festivals and events
raves and reviews
the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Thursday night, the 5th annual New York City Wine and Food Festival kicked off with two of the weekend’s most anticipated events. And though I would’ve loved to witness food royalty roast Anthony Bourdain, the Italian in me couldn’t bear the thought of missing one of my favorites—Meatball Madness hosted by the lovely Giada De Laurentiis. “This is the best Meatball Madness ever,” Giada exclaimed about the ‘always sold out’ event, which is in its fourth consecutive year.
The large-scale tasting showcased dozens of the city’s best chefs, who rolled out their version of the perfect bite. Hundreds of meatball maniacs packed into SoHo’s 82 Mercer to sample 36 different types of saucy spheres—in styles ranging from traditional Italian polpette with tomato gravy to pretzel-stuffed Austrian balls and Spanish oxtail albondigas.
Judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian and Anne Burrell, along with Pat LaFrieda and Mark Pastore of sponsor La Frieda Meats, crowned Gabe Thompson of the soon-to-open L’Apicio the night’s big winner for his Amatriciana version. The carnivorous crowd also casted their votes and Donatella Arpaia snagged the coveted People’s Choice Award for her mother’s classic recipe of melt-in-your-mouth tomato braised veal meatballs.
Aperol Spritz cocktails, a selection of vino and sparkling San Pellegrino refreshed partygoers, while a display of cake pops from pastry hotshot Johnny Iuzzini provided some sweet relief. Meatball Madness started off the NYCWFF in delicious fashion and everyone seemed to have a ball—while devouring dozens!
All you need is a glimmer of hope to help make a difference. On Thursday, May 3, the American Cancer Society will host the 7th Annual Taste of Hope event, which brings together hundreds of New York’s food enthusiasts and the city’s most notable chefs. Taking over the sprawling space at 82 Mercer in Soho, this year’s gala will honor celebrity chef Todd English for his dedication to the cancer research community.
Guests can sample dishes from dozens of NYC’s hottest restaurants, including Beauty & Essex, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Ça Va Brasserie, Coppelia, Delicatessen, The Harrison and Empellon, sip Italian vinos from Vinitaly, creative Stoli cocktails and Nespresso beverages, and mingle with acclaimed chefs Jimmy Bradley, Michael Ferraro, Julian Medina, Eric Levine and many others.
Festivities will also include a silent auction featuring a variety of exceptional items and experiences. Wouldn’t you love to score an Iron Chef-style dinner for four prepared by chef Marc Forgione, dinner for two at the James Beard House, or a luxurious week-long stay in Los Cabos? And with all event and auction proceeds going to the American Cancer Society, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Join me in supporting ACS in their mission to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here. Stay connected on Twitter @ACSTasteofHope and see you next Thursday!
Image courtesy of Taste of Hope
“Tacos, Yo!” exclaimed host Bobby Flay as he manned the mic at his Saturday night soiree, Patron Tequila’s The Art of the Taco. Presented by Creekstone Farms, the event featured nearly 30 of the country’s hottest chefs who put their own unique spin on the South of the Border staple—with styles ranging from traditional, Mexican-inspired to elevated with French flair.
This time at 82 Mercer, Patron and Corona flowed as taco-lovers bounced from station to station sampling tortillas stuffed with creative combos of steak, lamb, shrimp, tuna, beef tongue, duck, pastrami, lobster, bone marrow, oysters and foie gras.
Tender braised pork carnitas from Mercadito, a Cretan spiced lamb pocket from Kefi’s Michael Psilakis, and Scarpetta chef Scott Conant’s spice crusted lamb neck tacos all made me swoon, while versions with oysters from Riverpark and foie gras from Recette palatably expanded my taco horizons.
Dozens of celebrated chefs and TV personalities (including Aaron Sanchez, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Forgione, Claire Robinson, Marcela Valladolid, Debi Mazar, Jeff Mauro, Sunny Anderson and Geoffrey Zakarian) were seen doling out their taco creations, mingling with the crowd and even belting out Bon Jovi. Awesome.
After taking in tons of savory tacos, sweet relief was welcomed by ice cream chilaquiles drizzled with Mexican chocolate chili sauce and Gramercy Tavern’s salted chocolate hazelnut tacos. And after many of Bobby’s margaritas were had by all (hello, Sunday hangover!), the event turned into a late night dance party and guests and chefs alike let loose and had a grand ol’ time.