Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stuff your gullet with free wine and cupcakes

This Sunday, I was handed a plumb assignment by my favorite of my two jobs: promoting the Village Voice at the New York Food and Wine Festival Grand Tasting. Not just any tasting, mind you. The GRAND Tasting. Two days later and I'm still full.

As you can see, the Tasting was in a big tent right on the Hudson River; you can see the water in the background if you squint. It was sponsored by the Food Network, but I didn't get a chance to meet any celebrity chefs because I was too busy signing people up to win free tickets to the Voice's Choice Eats food tasting (spring 2010). I also had to concentrate on not falling over after noon rolled around and the alcohol booths were legally allowed to get us all liquored up. New York City--still subject to a Puritan legacy that doesn't let us dance in bars or drink before noon on Sundays.

As popular as the vodka booth across the aisle from us was (left, before the event started), I think that we were the real crowd pleaser that morning, with our attractively arranged offering of mini-cupcakes from the Kumquat Cupcakery in Brooklyn. Seriously, look at those bite-sized bits of awesome with cream cheese frosting. I couldn't have given these away faster even if I was dressed as a French maid with a live kitten on my right shoulder and a baby bunny on my left.

I had three cupcakes; not because I was a model of restraint, but because there was duck and lotus root at the table next to us, scones the table after that, Mexican hot chocolate after THAT, and all manner of wines, liqueurs, beers, and pastries in between. I had an heirloom tomato and watermelon salad on goat cheese, shredded pork with beets and marrow shavings, spiced apple tarts, lemon chicken on basmati rice, and butternut squash soup, and that's just what I can remember off the top of my head. I ate and drank for eight and a half hours straight, folks, and when I went home, my hangover hit me like a ton of bricks at 8 o'clock and I was asleep before I could even watch a "Star Trek" episode.

It was grand.

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