Tyler Florence’s San Francisco restaurant, Wayfare Tavern, fills its menu with a variety of seasonal and local produce. So what better way for Tyler to share his California kitchen than to fly in the freshest vegetables from the west coast straight to New York City for the Wine & Food Festival?
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When it comes to judging a competition, there’s no better group of discerning taste-testers to turn to than the cast of Chopped. At this Sunday’s Absolut Best Bloody Mary Brunch during the New York City Wine & Food Festival, the cast of Chopped gathered to host an elegant sit-down event, which featured food stations manned by former Chopped competitors and drink stations run by the eight finalists in Thrillist’s Search for America’s Best Bloody Mary, sponsored by Absolut Vodka. Attendees voted for the best bloody Mary and the Chopped cast picked three winners: best dressed, most creative and most original/exotic.
The big award of the day went to Kristin Alfandre from Mason’s Grill in Baton Rouge, La., wining a trip to serve at next year’s South Beach Wine &Food Festival in Miama, Fl. Her drink, called the Bloody Mason (Burn Baby, Burn!) used the classic Bloody Mary mix with Absolut Peppar vodka, horseradish, Sriracha, lemon, lime and Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces. Toppings included bacon, beef jerky straw, celery, okra, cocktail onions and a green bean.
FN Dish was on hand to capture the best brunch creations — and drinks. Read on to find out more about the winning drinks and which dishes were the standouts from former Chopped competitors.
Tacos are having a moment in New York City right now, and it was on full display at Bobby Flay‘s fourth annual Tacos & Tequila party. This can’t-miss event has become a Saturday night staple of the New York City Wine & Food Festival. This year, nearly 30 of Bobby’s NYC chef “brothers and sisters” served up their tastiest tacos, and there were even stations from a few out-of-town friends.
Pier 92 was packed with taco-loving fans — including Food Network stars like Giada De Laurentiis, Chopped judge Aarón Sánchez and newly minted Star winner Damaris Phillips — eager to sample the offerings and sip Olmeca Altos margaritas.
FN Dish asked Bobby what makes up his perfect taco. “The perfect taco should be spicy, sweet, sour and crispy,” the event host told us, as he manned his Bar Americain station and chatted with hundreds of fans. Bobby’s own taco certainly met his criteria: He served a pork, pineapple and pomegranate taco wrapped in a crisp radicchio leaf for a refreshing flavor-packed bite.
Who knew that Guy Fieri was such a Broadway enthusiast? Turns out that the host of Guy’s Grocery Games (Sundays 8pm/7c) is a theatergoer after all, and on Saturday he celebrated his love of the live stage by hosting a party inspired by one of his favorite shows, Rock of Ages, during the New York City Wine & Food Festival.
Standing tall atop the second-floor bar at his restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, Guy told the packed crowd that he and his family have seen the musical and enjoy its ’80-style jams, so it was only fitting for him to invite the cast to belt out some of their signature tunes right then and there, as the show’s theater is located just steps away from his Times Square eatery. It didn’t take long for the scene soon to turn into a dance party when Guy manned the microphone on stage and added his own rock-and-roll twist to the cast’s performance.
When it comes to sandwiches, no one knows or respects the intricacies of this timeless favorite quite like Food Network’s own Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro. At Saturday’s Soup’er Sandwich event during the 2013 New York City Wine & Food Festival, Jeff gathered more than two dozen of his fellow sandwich enthusiasts at Manhattan’s Hudson Hotel, and together they celebrated all things meaty, cheesy and saucy between bread, as well as the ultimate accompaniment to sandwiches: soup.
Not one to stick with ordinary PB&Js or the everyday ham-and-cheese, Jeff offered the crowd of guests a dinnerlike sandwich, The Sloppy Greek (pictured left). FN Dish caught up with the host at his station, and he broke down each component of his signature sandwich: “Ground lamb, slowly seared and cooked with red wine, a bunch of spices [and] garlic, homemade feta tzatziki sauce with a little mint in there [and] cucumber-banana pepper relish served on a Martin’s potato roll.” What resulted was a bold, flavorful “Greek-inspired spin on a sloppy joe,” according to Jeff. “It’s delicious,” he added, and his fans surely agreed, given that he ran out of bread not long into the afternoon.
Hundreds gathered at this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival‘s Blue Moon Burger Bash on Pier 92 to taste 27 different iterations of burgers, ranging from the classic to the over-the-top. But for the first time in the Burger Bash’s history, two chefs shared the most coveted prize of People’s Choice: Guy Fieri and Josh Capon. Judges’ Favorite went to Paul Denamiel of Le Rivage for his French Onion Soup Burger. Guy’s burger was a multi-layered comfort food smorgasbord that Guy himself claimed contained 22 ingredients. It drew a never-ending line of patrons who ultimately voted it as their top pick.
FN Dish was at the event to take in all the sights, sounds and aromas. Watch the video above to see what went down and read on for more details on Guy’s and Josh’s winning burgers and ones from Bobby Flay and Marc Murphy.
Guests could smell the sweet, smoky scent of barbecue well before they could see it as they made their way into the depths of New York City’s Hudson Hotel on Friday night. More than 15 chefs and restaurateurs from the Big Apple and beyond gathered on day two of the 2013 New York City Wine & Food Festival, all to celebrate Thrillist’s Barbecue & The Blues, hosted by Food Network’s own restaurant reviver, Robert Irvine.
Robert led his fellow masters of meat with an offering that was anything but common to true ‘cue enthusiasts. He presented BBQ Cannelloni (pictured right): rolled sheets of pasta that were filled with ricotta cheese and a combination of beef cheek, brisket and oxtail, then topped with tomato chutney and finished with barbecue powder. “That’s sexy food,” Robert told FN Dish at the event, the fourth of its kind since the festival’s inception six years ago. “Everybody else is doing brisket …. We took that and took it in a different direction.”
The fall season brings all things pumpkin and apple, but it also ushers in one of the largest food festivals in the country: the New York City Wine & Food Festival. Starting tonight and running through Sunday, this four-day extravaganza gathers the best of the industry all in one city.
We’ll be at the festival all weekend long with Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine, Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jeff Mauro, Alex Guarnaschelli, Justin Warner and more.
If you can’t make it to the festival this year, tune in to FN Dish for our coverage all weekend long,including exclusive videos, or search the hashtag #NYCWFF on Twitter.
Blue Moon Burger Bash hosted by Rachael Ray (Friday, Oct. 18)
Join Rachael and some of your favorite Food Network chefs — Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri and Marc Murphy — for one of the biggest bashes of the weekend. Bobby took home Judge’s Choice in South Beach earlier this year — will he be able to do it in New York City with his Carolina Burger (smoked cheddar, mustard barbecue sauce and green onion slaw)?
He may be a renowned chef, cookbook author and no-nonsense judge on Chopped, but when it comes to tailgating, Aarón Sánchez is just like every other footfall fan on game day. “Everyone thinks that, ’cause I’m a chef, I’m going to want all this really decadent stuff,” Aarón told FN Dish recently. “No, sometimes you can’t mess with the formula of a tailgate.” We recently caught up with him in New York City at an event hosted by Ortega, where he was celebrating his partnership with the Mexican food company, and he explained that there should be just a few classic eats at every tailgate spread — not over-the-top dishes or fancy fare.