Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival 2012 Recap

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Dear Food Diary:

Last weekend I was invited by Caesar Entertaintment to attend their annual Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival. Unlike last year, I didn’t have any “work“. The 2 days included eating, drinking, tweeting and some fun playing slots.

I couldn’t make it Friday night to hang out with  my foodie hero Andrew Zimmern, but finally meeting the man who taught me more than just to “boil water” aka hottie Tyler Florence was pretty sweet.


BLUES, BREWS & BBQ

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Fat Jack’s pulled pork was awesome. Super moist, smokey with a really nice balance of tang and sweet in their bbq sauce. My favorite out of all of the meats I had and probably one of the best pulled porks I’ve ever had.

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Drinks wise, I’m more of a “sweet/fruity” beer or ale kinda gal except for Guinness. Abita purple haze has always been one of my favorites. Discovering Angry Orchard and Weyerbarcher was a real treat for a super hot and humid afternoon. Hit the spot with all that BBQ.

 

SUNSET, SLIDERS, SAKE & SPARKLES

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Held at Caesar’s rooftop pool, it had a stunning view of the water. Anne Burrell was there greeting the fans as sweet tropical cocktails and sliders were being passed around.
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My favorite was the asian inspired tuna burger. Fragrant traces of sesame oil, a really moist fish and a crunch like water chestnut. The beef and sausage sliders were quite good too, specially with drinks at hand while lounging around… Unfortunately the party got cut short due to weather 

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Though the storms put a damper on the party, being up there while the skies got dark and stormy, the clouds passing over us looked spectacular. It actually made the early evening more memorable. While on the roof during the light sprinkle, I meet a group of cool gals, writer Elyse Salpeter and fellow bloggers from Battle:Yum.


SWEET & STYLISH

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Nadia G. and Cake Boss Buddy Valastro hosted the sweet and stylish night with Bebe fashion show. I was excited to try his cannoli, but turned away super disappointed. It was really soggy and blah. One girl told me she grew up eating them and they use to be better before he got so big. I guess being transported in heat might of factored in as well.

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A sweet tooth’s fairy tale night. There were cupcakes in push up pops, anything from pies, cakes and brownies. And of course plenty to drink.
The two that stood out:
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Philippe Chin French Asian Bistro had a really nice yuzu cheesecake/mouse with green tea macaron. The macarons weren’t perfect but the rest had a pleasant sweet and tart balance. My favorite dessert of the night. I love yuzu.

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2 CHICKS WITH CHOCOLATE had a great presentation. I’m usually not a fan of super colorful chocolates, but their Guinness flavor caught my attention. Think Irish Car Bomb in a small square. The passion fruit and coconut bites were also full of flavor.

 

GRAND MARKET & ITALIAN VILLAGE

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An overwhelming amount of food and drinks, the market space doubled its size from last year. Out of everything I sampled, some just left a more memorable impression:

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The Naked Grape table was beautifully set. They were very clear about who and what they are about. Their brand ambassador was knowledgeable and friendly, which surprisingly wasn’t the case at all the other vineyard tables. The wines were clean and crisp, they don’t spend time in oak apparently, to let the grapes and their own aromas be the focus. Their corks are made with recycled ones and reuse the pressed grapes as fertilizer and feed for the farm. I love that a company tries to put good into the earth they are taking great resources from.

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The ladies at T SALON were fun and energetic. The passion of owner Miriam Novalle for her teas and life was contagious, “this is how you feel when you do what you love” she shouted proudly. Amen to that! It was a much needed break from all the wine I was drinking. Their papaya tea was sweet and fruity on ice, really pleasant on a hot summer afternoon.

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The Bindi table had my favorite dessert in the whole market, Creme Brulee Tart. Smooth, creamy and chilled, it almost tasted like ice cream. A buttery crust and that burnt sugar. This would be my tart of choice after any dinner.

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The Hangover Pretzel Company (great catchy name) has one of those small business stories I love. From making them for friends and family to sharing it with the rest of the world, fun to business. These crunchy bites have fun flavors like zesty lemon pepper, brown sugar cinnamon. Their Caysabi is no joke, tongue burning heat. Lois gave me a pack for my ride home, a couple pieces and a bottle of water later, I was defeated in the best way possible. He’s right, these are addicting.

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As the sun went down, we walked around the boardwalk. Did some shopping and spent some time in the casinos.
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I found my favorite slot machine, Alice in Wonderland themed! sooo fun!!! Though I lost $100 between the 2 days, I was fully entertained.

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My fun weekend ended with a trip to Rita’s and dipping my toes in the water. Thanks again Caesar Entertaintment  for a great time!