The people on over at the New York City Wine and Food Festival were nice enough to grant Shared Appetite (i.e. me) access to their annual signature event, the Grand Tasting and Culinary Demonstrations. Big thanks to you, NYCWFF.
As you already know, Asheley and I are big fans of the festival. We go every year to two events, typically one smaller more intimate cooking class or seminar, and then a big tasting event like this one or this one. They are always a lot of fun and we consider it money well spent. Some people spend their hard-earned dollars of fashion or gadgets, others on their children and other responsible stuff, and us, well, it’s typically food-related.
I’ve been wanting to check out what this gigantic Grand Tasting & Culinary Demonstration event was all about for a couple of years now. It always sounded like a bunch of fun. Lots of food vendors, both local and national, handing out samples of their products, as well as a full day of cooking demos and book signings by a long list of celebrity chefs. All-day, all-inclusive. Sounds great, right?
Well let’s take a look around, shall we?
A photo recap of the New York City Wine and Food Festival’s Pizza Making 101 with Jim Lahey, featuring his revolutionary no-knead dough recipe.
First off, can we agree to call the New York City Wine and Food Festival “NYCWFF” from here on out. My fingers and wrists thank you. So every year I look forward to the day when the schedule of events is released for the annual NYCWFF. It’s totally like Christmas morning. So many classes, talks, seminars, and tasting events… what to choose, what to choose?!
It’s kind of overwhelming for someone who wants to go to pretty much every event.
An arsenal of wood-fired pizza ovens took over Pier 92′s gigantic rooftop overlooking Manhattan’s picturesque West Side this past weekend for the NYC Wine and Food Festival’s Sunday Slices, a walk-around tasting event hosted by Man vs. Food’s Adam Richman and Celebrity Chef Anne Burrell.
And team Shared Appetite was there. And by team, I really mean just Tyler, myself, and our two beautiful wives. Tyler is a well-known pizza fanatic, so much so that he is literally building a wood-fired oven in his backyard as we speak. I’m not complaining, though. Those things can cook a pizza in 90 seconds. It’s pretty awesome.
One of my most popular travel posts on Shared Appetite is the The Top 10 Foods You Have To Eat in Paris. So I figured, hey, if that kind of post is helping people plan their trips to Paris, why not do the same for San Francisco. I know when I plan a trip, the first thing I do is look for “where to eat in…” and “the best foods in…”. I mean, really, who cares about doing the touristy stuff anyway. I’m there to eat
So if you’re planning a trip to the Bay Area, I hope this list can give you a pretty healthy starting point of where to eat in San Francisco. And the links throughout will take you to a more detailed write-up of each restaurant. Just do me a favor and wrap me up and send on over the leftovers, okay?
Apparently your secrets are safe with me. This one was really tough to keep for so long, but now that it’s out in the open (it’s even ”Facebook official”), I can finally share with the world…
Our great friends Steve and Valerie are engaged! Asheley and I are beyond thrilled for them. They are both really amazing people all on their own, but together, well, they are extra amazing.
I was really honored and blessed to be with Steve to offer my support and stand beside him as he went through the nerve-racking (and ladies, it is nerve-racking) adventure of purchasing the ring. The piece of jewelry to end all jewelry.
We ended up going to the same jeweler where I found Asheley’s ring just a couple years back. Can you believe she still remembered my name? That lady has some serious memory. Anyway, since we were already in the city, it only made sense that some food had to be involved. And it was tough not to tell you about all the food, because I love sharing NYC’s good eats with you. But I know you understand this was for a good cause.
Umami Burger. It was kind of like a love at first sight, err taste, for me. We first met under a sky full of gray in a lush, open field at The Great GoogaMooga Festival this past May. There were hundreds of other people around and tons of other food to choose from, but our eyes locked. There was a definite indescribable chemistry. But it was only a fleeting moment. A brief meeting, then gone.
When Asheley and I went to San Francisco this past summer, I made it a point to reconnect with the one of several Umami Burger locations throughout California. As that Truffle Burger was placed down in front of me, it was like no time had passed at all. We picked up our beautiful relationship right where we left off.
And now, finally, we no longer have to try to navigate the whole “long distance” thing. Umami Burger has found it’s way to NYC’s Greenwich Village, and it’s here to stay.
English Muffins and I go way back. The were repeatedly offered to me and unenthusiastically accepted as a form of breakfast nourishment as an adolescent. They even made random appearance at dinner, under the guise of English Muffin Pizzas.
Personally, I’m not really a fan of them. Smothering it in sauce and cheese and calling it a pizza did help a bit, but still. Who are they trying to kid. You’re not a muffin. Muffins are delicious, especially my mom’s famous Chocolate Chip Muffins. You, English Muffins, are not muffins.
As an adult, I am proud to say that I’ve literally never had another English Muffin. But then The Model Bakery happened, and I had another encounter with the wanna-be muffin.
When I announced to the world (the couple friends I have on Facebook) that Asheley and I were going to San Francisco and Napa Valley this past summer, there were two restaurants that people were adamantly passionate about. The first was Mama’s, the amazing breakfast joint in San Fran that serves up some ridiculous French Toast.
Our friends Tom and Julianna were really excited to tell us about Mustards Grill. It was here Tom said he had the best pork chop of his entire life. Now that’s a bold statement… or maybe he just hasn’t had a lot of pork chops in his life. But I trust Tom, and it peaked my interest enough to make a lunch reservation and get over there between our daily morning and afternoon wine tours. It’s a tough life in Napa Valley…
Do you know what would be really cool? Imagine this. Opening up a 3 Michelin starred restaurant that is basically known as one of the top restaurants in the world, a casual dinner spot with an always-changing menu, a bistro serving up classic French fare, and a kick-butt bakery that immediately transports you back to the familiar smells of Paris’ many patisseries and boulangeries.
Oh, and it all has to be in the same small town, on the same little block, in some of the most prime-time real estate in all of Napa Valley. Wouldn’t that just be lovely? Yea, that’s a reality for Chef Thomas Keller. The dude has the market cornered in Yountville. He basically owns it.
Bouchon Bakery is a great little spot for a casual breakfast or lunch, or for those looking for a little midday snack in order to soak up the massive amounts of wine pumping through their veins.
And fellow New Yorkers, we can get our hands on Bouchon Bakery as well. He’s got one hiding in the Time Warner building overlooking Columbus Circle, and somewhere in the maze of Rockefeller Plaza.
I have good news and bad news. Let’s get the bad out of the way. We really wanted to go to Chef Thomas Keller’s world-renowned The French Laundry while we were in Napa Valley this past July. It’s a once in a lifetime meal. Once in a lifetime experience, really (although we have dined at a couple other 3-Star Michelin restaurants as well, but still, it’s THE French Laundry). I called up two months prior like I was supposed to, at the required time posted on their website (actually 10 minutes earlier than that), and the phone lines were already busy! They started taking reservations early! The nerve. The horror. Well, fast forward 45 minutes when I finally got through, and yea, of course they were solidly booked for that day. No problem, I’ll just call back tomorrow and try for another day. Then the hammer fell. Nope, they would be closed for vacation during all the remaining days we planned to be in Napa!
I tried pulling the card you don’t understand, I have a food blog. No, not really. Because that never works. Anyway, I dried my tears, picked up the phone, and did the next best thing a guy could do. Reservations at Chef Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc, it is.