The Press on Wine & Food Fest: Katie Lee Joel Win "Preposterous," DailyCandy Party "Stinky"

By Courtney Thompson October 13, 2008, 3:49 PM EDT

Bobby Flay hosted Friday night's Chelsea Market After Dark.

Photo: BizBash

Following (and during) this weekend’s onslaught of gastro-focused events surrounding the New York City Wine & Food Festival, the press weighed in, delighting over (and ranting about) the endless stream of, well, wine and food.

The Burger Bash ended up being the fest’s most contentious event, when Katie Lee Joel’s patty melt ended up winning the party’s top honor of best burger (beating out the likes of Tom Colicchio, Laurent Tourondel, and even Shake Shack’s Ray Lee). Said The Feedbag blog, “We won’t go into what a gross miscarriage of justice this was. But it was … Katie Lee Joel! Preposterous.” Added, “It’s a major upset.”

The event itself reeled in hundreds and, according to, “Veterans of the SoBe fest agreed the venue, DUMBO's Tobacco Warehouse, was a massive improvement upon the former tent set up in Miami.” (They also added: “We'd first like to take a moment to congratulate Katie Lee Joel on winning the first annual New York City Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash with her fan favorite, a grilled cheese sandwich. The announcement of the win was preceded by festival headmaster Lee Schrager reminding the crowd that said victory was by way of a popular vote, ie. you have yourselves to blame for this, people.”)

The City Sweet tooth blog hit Bobby Flay’s Chelsea Market After Dark party on Friday, where a block-long line quickly formed outside. Inside, everyone flocked to Flay. “The Bobby Flay burger situation was crazy. There was a bottleneck almost the whole night in the area he was signing autographs and serving burgers (at least I think he was I never got to see what exactly was happening).” Added Gothamist, “The crowds and lines were enormous, with at least a 35 minute wait to get in for the throngs of people lined up to catch a glimpse of some of their favorite Food Network personalities.”

Eater described Daily Candy’s party on Friday, which followed the Burger Bash, as being “overcrowded, hot, sweaty, and a tad bit stinky.” Added Metromix, “Following the no-holds-barred Burger Bash in Dumbo, the NYC Wine & Food Festival closed out its second night with a late-night snack-and-booze at the Highline Ballroom, where the city's top mixologists plied the crowd with drinks and a handful of chefs served bite-size creations.”

Also on Friday was the block party-esque Meatpacking Uncorked, which the Village Voice’s Fork in the Road summed up by saying: “Basically, for $40, you got your wristband, and then wandered around the Meatpacking, where the fancy shmancy shops were open late and pouring tastes of wine.”

According to New York magazine’s Grub Street blog, Saturday’s late-night party, Sweet, offered libations aplenty, while “Custards, puddings, and cupcakes ruled the aisles, and there were several gold-topped confections that seem a bit frivolous to eat in this economy (shouldn’t someone melt those down and send them to Hank Paulson?)” Added Eater, “By the looks of the turnout, the foodies were able to make their way through the hordes of teenagers and B&T crowds filling the streets outside Mansion and Home to see Sam Ronson and the 50 plus pastry chefs. Sweet's venue was gorgeous, the sound track, excellent, and the event seemed like a real success. The vital flaw here however is this: No normal person would want to consume more than a handful of dessert samplings at once.”

Described by Gothamist as “a cross between a tasting event, a product placement festival and a supermarket (Shop Rite was a sponsor),” the Grand Tasting rounded out the weekend with showings on both Saturday and Sunday (see our coverage here).

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