Chris & I took the Megabus down Saturday afternoon and went to our hotel to check in. They kindly informed us that they were just putting the finishing touches on our room and Could They Escort Us to the Guests-Only Bar for Complementary Drinks While We Waited? Uh... yes. Sure. Um, ok. Yes! It was one of those moments where we side-glanced each other trying to figure out what was happening and why we were getting the royal treatment when our room wasn't even supposed to be ready for another 25 minutes. But, the smooth operators we were, we just followed him right to the bar and ordered ourselves some drinks. As the bartender said, "Sky's the limit!" Thank you.
We settled in, shopped around for a new suit for Chris and then met up with the ShopRite gang to go to Tacos & Tequila, hosted by Bobby Flay. I didn't take any creepy videos of him this year. Apologies! We had a blast, even though there weren't many (any?) vegetarian tacos. I mean, what? Veggie tacos are so easy! I will admit to eating a bit of meat that night, including a bite of octopus. I will also gladly admit that I don't think we've been missing anything in our meat-free experiments. I prefer veggies, hands down.
Onward to Sunday's Grand Tasting event! Dana & I were on the live-blogging team for the day and also talked up ShopRite's Potluck blog. I think I preferred this year's Grand Tasting experience, if only because Sunday seemed slightly less crowded than Saturday was last year. There was a ton of food, a ton of booze (wine, beer & liquor, oh my) and lots of celeb chefs. That food is GOOD, people. The above picture is of a Quinoa & Goat Cheese Arrancini with Romesco Sauce served over Brown Rice & Red Quinoa with Butternut Squash & Sage, by Harvest Grains.
I am a pro at Tabling at Events and Telling People What's Up, due to all of the work-related, FSC-related and other cause-related outreach I seem to find myself doing. So I actually really enjoyed chatting it up with peeps about the ShopRite blog. It never ceases to surprise me how grabby people can be when there are freebies around, however. They will claw your eyes out for a plastic spatula or box of biscotti. Intense.
Anyway, we caught a slice of 10,000 calorie pizza here before hopping on a nighttime train back to Albany with our bags full of food swag. And then we slept in an extra hour the next morning.
Oh, this is just a bonus pic of me with Chef Fabio. We also saw B. Flay (obviously), Giada, Paula Deen's kids, one of those mean guys that yells at people on his show, one of the guys that eats weird food (not Anthony Bourdain), Masaharu Morimota and maybe someone else. Sorry, we don't get the Food Network so I'm not up to speed on everyone's names.
Thanks, ShopRite, for inviting me to live-blog & work the Grand Tasting at this year's NYC Wine & Food Festival. It was an awesome weekend!