Launch Party for the Westchester Magazine Wine & Food Weekend May 17-20 in Downtown White Plains and The Ritz-Carlton


Last night, I attended the launch party for Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Weekend, which is May 17-20 in White Plains. The Journal News is also sponsoring the event, so I’m sure I’ll be participating in lots of stuff up to and during the festival.

Photos by Verita Vision Photography.

There are five events, plus seminars and cooking demos, going on throughout the weekend. It starts with a Burgers, BBQ and Beer Bash in downtown White Plains on Thursday, May 17. The next night is ArtsBash, a food-meets-art event in the ARTSWestchester Gallery on Mamaroneck Avenue. Grand tastings, wine and spirits seminars, cooking demos, a winemaker’s dinner and a sparkling Sunday brunch will all be held at the Ritz-Carlton on Saturday and Sunday. Check out all the deets after the jump.

Last night’s party was a great kick-off — and it was especially fun to get out and about in the food scene again after being off for three months with the baby. Yummy food, too:

I chatted with chefs — including Peter Kelly of Xaviars, Anthony Goncalves of 42, Anna Maria Santorini of Anna Maria’s, March Walker of Birdsall House, Daniel Van Etten of Mima, and a bunch more.

It was nice to see the Westchester mag folks, too, like publisher Ralph Martinelli and food writer Julia Sexton. Our own publisher, Janet Hasson, was at the party, too — and up on the stage, no less! What a treat!

More details, after the jump.

Burgers, BBQ and Beer Bash

7:30-11 p.m. Thursday, May 17 in downtown White Plains (we’ll let you know where soon). Tickets: $50.
From the web site:

Get ready to kick back with a cold one and sink your teeth into juicy burgers, barbeque, and “street food” guaranteed to push the proverbial culinary envelope. The first annual Burger, BBQ & Beer Bash will celebrate Westchester’s favorite foods in every conceivable variation. Wings, meatballs, tacos and of course, burgers and barbeque will be served by some of Westchester’s best. Live music performed by “Evan Watson and the Headless Horsemen” will rock the party, and specialty beers plus your favorite brews will make the party complete. Proceeds to benefit the Westchester Coalition for the Hungry & Homeless.

Participating restaurants: 42, AJ’s Burgers, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Benjamin Steakhouse, Birdsall House, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cheeburger Cheeburger, Crabtree’s Kittle House, Gordo’s, Elevation Burger, Emma’s Ale House, Half Moon, Harvest on Hudson, Memphis Mae’s BBQ, Piper’s Kilt, The Ritz-Carlton, Rye Roadhouse and X20 Xaviars on the Hudson.



6-9 p.m.  Friday, May 18 at the ARTSWestchester Gallery, 31 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains. Tickets: $75.
From the web site:

Join in a celebration of arts and food at ARTSWestchester’s ARTS Bash in its landmark gallery space. Come and enjoy an exciting new exhibition, Westchester Sculpts, meet the artists, tour artist studios, sample fine wine and taste signature dishes from some of Westchester’s top restaurants. Tickets on sale through ARTSWestchester, 914.428.4220 or (All proceeds go to ARTSWestchester).

Participating restaurants: 42, Benjamin Steakhouse, Cafe of Love, Crabtree’s Kittle House, Emma’s ALe House, Full Moon Asian Thai, Iron Horse Grill, La Bocca, Lulu Cake Boutique, Pranzi Restaurant, The Iron Tomato, The Melting Pot, The Ritz-Carlton, Tre Angelina, Captain Lawrence Brewery

Grand Tasting

11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Grand Ballroom at The Ritz-Carlton, White Plains. Tickets $85 per day.
From the web site:

The largest gathering of restaurants at a single event in Westchester history, the 2012 Wine & Food Weekend will feature the region’s most celebrated chefs, critically acclaimed restaurants, the hottest new specialty food products, more than 120 top wine vintages from around the world and specialty cocktails served in a spectacular spirits lounge.

Eat, drink and celebrate at the highlight event of the weekend. Enjoy a never-ending array of wines from some of the world’s finest producers plus specialty cocktails by Pernod-Ricard, as well as signature dishes presented by Westchester’s greatest restaurants with bountiful samples of everything you crave. The afternoon provides a unique opportunity to try the widest possible range of flavors representing new culinary trends, exciting twists on traditional foods and new and old world wines. Wines will also be for sale.

Participating restaurants:

12 Grapes
Anna Maria’s
Birdsall House
BLT Steak
Buona Sera
Café of Love
Caffe Azzurri
China White
Club Car
Division St. Grill
Don Coqui
D Thai Kitchen
Eastchester Fish Gourmet
Farmhouse at Bedford Post
Fig & Olive
Graziella’s Italian Bistro
Havana Central
Il Sorriso
La Bella Havana
La Bocca
La Panatiere
Le Chateau
Little Kabab Station
Modern Barne
Nikos Taverna
NoMa Social
Peter Pratt’s
Rainwater Grill
Red Plum
Reka’s Thai
Ristorante Lucia
Roasted Peppers
Ruth’s Chris
Tarry Lodge
The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester
Village Social
Willett House


Celebrtiy Chef demos:
Peter X. Kelly and Anthony Goncalves will do celebrity chef demonstrations. There will also be a Top Chef Cook-Off and a Chef and Food Critic “Face-Off.:

Wine Seminars include:
Kevin Zraly, Exploring Bordeaux
Noted author, lecturer and wine expert Kevin Zraly, Wine Director at Windows on the World in the World Trade Center from 1976-2001, will debut his new seminar exploring the fines wines of the Bordeaux region of France.

