2011 New York City Wine & Food Festival

The Daily Meal team is on the scene to cover tastings, Champagne guzzling, and party-hopping

The New York City Wine & Food Festival kicks off, and The Daily Meal's editorial team is on the scene to cover the events. Check in here for regular updates on Fried food, Meatball Madness, and culinary comings and goings throughout the weekend from The Daily Meal editors and contributors: Arthur Bovino, Molly Aronica, Jessica Chou, Terri Ciccone, Jeanette Awai, and the GutterGourmet. Click here for coverage of individual events.

 

THURSDAY

6:18 p.m. Here we go folks. Time to test those plate, notebook, and booze juggling skills. First up, Meatball Madness. — Arthur

11:59 p.m. As the festival gets under way, Twitter feeds of famous chefs and those who love them are going exploding, and attendees are taking it upon themselves to document every emotion and detail of the events. In case you don't have time to sift through all the tweets about who "had a ball” at #meatballmadness (including all the tongue-in-cheek-tweets you'd expect about meaty balls) we'll be sifting through the overexcitement-born twitter chatter to feature the most informative and amusing #nycwff tweets during the events. Here are a few. — Terri

 

FRIDAY

The scene at Chelsea Market After Dark.

12:37 a.m. Perhaps attendees were feeling more comatose than usual following this year's Meatball Madness competition, because the crowd at Chelsea Market After Dark appeared uncharacteristically tame. Over in the Macy's Lounge, Emeril Lagasse, the host of the event, made his debut appearance at the NYCWFF and signed books for devoted fans. More than 30 of the market's shops extended their hours for the late night party to serve guests tasting-sized portions of their signature dishes (think small cups of chowder from spots like The Lobster Place and Hale & Hearty Soups.) One of the best bites was the homemade ndjua being served by Dickson's, who said that they were going to start selling it in Chelsea Market. As far as the libations went, purveyors ranging from Palm ale to Svedka vodka doled out specialty drinks for the masses. Seems like a letdown from prior years. Everyone, it seems had tickets for Anne Burrell's Rock and Bowl. Food Network may want to look into the it's-not-a-party-unless-Anne-is-there issue. — Molly

 

Alton Brown takes a break from tweeting (photo courtesy Bob Gohn).

1:15 p.m. The Next Iron Chef Experience kicked off in Chelsea’s Pedestrian Plaza between 9th Avenue and W13th to an intimate crowd of Food Network stars and Time Warner Cable executives. The early morning emcee was none other than Alton Brown who gave the press the inside scoop on the upcoming season premiering Sunday October 30th at 9 p.m. “What’s different about this season is that it’s more difficult," Brown said. "Each and every episode will feature a chairman’s challenge in which all of the contestants will cook outside of the kitchen, then fight to sudden death.” May the best chef win. Click here for the slideshow. — Jeanette

4:49 p.m. We're seeing more and more tweets about who's who and who's where at the different events. Some big names and personalities are making their way through #nycwff! — Terri

 

11:59 p.m. NYCWFF's Sweet dessert tasting had a lounge-y feel, with club music and giant bean bag chairs. 34 pastry chefs came out to offer up the best of their desserts, Sandra Lee hosted the ceremony, and big names like Dorie Greenspan and Ron Ben-Israel made appearances (and pastries). There were a lot of peanut butter, chocolate, and apple sweets, but the star of the show had to be the Doughnut Plant, which ran out of doughnuts more than an hour before closing time. Read the full event coverage here. — Jessica

12:30 a.m. Getting a read on the scene at NYCWFF's Meatpacking Uncorked is difficult, given that the event is spread out across the span of an entire neighborhood. Stars from Cooking Channel, such as Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, Kelsey Nixon, and Mo Rocca, were stationed in posh boutiques throughout the district, waiting for fans to swing by and snap photos. On the food front, the streets were lined with trucks doling out “snack size” portions of their dishes — Gorilla Cheese NYC handed out grilled cheese sandwich quarters and Luke’s Lobster handed out mini-shrimp rolls. The wine was flowing (disproportionately, perhaps to the amount of food being served) and overall attendees appeared gleeful to partake in the ensuing dance party in the streets. — Molly

SATURDAY

12:00 p.m. NYCWFF is the ultimate supporter of hand-held dishes (well, except for Meatball Madness). From tacos to burgers, and now sandwiches, the festival is an opportunity for chefs to showcase their best bites. Duff Goldman hosted The Best Thing I Ever Ate Between Bread, where over 15 of the best sandwich makers in New York City served up mouthwatering combinations. — Molly

12:30 p.m. The New York City Food & Wine Festival’s Blogger Lounge at the Dream Downtown Hotel is a chill spot. Bloggers are busy typing under a rooftop pool with hypnotizing transcendental rock playing in the background. The AOL Huffington Post Media Group is hosting an Oasis spa event for the stressed out festival attendees, and the free peach smoothie is delicious.

