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.
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It was more than a decade ago when we had our first Locanda vini e olii meal. An old drugstore, with walls lined with nostalgic pharmacy bottles, converted into a neighborhood restaurant has always instantly made us feel like we just showed up at our uncle’s house on Sunday. To combat the pandemic and winter in a dining ban they have converted the restaurant in a direction back towards the drugstore providing meals and provisions. This new alimentari offering highlights their fantastic ingredient list including their famed (at least in our house) olive oil. My mom can’t get enough of it. The menu is all available for order out so you can indulge in their best in-house dishes like their pappardelle with wild boar OR alici e burro (Sicilian anchovies). For us the Italian Marketplace is where it’s at. Stocking up on delectables like house made pasta, limoncello or their Italian breakfast in a box. If you are looking for a first move because you’re overwhelmed with choice as we were when we hit the site, start with the Meal-Kit. Each week a new offering includes a selection across three courses of tasty. By example, this week choose between Fettunta or Tuscan Lentil Soup to start. Follow that with Broccolini Pesto Gnocchi or Polenta (or Pappardelle) ai Funghi, a tough choice. Round that out by picking a winner in the Pork Shank vs Baby Octopus “Inzimino” bout. We’d go octopus. It’s a game-changer. Next week the options change so you can enjoy it all again. As my grandfather used to say, “a scarpetta” which signifies soping up sauce with a piece of bread to savor every last bit on your plate. We recommend the same theory applied to both the Loncada menu and marketplace.
We’ve loved the McKittrick Hotel since our first sneak peek before the fames Sleep No More ever performed once. The Punchdrunk team has now opened up The Attic and invited us to The Last Supper, a surreal time warp back to the 1960’s that boasts a hypnotic experience. Knowing this theater companies flair for the eerily awesome, there’s no doubt this night will be a head spinner you will remember for a solid decade. A few early reviews are available but leave a lot to the imagination. Our advice is not to click and be completely surprised by the journey that lies up in the attic. The dinner only runs until July 21st so you have to grab tickets as soon as you can. Don’t forget to wear your mid-century best or summon your inner Don Draper. Dressing the part always makes for more immersive fun. Now through August 4th in NYC.
Most Italian meals we make from memory. Burned into our brains as kids between our grandmother and mother making dinner each night. The magic of Sundays and holidays always brought new dishes across our plates. When we do need help one of the books we reach for is The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual. It’s simple, classic and filled with stories. Just the way we like it. Now, the Franks have introduced a little of that childhood cooking feels back into our lives with their Frankies “Cook the Book” Club. Each month you get 3 dishes to feed 4-6 guests. Curated and pre-prepared by the Frankies team the accompanying instructions guarantee a perfect meal and a bolstered kitchen confidence. Think, Radish Salad with Parsley, and Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary & Fennel. You just need to do a little finishing. Just enough to make you feel accomplished. If you are a fan up plus ups, The two Franks provide a scratch for that itch too. A proper wine pairing or a bottle of Frankies’ Olive Oil is easy to include in your box. As a bonus, the club comes with 10% off all in-store purchases at the Frankies Pantry, their mini-alimentari. First access to events, collaborations, and new membership offerings, like their Provisions Box.