Kevin Zraly, The Magic Wine of Tuscany
Kevin Zraly brings another new seminar to this year’s event, winding through Italy’s famed Tuscany region and sampling top vintages.

Crystal Clear: Does the Glass Make a Difference?
Riedel, a highly regarded wine glass making company, will teach an interesting and informative seminar about the relationship between the shape of the wine glass and the taste of the wine. Taste and compare four varietals in different Riedel grape-specific shapes. Riedel Crystal is known worldwide for designing the most finely tuned drinking instruments for every level of wine sophistication.

Napa & Sonoma: Tasting California
A guided tour through the varietals and tastes of America’s top wine-producing region.

Modern Mixology: Bringing Cocktails Home
Spirits Sponsor Pernod-Ricard’s star bartenders will teach you what you need to stock your home bar, tools of the trade and how to use them, and all the secrets behind mixing great drinks at home.

Prohibition Cocktails Clinic
The outlawing of alcohol production in the 1920’s led to an exciting subculture of secret bars. Today, starting with truly top-notch liquor, enjoy unique flavors of the Prohibition era by crafting old-fashioned drinks made with classics such as gin and rye whiskey, all with a special twist!

Winemakers Dinner

6:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19 in the Grand Ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton. Tickets: $150
From the web site:

A “Who’s Who” of chefs will turn out for a gala dinner orchestrated in honor of some of Westchester’s most revered wine & food personalities: The Benziger Family of the Benziger Family Winery in Sonoma will receive Westchester Magazine’s 2012 Wine Award. Six of Westchester most acclaimed chefs from Westchester will prepare a memorable meal in homage to contemporary cooking and dining with world-class wine pairings.
Cocktail hour to be sponsored by Pernod-Ricard

Sumptuous Six-Course Gourmet Dinner Prepared By:
Joel De La Cruz and Adam Kay, Blue Hill at Stone Barns
A native of Veracruz, Mexico, De La Cruz began his career with Dan Barber Catering, Inc. learning essential kitchen skills and the importance of ingredient driven cuisine. He soon became pastry assistant at Blue Hill in New York City and when Blue Hill at Stone Barns opened, he moved to Tarrytown, NY to become associate pastry chef, later rising to become the restaurant’s pastry chef.
Adam Kaye joined Blue Hill in October 2000, initially as the meat cook, and eventually worked his way up to Chef/Kitchen Director. He is the Vice President of Culinary Affairs for the organization.

Anthony Goncalves, 42, The Restaurant
For the past 10 years, Chef Anthony Goncalves, owner of Westchester’s spectacular rooftop restaurant, “42”, has earned a reputation as one of the country’s most sought-after chefs. In 2010, Goncalves introduced Bellota at 42, serving Spanish and Portuguese tapas. Chef Goncalves continues to delight the palates of guests at both of his restaurants, with unique culinary creations.

Ethan Kostbar, Moderne Barn
Ethan Kostbar uses a Mediterranean, New American approach to showcase ingredients with simplicity and seasonality. Kostbar shows a passion for sourcing local ingredients and presenting them in a way that mirrors his life experiences.

Peter X. Kelly, X20 Xaviars on the Hudson
For more than two decades Peter X. Kelly has set the standard for dining in New York State. Chef Kelly is an experienced, talented and successful entrepreneur. To date, he owns 4 of the most renowned and acclaimed restaurants in New York State, all located in the Hudson Valley, North of New York City. Xaviars at Piermont, The Freelance Café & Wine Bar, Restaurant X & The Bully Boy Bar and X20 Xaviars on the Hudson in Yonkers have all received popular praise and the industry’s most coveted awards and accolades.

Marc Lippman, Crabtree’s Kittle House
Marc Lippman brings his unique style and interpretation of modern and classic American cooking to Westchester County at Crabtree’s Kittle House. He started his career at Bouley in New York City and has been the Executive Chef at Miami Beach’s Raleigh Hotel, NYC’s Wild Blue at Windows on the World and at one of the world’s most luxurious resorts, Las Ventanas Al Paraiso in Los Cabos, Mexico.

AJ McCloud, The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester
The valedictorian of his class at The French Culinary Institute, AJ McCloud has been cooking in some of the New York area’s top restaurants, including Craft Steak, l’ atelier de Joel Robuchon and BLT Steak before assuming the position of Executive Sous Chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, where he oversees all culinary operations.

Sparkling Sunday Brunch

11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 42 The Restaurant, Ritz-Carlton, White Plains. TIckets: $50 plus tax and tip.
Passed hors d’oeuvres, Smoked Salmon Station, Buffet, Carving Station and Desserts

For more information on all this, and to buy tickets, visit the Westchester Magazine Wine & Food Weekend web site:


About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

1 Comment

Leave A Reply