Tag Archives: Food

The Best of Smorgasburg 2011

This Saturday, November 19, is the last day to experience Smorgasburg under open skies along the picturesque Williamsburg waterfront before the fest, named Top Artisanal Food Market in America by Bon Appétit, moves indoors to its equally stunning winter location at Skylight One Hanson. This season’s finale market, expected to draw the best of the best artisanal vendors of the year, is the perfect opportunity to place your orders for Thanksgiving, and pick up some less well known specialty products direct from local Brooklyn purveyors that are guaranteed to impress your guests and tantalize their taste buds. Don’t miss it!

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I must confess, Smorgasburg quickly became my favorite (not so) guilty pleasure this past summer. I went back for more a total of 4 times, and never ate the same thing twice. The rotating roster of different vendors makes it a unique experience every weekend, and a terrific way to sample a variety of notable, up-and-coming BK eateries, all in one convenient spot.

Once I’ve had my fill, I love to take the East River Ferry back home. You can hop on board right next to the market. It’s a wonderful way to cap off a Saturday afternoon, with a bit of fresh air on the water, and gorgeous sunset views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts. For a mere $4, it’s a must!

So, if you’ve still not ventured over to the market yet and want to make a bee line for the best eats on hand this weekend, be sure to check out my personal picks for “The Best of Smorgasburg”:

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Best vendor: Sunday Gravy

Sunday Gravy won my heart from the get-go with their out-of-this-world, slow braised, tomato meat sauce. Using a combination of both pork and beef, this thick-as-thieves homemade gravy is divine served in a hollowed out sandwich roll, or poured liberally over pasta. I fell head over heels though, after my first bite of their roasted vegetable sandwich. Fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and squash are marinated in balsamic vinegar, heaped on rustic bread, slathered with tangy goat cheese, and topped with micro greens. I loved every morsel! Steven Smith and family are simply the nicest vendors in the market. They proudly hand out samples and are more than happy to lovingly chat about their saucy gravy. My hands down favorite at Smorg!

Best sandwich: 18NY

I8NY really won me over with their crispy chicken, fried green tomato, salsa verde sandwich, though their watermelon, eggplant, mozzarella sammie is a sure-fire winner too. Most recently, their lamb sausage with rosemary, pickled swiss chard, and yogurt creation has captured my attention. Will Griffin and Jon Meyer epitomize the DIY, local/seasonal, Brooklyn food scene and I can’t wait to see what other sandwich and side combinations they think of next.

Best meaty treat: Mighty Quinn’s

The smell in the air wafting from Hugh Mangum’s stand makes Mighty Quinn’s such a popular attraction that I wasn’t actually able to get to the front of the line before he ran out of ribs and brisket – on 3 separate visits to Smorgasburg. That’s a very good sign, so on my last venture, I made sure to get in line early, determined to get a taste of this meaty magic. I was not disappointed. I opted for the brisket sandwich – a literal mountain of thick sliced beef, slow cooked for over 20 hours, slathered in bbq sauce. Hugh cooks the brisket off site, wraps it for transport, sealing in all the juices, and slices it right before your eyes, just seconds before it’s piled on a slightly sweet country white roll (delivered fresh to their kitchen from a secret source in Philly), and topped with pickled onions and a dash of coarse sea salt. It’s an eye-popping amount of beef, a mouth-watering taste of real southern barbeque, and completely worth waiting in the longest line at Smorg. DO IT.

An honorable mention must go to: Asia DogWhen I found out what was in a hot dog at the age of 10, I stopped eating them then and there. Until I met Asia Dog some 25 years later. Their grass-fed, nitrate-free, organic beef dogs sounded safe enough to warrant a try, and the unusual Asian toppings are a real selling point. I especially love “The Sidney” topped with mango chutney, cucumber, and peanuts, as well as “The Mel & Steve” topped with purple cabbage sesame slaw. “The Wangding”, a dog topped with bbq pork belly in plum sauce, is kind of meat overkill, but worth a taste when you’re in the mood to throw caution to the wind. Word to the wise: don’t pass up their limeade. It’s the perfect tart and bubbly beverage companion with a dog or two.

Best veggie treat: Skytown

It’s pretty simple. They use really fresh seasonal ingredients, procured at the local farmers market, and they make amazingly flavorful salads. In the sea of meat and sweets that is Smorgasburg, it’s a pleasure to mix it up with a little something green from Skytown. I can’t explain it exactly, but there’s clearly love in these salads. They just feel good to eat. Love doesn’t come cheap at Skytown, but if you’re craving some vegetables, especially a really tasty and satisfying kale salad, this is a no brainer.

Best sweet treat: Dough + Blue Bottle

These might just be the best yeast doughnuts in the land. I hate to be a traitor, Doughnut Plant, but Dough gives you a serious run for your money! I particularly like their citrus-y flavors – passion fruit topped with cacao nibs, lemon poppy seed, and my absolute favorite, blood orange. Nothing else compares. The great thing about these doughnuts is that they’re not overly sweet. The café au lait topped with almonds, and the chocolate topped with cacao nibs, are flawless. Go for the coconut or dulce de leche, if you’ve got an aching sweet tooth. While they have a super eye-catching hot pink color, the hibiscus falls a little flat for me, and the berry tastes like your average jelly doughnut. Their doughnut holes, simply dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar, make for a delightful snack, especially when paired with a cup of Blue Bottle’s chickory coffee (conveniently located at the stand to their left). Don’t let the line stop you. It moves fast and they will sell out. I always get in their line first, grab my doughnuts for tomorrow’s breakfast and take them home with me. The biggest challenge? Waiting until morning to eat them! I admit, I’ve failed on more than one occasion, but hey, they make a great dessert too.

Honorable mentions to: S’more Bakery for their incredibly ooey-gooey handmade vanilla bean marshmallow, cinnamon clover-honey graham cracker, chocolate ganache S’moregasm; The Good Batch’s array of ice cream sandwiches and whoopie pies on a stroopwafel; and the seasonal fruit popsicle masters, People’s Pops!

Best drink: Float

Float serves up the absolutely prettiest, most inventive drinks I stumbled across at Smorg. Their combination of sparkling sodas and fruit juices, fresh muddled herbs, a frothy dollop of ice cream or sorbet on top, AND a pretzel rod, make for one extremely very refreshing and attractive beverage. My favorite is probably the watermelon mint float, though the blueberry hibiscus, and bloody mary were both phenomenal.

Honorable mention to: Brooklyn Soda Works for their grapefruit, jalapeno, honey and pomegranate, pear, cinnamon sodas!

Best thing in a jar: Maiden Preserves and Granola Labs

I found it near impossible to stop sampling all the different flavors that Maiden Preserves and Granola Lab had on offer, and even more impossible to pick a favorite, so I propose a tie between the two. Maiden Preserves are the most delicious jams I’ve had in recent memory. With flavors like rhubarb, lemon vanilla bean, strawberry verbena, and orange bourbon, can you blame me for being indecisive? I love their big wallop of fruity flavor, chased with the perfect hint of herb, spice, or booze; and the gorgeous natural color you can see right through the traditional glass jar they come packaged in, wrapped simply with twine and a homemade label. Maiden Preserves make breakfast sing. Your morning will burn that much brighter and your toast will thank you.

Granola Lab’s variations also make choosing a favorite incredibly challenging. With flavor combos like coffee, chocolate, hazelnut; orange, pecan, maple; and tamarind, walnut, banana; there’s no wrong choice here. Alex Crosier makes small batches of granola that have maximum crunch and texture, bursting with layers of flavor and spice. It’s the best granola I’ve ever had, and I don’t say that lightly, as one of my all-time favorite breakfasts is granola over Greek yogurt, topped with seasonal fruit. (It’s second only to Nancy Silverton’s legendary La Brea Bakery granola, maybe.) I look forward to nibbling my way through a bag of each of her “quasi-science” flavor experiments in the months to come.

Honorable mention to: McClure’s Pickles for the prettiest jar of pickled veggies and seriously kick-ass bloody mary mix I’ve ever tasted!

Best thing in a bottleMorris Kitchen

Morris Kitchen’s ginger syrup is to die for. Upon first glance, I kind of questioned why someone would make just this one product, but I was intrigued and immediately had to try it. As soon as I did – sweet spicy taste explosion! My wheels started spinning about all the ways I’d want to use it – over ice cream, in cocktails, soda, straight from the bottle! Major cool points could be scored at a dinner party or given as a gift. You don’t find a product like this very often. You have to admire someone who specializes in just one rather unusual ingredient and Kari Morris pulls it off expertly. I look forward to sampling her new apple cider syrup and any other variety she dreams up next.

Honorable mention to: Brooklyn Bitters for their line-up of stimulating flavors, including mission fig, sriracha, meyon lemon, and rhubarb, which undoubtedly contributes a nice complexity and kick to any classic, artisanal cocktail. And do be sure to check out their website, for great drink recipes utilizing their unique little tonics.

Now, if I’ve done my job right, your appetite has officially been whet and you can’t wait to eat your heart out at Smorgasburg this weekend. Luckily, it’s only a hop, skip, and jump away on the L train or East River Ferry. So, save lots of room in that belly and go relish the best of culinary Brooklyn. Enjoy, food lovers!

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Hungry for more? Check out my food photography portfolios on eyeforstyle.net and dripbook.

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Where Madison Square Eats meets Eataly

At: 5th Avenue & 23rd Street, New York City

When: September 23 – October 21, 11am – 9pm

Madison Square Eats returns to Worth Square once again this fall, on the heels of a very successful summer 2011 trial run. Bringing together diverse tastes of some of the city’s best restaurants and bakeries, this gastronomic hub is a must visit for foodies and eaters alike, with plenty of outdoor seating nestled between Madison Square Park, the crossroads of bustling Broadway and 5th Avenue, at the foot of the famously picturesque Flatiron Building.

