Kosher Food and Wine Expo Wine bottles

It’s been over a month since the Kosher Food & Wine Expo but I came across a few products that are still on my mind. In order for an item to be Kosher, it has to be prepared or simply satisfy the requirements of the Jewish Law. A lot of the products were only actually available at Kosher wine and spirit shops but there was such a variety that it would be impossible for it to be just limited to that.

Kosher Food and Wine Expo Wine bottles
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com
Kosher Food and Wine Expo Guest
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com

The event was hosted at Chelsea Piers and the check in process was extremely seamless and organized. We were greeted with custom wine glasses which wouldn’t be empty for long. Over 400 wine and spirits would be awaiting us so it’s safe to say the event producers, Royal wine, out did themselves. As we approach passover, the demand for Kosher Wines will be increasing and with products ranging from $6 a bottle to $250 – there was something at the Kosher Food and Wine Expo for everyone.

Kosher Food and Wine Expo Glasses
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com
Kosher Food and Wine Expo Chef
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com

The room was broken down into two parts. At least 60% of the room was filled with wine and spirits vendors and the other half was the gourmet fare. As much as there was a wide range of wines available, there were also many conversations going on amongst owners, sommeliers and distributors. From lychee flavored wine to spice whiskeys, each table offered something interesting and multiple variations as well.

Kosher Food and Wine Expo Chocolate Liqueur
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com
Kosher Food and Wine Expo Buzz Balls
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com

I recently tried a product called buzz balls which is a small packaged punch you can likely get at your local liquor store. What I learned at the Kosher Food and Wine expo was that this delicious product came in a ton of flavors and are perfect for events and hosting guest. The packaging makes it so the product floats so it’s perfect for pool parties and BBQ events which are hosted outdoors. As the industry is changing, the Kosher Food and Wine expo really gives a space for these business’s to showcase what’s next in our world.

Kosher Food and Wine Expo Food Table
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com
Kosher Food and Wine Expo Wandering Que
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com

There were also multiple food spreads and chefs live in action. Our friends Wandering Que who won last year’s Brisket King were also showing off multiple dishes. They had a meat based brittle that tasted like the sweetest candy.

Kosher Food and Wine Expo Meatball
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com
Kosher Food and Wine Expo Vendor
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com

The highlight of the expo was definitely Walders for me. Their mixologist made two of the best drinks I had all afternoon. Their mixers were so good that I ended up leaving the event after having them because I didn’t want to ruin the experience for myself. I look forward to being back next year.

Kosher Food and Wine Expo Mixologist
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com
Kosher Food and Wine Expo Walders
Photography Coverage Provided By: KOLIN MENDEZ PHOTOGRAPHY | © kmendezPHOTOS – 2017 – www.kolinmendez.com

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Traveling while hungry Philly
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When you think of Philadelphia, your mind probably goes to its infamous cheesesteak. And we don’t blame you; it is a mouth-watering staple. However, you’d be missing out if you thought the food adventure ends there. Philadelphia is also known for a bevy of delectable cuisine that is not only fun, eclectic and tasty, but it won’t break the bank either. We’re talking soft pretzels, hoagies, barbecue hot dogs, Italian rolls and so much more. Don’t want to simply take our word for it? Come and join us for the next installment of our Traveling While Hungry Series as we make a much-needed stop in the City of Brotherly Love.

Departing from Manhattan on April 8, attendees will travel via bus to enjoy all the food Philly has to offer. One ticket covers a full day at the Philly Farm and Food Fest, where you can devour Mid-Atlantic eats (and some boozy libations), share in great laughter and create authentic connections with fellow foodies. And trust us, you’ll have plenty of time to venture out of your taste bud comfort zone. In addition to a cheesesteak run (yum!), the day will include an opportunity to explore the tastiest brunch spots, hit up the Italian Market and take part in the prohibition mixology tour. But no worries! We’ll be hanging as group so you’ll never be alone. Food truly brings people together and you’re guaranteed a memorable experience that will last a lifetime.

Tickets are available for purchase for $147.00 per individual. Please visit link to RSVP and get more details here. Each attendee will also get a Must Eat Guide to help get the most out of their trip. Sound like fun? See you soon!

Click for Tickets

Traveling while hungry Philly

 

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Couture Brunch Team Watermelon

As a foodie, who’s also picky with her food and was likely a food critic in her after life, I jumped at the opportunity to sit on a panel as a taster for Couture Brunch Team’s upcoming Chef Off competition called “Bon Vivant”. Couture Events is a small Brooklyn based promotional company that focuses on creating fun and festive events that not only brings social networks together, but allow patrons to enjoy cuisines at their finest. Their summer event will feature 2 chefs’ preparing an appetizer, entrée, and dessert for guests to indulge in, with a mixologist creating 2 signature drinks to pair with each meal. I had the honor of sitting on a panel with 4 other food lovers, including Erica of Catering by Elberta (Formerly of Elberta’s restaurant), and giving feedback on some appetizers and entrée choices from each chef.

