Saturday, June 17, 2006

Field Trip: New York Wine & Culinary Center

Today, the New York Wine & Culinary Center, "an experiential gateway to New York State's incredible wine, food and culinary industries," hosted its grand opening to the public. It's located in Canandaigua, NY, part of NY State's Finger Lakes region.

I've been chomping at the bit to see this place, and I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by my good friend, Andrea, on my trip.

Your huddled masses, yearning to peep freely.

In the Lobby, beginning the very first public tour, led by Brent.

The Hands-On Kitchen, with 13 Viking Appliance-equipped stations.

Chef I-can't-remember-his-name in the Hands-On Kitchen.

The Pride of New York Exhibit Hall (more of a room, really).

The Educational Theater (or, as I like to think of it, the Hands-Off Kitchen).

The Private Dining Room, which was essentially described as a place for corrupt capitalists to get drunk and talk business. (Well, Brent didn't say that exactly but that's definitely what he meant.)

The Wine Tasting Room, which features wines from around New York State.

More of the Tasting Room. They were handing out cool Wine Spectator swag bags -- I made sure I snagged one.

Yet more of the Tasting Room.

And, again, more of the Tasting Room. I love that metal tree sculpture.

Our tour ended in the Culinary Boutique, where I bought a NYWCC logo mug. (How could I resist a relatively cheap souvenir?)

The Taste of NY Lounge, on the upper level of the NYWCC.

The other side of the Taste of NY Lounge, where Andrea and I had lunch. Overall, the food was good but there are still a number of kinks to be worked out. The kitchen was overburdened, as was the staff (our waiter, Will, was VERY good, though), and the wait for one's order was lengthy. I think, however, this will get better as everyone gains more experience.

Andrea ordered the "tarragon roasted chicken salad presented atop a crusty baguette, accented by fresh peppery arugula, tomatoes & sweet red onions." She enjoyed it.

I ordered the "marinated grilled sliced flank steak presented atop sourdough bread, finished with fresh horseradish sauce & New York State cheddar cheese." It was good, but I'm not sure if the meat was supposed to be served hot or at room temperature. (It was neither, but somewhere in between). I thought they were a bit heavy handed with the cheddar but the onions were fabulous. I'd order this again.

For dessert, Andrea chose a "chocolate and hazelnut brownie [there were two!] with dark chocolate mousse and Mercers premium ice cream." The mousse was tasty, but had an unexpected consistancy; I think it was a bit fluffier than it should have been. The brownie was also good, with a cakey texture. This dessert's biggest flaw was the presentation: you might not be able to tell from this blurry picture, but the mousse was not piped out attractively. Frankly, it was scatalogical -- not what you want to be thinking about when enjoying dessert.

I selected the "fresh local strawberries with a spritz of ice wine, over lemon pound cake." I acted as sous chef here: after a lengthy wait, our waiter brought our desserts. Mine was a plate full of strawberries -- the kitchen had forgotton the pound cake. Several minutes later, they brought the pound cake (sans berries) so I assembled my dessert. The cake was closer in taste and texture to shortcake as opposed to pound cake. And there wasn't any lemon flavor to be found.

But ice wine: yum.


It was a good day. The NYWCC was packed and everyone in it --visitors, staff and vendors-- seems excited and happy to be there. I'm looking forward, as is Andrea, to visiting again.


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Bibliochef said...

Well, I am a nut. First I forget to go to the Geneva Farmer's market, and then, despite having posted the date June 17 for the opening, I somehow plan to go there Sunday rather than Saturday! I am glad you posted so many pictures. Thanks. I noticed their web site is up and running too -- much improved from what was sort of holding their place before.

Laura Rebecca said...

Yes, I'm not sure what the point was to have a static website featuring their logo. There are still parts of the new site that need to be updated, but it's a huge improvement.

Personally, I'm looking forward to taking some cooking classes.