Author, Hannah Bukzin, is a 14 yr old Staples high school student with a passion for cooking. Hannah has her own blog "Small Chef in a Big World,"and was a contestant in the 2014 Chopped Teen Tournament on The Food Network.
Last night I had the best Italian food, the best desserts, the best breakfast and the best diner food. I realized a little theme began to emerge. Everything was the best! And where, you might ask did I have all of the “best” food? At the Best of the Gold Coast Event at the Stamford Hilton. I had the honor of attending this wonderful event and the amount of talent showcased there was incredible! I walked around for a little while and tasted some AMAZING food. Here are some of the highlights:
Best Hotel Restaurant: Artisan Southport
What I Ate: Seafood Chowder
This seafood chowder was served with fennel, which added such a nice texture contrast and flavor. Delicious crunchy croutons accompanied this dish and to top it off, black pepper added a great bite at the end of the dish.
Best Diner: Elm Street Diner
What I Ate: Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
I must say these were amazing! Donuts can be tricky because they can get dense very quickly. These managed to stay extremely fluffy and they had just the right amount of cinnamon. I will definitely be going here for a banana nutella ice cream sundae!
Best Special Occasion: Valbella Restaurants
What I Ate: Penne with Truffle Sauce
There was a little competition going on this year. Whoever got the most votes for the Best Booth was going to win a big prize. As I walked around there was one booth that really did catch my eye. Marcia Selden Catering Company, who won Best Caterer eight years in a row, had a jungle! As I walked in I was surrounded by leaves imported from South Africa, banana trees, and beautiful papyrus plants.
Best Cocktails: Match Restaurant
What I Ate: Pork Bun Mau (not a cocktail...as I'm 14)
Best Italian Restaurant: Tarry Lodge
What I Ate: Homemade Ricotta Crostini
The crunchiness of the bread paired with the fresh and creamy ricotta really made this dish unforgettable. One of the “secret” ingredients, meyer lemon zest, gave this dish a little sweetness.
Best Bakery, Best Desserts, Best Wedding Cakes: Di Mare Bakery
What I Ate: Cannoli Nachos
With so many awards this year, the stakes were high for DiMare Pastry Shop. The cannoli nacho, essentially a deconstructed cannoli, was such an innovative idea. They definitely had the best dessert of the night!
Best Caterer: Marcia Selden Catering
In addition to this amazing indoor jungle that was created, they managed to put out not one, but two amazing dishes that were hung all around. There was a Wild Kale and Quinoa Salad with tropical fruits, and a Coconut Shrimp Ceviche. I tasted both and they were fantastic!