Friday, February 22, 2008
Trade Day at the Food Fest
The Tasting Village opened yesterday with "trade day," a less-crowded version of the bacchanalia that ensues during the weekend. A chance to talk to the wine companies, to network, hobnob and shmooze with those in the biz. Allow me to say, DUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE! Let the festivities begin. Who doesn't like drinking at 1 in the afternoon? Apparently no one from 14th to 10th and Ocean. Walking in I heard the strains of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" and spied a tiki-hut cabana outfitted with girls throwing beach balls and I knew the party had arrived. Managed to catch a few minutes of Bourdain's "Golden Clog" Awards.
There was crazy Tony, all lanky and barefoot in black jeans waxing sarcastic about sell-out chefs and hating on the Food Network. The man loves the Sobe Food Fest because the crowds eat up his narcissism like cubes of Cabot cheese. He's that rare breed of media beast who has managed to parlay his career as a chef into notoriety as an author and this final permutation of a wisecracking stage personality. After sampling six different liquor-laced beverages within my first 4 minutes inside the tents, I found Bourdain quite entertaining. But the village and its bevy of beverages and bites beckoned. So I only caught him and Ruhlman bestowing the prize on Momofuku's David Chang for being the best chef to work with pig innards or some such.
As expected for trade day, the grounds were rife with product placement. I managed to down two Dunkin Donuts caramel 'chinos (one at the beginning to fortify, one at the end to sober up. I highly reccomend this strategy.)
Godiva is now busting out with coffee blends, all of which are sweety, sweet. Memo to beverage wizards: some people like to keep their teeth. All of the pretty gals handing out the samples are also really nice.
There was a company handing out a product called "Goodbye Smell" for getting rid of oniony smells on your skin. I've already got a product that does that - it's called lemon rinds. And a company called Europe's Best was handing out mini-smoothies which were really refreshing and delicious.
Chocolate-covered cookies from Godiva, very popular.
In a nice example of food and spirit-based recipe synergy Patron was offering tequila shrimp cocktails.
Rock Garden Herbs had a bountiful display for their herbage and a pesto-like dip made from purreed mint, basil and olive oil.
Evian's bright pink cabana has a staff of "misters" on hand to spray you down with the pricey water which is actually quite nice on a hot day.
Lamb is in vogue, apparently. Many vendors were offering it at the tasting village and at Best of the Best last night.
Coppola's vineyard is launching a new line of all-Sonoma wines called "Director's Cut." I tried the chardonay (the bottle on the right), nice and smooth and not bad for about $20 retail. Apparently the pinot noir is great but they didn't have it with them.
Here's a vineyard from Long Island, NY called Bedell Cellars. Yep, that Long Island. Really tasty wines, actually. Some of their lables are comissioned by artists like Barbara Kruger and Eric Fishl. They were pouring their 2005 merlot which sang of blueberries and oak.
And a 2005 Louis Latour Meursault was perfect for the hot day. Bursting with grapefruit, lemon and nice acidity.