Saturday, October 17, 2009

NYC Wine & Food Festival: Tour de Beef

In it's 2nd year, the NYC Wine and Food Festival seemed bigger than ever. But along with that, prices seemed bigger than ever too. I know a lot of the money goes to charity but I couldn't find myself spending that kind of money on certain events like the Burger Bash, Meatball Madness, and Grand Tasting. Maybe one day but seriously, I'd rather go to the Aspen or South Beach event. That being said, I found one event that please both my palate, brain, and wallet: the Tour de Beef. The tour takes place in the real meatpacking district in the Debragga factory. They're supposedly the meat distributor to the stars. Stars meaning some of the highly rated restaurants in NYC. They're mainly a butcher that receives high quality meat and dry ages them. Though, I think they also wet age meats too. The tour began with a short speech about beef, the quality of sources, and the meticulous process of aging meat. Next the taste test. They had whole steaks grilled rare to medium rare. The left piece was wet aged. And the piece on the right was dry aged. They were served side by side to accentuate the differences in aging methods. Although the wet aged meat was juicier, the dry aged one had a much more concentrated flavor. More mineral-y. I personally like dry aged steaks better. But I can see why people prefer wet aged. One the steaks were tasted, lots of wine was offered too. The wines were provided by Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Afterward, we headed into the factory to view some of the processes and specialty steaks on hand. But quality control was important so hairnets, booties, and butcher jackets were a must. The first room and demonstration provided a display of different steaks at different degrees in the aging process. The darker ones have been aged longer. Basically, dry aging a meat removes lots of the moisture out of the meat. This leaves a more concentrated flavor in the remaining protein. Also, most meats are dry aged on the bone to retain shape, texture, and flavor. A close up of one that has been aged for a while. It's brown, crusty, and hard on the outside. However, the inside had retained its rich red color and fat marbling. Some lovely racks of meat for aging. More steaks for your pleasure. Some American Wagyu for your liking. See the marbling. That's yummy fat. A rack of dry aged porterhouse steaks chosen by Tom Colicchio himself for Craft. I think these are 60 day dry aged. And the mother display of them all. Rich wagyu beef. The highest quality Japanese Kobe beef. Yes, that's not bacon folks. It's a beef steak. It's considered so rich and the marbling so abundant that most places do not serve it as a whole steak. It's usually provided in smaller servings as an appetizer. For $30, I wish I had a little more to taste but the tour was really informative. It gives me a closer look at what really goes into the dry aging process of steaks. Now I know how much time and work goes into that delicious steak dinner. Yum! So worth it. NYC Wine and Food Festival nycwineandfoodfestival.com Debragga and Spitler 826-D Washington Street New York NY 10014 debragga.com Francis Ford Coppola Winery franciscoppolawinery.com

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