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.
All Festival Events
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
From what the organizers have said, The Pizzadelphia Pizza Festival is at least partially to put Philly pizza on the map. Now, as a New Yorker, you know Naples is the only city that even matters but that’s like saying France wins the world cup again. Update: that actually happened. Well maybe Philly is Croatia. Maybe they beat out Chicago in an upset and they are now in the finals. With slices from Pizzeria Vetri, Pizza Brain and the illusive Beddia, the line up is solid and the party is set to sauce mode. Some of Philly’s best DJ’s make it loud and the Vetri Community Partnership makes it good. If you are a pizza freak this weekend at the Navy Yard has your shirt stain waiting. Saturday, July 14th from 12 to 5:30pm in Philadelphia.
We’ve been talking a lot about tomatoes this month on the socials. The Killer Tomato Festival takes all that juicy, sweet talk and packs it up with an impressive chef line up and a musical act seemingly named for this convergence of nightshade lovers, G.Love and Special Sauce. By impressive we mean 33 local chefs and 4 visiting chefs all making tomato based dishes for you to taste. The food is backed by 20 mixologists from Atlanta’s best bars keeping this whole party well lubricated. The best part of the entire angry tomato theme is that in partnership with Georgia Organics, who’s mission is to connect organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families, they are helping locals eat better at home instead of just in restaurants. The king pin on the vine for all this is Chef Ford Fry who, besides his Atlanta restaurant dynasty tearing up top 10 lists for years, he has the distinction of Esquire magazine’s Best New Restaurant of the Year. Not shabby on the kitchen chops we’d say. If you’re thirsty for some ‘matos and you’re local or visiting Atlanta, this might be your Sunday move. Sunday, July 15th from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M in Atlanta.
The World’s Fare is not only the best food pun for an event we’ve heard in a while. It’s a proper Queens food in Queens celebration of everything this glorious borough has to offer. Meaning the single most culture dense square footage in perhaps the world. With your ears and your tongue as your guide, the Fare will treat you to as many international bites and sips as you can muster while you listen to music from all corners of the globe. We’re talking Don Ceviche with a Modelo, D’Abruzzo and a Red Stripe or Rib-in-a-Cup and a New Belgium. If that’s not enough it’s going to be under a giant metal globe. Now you get the pun right? No Will Smith and giant alien bugs this time just tasty bites for 2 straight days. Snap up some tickets because this is bound to be the best trip around the world without leaving your backyard boro. April 28th-29th 12pm-9pm at Citi Field in Queens.
NYC Food Truck Fest promises a crazy line up of belly treats despite the out like a lion this month persists on roaring. Hosted by the largest curated market in New York, The Grand Bazaar NYC, they know a thing or two about bringing together amazing vendors, the trucks are so good we have to drop the list right here. Big D’s Grub Truck, Cousins Maine Lobster , Cupcake Carnivale, DUB Pies, The Empanada Sonata, Gorilla Cheese NYC, The Guac Spot, HAPA Food Truck, Los Viajeros Food Truck, Mac Truck, Meatoss Truck, Neapolitan Express, Saravana Bhavan NY, Stuf’d truck and Toum Food Truck will be prepped and ready to deliver tasty to your tongue all day. While you digest between truck visits there are over 80+ non-food vendors you can shop. Think antique and vintage dealers, artists, designers, craft-makers. We’re sure you’ll find a few goodies to stock up on in the massive indoor/outdoor sprawl. The good doesn’t end there. We dug a little deeper into this event and discovered the mission behind The Grand Bazaar and it only made us want to explore and buy more. The market profits benefit the 4,000 children in the neighboring four schools. It provides these kids with enrichment programs, books, supplies, teaching assistants, sports and chess programs. And, we love chess especially when there are sandwiches involved. This makes it eating you can be proud of. Hell, we’ll take it a step further and call it eating that makes a difference. Make a difference this weekend and stuff yo face like the great, kid loving, citizen you are. Sunday, March 25 at 10AM – 5:30 PM in NYC
