in New York. I love what this event stands for. I love the money that it raises. And to do it with one of your best friends, cooking a style of food that both of us love so much, and surrounded by people that love food, it’s magical.” When asked how the event came to be, Bobby said: “In some ways it was just sort of natural. Food Network said: You guys are such good friends. Why don’t you do an event together?” We were like, “Alright.” And since both guys love to cook and eat barbecue, it was simply the perfect fit.
Before the curtain closed on the ninth-annual New York City Wine & Food Festival, the scene was set for Broadway Tastes at the Metropolitan West, where fans of Broadway and food converged on Sunday morning. It opened with a full house, and hosts Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka set the stage for special performances from the casts of Chicago, Something Rotten! and Beautiful, the Carole King Musical, while all-star chefs served up brunch bites inspired by the most-popular Broadway musicals. These were some of our favorites.
Friday night a slew of well-fed food fans were drawn to the late-night party emceed by Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host Guy Fieri at the New York City Wine & Food Festival. The first iteration of the late-night trivia event, pitting star against star, appeared at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February. Guy was proud to announce that this was Round 2, only bigger, better and with more booze. Guy’s ever-present energy ricocheted off the walls as he riled up the crowd for the panel of Food Network stars, distributing drinks personally before introducing the two teams. Carla Hall, Josh Capon and Valerie Bertinelli faced off against Chopped judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy and Scott Conant. Food Fight with Guy Fieri was a rare chance for the attendees to see the Food Network stars unedited and unfiltered.
Closing out Saturday night’s festivities at the New York City Wine & Food Festival was Patti LaBelle and Carla Hall’s Midnight Jazz Breakfast at the Harlem hot-spot The Cecil. Guests were dressed in their Sunday best — this was a midnight party, after all — and ate good food, drank wine aplenty and danced to a live jazz band.
If I were to walk you through the night, I’d say it felt like an intimate house party that started in 2016 and ended in 1938. Though at first it might seem hard to believe that such a large party as one hosted by Ms. LaBelle herself could fit into the nooks and crannies of a local Harlem restaurant, The Cecil was an ideal venue for such an event.
First I was greeted by a bar — with familiar pours like bourbon on the rocks and a dry Prosecco, both ideal ways to start a meal. But then the bartenders offered a handful of vintage drinks as well, such as the classic sidecar — a sweet, citrusy cognac-based cocktail owing its origins to the Ritz Hotel in Paris, circa 1922.
After a drink or two, I headed into the main dining room for a bite or six. To a contemporary backdrop of Beyoncé, Jay Z and Kanye, I started with an unctuous jumbo shrimp and grits, studded with jalapeno, applewood bacon and a hefty supply of sharp cheddar cheese, from Chef Carlos Swepson of BLVD Bistro.
Rooftop Chopped Brought the Competition Even Closer to Fans at the New York City Wine & Food Festivalby Joseph Erdos in Events, October 16th, 2016
At Rooftop Chopped, a brand-new event for the New York City Wine & Food Festival, fans of Food Network’s long-running competition cooking show were treated to a special experience: an insider’s look at the show. Following the format of the show, participating chefs, among them former Chopped competitors, cooked their choice of either appetizer, entree or dessert, and the eventgoers had the chance to taste and vote on their favorite dishes from among 30 in total. And of course the cast of judges and host Ted Allen were on hand to try the dishes and present the awards for both their judges’ pick and the people’s choice.
“We are taking our participation in the Festival to a completely higher level,” said Ted of the highly anticipated event. “I am excited for the food, for the competition. It’s like Chopped Live,” he said of the new format. And this time Ted had the chance to taste the dishes — something he doesn’t get to do on the show. While the festivities were going on, fans could also audition. “We’ve never done an event where people could come and apply to be on the show,” Ted said of the unique opportunity. “It’s like they’re participating in a live, large-scale version of our competition.”
If you’ve ever visited New York City and bought a hot pretzel from a cart on the corner, then you’ve experienced an important Big Apple tradition: street dining. Though the city’s traditional dining options are seemingly limitless — from hole-in-the-wall bakeries and grab-and-go delis to fast-casual diners and elegant sit-down dining rooms — it’s the food trucks, stalls, kiosks and carts that help make up the one-of-a-kind culture for which the city is loved. On night three of the New York City Wine & Food Festival, Chef Michael Mina of Mina Group fame and Ayesha Curry, whose Food Network series, Ayesha’s Homemade, is set to premiere on Oct. 22, came together to honor this Big Apple tradition by hosting Street Eats. This walk-around tasting featured some of the best bites to come from a truck, stall, stand or cart in NYC, plus a few from brick-and-mortar joints that pay homage to classic street food. We joined the crowds of hungry fans on Saturday, bellying up to the tables to experience all of it, and below are our picks for the best savory and sweet street eats that were up for grabs.
Now that fall has officially arrived, you could celebrate the return of colorful leaves, crisp air and comfy sweaters with a trip to the orchard or perhaps an apple pie. But on Saturday during the New York City Wine & Food Festival, Katie Lee and Marcela Valladolid hosted a Harvest Party that brought together all the best sights, smells and flavors of the season — including pumpkin pie, instead of apple, as it turns out.
Guests gathered inside the seasonally decorated Highline Stages in New York City not just to taste fall fixings like butternut squash soup, turkey sandwiches and that creamy pumpkin pie, but also to meet the hostesses. When we caught up with Katie and Marcela recently, they both said how eager they were to mingle with fans of The Kitchen at their event. “I’m excited because it’s the one time a year that we get to be in the presence of the fans — of the people that are being supportive and the people that watch the show and the people that take their time out of their way, of their schedules, spend money to buy a ticket to come and see us,” Marcela explained. “And that’s kind of huge. And I’m super grateful and I’m super excited to get the opportunity to actually be with people face to face.”
As for the food, Katie told us: “I just love fall harvest season in general. I love the food that comes along with it. It’s warm; it’s cozy.” She also noted that she was excited to have one vendor in particular in attendance, Carissa’s Breads, from East End, N.Y. “It’s my favorite bread,” she said. And we quickly realized why. Her offering made our list of the best fall bites of the Harvest Party. Read on to get all the details.
Sweet Potato Soup (pictured above): We’d heard positive rumblings from guests about how stellar this soup from Primal Cut was, and after trying it for ourselves, we realized just how right the others were. Luxuriously smooth and creamy but oh so light, this soup had subtle tang from mascarpone cheese. The toppings of crispy, salty pancetta and sweetened pecans were bonuses in the flavor and texture departments. Primal Cut also served a sweet side dish — Pumpkin Infused Caramel Cheesecake — which featured a similarly silky filling.
Anne Burrell hosted a high-energy happy hour at The Standard Biergarten, kicking off the second night of the New York City Wine & Food Festival. Eventgoers sipped on sparkling wine cocktails and sampled tapas-style bites from local restaurants in the outdoor biergarten, the perfect setting for a warm fall evening. Here are some of our favorites from the dozens of options.
Cheese Spread — Murray’s Cheese
Several different types of cheese, a savory boar salami, some olives and baked cheese sticks drew long lines around the cheese empire’s stand throughout the entire event.
If you’ve ever reveled in the smoky air of your backyard while grilling up a burger or two, you can imagine what guests of Friday night’s Burger Bash were in for when they walked into Manhattan’s Pier 92. Not one but dozens of chefs and restaurateurs came together at this rooftop party to serve up hundreds of juicy, cheesy, piled-high burgers to hordes of hungry fans, all eager to get their hands on the between-the-bun creations.
2016 marks the ninth year of this beloved New York City Wine & Food Festival event, and like in festivals past, the burger offerings put forth ranged from the classic (hello, American cheese) to the downright creative — think lamb-beef-combo patties and lobster toppings, which kept partygoers coming back for more. With so many burgers on display, it was up to both guests and judges — such famous, food-loving figures as Chopped judge Marc Murphy, Josh Capon, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka — to decide which was worthy of the People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice awards, respectively. We caught up with judge Josh, who knows what it takes to make a winning burger — he’s won a whopping six Burger Bash competitions — and he told us that the perfect burger would have “perfect meat, perfect bun, perfect toppings and perfect execution.” Simply put, he said he’d be looking for “balance.”