Westchester Magazine’s Wine and Food Weekend Kicks Off at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester; Captain Lawrence Brewing Company Moves; Plus, Just in Time for Valentine’s Day: Sexy Bluepoint Oysters at Harvest on Hudson



 

Westchester Magazine’s Wine and Food Weekend Kicks Off at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester

All of our furtive planning and plotting is about to come to fruition. The Westchester Magazine Wine & Food Weekend (May 17 - 20) kicked off last Tuesday night, revealing our Machiavellian design to rock the pants off White Plains. Mwahaha!

Of course, the weekend’s highlight is its glittering Winemaker’s Dinner in the Ritz-Carlton Ballroom, which willbe transformed by Diana Gould, Ltd, florist to the stars.  The six-course dinner will be prepared by Joel de la Cruz and Adam Kaye of Blue Hill at Stone BarnsAnthony Goncalves of 42, the Restaurant, Ethan Kostbar of Moderne Barn, Peter X. Kelly of X20 Xaviar’s on the Hudson, Marc Lippman of Crabtree’s Kittle House, and AJ McCloud of the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, and it comes smack in the middle of two days of Grand Tastings. But guess what? The Grand Tastings are even more ambitious than they were last year, and will offer samples from more than 120 fine wines, top-shelf spirits, and great Captain Lawrence beer. I spoke with event sommelier Billy Rattner (of Xaviars Restaurant Group) and he is thrilled with the quality of wineries coming on board. PS: that poor man’s been working like a dog to line all of this up.

At the Grand Tastings, there will be signature dishes from more than 60 of the most popular restaurants in our region, including BLT, Tarry Lodge, Crabtree’s Kittle House, Bedford Post Inn, Le Panetiere, Ruth’s Chris, Village Social, Birdsall House, 42, the Restaurant, Mulino’s, etc., plus chef demonstrations by food-world luminaries. So far, look for Eric Gabrynowicz of Restaurant North and Peter X. Kelly of X2O. Fingers crossed that, just like last year, someone will wrestle a whole dead animal on camera. A girl can hope.

During the tastings and demos,  we’ll be offering edifying seminars by Kevin Zraly and others themed “Wines of Bordeaux,” “A Tour Through Tuscany,” “Crystal Clear: Does the Glass Make a Difference?” and “Napa & Sonoma: Tasting California.” But here’s what’s new. With the participation of our Spirits Sponsor, Pernod Ricard, we’ll be offering two don’t-miss cocktails classes: “Modern Mixology: Bringing Cocktails Home” and “Prohibition Cocktails Clinic.” I’ll be the one in the cloche hat, a hip flask in my garter.

Great, but here’s where we take the party to the streets. The weekend detonates at 7:30pm on  Thursday, May 17, with a Burger Bash that rocks out downtown White Plains in street party that offers music, burgers, BBQ, wings, tacos, and specialty beer to benefit the Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless. Look for awards, a competition, and an all-out beery blast. And on Friday night, once you’ve recovered from the Burger Bash, you can swing right into the ArtsBash to benefit ArtsWestchester—a glittering opportunity to meet artists, view their studios, see exhibitions (and, obviously, sample great bevvies and food from 42, the Restaurant, Café of Love, Lulu Cake Boutique, and Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, among many others).

On Sunday morning—do you think we just pat you on your bum and hand you a bowl of Cap’n Crunch? Oh, no! Anthony Goncalves of 42, the Restaurant is offering a Sparkling Sunday Brunch with passed hors d’oeuvres, a vast buffet, a carving station, and much, much more.  May I say It’s the perfect, absorptive foundation for Sunday’s Grand Tasting…

Folks, this whole crazy weekend is still evolving. Every week (every day!) there’s news of more chefs, different demos, and ever more incredible wineries becoming involved. Don’t miss out on news about your favorite restaurants! Get up-to-the-second news by “liking” our Facebook page, Westchester Magazine’s Wine and Food Weekend. See you all there for incredible wine and ticket giveaways and more!

 

Captain Lawrence Now in Elmsford! And February 4 was Captain Lawrence Brewing Company Day All Day Long!

In a scene very reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz (when a baffled, witch-killing  Dorothy was presented with various pomp-filled Proclaimations from the curly-shoed citizens of Munchkinland), I witnessed the similarly dazed, but ever gracious, Scott Vaccaro of Captain Lawrence Brewing Company receive fancy-scripted proclamations that declared February 4 Captain Lawrence Brewing Company Day. More important, though, I also witnessed Vaccaro cutting the ribbon to his gleaming new Elmsford brewery, which now holds the brewing license recently transferred from his Pleasantville digs. The new brewery boasts a bigger and fancier tasting room with 12 taps that pour everything the Captain has in production. This very official day was highlighted by the glowing presence of Vaccaro’s wife, Megan, and the couple’s brand-new baby son, Drew.

 

For Valentine’s Day: Oysters from Harvest on Hudson

          

 

Look. Do I need to spell it out?  Some of you might need some help when it comes to culinary seduction, and no cold, sweaty, out-of-season chocolate-dipped strawberry is gonna do the trick. I suggest that you go with oysters, that old seducer’s standby. They’re sweet, a little bit briny, and a touch dangerous (just like my men). Your best bet is to hit Chef Vincent Barcelona’s version at Harvest on Hudson, which pairs the icy bivalves with shaved fennel and blood-orange slaw, a perfect seasonal touch that offers some crunch and fruity acid.