Sunday, July 31, 2011

Welcome to Food, Wine & Festival Fun in Atlantic City

For the second year in a row, I was invited to the Food Network's Food and Wine Festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As much fun as I have in South Beach, this one is extra special to me. The Jersey Shore isn't a television show as far as I am concerned. It's a place where I enjoyed the boardwalk with my family as a kid, and came to enjoy the casinos and the beach as an adult.  And, when you add in friendly chefs, great food, wine from around the world and lots of spirits, it all spells a whole lot of fun.
I'm lucky enough to have my daughter Sam helping me out with photos and stories this year (and having fun). We arrived at the Chelsea Hotel, a modern boutique property at the end of the strip, in time for some of their "Bikinis and Martinis" party. The rooftop at Chelsea is a great place for a party and though the only ones in bikinis were the servers, there were plenty of interesting Martinis made with Cruzan Rum.

We went straight from the party at The Chelsea to Harrah's Resort, where we quickly checked into a spacious room in the Waterfront Tower and headed down to The Pool for the Kick Off party to the Food Network Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival. I hadn't been at The Pool since my trip here last year and I had almost forgotten what a great space it is. It's a huge solarium filled with jacuzzis and bars (upstairs and down) and, of course, a pool. It's a fun place for the day and a hot spot at night, but it was especially exciting for is party, with wonderful representation of the food, wine and spirits to come.

I enjoyed a some of Mumm's Rose Sparkling Wine, always a favorite, as well as Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, which I was trying for the first time. Among the food we were able to sample were two delicious items from Food Network star finalists: Braised Lamb Shank Crostini from Chris Nirschel and Asian Meatball Sliders from Jeff Mauro. Sam love the Tuna with Sushi Rice from Harrah's McCormack and Schmidt.

The Kickoff Party was definitely a hit in my book and as I settled in for a few hours sleep I knew that this was going to be quite a festival!

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