New York City Wine & Food Festival 2012

Meatball Madness, Shake & Bake, and everything in between
Scenes from the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival 2011.

There's just no pretending anymore. When the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival gears up, you have to just admit that fall is here and take comfort in all the fun that the festival brings. Events, chefs, tastes, and way too much bubbly and booze (in a good way, of course). This marks the fifth year of the festival and it's gotten off to a grand start (the opening party at DBGB featured a boatful of Island Creek Oysters, passed burgers, Boulud dogs, and even escargot pizza).

New York City Wine & Food Festival Celebrates 5th Year

And that's just the beginning. Meatball Madness, Shake & Bake, seminars, and celebrity chef appearances, it's going to be four days of good food — a dizzying array of gloating and gorging. And team Daily Meal (proud to be one of the proud sponsors contributing to the success of the festival) and its contributors will be on the scene. Check out past years' coverage, and check in regularly for updates. Attending this year's festival? We want to hear from you. Tips, observations, gossip, opinions about the food? Share them with The Daily Meal's editors on Twitter (or just @TheDailyMeal), or join the community and contribute your own festival coverage posts!

2012 New York City Wine & Food Festival

2011 New York City Wine & Food Festival

2010 New York City Wine & Food Festival

THURSDAY (10/11/2012) It's a big night. Fried chicken's moment is crystallizing. Last year's Shake and Bake has move from Hill Country Chicken to Yotel, where Whoopi Goldberg and DJ Questlove will be sampling fried chicken with festival-goers from many New York spots including The Brooklyn Star, Seersucker, WONG, Red Rooster Harlem, just to name a few. Then of course, Meatball Madness returns to 82 Mercer, where at least 37 different chefs (37, can that really be true?), some by event vets like The Meatball Shop, Pulino's, Donatella, Rubirosa, Hearth, and new participants like Alison EIghteen, Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, and Carmine's (welcome). It's go, go, go time. Which brings to mind the question: How do you tackle attending an event where there are more than 30 meatballs being servedRegardless of who you're handicapping as this year's winner, there are 10 truisms to follow:

Meatball Madness: The Ultimate How-To

FRIDAY (10/12/2012) L'Apicio Wins Best Meatball in New York 9:55 AM While popular contenders for the best meatballs in New York may be Meatball Shop’s Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow, Gramercy Tavern, and Marco Canora, last night’s Meatball Madness at the New York City Wine & Food Festival crowned a new and unsuspecting winner: Gabe Thompson of L’Apicio. As for the winning meatball among the judges (Giada De Laurentiis, who spend most of the night taking photos with fans, Anne Burrell, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Alex Guarnaschelli), Gabe Thompson served up a classic pork meatball with Amatriciana sauce over polenta. Thompson, wearing what may now be his lucky Budweiser hat, gave the shortest speech ever after winning a competition, ending with "All right I’m gonna go now." Afterward, he told us, "I didn’t know that there was a contest, I knew there was a voting thing and all that but I was just like, oh People’s Choice, whatever, you know. But then they walked around and you send one up, and they’re like, 'Oh we need three more for the judges,' and someone told me that meant there was a chance for us to win." — Jess Chou

Full Madness Coverage: L'Apicio Wins Best Meatball

THURSDAY (10/11/2012) During the night of sampling Southern fare from hot spots like Seersucker, Hill Country, Red Rooster, and JoeDoe, the hosts took a moment to remind us why we were all really there. "Isn't it amazing that by us eating all of this fried chicken, we are feeding a ton of people?" Goldberg said when she addressed the crowd. After Smith thanked the sponsors and the attendees, Goldberg went on to stress the fact that the NYCWFF's main mission is to raise awareness and money for the fight against hunger, as all proceeds from all of the events go to the cause. — Francesca Borgognone

The Right Southern Fix at Shake and Bake

FRIDAY (10/12/2012) More Meatball Observations: Last night while Michael Chernow was kissing girls on the cheek for votes, we chatted with Daniel Holzman about when exactly their third Meatball Shop will open. "You know what, we’ve had a hard time with permits and getting through everyhting," Holzman said, dashing our hopes of Meatball Shop lunches in Chelsea. "We’re also really excited about the shop; this is the first time we think we can make it right from the very start so we’re taking our time." At least there's more to look forward to. Next up on the Meatball Shop plate: "Upper East Side," Holzman confirmed. — Jess Chou

Sadly, Meatball Shop in Chelsea Not Opening Any Time Soon

FRIDAY (10/12/2012) Astor Hours Cocktails at the Public Theater 12:52 PM The Public Theater roared with excitement during last night’s liquor-soaked New York City Wine & Food Festival Astor Hours Cocktails event. As Andrew Carmellini is the chef at The Library — the new bar and restaurant on the upper level of the theater — it was only appropriate that he hosted the party, and true-to-form could be seen roaming between the lobby, Joe’s Pub on the first floor, and his new digs upstairs. Of the food offered, Marco Canora’s meat salad sandwich seemed to be the most popular, prompting some partiers to double-fist breadrather than booze. Food & Wine's effervescent Kate Krader waded through the crowd at the pub, bubbling with excitement while talking about the upcoming Korean barbecue dinner thrown by Roy Choi. Speaking of food trucks, Krader cited Andrew Zimmern’s Trucks & Train — an evolution of last year’s Carts in the Parc event — as the must-attend event. Seamus Mullen, however, just wants to see Morimoto sing at tonight’s Rock & Roll event. Thanks to the videos of the crooning Iron Chef that have circulated in the past, that’s where we’re headed as well. — Zachary Feldman

Astor Hours Cocktails at the Public Theater

SATURDAY (10/13/2012) Why Chefs Love to Cook Barbecue 2:06 AM What exactly drives many chefs' obsession with cooking meat? That's what The Daily Meal set out to discover at Thrillist's BBQ and The Blues event last night, part of the 2012 New York City Wine & Food Festival. The answers centered mostly around pork, people, and brisket, and roughly in that order in terms of popularity. Rocco DiSpirito, who hosted the event, and 14 other chefs set up tasting tables, helping to raise $50,000 to help end hunger in New York City through Food Bank NYC and also for Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign. On the first floor, which admittedly was a bit of a boiler room, meat lovers crowded around Dinosaur Bar-B-Que's stand for Pulled Pork Minis with Sweet and Sour Slaw, conveniently located right next to Rocco DiSpirito's highly coveted Tomato and Balsamic Barbecue Beef Brisket Sandwich. On the second floor, things really opened up — probably owing to the fact that the second floor was a bit hidden away. That was too bad for the kind folks from Wildwood Barbecue, whose Smoked Short Ribs with Sharp Cheddar Grits, Red Currant Barbecue Sauce, and Radish Sprouts were easily the best item of the night. — Will Budiaman

Why Chefs Love to Cook Barbecue


SATURDAY (10/13/2012) Cooking Channel's Uncorked Event 10:19 AM This past Friday night, at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, attendees of Cooking Channel’s Uncorked event in the Meatpacking District did just that, traveling from designer store to designer store and socializing with show hosts from the Food Network sibling channel. At the event, which was hosted by both Food Network and Cooking Channel, each guest received a "passport" at the beginning of the night, which consisted of a map that showed them where to find the cooking personalities and where to snack along the way.At Diane Von Furstenberg, husband and wife time Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos chatted and posed for photos with fans among brightly colored displays of clothing. When asked what they were most excited for at the Wine & Food Festival, Mazar explained that she was eager to tell people about the premiere of the new season of their hit show Extra Virgin, which blends her Queens, N.Y., upbringing with her husband’s authentic Tuscan cooking. What’s the number one piece of advice for cooking authentic Tuscan food? "Spend your money on the ingredients," says Corcos, "not the appliances." Across the street at Scoop, Chuck Hughes hung out with fans as they sipped on champagne and doled out advice for exploring new cities, which he covers on his show Chuck’s Eat the Street. Around the corner at Levi’s, Ben Sargent of Hook, Line & Dinner discussed fishing and the "Montauk blitz," with attendees. For Sargent, having his own show on the Cooking Channel was a lifelong dream, and he was excited to be able to tell people his success story at this year’s event.— Anne Dolce

Cooking Channel's Uncorked Event

SATURDAY (10/13/2012) Cocktails Ever After: A Night of Skinnygirl Spirits, Amateur Paparazzi, and Bethenny Frankel 11:41 AM If you had any doubt about Skinnygirl’s dominance in the market, the Bethenny Frankel event at NYCWFF proved that it’s here to stay. Women of all ages (and the token males in the crowd) sipped on everything Skinny, took pictures on the Skinnygirl "red carpet," and anxiously waited for the true star of the event: Bethenny. About an hour in, Frankel showed up with entourage in tow and posed for the photographers and the mobs of girls with iPhone cameras in hand. Then, she was quickly escorted to a set-up VIP lounge in the corner of the room, where bottle service was waiting for her. If the constant clammering to take photos of the reality star bothered her (imagine the polar bear exhibit at the zoo, mind you), the ever-cool Frankel didn’t show it. She poured drinks for herself and the lucky few escorted into the red roped- area, made conversation, and danced out of her seat to a few choice songs ("Call Me Maybe" was the first). While these weren’t the craft cocktails of the Astor Hours event at the Public Theater the night before (Sprite and cranberry juice were on hand for the hundreds of vodka cranberries ordered), the bar kept churning out the drinks to the crowds. By far, the highlight of the night for the crowd was when Frankel herself hopped behind the bar. To the screams from fans and applause from the bartenders, she started taking drink orders like a champ. — Marcy Franklin


Cocktails Ever After: A Night of Skinnygirl Spirits, Amateur Paparazzi, and Bethenny Frankel

SATURDAY (10/13/2012) The Future of Restaurants 1:14 PM With trends being stacked on trends, printed food, chefs trading kitchens — sometimes it seems as though the restaurant world is already squarely set in a future where robot servers and Willy Wonka's three-course meal gum became a reality a long time ago. So where's it all heading? What's next? That's what Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin posed at Panel Discussion: The Future of Restaurants Part of Local presented by The Corcoran Group to Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, and Magnus Nilsson (of Sweden's Fäviken Megasinet) during the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival. So what is next? Hong Kong, Mission Chinese, locavorism, organics all got several mentions, so too the state of fine dining, and chefs with research teams, but there was less in the way of tightly summarized formal conclusions, and more in the way of free-form conversation. From the sound things, restaurants are going to have to do some pretty crazy things to jump the shark when there are already examples of spots doing whiskey programs, craftbrewing, foraging, pop-ups all at the same time... with T-shirts designed by a skateboarder. "Is there dinner involved in this situation?" quipped Batali at one point. "Everything I've heard so far doesn't sound like anything I'd want to eat." A few things were clear. One, Mario Batali capacity for zingers and showmanship is unquestionable ("You know what I tell my vegetarian customers? That pig was a vegetarian.") Two, you really have to feel for Tom Colicchio for having lost his restaurant idea notebook after filming in Seattle. — Arthur Bovino

The Future of Restaurants

SATURDAY (10/13/2012) The Braiser Media Lounge 6:05 PM The Daily Meal caught up with top chefs at Food Network’s New York Wine & Food Festival Saturday as they stopped at The Braiser’s media lounge at Dream Hotel in New York City. Anne Burrell, Spike Mendelsohn, Dale Talde, Manuel Trevino, and Justin Warner shared what’s coming up, their favorite spots to eat, what’s behind their work, and bits of their personalities on day three of the four-day food festival. — Ashley Day

Celebrity Chefs Dish on New Restaurants, Books, and More

SATURDAY (10/13/2012) How Anne Burrell Got Her Hairstyle 4:44 PM Asked at the Braiser Lounge how her infamous hair style happened in the first place, chef Anne Burrell's first response was to make sure everyone knew that she was not from New Jersey. "I've always had wild hair my entire life," chef Burrell noted. "It all started when as a kid I had horrible hair. I had Dorothy Hamill. It was the pin straight and it looked like my mom put a bowl over my hair to cut it. I had the braces, and the pin-straight hair. And I'd say, "Mom! I want Farrah Fawcett hair. And I just started to get creative with my hair and it never stopped. It keeps growing and growing." — Arthur Bovino

