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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuck your napkin into your shirt, grab your Wet-Naps, and get ready, because the Ulster County Fairgrounds are about to be taken over by the 12th Annual Hudson Valley Rib Fest, a yearly affair where more than 16,000 people converge to celebrate all things ribs-related. The day will include more ribs than that rack that flipped over the Flintstone’s car at the drive in PLUS live music, cooking demos, children’s country games, and a contest of 60 teams battling it out in the Empire State Barbecue Championship. There’s a little bit of heart behind all this rib-related activity, too — all proceeds from the event will go towards supporting Rotary activities at home and around the world. Friday 5pm-10pm, Saturday 11am-10pm Sunday 11am-5pm in New Paltz, New York.
Brooklyn Brewery is seemingly involved in everything. There’s not a weekend where we don’t see them at some awesome event, concert or happening. Their main home being 8 blocks from FTHQ gives us incredible access to their next moves like the launch of Brooklyn Brewery Mash. Taking themselves on the road, pop-up collab style, the guys and girls over at BB decided to mini-tour some of our countries best eating cities and smash it together with their brews. The micro-event format includes events like a free concert at the Philly landmark Union Transfer or rare beer and Chinese food mashup between Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson and the team from Bing Bing Dim Sum. This gives us an HUGE excuse to head to Philly. August 25th – 28th in Philadelphia.
It was 20 years ago now we first sampled Kansas City, Missouri (don’t be confused with Kansas Kansas) at a little roadside joint named LC’s. From the moment one of their burnt ends hit my tongue they were on my map for life. No doubt the barbecue mecca birthed a fest that marries both the BBQ favorite beverages to one crazy slow cooked meat festival. Touting the best bourbons and beers Missouri has to offer, the Pig and Swig is three hours of afternoon, stomach debouchery. While you indulge in your destruction you’ll have some feeding music compliments of the festival and local radio stations. Need some exercise between chow downs? Lawn games will also, appropriately, be on hand. I’d imagine later in the day that just turns into a bourbon-beer fueled slapstick comedy show. Fun all around. Saturday July 30th from 3-6pm in Kansas City, Missouri.
This is a book signing with beer, amongst other delectables. If you read yesterday’s post you already know about Ina Yalof’s Food and the City interviews. No where is more appropriate than Spanish Harlem to sign a book based on what “real” New Yorkers think about food and their passion for working with it, in it, on it and for it. Aside from that, Brooklyn Brewery is serving dishes paired with beer, dishes made with beer and…well…beer for drinking. Add to that it’s in Vendy Plaza and you’ve just booked your Sunday afternoon solid. Sunday, July 24 at 2pm – 4pm in Manhattan.
Almost 50 beer brands dropped into the sun drenched atrium at the newly renovated 180 Maiden Lane can’t be a bad way to spend a Thursday. Add some food pairing from the likes of heavy’s such as Gramercy Tavern and Les Trois Petits Cochons and you’ve got the makings for the first time you realized Thursday night was the new Saturday night. Good Beer by Edible Manhattan has got your last weekend in July weekend starter covered. July 28 at 6-9PM in Manhattan.
You’ve heard the names Joey Chesnut and Kobayashi for years. Their world series is pounding down hot dogs in the bottom of the BK on July 4th for Nathan’s 2016 Hot Dog Eating Contest. You should go watch it. It looks something like the above just live and in crazy motion. I promise you’ve never seen people eat food this fast. I’d suggest getting yourself a dog prior to the madness because after you see how they dip and slurp those poor wieners you might be of mind to skip the Nathan’s famous. Good news is, there is plenty more to do down in Coney Island pre and post eat off. Make a day. Hang old school Brooklyn style. 12 noon on July 4th in Brooklyn.
Hey Americano! You may know these as Disco Fries. Just know the best late night cheese fry and brown gravy throwdown you’ve ever had can’t hold a candle to a proper Canadian poutine. It’s all about the curds. Double that up with old town Montreal, one of the prettiest of North American city waterfronts, and you’re two goals to a hat trick. (It’s hockey country. Yes, even in the summer) That third goal can be scored in two ways. The best strip clubs north of the Dade County line (not recommended) or a post poutine cocktail crawl up Boulevard St. Laurent to the Plateau. Whatever your evening entails, be certain The Great Montréal PoutineFest will blow your taste buds into a Nova Scotian Noreaster and prime your belly for an evening of mixologist guided, gastro-debouchery. June 29th – July 3rd in Montreal.
You know our BBQ history runs deep. This event is at the root of our ‘Que know how. On a rainy Saturday in 2002, I bumped into a guy named Danny while poking around 27th street. I asked him where all this barbecue came from and I quickly learned the far reaches of the expertise that was in front on me. Fourteen years later, Mr. Meyer and the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party is much more than a block, the crowd is far more than a few New Yorkers biting their way down a gramercy park street and a New York restauranteur with an idea to share the world of BBQ with his neighbors. So big in fact there’s some new options like fast pass and VIP that will get pork to your lips faster than you can snort at the crowd you just bypassed. June 11-12 from 11am to 6pm in NYC.
Eat to help kids. That sounds like a win win right? With Bouley, Bubby’s, Duane Park Patisserie, Gigino Trattoria, The Odeon, Tribeca Grill, and Walker’s on the docket the decision to attend really isn’t that tough. Taste of Tribeca was founded 20+ years ago to benefit PS 150 and PS 234 and has expanded since then to benefit even more kids. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a neighbor in the triangle below canal, this event is the perfect way to feel comfortable, full of tasty and help kids get smart. Saturday, May 21 in NYC from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM.
Year two of the Harlem Eatup is set to blow year one out of the proverbial special sauce. Broken up into dinners, main stage and grand tasting events then sprinkled with names you love like Flay, Emeril and Waxman, there’s something for ever foodie style. Plus, your in Harlem USA (as they say). Historic, reborn and ground zero for so many cultural transformations, and now food, just being up on the 125th is exciting. Make a day and a night of it. Go hungry and with your party shoes on. You just might end up on stage at the Apollo. You know you have it in ya. May 18-22 in Harlem, NYC.