Plus Blues, Brew and BBQ, Grand Market
Dear Harry’s Oyster Bar,
Thank you so much for creating a new event this year at the AC Food and Wine Festival, your Crab Fest, that provided an essential part of New Jersey shore dining. New England has its lobster bake, but here in New Jersey and down through Maryland, hardshell crabs are the king of crustaceans.
You had some beauties, too. Big, sweet number one crabs that melted in the mouth. Not to mention some delicious steamed clams, u-peel shrimp and the sides to go with them: fresh Jersey corn-on-the-cob, coleslaw and red potatoes. As for libations, our table favored the apricot-infused beer and I was happy with a nice pitcher of ice tea as I got cracking.
The crab cut on my finger was a wound of honor as I enjoyed my all-time favorite event at any Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival.
Thanks for the memories and please make it an annual event at the Festival.
Lori Hoffman, crabaholic
Beyond the love letter above, this happy foodie also dropped by an annual Food and Wine event that always draws a big crowd, the Blues, Brews and BBQ event, which took place from noon-3pm outdoors at Showboat on Saturday, July 28, and before joining the Crab Fest at Harry Oyster Bar at Bally’s, I went upstairs at the casino to explore another popular attraction, the Grand Market.
The BBQ event is a fabulous collection of food stations offered by pit masters from the region. Although I was going easy on the good eats to keep my stomach ready for the Crab Fest later in the day, I did sample a few items, My favorites were smoked chicken from Vitaly Farms, beef brisket from Paula Deen’s station (she showed up to mingle with the crowd later) and a smoked, bacon-wrapped jalapeno popper from Local Smoke BBQ. The latter was decadent and sensational.
The Grand Market is a favorite place at the Fest to watch cooking demonstrations, enjoy tastings from dozens of restaurants and get totally wasted thanks to dozens of wine, beer and liquor stations. I refrained from going overboard, since I was my own designated driver, but as a film critic I had to taste one of director Francis Ford Coppola’s wines. I really enjoyed my sip of his chardonnay.
I also enjoyed a couple of cooking demonstrations. One was by local chef Philippe Chin, who recently opened his self-named Asian-French Bistro in Somers Point on Bay Ave. His passion for food was evident as he whipped up a Thai-style mussel lemongrass soup.
Diane Henderiks is a personal chef, registered dietitian and nutrition expert who has appeared on Good Morning America and other TV shows to prove that you can make healthy food that still tastes great. She cooked up fish tacos and had a packed audience of foodies hanging on every word.
I had to slip out before her demo was finished, however, because it was time for the Crab Fest.
The Food and Wine Festival continues today with the Gospel Brunch at Showboat, hosted by Paula Deen, and several other events. Go here for the schedule.
It is never too early to plan for a fabulous foodie event. Caesars entertainment has announced some of the details for its annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival this summer, a massive celebration of food and spirits presented at Caesars four Atlantic City properties over four days, Thursday, July 25 to Sunday, July 28.
Cape May Winery and Vineyard takes the art of wine making, sprinkles in stretching views of 22 acres of grapes, subtracts the pompous atmosphere associated with the wine culture, and adds a smile, all equaling a great first stop on a typical tour of southern New Jersey wineries.
Culinary superstars are all aboard for annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival July 26-29
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Bay-Atlantic Symphony Sunday Series
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Festival of Speed