I can never pass up a reason to visit New York in the fall.
With growing up in Michigan, I have a special place in my heart for a full-flavored autumn, the anticipation of wonderful events bringing friends and colleagues together. From Sunday chili to donuts and cider, it is a time for fine food and drink, hand-in-hand with laughter and celebration.
A warm end-of-the-summer wind met me when I arrived in the city late Thursday evening for the 2010 Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival – a weekend dear to my heart in a place of cherished familiarity. A quiet cab ride to the LES and a short rush uptown, I joined festival revelers at the beautiful Aspen Social Club well after sunset for a kickoff event hosted by chef Art Smith and Niche Media’s luxurious Gotham Magazine. Slivers of finely-cooked Allen Brothers steak were quickly snapped up by hungry guests, along with perfect bowls of shrimp and grits and bites of delicious red velvet cake. In addition to Chef Smith, festival mastermind Lee Schrager, chefs Ming Tsai and Todd English, and Gotham‘s founder Jason Binn were all in attendance for the soiree.
I also bumped into the lovely Sarah Simmons, Food & Wine’s Home Cook Superstar, who’s a busy bee these days, from catering Michelin Guide parties to developing new home cooking projects. I think she’s definitely one to watch.
Tomorrow – my recap of Friday’s local food panel with chefs Tom Colicchio, Dan Barber, Daniel Humm, and Alex Guarnaschelli – plus Chopped! at Marc Murphy’s landmarc.
**Photo credits: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender