Sunday, January 4, 2009

How Sweet it is: Food Network's SWEET Party

By: Finance Foodie

As I look back on 2008 (during my 6 hour deathly boring train ride), I reflect on all the magnificent foodie adventures I have had and the amazing friends and family that shared in my journeys. Feeling nostalgic, I remember my favorite event of 2008: the New York Wine and Food Festival’s SWEET party (sponsored by the Food Network).

Held in the late 2008, the SWEET party celebrated all things dessert. Translation: over 100 booths of succulent samples created by some of the most highly regarded dessert chefs in the city (i.e. Fran├žois Payard, Johnny Iuzzini). Both my foodie friend and I, who believe a meal is not complete without a happy ending (as in a dessert…get your mind out of the gutter!), were uber-excited when we arrived at la.venue, the site of the party. The loft-like space had been transformed into a beautiful pseudo-ski lodge, complete with cozy fur rugs and couches, DJ Sam Ronson (LiLo's gf) spinning funky tunes, and most importantly, an open bar. I had a delightful chocolate mint smoothie shot, which was served on a Target ice sculpture by a charmingly dressed ski elfin (note: Target sponsored the makeshift ski lodge). What a wonderful beginning to our evening!
so cool (literally!)

The ski lounge was just the beginning. I felt like a kid in a candy store (or rather pastry shop) when I saw the glorious spread in the main hall. We started sampling the stunning creations at each of the booths immediately. A few of the highlights below:
Dessert sushi from Ono at Hotel Gansevoort. Not only very creative (chocolate, green tea jam, and dried fruits wrapped in sweet rice), but also surprisingly very tasty.
Cake from The NY Times. Not exactly (at all) a restaurant, but the edible cake was sweet (pun intended!)

Milk and cookies from Levain Bakery. Rich, soft, moist and extremely satisfying. The baby glass of milk was a cute touch!
Evian Water booth. Needed water to clean palate after each tasting. I also love the Evian fountain in the background!
The bar. I never met an open bar I didn’t like, but I LOVED this one with its awesomely creative counter.
And if the food wasn’t stunning enough, there were quite a few Food Network chefs milling about! Among the ones we saw/met:
Duff Goldman (Ace of Cakes): Host of the SWEET party - very outgoing and friendly; constantly being mobbed by fellow attendees and press.
Giada De Laurentiis (Everyday Italian): Absolutely gorgeous! Always surrounded by cameras / press.

Tyler Florence (Tyler’s Ultimate): No picture - we met and took a picture with him, but the camera's FLASH FAILED to work…argh! Tyler looks better on TV, but he was very nice. Constantly mobbed by (mostly female) fans, so we thought it best to move along quickly to avoid being trampled.
Gail Simmons (Top Chef judge): I am a HUGE fan of Top Chef. I was ridiculously nervous when I spoke to her, but she was so nice / bubbly! She is much thinner than she appears on TV. I loved the dress she wore (it appeared in an episode of Top Chef!) and her 5 inch Louboutins.

We left the party with our stomachs nauseated from our overindulgence of sugar, but our heads filled with wonderful memories from an unforgettable night. So here's to 2009 - hopes to an economic recovery along with all the amazing foodie events that lie ahead!


Reality Raver said...

Great blog. That party looked fantastic. Was it invite only, or could you pay to get in?

Tangled Noodle said...

I. Am. So. Jealous. The party of my dreams - thanks for sharing the experience! I recognize the name Payard - a few years ago, I bought some pastries from there to hand-carry on the flight back home. We were diverted to SC due to bad storms but when we landed, all the airport restaurants were closed. I ended up giving my precious sweets to some fellow passengers whose kids looked pretty hungry. Sigh. I like to think I got several years of good karma out of that act!

Ken said...

Haha, that looked like an amazing party. Hopefully you'll get the chance to do something like that again someday! And yes, I would love to meet Giada in person ;-)

coco said...

HAHA. Loved the SWEET Party.. I will definitely remember that glorious night of sugar overdose for a long time. AAAND.. i think we'll keep it just between us 2 why exactly it was so magnicificent (other than the incredible desserts, of course). Ironically, loved Wichcraft's grilled cheese sandwich..mmMMmmm

Lys said...

Now THAT sounds like a heck of a party!

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