Friday, October 29, 2010

New York City Wine & Food Festival Part 2: The Grand Tasting(s)! (aka the Rest of the Best Weekend Ever!)

After the demo my mom and I sauntered into the West Village for some truly delicious Manhattan brunch at Tartine. She had an omlette full of veggies and ham and cheese and I enjoyed eggs benedict (I can hardly resist-- i'm hooked on poached eggs!). If you have never been to Tartine and live in the city-- go ASAP! It is a teeny tiny restaurant with a short menu but everything you have will be delicious-- and you can bring your own wine! What could be better? Also their desserts/pastries are irresistible. 

During brunch my mom had a celeb chef sighting-- she saw Ming Tsai getting out of a car in front of the resto. Not sure where he was headed but he had a culinary demo about an hour before Alton's! (How cool is he? his website is

With happily full bellies we ventured into the Saturday afternoon madness of Chelsea Market-- always a little crazy on the weekends it was extra crazy due to the Festival. On the way we passed by the Cooking Channel ice cream truck which has been different places over the summer to promote the new programs and give out ice cream.

We headed into Chelsea Market and it was as insane as expected. Difficult to get through the door, people with wine glasses around their necks (from the Grand Tasting), tons of orange swag bags, and generally flocks of foodies going in all directions! As we entered, just past the newsstand at the front entrance I had my first dumbfounded brush with culinary celebrity.... 

I saw a large man with the clear coiled ear piece and I knew without thinking that he must be someone's bodyguard so I look just past him and see Rachel Ray wearing big sunglasses, flanked at the back by yet another security guard. I gawked at her while squeezing my mother's forearm and trying to whisper to her out of the side of my mouth... "Mooom..... Rachel Ray!!!" all the while my heart is racing and I feel utterly foolish. 

I completely realize that this makes me a little bit of a tool-- ESPECIALLY when you consider the fact that Rachel literally grew up about an hour away from where I did (She in Lake George, me in Albany). Maybe that just makes her more of an inspiration to me-- I never plan to have fame, let alone Rachel's, but success even half the size of hers would be nice. This had me feeling jittery, excited, and blushing in a little bit of culinary shame because I felt so starstruck by anyone throughout much of the afternoon. Moving on...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Destiny Calling. The New York City Wine & Food Festival Part I: Alton Brown's Cooking Demo

By bouts of good fortune I had one of the best weekends of my life this month during the New York City Wine & Food Festival October 7th through 10th. 

First and foremost my good friend Marlie of Marliese's Sweet Treats offered me the awesome opportunity to work the American Lamb Board table during the second session of Sunday's grand tasting and the opportunity to attend the first session on Sunday as a guest. The chance to participate in this important part of the festival got me throughly excited for the upcoming weekend! I was living in New York last year during the festival but since I did not have tickets to events I did not even think to go loiter around Chelsea Market (which I recommend you do with or without tickets during the Festival-- lots of activity and foodie celeb sightings!l!).

During the week leading up to the event my Twitter feed was a-buzz with #nycwff attached to all tweets about chef appearances, events, details, and the most fortunate tweets for me-- giveaways! My love of Twitter and Whole Foods combined to bring me what would become great fortune....