Participating eateries for fall include: Almond, Asiadog, Bar Suzette, The Cannibal, Fatty Snack, Graffiti/Mehtaphor, Hong Kong Street Cart, Hot Blondies Bakery, ilili, Junoon, Macaron Parlour, The Milk Truck, Momofuku Milk Bar, Nunu Chocolates, Perfect Picnic, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Roberta’s Pizza, Robicelli’s, Sigmund’s, Spices & Tease, Stuffed Artisan Cannolis, and Wafels & Dinges.

You can easily make an afternoon siesta of it, sampling the goodies of multiple vendors without feeling as though you’re going to burst at the seams, if you follow Eye For Style’s tried-and-true plan of attack: Begin with a couple of lunch courses at MSE2. Head directly across the street for a leisurely stroll around the park. Wonder why so many people are waiting in that long line at Shake Shack. Find a good bench to cop a squat, people watch and read the paper. Have a nice long conversation, with a stranger or your chosen companion. When you’re ready to move on, take a field trip over to Eataly! This barely year old, 50,000 sq. ft. space is part gourmet megamarket, part upscale restaurant food court/wine bar, part bookstore and specialty kitchenware emporium, part culinary school. It’s the well-conceived baby from a menage a trois of New York super-chefs, Mario Bataly, Joe and Lidia Bastianich. Their European partner, Oscar Farinetti, founded the original Eataly, located in Turin, Italy.

Hit the main floor, wandering around in awe and delight, to your hearts content. If the weather is lovely, head up to the Birreria and partake in a speciality craft beer, brewed right on Eataly’s very own rooftop, as you admire one spectacular view of Gramercy and Chelsea. Your thirst now sufficiently quenched, head back downstairs and fill your basket with all the delectibles you can’t bear to leave without – exotic fruits and veg from the produce market; tasty antipasto, charcuterie, crudo, and cheese from La Piazza for a light supper; and don’t forget a few goodies from Pasticceria for tomorrow’s breakfast! If you’re experiencing a bit of a food coma by now, pop by Caffé Lavazza or Vergnano, Eataly’s TWO espresso bars, to put a little pep in your step with a freshly ground cappuccino, before heading back outside to Worth Square for round #2 of MS Eats.

Now that your appetite for Italian cuisine has officially been whet, you’re gonna want to check out Eataly’s website for their extensive calendar of upcoming cooking classes with legendary NYC celebri-chefs. There’s so much going on at this food lover’s paradise, you can return again and again, without even beginning to stratch the surface of all the culinary offerings on hand.

Now that’s amore!

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Eye For Style Recommends: Escape to New York

Purchase tickets here with promo code: ribble to save 20% while supplies last!

 

 

 

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Eat & Booze For a Good Cause

Times are tough, no question. The world is changing rapidly. Millions of people are in the midst of a daily struggle to survive. We are facing an overwhelming amount of devastating crises, both at home and abroad. We want to help, but don’t know where to start sometimes.

Food is one of the only common denominators in this world, across every culture, country, language, and religion, that truly brings people together. Breaking bread is a sacred experience. Sharing a meal creates lasting bonds. We demonstrate our love and respect through the food we serve to others. We can be of service to others by making wise choices about where and what we consume.

Luckily, there are an abundance of terrific opportunities to put your money where your mouth is this month. I’ve compiled a short list of the tastiest happenings, from coast to coast, so you can eat well for a good cause. If you know of other simpatico events, please feel free to comment with info and links, so we can all contribute to uplifting our global community.

 

Dine Out for Japan Relief: March 23 – 30, 2011

APA @NBC Universal is proud to partner with AZIX, Japanese American Association, New York State Restaurant Association, FEED and the restaurant industry for “Dine out for Japan Relief”.  For one week, participating restaurants will donate a portion of their profits to the Red Cross. A donation of 5%* from every breakfast, lunch and dinner meal will go toward disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami through the Pacific.

@ PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS:

ABC Kitchen • Aburiya Kinnosuke • Alice’s Tea Cups • Asia de Cuba • Bar Basque

Bar Italia • Bogota Bistro 
• Brasserie Ruhlmann • Captain Bill’s • Carte Blanche

Cha-An • China Grill • Choshi • Crabtree’s Kittle House 
• Curry-Ya • Decibel

Ed’s Chowder House • The Empire Hotel Rooftop • FoodParc • Hakata Tonton

Havana Central • Hasaki 
• Ippudo NY • Jack the Horse Tavern • Jojo • Ko Sushi

Le Colonial Restaurant • Madison • The Mark Restaurant 
• The Mercer Kitchen

North Square Restaurant Orsay • Otafuku PDT • Perry St • Plunge
• Rai Rai Ken

Robataya • Sakagura • SD26 • Shabu-tatsu • Shimizu • Sobaya • Soba Totto

Sugar Bun Bakery 
• Tanuki Tavern • Telepan • Totto Ramen • Yakitori Totto

For more details, please visit:
www.nysra.org/DineOutforJapan

 

Fry for Life: March 16, 2011 –

@ Terroir Tribeca, 24 Harrison St. (at Greenwich St.); 212-625-9463.

