An otherworldly drink is your future, at least if it comes from Tarot of Cocktails, a deck of 30 recipe cards that promise to add some spirit to your…spirits. Created thanks to funding from a successful Kickstarter campaign, the cards have an ethereal, tarot-inspired layout featuring cocktails with names like “The Violet Twilight,” “Seer of Dreams,” and “Blood and Smoke” to make you feel like you’re communing with another world (the alcohol may help, too). The cards are mortal-friendly and aren’t meant for official divination purposes BUT we like picking a random card and letting the concoction in question predict the night ahead. We’re willing to bet that the buzz from Queen of Bees portends a better evening than The Withering Vine. But really, what do we know? It’s all in the cards, and what we see in the cards are some darn good drinks, whatever destiny awaits you.
You may think that here at FTHQ, we’re partial to utensils of the four-pronged variety, but we generally appreciate any and all cutlery that helps us deliver food into our perpetually hungry mouths. And although we’ve been known to nearly jump up-and-down in excitement about all kinds of eating instruments — knives, salad tongs, corn-on-the-cob holders, you name it — it’s been a while since tableware has gotten us as excited as these 100% edible and biodegradable utensils from Bakeys. With funding from a successful Kickstarter campaign and an aim to provide a viable alternative to the billions of plastic utensils thrown into landfills every year, Bakeys Edible Cutlery has it covered when it comes to usability and sustainability. Turns out sorghum, an environmentally-friendly crop you may have never heard of, seems to be the magic ingredient. Not only does sorghum allow Bakeys to produce 100 edible spoons with the same energy required to make a single plastic one, it also prevents the utensils from degrading in liquids — a particularly important fact for the environmentally-conscious ice cream enthusiasts among us.
According to us, there are two plans of attack for the insane amount of java you will encounter at The New York Coffee Festival, an event as hyped up as its theme: 1. pace yourself, imbibe cautiously, and drink responsibly or 2. do nothing of the sort and guzzle as much of the unlimited joe as you can. We suggest option two, and with good reason. We’ve never seen an event lineup more worthy of our favorite bean than this annual NYC event. Also, in case you missed it (did you miss it?), we said unlimited coffee. With the best of the best baristas and vendors on site, they won’t be your average cups of joe, either. That extra buzz you get will be put to good use at the event’s packed roster of coffee demonstrations, coffee workshops (go ahead, try to make a better brew than that famous barista teaching you how to do it), coffee-inspired music and art, and, what we’re most excited about, Coffee Masters New York. This is where 16 baristas will go head-to-head in a caffeine-fueled competition with challenges including latte art, signature drink creation, and taste identification. In case you want to proactively ward off any post-festival shakes, there will be street food and martinis infused with, uh, coffee. We warned you that there’d be a lot of coffee, didn’t we? Good thing you’d already decided to go with that “guzzle unlimited joe” option. September 16-18 in NYC.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream made with the Soft Shell Ice Cream Ball, a product from YayLabs!. It combines two of our favorite summer pastimes, ice cream and ball games. Pleasing to both artisanal ice cream aficionados and more casual ice cream enthusiasts alike, the Soft Shell Ice Cream Ball embodies the highbrow/lowbrow dichotomy in a way that only a homemade ice cream maker that looks like your average, everyday kickball could. Fight the been-there-done-that end-of-summer slump by bringing it on all of your adventures and shaking, tossing, rolling it until you get the smooth and creamy ice cream you had previously been too intimidated to make on your own (and it only takes 20 to 30 minutes!). We urge you to proceed with caution, however — you don’t want anyone mistaking your next batch of strawberry-blueberry ice cream for their next dodgeball weapon.
Next Saturday replicate your favorite Dough Donut out of felt. OK, you can make other sweets besides Dough Donuts I’ve just been off the sugar for 2 months now and damn it’s calling me back. Brooklyn Craft Company just moved from the Pencil Factory to their very own storefront, also on Greenpoint Avenue. Besides crafting a beautiful little shop they launched a whole slew of new classes. The Needle Felted Desserts class is only one of many BUT certainly the one that got our attention. Our resident critic, @missustasty signed up tout suite. You should too. Saturday, September 17 from 3pm-6pm in Brooklyn.
