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When you're elbow-deep in fried chicken, biscuits, and waffles, it's rather difficult to think about anything else other than the flavor party going on in your mouth. Such was the case at the New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) Shake and Bake event at Manhattan's Yotel. One of the kick-off events of the festival, it was sponsored by Whole Foods and hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, Table 52's chef Art Smith, and DJ Questlove, who took the night off from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to spin the tunes.
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.
With more than 20 stations sprinkled around the hotel's fourth-floor lobby and terrace, it was quite a task to try everything, but try everything we did.
The Daily Meal's favorites? Seersucker's sesame fried chicken with root vegetable slaw for its subtle yet sweet combination of flavors, Mono+Mono's double offering of crispy garlic and soy wings as well as a hot and spicy version, which won our award for best crunch of the night. Other fantastic tastes came from Hill Country, with their chicken and waffle cone minis, and from Jonathan Waxman's Barbuto, with the only fried chicken sandwich of the night, which was served with a chipotle aioli and radicchio slaw.
Although the chicken was the main event, the pies and sweets must be mentioned. Catch's Thiago Silva created a decadent, rich Klondike sundae that had people coming back in droves for a second and third time. With regards to pie, it was a tie between The Blue Stove's sweet potato crème brûlée pie and First Prize Pies' s'mores minis — two showstoppers that made many revelers quit eating the chicken in order to switch to sweets.
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