& Terroir East Village, 413 E. 12th St. (at First Ave.)

Both Terroir wine bars are raising money for Japan relief one $6 plate of ginger-garlic-soy fried chicken at a time. All proceeds from the chicken go toward Doctors Without Borders in Japan. The recipe for these super crisp and juicy boneless chicken thighs is the same one that Yoshi Nonaka, a line cook at Hearth, uses for staff meals.


NY Vintners: March 24 – 30, 2011

@ 21 Warren Street, New York; 212.812.3999

100% of sales proceeds on all sake wine bottles will be donated to Japanese Earthquake Relief. For store hours and more information: http://www.newyorkvintners.com/


Brewers for Brewers Benefit: March 28, 2011; 7 – 10 pm

Brooklyn Brewery, 79 N. 11th St., Brooklyn; 718-486-7422 or goodbeerseal.com

New York-area brewers Sixpoint Craft Ales, Brooklyn Brewery, Heartland and Empire Brewing Co., team up with The Meat Hook for food, suds and a silent auction to raise money to aid their Japanese counterparts, the Kiuchi Brewery (makers of Hitachino), and other earthquake-damaged sake and beer breweries

Click here to purchase tickets.

 

The Village Voice’s Choice Eats: March 29, 2011; 6:30 – 9:30 pm

@ 69th Armory on Lexington Avenue, 68 Lexington Ave @ 26th Street, NYC


 

The Village Voice proudly presents their fourth annual curated Choice Eats tasting event. Handpicked restaurants and food trucks from all five boroughs featured in The Village Voice reviews are represented, along with complimentary craft beer pairings, wine and liquor-laced cocktails. A portion of the Choice Eats ticket sales will be donated to this year’s charitable partner, Slow Food NYC, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to achieving a good, clean, and fair food system.

For the complete list of participating restaurants and to purchase tickets, click here.

 

Punch Party for Japan: Monday April 11, 2011; 7 pm -

@ Summit Bar, 133 Ave C, New York

Show your support for Japan and enjoy some top-shelf punches in the process at this benefit going down at East Village’s best cocktail haunt, Summit Bar. Spirit brands like Pernod Absinthe, Beefeater and Belvedere have teamed up with mixologist, Greg Seider, to create six concoctions featuring Japan-inspired ingredients. Your $20 ticket (pay at the door) goes straight to the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund, and it scores you bottomless glasses of punch all evening. Whiskey lovers can also support the Yamazaki whiskey distillery by purchasing neat pours ($10) and whiskey cocktails ($12) while jamming to tunes from DJ Kimiko Masuda.

 

Taste of the Lower East Side – April 28, 2011;   7 – 10:30 pm

82 Mercer @ Spring Street, New York; 917.639.5850

This year’s 11th annual Taste of the Lower East Side will proudly feature the signature dishes from over 50 neighborhood restaurants and an all-night open bar of specialty cocktails. Benefiting the Grand Street Settlement, proceeds will be used to fund programs and services for Lower East Side community residents of all ages – from toddlers to teens, senior citizens and families.

This event was born in 2000 when a pioneering group of young professionals saw the neighborhood’s burgeoning restaurant scene as a terrific cultural resource and rallied the culinary community to help raise sorely needed funds to support the Grand Street Settlement’s various programs. The now yearly event has since enabled local restaurants, food lovers, and corporate sponsors alike to give back to the neighborhood and celebrate its diversity on an ongoing basis.  Despite the increasing business development and gentrification, the community continues to face serious social-economic issues and a great need for social services, so your support is greatly appreciated!

The event has grown in size every year since and is now thought of as a premier culinary event, drawing a crowd of 1000+ food lovers. This year’s event will feature music by Nick Pattakos, as well as a silent auction and raffle prizes – including a new iPad2, courtesy of Tekserve.

Participating restaurants include:

A Casa Fox – Alias – barrio chino – Beauty & Essex

Café Coradito – The Clerkenwell – Clinton St. Baking Co.

DBGB Kitchen & Bar – Double Crown – Edi & the Wolf

Falai Panetteria – The Fat Radish – Gemma

Hecho en Dumbo – Hotel on Rivington – ‘inoteca

Il Laboratorio Del Gelato – Kuma Inn – La Esquina

Little Giant – Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten – Macando

The Meatball Shop – Mercadito – Mercat – Mulberry Project

Northern Spy Food Co. – Olivia – Osteria Morini

Peels – Porchetta – Public – Pulino’s – Rayuela

Rice – Roni Sue’s Chocolates – Russ & Daughters – Salt Bar

San Marzano – Schiller’s Liquor Bar – The Stanton Social

Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery – Think Coffee – Tre

Vandaag – Veselka – wd50 – Yerba Buena

With beverages by:

Anheuser-Busch – Barcardi Rum – Barefoot Wine & Bubbly

Bombay Sapphire – Grey Goose Vodka – Izze Sparkling Juice

For a complete list of participating restaurants and sponsors, please visit: www.grandstreet.org/taste

To purchase tickets, click here. This is a 21+ event.


