A collective “I ate way too much” burst forth from the mouths of attendees of the New York City Wine and Food Festival last night, wrapping up the event for another year. 2013 saw the return of old favorites like La Sagra’s Sunday Slice and Blue Moon’s Burger Bash as well as brand new tailgate and Oktoberfest festivities, which helped attract food lovers of all kinds. Here’s a look at the highlights from some of the weekend’s festivities.
Jets + Chefs: The Ultimate Tailgate
On Saturday, the New York Jets hosted a tailgate party of epic proportions: With Mario Batali, Rocco DiSpirito, and Joe Namath leading the charge, some of the city’s most globally diverse kitchens huddled up. The result? Not your typical stadium parking lot dining experience. Combinations like smoked brisket tacos, kimchi shrimp rolls, and beef tongue pastrami had people lining up in formation, the human wall surrounding Dominique Ansel’s tent wasn’t letting anyone through, and buffalo shrimp inundated the sea of green jerseys like a Rex Ryan blitz package. The Jets may want to think about running a tailgate like this every weekend: They defeated the rival New England Patriots by a field goal this past Sunday. Hey, a superstition isn’t weird if it works, right?
Guy Fieri’s Rock of Ages party
Fieri greeted each attendee at the door during his Rock of Ages party on Saturday night, nearly a year after that same door swung open on Flavor Town, welcoming tourists, locals, and, eventually, unsympathetic reviewers. By the time Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update got through lampooning the star chef back then, his image had taken a serious hit. Yet here was Fieri one year later playing it up for a packed house. He played host. He played bartender. He ran the show. Oh, and he also tied for first place for the Burger Bash’s People’s Choice award. The guy’s in-your-face personality may not win over everyone, but like the Journey song blasting in the night, his popularity just seems to go on and on and on and on.
Amidst the sea of steins, lederhosen, and giant pretzels with cheese dip, Zimmern and LaFrieda showcased their collaborative effort on a new line of all-natural sausages to coincide with the first NYCWFF Oktoberfest. After all, if you’re going to recreate Bavaria in Queens, you’re going to need a meat-focused menu. LaFrieda’s presence throughout the weekend is typically associated with the various blends that make up the entrants in the Burger Bash, but this collaboration focused on offering an equally iconic foodstuff: the New York hot dog. The new line features a preservative-free Piedmontese heritage beef along with selections like bratwursts with cheese and goat sausage
“I like the goat sausage because I like the mint in it, I like the fennel. It’s very very different,” LaFrieda told us. “I would say that goat is going to be America’s next big protein.” Zimmern added that he’s anxious to see what chefs like Alex Stupak of Empellon start doing with the animal–which he noted is like soccer in that it seems to just be loved a little more outside of the U.S.
La Sagra Sunday Slices
New Yorkers–as we all know–are particular about their pizza, whether it’s fried up montanara-style, spiced up with soppressata, or even served upside down. With Brooklyn native Adam Richman and Anne Burrell leading the charge, pizzerias like Motorino, Co., and Rubirosa converged to offer their interpretation of what makes the best slice, ultimately demonstrating what a little mozzarella, dough, and tomato sauce can do to make magic.