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Food and wine festivals coming to Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale and The Carltun in East Meadow

John Lu and Nikki Kim create a smoked

John Lu and Nikki Kim create a smoked Old Fashioned drink that is made at Crop & Kettle, a new restaurant inside the Marriott in Uniondale, while at the Fine Wine & Food Festival at the Coliseum last January. Credit: Marisol Diaz

The repentance that many people practice in January, swearing off rich foods and alcohol, sometimes wears off during this dreary month. And when and if it does, a pair of back-to-back food festivals will be there to catch your fall.

On the third weekend in January, two venues just a few miles from each other will host food and drink festivals. On Friday night, Jan. 18, The Carltun in East Meadow’s Eisenhower Park will hold its second Annual Food & Wine Festival, which last year drew over 400 guests for four hours of small-plate sampling and wine tasting. The next day, the Nassau Coliseum mounts a more sprawling, farmers-market-esque food and drink festival, with 130 vendors dispersed throughout the Coliseum's exhbition hall.


On Friday Jan. 18, The Carltun will mine the world's great wine regions —  Spain, Italy, California — for small plates and splashes of vino during the second annual Carltun Food & Wine Festival.

More than a dozen food stations spread throughout the Carltun's rooms will plate dishes such as roasted octopus, carved suckling pig and black risotto with squid ink, and those can be mached and paired, region by region, with 200-plus wines poured by Long Island wine distributors.

The event is a collaboration between executive chef Rodrigo Bernal, who has headed the Carltun's kitchen for two decades, and sommelier Fadi Yako. With Yako's strong wine connections, expect some off the beaten path and higher-end bottles, such as Gevrey-Chambertin from France and gewürztraminer from Italy. A silent wine auction will benefit the Michael Magro Foundation.

The event starts at 6 p.m., and each $150 ticket earns its holder as much food and drink as they can abide until the festival winds down at 10 p.m. (Tickets for nondrinking designated drivers are $75.)


The next day, the Fine Wine & Food Festival (FWFF) kicks off in the late morning inside NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum, with dozens of food and drink vendors breaking out victuals for thousands of attendees.

The event has the feel of a walkaround summer festival, with kiosks and tables from food producers, restaurants and non-culinary vendors arranged in the coliseum's exhbition hall. Nick Vaerewyck, the Coliseum’s senior director of programming, said so many people turned up to last year's festival that this year's FWFF will be broken into two sessions, one starting at 11:30 a.m. and the other, at 4:00 p.m. They'll also be a higher quotient of breweries, wineries and distilleries than last January. "There will be more cocktails than last year, and looking at our list, a good selection of jerky, too," said Vaerewyck. (Greenport Jerky Company and Mr. & Mrs. Jerky are both exhibitors).

Among the Long Island faces on the floor will be several North Fork wineries, Sail Away Coffee Co. and Meltology; bites such as pickles, doughnuts, toffee, pretzels and mochi ice cream will be free to ticket holders, while entree-sized dishes (including grilled-cheese sandwiches from Meltology) will be available for purchase.

A $49 advance ticket ($65 on the day of the event) gains a glass and unlimited sampling of wine, beer and kombucha (from Long Island’s Coastal Craft Kombucha). A $125 VIP ticket gains early access to each session, as well as meet-and-greets with baseball greats Doc Gooden and Mookie Wilson, access to a VIP lounge, a session with sommelier Sean Gantner, and additional food and wine from Uniondale's Crop & Kettle.

Like last year, giant Jenga and cornhole will be set up to keep people entertained.


WHEN | WHERE: 6-10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at The Carltun in Eisenhower Park, East Meadow.

INFO: 516-542-0700,

COST: $150 ($75 designated driver)

Sample 200 wines from around the world, scattered at tables throughout The Carltun’s luxe rooms and accompanied by dishes from executive chef Rodrigo Bernal and his team.


WHEN | WHERE: Two sessions: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, in the exhibition hall of NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale.

INFO: 516-231-4848,

COST: $49 ($65 day of event) or $125 for VIP tickets (which includes meet-and-greets and access to a VIP lounge). Event is 21 and over, with ID required.

This event brings together dozens of food-and-drink vendors, including several from Long Island, for a stroll-around that evokes warmer-weather festivals.

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