Global Street Food – May 1, 2011; 11 am – 1 pm

@ The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica, CA

Join Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW’s Good Food, for an exploration of street food from around the globe. The OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano will join Evan and other special guests for a discussion on how street food can shape the culture of a city and influence what we eat.  Then, sample international street food flavors from some of L.A.’s best food trucks, including Mariscos JaliscoLet’s Be FrankIndia JonesPiaggio Gourmet on Wheels and the Nom Nom Truck alongside the warm Latin/African grooves of the Masanga Marimba Ensemble. Proceeds will benefit KCRW. With NPR and public radio funding under attack, they need your help more than ever!

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

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Feast of Good at The Brooklyn Kitchen

When: March 14, 2011, 6:30 – 9:30 pm

Where: The Brooklyn Kitchen

Price: $75.00 USD

You are cordially invited to join Eye For Style for a spectacular evening at Brooklyn Kitchen. Good Commons is bringing their signature culinary experience to New York City for one night only, and you will have the unprecedented opportunity to indulge in creations from four chefs, who will each take the reigns for a delicious, seasonal dish, along with wine pairings from a seasoned sommelier. The open kitchen gives you an insider’s peek as the chefs prepare each course, and the communal table promises to provide a stellar setting for uncommonly good food, friendship, and community. Wondering what’s on the menu? It’s a surprise! Fear not though – the menu has been thoughtfully designed to accommodate a variety of palates and gluten-free guests.

Your host for the evening is GOOD COMMONS, a boutique retreat located in Plymouth, Vermont. Originally built in the 1840s, it first operated as a general store. Lovingly restored and fully renovated in 2007 by radiant owner/hostess, Tesha Buss, Good Commons has quickly become one of the premier travel destinations in the Northeast. They host a series of weekend getaways throughout the year that draw from the bounty of the region, ranging from culinary immersions, food & wine weekends, yoga retreats, health & wellness events and outdoor adventures.

THE BROOKLYN KITCHEN is the culinary brainchild of Taylor Erkkinen and Harry Rosenblum, who saw the need for kitchenware stores in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. What they’ve created is a neighborhood hotspot that includes an eclectic collection of kitchen supplies and local products. Within the store is the Meat Hook, an artisan butcher counter and charcuterie; as well as Brooklyn Kitchen Labs, two dedicated spaces for cooking workshops, classes and special culinary events.

Your Chefs for the evening include:

MATTHEW WEXLER is a partner in the Good Retreat Company as well as a private chef and food, travel & lifestyle writer. When not cooking at Good Commons, Matthew is a regular contributor to EDGE Media Network, offManhattan, and Endless Simmer. He is currently writing the Good Commons food memoir, Uncommonly Good: Stories of life, food and the Birth of Good Commons, as well as his own blog, http://www.roodeloo.com/.

BRENDAN MCDERMOTT is a New York City native who currently dwells in Brooklyn. An acclaimed chef and instructor, Brendan has honed his skills at some of NYC’s most notable restaurants, including Mesa Grill, Olives, and Patria. Trained at Peter Krump (now The Institute of Culinary Education), he shares his knowledge and passion for food throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. His knife skills class at Brooklyn Kitchen was named by New York Magazine as “Best Cooking Class” and he is also featured in the up-and-coming cooking show, Working Class Foodies.

APRIL STAMM is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute. As a freelance food writer, April has written for a wide range of publications including Pastry Scoop, an online pastry magazine, and The Nibble, a gourmet product review and foodie information site. April has made numerous appearances as a guest chef at Good Commons and also teaches home cooking classes.

MARTIN HOWARD has had a lifelong passion for great food. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America where he studied all areas of cuisine, he went on to lead some of the top pastry kitchens in New York, including the legendary Rainbow Room atop 30 Rock. He has competed many times on the “Food Network Challenge”, winning top honors for his sweet creations. Martin’s first children’s story/cookbook “Tina Cocolina, Queen of the Cupcakes” was recently published by Random House.

Sommelier, KRISTEN SIEBECKER, has been a great fan of viticulture and vinification since her first illicit sip of Boone’s Farm wine beverage in her formative years. More recently, she completed the Advanced Certification program from the WSET with distinction, and is certified in Advanced Blind Tasting by the American Sommelier Association. You’ll find Kristen at the NYC East Side Best Cellars wine shop, advising customers and assisting in the store’s ‘Sommelier for an Evening’ program. Kristen’s current favorite varietal is Gruner Veltliner.

