Pigs & Pizza

 

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Food Network held its 11th annual New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) on October 11-14. It’s New York City’s largest food and wine festival with four days of 80 events and 500 chefs featuring a grand tasting, culinary demos, rooftop parties, late night parties, dinners, cocktails, spirits and classes. A foodies dream with something for everyone concerning food, drink and parties. This is the sister event to the South Beach food and wine fest held in February in Miami. 100% of NYCWFF’s net proceeds benefit the No Kid Hungry campaign and Food Bank for New York City. I was able to get the party rolling by attending some of the late night parties starting with Tacos & Tequila on Thursday night and Rock & Roll Sushi on Friday night. On Saturday I spent the day eating well. I attended:

 

 

The Ultimate Pizza Party presented by Slice and hosted by Jeff Mauro

Who doesn’t like pizza? At this fest several pizza establishments served their wood-fired creations with a wide range of toppings that in addition to the traditional red sauce with cheese included toppings with various meats and cold cuts, cheeses, vegetables, and even egg and with red sauce or no red sauce. Some of the rotating restaurants sending hot slices out of the wood-fired ovens included Motorino, Speedy Romeo, LBK and Sottocasa to name a few.

The event was held at Fornino’s Pier 6 restaurant located at Brooklyn Bridge Park which has a stellar view of lower Manhattan. To keep with the Italian theme I washed down those slices with shots of Fernet.

 

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Pigs & Pours presented by Whistle Pig and hosted by Robert Irvine

Later in the afternoon, I attended the pigs & pour event held at The Standard High Line Biergarten at the Standard Hotel located at 848 Washington Avenue in the Meatpacking district of lower Manhattan.

It was a walk around fest of local restaurants serving all things pork and pork centric that included everything from a whole roasted pig to bacon desserts with everything in between. To wash all that down was beer from Modello, cocktails made with WhistlePig whiskey and surprisingly, a nice selection of pinot noir from Oregon and California that included:

Cambria Julia’s Vineyard, La Crema Sonoma Coast, Siduri Willamette Valley, Willakenzie Estate Gisele and Kendall-Jackson VR.

 

 

Upcoming Wine Event: On November 10, Robert Parker Jr’s Wine Advocate Matter of Taste is hosting one of the best wine tastings of the year at the Conrad New York Hotel. At the Grand Tasting there will be an opportunity to try some of the finest wines of the world.

Promo code for $50 off the Grand Tasting: SVNYC18

 

 

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Food Network Grand Tasting & Outdoor BBQ 2017

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The 10th annual Food Network New York Food & Wine Festival was held on October 12-15. It was four days of 100+ events including dinners, wine tastings, classes, seminars and late night parties with 100% of the net proceeds going to the Food Bank for New York and the No Kid Hungry campaign.

I began the festivities on Thursday evening by attending the Tacos & Tequila late-night party held at the boutique Hudson Hotel at 237 58th Street in Manhattan. It was hosted by taco aficionado Aaron Sanchez and featured many styles of tacos and much tequila infused cocktails.

On Sunday I attended a couple of events, I began at the Grand Tasting held at Pier 94 at 55th street and the West Side highway. The event space was a 130,000 sq. foot “culinary wonderland” of food, wine, spirits and culinary demonstrations by Food Network and Cooking Channel stars.

I have covered this event in the past and was somewhat disappointed this year. In past years there was a separate room that featured higher end wines that were not available on the main floor. That was not the case this year, they omitted that room which for me took away much of the excitement of the event. It became just another large consumer event with a lot of mid-level wines.

Afterwards I walked next door to the Coca-Cola Backyard BBQ event held at the top floor of an unused multilevel parking garage. The event was hosted by Andrew Zimmern, Chef and host to the Travel Channel show, Bizarre Foods, and by Pat LaFrieda of Pat LaFrieda Meats. The event had pit masters grilling all sorts of meat, and even squid which was washed down with cold beer, wine and cocktails. An excellent live band provided the music and as this years event was “family friendly”, there were plenty of kids enjoying the event as well.

 

Some of what I sampled at the Grand Tasting:

Tablas Creek Winery. Winery in Paso Robles California that specializes in Rhone varietals.

2012 Esprit de Tablas Blanc: Gold in color, honey notes on the nose, kiwi, melon on the fruit, nice balance.

2014 Esprit de Tablas Noir: black in color, black olives on the nose, chewy dark chocolate on the fruit, nice grip, good balance.

2014 Patelin de Tablas: Dark amber, closed nose of crushed herbs, tight with firm acids and tannin on the bitter red cherry finish.

Kendall-Jackson Winery

2015 Pinot Gris: Medium yellow with cantaloupe on the nose, dried herb on the finish with nice acidity.

2015 Grand Reserve Chardonnay : Medium gold, toasty nose, with big oak notes on the fruit.

2013 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark black, slightly closed nose of crushed dark berries, very concentrated with dusty, silky tannins and good balance.

2014 Ferrari-Carano Siena: Dark red to black, closed nose, juicy and concentrated, tree bark on the fruit, good, firm finish.

2014 Ferrari-Carano  Cabernet Sauvignon: Black, crushed ripe plums on the nose, thick and concentrated with some mint notes, balanced.

2014 Cambia Winery Pinot Noir “Benchbreak”: Medium amber, crushed blueberry and mint on the nose, tight, smoky finish.

 

 

Newport Mansions Wine & Food Fest 2017

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The 12th annual Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival was held September 21-24th in Newport Rhode Island. Newport is about a three and a half hour drive northeast from New York City. The event was a fundraiser for the Preservation Society of Newport County, a cultural organization that protects and preserves Newport’s architectural heritage. Sponsors included Food & Wine magazine and Maserati.

The event was held at the Marble House, one of many gilded-age mansions in Newport at 596 Bellevue Avenue. It was built between 1888-1892 for Mr. and Mrs William K. Vanderbilt at a then cost of $11 million, $7 million of which was spent on marble. Subtle is not a word to describe the interior rooms of the mansion.

The fest was four days of wine dinners, seminars, chefs demos with grand tastings on Saturday and Sunday. I attended Sunday afternoon and the event actually took place on the back lawn of the mansion overlooking Narragansett Bay.

Local and regional Chefs provided food, a favorite of mine was a green gazpacho with jalapeno oil topped with lump crabmeat and any of the beef and pork that the Dole & Bailey meat purveyors were grilling. In the sweltering heat of the afternoon those grill masters manage to sling the meat while maintaining a borsht- belt chatter with the guests. In the authentic Chinese tea house on the lawn, it was “rosé all day” with wines from Chateau d’Esclans.

As far as consumer wine and food fests go, this is one of the nicer ones with a great venue, a good selection of wines and spirits and tasty food from the locals.

The afternoon started out hot and sweltering so I focused on rosé and sparkling wines and managed to try a few reds at the end of the day.

Some of what I sampled:

 

2016 Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel, Rock Angel, Garrus

2016 Notorious Pink Grenache

2016 Martin Ray Rosé of Pinot Noir

NV Gosset Brut Grande Reserve

2012 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino

2010 Pichon-Longueville

2014 Justin Isosceles

2014 Justin Justification

 

 

Chefs & Champagne 2017

 

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This past Saturday afternoon, July 29th I attended the James Beard Foundation’s annual Chefs & Champagne Summer tasting party held at Wölffer Estate Winery in Sagaponack, just east of the town of Bridgehampton on the south fork of Long Island.

The event raises funds for the philanthropic work of the foundation and this years honoree was Chef, author and philanthropist, Marcus Samuelsson.

There were 40+ Chefs serving tastings of their signature dishes to be washed down with wine and cider from Wölffer Estate, beer from Ommegang Brewery and cocktails from Tito’s vodka. This year the free-flowing Champagne was provided by Barons de Rothchild which poured their Brut and Rosé.

The weather looked liked it might be a factor this year with dark clouds looming on the horizon in the morning but the day turned into a gorgeous, comfortable afternoon, unlike the sweltering sauna-like conditions of last year.

 

Some of the bites I sampled:

Greg Baxtrom  Olmstead: Radish Top Gazpacho

Matt Abdoo  Pig Beach: Deviled Eggs with Country Ham Salad

Jefferey McInnis/Janine Booth  Root & Bone: Shrimp and Grits with Melted Tomato, Charred Corn, Pickled Onions and Bacon-Beer Jus

Domicic Rice Calissa:  Montauk Fluke Crudo with Watermelon Finger Limes, Pickled Watermelon Rind, Radishes, Sesame Seeds, Olives and Basil

Galen Zamarra  Mas Farmhouse: Trout Piscator

Daniel Skurnick  Le CouCou: Le Crêment d’ Anjou with Local Goat Cheese and Summer Berries

Stephen Bogardus  The North Fork Table and Inn: Chilled Sweet Corn Mousseline with Fermented Berries

Graeme Cockburn  Windstar Cruise: Seared Oak-Smoked Salmon

P.J. Calupa  The Spainard: Lobster Filane Toasts with Charred Corn, Crème Fraiche and Tarragon

Britt-Marie Culey  Coquette Pattisserie: Smoked Ohio Peaches-Elderflower Crémeux with Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Rosé Aspic

Andy D’Amico  Nice Martin: Moroccan Shrimp Burger

Brian Cheewing  Wölffer Kitchen: Montauk Tuna Tacos with Avocado Puree and Pineapple Salsa

Oliver Lange  Zume: Wagyu Beef Tartare with Saikyo Miso Bun and Australian Winter Truffle 

Marcus Samuelsson  Red Rooster: Jerk Pork Belly with Stone Fruit, Pickled Cabbage and Cornbread Crisp

Bryan Hunt  Fowler & Wells: Hamachi with Celery and Sea Urchin Lemon Posset with  Blueberries and Cornmeal Cake

 

 

Bastille Day NYC 2017

 

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Bastille Day (July 14, 1789) celebrates French independence day. For over 20 years in New York City it has been celebrated with a three-block street festival on East 60th street between 5th and Lexington avenues in Manhattan.

The festival was run by the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) whose mission statement is to “create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the diversity and richness of French culture”. FIAF is the go-to organization in New York City for Francophiles to attend French cultural events including wine tastings, watch French cinema and learn the French language.

The block party had French themed performers, pastries, crepes and of course, Mimes. At their office on 22 East 60th street they held a “summer in the south” tasting which featured wines from Sud de France, Kronenbourg beer, Richard digestive, and cheese and charcuterie from trois petits cochons and President. They also held an after party at Amali restaurant on 115 East 60th which continued with more wine, beer and cheese.

 

 

 

Summer Fancy Food Show 2017

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The Fancy Food Show is North America’s largest specialty food and beverage event with over 2,400 exhibitors from 50 countries and regions. The Summer show is held annually in New York City while the winter show is held in San Francisco. This years partner country was Turkey.

The event was held at the Jacob K. Javits convention center at 655 West 34th Street in Manhattan. The event showcased anything from baked goods to vinegars including unusual products such as oxygenated water to the new “superberry” from Patagonia. As usual the event had loads of tasty hams and charcuterie from Spain and Italy, a myriad of cheeses, and cheese styles, specialty canned goods including tuna and anchovies, herbal teas and much more.

The food show is not a wine event but in the past you could count on the wine producing countries to have a booth or two serving wine. This year Italy as usual had a strong presence with the Vinitaly booth serving a rotating selection of Italian wines. Greece also a large contingent of wines poured but surprisingly, with the exception of one booth in Spain, France, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Chile and Argentina had no wines to sample.

 

Italy

NV Alta Versa Blanc de Blanc Pinot Nero Brut (Pavia). Medium gold, toasty bread notes on the nose, crisp with bread dough notes on the finish.

2015 Alta Versa Bonarda (Pavia). Sparking, dark purple, crushed rocks on the nose, slate, black licorice on the juicy fruit, bitter cherry on the finish.

2016 Medici Ermete Concerto Lambrusco (Emilia-Romagna). Black in color with a purple rim, grapey slate on the nose, dense and grapey fruit, crisp acids.

2011 Martino Aglianico del Vulture (Basilicata). Dark red with an amber rim, fresh herbs and leather on the nose, tight, concentrated black leather fruit with firm acids.

2011 San Martino Aglianico del Vulture Kamai (Basilicata). Dark red, tar and black cherry on the nose, tarry dark fruit wit bitter cherry on the finish.

2011 Velusto Aglianico del Vulture (Basilicata). Medium red, dusty black cherry on the nose, bitter cherry notes on the finish.

2013 Vino Nostrum Stupor Mundi Aglianico del Vulture (Basilicata). Dark red with a brick rim, petroleum notes on the nose, chunky fruit with bitter black cherry on the finish.

 

Spain

2012 Burgo Viejo Reserva (Rioja). Medium red, cooked fruit and black licorice on the nose with bitter cherry on the firm finish.

2010 Palacio del Burgo Reserva (Rioja). 100% Tempranillo, medium to dark red, crushed black cherry on the nose, tight crushed rock and some petroleum on the fruit, firm acids on the finish.

2009 Graco Imperator (Rioja). 100% Tempranillo from a single vineyard, dark red with a perfume of sweet violets and tar, tart fruit with some heat at the end.  

 

 

Westchester Magazine’s Food & Wine Fest 2017

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This past June 6-11 Westchester Magazine held its annual food & wine festival. It was six days of culinary, wine and cocktail events with the signature event, the Grand Tasting Village held on Saturday afternoon. At the Grand Tasting 50+ local restaurants served their signature dishes, everything from pizza to tacos with 200+ wines and spirits to wash them down with.

It was an outdoor event held under the tents at the Kensico Dam Plaza in the Hamlet of Valhalla, Westchester, a sleepy village about a forty minute train ride north of Manhattan.  In addition to the many booths serving food and wine was the “connoisseur’s tent” where extra special juice was poured. It also offered a quiet space from the crowds in the general admission area.

Some of the wines I sampled:

 

Whites

NV Tattinger Brut La Francaise”

NV Moet Chandon Brut “Imperial”

2005 Tattinger Comtes de Champagne

2014 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris “Rotenberg”

2014 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Gerwurtrztraminer “Calcaire”

2008 Trimbach Riesling “Cuvee Frederic Emile”

2013 Alain Chavy Pugliny-Montrachet “Les Clavillons”

2013 Pierre Matrot Puligny-Montrachet “Combettes”

2015 Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio

2015 Infiné 1939 Pinot Grigio

2015 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

2013 Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay Napa Valley

2015 Au Contraire Chardonnay Russian River Valley

 

Reds

2012 Penfolds “Grange”

2013 BV Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve “Georges de Latour”

2013 BV ‘Tapestry”

2013 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve “Knights Valley”

2013 Beringer Vineyards Napa Valley “Quantum”

2012 Stags’ Leap Winery “Ne Cede Malis”

2009 Chateau St Jean “Cinq Cepages” 1.5L

2013 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2014 Stonestreet Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2014 Columbia Crest “H3”

2007 Bertani Amarone

2014 Tenuta Guado al Tasso “Il Bruciato”

2013 Secco-Bertani Original Vintage Edition

2010 Rocca della Macie “Sasyr”

2005 Faustino I  Rioja Gran Reserva

2012 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru

Amaro Lucano