From Dorothy Hamill to Farrah Fawcett and Beyond

Brooklyn's Backyard presented by PURE LEAF™ hosted by Adam Richman 11:04 PM Entering the art deco bank building for the second annual culinary ode to Brooklyn, you make your way to each of the teller's booths to make a delicious withdrawal. Fort Defiance served sensational choucrout atop of a bed of delicious sauerkraut. On the opposite side of the glass, Fort Reno was smoking ribs with an actual smoker. The third Fort, Ft. Greene's own FoodFreaks were back with a three-cheese grilled cheese, tomato soup for dunking and fried Brussels sprouts. The battle of chopped liver between Mile End and Fleishers Meat was a stand-off. Rucola's branzino crudo went head to head with Acme's salmon jerky and Allswell's shark ceviche. Sidecar stopped by with their Guy Fieri endorsed brandade. TALDE's Top Chef Dale Talde imported lettuce wrapped chicken larb which met its match in Der Kommissar's East meets West Pakwurst. Longest line of the night (other than taking your photo with Adam) was the iconic Brennan & Carr's roast beef au jus. L&B Spumoni Garden's mortadella covered fried chicken cutlet hero was even better than a tomato covered slice of their Parmesan dusted sicilian pizza. Peppa's Jerk Chicken and the ball boys from Arancini Bros. made up for the no-show by David's Brisket. Tchoup Shop brought some NOLA to Brooklyn with crawfish and mini- buttermilk biscuits which complimented Blue Sky Bakery's banana chocolate mini-muffins. The chocolate room did mini-mint chocolate chip ice cream hot chocolate floats and Junior's served mini-chocolate mousse cheesecake parfaits. — GutterGourmet

Brooklyn's Backyard Hosted by Adam Richman


SUNDAY (10/14/2012) Grand Tasting Day Two 11:45 PM Celebrity chefs were full of personality during the final day of the Grand Tasting. Marcus Samuelsson showed up Bobby Flay with demonstrations of Ethiopian tribal dancing, with the help of some devoted fans. Adam Richman crafted food porn with his salmon BLT and bacon/"meat candy," and let us in on his plans to dress up as Sriracha for Halloween. Paula Deen stole the show from her two sons, perusing the crowd and talking about fart sounds and the "sketti" recipe from reality TV series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. On the tasting floor, foods from different vendors wowed the taste buds. Lugo Caffe championed their famous meatballs, which combine pork and beef and are cooked in chicken broth. Casa Nonna dolled out spoons of eggplant caponata atop toasted bread, a Sicilian recipe. Alobar served what they called their "Duck Confit Sloppy Joes," topping pulled duck meat with a quail egg, served on a toasted bun; and Bagatelle served a cooler bite, presenting ahi tuna tartare atop of avocado salad with lime soy vinaigrette and taro chips. — Tyler Sullivan

Grand Tasting Day Two: Paula Deen talks Honey Boo Boo, Adam Richman on Food Porn 

SUNDAY (10/14/2012) Sandwich Showdown Classic and comfort; thats what was on the menu at this year's Sandwich Showdown at The New York City Wine and FoodFestival. Among the 20 personalities and restaurants participating, the stations were graced with go-to creations: philly cheese steaks from Phil's Tavern, Little Muenster's grilled cheese and tomato soup, summer reminiscent lobster rolls from Capital Grille and Luke's, and salumi staples from Salumeria Rosi and Lexington Brass. "It doesn't get more classic than this," said Charles Compagnucci of Phil's Tavern. "People like what they know and they know Philly cheese steaks." The Sandwich King himself, Jeff Mauro stayed simple with hearty on the mind: plates with an honest braised brisket sandwich with slaw on them scattered his table. — Francesca Borgognone

The Best Things Happen Between the Bread

The Art of the Party: 4:22 PM "Do you guys hear that?" Paul Tanguay asked as people filed into The Tippler for the Art of the Party New York City Wine & Food Festival seminar. "Those are cocktails being shaken! That's the party!" he said enthusiastically. If only we knew just how rowdy this party was going to get. With the bar as the backdrop, the guys behind the underground Chelsea Market bar, Tanguay and Tad Carducci, weren't just schooling the crowd on how to throw a killer cocktail party — they were throwing a killer cocktail party. So how do the guys behind the Tippling Bros. party, exactly? With careful calculations, "batchology," and precision. Tanguay and Carducci instructed how to calculate the number of drinks by using the number of people attending and how long the party would be. Plus, they shared a complicated equation to show how to pre-batch cocktails for a party — and how to avoid that nasty problem of dilution. Sounds complicated? Fortunately, the Tippling Bros. knew how to make the numbers game more fun for the eager crowd — especially with the booze. Getting the party started with the Tippler's standard, a Booty Collins, was only the start to a lively party. By the time the Fireside Punch rolled out, guests were shouting out questions and trying to stay afloat. Another successful party, indeed. — Marcy Franklin

The Art of the Party: Tippling Bros. Drink It Up at NYCWFF

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