Gray Whale gin could be the hardest working spirit in the business. As gins become more and more interesting to me I’ve begun to seek out the less straight forward botanical mixes. Thankfully the UK is having a craft gin explosion and on a recent trip to California, I discovered the US isn’t far behind. Gray Whale gin chose its flavors based on the migratory path of the gray whale. Aside from being so #verycalifornian the foraged ingredients made for a unique taste and that, after all, is what I am after. With foraged botanicals running from Baja all the way up to Mendocino, the effort for that flavor may be unmatched by any other craft distiller. The outrageously mesmerizing aquamarine bottle that has an enticing depth illusion adds to our allure while their simplistic, contemporary, labeling design sold us. We’re suckers for a well-branded spirit.
We’ve always been big fans of eating at home. So much so we often recreate our favorite restaurant meals in our home kitchen with fairly good accuracy. The favorite is a solid, full spread, Peter Lugar’s recreation that we get super pumped about, but we digress. Equal Parts is a new cookware company aimed at helping us eat, and cook, more in our kitchens. To aid in this increasingly difficult behavior, considering the ease of food delivery these days, every purchase includes a coach. The coach is accessed through a text chat provided when you receive your products. They dub it “Your friend in the kitchen” which we love because friends who know how to cook are some of the best. Starting up is pretty easy. A simple chef knife runs you $80 with “your friend coach”. You can then work your way up to an entire 20 piece kitchen set. Interesting side note, Equal Parts was a design agency called Gin Lane just a few short months ago. They gave up their clients to focus full time on birthing their own DTC products and brands. A huge move, and that’s coming from an agency owning veteran. With that news, you’re probably wondering what a former design agency knows about making cookware. Apparently a lot. Not surprising they lead with design and decided to shroud their cookware in a sleek matte black. This covers the aluminum and ceramic core. Ceramic instead of Teflon keeps the toxicity at bay while letting the eggs slide away. The aluminum makes for a lighter, and faster to heat, base with the same cooking quality as steel. They finished off each piece with a comfort forward handle and universal lids. We LOVE universal lids. They are by far the hardest thing to store in a kitchen. Less of them means a more organized pan draw. We likey. Enamored with the service we’re anxious to try this first hand. No NYC pop-up store yet so we started with a chef’s knife. We’ll report back on the experience here and on our Insta. Needless to say, we have high hopes.
An auction of Anthony Bourdain’s personal collection made us excited and disgusted at the same time. A chance to own an artifact from our number one food culture hero was enticing. We immediately jumped on the silent auction and found some favorites like the duck press from his Paris episode of The Layover. Currently bid up to $9500. Or, a Michelin statue given to Bourdain by Marco Pierre White. Currently $4300. An early version of Kitchen Confidential for $3700. A Simpsons script for “The Food Wife” signed to Anthony by the cast for $3300. We even found a clash of ultimate fanboy dreams with this framed photo and note from Billy Joel to Anthony Bourdain dating back to a visit at Les Halles in 2005. Currently at $4300. But, as we perused the over 200 lots, things took a turn for the worse. His zippo lighter. Some jackets he wore. A pair of cufflinks. Even his Rolex was up for bid. The idea that people would be walking around, quite literally, in our idols shoes while we were not even finished mourning his loss seemed off the mark. We thought maybe the profits would help better raise his daughter but that only temporarily quelched our cerebral discomfort. Digging deeper we realized a large amount of the proceeds would go towards the Anthony Bourdain Legacy Scholarship at his alma mater, The Culinary Institute of America. We rest more easy but still don’t love the idea of wearing our faithful traveling culture professor’s clothes. Based on current bids, there are plenty who don’t share our slightly morbid view. For nothing else then a peruse through Tony’s passions give a click and a scroll. The items are categorized around the things he loved; film, art, cooking, travel, writing and his obsessive observation of culture. It served as a recap his television escapades via personal artifacts many which we remember from seeing on screen. You can visit in person Monday-Saturday, October 9th-30th from 10am-4pm in New York, Savannah or Texas.
Everybody loves a young gun. You know, those underdogs that are full of hustle and grind. The ones that have everything to prove but nothing to lose. Back in my MadMen days the Young Guns were Art Directors putting out the best creative they could muster. This isn’t that different in the “best” and “creative” departments. The plus up is, you can eat all this creativity. The Eater Young Guns Summit is set up to showcase, educate and head-to-head some of the best up-and-comers in the biz. Paired with some snacks by the likes of Pies and Thighs, King David Tacos and a handful of others the programming is top notch tasty. A roster of conversations are also part of the day. Amy Sedaris, Alison Roman, Marcus Samuelsson, Michael Solomonov and Ruby Tandoh will be doing some soap boxing on the future of dining and restaurant culture and most likely eating along side you. Saturday, July 27 from 10:30am – 7:00pm in Brooklyn.
The term “No time to eat” is running the hashtag circuit. A report released the other day reported 80% of millennials concede to eating meals quickly and alone. These two statistics are alarming and not the way we like to open posts on FT. So, we’ll get back to that in just a minute. Two mums in East London have started Dabba Drop, an innovative Friday night dinner service using a century-old method of delivery. If that sounds contradictory, it is, but Indian culture has plenty of those. Let’s start with Dabba, the Hindu word for box. You’ve probably seen the metal, stackable, interlockable containers Indians use for food at lease once. What you might not know is that everyday 200,000 home cooked lunches are delivered to Mumbai workplaces in these tins thanks to a service known as DabbaWallas or TiffinWallas, depending on who you ask. Aside from the incredibly complex yet 99.99% accurate operation, Indians are eating hot, homecooked meals for lunch at their place of business. Enter Anshu and Renee and their Dabba Drop service. Inspired by the Dabbawallas, they created a brilliant Friday night meal subscription that’s prepped and dropped for you like Mumbai clockwork. With curry being the unofficial national dish of Britain their mission “to change the way Britain does Indian takeaway” is brilliant. Back to those stats at the top, eating together is one of the reasons this blog exists. If it wasn’t for our upbringing and the maturity those meals provided us as kids we wouldn’t be who we are today. To have the majority of a generation saying they eat alone removes the ancillary, yet equally important, reason for eating. Socialization over meals is a critical and profound bonding moment for us all. Dabba Drop is doing it’s part to ensure that we continue that behavior which we greatly applaud. We just wish they expanded to New York sooner than later so we can stop dealing with inevitable GrubHub mistakes. All the details on the currys they deliver are here. We really don’t think it matters what you choose, they are all delicious homemade specialties that you will crave once you get a taste.
The chefs and owners at Olmstead and Maison Yaki have graciously set up a fundraiser dinner to support a woman’s right to choose. Along with Greg and team they’ve invited some of their best chef friends to participate in making the Yellowhammer Fund charity meal extra delicious. There are two seatings and we think these tickets will go fast. A seat gets you all the food and drink you can consume plus a whole lot of feel good for your donation. Plus, you get to hang in a restaurant filled with a like-minded community all night. June 24th in Brooklyn at 5pm and 7:30pm seatings.
We love things in boxes. From shoes to toys to Apple products to stories, (That last one is a very obscure Magic Garden reference for our 70’s and 80’s born tribe.) our zeal redlines with every seal breaking, top flopping, layer sorting moment. It’s something about the first peek inside that makes our eyes widen and our knees knock like a school kid discovering an old milk crate of spray paint. Mix that with food and our vitals jump to a level we are some what slightly embarrassed to admit. Hence the rarely mentioned 2013 unboxing of a surprise bacon of the month delivery. When Luke’s Lobster announced their DIY lobster roll kits it took everything inside us to not drop to the food alter in the middle of 7th avenue and thank the seafood god (Crustaceous of course, right?) for the box bounty of sweet meat and firm, fresh buns that was now just a quick call or text away. We’ve been long time fans of Luke’s even collaborating on a stunted dinner series a few years back. Their expansion from NYC and Philly across the country and into Asia has been fantastic to watch. To think, that Maine fresh quality not only can make it across the world but to your kitchen table with the same perfection that you’d get in Kennebunkport is quite a herculean feat. Equipped with their secret recipe each box contains enough perfectly cooked knuckle and claw meat for 2 rolls, 2 fresh and non-soggy buns and a secret spice packet. We’re thinking summer party gift to augment the obligatory bottle of rose. Who doesn’t love the team that shows up with lobster rolls in tow. Crowdpleaser to say the least. Delicious food and a DIY craft. No one is better than you.
