Westchester Magazine’s Food and Wine Weekend Scorecard

If you missed the Wine and Food Event hosted by Westchester Magazine at the Ritz Carlton in White Plains, here is a round up of what I thought was a very successful inaugural event.

LOCATION:   B +

The Ritz in White Plains is a stunning hotel both inside and out. The afternoon grand tastings and Saturday night Winemaker’s dinner were held in the Grand Ballroom on the second floor. This is the only reason it doesn’t get the A grade, as Restaurant 42 would have been a much more impressive spot to hold the event. Up on the 42nd Floor, the window encased restaurant offers impressive views and a more upscale feel than the general ballroom.

FOOD:   A +

Westchester showed that it is second to none when it comes to top notch restaurants. Everything from high end steakhouses, such as The Willet House and Benjamin, to local sushi joints, like Sushi Mikes, to the top rated and most popular restaurants in the county such as Crabtree’s Kittle House and X20 were there in full force. The most impressive part was the lack of overlap in cuisine, as each day displayed 25 different restaurants…a treat indeed.

WINES:   A –

There was certainly a vast array of wines available to taste, with about 20% of them from the higher echelon. There were even some fun NY vineyards such as Millbrook and Shaw making an appearance along with Westchester’s own Captain Lawrence Brewery. What was very cool was the ability to purchase any wine that you tasted right on the spot. Grapes The Wine Co. set up a system where you could fill out an order sheet and have the wines shipped to you at a special discounted price. First time I have seen that, and I have to say it was pretty innovative.

WINEMAKER’S DINNER:   A

The top Westchester Chefs, such as Peter Kelly and Anthony Goncalves, prepared individual courses and had wine guru Kevin Zraly pair up each course with an appropriate wine. Every course was memorable but the braised beef cheeks and the ‘05 E. Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape had to be the highlight. That being said there was also a Puligny-Montrachet and a 5 Puttynos Tokaji thrown in the lineup, so there were some real big guns being paired with these exquisite dishes. The mild downside being the elongated hour of awards and speeches (as interesting as they were) before the first course and wines were served.

DATE:   B –

This was the only small glitch for the event as it was scheduled on Father’s Day weekend. Not that every Father out there wouldn’t enjoy this event, however it seemed that Sunday drew much less of a crowd as I am sure burgers, BBQ and brew were probably on most Dads’ calendars.  But it did not take away from the fact that Westchester Magazine, and all involved, did a wonderful job pulling this off especially as a first time event.

Congratulations on a job well done Westchester Mag!

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