Highlights from Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine
10/20/2013, updated at 7:30 pm
Guests milled about the open and airy rooftop space at Pier 92 to enjoy some of the city's best slices of pizza while soaking in the beautiful views of the waterways and skyline at Sunday's Ronzoni presents La Sagra Sunday Slices sponsored by Time Out New York hosted by Anne Burrell and Adam Richman.
New York City is known for its thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizza, and some of the city's best pizzerias came out to represent. We loved Motorino Pizza's spicy soppressata pizza made with creamy fior di latte mozzarella and fresh oregano, which packed the right amount of heat. We also got a bit of a sneak peek to watch the pizza-making magic happen in the video below.
FORCELLA's tomato, basil and mozarella pizza had an amazingly crisp and chewy deep-fried pizza crust; we're told that after the pizza dough is prepared, it is fried for about 20 seconds before the toppings are laid out and the pizza is baked. Jim Lahey's Co. served green tomato pie, which had a lovely, mellow flavor with lots of herbs, and Nicoletta's fennel sausage and pepperoni pizza satisfied meat lovers' cravings. Mobile pizza truck Pizza Luca, with their wood-fired Neapolitan pizza oven mounted on a 1952 Chevy flatbed truck, handed out delicious, piping hot slices of pizza with fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala and basil.
Celebrity chef Anne Burrell (who is our Guest Editor this week) along with her event co-host Adam Richman, television personality of Man v. Food fame, performed a fun cooking demonstration to make grilled pizza. The pair had palpable chemistry and were highly entertaining. Anne's bubbly personality made the cooking process a pleasure to watch, and Adam kept the crowd laughing; "I want you to be my science teacher. I would never be late," Adam joked, after Anne, explaining the pizza dough-making process, performed an animated impression of yeast eating sugar.
We discovered that Anne likes her pizza with parmigiana, prosciutto, fresh arugula and chili sauce, and her favorite pizza spot in New York City is a hole-in-the-wall pizzeria called Frank's Pizza on 23rd St. between Lexington and Madison Aves.
10/20/2013, updated at 2:00 pm
Ever wanted to learn how to make a batch of artisanal ice cream, bake perfect bread, create fresh pasta from scratch or even decorate a cake like Martha Stewart? New York City Wine & Food Festival offers a wide range of seminars where industry experts can teach you all those things.
We had the opportunity to learn how to pickle our own cucumbers from pickling guru Bob McClure at The Art of Pickling with McClure's Pickles. Bob, one of the brothers behind the family-owned business McClure's Pickles, explained the pickling process step-by-step and shared expert tips about how to make perfect, crisp pickles.
What's the secret to crispy pickles? Bob stressed that the quality of the pickles is of utmost importance. Choose short, bumpy Kirby cucumbers over slicer cucumbers, as slicer cucumbers have a higher water content that can lead to mushier results. He pointed out three signs of a good Kirby cucumber for pickling: "firm, otter flesh," "uniform color" and "small seeds."
Does it matter what kind of vinegar or salt you use in your brine solution? Bob explained that it's okay to use different types of vinegar or blends of vinegar, and if you swap Kosher salt for sea salt you'll bring out new flavors due to the mineral content. The bottom line is you can use any kind of vinegar or salt - just don't mess with the ratio of ingredients.
What do you think of our final result? These garlic and dill refrigerator pickles are quick and easy and will be ready to eat in a day or two - we can't wait!
10/19/2013, updated at 10:00 pm
Now that New York City Wine & Food Festival calls Piers 92 and 94 home, celebrity chef Bobby Flay's Olmeca Altos Tequila presents Tacos & Tequila hosted by Bobby Flay took over the spacious venue with booth after booth of tacos, tequila drinks, more tacos, sweet desserts... and did we say tacos?