They had us at Murder Your Thirst. At first look Liquid Death Mountain Water seems like Johnny Rotten and Gwyneth Paltrow had an illegitimate tall boy. That still might be largely true but on second glance this is an anarchist’s letter to the perfectly pinkified, millennial, wellness, team member walking through Nomad sipping a CBD infused, Cha Cha Macha in their Sweaty Betty bottoms and color matched Lulu top post Pure Barre class on their way to a M N D F L session. We’re not hating, just maybe a little overtired of the strict, gentrified urban experience that’s all too polished around our office these days. People still work in factories. They still triple shift to feed their kids. They still fall off the wagon, smoke two packs of reds and show up for their 8am shift with their brain beating out of their skull. That is not to say that there’s not a middle ground to those two humans. It is to say, everyone needs to hydrate. That’s where Liquid Death Mountain Water levels the playing field with a beverage design that is as sensational as the people behind it. Every part of the experience has been carefully and perfectly thought through. You want to join the mailing list, no problem, just sign a contract to sell your soul. Not kidding. You want to know “About” why they created it? A word perfect description and philosophy explains everything including their intention to take their healthy water brand and help fund weird art, music, and entertainment that big corporate brands rarely will. They even made a righteous animated explainer video and then this fantastic PSA. As if all that was not enough for you to get on board the death hydration train and order up a case immediately, they even tweaked the “email sign up” toggle button in checkout to read; “I’d like to stay in the loop on news and special offers, just don’t bombard me with stupid bullsh*t”. There’s not much more for us to outline here except to hit their home page and click their FUCK YES buy button. Aces to the Liquid Death crew for this masterpiece.
As newish Queens residents, Bushwick is our Brooklyn backyard and they just kicked a ball over the fence that we need to bring back to those hipster kids. That ball looks like Taste of Bushwick, strutting into its 6th year, bringing such a strong line up that we just pasted the whole food linkage below. Archie’s Bar + Pizza, BKE Kombucha, Brooklyn Cider House, Brooklyn Crafted, Bushwick Food Cooperative, Bushwick Grind, City Bear BK, Dock Asian Eatery, Elisa’s Love Bites, Fine & Raw Chocolate, Glazed & Confused, Guadalupe Inn, GuS Soda, House Of Kava, House of Yes, Interboro Spirits & Ales, Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC), Le Garage, Pine Box Rock Shop, Precious Metal, Queen of Falafel, Sally Roots, The Sampler, Sazon Nuñez, Sea Wolf, Sey Coffee, Superlost Coffee, Syndicated, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Tony’s Pizzeria & Restaurant, The V-Spot. That list fully covers every food base there is except maybe the Aperol Spritz itch (Mixed reviews. Thumbs down. Thumbs up.) but they have been banned in Bushwick since 2015 anyway. If that’s not enough for one day, the after party rolls on at Pine Box Rock Shop after nine. Slow your roll and hang with the cool kids until way past your Upper East Side bed time. June 10th from 5:30-9pm in Brooklyn at The Brooklyn Cider House.
There is nothing better than a city party when the city people have left the city limits. If that party is thrown by some of our favorite food authorities things get even better. Mix in a few chalices’ of Stella sponsored brews and hard to open, easy to eat bi-valves and the shindig is lit. To push this rundown into Epicville, it’s on an island. Internet sticker it with a fancy hashtag and you’ve got The Infatuation #MemorialStay Party. Share with your friends fast because they rented out all of Oyster Island and are bringing in some BBQ to go with the seafood. These spots will go fast, if they are not gone already. Pack up your Hershel and grab a Babe for the ferry ride, unless you are planning on showing up with legendary swagger on your private yacht charter. Ohh you baller you. Sunday, May 26th from 2-6pm on Governor’s Island.
