Who went to the Foxwoods Food and Wine Fest?
We went yesterday and were fairly let down. For $125 a ticket, I expect a higher level of cooking, technique, innovation, and ingredients and while there were some booths who demonstrated this, I felt on the whole there was not a lot of 'wow factor' here. Pardon my French, but crostini's are a bullsh*t plate to serve with the price tag as high as it was. An Indian restaurant served a shrimp and chorizo skewer with really familiar BBQ flavors - I'd just expect to see something more elevated, something that would showcase your restaurant and Indian flavors and distinguish it. Standout dishes for me were a venison with blackberry sauce, a beef and cheddar horseradish dumping, and an arepa. A few dishes I thought were overcooked - we had a butternut squash gnocci that was extremely chewy and a braised pork belly that was really tough. The wine aspect was good and I'm not a wine drinker by any means.
I've been to the last Foxwoods Food and Wine Show and remember being blown away with really cool dishes and things I've never had before, like sea urchin. We went to the Celebrity Dine Around at Mohegan last January and thought that was a way better deal considering it cost only $25 more than what we payed yesterday. They had seemingly no budget when it came to high end ingredients with items such as lobster, kobe beef and kurobota pork. Chefs like Bobby Flay, Todd English, and Jasper White all cooked here and you were served by them and had a chance to say hello afterwards, whereas the big names like David Burke weren't anywhere to be found in the ballroom. Last time around Foxwoods was able to get Guy Fieri there, who was rapidly rising to mainstream fame, while the headliner there was Aaron McCargo (who was actually a nice guy but still not a 'draw' - his demo was 1/3 filled with people).
I'm not sure if I'd go again if Foxwoods put on another event. This last one had its date pushed back 3 or 4 times by my count, with no explanation or reply given when I e-mailed them earlier in the year. In July or August they had finally announced ticket details and put pictures of Tom Colicchio and Michael Schlow on their site but offered no other details, and it wasn't until about 3 weeks ago that they finally updated their website with the full itinerary of events going down. Judging by the crowd on Sunday, I think this really hurt them. For comparisons sake, Mohegan's 'Sunfest' event has been planned and announced on their website since the summer and the event isn't until January.
I went on Saturday. I attended two events - the Italy Wine and Cheese Seminar with Joe Bastianich and the Grand Tasting. I agree with you on the Grand Tasting. I actually did not drink at the GT (since I sampled 6 wines at Joe's seminar - all were impeccable), but found for the most part, the food boring. I did enjoy the scallops that the Johnson and Wales students did and the Peking Duck from the Oriental restaurant at FW. Also loved the Gelato from Giuliana's. The seminar was fun and informative. Tasted the best wine of my life - a red from Sardinia. I'd do the seminar again. The GT - maybe not. Mohegan's was much better.