12:45 p.m. We snatched up Top Chef All-Star Dale Talde to answer some questions.

Which fall restaurants opening are you most looking forward to?
I’m at my space everyday and I’m hoping that this restaurant called Talde gets opened cause I’m unemployed right now and I need to work.

What are some of your fall favorite dishes?
I love Italian food. I love butternut squash.

What are some foods that you would not go locavore for?
All my Asian ingredients, my fish sauces, my tamarind, my rice noodles, and dry rice noodles. It’s just better when it comes from Spice House.  — Jeanette

1:15 p.m. We caught up with Josh Capon, People’s Choice winner of best burger at NYCWFF’s Blue Moon Burger Bash. Here's what he had to say.

Which fall restaurants opening are you most looking forward to?
B&B, Hansen Kibo, Steven Hanson in the old Japanese spot which is right by my house, 19th and Park.

What are some of your fall favorite dishes?
I love apple picking, pumpkins, braised meats, braised pork shank at B&B with braised cabbage and apple confit.

What are some foods that you would not go locavore for?
None if I had choice, great imported product from Japan. — Jeanette

1:30 p.m. Top Chef All-Star chef Spike Mendelsohn sat on the golden lounge couches to dish his secret fried chicken recipe along with other gems.

Which fall restaurants opening are you most looking forward to? 
I have no idea what restaurants are opening this fall. There's a new pho place in D.C. called Tokyo Underground.

What are some of your fall favorite dishes?
Fried chicken. I make it myself with dry seasonings, pickle juice brine, buttermilk, Ritz crackers. I also like Vietnamese food like lettuce wraps and really spicy stuff.

What are some foods that you would not go locavore for?
Import Greek olive oil, Greek olives and Poulet de Bresse from France, all cheese from everywhere else but the United States. — Jeanette

1:45 p.m. Clarie Robinson, host of Food Network’s 5 Ingredient Fix answered some questions below.

Which fall restaurants opening are you most looking forward to?
My favorite restaurants right now include Ippudo — best ramen in the country. Peasant is my favorite. One of the best cooks, Frank. The neighborhood spots are all good.

What are some of your fall favorite dishes?
Squash, squash, and more squash. Spaghetti, acorn, butternut squash — everything squash related. Root vegetables roasted. This is the best item to cook. Cook with real olive oil, not extra-virgin, and some good salt. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes for almost everything. Parsnips, carrots — love making roasted veggie into a mash. Take the leftovers, and pulse them in the food processor, — celery root, parsnips, carrots. Add a little bit of pumpkin pie spice to the sweeter ones.

What are some foods that you would not go locavore for?
India for amazing spice blends. Chilies. I really buy local more than anything else. Curry paste – Thai fresh curry paste, Indian curry paste. From Bangkok Alley – it’s amazing. Not going to buy imported produce, it’s not as good a lot of times it’s ripening on the truck on the way there. Once you got a fresh piece of corn that’s local it ruins you for the stuff that’s local. — Jeanette

2:13 p.m. Many chefs are stopping by the Eater Blogger Lounge to chat with us about tips, favorite foods, and upcoming restaurants they are excited about. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @thedailymeal for the most recent updates and pictures (Daniel Boulud playing jenga, anyone?). In case you missed it, here are some Twitter highlights. — Terri

3:00 p.m. We grabbed Top Chef Season One winner and chef of Perilla Harold Dieterie and interrogated him about his love of Concord grapes.

Which fall restaurants opening are you most looking forward to?
I’m excited about Floyd Cardoz's restaurant. I’m interested in seeing him cooking some fish. I loved his food at Tabla.

What are some of your fall favorite dishes?
I love Brussel sprouts. My grandmother is a great cook, but she never did good Brussel sprouts. I love apples, Concord grapes — I like to keep everything very seasonal.

What are some foods that you would not go locavore for?
In my restuarant, it's hard to get the really good citrus fruits and other fruits locally. If you’re going to have a Thai restaurant, there’s not any citrus food growing around here. — Jeanette

3:15 p.m. Chef Alain Allegretti, looking to make a comeback after the close of his eponymous Flatiron restaurant, brought his special brand of French good looks and charm to our little blogging station. 

Which fall restaurants opening are you most looking forward to?
This is New York City, so you always have food opportunities.

What are some of your fall favorite dishes?
Everything hearty: stew, sausage, pepper, ragú, more comfort food.

