After three days of devourment on the Upper West Side of NYC it might be time to get my butt back in the gym and run non-stop on the treadmill. I am even scared to think about how many calories I ingested, while also doing some serious damage to my liver in the process. Yet, am I really complaining? Quite the contrary! This was three days of delicious consumption of some of what the best UWS restauranteurs in NYC had to offer. Of course, it was like eating my way around the world. A smorgasboard of gastronomic delirium as presented over a three night event called New Taste of the Upper West Side!
I was honored and humbled that my blog was considered to help promote and cover this fine event May 27 – May 30. As I put on my media pass each night it unlocked a world of eats and drinks all under one tent, and in a fabulous park setting, that is a must for any NYC food aficionado to attend and be a part of. It’s not too often that I wave the white flag and cry out “no mas” but after three days of enjoying so much terrific food, wine, beer, desserts, and cocktails I think I need to dry out and detox a bit. It was certainly something I won’t soon forget and I’m actually looking forward to next year’s party! Better start my diet now!
This was the 8th annual gathering of New Taste and I was very impressed at the diverse group of participants showcasing their tasty morsels and thirst quenching libations. I was also impressed at how organized each night was and how professional the staff on hand performed. Wonderful entertainment with bands, DJ’s, Cirque du Soleil type acrobatics (champagne angels), stilt walkers, lighting effects, and celebrity chefs hosting. Well done all around and never a dull moment. Each night was so different, and the enthusiastic crowd ate it all up. Literally!
Thinking about the crowd as most New Yorkers know these types of events can get crazy crowded with long lines and people getting a bit irksome. I actually felt none of that here as it was a pretty well-behaved group. Considerate New Yorkers? Well, yes! The way the tent was set up there was more than enough room to mix and mingle. Sample all the food and grab a drink from the many vendor booths. Over 80 in total ranging from long time stalwarts to emerging locals in the area. There was never a long line at any table and the food never stopped coming, while the wines and cocktails flowed freely from the smiling happy staff serving it up right to the last minutes. I was able to partake in an abundance of places I have been to over the years, while also trying out new delectable spots that I have now just discovered. I hate to use the word “foodie” but this was a gosh darn foodie’s delight!
Soiree in the Park – at Theodore Roosevelt Park
This was the first part of this three-day event. It was a a cocktail event under the stars to celebrate and raise funds for New York City’s beautiful Theodore Roosevelt Park, with the American Museum of Natural History in the background which made for a wonderful setting. With proceeds benefiting the park, this festive occasion featured a live chamber music band, and featured champagne and hors d’oeuvres prepared by a host of local restaurants. Even though we had a bit of rain during this open air evening it did not put a damper on the proceedings as they raised record funds to help the park maintainance efforts.
Comforts Classics – under the tent: Columbus Avenue bet. W. 76-W.77 Streets
What a fun night! Heck, it was all about “comfort food” on this evening and those kinds of eats go along with having a good time! 40 Upper West Side restaurants displayed their most innovative and creative “home-style” munchies, while competing to win the title of “Best Comfort Food Dish” which was eventually won by Five Napkin Burger. I had a chance to grab a sample myself and I must say it was really good! I think there could have been many top prize winners on this night, but only one had to be chosen as voted on by the attendees. Food celebrity Adam Richman, host of Food Fighters, Man vs Food, and other food related shows on TV hosted this event while signing copies of his new book Straight Up Tasty, and posing for many pics with fans.
This exciting evening was highlighted by sensational international wine selections, creative cocktails, beer, and live music provided by the Silver Arrow Band who rocked the house. Nothing like having scrumptious gut-busting eats and drinks while rocking out!
Best of the West – under the tent: Columbus Avenue bet. W. 76-W.77 Streets
The closing night featured a glamorous evening of fine food, wine, beer and spirits centered around spectacular cuisine, world-class wines, and enticing cocktails created by some of the Upper West Side’s most talented chefs and restaurateurs. It was really something to behold. The food offerings were top-notch, and the drinks were fabulous.
This celebration of gastronimica was hosted by Marc Murphy, Chef and Owner of Benchmarc Restaurants (Landmarc + Ditch Plains) and judge on Food Network’s Chopped, and Anne Burrell, co-host of Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America. They both had book signings with complimentary cookbooks from Anne, author of Own Your Kitchen and Marc’s debut cookbook, Season With Authority. I snagged a pic with Anne while she wandered the tent to grab a cocktail, and she was so cool in person while graciously posing with me.
The night’s crowd was also entertained by the 16-piece rhythms of Joe Battaglia & the New York Big Band. There was also a special guest appearance by Food Network’s talented Katie Lee, who was autographing a limited number of copies of her new book, Endless Summer Cookbook. For the first time at this event, they were offering a VIP Reception presented by One West End, an enhanced experience that included exclusive access to the VIP Lounge presented by One West End along with a champagne and beer bar. There was so much going on during this last night! It was a festive evening punctuated by mouth watering food, delightful drink, and sensational entertainment. A fitting way to close out the 2015 addition to New Taste of the Upper West Side.
Well done and wonderful job all around to all those involved. It was a marvelous event and here’s to next year! Let’s do it again!
New Taste of the UWS 2015 highlights – click on any pic to start slideshow!
New Taste of the UWS – http://www.newtasteuws.com/ – includes listings of all participating restaurants and vendors
Silver Arrow Band – http://www.silverarrowband.com/
One West End – https://1westend.com/
NY Big Band – http://www.nybigband.com/