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.
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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.
Knights of the Raj NYC is an immersive peek into the history of NYC curry cuisine. To understand why this is a fascinating visit to Brooklyn’s MOFAD that will feed your mind as well as your stomach, we need to back up to the origins of the Knights of the Raj and the curry uprise in Britain. The “Knights” started as an homage to those who are responsible for bringing curry to Britain in the first place, the Bangledeshis. aka, the East Pakistanis or British Indian Muslims, depending on what year you are focused on when discussing the topic. A short history of India seems necessary. The British Raj, as Britain was known, occupied India between 1858 and 1947 until “partition” emancipated India and Pakistan from British rule. The handy work of Brit Cyril Radcliffe drew new borders with the goal of dividing Pakistan and India so that the Muslim and Hindu populations were not disturbed. FAIL on Cyril’s part. Known as the Radcliffe line, this ridiculous re-bordering made a split country of Pakistan creating two wings, east and west, with India in the middle. This also caused 14 million Muslims and Hindus to flee across new borders when they discovered they were in the wrong country. This duo of Pakistans only lasted until 1971 when a revolution in East Pakistan due to civil disobedience led to the war of independence resulting in the new state of Bangladesh. Whew, ok…That brings us back to Banglideshis migrating from their newly formed country that was experiencing famine, poverty and military coups to Britain. Along with this they obviously brought their food and curry started to make its way into the British culture as an exotic dish. Fast forward to modern day and Britains national dish declared curry and rice, you can image the impact the Knights of the Raj have had in a short 50 years. With 30,000 Indian restaurants in the UK, The Knights stories start with the first Bangladeshis settling in Birmingham and spreading across Britain. Curated by artist Mohammad Ali The Knights of the Raj NYC is a continuation of the British story and Bangladeshis landing in New York. Included in the visit are Immersive Arts Experiences, Walk-In Diorama, Live Performances, and a Three-Course Sampler Menu of Bangladeshi Street Foods and British-Style Curries. July 20th – August 5th from 6:30 to 9:30 pm in Brooklyn, NY
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.
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.
The most impactful journey of my recent travels was meandering through Cuba in 2016 just as the country started opening up it’s doors to mass US travel. The Havana Film Festival New York’s closing film, Cuban Food Stories, touches a nerve and floods back many of those memories. The director, Asori Soto, calls it “a road-trip adventure all around the island to discover the most authentic flavors and stories behind the Cuban cuisine.” With access to remote parts of this culturally rich island nation, Asori goes beyond the cliches, Ropa Viejo and cigars to show us the kind of Cuba Cubans know. Beyond this film, there’s a whole incredible week of programming. In collaboration with Havana’s International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, Havana Film Festival New York showcases Cuba, Latin American,Caribbean and Latino creators and their films in a light that makes for a multi-cultural experience for the Latino culture and more importantly, beyond. In other words, if you like film, this is for you. If you like food and film, closing night is on order. April 6th-17th in NYC. Cuban Food Stories is April 17th at 6:30PM in NYC
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
The name Village Schmaltzy really says it all but incase you’re not hip to the tribe we’ll break it down. The Jewish Food Society has mashed up Forking Tasty Suppers with The Moth under the lens of excessively sentimental Jewish tales. They say it best, dubbed kibbitzing and eating. MC’d by Mitchell Davis and programmed with 5 stories paired with 5 dishes, the night will be anything but guiltless. To prep your ears and palette consider an Egyptian Sofrito and story from Nir Mesika of Timna Restaurant, Pastrami Egg Rolls from Ed Schoenfeld of Red Farm OR Kasha Varnishkes from Stacey Harwood-Lehman. I think it’s safe to say their chutzpah will make us all more of a mentsh then when we arrived. Monday, November 6 from 7pm – 9pm 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.