Have we whet your appetite? Seating is limited, so act fast! PURCHASE TICKETS here.

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Introducing: Eye For Style Maps

After tons of research, and many foodie photo missions over the last 2 years, I am happy to present Eye For Style’s “Best of NYC” – my absolute favorite, highly recommended, culinary and cultural hotspots. Each awesome destination has been personally hand picked and mapped out, with original photography and reviews, by yours truly. Featuring topics such as NYC’s Best: coffee, pizza, brunch, burgers, cheap eats, vintage clothing, and more!

For the complete list of Eye For Style Maps, click here.

Disclaimer: I’m a die-hard Greenwich Villager and Loisiada, and make no bones about the fact that, in my opinion, The Village and Lower East Side are the best neighborhoods in New York City. My maps reflect this biased love – and I’m totally cool with it. These are my stomping grounds, my passion, my point of view.

That said, I love good food, wherever it may live, and I can occasionally be lured above 14th Street, or to the nether lands of the outer boroughs, for truly excellent eats. I would love to hear your comments and opinions about what YOU consider to be the “Best of NYC”. Please share your picks here and I’ll be sure to add them to my list. As much as I love giving suggestions, I love receiving suggestions even more, so dish the scoop. I’m all ears!

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, you’ve probably been racking your brain or scouring the web for that perfect romantic dinner spot, some better than average chocolates, and/or an intimate booth to grab a cocktail? If you’re still drawing a blank, make it easy on yourself and check out my maps of the Best Dinner Date Spots, Best Sweets and Chocolate, and Best Watering Holes for up-to-the minute tips on the ideal locale to wine, dine, and treat your sweetheart. Every one of these places are a guaranteed “no fail zone”. Pick any recommendation from the list with confidence, so you can simply focus on charming the pants off your date. You can thank me later…

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Good Spirits at Le Poisson Rouge

When: January 25, 2011 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Le Poisson Rouge
Address: 158 Bleecker Street, NYC, 10012
Price: $41.99 USD

Edible Manhattan’s Good Spirits!

At Good Spirits, Edible’s seasonal cocktail pairing event, we match mixology-minded chefs and food artisans with spectacular, storied spirits (plus some beer, wine, and coffee for good measure), asking them to strive for liquid symbiosis.

In our estimation, the resonance between tastes and tipple goes far beyond mutually beneficial flavors.

We believe getting to know craft spirits at your neighborhood speakeasy or dive bar is no less relevant than following your cauliflower back to the farm, or your bagels, lox and cream cheese back to the baker, fishmonger and dairy.

Enjoy dishes and cocktails from the following vendors:

Tuthilltown ~ Prairie Vodka ~ Macao Trading Co

Compass Box Scotch Whiskey ~  Comb Vodka and Gin

Northern Spy ~ Fette Sau ~ St. Germain

Warwick Distillery’s American Fruits ~ Palo Santo ~ McClure’s

Don Q Rum ~ Karma Tequila ~ Tumbador Chocolate

Fonda ~ Nonino ~ San Honesto

Huckleberry Bar ~ Death’s Door ~ Fee Brothers

Clean Plates ~ Wolffer Estate Vineyards

Dallis Coffee ~ SerendipiTea

Verterra ~ and more!

Eye For Style readers can purchase special discount tickets, while quantities last, here.

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A Deal Too GOOD to Pass Up!

Good Commons Winter Expedition

January 27 – 30th, 2011

Good Commons is one of the premier boutique retreat destinations in the Northeast, to be sure. They’ve got an abundant calendar of upcoming health, fitness, food, and art retreats for 2011, and they’re kicking off the season with their Winter Expedition weekend, during the last few days of January. This winter escape will be filled with snowy outings, ski adventures, gourmet cuisine, rest and rejuvenation, and more, guaranteed. So if you’re still exhausted from the holidays, or didn’t get the relaxing getaway you were hoping for, consider treating yourself to that perfect post-holiday gift. You deserve it!

And to sweeten the pot, for a very limited time, Good Commons is offering a special $50 discount to all Eye For Style readers. So, book fast – and then relax. They’ll take care of the rest. The weekend rate is all-inclusive — roundtrip transportation to/from NYC on their private jitney too! Can’t beat that with a stick.

To read about my delicious Labor Day weekend Food, Wine, and Rejuvenation retreat to Good Commons, and the same luxurious treatment you’re likely to receive, click here. Once you’ve read that, and spoken with their luminous hostess, Tesha Buss, I’m quite sure I’ll be seeing you in the snowy Green Mountains. This is a deal, and an experience, that’s way too GOOD to pass up!

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Eye For Style Recommends: GRUB STREET

For one day only, Hester Street Fair will literally transform into “Grub Street, USA” with picket fences, eating parks galore, and over 40 exclusive food vendors selected personally by Grub Street and New York Magazine.

