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On Saturday, May 20th we attended the 10th Taste of the Upper West Side. We made our way to a transformed O’Shea Complex schoolyard,  just a few blocks from the Museum of Natural History, where a grand tent awaited us.

I felt like a child being taken to the circus, as the excitement built at the thought of all the delicious eats we were going to try. With a purposely empty belly and my adult sippy cup hanging around my neck (a plastic wine glass we received for tastings), I entered the tent. Impressive to say the least! I was immediately taken by the acrobatic dancer pouring everyone a welcome glass of Bottega sparkling rose prosecco, which she filled up to the top. Now it felt like party! After all we were celebrating a decade of divine dining. The Best of the West (which was day two of Taste the UWS) was a food festival presented by Park West Village, which showcased the neighborhood’s best restaurants, chefs, and vendors in a beautiful summer night tent party.

The celebration highlighted the neighborhood’s bounty of stellar eats and libations. We enjoyed regional fare from some of our favorite local artisan purveyors, including French Cafe Tallulah’s hand-cut filet mignon steak tartare, The Smith’s Lamb Merguz, which was a tiny bite of the Mediterranean with it’s harissa and tzatziki sauces over a perfectly seasoned lamb sausage (FYI they serve a mean brunch). There were some definite crowd pleasers like The Loeb Boathouse ’s jumbo lump crab cake with a summer corn salad, which I managed to grab three of because they were that good! Shake Shack’s BBQ crispy chicken sandwich and the first place I think of when it comes to traditional Italian food served family style, Carmine’s perfected meatball with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Chef’s represented their restaurants with pride and warm smiles as they offered you their creations. Others were doing book signings in the center of the tent. Crazy to think we were all under one roof with some of New York’s world renowned chefs. The likes of Chef Jacque Torres, Daniel BouludMichael Psilakis, and honorees: Michelin Star Chef April Bloomfield & long time partner Ken Friedman. They recently opened White Gold Butchers (now added to my foodie spots).

What better way to enjoy our eats then with an a glass of wine. I played wine connoisseur for an evening as I tried from exceptional wineries like Santa Rita, Roscato, and Faustino just to name a few. We also enjoyed signature cocktails and spirit tastings from Tito’s Vodka and Four Roses Bourbon, and grabbed an IPA from Coney Island Beer before joining the rest of the crowd out on the dance floor.

Although I was passed to the point of satisfaction, my night would not of been complete without a double scoop of Jacque Torres’ AKA “Mr. Chocolate” chocolate & strawberry ice cream and a serving of Magnolia’s Bakery famous  banana pudding.

The Taste of Upper West Side was great in the sense that it got people familiarized with a specific community. Sometimes the New York food scene can be a little over whelming. I walked away feeling a new sense of appreciation for the UWS. Every decadent mouth full was worth it. Until next year I say, while promising myself the diet would start on Monday.

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