Atlantic City, New JerseyJennifer Baggett Brennan, a Food Network producer and regular contributor to TravelChannel.com (as part of the traveling trio, The Lost Girls) recently visited Atlantic City to experience the 5th-annual Savor Borgata.
In addition to spending an unforgettable evening rubbing elbows with renowned chefs and top Borgata restaurateurs such as Bobby Flay (Bobby Flay Steak), Wolfgang Puck (Wolfgang Puck American Grille), Stephen Kalt (Fornelletto Cucina & Wine Bar), Michael Mina (SeaBlue, A Michael Mina Restaurant) and Geoffrey Zakarian (The Water Club), guests can participate in unique seminars and culinary series like “Whiskey Sips & Sliders,” “Tacos & Tequila,” “Mad About Meatballs” and “Sweet Surrender.”
I went to Savor Borgata to: Sample signature dishes and cocktails whipped up by the Borgata’s most acclaimed chefs, while experiencing an unforgettable weekend of interactive cooking demos, special food events and tastings. This year in particular, it felt amazing to be there to support the local Atlantic City economy in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
I stayed at: The Water Club, an elegant and cosmopolitan hotel that is a welcome oasis from the frenetic pace of AC, yet is just steps away from of all the best action that the Borgata has to offer. This luxury property also boasts 6 designer retail boutiques, a 36,000 square foot Immersion Spa, 5 heated indoor and outdoor pools and in-house menus designed by renowned chef and Food Network favorite, Geoffrey Zakarian.
The best thing I ate was: Bobby Flay’s Philly Cheesesteak tacos. Even the long lines for his station didn’t deter me from going back for seconds -- and thirds. It was definitely worth the wait each time and one of the best and most unique tacos I’ve ever had.
Don’t miss: The “In the Kitchen with Wolfgang Puck” cooking demonstration. He and his American Grille head chef, Aram Mardigian, are funny enough to headline their own late-night comedy show. Yet their expert culinary instruction will inspire even the most amateur home cooks (like me) to tackle more complex dishes -- like the featured Ricotta Gnocchi with Sweet Fennel Sausage Bolognese -- without fear.
My favorite food trend is: Anything edible on a stick. From decadent cake pops to savory satays, there was no shortage of these fun (and highly portable) small bites, which made for easy nibbling between chefs stations.
My best indulgence was: Aside from all of the amazing food, an hour-long Swedish massage at the Water Club spa was by far my favorite treat. Everything from the heated massage table and warm towels to the silky, coconut-scented massage oil and the expert skills of my masseuse Regina were key in helping me relax, unwind and rejuvenate me for more Savor Borgata events.
My advice for first timers is: Splurge for a VIP ticket to the main event, which provides early admission for a select group only. Head to the booths with the longest lines first to ensure you get to sample all of the hottest dishes and meet the chefs before the main crowd arrives.
When packing, be sure to bring: Outfits that can transition from more casual demos and daytime events to more dressy evening activities and AC nightlife. And ladies, be sure to always have a pair of flats or other comfy shoes with you in your purse/bag as you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
Next time I’ll definitely: Pace myself a bit better. I got so excited to sample all of the amazing dishes and cocktails that I tried to squeeze in too much too quickly. Next time I’ll build in some more downtime between tastings to digest before going back for more -- or at the very least will wear a skirt with an elastic waist band!
The most fun way to burn off calories is: Dancing for hours at the Borgata’s high-end club, mur.mur, where celebrity DJs, like Samantha Ronson (the featured DJ during my visit) will spin hip hop, house, and mash-ups well into the night -- and the next morning.