Open wide for the NYC Wine & Food Festival (38377)

It’s that time of year again! Time for the three Fs: friends, food and fun! It’s the fourth annual Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival, presented by Food & Wine magazine. The foodie paradise runs from Thursday, Sept. 29 through Sunday Oct. 2 in and around the Meatpacking District and the city.

There is so much happening this year. It all starts with Chelsea Market After Dark, hosted by the “Bam!” man himself, Emeril Lagasse. All of those wonderful shops and eateries will be sampling some of their signature wares, plus some area restaurants will be out too.

While many events are sold out, there are some that are still available. On Friday, Hill Country chef Elizabeth Karmel hosts “Fried” with Paula Deen’s “momma’s boy,” Bobby Deen. It will be a night of nothing but fried chicken and all the right sides from over 15 chefs from the city who love the bird!

The weekend will be busy, but there is still room for you. Perhaps try a panel discussion on wine with master sommelier Laura DePasquale or a panel on dining sustainably in New York City. Want a primer on cured meats? Check out “Charcuterie 101” at Macellaria. How about being in the middle of a collection of food carts? Crazy food guy Andrew Zimmern hosts “Carts in the Parc.”

Don’t forget the kids! Start those taste buds early with the delicacies of sushi at a sushi rolling class with Jeffrey Baruch or “Spice it Up!” with Sue Torres as part of the series “Kids Get Cooking!”

There is so much more to explore at the New York City Wine & Food Festival 2011, so begin your belly stretching exercises, clear your palate, open your nasal passages, buy some comfortable shoes and join the gang once again.

Go to for more information, event availability and to buy tickets. Proceeds benefit Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength.