What a food-filled weekend this was! From hibachi, to apple pies, to food festivals, I ate so much that I think my body truly hates me right now.
Friday evening I caught up with some college friends at the hibachi hotspot, Benihana. While I’m not the biggest hibachi fan, it was still great to be able to see friends that I haven’t seen in such a long time. We had a really great time and I hope that it’s not long before we meet up again.
Saturday, my mom participated in the NYC Greenmarket Apple-Pie Bake-Off. If my love for baking and cooking came from anyone, it was definitely from her. Growing up, she always prepared home cooked meals, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
While the competition was stiff, with pies that had crusts fabricated from cinnamon rolls or ones with oat streusel toppings, my mom went with her specialty: Traditional Apple Pie. Her pies are always so delicious and full of love and lots of people who tried this apple pie agreed. While she didn’t take top prize, she apparently lost by only two votes! No worries, we still had a great time and we’ll definitely be back next year to win first place!
That night, one of my very good friends took me to my first Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival events: Tacos & Tequila. I couldn’t have been more psyched! In past years, I’ve always wanted to go, but whether it be cost or timing, I’ve just never had the opportunity to attend. When he invited me to go, before he could even finish asking the question, I quickly said, “YES!”
The Tacos & Tequila event definitely lived up to its namesake! Hosted by Bobby Flay on the roof of Pier 92, there were beautiful views, perfect weather, and so many different types of tacos that I didn’t know where to begin. CASAMIGOS Tequila, an ultra-premium variety backed by the likes of George Clooney, was the tequila of the night, with signature drinks created for each of its three varieties: Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo.
There were also tacos as far as the eye could see! I tried Peking Duck Tacos with hoisin and red chilies with a jicama, radish, Chinese black bean and rice wine vinegar salad from the Buddakan booth, unbelievably tender Oxtail Tostadas with a cabbage and jicama slaw from the Butter booth (chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s restaurant), and wonderfully savory Tacos de Lechon (roasted suckling pig with pickled vegetables and chicharron) with a side of crispy Brussels sprout salad from the Toloache booth. And those were just the tip of the iceberg.
Then came dessert! One of the best things I tried that evening was probably the Taco Helado, coconut and dulce de leche ice cream with toasted coconut on top, from El Toro Blanco. With a crunchy taco shaped cone, creamy ice cream center, and crispy sweet coconut on top, I was in heaven. They also served Margarita truffles, which when you bit into them revealed a center full of actual margarita! I also tried the mini margarita cupcakes from Prohibition Bakery and despite not being the biggest cupcake fan, I think these almost made me a convert. Made with the CASAMIGOS Blanco tequila and sprinkled with salt on top to mimic an actual margarita, it was the perfect little bite.
I did manage to catch a few glimpses of Bobby Flay whilst being followed by his entourage, camera crew, security, and eager fans, so, no, Mr. Flay and myself did not have any exchanges that evening. Nonetheless it was still pretty cool to see him in the flesh for the few seconds that I did, almost like catching a sighting of some elusive, mythical creature as he weaved his way through the crowd. Here’s the best photo I managed to snag of him:
The evening concluded with a bunch of very happy (i.e. drunk) patrons forming a dance circle and getting down with their bad selves. Yeah, I may have joined in a dance or two, especially when the DJ started playing Michael Jackson’s “Working Day and Night.” And Alex Guarnaschelli, who unlike Bobby Flay actually served food all night, reluctantly agreed to take this photo with me before we left: