shoot&eat > Food

A Coffee Festival Comes to New York

Never underestimate the power of Instagram. Even though I don’t have many Instagram followers, somehow The New York Coffee Festival found me and started following me. So, as a coffee lover, it was a no brainer that I’d follow them back. That turned into a gig shooting the 1st Annual New York Coffee Festival at the 69th Regiment Armory.

New York Coffee Festival

The event was the brainchild of Allegra Events  Jeffrey Young.  The New York version of the festival was preceded by events in London and Amsterdam. I’m so glad the festival found its way to New York City. There were throngs of people getting caffeinated all weekend, from the 25th – 27th of September. People will be buzzing about this event for weeks to come.

One of the events, which took place over all three days of the event was a barista Coffee Masters contest in which baristas from all over the world competed in several categories including coffee making, brewing, grinding, blending, tasting, and even a signature coffee cocktail. All in all, the last two contestants standing were on the Coffee Master stage for a total of four hours over the three days of the festival. Aussie Rob Morrow took home the prize of $5,000 in the competition. Morrow has been working, off and on, for the past four years at St. Ali in Melbourne. If you’re in Portland toward the end of October, you may find Rob competing again at the Coffee Fest in Portland, Oregon.

New York Coffee Festival Coffee Masters Competition

Besides the Coffee Masters competition, there was enough coffee, food, and entertainment to keep all of the caffeinated people happy for hours. Irving Farm and Bluestone Lane Coffee held another barista competition at the Bluestone Lane Coffee booth. It was a latte art throw down and Rob Morrow came out the victor in that competition also. Rob had a great weekend. 

New York Coffee Festival

Coffee wasn’t the only type of treat at the New York Coffee Festival. There was great food and cocktails as well. The most popular booth by far was Devoción Coffee, which served some really great cold-brew coffee in cute little brown bottles. I think the prize for having the most fun of any of the food vendors had to go to Joe & the Juice. Those guys must have been drinking lots of energy shakes and plenty of coffee. They were having lots of fun serving the crowd of coffee enthusiasts. Speaking of eating and drinking, there was a space in the middle of the armory with seating for people to sit, check their social media, drink, eat, and–for one person–take a nap on the floor. Hands-on participation made the festival even more fun. People were able to get their barista on and try their hand at making espresso and cupping their own latte art, with the help of an experienced barista.

Another highlight of the event was an award for best coffee art. The award went to Carlyn Beaver for her portait in acrylic titled A Lifetime. Her dad, pictured with her below, was so excited when her name was announced that he let out a big, loud squeal and shouted, “Woo-hoo! That’s my baby”. A proud papa, indeed.

New York Coffee Festival

The first New York Coffee Festival is now a memory, but the Chrysler building stands tall and waits for the baristas to hit the city again. The organizers plan on making this an annual event. It’s sure to be even a bigger success than the first one was.

Jerry (of Ben & Jerry’s) Serves Ice Cream at Occupy Wall Street

It’s been four years since that crazy summer when Wall Street was overtaken by folks who were tired of the one percent having it all. My fondest memory of the event is when I saw Jerry, of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, serving ice cream to the people gathered at Zuccotti Park in Downtown Manhattan.

Jerry, THE Jerry of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream serves ice cream at Zuccotti Park during Occupy Wall Street
Jerry, THE Jerry of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream serves ice cream at Zuccotti Park during Occupy Wall Street

An Ocean of Fun at Oceana


Because I love to cook, Larry and I eat at home most of the time. However, we do go out to dinner for special occasions. Last Saturday was such an evening. We enjoyed an early Valentine’s Day dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Oceana . The dinner party was graciously hosted by Lynne Ryan of Chefs To Dine For. Lynne has a passion for bringing together like-minded people who enjoy a sophisticated dining experience. And this one was a Valentine’s dinner to remember—a magical night.















The evening started off with drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the bar—and Chef Ben Pollinger even came out of the kitchen to mingle with our group. At one of Lynne’s dinner parties, you not only get to meet fascinating food lovers, you also get to meet the executive chef. Chef Pollinger could not have been more warm and welcoming of the Valentine revelers. Chef Pollinger took our group—wine glasses in hand—on a behind-the-scenes look at his culinary wonderland, a VIP tour of the kitchen.

Watching the staff prepare and plate such wonderful seafood made me (and the rest of the group, I’m sure) eager to get to the meat of the evening—a beautiful three-course dinner paired with great wines. We all made our way to the private dining room with great anticipation of the delights that lay ahead. Upon settling into our seats, Lynne welcomed the guests and officially introduced Chef Ben Pollinger, who made everyone feel welcome. Lynne offered a toast, as the wine started flowing and the first course was set before us. From the first bite of the Meyer lemon risotto with crispy New Orleans shrimp and broccoli rabe, the reason Michelin honored Oceana with a coveted star was obvious. It was truly divine, as was the rest of the meal—steamed George’s Bank sole with baby artichoke barigoule and fingerling potatoes, followed by a decadent baked chocolate mousse with spiced pears and vanilla ice cream.
















During the course of an evening filled with divine foods and fine wines, lively conversation led to budding new friendships. If you’re starting to feel left out, don’t. There’s another dinner coming up on March 4, 2012. In fact, the next event is sure to be another night to remember, but with a totally different twist—a beefsteak at Beacon. If you are not familiar with a beefsteak dinner, then you will definitely want to read about it on Garlandia, Larry Garland’s blog. After you read about the beefsteak, I’m sure you will want to jump right over to the Chefs To Dine For website and make a reservation to attend the Beacon dinner party.