Almost Too Good to Share: The 22 Juicy Tips (Plus One Recipe) We Took Home From the NYC Wine & Food Festival

BK Winery

With the new season comes many important questions: Where to eat? What to cook? What to pair it with? And where better to get the insiders’ opinions than at the New York City Wine & Food Festival? Talking up native New Yorkers and food industry mavens at the Grand Tasting then listening to the NY Insiders Panel with Master Sommelier Laura DePasquale left us with plenty to chew on.

Butternut Squash Soup
with Roasted Marshmallow
and Cinnamon Crème Fraiche

By David Diaz of Brasserie Beaumarchais

Star Anise

What You’ll Need

One medium sized butternut squash from the farmers market, peeled and seeded
Half a piece of star anise
8 oz of crème fraiche
5 grams of ground cinnamon
Mini marshmallows as desired
Blow torch or marshmallows that have been browned over a fire

How to Make the Soup

1. Cut squash into large chunks. Place squash and star anise into a pot with enough room to cover with water.  Cover with water.
2. Allow to simmer until the squash becomes tender. Remove from heat. Allow to cool about 20 min.
3. Place squash and half the cooking liquid into a blender. Season with salt. Start on low speed then gradually turn up until it’s on high. Strain through fine sieve if desired. If the soup is too thick, add more cooking liquid until desired thickness.

How to Make the Crème Fraiche Topping

In a bowl mix crème fraiche and cinnamon and a pinch of salt.

How to Plate the Dish

Place 10 marshmallows in the center of a soup bowl, use a blow torch and brown to the degree which you desire. Heat soup. Pour the hot soup into the bowl. Drizzle cinnamon crème fraiche and enjoy!

What Fall Ingredients Should We Be Using?
Beets and Squash. Chef David Diaz of Brasserie Beaumarchais is all about the beets. He’s serving them this fall as a salad of roasted reds, yellows and candy canes with pistachio goat cheese. Diaz’s festival taste, however, highlighted another root vegetable: squash (see sidebar for squash soup recipe).

Sunchokes. Chef Christopher Cipollone of Tenpenny praised the sunchoke for its versatility. “You can enjoy them as a soup, sautéed, as chips, baked, boiled, fried…whatever you can do with the potato you do with a sunchoke.” You can also make a sunchoke “soil,” as Cipollone did for his grand tasting dish, by deeply caramelizing the vegetables, then combining them with flour, forming the mixture into a cake, baking it and then grinding it in a food processor.

Best Thai in NYC
Chef Cipollone falls back on Woodside’s Sripraphai.

Best Culinary Getaways Near NYC
For a short and delicious trip out of the city, Chef Cipollone puts The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry, Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua, and Pour Cafe and Wine Bar in Mt. Kisco at the top of his favorite food destinations near NYC.

Best Meat Provider in NYC
Frank Prisinzano, the man behind the East Village trio Frank, Lil’ Frankies and Supper, and new LES restaurant Sauce (a grocery meets demonstration space) is stoked about the organic, heritage breed birds he gets at Madani Halal in Ozone Park.

Best Health Food (and Beverage) Spots in NYC
Tara Sheena from the Village Voice raved about Park Slope’s The Green Kitchen and went on to recommend getting coffee at ‘sNice or a chai at Ozzie’s.

Best Tacos in NYC
Queens native Diaz claims the tacos from the tiny Taqueria La Casa Del Idolo in Corona are even tastier than those from El Idolo’s fleet of Queens and Manhattan taco trucks.

Best BYOB Joints in NYC
Laura Manniec of Corkbuzz Wine Studio likes to bring her own bottle(s) to Carroll Gardens pizza and calzone haven Lucali.

John Ragan, wine director at Eleven Madison Park, loves bringing his own to the intimate Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (a crowd favorite of the NY Insider’s Panel). Ragan’s other favorite spot for special occasions is Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

Best Locally-Produced Wines
When it comes to drinking local, Manniec enjoys Bridghampton-bottled Channing Daughters. Master Sommelier DePasquale reaches for a Hermann Wiemer Riesling from the Finger Lakes. Natalie Tapken, wine director at Lure Fishbar and Burger & Barrel, sticks to the boroughs with Brooklyn Winery and the Red Hook winery.