The third annual Cook.Eat.Drink.Live festival was held last weekend at the Tunnel/ La Venue space. This was my first time attending this food and wine event but my expectations going in were pretty high. I’ve been to so many food and wine events lately that have been fabulous and I guess I was expecting the same for this event.

I got there about 1:55 and saw that there was already quite a large line snaking around the outside of the building. I had to wait a good 15 minutes before I got inside the building for the 2:00 event and it was pretty chaotic to say the least.

I fought through the crowds in front and found my way to the back room which was completely empty. Why does everyone freak out at the beginning of these events? If people just spread out and stopped worrying about being the first at everything it would be much easier to get around.

Enough of my complaining- onto the food. I was excited to see Xie Xie had a stand. I’ve been meaning to try this place out since they opened. They were serving up an Asian Beef Slider for the event.

I absolutely loved the spicy sweet flavor of the beef but the roll was a major disappointment. The bun was so hard it was impossible to get a good bite of sandwich. It didn’t seem like it was stale- just an enormously coarse style of bun. I ended up taking it off and just ate the beef before moving onto another slider right next door B. Smith’s pulled pork slider.

The roll fared much better than the Xie Xie slider with a squishy bun and good meat the dough ratio. The pork had a nice smoky flavor that was satisfying but nothing really jumped out at me. I probably could make this myself at home- kind of average.

My favorite dishes of the night came from Restaurant Cuba. The first was a Red Snapper Ceviche. This was a classic ceviche with strong flavors of lemon, lime, chili and pepper. It was a very refreshing dish.

The second offering was some kind of steak taco. This was by far my favorite. The extra crispy tortilla shell contained some slow marinated steak with a dash of bright green cilantro sauce (cilantro sauce is slowly growing on me) and some spicy salsa.

The rest of the vendors there were alright. I tried the raspberry steak from One if By Land, Two If By Sea and decided I feel the same way about meat and fruit together as I do with fruit and chocolate- Keep them apart!

There were also some excellent cannoli’s and chocolate whoopie pies from two different stands whose names I forgot and I really enjoyed trying all of the different wine stands.

However I didn’t love this event. First off there just wasn’t enough food. For a $65 ticket I expect to have more food options. It seemed like a few stands didn’t show up and most of it ended up being dessert.

Luckily I drink alcohol, so I made up for the food in wine consumption but that too was a little disappointing. Almost all of the wineries there (with the exception of Banfi) were from Long Island. I love to support local wineries but it seemed like every table had the same 6 styles. I’m not a big Riesling fan so this didn’t help much when most tables had 2 or 3 different styles of that grape.

Overall I give it a C+. I did enjoy the space, the small amount of food I had was enjoyable and I did get to see Ted Allen! Hopefully next year they can get some more exotic wines and vendors. I’ll give it another shot.


Kelly said…
Alright, I definitely have to check out Xie Xie now! Those sliders look amazing