This weekend The World’s Fare comes back to its Citifield home for year two. We loved it last year. It continues to be a heartthrob now with 100+ food vendors representing what we think is almost as many countries. For years we’ve toyed with the idea of a world tour without leaving the five NYC Boros and The World’s Fare brings that vision closer to reality each year. In addition to the culturally focused food, there’s a World Market Bazaar hawking wares from around the globe, international music and dance performances and an international craft brew pavilion boasting 60+ selections. Some of the big hits we’re looking forward to are Balkin Bites, Mangalista and, of course, The Arepa Lady. She’s been a Queens staples for over 2 decades now, or at least it feels that way. Our favorite part of all this is that it sits adjacent to the old world 19xx world’s fairgrounds. A mostly abandoned set of structures often seen from you LIE jitney ride out to Long Island or of Men in Black fame. On the contrary, those willing to explore will find much more than ruins. The Queens Museum has lots of awesome things to see. My favorite is the miniature Manhattan on display. I can stare at it for hours picking out my old apartment buildings and hangouts. We recommend, load up on some snacks and then take a walk over, by the time you get back to the Fare you’ll be hungry enough for your round two. May 18th + 19th from 12pm-9pm at Citi Field in Queens.
I love a good backyard party. The fact is, I have not been throwing nearly enough of them in the past few years ever since my Brooklyn deck turned into a Queens backyard. That is not to place blame as much as it is to publicly say I am bringing them back this summer. If you don’t get an invite or if you prefer the professional chef version of this American past time, I have great news but it’s unfortunately not directions to my house. The two Franks, yes those Frankie Spuntino legacy guys, have just announced their 3rd annual backyard chef series. For those of you who live under a rock (aka. Deep Queens or the Upper West Side) Frank and Frank did some remodeling last year. They closed Prime Meats, their German steak house, and converted it into Franks. Confusing I know. Their reinvented spot is split between a wine bar and a trattoria. They also expanded the Frankie’s Spuntino dining room which allows for a new and improved backyard scene. All this means that this years line up has some new space and some new ingredients, or accouterments, to play with. The guest chefs include some of my favs like Angie Rito from Don Angie’s and Greg Baxtrom of Olmsted. A few out-of-towners are in the mix like the talented Kristian Baumann from Copenhagen’s Restaurant 108. The best part of all this is the entire evening is communal. From the welcome drinks to the long dining table you’ll make new friends at, things will get intimate. The spots at the table will fill up fast so make sure you pick a chef and grab up some seats before your only option is a useless attempt at a remake in your friend backyard alley, a $6.99 Walmart mini- bricket bbq and a 6-pack of canned rose. May 15th thru September 25th in Brooklyn.
The NYC Hot Sauce Expo returns this weekend to heat up the borough once again with 50+ craft hot sauce makers. As always there is far more than the next hot sauce tasting to keep your burning tongue distracted. Aside from their marquee event, Guinness Book of Records Carolina Reaper Pepper Eating Contest, there will be more chihuahua’s under one roof than a Mexican cartoon kennel at the Chihuahua Beauty Pageant. Maybe the most off beat event at any food focused festival we’ve attended. We’re especially looking forward to finding out what the Volcanic Peppers Spicy Pizza of DOOM Challenge is and how we conquer it without killing ourselves. The event list deepens with everything from Hottest Ramen to Slaytanic Burrito contest to the prestigious Hot Sauce Hall of Fame inductions. We covered this back in 2016 and High River Sauces, the event sponsors, growth clearly has been massive, and inherently hot. With two full days of pepper craziness, prepare yourself. Fill your camelbak with some cold milk and pick up a jumbo loaf of Bimbo as you head to Greenpoint for the mouth burning mania. April 14th and 15th from 10am-6pm in Brooklyn.
Seems to us that Dessert Goals is much more than Instagram slang these days. Turns out they are real goals and Miraya Berke is helping the sweet tooth set achieve them this month with her 6th annual New York event. We’ve been in the past and suffice it to say there is no disappointment in the sweets dept. This year the line up is deeper than ever with showings by some of our personal favs Dough, Kouklet and Oddfellows. We love a good food festival but a special call out on this story to Miraya for being such an event enthusiast. She’s a self proclaimed event planner since 10. That passion led her to start Pop Productions, an event studio focused on experiences combining food, film or family. With events for Airbnb, Kiva and Northside Festivals under her belt she birthed two of her own events. The aforementioned Dessert Goals and the the quirkiest of film fests we’ve ever discovered, Rom-Com Fest. We love seeing people ride their passion into their day jobs. Props to Pop and Ms. Berke. Back to her weekend of sweets, we suggest you book an appointment with your dentist and find your way to Queens. March 23rd + 24th at 12pm in LIC, Queens