NYC Wine and Food Festival Hits the Spot

October 24, 2013 Updated: October 24, 2013    

NEW YORK—How many kinds of tacos exist out there? My local Mexican spot in Queens counts 12. … But if you were at the New York City Wine and Food Festival this past week, you would have seen twice as many.

A paean to the humble taco, the Tacos & Tequila party, hosted by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, proved that the beloved street food from south of the border has well and truly transcended national boundaries, especially when chased down by an ice cold Corona or some tequila.

Witness Empellon Taqueria’s short-rib pastrami taco with pickled cabbage and mustard seed salsa, to Tulsi’s Achari chicken taco, served up with a small dollop of tamarind and coriander sauces. There were of course more traditional flavors, like Dos Caminos’s pork carnitas taco with honey crisp apple-jalapeno mustard.

The party was only one of many events throughout the four-day festival attended by over 55,000 revelers. Themes and size ran the gamut, from small intimate dinners to the large-scale Grand Tastings, each with their own vibes and of course, food.

One of the new events this year was a Global Night Market hosted by Todd English at the Plaza Food Hall. Inspired by his travels, English wanted to bring the feeling and concept of the night market to his venue at the Plaza. And just like with food markets, “everything is made in front of the customer,” he said.

Market-goers were able to have a taste of some of the usual offerings at the many stations at the venue, from dumplings to sushi to sliders. “It’s fun because it’s a great foodie crowd,” English added.

The event also featured breads from around the world through Hot Bread Kitchen, which offers a baking training program for immigrant women, while startups sponsored by its business incubator included Ethiopian cuisine from Taste of Ethiopia and Australian desserts from Waltzing Matilda’s NYC.

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