New York City Wine & Food Festival - Uncorked

Say what, a New York City festival all about wine and food?  Sign us up!

Last night, we went to the Cooking Channel Uncorked event, part of New York City's Wine & Food Festival, in the Meatpacking District.  The premise was that a few boutique shops and restaurants in the neighborhood provided food and wine to visiting patrons, whose tickets contributed to raising money for Food Bank for New York City and No Kid Hungry.  The event took place like a scavenger hunt: the few streets around Chelsea Market/the High Line were host to food trucks and stations serving up little bites and little sips.  Unfortunately, it was COLD but big props to NYC WFF for their intricate hosting and organizational duties.

Our first little nibble was from Gaslight Pizzeria.  They doled out a veal/pork meatball in a garlicky tomato sauce and a little shot of chopped tomato mozzarella salad.  The meatball was moist and salty, and though the tomato salad that accompanied was not so flavorful, the mozzarella tasted very fresh and cheese-y.

The next stop on the tour was Le Pain Quotidien, where incidentally Alex and his family and I had post-graduation lunch in the city.  They served a croque monsieur, beet tartare crostini, and a shot of spiced apple cider bubbly.  Weirdly enough, my croque monsieur was a toast crust with ham and gruyere on top...and it was frozen solid from being served outside.  It still tasted quite good, though.  The beet tartare was unlike anything I've ever tasted, but was actually pretty interesting.  The beets were slightly tart and paired well with the slightly onion-y scallions on top.  Though I couldn't have eaten a full serving of this, it was very good as a crostini.  The apple cider and prosecco was fantastic and I would have had several flutes of this if they allowed.  Imagine a good tart apple cider with a little fizz and a little buzz.  Yum.

The next couple of places we visited included L'Occitane and Sephora for sips of wine.  I found that overall I prefer white wine to red, but I can't complain at the various locations practically begging me to drink their libations.  I also happen to shop at both stores so...yay.


At The Diner, we had a small wedge of chicken and goat cheese quesadilla topped with pico de gallo and sour cream squeezed awkwardly from a squeeze bottle.  I liked it very much because, though the ingredients are pretty straightforward, I could taste the tangy goat cheese coating the chicken chunks.  I definitely could picture myself eating a whole portion of this quesadilla.

For a quick detour, we found ourselves in Bagatelle, the restaurant where the main party was happening.  Snacks were circulated by waiters around the restaurant and wine was flowing liberally from behind the bar, but we only stayed a short time, enough to try a spoonful of tuna tartare.  Of course, Alex wouldn't have touched the thing with a 30-foot pole, so I had two shots of the tuna.  Honestly, I've had better tartare; I couldn't taste much from this.  We decided our scavenger hunt outdoors would be more successful.

Back outside, we went to 5 Ninth Restaurant, which was doling out wild mushroom and brie crostini.  SAY NO MORE.  Another food that Alex wouldn't eat if his life depended on, I had both crostini.  They would have been stunning had the been hot, but they had such a strong and delicious earthy mushroom flavor.  It reminded me of a creamy mushroom soup, with thick chunks of mushroom.  I happily gobbled up my crostini, wishing for more.

Across the street at Macelleria, cooks were making food to order - very impressive.  They had a platter of speared green olives, foccaccia chunks, and a meat slicer popping out slices of mortadella.  Mortadella is an Italian cold cut, similar to bologna but less magenta and more meat-like, often with spices studded in the meat.  The mortadella was yummy, but I found the foccaccia to be a bit stale and chewy, probably due to sitting out in the cold so long.

Uncorked's event was a unique experience, but next time for ease of eating and drinking, I'd love if they just shut down the Meatpacking District and brought the food and wine to us instead.