Bobby stepped up his game with his pork tacos with pomegranate and pineapple by serving the sweet filling in crisp red lettuce shells. We also loved eating master of Mexican cuisine Rick Bayless's hearty cochinita pibil tacos served on a fluffy bed of black beans. Bayless manned his station, handing the freshly prepared tacos to guests. Barbuto's chef Jonathan Waxman offered unusual but delicious oxtail and tripe tacos with green salsa and a radish slaw.
You could never be more than a few feet away from one of 30 varieties of Latin American-inspired eats, and the taco fillings were endless; shortrib pastrami, barbecue beef, braised rabbit and peking duck represent just a sampling of the swath of inventive culinary creations.
Of course tacos go down a little easier with tequila, and Olmeca Altos supplied plenty of it with refreshing drinks like the Funky Mexican, a tequila cocktail with spiced watermelon puree, as well as classic margaritas and palomas with grapefruit soda.
For dessert, we enjoyed the Big Gay Ice Cream's spicy chocolate ice cream topped with crunchy and addictive horchata-praline pepitas.
10/19/2013, updated at 6:00 pm
With the 20th anniversary of his flagship restaurant DANIEL and the launch of his cookbook DANIEL: My French Cuisine, the timing seemed appropriate for world-class chef Daniel Boulud to come together with some of his former cooks (who are now famous chefs in their own right) for an intimate panel discussion called Family Meal: A Conversation with Daniel Boulud and his Culinary Kin. Moderated by Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, the panel included top talents Gramercy Tavern's Michael Anthony, Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson (behind Balthazar and Minetta Tavern), spice master Lior Lev Sercarz of La Boîte, and Cronut creator Dominique Ansel.
There was plenty of ribbing and good laughs at the table, and the discussion started in a celebratory mood with Boulud popping open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the recent birth of Lior's child. The chefs were asked about how each of them came to work for the guest of honor, and the panel topics ranged from what Daniel saw in each of the chefs that stood out (Daniel remarked that Lee was always the "guy for an answer"), what they thought was the most iconic Daniel dish (mention of the Crisp Paupiettes of Sea Bass in Barolo Sauce led Daniel to share an anecdote about mutiny in the kitchen to take the signature dish off the menu) and the biggest mistakes in the kitchen (Daniel recalled an entertaining story about a charity event for about 700 guests that involved a bad batch of unchilled pea soup).
10/19/2013, updated at 2:00 am
The handsomely decorated, wood-paneled New York Harvard Club was where Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and his famous chef friends served Asian-inspired small plates and plenty of sake for Rockin' Dumplings and Rollin' Sushi presented by Eater hosted by Masaharu Morimoto. In the magnificent Harvard Hall, an immense elephant head wall decoration overlooked Morimoto's station, where his team was hard at work serving three types of dumplings (duck duck dumplings, foie gras dumplings and lobster green curry dumplings), live octopus carpaccio and other delicious eats.
Food Network Star winner Justin Warner and George McNeese, co-owners of the Brooklyn-based restaurant Do or Dine, served nachos with an Asian twist, while Top Chef alumni Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao created small bites inspired by Filipino-style lumpia. Guests could choose among an array of premium sake from TY KU to drink at the U-shaped bar.
Manning a dessert station was one of our favorite pastry chefs, Jacques Torres a.k.a. "Mr. Chocolate", offering rows and rows of delicious chocolates to taste, from simple ganaches to caramels to nuts. Which one was his favorite? "It's like a parent choosing between kids," he replied. However, he did suggest trying the one with almonds; the flavor, he says, reminded him of the nuts that grew in his backyard during his childhood.
Pastry chef Manabu Inoue of Morimoto also had a dessert bar set up, offering whimsical creations like cream puffs on wooden skewers, tofu cheesecake, black sesame panna cotta and paper cones filled with pastel macarons.
What would a late-night party be without a little karaoke? Morimoto opened with a spectacular rendition of the popular Japanese song "Kita No Ryoba" by the artist Kitajima Saburo, which was followed by a crowd-rousing take on Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" as chef friends like Robert Irvine and Guy Fieri stormed the stage.
