With over 140 events, the city Wine & Food Festival celebrates the culinary mecca we know as the Big Apple.
Taking place Thursday through Sunday across the city, the NYCWFF features everything from huge burger tastings to intimate dinners and a comedy roast. This year, there's more of a focus on drinks, with an increase in cocktail-oriented events (like Astor Hours Cocktails, the festival's first parlay into a late-night cocktail event, and Cocktails and Caviar, hosted by Cooking Channel personality Debi Mazar).
Here are some of the events we're most excited about. Some are sold out and some are available as of press time. We recommend checking www.nycwineandfoodfestival.com ASAP to register.
1. On the Chopping Block: A Roast of Anthony Bourdain, Thursday, 6:30-10 p.m., $400 (Tickets available)
Everyone's favorite curmudgeonly celebrity chef will get roasted by comics and fellow chefs at this event, hosted by Mario Batali and Willie Geist at Pier Sixty in Chelsea Piers. A four-course meal will be cooked by chef Michael White. The roasters include Guy Fieri, Gilbert Gottfried, Artie Lange and Sarah Silverman.
2. Meatball Madness, Thursday, 7-10 p.m., $175 (Sold out)
Many NYCWFF devotees see this as the highlight of the event (it sells out almost immediately), and Giada De Laurentiis is back once again this year to host. The walk-around tasting showcases NYC chefs' unique takes on traditional meatball recipes (a side dish is served with each one). A variety of wines will be poured, too. Meatball makers compete to be crowned the 2012 Master of the Meatball Madness.
3. A Girl and Her Pig, Thursday, 7-10 p.m., $200 (Sold out)
During a dinner at City Grit, April Bloomfield - chef from The Spotted Pig, The Breslin and John Dory - will share the food behind her cookbook, "A Girl and Her Pig." Joining her in the kitchen is culinary master Bill Telepan, whose namesake restaurant specializes in farm-sourced cuisine.
4. Bouley Alumni Dinner, Thursday, 7-10 p.m., $400 (Sold out)
David Bouley will open up his test kitchen for a nine-course dinner prepared by some of his most famous proteges, including Dan Barber and Anita Lo. Bouley will create the entree. Dishes will include a salt-crusted Hudson Valley foie gras, poached pineapple quince, spiced prune tortellini and duck consommé by Saul Bolton; a roast squab and foie gras in "Borscht Manner" by Dan Silverman and more.
5. Astor Hours Cocktails, Thursday, 10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., $95 (Tickets available)
Hosted by Andrew Carmellini, this event at the Public Theater will take you on a late-night cocktail crawl, led by master mixologist Willy Shine. There will be surprise musical performances at every turn as you make your way through the lobby, Joe's Pub and newly minted lounge, The Library at The Public. The evening includes classic and signature bar snacks from Carmellini, tapas from Tertulia's Seamus Mullen, cicchetti from Hearth and other delicacies.
6. Burger Bash, Friday, 7-10 p.m., $225 (Sold out)
Carnivores rejoice at this open-air walk-around sampling of the city's best burger creations (and sides), hosted by Food Network icon Rachael Ray - another one of the NYCWFF's biggest events. This year's Blue Moon Bash moves to Basketball City, a 63,000-square-foot space on Pier 36 overlooking the East River.
7. Coast 2 Coast Korean-inspired dinner, Friday, 7-10 p.m., $300 (Tickets available)
Chef Roy Choi of A-Frame in Los Angeles will work alongside chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten for this intimate dinner. Vongerichten's Korean BBQ technique is inspired by his wife, Korean-American actress, Marja Vongerichten, who recently rediscovered her love for Korean food while filming PBS TV series "Kimchi Chronicles." This dinner will take place on the 51st floor of the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park.
8. SWEET! Friday, 9 p.m.-midnight, $150 (Tickets available)
Celebrate NYCWFF's 5th birthday at this party event at 82 Mercer, hosted by Food Network star Sandra Lee. Produced for the first time six years ago, SWEET! is the event that started it all. It'll feature cakes, ice cream Godiva Chocolates and SWEET! and DJ-spun music, too.
9. Grand Tasting - Saturday, noon-6 p.m. and Sunday, $195 (Tickets available)
The Festival's signature Grand Tasting (presented by ShopRite) heads back to Pier 57 on the Hudson River. An all-day, all-inclusive ticket offers access to culinary demonstrations from top Food Network and celebrity chefs, tastes from NYC's top restaurants and chefs and endless samplings of wine and spirits. Culinary demonstrations take place on two continuously running stages.
10. Trucks & Train, Sunday, 4-7 p.m., $150 (Tickets available)
This year's closing event, hosted by Andrew Zimmern, will take place at Basketball City on Pier 36. Twenty food trucks - including the Big Gay Ice Cream truck and Korilla BBQ - will participate, and chart-topping band Train will perform. The event marks the debut of the band's three new wines: "Drops of Jupiter" Petite Sirah, "Calling All Angels" Chardonnay and "California 37" Cabernet Sauvignon.