Westchester’s Wine & Food Fest Crowns Repeat Winners in 2023

Preview our editors’ favorite events for the week of June 6, – June 13, 2013

Westchester‘s Wine & Food Fest recap. Adobe Stock / www.push2hit.de

Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Fest toasts familiar faces in this year’s winner’s circle following the Bartender Shake-Off.

Shuffling down to the Sound for another year of booze by the beach, the Party on the Pier Bartender Shake-Off saw some new contenders, eager for the chance to claim their spot in Wine & Food Fest infamy. With a tight race, a recognizable name found its way to the podium. A seven-year bartending veteran, Veronica Kallas of Greca (grecamed.com) brought the coveted shaker trophy back to the White Plains hot spot for a second year in a row.

Utilizing the smooth flavor of Tequila Herradura Ultra Anejo, Kallas drew her inspiration from the iconic setting around her. “Shoe the Dragon was inspired by the Dragon [Coaster] ride at Rye Playland,” says Kallas. The name of the tequila translates to “horseshoe,” so the stretch wasn’t quite a loop-de-loop. From there, the ingredients fell into place. “I knew I wanted to incorporate a Greek liqueur as well to honor Greca, but I needed one final component to really stand out,” says Kallas. “That’s when I decided to dedicate my drink to the Dragon ride, using jalapeños to infuse the tequila for subtle heat, fresh dragon fruit purée, and torched rosemary for a little extra dragon resemblance.”

Veronica Kallas of Greca in White Plains.
Veronica Kallas of Greca in White Plains. Photo by Enormous Creative.

The 2023 edition of WM’s Burger & Beer Blast also had a moment of déjà vu. Coming back to reclaim their crown was Pleasantville’s Southern Table, who not only took home the top prize with its Bulleit Burger but received the most votes in Burger & Beer Blast history. What was between the buns, you ask? Using Stew Leonard’s Naked Beef, the burger was slathered in a Bulleit bourbon glaze, aged cheddar, smoked bacon, caramelized onions, and spicy aioli. Coming in second was an outside of the bun take from Rye Roadhouse with a cheeseburger eggroll drizzled with a Creole remoulade. Rounding out the podium with the bronze was Smokehouse Tailgate Grill, that slung out classic cheeseburgers in full-sized portions, wrapped in foil for a practical yet aesthetically pleasing presentation. But the real winners? Everyone who left the event full, satisfied, and needing to adjust their pants.

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Related: 5 Westchester County Bartenders All Cocktail Lovers Need to Know

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