These days events are, well, not really events at all. With social distancing still the norm the shoehorning of events into virtual versions is the best we can do. Add food to that challenge and you really need to innovate to make it awesome. The crew at The Infatuation gets our applause for their All-You-Can EEEEEATScon success. We’re only one week in but the Bagel + Lox debate was fierce, informative and most importantly a lot of (virtual) fun. Let’s break it down. First off, the name. All-You-Can in front of their live event name makes it inclusive and makes us think of the buffet at the Bellagio. Both great. Second, instead of two days of concentrated food debouchery they set up a 4-week schedule with a major moment each week. We already mentioned the schmear schmearing. Coming weeks tease a BBQ, pizza and dessert debate. All prefaced with the adjective GREAT. Alluding back to the fun you’ll have but also winking an eye at the definitive nature of the outcome being referenced for years to come. Third, and maybe our favorite, they nailed it on the how to make virtual feel physical by partnering with Goldbelly. For those living inside your pantry, Goldbelly is the food delivery company that brings you iconic food from the best of the best right to your door. For the Bagel + Lox debate a Russ & Daughters spread was the recommended food companion for debate noshing. Assorted bagels, Nova lox, cream cheese, coffee and even a chocolate babka comes with a branded tote and mug from the old school, mainstay, New York bagel shop. In addition to all of that you get to see a lot of food fans all in one place. For now this is how it has to be. Sure we’d rather be in person but I’m looking forward to the next three weeks of great food debates and food deliveries. Register for free and get ready for BBQ next. July 22-Aug 12 at 7pm in Zoomland
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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.
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
Every year the editors at Bon Appetit compile their top 10 restaurants in America. Then they hold a grand ol’ chef and food insider party celebrating their list. If rubbing elbows with the Foodie elite is your thing or you just like the idea of eating the best food in America, according to one of those aforementioned tastemakers, then the Bon Appétit Hot 10 Party is totally your scene. Snapping up a tier 1 ticket gets you unlimited food and drinks which is a great start BUT if you’re attending you might as well really go big. The VIP package gives you a special entrance (no queuing), early access to all the food, some mingling time with the chefs so you can drop that sous vide story you’ve been dying to use and a special Hot 10 alumni restaurant in addition to the 2018 team. That should hold you over with stories when commanding your next dinner party. If you just want to party and forget the food (which we’re not sure why you’d choose that) a quick $25 bucks gets you into the after party. October 17th at 6:30 in Brooklyn, NY.
If we stand for anything, it’s dinner. The more special the more better. When we discovered Mark Ladner, pasta making magician of Del Posto and Lupa fame, was celebrating his one year anniversary of his fast-casual Pasta Flyer with a supper series we we’re psyched to say the least. An already high-rotation, week day, post-workout, dinner for us because of the incredible value Mark and team bring to the literal table…Secret best meatballs in city, secret great wines by the glass…he’s crafted this dinner series with some of his best chef friends. From the likes of Mario Carbone to Maialino’s Nick Anderer to Barbara Lynch (who has the best oyster bar in Boston amongst her food dynasty) the menu creations are bound to be off the chain. We’re not sure what we’re most excited about. Two Italian’s in the same kitchen or a food storyteller augmenting the current Pasta Flyer menu. It looks like this was a Resy and Applestone collab too. Props to them as we recently were swooned by the 24/7 butcher. Tickets will undoubtedly go quick so make a move briskly. September 26th through November 7th in NYC.
We love robots so much we all carry one in our pocket. Creator has invented the first burger making robot and it’s freaking awesome. Currently staged as more of a POP-UP in San Francisco than an actual full-fledged restaurant, patrons buy tickets to the restaurant waiting their turn to build their own burger OR rather, tell the robot what burger to build. A stunning store design with the visual “making” front and center (obviously) makes for a communal and interactive experience. The founder and CEO, Alex Vardakostas, says he employs the same amount of people as traditional restaurant the difference is that more staff can focus on the customers instead of cooking. The robot has that covered. As long as the team is friendly and engaged, unlike some NYC Duane Reade employees I’ve recently suffered through, this model is an amazing potential for bringing the human experience back into a app driven, delivery and pick up riddled existence. We always thought food should be fun and shared. Creator might just have invented the backlash to quick, autonomous, fast-casual, food service. August in San Francisco.