Washing down a big bite of food with a comparable gulp of wine has long been a top pastime of the whole FT Crew. So much so that we’ve come to know the difference between a 2 Buck Chuck and a grape grown in Montalcino. Although they both have a place in our wine cellar (read closet), learning more never hurts. The Brooklyn Wine Fest does this learning thing in the non-snooty, approachable, fun kind of way. I guess you’d expect this from a Brooklyn born wine festival but the legacy of stodgy wine makers is still a hard ship to turn. The organizers have broken these stalwarts down and curated a producers list that will make everyone punchdrunk happy. In addition to the 50+ wineries repping their grape juice there’s some on point food to help coat that belly. Heavy hitters like the Mac Truck, Luke’s Lobster and the Brooklyn Oyster Party, just to name a few, will help you savor every wine wheel tagged sip. Time management alert, the day is broken up into two sessions. (12-4 and 5:30-9) Our advice is, BIG brunch, go early, pace yourself, no spitting and stay until the sun is gone. You’ll be fine. Enjoy yourself and stop by Dandelion Wines post fest to try your new knowledge out. Lily and team will be waiting to help. Saturday, October 28th from 12-9:30 in Brooklyn.
For 7 years now, The Jamaican Jerk Festival has brought together some of the best in island music and food. In a time where music/food festivals seem to hop the bullet train to corporate run monsters, this little indie festival guarantees true local flavor. Even though the title sponsor is one of the largest producers of West Indian food products, you can’t rattle the “real” out of the 5 borough Caribbean community. This year will be the biggest, best and booyakasha of all years with Barrington Levy anchoring the vibes and a quarter mile of jerk stands to spice up the day. Appropriately hosted by our new home borough in Roy Wilkins Park, take the E train to Jamaica center and then get cozy up on the Q5 bus. We promise a Sunday adventure in sound, culinary and transit. Sunday, July 23rd from 12-8pm in Queens, NY.
Now that we’re officially moving to Queens, there’s nothing we love more than a celebration of all things Brooklyn. Held in the new epicenter of Brooklyn making culture (Industry City), the eight-hour Best of Brooklyn Festival is a roundup of everything from craft beer to artisanal food to indie music to the best of Brooklyn product makers. That last one might not be true but the festival organizers tout “in-the-know finds”. We interpreted that as “stuff”. Tickets run you 30 bucks without upgrades. Early entry, a book and after party perks drive ‘em up to $125. Depending on how thick your beard or how colorful your jumper will determine what the necessary spend will be for you. No matter what your choice, ALL the BK bests will be in one giant, industrial, hard to get to space. Make the trip, the line-up will not disappoint.
This was bound to happen. No surprise it is happening in Brooklyn. I’d be a jerk if I pretended that I wasn’t excited but the over used term for the Insta phenom of food photography is almost as ubiquitous as the selfie. Never-the-less how do you not attend this promise of the digital food you swipe past and double tap all day being layered onto a bed that you can roll around on with your friends. Short of that dream coming true there will be ALL THINGS FOOD according to the organizers. Come to Food Porn Fest with an empty stomach and leave with an STD. Satiated, Tired and Digesting. Sat, Nov 5+6, 11am – 7:00pm in Brooklyn.
Going down in one of our favorite spots in Manhattan, Porktoberfest is an all you can eat and drink gastro-malay kicking off cider week. As if the rest of this month hasn’t been a beer dizzying, pork face filling entry into the fall season, you now have one more way to anchor your binging before we’re into November. Fleishers Craft Butchery will be dealing up the piggies. There will be something called Harry Hawk “Schnack” burgers and “Bigos” Pork Stew. We have no idea what this is code for but we’re going to throw it down our throats with huge smiles. Saturday, October 22nd, from 12PM to 4PM.
