I was invited to attend yesterday’s First Annual Taste the East End Craft Beverage and Restaurant Pairing event that was held at The Long Island Aquarium from 7-10:30pm. Hundreds of people gathered for this truly unique gastronomic experience which featured over fifty local food and wine businesses across the East End. Before I arrived, I tried to make sure I did not eat anything past 12pm as I knew I would be indulging in a wide variety of small bites and treats.
The event was hosted by the East End Tourist Alliance, a non-for-profit membership corporation which promotes the tourism of the East End region as a travel destination for visitors, meetings, weddings, seasonal vacations, also day trip and overnight stays. During the event, guests listened to live musical entertainers, and participated in a tasting of wines, beers, liquors, spirits, and paired them with signature dishes of local East End restaurants. The event aimed to promote the craft beverage industry on Long Island, as well as provided a networking atmosphere for the businesses to introduce their products to each other and form relationships that will benefit the East End community.
I was very impressed with how the event was organized and I had the chance to meet and learn about new and well-established businesses. The vendors were spread across five rooms on two separate floors, the Sea Star Ballroom, Coliseum Room, Shark Room, Aquarium Lobby, and the Terrace Room, in addition to the outside of the aquarium.
The tables were strategically located so that each particular restaurant was adjacent to a craft beverage vendor whose drink(s) paired perfectly with one another. For example, North Fork Chocolate Co was beside Coffee Pot Cellars and Miss Lady Root Beer was next to Sag Harbor Rum. I tried both sets of recommended pairings, which were spot on.
Notable bites included the Ponquogue Porter Pulled Pork with a Soft Herb Cheese in a Phyllo Cup by Bistro 72, the assortment of olive oils by Vines & Branches, the jalapeño pickle by Long Island Pickle Co., the meatloaf and mashed potatoes at Cooperage Inn Restaurant, the Spinach, Goat Cheese and Cranberry Savory Crepe, and the root beer at Miss Lady Root Beer. As I walked around, I could hear many of the guests were complimenting each of the purveyors; many were waving friends and family over to one booth to encourage them to try a specific type food or beverage. Most vendors offered bottles of wine, packaged food or apparel for sale. There was a ton of networking happening throughout the evening as well.
While I was there, I could not help but admire the precious underwater sea creatures and alligators. Please have a look at my pictures below. Those seals resting outside were just so sweet and the sharks were magnificent.
The full list of vendors are as follows: A Taste of the North Fork/CHarissa, Atlantis Banquets and Events, Backyard Brine Pickle Co, Baiting Hollow, Bellport Brewery, Birchwood, Bistro 72, Brew Crew Cycles, Chocology, Coffee Pot Cellars, Cooperage Inn, Copia Granola, Crazy Fork, Crooked Ladder Brewing Co., Dark Horse Restaurant, Elegant Limo, FRESH Hamptons, Front Street Station, Frosae, Grace and Grits, Grill Boys Food Truck, Jillery Jewels, Lenz Winery, Long Ireland Beer, Long Island Merlot Alliance, Long Island Pickle Co, Long Island Vodka, Martha Clara Vineyards, Miss Lady Root Beer, Montauk Brewery, Moustache Brewery, Murph’s Famous Bloody Marys, North Country Limo, North Fork Chocolate Co, North Fork Roasting Co, Oceans 5 Seafood, One Woman Wines, OR Wines, Osprey’s Dominion, Out of the Blue Seafood, Oysterponds Shellfish Co, The Pitted Olive, Pizzeteria Brunetti WHB, Raphael Vineyard, Roanoke Vineyards, Rosie’s Bakeshop, Sag Harbor Rum, Sannino Bella Vita Vineyards, Seaside Grill, Smitty’s All American Grill, Southampton Publick House, Spiked Seltzer, The Subtle Tea Company, Suhru Wines, Twin Forks Beer, Vines and Branches, Waters Crest Winery, Whole Le Crepe, and Woodside Orchards.
This is an event I encourage everyone to attend next year as it was a huge success! A noteworthy event at the end of the summer is the Chocolate Fest on Sunday, November 15th from 10am-5pm at the aquarium. That event will also be held at The Long Island Aquarium. For more information, please visit http://www.eastendgetaway.com