New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City

Whole steer on a giant grill? Check! Fabulous skyline? Check!
Whole steer on a giant grill? Check! Fabulous skyline? Check!
Photo by Laine Doss

The New York City Wine & Food Festival just wrapped up four days of parties, events, and tastings, and while there are major similarities between it and its snowbird sister, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, there are also major differences.

True, both festivals are the brainchild of Lee Brian Schrager, and there are twin events like Burger Bash and the Grand Tasting Village, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. The NYCWFF and SOBEWFF are as different as the cities they represent.

I was invited to Manhattan to attend the festival. Here are some of the highlights of the weekend.

See also: SOBEWFF Going to the Dogs: Rachael Ray to Host Canine Cocktail Party

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City

First and foremost, the main difference at NYCWFF is the Grand Tasting Village. While both feature celebrity chef cooking demos and plenty of wine, the New York rendition is a true trade show that's open to the public with hundreds of vendors not only pouring wine, but offering fine cheeses, handcrafted ice creams, and even wine grapes for your private, personal vineyard.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

Of course, there were celebrity sightings, like Paula Deen, who held court at the Springer Mountain Farms chicken exhibit.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

The NYC GTV also boasts two private rooms that offer the good stuff. One room features a fine wine collection, while the other is reserved for small-batch spirits like this El Buho Mezcal. Rumor has it that Broken Shaker might have a bottle or two -- if you ask nicely.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

This being New York, you never know who you might run into. Latin Burger's Jim Heins was checking out the Grand Tasting Village with some friends.

 

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Courtesy of the Key Group

Food Network celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian hosted the chefs' midnight party at the Plaza Hotel's Palm Court. José Andrés, Zakarian, and Marc Murphy take a pic at the step-and-repeat.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Courtesy of the Key Group

The following morning, Zakarian looks fresh and dapper as he taste tests some breakfast libations at the Chopped Best Bloody Mary Brunch.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

Scott Conant, fresh off the heels of the announcement of his new Turnberry restaurant, was at the brunch. When asked about his new Miami venue, the chef simply said, "You'll be seeing a lot more of me soon."

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

Miami was represented by Lure Fishbar's Josh Gonzalez, who served his Havana Mary, a bloody with mango puree, Cuban coffee, serano chilies, bell peppers, Absolut, and lime juice, topped with all things Miami -- a pastelito, a croqueta, and a chicharron.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

Over at the Burger Bash, Robert Irvine schmoozes it up with guests.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

Lure Fishbar's Josh Capon holds his "Burger Belt" proudly.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

This gal loves her burgers.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

The only major disappointment? The "famous" ramen burger by Ramen Co., which was way too salty, with a ramen bun that can best be described as "gluey."

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

Yes, there were cheerleaders at the Jets Tailgater.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

There were photo bombs at Meatopia.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Laine Doss

And lots of bourbon, so you could get bombed.

New York City Wine & Food Festival Reflects Its Host City
Photo by Getty Images

Best celebrity sighting? Jon Bon Jovi at Ronzoni's La Sagra Slices, an "only in New York" event that features dozens of the city's best pie makers churning out pizzas directly from wood-burning ovens. Eating a pizza with Bon Jovi? That's a New York moment.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

Follow Short Order on Facebook, Twitter @Short_Order, and Instagram @ShortOrder.


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