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From the Desk of Lee Schrager: Some Final Notes on NYWFF '08

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Last night the first annual New York Food and Wine Festival kicked off with the weekend's first event, Chelsea Market After Dark (and apparently, it was quite the fan fest). The festivities continue tonight and all day tomorrow and Sunday, and if you still don't have tickets, there's hope for you. Organizer extraordinaire Lee Schrager writes in to tell us a ticket booth on 14th Street in the Target Welcome Center (next to Craftsteak on 10th Avenue) will be selling tickets to a few scattered panels, talks, and tastings over weekend. Anyone wanting tickets to the biggies like Burger Bash, Sweet, or the panel with Ferran Adria—you know where Craigslist is.

And now, we hand the mike over to Schrager, who tells us what he'll be doing all weekend, what sold out the fastest, and who we can expect to attend NYWFF next year:

First event to sell out: Burger Bash, then Chelsea Market After Dark.

Event that surprised me by selling out: Sweet, only because last year was such a hard sell, and this year we expanded the space.

Best value in my mind: The Grand Tastings on pier 54. Amazing wines and great tastings from 50+ restaurants a day.

Event I wish I could attend: Red dinner at Craftsteak. It sold out so quick, I didn't buy my own tickets fast enough. I will be at FN Kitchens on Saturday for dinner, hosting a media dinner with Paula Deen.

Who do I think will win Burger Bash: I'm not a betting guy, but I'd put my money on Shake Shack. But for sure it's tough competition.

Who am I looking forward to seeing the most over weekend?: Ferran and Giada, who I haven't seen since her baby was born.

5 things I will be attending for sure over weekend: Burger Bash, Sweet, Ferran closing demo, Mouton Rothschild tasting, DailyCandy Party (need to see what all this buzz was about—sold out asap as well).

Most helpful to festival in city: Marty Markowitz, David Rabin, Christine
Quinn, Anthony Crowell (Mayor's office), John Tisch, Evan Korn (permit dept), and Katherine Oliver.

Most frustrating person to deal with in city: Betsy Smith, Parks commissioner. She didn't want us in Central Park and wouldn't help us to hang a banner across the High Line. But did suggest this brilliant idea: a balloon archway on 14th street.

Events we will add for sure in '09: Block Party in Meatpacking with all red wine and red meats, a tribute dinner, more food tours with Ed Levine, Sunday brunches all over the city, a Bartenders Bash, and events in Queen and the Bronx.

Chefs and personalities I want involved in '09 for sure, who couldn't do '08: Emeril, Thomas Keller, Martha Stewart, Mario Batali.
· All New York Wine and Food Festival Coverage [~E~]
· New York Wine and Food Festival [Official Site]

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