Blog: Wine and Wishes 2014
In the midst of one of the most bitterly cold evenings in the month of March, hundreds of guests would need good reason to trek out to the waterfront at Chelsea Piers and on Wednesday night the ballroom space at Pier Sixty delivered just that. The 11th Annual event titled “Wine & Wishes” turned a fundraising benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation for Metro and Western New York into an all out gala filled with hungry foodies and wine enthusiasts, all dressed to the nines with wallets in hand in support of the organization’s cause. The four hour evening would feature select fare courtesy of some of Manhattan’s most esteemed chefs, hundreds of exceptional wines for tasting, a massive silent auction with memorabilia, select wines and a live auction that boasted some experiences unavailable elsewhere.
There is perhaps no charitable organization more widely recognized nationally for performing a greater good than Make-A-Wish, serving to quite literally grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. The lasting effect stimulated by making these wishes come true can provide unparalleled inspiration and one that can help strengthen the human spirit for both the children themselves and their families. There was nary a dry eye in the house as a short video was shown prior to the live auction where professional athletes from the NFL, NASCAR and Major League Baseball allowed these kids to have an unforgettable and special experience in their young lives – making their dreams come true. Since inception and including Wednesday night’s “Wine & Wishes” event have raised upwards of $6 million for the Metro New York chapter of Make-A-Wish, allowing them to grant some 525 wishes to different children. The funds raised during the course of this evening would serve the same purpose: making dreams come true.
The evening’s first two hours showcased some of New York City’s most renowned chefs doling out some truly exceptional dishes- ones that would rival the finest served at any similar food tasting. You can find pictures of some of our favorite tastes from “Wine & Wishes” below, but there are some that words and photographs can simply do no justice. In the VIP area, the “Roasted Diver Scallop” from Morimoto was in a class all its own. Served on an oversized shell plate, the tender scallop was immersed in smoked brown butter and black truffles yielding a decadently tender dish. Catch’s crab, salmon and miso honey “Catch Roll,” The General’s avocado and sweet chili filled “Chinese Chicken Tacos” and Strip House’s sensational “Waygu Strip with Marrow Mustard Flan” were each excellent in their own right, washed down with some choice wines like Silver Oak’s ripe 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon” and Wagner’s Caymus 2011 “Cabernet Sauvignon,” a big powerful red.
Though not all guests had VIP access, there was still more than enough food and great wine to go around the remainder of the space. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the room full of knowledgeable wine drinkers seeking out and sipping upon these anticipated wines. Our palates danced for likes of the 2011 Laguna “Chardonnay,” the 2012 William Hill “North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon” and our favorite of the evening, the 2012 Laetitia “Pinot Noir Reserve du Domaine, Arroyo Grande,” a veritable steal at just $35 as a relatively full-bodied and complex vintage. With refilled wine glasses in hand, we resumed sampling more of the fantastic dishes being doled out by each restaurant. Highlights included La Cenita’s “Seared Tuna Taco” that brought out a bevy of unique flavors topped with pickled cucumber and mustard seeds, with a cotija crema that brought everything together nicely. BLT Steak’s piping hot “New York Strip” was perfectly salted and charred atop a creamy green leek-yukon mashed potato bed, while Quality Italian brought a “Dry-Aged Porterhouse Agnolotti,” filling each pasta pouch with savory bits of steak. Finally, we grabbed a “House Veal Meatball” mixed with pork sausage and beef from Asellina and a far different “Chicken Francese Meatball” courtesy of perennial party place Public House to cap off an evening of exquisite eats.
As the live program began, a sea of guests flocked toward the stage to grab seats for the aforementioned video package and to welcome emcee and CBS2 News Anchor Chris Wragge to the podium. Wragge perfectly paced the live auction with the help of guest auctioneer and co-radio voice of the New York Jets Greg Buttle who had great command of the room and kept the auction rolling and the fundraising growing. Foodie Magician Josh Beckerman was an added plus, performing a brief set of food related tricks on Charles Merinoff, Chairman and CEO of The Charmer Sunbelt Group, responsible for presenting this year’s “Wine and Wishes.” Though Make-A-Wish is a group that already resonates with much of the public, it’s seeing these kids in action and seeing the actual results of the organization that make attending a charitable event like “Wine and Wishes” far more fulfilling than the exceptional array of wines and food being served. It’s satisfying in a completely different way.
Catch - Catch Roll (Crab, Salmon & Miso Honey)
The General - Chinese Chicken Tacos with Avocado, Bell Pepper & Sweet Chili
Del Posto - ‘Bastoncino’ (Olive Oil Gelato Dipped in Chocolate and Rolled in Toasted Breadcrumbs)
Morimoto - Roasted Diver Scallop, Black Truffle, Smoked Brown Butter, Oashi-Soy & Fried White Kombu
Strip House - Waygu Strip with Marrow Mustard Flan, Pickled Morais & Baby Asparagus
Lexington Brass – Crab, Citrus and Radish Salad and Avocado
La Cenita - Seared Tuna Taco with Pickled Cucumber, Mustard Seed and Cotija Crema
Tribeca Grill - Assorted Petit Fours
BLT Steak - New York Strip with a Roast Garlic-Horseradish Aioli, Leek-Yukon Mashed Potato and Balsamic Glazed Cipollini Onion
BLT Fish - Spring Gazpacho with Sea Trout Roe and Buttermilk
Dos Caminos - Guacamole Bar featuring Traditional, Bacon Chicharron with Pickled Jalapeno and Mango Papaya-Habanero
Kellari - Grilled Mediterranean Octopus with Truffle-Fava Mousse
Quality Italian - Dry-Aged Porterhouse Agnolotti
Asellina - House Veal Meatballs with Tomato Sugo and Basil
Public House - Chicken Francese Meatballs
Butterfield 8 - Short Rib Tortellini with Red Wine Sauce
Pennsylvania 6 - Malloreddus Pasta with Wild Boar Ragu & Fresh Pecorino
Benjamin Steakhouse - Dry Aged Porterhouse Bites with Creamless Creamed Spinach
Batter & Cream - Assorted Whoopie Pies