Food Network Stars at the same time? Go to them both, of course.
I started out at the tent between Caesars and Bally’s for Paula’s Boardwalk Party. Despite the huge crowd at the tables and the buffets, Paula Deen (and husband Michael Groover) made everyone feel like they were in her dining room. There was lots of old-fashioned Southern Cooking, including Pork Chops, Chicken & Rice and an incredible Red Velvet Cake with a German Chocolate-like frosting. Paula and Michael charmed the crowd, we enjoyed lots of wine and sweet tea – in this case Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea. It was a delicious and comfortable setting, but I had an entirely different type of brunch to get to.
Caesars with incredible views of the ocean, for Alex Guarnaschelli’s Farm-to-Table Brunch. The tables were set formally and included a selection of wine glasses for the paired meal. Alex talked a bit about healthy, organic and sustainable food, before we started with our bread basket of Cherry Scones and Warm Beignets with Raspberry Jam, which were as good as they sound.
The first course at the Farm-to-Table Brunch was a Tomato and Corn Salad with Homemade Ricotta. It was served with two different Wild HorseWinery Chardonnays. I favored the Wild Horse Chardonnay Central Coast before the Spice-Rubbed Strip Steak and Crustless Quiche came with a selection of Pinot Noir, the best of which was the Wild Horse Pinot Central Coast. Then there was dessert and I can’t tell you which I loved more – the Blueberry Cobbler with Buttermilk Ice Cream, or the Inniskillin Vidal ice wine from Niagara Peninsula.
Food Network’s Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival was at Super Suds: Tastes and Trends in Artisan Beer. Now, I am not at all a beer drinker (a long story I am happy tell you someday if you buy me a glass of wine), but I am keenly aware that it is a trendy staple in many diets so I was sure to bring someone along who knows their ale and stout. My daughter Sam has enjoyed sampling artisan beers before and she appreciated the evaluation of the appearance, aroma, taste, “mouthfeel” and drinkability lesson by beer critic Gary Monterosso, followed by a sampling of eight beers. The favorites I was told to pass along were Old Brown Dog from Smuttynose Brewing, Dreamweaver from Troegs Brewing, Farmhouse Summer Ale from Flying Fish Brewing and Lager from Brooklyn Brewery.
After the Food Festival came to an end, Sam and I somehow managed to come up with the appetite for one more Atlantic City meal at Polistino’s at Harrah's Resort. It was Perfetto Italiano. I loved the create your own Antipasto, allowing us to pick our (vegetarian) favorites. Sam loved the Spaghetti ala Pescatore with an array of seafood. I thought Trofie al Pesto – twisted pasta with a creamy pesto sauce – was excellent, but I found the potato puree under it unnecessary. And then it was time to go home to the yogurt and protein shakes before the next eating and drinking adventure through California Wine Country.