Monday, October 13, 2008

NYCWFF: Grand Tasting = Absolute Ridiculousness

On Sunday, for the last absurd throwdown of the NYCWFF, I took my brother to the second session of the Grand Tasting. It's hard even to begin to describe this extravaganza... everywhere you looked there was booze and food and free stuff. The afternoon began at the Target Welcome Center, where they gave you free tote bags, chocolate, and a wine glass.

Target-themed absurdism!

Target chocolate! This was already going so well.

We then crossed the street to the enormous tent stretching the length of Pier 54. We managed to bypass the Rum and Delta Wine booths on the way in. Good for us!

Rum. The people working this booth were having a really fun time, especially when we passed them on the way out.

Wine! Delta-themed wine!

Finally, we entered the tent and were ready to get down to business. We steered clear of the tricky ShopRite booth on the way in, picking up another tote bag of free stuff, and embarked on the booths inside. Below is what we ate-- or rather, mostly what the bro ate, with some of what I could eat mixed in. I think I was actually saved by the fact that there were not that many vegetarian options, because I left absurdly full anyway, and if there had been more to eat... well... ahem. Anyway, here goes:

Chicken Liver Crostini with Marsala Onions from Michael White of Convivio

Smoked Salmon with Avocado Tapenade, Caviar, and Fried Shallots from Craig Hobson of One if by Land, Two if by Sea

Rabbit Terrine from Steve Connaughton and Eric Kleinman of Lupa.

X Rated Fusion Liqueur. This was actually the first thing I tried at the tasting. Melted Candy!

Hudson Valley Fois Gras and Fig from Michael Ginor

Salumeri Rossi Parmacotto

Mionetto Prosecco. I tried this; tasted too much like beer (as all cheap sparkling wine does).

Speak of the devil-- the Sam Adams beer booth.

Seared Shrimp with Plugra White Corn Polenta, from Jawn Chasteen of the Sea Grill

Cheese Pumpkin Cappellacci with Mostarda Butter, from Al De Meglio of Olana. This was the first real food I tried, and it was incredible. I went back for seconds later. This, combined with the sticky toffee pudding dessert from Sweet, has convinced me I have to go try Olana.

Tasmanian Sea Trout Crudo from Christopher Lee of Gilt

CheeEEEEeeese from Emmi. I stuffed my various tote bags with these things.

Roasted Yellow Peppers and Salted Capers from Paul di Bari of Bar Stuzzicchini. I tried it; pretty standard.

Crab Meat Resala from Akhtar Nawab of Elettaria

Quelites Con Frijoles (Sauteed Greens with White Onion, Garlic, Toasted Almond, Chipotle Chiles, and Pinto Beans) from David Schuttenberg of Cabrito. Delicious and spicy! I went back for seconds of this as well.

Blue Moon booth, sampling their Pumpkin Ale. There was a lot of pumpkin-flavored stuff at the Tasting.

Filet Mignon with steak sauce from Craig Koketsu of Quality Meats. Definitely had the coolest plates of all the booths.

Pasta from La Famiglia DelGrosso. They also gave us a full-size jar of tomato sauce to take home. Seriously.

Duck and Dried Fruit Sausage with an Autumn Panzanella from Bill Telepan. Very elaborate and beautiful.

Robiola Cheese Pizza with White Truffle Oil from Patrick Vaccariello of Bayard's Events and Catering. This was the best item in the whole place. We kept going back to this booth... the last time around, I told the lady there that we loved the pizza so much we'd been by three times. Her reply: "I know." Ooops?

Grape Leaf and Rosewater Ice Cream with Pistachios from Ilili. Huge extra props to the chef here-- we talked for a little bit, and he noted that he specifically brought vegetarian items because there are always so few veggie options at events like this. Yay! The rosewater ice cream was really bizarre, btw.

Vegetables Farcis from Alain Allegretti. This was gross and tasted like there was meat in it. Ick.

The bro wanted to taste absinthe. He tasted it. That was a bad idea.

Tacos de Pato from Ivy Stark and Scott Linquist.

Cheddar and caramel popcorn from Garrett. Delish.

Braised Short Rib with Grilled Fruit Relish from Jimmy Canora of Delmonico's.

Berkshire Spiced Pork from Jehangir Mehta of Graffiti.

Lanson Champagne. The best champagne there.

Camitz Sparkling Vodka. Don't fall for this-- it's still straight vodka. But it's a cool idea.

Tortuga Rum Cake from the Cayman Islands. Not sure why a geographic location had a booth there (I guess it was the equivalent of the Whole Foods Pulled Pork Sandwich booth at Sweet), but this cake was boozy and delish. I came back later and tried their chocolate rum cake, which was also yummy.

Murray's Cheese. But of course.

Grilled Octopus with Fava Bean Puree and Osetra Caviar, from Ralpheal Abrahante of Thalassa.

Milky chocolatey liqueur from Coole Swan. This tasted like Bailey's, and the little chocolate cups were incredible. Yummmm.

Mache mix with "Garlic Expressions" oil. Simple but good.

Beer Poached Pork and Garlic Sausage with Roasted Peppers and Onions from Robert Hellen and Daniel Ross-Leutwyler. These were just adorable.

Beef Short Ribs from Todd Mark Miller of STK. The bro thought this was fantastic.

More cheeeEEEEeeese. Really good gruyere here.

Gorgonzola and mushroom gnocci from Ciao Imports. Cue me to the guy working there: "Oh, are you the Italian imports store in Chelsea Market?" His response? "No." Whoops. Anyway, these gnocci were incredibly rich and delicious.

Various champagnes from Nicholas Feuillatte. Mmmmm.

Cuban Opera Cake from Robert Tobin of Asia de Cuba. Fabulous and chocolatey! There should have been more dessert offerings at the Tasting. But then again, I guess that's what Sweet was for.

Mini bratwursts from Klee. The bro said these weren't all that good.

A Corona Mojito from the Corona booth. The first one of these were delicious; the second and third were disgusting. We should have quit while we were ahead.

The XOXO Chocolate booth. We went back here again and again... the chocolate samples were out of this world.

So- that was it. Well, not really-- there was a lot of stuff we didn't get to, particularly of the booze variety. There was a LOT of booze. I think the event can be summed up adequately in two overheard quotations: 1) From a proper British guy to his friend: "I'm going to be very intoxicated very soon." 2) From a middle-aged woman to her husband: "I wore the right pants today. They stretch." All in all, the Tasting was spectacular, and we left there very full and somewhat inappropriately tipsy for the middle of the day. A hearty well done to the NYCWFF overall-- it was a great weekend and provided lots of memories I'll keep with me for a while. Can't wait 'till next year...

1 comment:

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