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!
More than 40 chefs, hundreds of hungry carnivores, thousands of pounds of meat. Last Saturday’s Meatopia on Randall’s Island was an ambitious culinary spectacular where whisky and beer flowed freely and meat reigned supreme. Event founder Josh Ozersky seriously upped the ante from last year’s meat-filled fest and successfully executed one of the most organized and enjoyable food events of the year—in spite of some wet weather.
Some of the highlights and best bites from Meatopia 2012:
The talented lineup of chefs and pit masters showcased at this year’s “City of Meat” (including Marc Forgione, Alex Guarnaschelli, Franklin Becker, April Bloomfield, Naomi Pomeroy and many others) focused on utilizing whole animals, and dished up a dizzying array of meats prepared in every way, shape and form. A few of the most mouthwatering dishes included Pat LaFrieda‘s whole marinated Creekstone steer, Justin Smillie‘s succulent spit-roasted short ribs, Portuguese paella with soft egg and jalapeños from Anthony Goncalves, tender grilled rib steak with bone marrow butter and pickled grilled onions from Marc Forgione, and the undeniable crowd favorite, Aaron Franklin’s BBQ beef brisket—which blew away any preconceived notions of what brisket should taste like.
While the event was in full swing, dark grey clouds rolled in and the sky opened up on the carnivorous crowd. Luckily, the Amstel Light and Diageo tents provided shelter from the rain, along with music, entertainment and unlimited tasty beverages. While weathering the storm in the George Dickel Tennessee Whisky tent, I had a blast watching Discovery Channel’s Jimmy DiResta handcraft an entire wooden bar from scratch and downed delicious whisky cocktails like the “Possum Eatin’ Peach Pits”—my favorite drink of the night, and the perfect complement to the savory all-meat menu.
Congrats to another successful Meatopia! Looking forward to even more meaty madness in 2013. And to tempt your taste buds in the meantime, dive into the peachy punch cocktail recipe below:
Possum Eatin’ Peach Pits Recipe
1 ounce George Dickel Tennessee Whisky
1/4 ounce Stirrings Peach Liqueur
1/2 ounce Olorosso Sherry
1 teaspoon Amaro CioCiaro
1/2 ounce black tea
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Slices peaches and strawberries for garnish
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker; Shake well. Pour contents into a rocks glass. Garnish with sliced peaches and strawberries. Cheers!