One of the most fun food events that I attend every year is the NYCWFF’s Grand Tasting Presented By ShopRite. There is an incredible array of food and wine vendors who let guests sample their wares. This year it was an even split between alcohol and food booths so I got wobbly pretty fast, LOL!I was thrilled to see Morton’s, my favorite steak house, serving brisket sliders. I hope that they did not notice that I visited their booth five times, LOL! I enjoyed talking to the staff there and finding out the new menu entries for fall. They have some interested pumpkin infused pasta and desserts new to the menu but it comes as no surprise that their steaks are still their top menu items.The gnocchi with pulled short ribs served by Atlantic Grill was another big winner in my book. The gnocchi tasted freshly made and were lightly coated in a garlicky sauce with fresh herbs including added. They had quite a line at their booth from the minute the doors opened at Pier 94.While not too many guests are thinking about their diet while wolfing down the goodies at the Grand Tasting, the Thinsters table was quite a hit. These cookies taste incredibly buttery and crunchy but a one ounce bag is about 100 calories. Sample bags of their chocolate chip cookies were handed out at the event. I have to say that their Key Lime cookies are really phenomenal and I ordered some on line the next morning!I was excited to see Table 87 Coal Oven Pizza at the Grand Tasting. They use fresh everything (including tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil) and they are masters of the super thin crust. I buy their slices regularly at the Citarella near my apartment and was thrilled to be able to eat small slices to my heart’s content at the Grand Tasting. This was another table with constant lines but thankfully they moved quickly. The culinary conversations and presentations on the main stage are a real highlight of the Grand Tasting and give you a chance to sit down, relax and learn something new. Whoopi Goldberg was interviewed by What Not To Wear’s Stacey London and she talked about a lot of her favorite dishes as well as the importance of taking time out for oneself every day to meditate and perform breathing exercises. She also had the audience in stitches talking about celebrity bloopers both on and off camera on The View. Rocco DiSpirito created a homemade tubular pasta dish with meat sauce with the help of a random 15-year-old chef that he called up out of the audience. Turned out that this teen actually teaches pasta making classes in Louisiana. DiSpirito met a kindred spirit and the results of them cooking together on the main stage was magical. I just say that it was too bad that the audience could not sample their wares. The Lroom Cafe on West 14th brought their most famous dessert simply called Wonderful Waffles to the Grand Tasting and wowed everyone. These waffles were made fresh at the event and have honeycomb patterns. They are topped with a Nutella like chocolate sauce, stuffed with whipped cream and garnished with sprinkles, edible flowers and fruit including orange slices, strawberries and raspberries. I had one of these desserts at the Grand Tasting and will be visiting the actual cafe for another one soon!Del Grosso pasta sauces mad a big hit at the Grand Tasting with their meatball martinis. Their line seemed to have fifty people on it at all time. There were many repeat customers. Everyone left with a buy one, get one free coupon and recipe cards, including one for the super easy meatball martinis.The ShopRite Grand Tasting not surprisingly has the biggest booth each year right in the center of the action. Recipes are created using popular items sold at this legendary supermarket in the NY tristate area. My favorite items was the burger and fries with a spicy dip created with Hellman’s. There was also a wonderful spicy chicken sausage sandwich that captured my heart and taste buds! This extra large square booth gives out full size products to Grand Tasting guests this year and everyone got to walk away with Baci chocolates as well as assorted brands of licorice, salsa, bruschetta and breadsticks. To learn more about the Grand Tasting and the hundreds of great events and culinary classes offered each year at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, go to www.NYCWFF.org.