If we say the words “East River State Park” and “food” in one sentence, any foodie worth his or her salt (heh) will immediately think of Smorgasburg, the outdoor food bonanza that has been drawing hordes of hungry food lovers to the Brooklyn waterfront since 2011. But for one Sunday this September, those words will take on new meaning — Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint is taking over Smorgasburg’s regular Saturday digs to show off the culinary chops of the area with a full roster of exclusively North Brooklyn eats. It’ll feature longtime faves like Meatball Shop, Pies ‘n’ Thighs, and Brooklyn Brewery along with some neighborhood newbies that you may not have heard of. But don’t worry, in case you have any doubts about local authenticity, of the 50+ vendors who will be showing their stuff, we’ve counted nine whose names include the word (you guessed it) “Brooklyn.” That’s some pretty legit stuff. September 18 at 1pm in Brooklyn.
We’re going to let the book jacket write this one for us because it’s succinctly so many things we live for. The Mad Feast is a richly illustrated culinary tour of the United States through fifty signature dishes, and a radical exploration of our gastronomic heritage. We’re kinda obsessed with dishes that define cities and states. Matthew Gavin Frank does just that and digs in the history of each to boot. If you follow the Drool List, you know we’re entering travel season. This one makes us want to dust off the luggable loo and mount up the truck for an epic cross country zig zag…again.
We can’t wait for the porking tasty (see what we did there?) good time we’re gonna have at Pig Island, NYC’s definitive pork fest, where the hogs come from small local farms, the chefs are top-notch. The eats are crazy, as in, crazy good and plain old crazy. Especially if you’re not in the habit of consuming obscure cuts of pork on the regs. Where else is it possible to eat locally sourced pig head tacos and crispy pig ear lettuce wraps in the same meal? But if that’s not exactly your jam, don’t worry, there will be lots of tamer fare to pig out on, too. Although we wouldn’t exactly call last year’s bacon banana bread with caramelized bacon “tame.” If you’re still not convinced, maybe the all-inclusive ticket with unlimited pork and free-flowing beer, wine, and cider will push your to snap up a ticket. So go ahead — go completely hog wild. Saturday, September 10th from 11:30am to 4pm in Brooklyn.
It’s not often the person we spend our work week five feet from publishes a food book. It’s even less often there’s a city-specific theme which awakens our travel bug gene. Nina, as us lucky insiders know to call her, hails from Athens Georgia, the Classic City, in the shadow of Hotlanta. Nina lifts this veil in a who’s who, foodie filled, Athenian hardcover. Classic City Cooking is perfect for those Georgian friends or people like us who just added another city to our gastro-travel list. If you’re in NYC and want to celebrate all things Athens, her book party is on September 16th. You’ll find us in Athens ASAP, book in hand.
Alex is an awesome illustrator based in Wisconsin. About a year ago he Kickstarted an idea for this book focused on famous characters eating only Junk Food. The results, besides a successful funding, was this 112 page turning masterpiece. if you have a favorite hero character chances are s(he)’s been n a strict diet of devil dogs and Big Gulps thanks to Alex. The Famous Chunkies is now in regular stock these days so pick one up for your favorite junk food obsessed bestie. They will either love you or hate you for it. Either way, I think you win.
Bacon chocolate. Bacon-wrapped corn. Ice cream with bacon bits. At this point, is there any food item that hasn’t been elevated by the addition of a little bit of bacon? You can find out at The Great Big Bacon Picnic, a weekend-long extravaganza in Williamsburg completely dedicated to one of America’s most beloved cuts of meat. Not only will you have the opportunity to sample dozens of the best bacon-inspired bites from top chefs in and around New York City, but it may be the only food festival in the world where the price of a ticket includes access to unlimited amounts of that irresistible cured swine belly of all different varieties. To wash down all that greasy goodness, choose from some of the city’s best local craft beers and spirits. Boom. Guzzle. Ahhh. The good news about this food-and-beverage combination is that bacon sandwiches are one of the best hangover cures. The not-so-good news – we’re not sure if there’s any quick fix for the symptoms of bacon overindulgence. September 24-25 at 12pm in Brooklyn.
We’re big fans of most everything Bourdain. His education on culture using food defines an era in a lot of ways. His perfectly worded soapboxing is a critical component to his style and this food storytelling directive. Plus the dude drops F-bombs when not in front of a CNN camera. You did read Kitchen Confidential right? In this light, he’s just launched a new national monologue tour named The Hunger. You can get a front rom seat to his musings. All the dates are here. If you’re an east coaster we recommend the Philly date as the NYC seat will be very hard to get, over crowded and most likely filled with the food illuminati of the five boroughs. Drop some cash on the brotherly love show, get some Federal Donuts and hope for a Quest Love cameo. October and November on various dates in national locations.
Ahh, the paleo diet. It’s an admirable regimen incorporating the simple foods the cavemen and women who went before us decided to place between their ancient incisors: fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs, and…crackers? Yep, peeps, you heard correctly – the cracker for the modern-day caveperson is finally here. The homo sapiens at Snackin Free have come up with Paleo Crackers for when you want your neolithic diet with the crunch and convenience of modern, packaged snack food. With only 16 grams of carbs, eight different varieties including Cinnamon Graham, Toasted Onion, and Cheddar N’ Chives, and tasty ingredients like tapioca flour, jalapeno powder, and Himalayan pink salt, there’s something for everyone to love – Neanderthal wannabes and otherwise.
If you happen to be near London this weekend, or if you live there, you should consider a 2hr journey to The Big Feastival. This annual fun fest begs you to air out that old tent and sleeping bag, come listen to a killer line up of tunes and food while you wander the ground of the enormous, and super beautiful, Alex James’ Farm in the Cotswolds. For those of you east coasters, think Berkshires or Hudson Valley. Enough said on this one right? But, if you need a little extra flavor push, we’ll leave you with Cyrus Todiwala X Toots & The Maytals. Get there. August 26-28th All day and night in The Cotswolds.
You don’t have any particular breakfast plans for Labor Day weekend? We got you. Grab tix for The BreakFestival, the waterfront eating extravaganza dedicated to the most important meal of the day, the meal that brought you such classics as avocado toast and Berry, Berry Kix (RIP). Whether you go in hopes of making up for the lost hours you’ve spent waiting for a table at brunch or simply in anticipation of breakfast without bounds, this is your opportunity to have your pancake and eat it, too. It’s the only event of the year where a rotating cast of top chefs and food personalities are there to make your wildest breakfast dreams come true, and we swear they won’t bat an eye if you decide to take full advantage of the occasion by eating an omelet with a side of pancakes with a side of french toast with a side of bacon with a side of chipotle aioli eggs benedict served on a toasted everything bagel. Not okay might be you deciding to break out your favorite pair of space-themed PJs for the occasion, in which case, don’t blame us if they think twice about serving you a bottle of breakfast beer to quench your breakfast-fueled thirst. September 3-4 at 2 or 6pm in NYC.
When it comes to “the best thing since sliced bread” conversation, we feel that grilled cheese is, if not the top contender, then at least one of the leading contestants for that most honorable of culinary titles. After all, what’s more ubiquitous, versatile, and universally enjoyable than a piece of melted cheese sandwiched between two pieces of perfectly toasted (and perhaps pre-sliced) bread? We’ll leave it for you to decide, but one thing’s for sure, grilled cheese just got a whole lot better thanks to Boska, a Dutch company that has been specializing in the cheese tool industry for more than a century (or, in other words, for way longer than you’ve been dunking cheesy triangle wedges into bowls of tomato soup). As if creating a delicious grilled cheese sandwich wasn’t already simple enough, Boska has made it even easier with reusable “toastabags” that provide a no-mess way for you to make grilled cheese using only a toaster. All you have to do is choose your ingredients, put them in a toastabag, pop the whole thing into your toaster, and wait for cheesy toasted perfection to arrive. Who knows, one bite, and you may decide that the toastabag has edged its way in as your pick for the best thing since sliced bread.