festivals and events
raves and reviews
the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Tuesday nights are about to get a whole lot cooler. Next week, Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy and NY Waterway are kicking off their first ever Summer Cruise Series, featuring special food and beverage pairings and on-ferry entertainment.
Every Tuesday in July, a ferry will set sail from World Financial NY Waterway Pier at Battery Park City and cruise around the Hudson from 8-10pm. Each week’s excursion has a different theme—from Beef, Bourbon & Beer to Swine & Sparkling Wine—and your $60 ticket includes two hours of unlimited food, specialty drinks, and a boatload of fun.
Marking the maiden voyage of the series, next Tuesday’s event will be a patriotic pre-4th of July celebration with all-American fare, red and white wine, and colorful blue cocktails. Tickets are going fast, so be sure to purchase yours here and get on board!
Photo courtesy of Benchmarc Events
On SOBEWFF‘s last day, a smokin’ hot new event made its mark on the weekend lineup. Hosted by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos from the Cooking Channel’s hit show Extra Virgin, the Festival’s first ever Swine & Wine took over The Biltmore Hotel‘s elegant outdoor courtyard. This swine-celebrating evening soiree brought together more than a dozen celebrated chefs who served their tastiest version of whole roasted pig.
Each pit master spent the day preparing all natural, farm-raised Duroc and Hampshire breed hogs using a variety of techniques. Whether smoked, stuffed, roasted, glazed or rubbed down, succulent pork was spotlighted and paired with a selection of sides, wines and heavy-handed mojitos.
Representing six of the fourteen tasting stations, New York chefs had a strong showing at the swine showdown. Nick Anderer dished out tender Maialino al Forno, Marc Murphy carved up Southern-style porchetta stuffed with cornbread and andouille, and Michael White presented porchetta tigelle with pesto di lardo and salsa verde. Seamus Mullen smoked juicy Berkshire pork jowl and whole suckling pig, while Yuhi Fujinaga paired suckling pig with heirloom bean casoullet, morcilla dip and chicharrón, and Jonathan Waxman rolled out tangy blood orange pig tacos with creamy avocado.
In between savory bites, the crowd enjoyed the Biltmore’s dessert buffet, puffed Padron and La Flor Dominicana cigars, danced to live Latin beats from the Chirino Sisters and voted for their favorite pork dish. In the end, celebrichef Ingrid Hoffmann—Miami restaurateur and host of Food Network’s Simply Delicioso—snagged the coveted crown for her savory-meets-sweet mini pulled pork tacos with guava salsa negra and pickled mustard seeds.
After maxing out my appetite at Meatball Madness, my stomach was pushed to capacity again at Friday’s Blue Moon Burger Bash, presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats. One of NYCWFF’s most popular events, this sold out meat extravaganza drew more than 20 A-list chefs and food personalities, who served up their “best between a bun” in the ultimate burger throwdown.
Comedian Whoopi Goldberg took over for Rachael Ray to host this year’s massive grillfest at Dumbo’s landmark Tobacco Warehouse. As aromas of sizzling meat and grease wafted through the air, carnivorous guests noshed on burgers and side dishes, sipped Blue Moon brews and Sutter Home wines, and voted for their favorite patty. Beloved burger joints Shake Shack and Bill’s Bar and Burger drew the longest lines, while last year’s People’s Choice winner Bobby Flay attracted the biggest fan mob.
Some of the night’s mouthwatering bites included Beauty and Essex’s Lamb and Brisket Burger (with spicy garlic aioli, vine ripe tomato, goat-feta & pickled red onion), DBGB’s Piggy Burger (beef with BBQ pulled pork, jalapeño mayo, mustard-vinegar slaw & a cheddar bun), and Dram Shop’s Cheeseburger (two beef squares, double cheese & the works). Between burger sampling, attendees indulged in milkshakes and pie with Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman and belted out 80’s, 90’s and Top 40 hits along with a rockin’ cover band.
Judges David Burke, Anne Burrell, Adam Richman and Andrew Zimmern picked the cheddar cheese, Nueske bacon and brioche “Wisconsin” from Franklin Becker (Abe & Arthur’s) for the win, People’s Choice went to Josh Capon (Burger & Barrel) for his juicy bison round, and Chris Santos (Beauty & Essex) snagged the Heinz Best Dressed Burger Award. Many congrats to all!
Ultimately, this year’s Bash was a blast, even though a sudden mid-event downpour kept me from trying several of the burgers. No big deal—many more delicacies were on my evening’s agenda, and I left Brooklyn to make my way to the all-desserts soiree, SWEET.
Last week, I attended the second dinner in the new wine pairing series hosted at Landmarc [Tribeca], a restaurant renowned for its extensive and affordable wine list. Providing a fresh approach to typical wine dinners, celebrated Chef Marc Murphy and David Lombardo, Landmarc’s Wine & Beverage Director, hand-pick bottles from around the world to pair with exceptional dishes not regularly offered on Landmarc’s menu. Each evening features a specific theme, which is reflected in the cuisine and pairing selections.
Besides enjoying a fantastic meal, wine lovers will leave well-versed in the varietals showcased throughout the night. To guide the crowd as they smell and sip away, Lombardo and wine specialist Jules Bianciardi introduce each of the six wines, provide a brief history and describe prominent tasting notes. Every table will also feature distinct aromatics, such as oranges, raspberries, dark chocolate, caramel, thyme and peppercorns, to encourage proper scent identification.
Kicking off this year’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival last night was the 5th annual Amstel Light Burger Bash, hosted by Rachel Ray. The much-anticipated meaty extravaganza drew A-list chefs and food personalities serving up their “best between a bun” for the ultimate burger throw down. Thousands of hungry guests swarmed to the Ritz-Carlton’s beachside tent to sink their teeth into a whopping 26 beefy creations and vote for their favorite. And we’re not talking about your standard patties here—these were some of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted.
During the gluttonous burger bonanza, some chefs chose to forgo the beef all together (elk and foie gras sliders from Tim Love, lamb and anchovy patties from Jonathon Sawyer), while others showcased inventive toppings—Bobby Flay featured crumbled potato chips on his Napa Valley Crunchified and Masaharu Morimoto cracked a fried egg over his Waygu Nikomi Burger.
Michael White offered one of the night’s juiciest bites—a Pat LaFrieda ground and dry-aged beef blend, smothered in American cheese with black tomato and butter lettuce, known as The White Label. And what New Yorker doesn’t love a Shake Shack burger? Danny Meyer knows not to mess with a good thing and doled out his famous Black Angus piled with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and “shack sauce”—a classic done well.
2009 People’s Choice winner Spike Mendelsohn dressed up as the Hamburglar in hopes of stealing back the title this year, but all tactics aside, his Colletti Smokehouse burger spoke for itself—with applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, beer-battered onion rings, chipotle BBQ sauce and a delicious toasted marshmallow milkshake to wash it all down with.
Other stand-outs included the Vermont cheddar, crispy onion and horseradish pepper sauced patty from Michael Schlow, and The Ritz Carlton’s decadent Hobb’s bacon and foie gras torchon topped Bistro Burger, served with earthy black truffle taters. And of course (drum roll please)…the two big winners of the night:
Marc Murphy snagged the prestigious Judges’ Favorite for the Big Marc—an all-beef patty on a homemade cheddar cheese and black pepper bun with spiked ketchup and bread-and-butter pickles. The cleverly executed burger and side of jalapeño tots was a truly title-deserving combo. (*Now, burger lovers can try the Big Marc themselves—it’s a new menu addition at NYC’s Ditch Plains and Landmarc. Go get one, trust me.)
Finally, Iron Chef Michael Symon defended his 2010 title and was crowned People’s Choice award winner for the second year in a row! The salty and spicy Yo! Burger, from Symon’s B Spot in Cleveland, won over the crowd with bold flavors from fried salami, provolone cheese, pickled onions and his mother-in-law’s zesty shasha sauce. And the Nutella and hazelnut liqueur milkshake that came with it? Sold me on the first sip.
Congrats to all the winners and competitors who made Burger Bash 2011 a smashing success! After I powered my way through, bite by bite, I sought chocolately relief from Jacque Torres, but even I was too stuffed for dessert. After all, I have a long weekend of eating ahead and am saving my sweet tooth for tonight’s Let Them Eat Cake event. Enjoy some of Burger Bash’s best shots below:
The battle for the best is fierce, but what’s your favorite burger?
Marc Murphy, Executive Chef and owner of celebrated NYC restaurants Landmarc and Ditch Plains, has certainly mastered the art of multitasking. Maybe you’ve seen him as a straight-shooting judge on Food Network’s weekly hit Chopped, speaking out against hunger at a City Harvest event, or even teaching the ladies of The View how to roast a chicken, but he was still kind enough to sit down with me to discuss his latest projects and new catering venture, Benchmarc Events.
In a town where egos can run rampant, it’s refreshing to meet someone who genuinely cares about making people happy through his food. Marc’s consumer-minded sensibility and laid-back approach to fine cuisine has been thoroughly embraced by diners looking to enjoy refined fare without suffering through stuffy atmospheres or break-the-bank bills.
Marc’s passion is evident, his enthusiasm for his craft is inspiring, and one thing is certain—his welcomed approach definitely seems to be working.
Enjoy our Q & A below.