Savor Borgata Weekend: Day Two

-Brenda Hillegas

There are five fine dining restaurants in Atlantic City’s Borgata hotel and casino. Each one highlights a different cuisine, so no matter what your taste buds prefer, there’s something there for you. Chef Michael Shulson’s Izakaya (Japanese), Chef Michael Symon’s Angeline (Italian), Chef Bobby Flay’s steakhouse, Old Homestead Steakhouse from brothers Greg and Marc Sherry, and Chef Wolfgang Puck’s American Grill. The Savor Borgata Ultimate Food Experience is an evening food festival that showcases all of these master chefs, their dishes, and samples of everything else available at the Borgata’s eateries. There’s so much more leading up to this event though…

First stop for the Saturday of Savor Borgata weekend was the Borgata Buffet. If you read my previous post, you’ll know I ended up at Michael Schulson’s restaurant tasting on Friday night and left completely stuffed. By morning time, I was finally hungry again and what better way to enjoy Savor Borgata than by hitting the breakfast buffet nice and early.

For breakfast, the buffet is $17.95 a person and it’s an incredible price for everything (seriously, everything) that’s offered. Some of my favorite items were the cheese and tomato egg pie, duck fat potatoes, breakfast pizza (there were a few other pizzas to pick from as well), garlic basil crusted tomatoes, and the spinach eggs Benedict. There were also fresh carved meats, an omelette station, cereal, oatmeal, pastries, bread, frittatas, quiches, various jams, fresh squeezed juices, chicken and waffles, chocolate chip pancakes, bananas foster, and just about anything else you can think of. Lunch is $20.95 and dinner is $34.95. I have no doubt that the buffet is worth every penny during those hours too. For more details and their special Thanksgiving menu, visit the Borgata website.

Just like the previous day, Saturday was filled with plenty of culinary tastings and classes prior to the big Savor Borgata event of the evening. This year, guests could enjoy rosé tastings, lunch with Bobby Flay, making pasta with Michael Symon, holiday lunch and learn with guest chef Alex Guarnaschelli, dim sum pairings with tea and cocktails, and other exciting experiences.

My event for the afternoon- the Magic of Marzipan. The hour-long class was led by the Borgata’s Executive Pastry Chef Thaddeus DuBois (former Pastry Chef for The White House). In this class, attendees learned the art of working with marzipan. We watched Chef Thaddeus create a few fall fruits with marzipan and were given some marzipan recipes to take home. The hard work was done for us, as each table contained rolls of marzipan already dyed with food coloring. Each attendee decorated a small cake (that we could keep!) and we were provided with everything needed to create our own masterpieces. The hands-on class was a lot of fun and I would definitely sign up for a similar event next year.

Before class began, we had a quick lunch at Bread and Butter- the Borgata’s 24-hour cafe with fresh made sandwiches, all-day breakfast favorites, grilled cheeses, sweets, salads and drinks. Our choices- the corned beef ruban and mushroom soup. This left us just hungry enough to head back to Borgata Baking Company after class for some boozy milkshakes. A detour was made to stop by Bobby Flay’s restaurant where he was doing a book signing. I look forward to trying his biscuit recipes at home soon.

After the first food coma of the day (I do not regret the very satisfying milkshake), I headed to the event center for a press meet and greet with the chefs. I really enjoyed talking with Wolfgang Puck who told me about his restaurant in the Middle East and the Philly cheesesteak that’s on the menu there! I said hi to the rest of the chefs, enjoyed a glass of wine, and prepared myself for the main event…

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If you can’t stay at the Borgata over night and don’t have the time to participate in any of the events leading up to the food festival, that’s okay…as long as you do not miss the Savor Borgata Ultimate Food Experience. Foodies of the Philadelphia area- this is where you need to be. Make plans immediately to attend next year.

As you step inside the Borgata’s main event room, you’ll be flooded with food options from throughout the hotel and casino. To my left, I saw savory doughnut sandwiches, to my right was so much cheese. That was just the beginning. Some of my favorite samples were the chocolate and cider-braised duck, banh mi, meatballs, crab meat, filet mignon from the Old Homestead Steakhouse, smoothies, tuna tacos, lamb with zucchini noodles. The center of the event floor was filled with wines and beers from various breweries. There were also fooseball tables and spin art crafts so you could relax a bit and pace yourself between tastings.

Each chef was hands on, serving up their dishes and taking the time for pictures and chats with the guests. The Chicken Milanese and gnocchi mac and cheese from Alex Guarnaschelli’s NYC restaurant Butter was so good that I regret not getting back in her line for another sample before I left. Michael Symon’s braised veal shank pasta from Angeline and the wagyu steak with pasta from Wolfgang Puck (and a glass of wine) were fantastic. Obviously if you head to any of the restaurants inside of the Borgata from these chefs, you won’t be disappointed with your meal.

And the desserts. I devoured a tiramisu inside a chocolate coffee cup (an edible chocolate coffee cup) with an edible spoon and a macaron.

Everything was fresh, with chefs and staff working to prep the food and plate it beautifully. Lines were long at some spots but moved quickly. Everyone was friendly, generous, and just happy to be there. This is certainly not your ordinary food sampling experience. Savor Borgata is a one-of-a-kind, must-see-for-yourself event. Take your time and try everything. You’ll want to truly savor the evening.

When I finally threw in the towel and made my way out of the event center, there was even more waiting for me. I was tempted with a few flavors of fudge and some macarons. Then, a Starbucks coffee bar as well as a Starbucks cart serving up their nitro brews. I’m forever spoiled by this event.

Before going to bed for the night, we made another round through the casino floor to look at the bars and restaurants. No way was I hungry, but one last drink was in order. The choice- Michael Symon’s Angeline. I drooled over the menu and passed it back to the bartender. As much as I wanted to try everything, how could I?! Though I was tempted to order the eggplant parmesan and a side of garlic bread anyway, I was happy with my bellini.

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I stopped by Bread and Butter for a mini cheesecake to take back to my room!

Even without Savor Borgata, hotel and casino is an awesome place to stay. Whether it’s a date night getaway or a weekend with the friends, there really is something for everyone there. Food options for every budget and palate, spas and pools, the Music Box concert venue, night clubs, dancing, beautiful hotel rooms, and my favorite- the penny slots.

To book a stay or plan a visit to the Borgata, visit http://www.theborgata.com. Follow them on social media too, so you can be the first to grab tickets to next year’s Savor Borgata event.

 

 

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