Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cheesesteak, Whisky & Wine and Food Network Festival

Day two of the Food Network’s Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival actually didn’t start until the evening, but I had three events to squeeze in there.

Stop one was at Guy Fieri’s Cheesesteak Battle. Guy – and I – were going to pick the best one at the Palladium Ballroom in Caesars. It was a food orgy in there with four contestants and a selection of additional food, like a great chicken/asparagus cheesesteak-like offering from Café Roma, Spicy Chicken Dim Sum from Sammy’s Beach Bar, and some absolutely delicious chocolates from 2 Chicks with Chocolate, which I highly recommend checking out. There was also lots of drink offerings, like Rosenblum Cellars wine and Blue Moon beer.

Guy and I didn’t quite agree on the winner.  He went for Tony Boloney’s Cheesesteak, which I thought was very good, but a bit too salty for me.  This Atlantic City restaurant beat out my choice, Chinks Steaks of Philadelphia, which I thought was the perfect mixture of tender beer, cheese and onions.  It was a Fieri frenzied evening as everyone fought over a glimpse of the Food Network star.  I, however, knew I had a morning interview set up with Guy Fieri, and a Maker’s Mark Whisky and Cigar Party to get to.

Sammy’s Beach Bar is Bally’s latest addition and it is literally on the beach.  A winding staircase from the boardwalk will lead you down there as the piano music goes through the ocean air.  My friends from Beam Global were there to great with samples of the original Maker’s Mark, as well as their brand new product (the first new release the company has had), Maker’s Mark 46.  It was long in the making, but worth the wait as bourbon offering distinct vanilla undertones and a smooth finish.  There were also lots of cigars for the taking at this event.  I didn’t join in that vice and instead headed out to my next stop…. Wine Unplugged: A Doors Experience.

The Very Best of the Doors [US Version]I’ve never been to Showboat (with the exception of a short visit when first opened) and it’s quite different from the other casinos.  Club Harlem is dark and relaxing, the perfect place to sample some wines while listening to the Doors, as done by The Soft Parade.  The wine was chosen by sommelier Michael Green and included 15 unique choices.  It had been a long day so I only sampled a few: The Chocolate Block by Boekenhoutskloof of South Africa, a combination of sweet and spicy;   Pierre Sparr’s Gewurztraminer from France, not as sweet as most, with a floral aroma; and Schmitt Sohne’s Anything Goes Riesling, light and crisp to end the event with.

Before heading back to Harrah's Resort and a nightcap at The Pool, I made a stop at the Foundation Room at Showboat for a tour of this spectacular club and restaurant (you must try the private rooms, if you can get one) and beautiful views of the beach and the Steel Pier.

My Saturday is filled with eight events at the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival so there’s plenty more to come.

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