Food, Festivals & Friends – A “Well-Balanced” Weekend in New York City

IMG_0806Having just completed its seventh year, the New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) is one of the most highly anticipated events of the entire year. Attended by foodies, celebrity chefs and well, just about everyone in NYC, this mega food and wine weekend-long series of events is more than just about the drinking and the dining – its about meeting new people from all across the world, learning the art of food, and most importantly, bringing people together for a great cause – ending world hunger!

In 2007, NYCWFF was established as a one night only idea, as a way to bring together some of the biggest names in the business. Now, with hundreds of events over the course of four days, people flock from all around the five boroughs, and even the world, to take a bite out of the Big Apple on this much anticipated weekend.

IMG_0808Having a roomie in the PR business, I was fortunate enough to get “hooked up” with passes to some of the best events of the weekend. It all started with Rachel Ray’s famous Burger Bash on Friday on the roof of Pier 94 on the West side of Manhattan. Rows and rows of vendors greeted hungry guests, as fun party music played in the background and beer and wine flowed freely into our disco cups.

IMG_0827As the night went on and I stuffed my face, I soon came to a point where I just couldn’t indulge anymore (I wasn’t alone, either). But that’s not to say the burly, manly judges (Coolio, Robert Irvine, Josh Capon and Nick Mangold) were following suit. And though they didn’t try all of the contestant’s creations, let’s just say they were beefed up as they tried to tally the winners!

After hours of indulging in all this greasy goodness, the moment of truth rolled around and the winner was announced – BBD’s burger (one which I tried, and I must admit, was definitely amazing) won judge’s choice, and Black Tap Craft Burgers won the People’s choice (didn’t try that one).

As the endless access of burgers and beer soon came to an end, it was time to roll out of there, literally! And though some wanted to keep the party going, it was time for me to go home – after all I was going hiking upstate the following morning to burn off some of those beer and burger calories I consumed at this filling festival.

IMG_1259Early Saturday morning, my roommate, best friend, colleagues and I hoped on the Metro North to Cold Spring for a day of action, adventure and some antiquing.

New York City is that kind of place where you can be attending the most fabulous of parties one moment and travel to a beautiful, natural environment in the blink of an eye. Though I love the city, I must admit, it’s always nice to escape to a quaint little town where the air is fresh, the people are polite and a sandwich doesn’t cost $20.IMG_1129

Upon arrival we stopped for a quick bathroom and coffee break and then were on our way up to our “hike”. Now, the leader of the pack, my colleague, has done this before, but these three Miami girls were in for a “treat” and let’s just say, we didn’t make it the whole way.

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Although beautiful, and great exercise, the steep, rocky terrain definitely presented a challenge and between our cute Nike sneakers (meaning no proper hiking boots or attire), taking pictures, and texting our adventure to our loved ones along the way, you can understand why the Miami chicas just barely made it to the lookout point. But when we did, it was all worth the view – a stunning panoramic landscape of the valley below.

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After what seemed like an entire photo shoot and bazillion pictures later, we made our way down (some of us on our asses), sliding back to town for some bites and brews. As the afternoon went on, we enjoyed the town, popping into the cute little shops and even playing in the fall leaves. It was a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives in the big city.

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But we couldn’t stay away for long, after all, we are city girls. We hopped back on the train, took a quick disco nap and got all dolled up for a night on the town.

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As we danced into the wee hours of the morning, the sunrise was but a few hours away when we’d get up and get dressed for another day of city conquering. The NYCWFF was in its final day, and so we had to go out with a bang, but not before engaging in some pampering at one of my favorite secret spots – a $13 head massage, hair wash and blow dry! You read right! $13! You can’t even buy a sandwich in this city for that much.

Once we were glamorized, we were off to the Grand Tasting at Pier 94. Just as we entered, we were already being greeted with small bites of deliciousness and cups filled to help us get our drink on. It wasn’t long before I was already full, but that didn’t stop me from indulging in the gluttonous activities that are NYCWFF! IMG_1308

We made our way through the booths and eventually towards Pier 92 for the final event of the weekend (though there were tons of other fabulous events going on around town) – Meatopia! Yes, the mother of all events for meat lovers. I mean, not only did they have the biggest BBQ I ever did see, but one of the booths was offering Chorizo laced ice cream. Yes, please!IMG_1325

Since I moved here, there’s never been a shortage of eating, drinking and really tapping into the gluttonous girl inside of me, but I must admit, I’m already dreaming about next year’s NYCWFF – the ultimate foodie’s dream!

Until next time chefs and fellow foodies!

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