Surely, the Iron Chef's competitive streak in cooking would naturally carry over to karaoke? When we asked chef Morimoto who would he challenge to a karaoke battle, he modestly answered that he would never do so. It was all "just for fun," he said.
10/19/2013, updated at 12:30 am
NYC's hottest pastry chefs showed off their truffle-inspired desserts at the GODIVA Truffle Showdown, hosted by Chef Duff Goldman. Held at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, this was a tasting experience not to be missed. We were in a chocolate coma after three bites.
Just after midnight, Chef Lazlo Bollok was announced as the winner of the Truffle Showdown.
10/18/2013, updated at 11:00 pm
On Friday night, Whoopi Goldberg hosted Chicken Coupe, a tasting showcasing crispy chicken and delectable desserts.
Dozens of chefs created new and exciting combinations of what was once just a Southern staple. The party went down at Pier 61's The Lighthouse, a sophisticated space on the Hudson River, and included an outstanding performance by John Legend.
10/18/2013, updated at 1:00 pm
The second day of New York City Wine & Food Festival kicked off with a Founder's Welcome Brunch at the open, airy terrace of the Hudson Hotel this morning, where guests dined on crisp bacon, soft-cooked scrambled eggs and fresh-baked pastries (we couldn't stop munching on those amazing Brownie Brittle chocolate cranberry breakfast rolls!), imbibed on champagne cocktails and took in gorgeous views overlooking Manhattan. For a little something sweet, Godiva truffles floated around the room in wait trays, and throwback treats of milk and cookies from Manhattan Milk were stationed by the entrance.
Festival Director Lee Brian Schrager spoke about the importance of the festival for the charities involved; one in six Americans go hungry, which Shrager described as "unacceptable." The festival benefits two charities, Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry, which will receive 100 percent of the festival's net proceeds. The event has raised over six million dollars over the last five years.
10/17/2013, updated at 3:30 pm
Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE starts today, and we're excited about this year's lineup. The festival, which runs from October 17 to October 20, features a wide range of events where incredible talent serve some of their best dishes.
We'll be covering several events during this year's festival, so check back throughout the weekend for access to your favorite chefs, the best culinary creations and other highlights. Here are a few of the most buzzed-about events at this year's festival:
- Time Warner Cable presents Chicken Coupe hosted by Whoopi Goldberg
Comedian Whoopi Goldberg returns to host this walk-around tasting of "crispy chicken, superb side dishes, and precisely paired champagne."
- Family Meal: A Conversation with Daniel Boulud and his Culinary Kin
This intimate panel discussion picks the brain of world-class chef Daniel Boulud in the company of his former cooks including the Cronut creator Dominique Ansel.
- The Lobster Place presents Oyster Bash sponsored by Negra Modelo hosted by John Besh
New Orleans chef John Besh hosts this "oyster, beer and bubbly bash" where you can sample from renowned seafood chefs.
- Ronzoni presents La Sagra Sunday Slices sponsored by Time Out New York hosted by Anne Burrell and Adam Richman
Celebrate pizza with Anne Burrell and Adam Richman in this tasting of the best slices served in New York City.
It's not too late to get tickets to this year's New York City Wine & Food Festival! Here are a few events that still have tickets available (although not for long, we think!):
- Friday October 18
Blue Moon Burger Bash presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats hosted by Rachael Ray
Enjoy the burger creations of the country's best chefs in this tasting hosted by Food Network's Rachael Ray.
- Saturday October 19
Times Talks: Mario Batali & Michael Symon
Meet award-winning chefs and co-hosts of The Chew Mario Batali and Michael Symon.
- Sunday October 20
Oktoberfest presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats sponsored by The Village Voice hosted by Andrew Zimmern
Join Bizzare Foods host Andrew Zimmern in a tasting of cold brews and sausages in tribute to the German holiday Oktoberfest.
Image courtesy of Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE.