Tag Archives: Drinks

‘Tis the Season Party Recipe Roundup

'Tis the season!

‘Tis the season!

Everyone can use a little help when it comes to holiday entertaining. Easy, but memorable recipes that deserve a place at any party we may be throwing with our nearest and dearest friends and family. Here are a few ideas to help get you through the nibbles and dribbles.

GREAT HOST GIFTS {with the most!}

Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Homemade Spicy Carrot Kimchi! & Apple Chutney!
Homemade Spicy Pickled Carrots
Union Square Bar Roasted Rosemary Nuts

DRINKS {cheers!}

Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Smokey Margarita {a la Tippling Bros.}

Spritzy Sunday Morning Citrus Cocktail {non-alcoholic}

SNACK’EMS {makes happy hour happier}

Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Flaky Cheese Straws, As Easy As Being Barefoot

Homemade Ricotta and Melted Leeks
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}
Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus
Union Square Bar Roasted Rosemary Nuts
Za’atar-Pecorino Toasted Crostini

SEASONAL SIDES

Bursting Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta-Orange Reduction
Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}

Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Breadcrumbs
Community Grains Lazy Sunday Red Flint Polenta Integrale
Farro Salad with Steamed Kale and Roasted Pinenuts

SEASONAL SWEETS {life is short, eat it first}

Honey-Vanilla Pound Cake
Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse
Millionaire’s Shortbread Worth a Billion Bucks
Perfect Pear Cranberry Pie
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake 

 

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Looking for a little last minute Thanksgiving Feast inspiration?

While You Wait for the Bird
Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Homemade Ricotta and Melted Leeks
Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus
Za’atar-Pecorino Toasted Crostini

spiced sweet potato hummus

spiced sweet potato hummus

The Pilgrims Ate Soup
Best Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup
Wild Child Broccoflower and Celery Root Soup

The Best Butternut Squash Soup

Sides Tom Will Love
Bursting Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta-Orange Reduction
Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes
Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Breadcrumbs
Farro Salad with Steamed Kale and Roasted Pinenuts
Italian Sausage & Chard Stuffin’ Muffins
Flaky Cheese Straws, As Easy As Being Barefoot

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta-Orange Reduction

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta-Orange Reduction

The Grand Finale
Perfect Pear Cranberry Pie

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Stellar Superbowl Party Recipes

Creole Roasted Corn-Tomato Salsa and Chips

Sure, you can put out a bag of tortilla chips with a jar of not-very-good, but highly marketed salsa, but then that wouldn’t be very original. Here are a few of my favorite party items — add a few to your Superbowl food spread and you’ll be a rockstar with your pigskin party pals.

DRINKS {cheers!}

Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita
Smokey Margarita {a la Tippling Bros.}

SNACK’EMS {makes happy hour happier}

Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa
Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}
Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries

PIZZA & BREADS {d’oh! why didn’t i try this yet}

Creative Crowd-Pleasing BBQ’d Pizzas
Flaky Cheese Straws, As Easy As Being Barefoot
Red Chili-Lime Cornbread Muffins

CHILI COMPETITOR

Braised Grass-Fed Beef Brisket and Polenta

Chili-Lime Cornbread Cups

 

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8.ate@eight’s Boozy Robert Burns Bash w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park

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What do you get when you put 30 lassies and laddies in a room with an abundance of top notch Scotch and Tippling masters who know how to shake up a mean cocktail menu? A boozy bash celebrating Robert Burns with uninhibited poetry recitation and a memorable gathering of new friends.

Who is Robert Burns you ask and why are you throwing a party in his honor? In addition to writing many well-known poems, Robert Burns can be thanked for contributing Auld Lang Syne to our annual celebration of the New Year. In his honor, Scots {and non-Scots alike} gather each January for an evening of uproariously informal drinking, noshing and a little poetry recitation to pay tribute to the Scottish Bard.

So many splendid things from the evening to recap, so without further ado…

8.ate@eight + The Tippling Bros. + Highland Park & The Famous Grouse =
A Grand Robert Burns Menu:

The Menus

Scottish Inspired Bites

Inside-Out Scotch Egg
w/ lamb sausage & harissa yolk,
topped with panko gremolata breadcrumbs

Scottish Smoked Salmon
w/ sweet red onion crème fraiche

Chevre Devils
w/ thyme-spiked chevre & spiced pecans

Lamb Sausage Roll
w/ harissa aioli

Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie
Sautéed in Highland Park Single Malt 12 Year Old

Millionaire’s Scottish Shortbread
w/ Maldon salted caramel & semi-sweet chocolate

Food Prepared by: Christina DiLaura


Scottish Inspired Handcrafted Libations

Mother Club Punch
Hendrick’s Gin, blood orange, heather honey,
cranberry and ginger beer

Roberto Roy
Famous Grouse blended scotch whisky, vermouth,
Galliano Autentico, Averna Amaro, orange bitters

Hudson Highland Cup
Highland Park 12 year old malt whisky, NY State apple butter
and maple syrup, lemon juice, sparkling dry cider

Smoke in the Hills
Beefeater dry gin, Islay malt whisky, Yellow Chartreuse,
honey, lemon, smoked salt

Tam O’ Jerry
A Scottish take on the classic Tom and Jerry, made with Highland Park 12 yr., Drambuie liqueur, fresh organic eggs & exotic spices

Cocktails Prepared by: The Tippling Bros.
Sponsored by: Highland Park and The Famous Grouse

Behind the Food and Drink

The Famous Grouse and Highland Park Contribute to A Great Robert Burns Night

Departing from both a traditional haggis-centric Robert Burns menu and my typical 8.ate@eight four-course dinner, I wanted to create a bite-sized menu inspired by a range of Scottish flavors that would be easy to enjoy while moving about the room with cocktails in hand. One very obliging guest with an authentic Scottish accent blessed the bites, reading the traditional Selkirk Grace.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.

Scottish Smoked Salmon w/ Sweet Red Onion Creme Fraiche

Inside Out Harissa and Lamb Scotch Eggs

 

As guests arrived, The Tippling Bros. packed a mean punch that quickly warmed the crowd, fresh from the wintry 15º wind chill. And they continued to pour one outstanding whisky cocktail after the next, heralding a new appreciation for an otherwise standalone spirit, each with unexpected flavor combinations that went down like water. Whisky, after all, means water of life. As each new drink was distributed, this dynamic duo provided an explanation as to what inspired the creative concoction, while also sharing some useful Tippling trivia.

  • Did you know Burns wrote a song about barley? An ingredient so important to Whisky making {and the Scots}, it warranted personification as the character John Barleycorn.
  • ‘Blended’ Scotch Whisky – is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery from a combination of malted barley and other cereals.
  • Single’ Malt Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery entirely from malted barley.

Tippling Bros. Making the Mother Club Punch

One Beautiful Block of Ice

Smoke in the Hills

Derek, our consummate venue host and true Scotsman, also regaled us with some previously unknown facts about Burns. Good ‘ole Rabbie apparently was a man about town, fathering twelve children by four different women, seven of which were illegitimate. That aside, his literary contributions were also abundant, warranting this day of national celebration and his depiction on the £5 banknote. Well I’ll drink to that!

Derek Shares His Robert Burns Knowledge

Tippling Bros. Trivia

After consuming this useful trivia and half the Tippling menu, we had arrived at the pinnacle of our Robert Burns night agenda: make guests read indecipherable Scottish poetry in their best Scottish accent. The prize for the best channeling of Robert Burns was a highly sought after bottle of Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky, aged 18 years and a roaring round of applause. It’s amazing how the competitive spirit will inspire sensational Scottish brogue. With everyone in good spirits {literally}, the collective participation in reciting verses from Tam O’Shanter, To a Louse, and two non-Burns toasts To the Lassies and Reply from the Lassies, ended the evening with much laughter and also a very passionate rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

 

Easier to Watch

Poetry Recitation Begins! {4 Cocktails In}

Colette Made An Impressive Run for the Highland Park Prize

Nervous Poetry Readers -- Get Them Another Drink!

In an effort to warm my guests before they headed back out into the dark and cold night, we opened up more Highland Park Single Malt 12-Year and 18-year, as well as the blended Famous Grouse for sampling neat. After enjoying several standout cocktails, it was also a treat to taste the complexity that exists even in a single pour of Scotch. The 12-year exhibiting a more gentle, lighter sip to the smokier, almost caramel-like 18-year. Not a bad way to end a full-on Scottish evening. To top it all off, the winners of the best poetry recitation and most impressive tartan garb also took home a bottle of Scotch to share the spirit of Robert Burns with friends.

 

Aaron Was Determined to Win the Highland Park 18 Year {and did!}

More Party Gifts -- Menus, Recipes and Stickers!

 

Tapadh Leibh {thank you}!

Thanks, as always, to my guests for participating in the 8.ate@eight evening {some traveling from as far as Chicago!} Thanks to Sarah and Derek for letting me takeover your apartment for two days and for all your help in seamlessly orchestrating a memorable Robert Burns night. To the Tippling Bros. teamTad, Paul, Gianfranco and Amanda for contributing the necessary liquid courage to a room of 30 people asked to recite poetry {!} – with your artful handcrafted cocktails and mixology genius, I’m certain we made Robert Burns proud. To Highland Park and The Famous Grouse, for so generously supplying that liquid courage and introducing a fine range of Scotch to the 8.ate@eight crowd. And to Kristin and Karen for capturing the whole evening on camera.

Full Album of Photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=42802&id=128649143836083&saved

Stay tuned for news of the next 8.ate@eight event. If you aren’t on the invite list, email me at 8ateATeight@gmail.com to be added. Hope to see you at the table!

Recap of past 8.ate@eight dinners:
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic

 

Wild Mushroom Shepherd's Pie w/ Highland Park 12-Year Old

Recipe Goodness ::

 

Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Highland Park 12-Year
Serves 8 | Cook Time: 45-60 Minutes | Preheat Oven 400º

Mashed potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

Mushroom filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms
1/2 pound white button mushrooms
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup Highland Park 12-Year Scotch
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
45 mini phyllo pastry cups

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.
  3. Move oven rack to top position and preheat the oven to 400º F.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
  5. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook until browned and tender.
  6. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, Scotch, vegetable broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine.
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  8. Add the peas to the mushroom mixture and remove from heat.
  9. Line up phyllo cups on a baking sheet and fill using a teaspoon with mushroom mixture.  Top with the mashed potatoes, using a pastry bag and large tip or a plastic baggie with the corner cut off.
  10. Place on the top rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown.

Final Thoughts:

The horse and cow live thirty years,
And nothing know of wines and beers,
The goat and sheep at twenty die,
And never taste of Scotch or Rye,
The sow drinks water by the ton,
And at eighteen is nearly done,
The dog at fifteen cashes in,
Without the aid of rum or gin,
The cat in milk and water soaks,
And then at twelve short years it croaks,
The modest, sober bone dry hen,
Lays eggs for years then dies at ten.
All animals are strictly dry;
They sinless live and quickly die.
But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men
Survive for three score years and ten;
And some of us, the mighty few,
Stay pickled till we’re ninety-two!

 

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Gone Fish. ‘in Sausalito

 

Fish. Dungeness Crab Sandwich

Fish., a sustainable seafood restaurant and fish market in Sausalito, shows sometimes nature’s simplicity is all you need. The chalkboard menu hung over the open kitchen lists the selections of the day and features “f/v” beside each dish, prominently naming the fishing vessel responsible for your fresh catch. Well that’s a glowing idea.

The doors opened for lunch at 11:30am and it was not long before the line was easily 20 people strong and continued to grow with the lunch hour rush. People will wait for good food and Fish. {so says the name} is good food period.  It’s crab season in San Fran, so it didn’t take much reflection to decide to bite into the dungeness crab roll.  This delight was served on a slightly sweet and fluffy brioche roll that was no doubt swiped generously with butter and toasted face down on the grill, before being stuffed with perfectly seasoned crab that did nothing more than slightly accentuate the sweet, natural flavor of the main catch. With a Ball jar of pinot grigio and a side of salty fries, I had the makings of a fantastic mid-week lunch with my brother. As it turns out Fish. was also the location of my brother’s first date with his now wife – I guess they don’t say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach for nothing.

The Skim: Looking to clear out of the food fog? Head on out to Sausalito for a taste of what fresh food should be all about. Weather permitting you can enjoy your catch at one of the picnic tables overlooking the marina – just be aware of jealous seagulls who want a bite of Fish.

Other SF Catches:
SF Best: Nopa
SF Best: RoliRoti Rolls Out Revolutionary Rotisserie
Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time

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Behind Bohemian

Bohemian

I debated for a long time as to whether or not I was going to write about this NYC restaurant. Not because I don’t love it, but because I love it too much – I was hesitant to let anyone else in on the secret.  But after eating here three times in only a week {a first for me, EVER}, I decided it was only appropriate to share the love – my mother taught me never to be selfish after all.

This secret little gem is a place with no sign out front. A place with a long hallway that leads to a locked and unmarked front door. A place where you have to ring the doorbell to enter. And a place where you can only get a table if you call ahead, dialing an unpublished number that can only be acquired from someone who has been there before (ahem). This is my kind of place.

Sound pretentious? That’s the beauty of this little Japanese food find – it’s anything but. The lack of marketing and exposure is intentional to maintain a quiet environment filled with passionate regulars and excited pursuers of plated perfection. Once inside, you are greeted by its small and welcoming staff who guide you to one of six tables or one of six seats at the bar. The space feels more like a living room, with comfy couches and low cushioned armchairs surrounding knee-high tables that invite you to relax while enjoying each precisely prepared bite.  With white walls and an almost unnoticeable rock garden, it’s as if the intentional zen-like décor was designed to make the artistic dishes the only eye-catching visuals.

Japanese Cucumber Cocktail

The hand-crafted cocktails and meticulously grown and prepared food is the reason I’ve gone completely nuts for this place.  The first time I went I ate at the bar, which allowed me to watch in awe as Take, the resident bartender, hand carved a perfectly round ice cube from a block of ice, and sliced paper-thin Japanese cucumber circles into my precisely measured cocktail.

Seasonal Veggie "Fondue"

We were also wowed at first sight, when our meal started with a vibrant veggie boat of captivatingly crisp crudités served on ice with the most elegantly smooth, bowl-licking anchovy cheese “fondue”.  I could have stopped there an been ecstatic, but out came our sushi flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, with a clarity that let the candlelight shine through and a firmness in each pinkish bite unlike any I have had since I was actually in Tokyo. heaven.

Sushi Perfection

I could take you through every dish I ate each of the three times I paid a visit to Bohemian, but then this post would go on for days. I will say, if you can swing the premium prices for the washu-beef steak, that is definitely something you don’t want to miss. Since Bohemian is tucked behind the Japan Premium Beef market, you could consider this the specialty of the house,which you will quickly realize with each beautifully buttery bite.

The Skim: If you are seeking small and spectacular, find a way to get a seat at Bohemian. I am not above taking bribes or offers to be treated to dinner in exchange for a phone number, but I won’t post it here.

Can’t Get A Seat, Try One of These Japanese Joints:
Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
Sensational Summer Sushi @ Geisha
Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!

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8.ate@eight Presents: A Robert Burns Night With The Tippling Bros. | @1.22.11.8pm

The Tippling Bros. Introduce Mixology 101

8.ate@eight Presents: Robert Burns Night with The Tippling Bros.
Saturday, January 22nd, 2011, 8:00pm
Handcrafted Cocktails, Scottish-Inspired Noshing and Scottish Lore

Location to be revealed just prior to event

What is Robert Burns Night with the Tippling Bros. you ask? First off, it’s an event NOT to be missed. It’s unlike any past 8.ate@eight — I’m opening up the evening to triple the fun with 24 spots and I’m switching up the itinerary. It’s an evening that will involve celebratory contributions of a traditional Robert Burns Supper (though it’s not a sit down dinner) mixed with a healthy dose of superb cocktails handcrafted by the Tippling Bros., renowned mixologists and perpetuators of libational enjoyment!

What’s a Robert Burns Supper? You may think you haven’t heard of the great Scottish poet before, but think again when the clock strikes midnight on 12.31. In addition to writing many great poems, Robert Burns can be thanked for contributing auld lang syne to our annual celebration of the New Year. In his honor, Scots (and non-scots alike) gather each January for an evening of uproariously informal drinking, noshing and maybe a little poetry recitation to pay tribute to the Scottish Bard.

Tell me more about the Tippling Bros.? I met the Tippling Bros. at the New York Wine & Food Festival and since then we’ve been brainstorming a great evening to do together. The Tippling Bros. are world renowed mixologists who specialize in the art of the drink. They are planning 5 handcrafted, scottish-inspired cocktails for the evening, and will be slinging spirits in the midst of the other Scottish fun — they will not only teach you about the history of the cocktail, but will make this a hands on event so YOU too can become a master Tippler.

Getting Tipsy with the Tippling Bros. @NYCWFF Mixology 101

See here for a recap of past 8.ate@eight events:
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
Big Southern BBQ Meets Small Northern Rooftop
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic

Reservation policy is first come, first serve. When I reach 24 guests, the list is closed for the evening. Please feel free to invite guests or forward to friends. A mixed crowd is encouraged!

RSVP HERE!: 8ateATeight@gmail.com

Hope to see you in your finest plaids!
Christina

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Water of Life Whisky Wednesday With The Macallan

The Macallan Whisky Wednesday

Admittedly I’m not much of a Scotch drinker. I have previously thought of it as the kind of thing that puts hair on your chest — and well, as a woman that’s not so attractive. But on Wednesday night I went to The Macallan Single Malt Scotch tasting and may have discovered a new love.

The evening opened with a welcome reception, some passed appetizers and The Macallan Fine Oak 10 Year Old, the lightest and easiest to drink of the line-up. If you’re new to the Scotch drinking world and want to ease your way in, this is the perfect starting point — it’s extremely smooth and delicate and makes for a simple sipping companion.

The Macallan 10 Year Old Fine Oak Scotch

As our glasses were drained, we headed to a seated set-up for a schooling on Scotch tasting and Scotland 101. With The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Year Old pour in hand, a lovely smooth selection with a hint vanilla that Macallan is known for, we learned that this mahogany hued Scotch is exclusively aged in Sherry-seasoned Spanish oak casks for a minimum of 12 years.

We also learned what makes a Scotch Whisky and the difference between “blended” and “single” malts — interesting trivia facts to keep in the back pocket:

  • ‘Scotch Whisky’— In order to be classed as a ‘Scotch’ Whisky, the spirit, must have been matured in an oak cask in Scotland for a minimum of three years. It must also be bottled at a minimum strength of 40% alcohol.
  • ‘Blended’ Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery from a combination of malted barley and other cereals.
  • Blended ‘Malt’ Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery entirely from malted barley.
  • Single’ Malt Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery entirely from malted barley.
  • You will also notice that Irish and American Whiskeys have an “e”, whereas Scotch Whisky does not.
  • Whisky or Whiskey means “water of life” — of course it does!

If only every class we took involved note taking and spirits, we might all be better students. After The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year Old Scotch arrived we started to enter the zone of more viscous and impactful flavors. 60-70% of the flavor in a Whisky comes from the wood, so it’s not surprising to learn The Macallan spends $20M each year to create their casks, which amounts to ~$1,400 per cask. Now here’s an interesting fact — the 70+ other distilleries only spend $10-15M collectively and the bourbon industry only spends an average of $200 per barrel.

Given those kind of numbers, it’s not surprising to also learn that The Macallan’s premium quality spirits just broke a record, selling a rare 64 year old whisky at auction for $460,000 {read more HERE}. The good news is, all proceeds go to charity: water, an organization that provides access to clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. And so “the water of life” comes full circle.

Kick off 2011 in Good Spirits…

And so I am a convert. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the tastings and could see how all that investment in the casks pays off in the bottle. I’ve been inspired so much by our Scottish friends, that I may just have some news to share about an upcoming winter 8.ate@eight event. I won’t reveal anymore now, but it will be an event not to be missed and will kick off 2011 in good spirits. Stay tuned…

More Good 8.ate@eight Drinking :
Getting Tipsy with the Tippling Bros. @NYCWFF Mixology 101
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
8.ate@eight #3: Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
NY Craft Beer Week, Get Your Goggles On

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18 Favorite Meat Dishes for Men & Barbeque Heaven @Fette Sau

How To Cook Meat for Your Man

A few weeks ago I went to this amazingly wacky collectors exhibit in Brooklyn — a range of collections from hotel ashtrays to museum dust {???}. As I made my way around the room of oddities, I stumbled upon one table that did catch my interest. A collection of meat recipe booklets from the June Cleaver days: “Meats for Men”, “There’s Always Time to Cook Meat”, “Meat Recipes You’ll Talk About” were just some of my favorites. All published by various national livestock and meat boards of one nature or another, these booklets are full of hints on how to cook stews fit for a king or manage your meat over the course of the week — good nutrition calls for meat at least once a day, after all. With all this insightful inspiration, I was craving some good honest meat {wouldn’t you?}. Luckily NYC’s #1 rated BBQ joint, Fette Sau, was conveniently located right across the street from all this nonsense. Some pulled pork and a cold draft was in order!

First up, one of their many craft beers poured from the clever cleaver taps — one too many brews and an ornery attitude could get you in serious trouble!

Craft Beer Taps @FetteSau

And this is why you get a beer first. A long line of pork patrons eagerly away their moment to order. Hey ladies, notice how many men are here??? Don’t worry, the line goes reasonably fast, but why not share a cold one and a conversation while you wait.

Fette Sau Patrons

And while you queue up and converse, you can get inspired by the meat wall — a brilliant dissection of piggy cuts that any meat-loving man or woman should know!

Fette Sau Meat Wall

But what we really care about is das menu. The glorious list of smoked meats, waiting for you to step up and order by the pound. Black Angus Pastrami, Berkshire St. Louis Pork Ribs, Pulled Pork Shoulder, Berkshire Spicy Pork Sausage and more, served with a side of Coleslaw, Guss’ Kosher Pickles, Burnt End Baked Beans, among other goodies. The best part about this place — order a sample of everything and anything you want as it all gets dished on a big ‘ole tray with wet naps and some buns. Fette Sau’s BBQ is dry rubbed and smoked with a blend of Red and White Oak, Maple, Beach and Cherry. And while no sauces are applied during cooking, a selection of sauces awaits you at the communal picnic table seating, so you can play around with flavors and get creative stacking and gnawing at your order if you choose. The premium selection of organic, small-farm heritage meat is juicy with a prevalent smokey flavor that permeates the entire cut and decisively reminds you that this is not just another BBQ joint serving sticky sauced ribs. No, this is the #1 rated BBQ destination in all of NYC, and I can see why.

A Little of This, A Little of That

The Skim: If you’re looking to put a little meat on the bone, or a place to take your man so he can eat like a king, then Fette Sau is a must. The beauty of this high quality BBQ joint is it’s small cozy feel. With a tray of smoked goodness and a ball jar of suds you can settle in to stare longingly into the electronic fireplace with your king of the castle.

Map: 354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn
Reservations: Not Taken
Phone: 718-963-3404


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Stick it To My Ribs:
Le Grand Fooding ‘Twas A Grand Yummy Evening
SF Best: RoliRoti Rolls Out Revolutionary Rotisserie
recipe goodness :: red chili-lime cornbread muffins
NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage
8.ate@eight #3: Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ

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Do This!: Free Fall Cheese and Chocolate Extravaganza!

Free Fall Cheese and Chocolate Extravaganza!
Saturday November 13
7:30 p.m. until the cheese runs out…

The Red Hook Bait and Tackle
320 Van Brunt St. (at Pioneer St.)

Learn about the cheeses and chocolates
and how to pair them with wines, beers or spirits.

RSVP to wurwarg@gmail.com to attend, so they can make sure there is plenty of cheese and other good things. Did I mention this extravaganza is FREE! Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Matt Bonano and Jessica Wurwarg (Cheese People)
Colleen Riley (Chocolate/Dessert Person)
Edie Stone (Bait and Tackle Person)

Map: 320 Van Brunt St.
Public Transit Directions: Take the B61 Bus or the F to Smith and 9th St.
RSVP: wurwarg@gmail.com

Cheese Plating in Progress

So Much Cheese, So Little Time:
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF

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The Art of Brunching Well @ L’Artusi

L'Artusi Bloody Mary

It was not long ago that I was raving about my dinner at L’Artusi, the attractive, open-kitchen Italian spot tucked down one of those non-perpendicular West Village streets.  So when they asked me to come preview their newly created Brunch menu before the public unveiling this Sunday {October 17}, I couldn’t help but spread the love again. I am an encourager of exemplary eating establishments. When I have a great meal, I want you to know about it. I want you to go. Tomorrow! So pick up the phone, make a reservation {212.255.5757} and then keep reading.

Every good brunch deserves a bloody mary. And every good bloody mary deserves some “hmpf”. What I mean by that is I want spice and all sorts of goodies in my Sunday cocktail — I want veggies, I want olives, I want lots of little bits floating around giving me that liquid-salad-with-a-kick kind of feeling. Because frankly, if I’m drinking on a Sunday morning {thank you Tippling Bros.}, I need to feel like I’m getting some sort of nutritional benefit. L’Artusi’s Mary does just that — and with a cherry, err, pancetta cube on top.

Graciously our very helpful server also suggested we start with the bread basket. This isn’t just any roll and butter basket. This is a collection of seasonal, bready goodness — a cranberry muffin, cherry scone and some dark, nutty bread that I couldn’t get enough of. All served with a side of whipped, soft, creamy butter and a lovely plum jam.

L'Artusi Bread Basket

My favorite of the two mains we ordered was the Eggs Florentine. We already know my obsession with eggs,and that I assert high expectations for any egg dish that I order at a restaurant. And this exceeded them ten-fold. Served on crispy polenta {clever Italian substitute to the ‘ole english muffin} with lovely, bright green spinach and a perfectly poached egg that oozed creamy, golden goodness, the florentine was then lovingly topped with a tomato-hollandaise, again adding a unique flavor profile and twist to the classic preparation.

L'Artusi Eggs Florentine

We were also treated to an unexpected dish that has my vote for best contender on the menu. The Polenta Amatriciana is probably best shared between two people because of its richness. A bowl of polenta {that I’m sure has no shortage of butter in it} is topped with the same amatriciana sauce that graces their bucatini on the dinner menu. This stuff is amazing — a combination of tomato, pancetta and red chilis, it is smoky and slightly spicy. What else would you want on top of a bowl of creamy polenta? An egg? Yes, I thought so — a perfect poach floats on top of this bed of delight, just waiting to be broken open so all the eggy yumminess can swim around with all the other flavors. And to really round this out, the entire dish is finished with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

L'Artusi Polenta Amatriciana

How about the sides? You can’t go wrong with the pancetta bacon or the super crispy rosemary potatoes. I agree with the person verbally singing the praises of that pancetta bacon and if you need a little crispy, salty potato to soak up your Saturday night, well then you’ve found them!

“This the the best bacon I’ve ever eaten in my life” — overheard @ L’Artusi

The Skim: And that, my friends, was a brunch worth sharing. I expect L’Artusi’s sunday brunch will be just as popular as their dinner is, but even if you can’t manage to get a reservation, you are always welcome to walk in and eat on the really comfy stools at the bar or start with one of their creative morning cocktails or fresh juices while you wait.

Map228 west 10th {btw Hudson & Bleecker}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-255-5757


8.ate@eight Favor8
Seal of Approval

I ♥ Eggs Too:
The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
A Better Brooklyn Breakfast @ Dizzy’s Finer Diner
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare
Weekend Brunch: Eat Eggs @ Edward’s
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table

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Getting Tipsy with the Tippling Bros. @NYCWFF Mixology 101

The Tippling Bros. Introduce Mixology 101

What do you get when you mix a crowd full of foodies, a session focused on mixology and two non-related “brothers” stirring in some fascinating facts about the history of cocktails and tippling tips and techniques? A real good time. After attending two earlier New York City Wine & Food Festival events that day, all I expected was to sit back, take notes and learn a hint or two from Tippling Bros. Mixology 101, but what we got was an early start to a boozy Saturday night.

Tippler Paul Tanguay Settin' Up Bar

The event kicked off with a seasonal Champagne cocktail called Fireside Sparks, created by the two tippling partners Paul Tanguay and Tad Carducci. As we sipped, these “perpetuators of libational awareness and enjoyment” jumped into a lesson, fully equipped with a powerpoint. Not exactly what you would expect from typical barmasters, but these experts are two of the most well known beverage consultants, whose common mission it is to help the world drink better! Here’s some useful info to successfully get you through your next trivia bar night…

Tippling Trivia:

  • The word “punch” originated from the Hindi word for five — panch {make a fist and it will all make sense}
  • There are 5 components to the original punch recipe: spirit, citrus juice, sugar, spice {often tea} and water
  • The word “cocktail” first appeared in print in 1806. Politicians, dignitaries and wealthy businessmen drank cocktails in the morning to get over the previous night
  • The original cocktail was made up of: spirit, sugar, water and bitters
  • Jerry Thomas wrote the first cocktail book in 1862

Hardly Done with Fireside Sparks, When The Smokey Margarita Arrived

It was not soon after starting to sip down the first cocktail, that the second arrived — a Smokey Margarita. Mmmm, love ‘ritas. How generous of them to give us two cocktails while we enjoy the mixology lesson. On to bar tools…

Every Home Bar Should Have:

  • Shaker {Boston or Cobbler}
  • Mixing Glass
  • Strainer {Hawthorn or Julep}
  • Bar Spoon {You know, those spoons with a really loooong stem}
  • Muddler
  • Jigger {Don’t be afraid to measure, proper proportions are key to a quality cocktail}
  • Knives
  • Juicer

Check out Bar Products and Cocktail Kingdom to stock your bar properly.

Tippling Bros. Tips:

  • Pecking order — Always start from the cheapest ingredient when concocting your cocktail — that way if you lose count or mess up, you’re not out the good stuff!
  • Perfect “sour” proportions — 2:1:1 Strong:Sour:Sweet {e.g. Margarita}
  • Manhattan or Martini proportions — 2:1
  • Garnish — Add an aromatic garnish to change the flavor profile of your cocktail and make sure it’s sticking out of a glass such that your nose gets near it when you sip {try a rosemary sprig stuck in a cherry to anchor}
  • Batches — make 3/4 of the amount of drinks you want to serve when making batches {ice / water makes up 25% of every cocktail}. P.S. Making batches is a great way to enjoy your own party without having to play bartender. That’s one lesson I starred, highlighted and underlined.
  • Make crystal clear ice — Boil water and pour while hot into ice cube trays or muffin tins. The movement of the boiling water pushes out all the air, to create “clear” ice. Get fancy by adding citrus slices to your form after 30 minutes in the freezer.

Somewhere between learning about shaking and stirring, a Manhattan appeared in front of me and somewhere between learning about the garnish in my newly poured Autumn Manhattan and the wisdom of making batches, my pour from the Bottle of Baron also arrived. Ok, I get it. This is a drinking event. I checked my watch, it was only 6pm. The night was young, but I was well into an evening of strong cocktails thanks to my new friends. I guess this is what you get when you attend a session all about mixology, hosted by the masters of tippling themselves. Thankfully with camera in hand, I could put down the pen and still manage to snag some great cocktail recipes for you all. Cheers and Bottoms Up!

Tippling Bros. Hand Crafted Cocktails

Fireside Sparks

Hardly Done with Fireside Sparks, When Smokey Margarita Arrived

2 oz. Cranberry-Infused Whiskey
.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Spiced Syrup
1/4 Tangerine
1 oz Chilled Sparkling Wine

Muddle tangerine in a mixing tin. Add remaining ingredients and shake. Float champagne over the back of a spoon. Strain into a chilled flute or sour glass. Garnish with a tangerine peel and sugared cranberry skewer. Lightly dust with nutmeg.

Smokey Margarita

1.5 oz Tequila Blanco
0.5 oz Mezcal Joven
0.5 oz White Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Agave Nectar
Grilled Lime Slices for Garnish

Spicing the Glass Rim:
2 parts Kosher Salt
1 part Cinnamon
1 Part Cumin
1 Part Chili Powder

Shake all ingredients together. Strain over ice in an old fashioned glass rimmed with Mexican-spiced salt. Garnish with grilled lime wheel.

Autumn Manhattan

Autumn Manhattan

2 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey
1 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
0.25 oz Oloroso Sherry
2 Dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Rosemary Sprig stuck in a cherry for garnish

Stir all ingredients together until well chilled. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with Luxardo cherry and rosemary sprig.

Bottle of Baron {think sweet island cocktail}

8 oz Aged Rum
2 oz Grand Marnier
2 oz Simple Syrup
4 oz Orgeat Syrup
4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
2 tsp Hibiscus Concentrate {Jamaica Concentrate at your local bodega is the same thing}
6 oz Cold Water

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl or plastic container. Funnel into a clean wine bottle. Cork and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serve over one cube of ice in a small punch glass. Garnish with an orange slice or vanda orchid.

It's Closing Time


Bartender, I’ll Have Another:
Hands On with Giada De Laurentiis at Food Network’s NYCWFF Demo
recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning

New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita

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Brooklyn Fare Fares Well, Earning 2 Michelin Stars

A year ago I went to Brooklyn Fare with 7 other close friends to dig into an evening of fine dining and free flowing wine, while seated at a superbly intimate and unique, but casual, chef’s table in the kitchen of Brooklyn Grocery. So I am extremely excited to hear and spread the word that the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare Grocery was just awarded 2 Michelin stars — one of only 10 restaurants in New York and the only restaurant in Brooklyn.

Michelin Guide director Jean-Luc Naret said the eatery was one of the best 300 restaurants in the world.

In honor of their honor, I thought I would recap the memorable meal. A picture is worth 1,000 words with this post! For a fixed price {wine is BYO}, we watched our meal being prepared table side, chatted with chef, Cesar Ramirez, and left happy, satiated foodies. Reliving this meal through photos makes me want to go back tomorrow! As you can see, what was supposed to be a 5-course tasting menu, actually turned into 13 — hence why we had to call the local wine store to restock our supply {come prepared}!
The evening started out with a shot of Lemon Verbena Foam

Starting out with a shot of Lemon Verbena Foam


And A Bite Sized Parmesan Macaroon

Followed by a fried ball of liquid foie gras. WHAT! Amazing liquid gold in a bite.

And then Crispy Crab Balls {not pictured}, leading to Fresh Oysters w/ Sea Water Gelatin Film

Fresh Oysters w/ Sea Water Film


On to more foamy goodness — Parmesan Foam, Shaved Lemon Zest and a generous heap of Truffles

Parmesan Foam, Shaved Lemon Zest and Truffles



And a lighter Hamachi Crudo w/ Soy and Lime

Hamachi w/ Soy and Lime


Finished Product


The beginnings of Crab and avocado wrapped in bibb lettuce, topped with button mushrooms and shaved porcini — An amazingly rich, but light; fresh, but earthy contrast of flavors.

Laying the Avocado Foundation


And then the Crab Roll


Crab and avocado wrapped in bibb lettuce, topped with button mushrooms and shaved porcini


Our taste buds were doing jumping jacks, but this was nothing compared to the next dish: Egg, truffle foam and fried italian black rice. You can only imagine how well this combination of both consistencies and flavors played together. I quickly started to lose track of which course we were on or if these dishes were even on the listed menu — it was one tantalizing bite after another. With a lot of wine to wash it down!

Egg, truffle foam and fried italian black rice. A-mazing.


And just when the rich flavors start to make your head spin in glee, Chef Ramirez lightens things back up with a Fish stew with lobster, frog legs, octopus, cod cheeks, topped with lobster foam.

Fish stew with lobster, frog legs, octopus, cod cheeks, topped with lobster foam


And a most interesting John Dory with Veal Jus — redefining surf & turf?

John Dory with Veal Jus


And to finish off the savory menu, a highly seasonal and highly delightful, Milk fed pork, baby leeks, shaved apple stack topped with melted powdered caramel.

Milk fed pork, baby leeks, shaved apple stack topped with melted powdered caramel.


Of course, the evening also ended with something sweet, colorful and fantastically fun to eat. Poached plum, topped with ricotta, 26-year aged balsamic, muscato gelee and plum marshmallows.

Poached plum, topped with ricotta, 26-year aged balsamic, muscato gelee and plum marshmallows.


I could not begin to describe the complexity and brilliance of this meal with words, so hopefully the photos are enough to make your mouth sing. I’m guessing the wait list is longer than a line at Whole Foods on a Saturday afternoon, so get your friends, set a date many months from now and get involved. When you make your reservation be sure to ask for the recommended local wine store that will help pair wines with the meal the day prior {just plan for more courses than revealed and don’t be shy about sharing with Chef Ramirez and his team}.

Map200 Schermerhorn
Reservations: Required!
Contact: Heidi at 718-243-0050 or email kitchen@brooklynfare.com

More Brooklyn Fare:
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
NYC Best: Source Your Spices and Specialty Foods @ Sahadi’s
Crop to Cup Creating Quality Community Coffee

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Aria Sings a Harmonious West Village Wine Bar

Chef-owner Roberto Passon {of Bocca di Bacco} opened his own venture Aria in the past few months, featuring small plates {cicchetti} and small glasses {ombre} of Italian food and fruits of the vine. Like most wine bars, it’s small, dimly lit, with exposed brick and a chalkboard menu — and lacks a full kitchen. But just because they’ve constructed a quaint atmosphere, doesn’t mean they haven’t figured out how to send out lip smacking food that you’re reluctant to share.

Aria Grilled Lamb Chops

We started with the burrata {just say the word and I’ll order it}, but followed that with the best plate of the evening — two grilled lamp chops in a balsamic vinegar sauce. They were just the right amount of salty with each sweet, juicy, herby bite. I found myself wanting more than the one I was alloted {my half of the plate} but our over-excited bartender-waiter insisted we order the gorgonzola stuffed dates. This is the type of thing that you know is probably not good for the waistline, but you enjoy every bite — dates, stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in prosciutto before being cooked to a crisp outer layer. It’s a rich morsel of chewy goodness. Four was too many though, so these we did happily share with our new bar stool friends perched to our left.

Aria Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates

The Skim: You don’t have to go for the food to enjoy Aria though. With a generous amount of bar space given the size of the bar {seats wrap around to the bar tending side}, it’s easy to order a few ombres of wine or house cocktails, quickly make friends with the bartender {who is all too eager to pour you a shot of Italian liquor} and have a harmonic evening. It makes for a great date destination, place to grab some vino with friends or perhaps make some new ones.

Map: 117 Perry {Btw Greenwich & Hudson}
Reservations: Not Taken
Phone: 212.242.4233

Fill Me Up:
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo
Wintry Wine & Whiskey Warm-Up @ Vintry

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Reliably Good American Bar and Bites @ Rye House

RYEHOUSE: 11 West 17th Street

Sometimes you just want a good reliable NYC bar and restaurant — a place you can grab lunch mid-week, a cold beer after work with friends or a handcrafted cocktail on a saturday night with intriguing ingredients such as orange blossom water, egg white and small production rye. It’s hard to find all those things in one destination, but Rye House has succeeded in creating a reliable bar and restaurant menu with reverence for traditional American spirits and cuisine.

I met my friend for lunch on a cold rainy day and shook off the chill with a soup and sandwich combo. It pleasantly reminded me of something I may have been able to order if I sauntered in off the cobblestone street of New York City circa 1850. The Spring Onion Potato Soup with a sourdough crouton and provolone was served in a sturdy handled bowl and was just the hearty starter I needed.

RyeHouse Spring Onion Soup

The “Pittsburgh” sandwich was the perfect pairing to go with the simple flavors of the onion soup and had its own warming qualities with a unique combo of grilled andouille sausage, provolone, house slaw, fries all stacked together and served on a wooden plank. The spice of the sausage was nicely mellowed out by the crisp slaw, and while the fries weren’t exactly necessary on the sandwich, they added a different sort of salty, crispy bite that made this a lunch to remember {lunch menu HERE}.

RyeHouse Pittsburgh

The Skim: With a long welcoming bar placed near the front and high tables along the wall, the casual atmosphere of Rye House invites you to stop in for whatever you’re in the mood for — a good craft draft, a creative cocktail or memorable, but simple American cuisine. Rye House also holds weekly beer tastings featuring a changing selection of craft brews, so this may just be the perfect place to discover some of the names appearing at NY Craft Beer week.

Map: 11 West 17th Street {Btw 5th & 6th Ave.}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212.255.7260

Pour Some More Por Favor:
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
Not so Standard Biergarten
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole

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NY Craft Beer Week, Get Your Goggles On

NY Craft Beer Week is an annual celebration of New York City and its craft beer community. The week’s events range from neighborhood beer walks and bar promotions to tasting festivals, food pairings and beer dinners. So when I was invited to the NYC Brewer’s Choice event at City Winery this week, I grabbed my drinking stein and shoes and headed downtown for what was sure to be a hop-ping good time. City Winery rolled out the wine barrels and rolled in the kegs to throw the best beer bash I have ever been to {even if you count college}. The space was packed with beer aficionados and regular eager amber samplers like myself, who had about 20 breweries to sip suds from and several artisan food purveyors generously pairing our brew with some tasty bites.

Patience and a penchant for tipping back a glass swiftly is what it took to power through the crowds and extensive selection in order to cover the spread thoroughly. There were definitely some highlights and unique brews worth making note of and keeping on your short list for the next time you visit the local pub.

Crafting Crowd

Empire Brewing Company: Roasted Pumpkin Ale (Syracuse, NY)
Made with over 100 lbs of fresh roasted pumpkins from Critz’s Farm in Cazenovia, NY. The pumpkins are added to the mash and then the beer is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and clove. Deep amber in color, this autumn ale is the perfect cross between a cream soda and a pumpkin pie. It is a DE-LIC-OUS draft!

Ballast Point: Navigator Dopplebock (San Diego, CA)
Brandy barrel-aged, this brew was deep brown with a thick foamy head and strong chocolate and coffee flavors. It was easy to drink and the brandy added a complexity that paired very nicely with the 70% Mast Brothers dark chocolate they were serving.

Ommegang: Cup o Kyndness (Cooperstown, NY)
Appropriately named after a line from Scottish poet, Robert Burns’, poem Auld Lang Syne, this Belgian-Scotch style ale was a wee bit smokey and reminiscent of, well, a glass of scotch. One of the more unique pours of the evening, I would highly suggest this on a cold, rainy evening or when you’re looking for something a little different to warm the soul.

Stillwater Cellar Door (Baltimore, MD)
A light golden color, Cellar Door, exhibited hints of tangerine and sage, two delightfully refreshing flavors that made this brew a selection I could sip on a stellar summer day or as a perfect pairing with some salty cheeses or seafood.

Turns out I’m actually bad about taking pictures of drinks, so you’ll have to settle for snapshots of some of the highlights from the food pairings.

Betty Brooklyn, a brooklyn based private chef and caterer, whipped up some amazing deviled eggs with pancetta topping off the delicacy. The yolk was incorporated with some of the rendered pancetta fat homemade mayonnaise and dijon to create a salty, creamy, smoky pillow of flavor in one bite.

Betty Brooklyn: Deviled Eggs

Mama O’s Premium Kimchi was cookin’ up some crazy good kimchi chili and kimchi salsa. That makes so much sense — hot peppery, gingery, pickled Korean flavor goodness meets American classics — why hasn’t anyone done that before!

Mama O's: Kimchi Chili and Salsa

Orwasher’s Bakery crafted some creative crusty breads using Six Point Ale, combining old world technique with new world flavors to create a super soft center surrounded by a crust that echos when you tap it…just how good artisan bread should be!

Orwasher's Artisan Rustic Beer Breads

Clearly a evening to remember — if I can after all that beer. So next time you visit your local Cheer’s, ask if they carry any of these craft drafts and give these suds a sip or two to suit your mood.

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Le Grand Fooding ‘Twas A Grand Yummy Evening

Foodies, NY-ers and SF-loyalists alike made their way to MoMA PS1 in Long Island City on Friday, for what was to be a food face-off of epic proportions {all in the name of charity of course}. After David Chang, of the Momofuku empire, dropped a comment that “fuckin’ every restaurant in San Francisco is just serving figs on a plate with nothing on it. Do something with your food,” San Francisco-based chefs packed their knives and headed east to prove otherwise.

Le Grand Fooding

As a 3-block long line of eager eaters made their way through the entrance, they were handed four tickets good for a glass of Veuve, Cotes du Rhone red wine and two Belvedere Vodka cocktails concocted by drink masters, Jim Meehan of Please Don’t Tell {NYC} and Erick Castro from Rickhouse {SF} to enjoy alongside a selection of tastings prepared by notable chefs themselves under nothing more than pop up tents and the stars.

