There's nothing quite like a huge foodie event in New York City. Recently, the New York Wine & Food Festival put together an evening of Tacos & Tequila hosted by Bobby Flay and sponsored this year by Olmeca Altos at Pier 92 on Manhattan's West Side.
Thirty-three chefs and vendors served up massive amounts of tacos, desserts and free flowing beverages all evening long. It was hard to make your way through an ever-growing crowd and the lines started to get long (and a bit sweaty) after the room seemed to reach capacity. In fact, the overall temperature began to rise and it became my personal goal to eat as many taco servings as humanly possible before completely imploding!
So many amazing plates were served up and there was a good line at each station, but the wait times were very reasonable, all things considered. Tasting plates were served by Aldea, Mexico Lindo, Buddakan, Corkbuzz Wine Studio, Kimchi Grill, Lee Anne Wong and Tulsi -to name just a few of the participants. From oxtail and tripe to braised rabbit, the dishes were certainly not ordinary fare. However, I was in absolute heaven with the pork belly "BLT" from Beauty and Essex and Kin Shop's brisket & bone marrow tacos - those were well worth the cost of admission and then some. Empellon Taqueria brought the house down with a taste of a NYC deli with their shortrib pastrami taco with pickled cabbage and mustard seed salsa. It was like the taste of NY inside a tortilla, all in one.
After enjoying an abundant amount of delicious tacos, I spied Big Gay Ice Cream and Spot Dessert Bar in the room. This could not have been more perfect! The combination of the ice cream versus the heat (both in the food and the large-crowd-induced body heat), the cool desserts were much appreciated. Big Gay had a a spicy chocolate ice cream with horchata-praline pepitas and Olmeca Altos Requila ripple. It had a bit of a kick combined with creamy chocolate. Spot Dessert Bar didn't disappoint with a matcha auki with green tea ice cream. Topped off with a fabulous latte courtesy of Illy and the night was complete.
Of course, the night would have been a tad more special if I would have been able to jump the line to see Bobby Flay with a press pass, but all things were created equal that night, and the serpentine line for the celebrity chef was insanely long. He must have been a bit overwhelmed by the turn out! I stood in line for about 45 minutes, but since it didn't move less than a foot during that excruciating wait, I realized I needed to make an executive decision: stay or eat. Eating won out. Of course. This is The Daily Meal, after all -not The Long Wait, right?
Anyway, if you missed this year's festival, be sure to check it out for 2014. For anyone that might be a little leery about attending such a big event, this is the perfect type of venue to try out because you can sample a multitude of dishes and products from around the city -just in one evening. The event itself can really only get better and it's one of the top foodie gatherings each year. Hope to see you there!