What are some foods that you would not go locavore for?
I always buy locally and things that are in season. This is my favorite thing to do. — Jeanette

 

3:00 p.m. The Grand Tasting is not for the faint of heart. Between the throngs of hungry (and thirsty) ticket holders, the endless stream of eager vendors, and the threat of a getting a glass of red wine or pomegranate juice spilled on you at any moment, it takes a certain zen-like focus to navigate this event. But, for those willing to put up with a few elbow jabs and weed through the venues serving up poorly executed wedding food, the Grand Tasting offered a handful of greatly appreciated culinary delights. — Molly

3:30 p.m. Chef Angelo Sosa, Top Chef All-Star, chef of Social Eatz doubled the hotness quota in the Dream Hotel when he sashayed by to answer questions. 

Which fall restaurants opening are you most looking forward to?
Possibly my own, we just opened a place in L.A., Smith House. it’s in Century City. It’s an elevated gastropub. There’s over 130 types of beer.

What are some of your fall favorite dishes?
I’m a simplistic person I love pizza and Srichacha. My favorite pizza in New York city is Roberta’s. I love Mexican, I go to Toalache. It’s the best Mexican in the city.

What are some foods that you would not go locavore for?
Sashimi grade tuna, fresh wasabi. I love working with Asian ingredients, fresh lilly bulbs, I import from China. — Jeanette

4:30 p.m. Top Chef Master and chef of Table Fifty-Two, Art Smith joined us to talk about his transition from greedy gourmand to health-conscious food-lover.

Which fall restaurants opening are you most looking forward to?
We have opening Southern Art & Bourbon Bar in the Buckethead Continental. We’re doing a healthy concept, no white flour, no white sugar, a lot of vegan desserts. I’ve lost a lot of weight and I’m trying to make a commitment to that.

What are some of your fall favorite dishes?
I think that Fall is a great time for apples. One of the greatest things I’ve learnt about getting my health back is how delicious apples can be and they’re all these different varietals available. We have really nice squashes and pumpkins; pumpkins make the most divine risotto. One thing I get excited about is that we get a lot of oatmeal and we’re trying to make oatmeal as a savory meal. You can use a steel-cut oatmeal and treat it like you would Arborio rice and it’s really quite delicious. I realized now that I lost weight that I can do more than I ever have before and I can appreciate food more.

What are some foods that you would not go locavore for?
Can you really beat a good Parma ham prosciutto? And I’m doing artisan hams, but I’m never going to not love Parma ham. I love Bufflo mozzarella. Parmesan-Reggiano, no one can really reproduce that. Fine Bourdeaux from France. America has all this great stuff, let’s face it, you can’t be American grassfed beef. I love what’s going on in Australia. Now they’re doing truffles and they’re good. I was in Tennessee and they had good truffles, but I think for food people rather than have a substitute, have the real thing. We live in a global economy and we can do that.  — Jeanette

4:41 p.m. Things have finally quieted down a bit at the Eater Blogger Lounge (the Jenga game has ended with a bang thanks to chef Michael Lomanaco), and we've had a chance to see what everyone else tweeting at #nycwff has has to say about the events going on city wide. We've noticed that many tweeters have sandwiches on the mind! — Terri

Chef Daniel Boulud starts the game.

5:00 p.m. In case you are intrigued about this "Jenga game" we've been tweeting about, we have a quick photo documentation of chefs playing the game. Chefs were asked to pull a piece and sign it before balancing it on the top of the stack. Some did it without a sweat, some did not fare so well. If you can't take the heat, get out of the blogger lounge! — Terri

 

Chef Michael Ferraro proudly shows the piece he pulled.

The game remains standing.

 

As pieces tumble, chef Lomanco shouts:"You gotta break some eggs if you want 'em in the omlette!"

5:30 p.m. The New York Times hosted a series of TimesTalks today as part of the New York City Wine & Food Festival. From 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., dining reporter Jeff Gordinier moderated a discussion with chefs Eric Ripert and his mentee, Jennifer Carroll of Top Chef fame. Chef Ripert looked distinguished, as always, but it was Jennifer who stole the show, sporting a new hairdo (long, blonde, and expertly styled) and a figure-hugging, plum-colored dress complete with nude platform heels. Gordinier effortlessly prompted the duo to discuss topics ranging from the documented 149 cardinal sins that should never be broken at Le Bernardin, to Carroll’s explosive exit from Top Chef All-Stars, and her final days at 10 Arts Bistro by Eric Ripert in Philadelphia. The genuine nature of Carroll and Ripert’s working relationship, and friendship, came through loud and clear. Although Carroll will be leaving her post as chef de cuisine at Ripert’s restaurant this upcoming Wednesday, it’s evident she will continue to have his utmost support as she takes the leap to open her own restaurant in the near future. — Molly

7:30 p.m. The second to last TimesTalks event, called The A List, featured four powerhouse New York City chefs, each of whom have names beginning with “A” and also happen to be women — April Bloomfield, Anne Burrell, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Anita Lo. From the moment the chefs entered the room, carrying full glasses of white wine, it was clear that this talk was going to be a good one. Author and Times columnist, Melissa Clark led the discussion, kicking things off by asking the chefs to talk about the greatest obstacles they’ve had to overcome in their careers.

