Life in the big city, and everything in between.

Wine & Spirits Magazine: The 3rd Annual Top of the List Tasting

In Entertainment, Food on May 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Last night’s Wine & Spirits Top of the List Tasting was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion to commend America’s most popular restaurant wines by region and varietal category. The wines were chosen by the top restaurateurs as well as wine directors. This sold out tasting event celebrated the featured wineries as well as the chef and sommeliers who contributed to the ongoing success.

This first-rate walk about wine and food tasting not only featured many wineries and their vino, but also delicious bites from 10 of New York’s hottest restaurants, including ABC Kitchen, Lani Kai, Ai Fiori, and of course my favorite, Porsena. Plus local artisan purveyors including oysters from Grand Central Oyster Bar, cheese from Artisanal, chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat, and so much more!

I enjoyed some great Napa Valley Cabernet from these friendly gentlemen. Thanks guys!

Setting up for the Wine & Spirits tasting event.

And if you were among the lucky VIP ticket holders you were greeted with a caviar and champagne reception. I’m aiming for that next year.

I have to mention one of my favorite wines from last night’s event. With so much to choose from it can be hard to decipher, however, some wine really stood out from the rest. I loved the Domaine Spiropoulos Greek wine. The grapes are hand-picked and taken under climate controlled conditions to their modern winery facilities in ancient Mantinia. There, the grapes are crushed and vinified under strictly controlled conditions. The wines are then aged and matured in underground cellars in stainless steel tanks or French oak barrels. A final quality control takes place during the bottling stage guaranteeing the release of the highest quality products to the market. This white wine has a youthful and dry citrus flavor with medium acidity that cleanses the palate. Overall, it is balanced with a pleasant medium finish.

What I loved most about the set up at this tasting was the arrangement of wines to restaurants. For example, the oysters were near the whites wines, the chocolate and cheese was near the port wines, and the heavier, meatier dishes were near the red wines.

The guys from Grand Central Oyster Bar didn't skimp out on the oysters.

The oysters were flowing all night!

Porsena's celery heart, grape tomato, and shaved bottarga on a crostini was a huge hit!

I probably had a dozen of these delectable crostini bites myself!

Michael White a no-show? Yes, but Ai Fiori still represented.

I loved all the rustic breads from Grandaisy Bakery, especially this one made of cauliflower.

I must admit, Lani Kai outdid themselves with their poi pancake. Absolute heaven! Lani Kai is known for their surplus of rum, inventive drinks, and mouth-watering food!

What's better than pork on a pancake?

This was one of the booths I frequented all night, Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

Spasso is tucked away in a cozy corner spot in the West Village. Known for their simple preparations and quality ingredients.

Valdeón is a rich and creamy, full-flavored cow and goat's milk blue cheese, stronger than Stilton but less intense than Cabrales.

I also have to give a shout out to Edi & The Wolf. One of the partners of the restaurant, Edi Frauneder, is friends with Sara so he made his way the Porsena table a few times throughout the night. Their east village restaurant is known for being warm and inviting with the friendliest staff. I can’t wait to try some of the Austrian wines from Vienna and maybe a schnitzel or two.

All of these restaurants have done something right to gain so much notoriety around town. They all deliver more than just your average, everyday place, from their food to their wine. In New York there are plenty of places to grab a drink and a bite. But why wouldn’t you have the best of both worlds under one roof? These restaurants and wineries are experts of serving up guilty pleasures in your glass or on your plate.

Check out these new and notable restaurants:


Lani Kai

Edi & The Wolf


ABC Kitchen


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