NEW YORK Tonight, a tasting event at the Chelsea Market kicks off the first New York City Wine & Food Festival, the Northeast version of South Beach's big food fair. Among the numerous parties, demonstrations, and discussions—there are more than 50 individual events during the festival—five look like they'll draw the biggest crowds and most press coverage.
Perhaps the most notable of these is Friday night's Burger Bash, which is the New York incarnation of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival event of the same name. As in Florida, Rachael Ray will host the waterfront party that will involve chefs like David Burke, Michael Lomonaco, and Laurent Tourondel competing to make the tastiest burger. Attendees will be able to sample the beef patties at Brooklyn's Tobacco Warehouse and afterward return to Manhattan on the free Delta Airlines-sponsored bus.
Also on Friday evening is Meatpacking Uncorked, a street festival that will fill the meatpacking district with wine, performers, and musicians. Local businesses like Earnest Sewn, Theory, and Design Within Reach will stay open late for the three-hour sampling, providing guests with wine and the opportunity to shop. Later the same night, chef Tom Colicchio will take the stage at the HighLine Ballroom and play alongside six-piece band Milton for DailyCandy's Midnight Music and Munchies.
Saturday marks the return of Sweet, the late-night dessert party sponsored by Ferrero Rocher that drew almost 1,800 guests, 35 pastry chefs, and 28 wine and spirits companies last November. This year Duff Goldman of the Food Network show Ace of Cakes will host the event at La.venue, and sponsor Absolut will provide the specialty cocktails. Closing out the festivities will be Sunday night's Mohegan Sun Set, hosted by chef Todd English atop the Hotel Gansevoort.