Curated by the folks at Grub Street, the editorial staff has invited their favorite food purveyors and restaurants to participate in their first ever ALL FOOD, all day event. From the best restaurants, to trucks and carts, to neighborhood joints from all across the 5 boroughs, this mouth-watering event will give you a taste of the finest morsels New York has to offer. All in one place!

Plus, to add even a little more spice to the mix, Santos Party House will whip this smorgasbord into even more than your average eating fest, providing the necessary ingredients to dance off some of those extra calories you’ll be packing on. Shake liberally so as to avoid impending food coma!

Just make sure to leave room for dessert, kids. This is surely destined to be the most exciting food festival on the Lower East Side this fall – or I promise to eat my words as well. Gulp.

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To view more of my food photography, please visit my website: eyeforstyle.net.

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Best Pizza & Ice Cream Dates in Greenwich Village

 


Pizza and ice cream is a perfect way to kick off a summer date night, especially in Greenwich Village where exceptional options abound on practically every corner. Luckily, I’ve taken the guess work out of it for you by crafting some terrific pairings. You may wish for a bit more of a walk in between courses, or slightly “healthier” options, so feel free to mix it up and create a combination of destinations that best suit your date’s taste. Be sure to print this list and the complete Eye For Style map before you head out so as to have all your options easily at hand. Trust me, she’ll admire your take-charge thoughtfulness, guys. Once you’re both stuffed to the gills, take a stroll mano a mano appreciating the uber-romantic vibe that is The Village, before you grab some libations at one of the many cool watering holes in the area. If you follow this plan (adding your own brand of charm and some witty reparte, of course), you should score that lengthy kiss on the stoop come evening’s end. And who knows what may follow. You can thank me later…

EAST VILLAGE DATES:

South Brooklyn Pizza & NYC Icy - 122 1st Ave ; 100 Ave A  171 Ave A (as of 6/2011)

SBP is the newbie in the ‘hood, having just opened 3 months ago, but it’s already garnered a well-deserved reputation. They only do one kind of pizza – margherita – which is frankly phenomenal. They occassionally have their “square” pizza with which they’ll experiment with a variety of ingredients, like mushroom or sausage, at their whim. I’d eat your first slice plain, so you can really taste the flavors of the basil, mozzarella, and tomato. The EVOO is so delicious you can actually taste the kalamata olive from whence it came. This is not a pizza where you want to sop up the oil with a napkin. Instead, have fun sexily licking it off your fingers (hey, it makes for some good foreplay). On your second slice, try the toppings they have mixed up fresh on the counter – a sick roasted garlic spread or marinated green peppers – for a completely different flavored slice. You might want to save the kissing for later, but it’s well worth it. Slices are $4 each, whole pies will run you $28.

NYC Icy is a relative newbie in the ‘hood, having just opened up their pop-up stand on Ave A @ E 7th a month ago (though they used to have a permanent location on Ave B). It’s a very no frills establishment, just a couple of big freezers and a cash register. Check the sandwich board for the day’s special samplings, a rotating array of over 200 flavors, most of which are more creamy than icy, with some dairy-free options as well. My favorites are Mexican hot cocoa (with a swift chili pepper kick), earl grey (with a hint of cream and lemon), and the ultimate: mango with fresh basil (which also pairs extremely well with spicy Thai food).

Artichoke Pizza & Sundaes and Cones – 328 E 14th St ; 95 E 10th St

Artichoke only fires up 4 types of pizza – classic margherita, artichoke (with a cheesy, creamy sauce), crab, and Sicilian – and they’re all freaking delicious. Don’t let the long line keep you away – spend the time getting to know each other better! Grab your  $4 slice, cop a squat on a nearby stoop and enjoy the bustling scene on 14th Street, as seating at this joint is highly coveted and minimal at best.  Better yet, call ahead and order a whole pie, then head southeast to nearby Tompkins Square Park for a pizza alfresco picnic in the very secluded section of the park bordering 10th Street where there’s tons of tables and virtually never any people. Take a stroll east and do some window shopping along 9th or 10th Street, two of the loveliest blocks in the EV, until you across 3rd Avenue and arrive at:

Sundaes & Cones has some of the most interesting, Asian-centric ice cream flavors around – wasabi, red bean, taro, green tea – to name a few. I personally adore the sesame and lychee in a big ol’ waffle cone. They have other traditionally American flavors as well, but why not try something new? Show off your adventurous, open-minded side. Chicks dig that.

Motorino & Momofuku Milk Bar – 349 E 12th St ; 207 2nd Ave

Motorino specializes in neopolitana style pizza – with a thin, but not too thin crust that bubbles around the outskirts. The ingredients are super fresh and flavorful, and the price is fairly reasonable at $18 a pie (no slices here). I could easily eat a whole one myself if I’m really hungry and wish they were a bit larger, but it’s no big deal. Gotta save room for ice cream! I’ve especially enjoyed the soppressata piccante, as well as the sweet sausage and cremini with kalamata olive, but I think the real draw here is the brussel sprout and pancetta pie.

I must confess that I’ve not actually had the soft serve with various whacky toppings to choose at Momofuku Milk Bar because every time I’ve gone, the line is so damn long that I’m just not in the mood and have opted to head elsewhere. The place has a long line and great reputation for a reason though, so if you’ve got some company to kill the time, I’d stick it out. If you don’t have the patience, Veniero’s Pasticceria is right around the corner, as is most of the selections on this list. Someday, Momofuku, someday!

Luzzo’s & Alphabet Scoop – 211 2nd Ave ; 543 E 11th St

This place is small and can sometimes be crowded, but it’s one of the best authentic neopolitian pizzas in Manhattan. It’s also one of the only places that still uses a coal-fired oven and you can taste the difference. The crust is thin and slightly charred, a bit soft, but not overly chewy. The pies are big, but once you get started, you don’t want to stop (which is hopefully the direction your date will be taking later in the evening.) Luzzo’s is by no means cheap, clocking in at around $23 – 28 a pie, but the basil and mozzarella are fresh and delicious to be sure, making it very worthy of experiencing.

Alphabet Scoop is actually a non-profit organization that “changes lives one scoop at a time”. They employ neighborhood kids in an effort to teach responsibility and keep them out of trouble on the streets, connecting the local youth with personal adult mentors off-site. This artisanal ice cream is homemade right on the premises with fresh ingredients. Portions are large and prices are fair. Your date will most definitely appreciate your thoughtful, civic-minded generosity, scoring you some brownie points. Remember, supporting important causes is hot!

Two Boots & Lula’s Sweet Apothecary – 42 Ave A ; 516 E 6th St

I love the classic Italian meets Louisana bayou flavor combinations that Two Boots employs here. I also love the clever way they name their pizzas after indie movie characters and trailblazing music icons. Cleopatra Jones (sweet sausage with tri-color peppers) and The Newman (of Seinfeld fame aka sopressata and sausage on a white pie) are my go-to favorites at this joint. When I’m feeling particularly spicy though, The Bird (as in local EV resident and saxophonist, Charlie Parker) – a white pie topped with spicy buffalo wings, bleu cheese, and jalapeno – is in a league of its own and hits the spot. So wrong, it’s right. This pizza will definitely generate a little heat and then you might just want to rent a movie, instead of go out on the town. Which is convenient because, in addition to the pizzeria, the location on Avenue A is also a super cheap video store with tons of great noir, classics, and cult flicks. Cuddle up and enjoy the film, but before you go home, head to:

Lula’s Sweet Apothecary – vegan ice cream never tasted so good! I dare to you try their dairy/gluten-free fare and tell me that it’s not equally as delicious as its sugar-filled counterparts. Lula’s flavors are truly unique and rotate daily. The staff is super friendly and they happily offer copious samples, which can be a double-edged sword because it tends to make the indecisive line move a bit slow. (It’s not a relationship, it’s ice cream, people. Make a commitment and move on). Lula’s has soft serve too, with a “twist” if you like the two flavors swirled, cake batter being a favorite. They make a killer banana split with an assortment of natural toppings to choose from as well. The ambience of the place is a throw back to the days of real ol’ fashioned ice cream parlors and can be quite a romantic scene if you nab stools in the bay window.

Want an even healthier option? Try opting for a smoothie at Liquiteria (@ 170 2nd Ave) or Juicy Lucy’s (@ 85 Ave A). These juice bars are equally as delicious as any other sweet treat you’ll find in the area. So, if you’re looking for something cold, utterly fresh and supremely yummy in the tummy, don’t hesitate to give these places a try. You won’t be disappointed. A wide variety of healthy and exotic flavors abound here!

Once you’ve worked your way through the EV, you and your sweetie will surely want to try these WEST VILLAGE DATES:

Numero 28 Carmine & Cones Ice Cream Artisans

Bleecker Street Pizza & L’Arte Del Gelato

John’s Pizzeria & Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven

Famous Joe’s & Grom

Two Boots To Go West & People’s Pops

Lombardi’s & Ciao Bella

With healthier option: Gusto Organics

Or go to Eye For Style maps for the complete list of Greenwich Village pizza & ice cream dates!

And how about a “make your own pizza” date? Pizza a Casa now has workshops & classes at their LES location. Now that’s amore!

*****

Update as of 7/30/11:

There are 5 new cool treats vendors in the East Village that are definitely worth sampling this summer:

People’s Pops Pop Up – 118 E 7th St; serving: popsicles & shave ice, through October 15

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream – 48 1/2 E 7th St

Goat Town – 511 E 5th St

Timi’s Gelateria Classica – 37 St. Mark’s Place; mobile cart @ 145 Ave A

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop – opening any day now, on E 7th St @ Ave A

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Filed under Cocktails, Dreams, Food, Maps, New York City