The cliché “great thing” about living in a city like NYC when you’re food-obsessed like me is that you have the menu of the entire world at your fingertips, just waiting to be ordered, admired, and posted to your Insta feed by your intrepid, food-adventuring self. And don’t get me wrong, I live for the prospect of an authentic dim sum brunch, followed by a dinner of Ethiopian food, followed by an ice cream concoction with flavors more complex than my high school chemistry homework, all in one glorious, gluttonous day. But let’s be real: sometimes “at your fingertips” means a cross-borough subway ride with multiple transfers. Sometimes, the most exotic thing you can fit into your schedule is a slice of dollar-pizza from a spot with a redundant, non-Italian name. And sometimes, the options are so overwhelming that you give up, stay in, and make do with cheese and crackers you resurrected from the dark depths of a cabinet. That’s why we’re excited for Edible Escape, Edible magazine’s annual round-up of the best international bites, all presented in one jaw-droppingly beautiful venue. Delish dishes from around the globe? Check. Easy commute between cuisines? Check check. All that’s left to do is take some killer pics for your followers, but that one’s entirely on you, my friend. October 20 at the Angel Orensanz Foundation in NYC.
When it comes to my own personal #omgdessertgoals (don’t worry, I didn’t know about that hashtag either), I’m all about the scene from Home Alone 2 with Kevin McCallister kicking it at the Plaza Hotel in a big bed surrounded by an insane spread of sweet treats and his own personal human ice cream scooper/butler gamely serving him not one, not two, but THREE scoops of ice cream. The scene is enough to make any dessert lover swoon, but let’s face it: we all don’t have access to Mr. McCallister’s credit card. And to be honest, our preferences for the sweet stuff tend to be, shall we say, a little more advanced than those of a 10-year-old from 1992. But luckily for us, Dessert Goals – NYC Dessert Fest is here to make our wildest 2016 dessert dreams come true, recommended hashtags included. The very first event of its kind, it includes a dessert photo garden, a photo booth, unlimited Intelligentsia coffee, and — oh yeah — some of the best of the best confections from NYC’s five boroughs, including sustainable ice cream sandwiches, Twinkie-inspired “cakies,” and bittles, otherwise known as cake bites infused with some of our fave breakfast cereals. Wait, what were we saying about our sophisticated adult palates…? Yeah, let’s table that convo until after the fest. October 23 in Brooklyn.
This Oyster Festival is near and dear to my childhood heart. I learned how to swim with oysters under my feet. Since I was 10 his festival, named after the bi-valve and the town I grew up in, has taken over the small North Shore Long Island village. Back then, a few buses of people would amount to 10,000 people over the three-day extravaganza. Now in its 32nd year, 200, 000 attendees flock to what was my sleepy hamlet on the bay. It’s fair to call it BIG TIME. The food vendors now require a food court. There’s a seafood themed shopping pavilion. Music is no longer sourced from the high school band talent. Of course, there are plenty of competitive eating bouts. Most oysters, fastest oysters, biggest oysters, they all get prizes and make for some crowd roars. Being an insider, I tend to hang back. Belly up at one spot and let the action unfold around me. Give it a try. October 15 – 16 Weekend in Oyster Bay, NY.
Don’t let the name fool you — the Phuket Vegetarian Festival may be the most hardcore festival we’ve ever heard of. While veggie-friendly eats do play a role in this firecracker-friendly affair on Thailand’s largest island, this nine-day religious festival is really known for its ceremonies that include acts of self-mutilation and face and body piercing with knives, stakes, and household items by entranced mediums — called mah song — who parade through the city in outfits of white. While these and other rituals like firewalking, bladed ladder climbing, and bathing in hot oil may make you cringe, they demonstrate a belief that the gods will heal any wounds and are part of a larger goal of purification that includes abstinence from sex, alcohol, and meat. But don’t worry — like any good festival, this one doesn’t forget the food, and je, special vegetarian dishes marked by red and yellow signs, is one festival tradition that’s easy to stomach. Although you may encounter a bleeding mah song or two as you chow down, that will be the only surprise — apparently je tastes just like the meat-based classics. October 1-9 in Phuket, Thailand.
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.