Anne spoke first, revealing in the course of her answer that she and Alex have not always had the close friendship that they do now, in fact, the two began as bitter rivals while teaching at a culinary school together. April politely chimed in to say that she too disliked Alex when they first met, because she stole fresh fava beans from her at the farmers' market quite a few years ago. Alex proceeded to apologize profusely and promised to send April a couple boxes of fresh favas as soon as the new season begins. With the whole panel, and the audience, in stitches over recent revelations, the truthful nature of the discussion continued through the talk. Each of the chefs talked about the people who influence them constantly (April said Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray of The River Cafe, Anne said Lidia Bastianich, Alex said Guy Savoy, and Anita said David Waltuck of the late Chanterelle). The talk closed with questions from the audience, including one from a woman who asked the chefs how a single woman who loves to dine out, would be treated at their restaurants. During the wine and cheese reception following the event, one of the chefs offered her personal contact info to the woman and invited her to come for dinner anytime. An inspiring way to end an inspiring conversation. — Molly

 

SUNDAY

1:15 p.m. Chef Michael White stopped by the Eater Lounge to chat, and after giving the Eater Wonder Wheel a spin, he spoke about fall ingredients he's most ecited about. As a chill made its way through the lounge, he was remdinded that it’s the perfect time of year for apples, pumpkins, and Brussel sprouts. While he serves some of these ingredients year-round, “Apple crisps with cinnamon just mean more this time of year,” he said. — Terri

2:10 p.m. Chef Will Guidara, general manager of Eleven Madison Park, and Jeff Tascarella, proprietor of the Tenpenny stopped by to give a preview of what’s to come at their upcoming restaurant, NoMAD at the Nomad Hotel in New York City, opening early 2012. The new restaurant will have a different vibe from Eleven Madison Park, it will have a more “rock ‘n’ roll vibe” said Tascarella, who went on to say that NoMAD will have a bigger bar, longer hours, and an a la carte menu, which is far different from Eleven Madison Park’s long-form tasting menu. “What I’m most excited about for fall,” said Guidara, “is working with Jeff.” He went on to explain that Tascarella is a friend in the restaurant industry, and the two have been talking about working together for years. “We always talked about work when we weren’t working together, so now we’re just getting paid to do it,” Guidara said. Below you can see Guidara taking a shot of bourbon as Tascarella looks on in the background, thanks to the Wonder Wheel. — Terri

 

2:20 p.m. Red Rooster's Marcus Samuelsson stopped by to talk about the wonders of cooking in New York in the fall, fitting since he was decked head-to-toe in a sharp fall color palette. “Fall is an amazing time for a chef,” he said. “It’s cooling down outside but in the kitchen is so busy inside.” His favorite ingredients for the season include pumpkin and Brussels spouts as well as hearty stews. When asked about what’s next for Red Rooster, Samuelsson spoke about how the restaurant always has and will continue to be about the community.

“Harlem has been so supportive… Red Rooster’s whole idea was to have people come see the great neighborhood.” He went on to say that he enjoys the fact that people come to Harlem for the restaurant and end up spending a great deal of time in the neighborhood, supporting it. “New York City is an amazing place to cook," Samuelsson finished, “there are new chefs, new restaurants… it’s the cool thing about New York, you’re always learning and getting inspired.”

From what we have seen of him on Top Chef, we know Samuelsson never takes the easy road, and apparently that goes for his Jenga skills as well! Below, a very ambitious move, pulling a piece from the bottom and perfectly placing it up top.  — Terri

 

3:30 p.m. Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine stopped by to give an update about her favorite fall dishes and what Food & Wine is excited about this fall. Cowin is looking forward to pot roasts, one-pot dishes, stews, braises, great vegetable dishes and “lots of butter” (she jokingly pronounces “butta”). Food & Wine is looking to all things French this October. “For years, French was it,” she explained, “if people wanted a great meal they’d go to a French restaurant or bistro.” After years of a strong interest in American food, she’s excited about to a return to traditional French food. — Terri

 

6:40 p.m. Travel Channel's No Reservation's host, Anthony Bourdain was on time to pose for photos with his adoring fans at his book signing. Bourdain jokingly hung his coat over the Food Network logo (ouch). Tony was nice enough to pose with The Daily Meal's social media expert Terri (below) and I (above) right before the imminent downpour.  — Jeanette

 

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