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.
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Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.
With the arrival of autumn comes the annual craze for the PSL (pumpkin spice latte), whose avid fan base just can’t seem to get enough of the seasonal beverage. Its star ingredient is much more versatile than many people realize, however. Innovative chefs around the country are elevating the status of pumpkin spice by taking it out of the paper cup and incorporating it into dishes that are far from basic. Read on to find out the surprising ways the pros are using the flavor of the season.
Jeremy Rock Smith, Executive Chef, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
In addition to filling your home with that distinctive autumnal scent, pumpkin spice actually has many health benefits. Though the ingredient inevitably conjures up images of overly sweet beverages and treats, Smith weighs in on how he brings pumpkin spice together with better-for-you ingredients at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Mass. “Pumpkin spice has really become synonymous with being unhealthy — [because] it’s often paired with a ton of white sugar,” Smith explains. “My favorite way to use pumpkin spice is by pairing it with healthy fall items, such as apples. When used this way, its flavor takes center stage and is highlighted, rather than smothered, without canceling out any of the benefits by adding the processed sweeteners.”
Jon Bignelli, Executive Chef, Sons & Daughters
For some people, fall is their favorite season — be it for the food or nostalgia. It’s a scientific fact that certain aromas can trigger the deepest memories, and Bignelli taps into this idea via pumpkin spice at newcomer Sons & Daughters in New York City. “I love pumpkin spice. It triggers all of those familiar fall feelings and nostalgic embraces,” says Bignelli. He incorporates the ingredient into the restaurant’s dessert menu by way of a seasonal spin on churros that features pumpkin spice. “It draws out the recollections of corn mazes, haunted houses, tricks, treats, misfit Thanksgivings, foliage and homecomings,” Bignelli says of the autumnal ingredient. “It makes you want more — and helps you to never forget those memories.”
Amy Scherber, Owner, Amy’s Bread
When it comes to baked goods and pumpkin spice, Scherber is churning out a new favorite — Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns — at her popular New York City bakery. “Chewy and crusty, our Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Bun is made with white and whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, spices, toasted pecans, and plenty of butter to make it rich and decadent,” Scherber says, noting that her sweet creation can be enjoyed in more than one way. “Depending on your mood, you can have it with a smear of cream cheese frosting or just plain, so you can savor all that wonderful pumpkin and spice.”
Rebecca Weitzman, Executive Chef, Chalk Point Kitchen
There’s farm-to-table, there’s sustainable, and there’s multicultural; Chalk Point Kitchen in New York City is known for the trifecta. The restaurant’s global influence comes into play in Weitzman’s spin on pumpkin spice that takes it in a different direction than pie or sweets. “I think that fall pumpkin spices, if you remove the maple sweet factor, are very similar to madras curry seasonings with the ginger, allspice and cinnamon,” she says. “I really like to use them with lentils, as well as other legumes like chickpeas, during this time of year. Look … for a spiced heirloom pumpkin hummus coming to our new fall menu at Chalk Point!”
Kelly Liken, Executive Chef and Owner, Harvest by Kelly Liken
In Edwards, Colo., just down the street from Vail, Harvest by Kelly Liken is known for its unique yet approachable menu. You can count on Liken, then, to incorporate pumpkin spice into her seasonal fare in a rather creative and unexpected way: “I love to use pumpkin spice in pickling,” says Liken. “I’ll pickle pumpkin with a sweet and tangy liquid infused with pumpkin spice. The pickled pumpkin makes a great addition to an arugula salad dressed with a little extra virgin olive oil.”
Photography courtesy of Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Sons & Daughters, Amy’s Bread, Chalk Point Kitchen and Harvest by Kelly Liken
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.
By Angela Carlos
A recent Halloween episode of Chopped Junior wasn’t exactly business as usual. We’ve seen some pretty outrageous mystery basket ingredients over the many seasons of Chopped and Chopped Junior, but a vile of vampire blood? That certainly was a first.
Neither the zombie scabs (jerky) nor the bloody guts (pastry dough with raspberry jam) slowed down the young contestants, who fought for the $10,000 prize and cooked their way through the spooky mystery basket ingredients.
For this week’s Chopped Junior-inspired lunchbox idea, we borrowed from the haunted, crafty theme to make turkey and cheese mummy kebabs.
Halloween is a particularly playful holiday — even costumes and decorations meant to spook us are all in good fun. And we like Halloween treats that strike a similar balance. These new desserts are inspired by the holiday ghouls and goblins, but they really just make us smile.
Stuffed Candy Corn Cake (above)
The tricks in this treat are two-fold. First, there’s the candy corn surprise in the center. And second, thanks to a clever frosting pattern, each slice actually looks like a giant piece of candy corn. Watch how to make it here.
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.
Kids’ sports practices, your pets’ vet appointments, your work demands and all the things that will inevitable arise at the very last minute — there are countless reasons why weeknights are hectic, but that doesn’t mean dinner should get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Instead of resorting to delivery pizza or your usual takeout order when time is tight, opt for these family-friendly meals from The Kitchen. On this morning’s all-new episode, the co-hosts devoted the entire hour to showcasing recipes that are both quick to prep and easy enough to make on busy evenings. The secret lies in being prepared — having everything you need to make dinner on hand — and relying on a few no-shame shortcuts from the grocery store.
The beaches of northern Mexico have long been synonymous with surf, sand … and fish tacos.
Though no one can be certain exactly where or how this seemingly multicultural creation came about, one widely held theory is that Japanese fisherman working along the Pacific shores introduced the art of tempura to the local denizens of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, which eventually led to the birth of the beloved fish taco.
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.”
Unless you’re heavily invested in fruit baskets, you might not eat a lot of pears. And I get it. They’re hard as a rock at the grocery store and require at least a couple of days on a friendly counter until they’re soft enough to bite into. But that’s where the magic happens. This fall, do yourself the most-delicious favor: Buy a couple of pears. Set them on the counter. After three days, pick one of these mouthwatering recipes and let those pears shine. You won’t regret it.
Souffle Pancake with Pear & Apple Compote (pictured above)
In our house we call this a Dutch baby, and it’s hands-down our family’s favorite special breakfast. What makes it so good? It could be the pillowy cloud that emerges from the oven like a delicious science project, but I think it’s thanks in no small part to the rich and sweet compote on top.