Food Network Chefs and Parties in Atlantic City

I spent the morning interviewing some of the Food Network’s best before the activities of their Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival began. It was casual and fun, and I had a chance to get to know Pat and Gina Nelly; Robert Irvine; and Sunny Anderson, as well as catch up with Guy Fieri, who I’ve done stories on for a number of publications in the past year*. (You can see my Los Angeles Confidential piece here.) I have to say there wasn’t an overinflated ego in the room as everyone talked about the importance of getting kids to make healthier food choices.

After the interviews, my daughter Sam and I headed over to the Robert Mondavi Grand Market. This year they added an Italian Village section (not all Italian, but certainly full of tasty booths) to spread it out a bit more. As always, there is more food and drinks than you can possibly enjoy, so I suggest everyone allow for at least two trips there.

This was my first visit during the 2011 festival and I navigated my way over to the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from The Beach House, which is a wonderful and inexpensive find. Sam, who loves to cook for her friends, was fascinated with the Roasted Garlic Express, and it produces well. She also discovered some delicious food at the booth for Harry’s Oyster Bar & Seafood, and we enjoyed dipping and trying the Balsamic Vinegars and Olive Oils at City 2 Shore. The Pecan Pie from Potito’s was just the way I like it – buttery and not too sweet -- but the sugar in Pecan Jacks nuts was from Caribbean Rum, Amaretto (my favorite) and Bourbon.

At last year’s Guy Fieri Cheesesteak Challenge, I discovered 2 Chicks with Chocolate. The company has grown, but the quality has remained the same. There was plenty more to satisfy my sweet tooth. Fortunately, I’ve learned to just take tasting bites of: Sand Dollar Crumb Cake, moist and rich; Daisy Cakes, the carrot was incredible; and Brix Chocolate for Wine, good with or without the vino. I finished Saturday’s Grand Market experience with a taste of Thatcher’s Organic Artisan Elderflower Liqueur, flavorful and not full of sugar, and spoke with Rocky Fino, who gave me copies of his books Will Cook For Sex: A Guy's Guide to Cooking and Will Mix for Sex: Twenty-One Classic Cocktails to Set the Mood, both of which I’m anxious to read.

We headed out to the Boardwalk and ran into the Cooking Channel Ice Cream Truck, giving out cool treats in celebration of the channel’s one year anniversary. Then it was on to Fire and Ice in the Courtyard just outside of Caesar’s. It was one of my favorite events, with music playing as we enjoyed tastes of Latin food and plenty of wine and spirits. Everything was great, but I especially loved the Mango Habanero Guacamole from Chef Ivy Stark of Dos Caminos.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get tickets to two great events with Sunny Anderson, Sunset Sliders and Sweet & Stylish, but I used the opportunity to chill for awhile in the House of Blues Studio Suite at Showboat before the Chef’s Party at The Foundation Room. It was rather crowded and the chefs just made brief appearances with body guards. As much as I love The Foundation Room at the House of Blues (don’t go to Atlantic City without stopping by for a drink or dinner), I think this event would have been better in a larger location. By about 1:30 am, 2e headed back to our suite (which was just down the hall) to get some rest before the final day of the Food Network’s Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival.

*I will be doing feature stories on all the chefs for a great new website I am working for, Travel, Food & Drink.

(Sorry for the delay between Atlantic City blog posts, I was on assignment for two weeks and it made blogging difficult. It’s something I know to plan for in advance in the future.)

Photos by Samantha Frost


Popular posts from this blog

Denver Beer and Connecting with Friends

Last Day in Champagne-Robots & Bars in the Trees

Chocolate Extravaganza and Australia Farewell