There are many tasting events at the New York Wine and Food Festival, but the Grand Tasting held at Pier 54 dwarfs them all. Dozens of restaurants, wineries, and liquor brands compete for attention, and it can be hard to take it all in visually, let alone in sips and bites. Here are the highlights for 2009.
Though Mediterranean restaurant Ilili was officially serving leg of lamb, a little cajoling got me my favorite -- and most unusual -- taste of the day: lamb brain lightly breaded and fried, served atop a milk bread pancake and topped with pickled slaw.
Klee Brasserie served Viennese fried chicken. I wish I could convince my local sports bar to do the same!
Chef Patrick Connelly from Bobo reinvented the BLT without bread, just pork belly on lettuce garnished with fresh mayonnaise and chutney.
I watched as "Morning Living" regular guest Chef Dave Martin received compliments from fan after fan who still think he should have won season one of "Top Chef." Someone get this man a restaurant!
From Top Chef to Iron Chef: Yes, it's the Chairman!
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The ravioli from Molyvos were creamy with a little kick of spice.
The crew from La Esquina let tasters customize their pozole with radish, slaw, jalpenos, and more.
The fish from Sushi samba looked as fresh as it tasted.
Chef Chai Trivedi of Pranna (center) grounded peanuts by hand for his spicy papaya salad.
Next Iron Chef contender and chef at The Harrison, Amanda Freitag (center) had her game face on as she demonstrated one of the dishes she'll use to compete on the show.
Chef Amanda Cohen from Dirt Candy (the name refers to vegetables, which she enjoys like some of us do sweets) got creative with her portobella mushrooms.
It's called the WINE & Food Festival, so of course there were drinks to be had as well. Here's renowned sommelier Andrea Robinson getting ready to pour.
My favorite new discovery was Veev, a sustainably made açaí spirit that was mixed into a refreshing basil-infused cocktail.
I spotted one of Martha's favorite apertifs, the Aperol spritzer, made with Aperol, prosecco, and a wedge of orange for garnish. It made for a great palate cleanser before I headed to...dinner!