The first appetizer we tried were Asian styled chicken wings from Chef Dell. I love a good chicken wing and the sweet and tangy sauce on these tasted amazing! They were sprinkled with sesame seeds which added to the overall taste. One of the main criticisms that was heard across the panel was the chicken not being hot enough, temperature wise and an expectation of something different as an appetizer, since you can get wings anywhere.

Couture Brunch Team Watermelon

The next appetizer was a watermelon-jalapeño salad by Chef Lisle. Let me just say, that when I heard the name, I was a little skeptical. I love watermelon, but jalapeños? I wasn’t sure about how this would turn out. As the chef placed some of it on our plates, he then topped it with some pop rocks. Yes, Pop Rocks! The little firecracker candy from when we were just children. You could head the pop rocks start to fizzle as they sat on top of the watermelon. I was still skeptical about what I was getting into, especially with the addition of Pop Rocks, but immediately after the first bite, I was sold. The sweetness of the watermelon paired perfectly with the jalapeño and the pop rock gave it this extra Kick (literally) in your mouth that had me scraping my plate for more after it was done. The pop rocks added a unique sensory experience because you could hear it and feel it at the same time. This was by far my favorite dish of the night.

 

Next up was the main courses, in which both chefs prepared salmon. The first one was an alaskan salmon with a sweet glaze topped with shredded zucchini, and sitting on top a bed of rasta pasta prepared by Chef Dell. The salmon was crispy on top just as I like it, and the glaze really gave it a kick of flavor. The cold zucchini on top really balanced out the flavors well .But the star of the show was the pasta, which was creamy and delicious, with a little spicy kick to it. Everyone raved about this pasta, and one panelist even suggested it could be a separate meal on its own. I’ve had many varieties of rasta pasta before, but this one was packed with so much flavor, and just paired so well with the glazed salmon.

The next salmon dish, by Chef Lisle, was sitting on top of a bed of fingerling potatoes and bok choy, and topped with some type of peppers. The presentation on this entrée was so great that I was almost afraid to dig my fork in. This salmon had a very different taste to it and wasn’t as crispy as the first, but the flavors from the bok choy and potatoes really added on to this dish.

Couture Brunch Team Salmon.JPG

After tasting each dish, all of us tasters were able to give the chefs constructive criticism and useful feedback about what we liked and what could use some change. Both chefs received our feedback well and will use it to prepare for the competition which will be taking place on July 9th at 23 Meadows Street in Williamsburg Brooklyn. This event will give patrons an up close and personal experience to learn about the featured appetizer and entrée, and will also feature music and vendor booths. For more details about the “Bon Vivant” event and their other monthly events, follow them on Instagram at @courturebrunchteam.

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7up Ingredients

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 7UP®. The opinions and text are all mine.  

*Must be 21 years of age or older to drink alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

The great thing about food and drinks, is that they can always bring you back to a time you want to remember. In particular, I wanted to be brought back to a summer luau. I knew partnering with 7UP would bring me only one sip away from the summer vibes I wanted to channel in my glass. I was also determined to create a cocktail that would be amazing all year round. Given its versatility, 7UP was what I needed to spruce up the drink I was getting ready to create.

It was a great opportunity to test out my idea before I hosted a few friends over the weekend. Lucky for me, I thought up something that can be served with or without the liqueur of your choice. It could also be created for parties of any size. Something that was for everyone, a Blueberry Smash. First order of business was to visit my local Stop & Shop for a 2 Liter of 7UP. You can, however, purchase it at Giant Landover and Giant Carlisle as well. In fact, there’s even a coupon in Savory Magazine. So make sure to check out Savory Magazine in the “New Flavors” edition until 3/30 to save $1.00 when you buy two 7UP 2-Liter bottles.

Brown Sugar

If the recipe is as perfect as I hoped it would be, I planned to make a punch for the group. So a 2 liter of 7UP was exactly what I needed, along with fresh blueberries, a lemon, and some dark brown sugar. The great thing about a Blueberry Smash is that you probably have most of the ingredients in your home already. It’s simple to make and even better to enjoy. There are no pre-made ingredients and it will easily wow your guest and their taste buds. I’m in the business of impressing guests.

Blueberries

The first thing you want to do is cover the bottom of your container with blueberries. The blueberries can be either frozen or fresh. I tried not to eat too many after washing them but it was hard not to, so don’t make the same mistake. You can decide to put one layer or two and you can base this on how much you want the flavors to come through.

Lemon 7up IngredientsNext, you’ll want to toss your brown sugar in and squeeze the juice of half a lemon in. It’s time to muddle the mixture. You can always use the back of a spoon if you don’t seem to have the right tools. You really just want to get the skins broken off the blueberries so don’t smash them up too much. You can muddle until the sugar melts, which won’t take too long.

Crushed Ice

Crush some ice and dump it into your container and then add the liqueur of your choice. I went with rum to pair my sweet with some smoke.

7up Ingredients

Lastly, pour the 7UP in and stir. The crisp 7UP flavors will bring the ingredients to life and make the drink something fun, and refreshing to taste.

Blueberry Smash

After all, there’s always #7Waysto7UP

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