As far as the cocktails go, Jim Meehan won this face-off hands down. Using the new line of Belvedere Citrus, he shook up what he called the Park Side Fizz, a blend of Vodka, Orgeat {a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar and orange- flower water}, Lemon, Fresh Mint and Soda. It was refreshing, not too sweet and went down all too easily, as I painfully discovered the next morning.

Park Side Fizz, Jim Meehan, Please Don't Tell

With drinks in hand we patiently lined up to try as many of the food stations as we could. With a large crowd and real-time food prep, some of the lines were longer than ideal, but this made a winning dish that much more of a satisfying bite. Here’s the scoop…

Le Grand Fooding @ MoMA PS1

Laurence Jossel, Nopa {SF} — Grilled Pork Shoulder Loin {aka Country Rib} with Early Girl Tomato Jam on Toast won my vote for Best Dish of the Evening!! Marinated for 4 hours, then slowly grilled for 35 minutes, this pork was full of flavor and tender on its own, but the sensory scales were quickly tipped by the most amazingly sweet, vinegary tomato jam that had hints of ginger and lovingly topped the stack of crostini and pork. I loved this dish so much I waited in line three times and am strongly considering booking a flight to SF to pay homage to a man who could create such a delicacy.

“I feel like I’m gonna go hug them for making something so delicious” — overheard @ Le Grand Fooding

Grilling Up Some Pork Shoulder, Nopa

Nopa Tomato Jam and a Classic T-Shirt

Best Dish of the Night: Grilled Pork Shoulder with Tomato Jam, Nopa

David Sclarow, Pizza Moto {Brooklyn} — Grilled Pizza with Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Lemon, Sea Salt and Basil. So simple, but with that list of fresh ingredients it was well worth the wait, especially since they were pairing it with a glass of generously poured red wine.

David Sclarow of Pizza Moto

Pizza Prep

David Chang, má pêche {NY} — Bodega Granola. A play on yogurt granola cups sold at corner delis, the bodega granola walks a fine line between sweet and savory, constructed from walnut granola topped with beet reduction tapioca, goat cheese foam, beet chips and greens.

Bodega Granola, ma peche

Mario Carbone & Rich Torrisi, Torrisi {NY} — Pickle Salad New Yorkese. This was one of the most unique dishes of the evening, with a nod to traditional deli items, the salad of cucumber and pickle slices was topped with corned lambs tongue and dressed with a a mustard-red vinegar dressing. Probably not the first thing I would normally order, but somehow it just worked.

Pickle Salad New Yorkese, Torrisi

The word on the street is the Tennessee-style fried chicken by Robert Newton, Seersucker {NY} was outstanding, but I didn’t wait in the hour-long line to confirm for myself. I’m guessing the wait confirms it though.

All in all, a great evening that raised a lot of money for Action Against Hunger, brought more awareness to a number of all ready notable chefs and restaurants and provided a great venue for social noshing and imbibing under the lights of New York.

Le Grand Foodies

Looking for More to DO!?:
Do This!: First Ever Puglia Wine Week
Do This!: EAT DRINK LOCAL week
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes

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Do This!: First Ever Puglia Wine Week

Don’t let the rain keep you inside, there is so much to DO! this week. In addition to being EAT, DRINK LOCAL Week, it’s The First Ever Puglia Wine Week! You don’t have to live in NY to get excited either — the Puglia Wine restaurant roadshow is taking place in NY, L.A., San Francisco, Houston and Chicago! Find your favorite participating Italian restaurant, make a reservation and start swirling and twirling! My brother and his wife just returned from their honeymoon in Puglia and after seeing video of homemade burrata and pasta from the trip, I got very excited when I learned about a week of opportunity to explore more about this lesser known, but amazingly delicious region in Italy.

All food and wine lovers that will dine in these restaurants will have the chance to start their meals with delicious regional specialties, try wines from one of the best wineries of the region, and personally meet the producer in a casual, relaxed environment. Each sommelier of the participating restaurant will guide and educate the customers about the winery and each chef will create special recipes inspired by Apulian cuisine to exalt the wines and celebrate the occasion. During the course of the three days, restaurants will continue to propose diners pair their recipes with glass of wine from the host winery.

Find a participating restaurant HERE and get involved! Reservations can be made directly with the restaurant of choice.

Can’t make dinner? Try some tastings at participating wine stores HERE.

Discover More of Italy!:
Bistro Don Giovanni: Napa-Sourced & Italian-Inspired
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo

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Do This!: EAT DRINK LOCAL week

Second Annual EAT DRINK LOCAL week
Brought to you by edible magazines and GrowNYC
September 26-October 6, 2010

This harvest-time celebration of the local food chain, in collaboration with Edible magazines across the empire State, celebrates the restaurants, wine shops and wineries, breweries and beer bars, farms and food artisans, cheesemakers, bakers and everyone who feeds us.

Co-produced by Edible magazines and GrowNYC, the aim is threefold:

  1. To raise awareness about the bounty of products grown in the region.
  2. To drive customers to the restaurants and other businesses that support local food and drink
  3. To raise funds for a charitable partner dedicated to promoting regional agriculture.

Some major events planned during the week:

  • September 23. An Amish style heirloom vegetable auction to be held at Sotheby’s
  • September 25. A Long Island wine auction.
  • September 27. The Edible Institute at the New School, a public discourse on urban food issues.
  • October 6. The annual, unforgettable, Taste of Greenmarket.
  • Throughout the week. Edible programming at the New York Botanical Garden.
  • Throughout the summer, the Union Square and Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets will feature cooking demos from partner chefs, New York wine pourings and other happenings.

Find out more HERE

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A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite

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Apologies for my absence for a few days, but I have been busy shopping and chopping for what was the last 8.ate@eight supper club of the outdoor season. You wouldn’t think preparing “cafeteria” food would be such a distraction, but when you’re hand selecting figs and prosciutto from Italy for your pizza, catching red snapper off the east coast for your tacos, hunting bison out west for your mini sliders and hand frying potatoes for your truffle-rosemary chips, then there isn’t much time for blogging. Well maybe I wasn’t actually doing all of those things {except the hand frying – look out Frito Lay!} but the menu is accurate. As several friends had kids heading back to school, I thought it would be fun to relive the nostalgia of new sneakers, trapper keepers and the best of school cafeterias — only better! Here’s the full report card…

The Syllabus:

Starter
3 Grilled Pizzettes:
{1} Arugula, Fig & Proscuitto w/ Grated Parmesan Cheese
{2} Greek Olive Tapenade, Pickled Red Onion & Feta w/ Lemon Olive Oil
{3} Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Fennel & Fresh Mozzarella
w/ Grandma’s Sauce & Fresh Rooftop Basil

Mini Lime-Chili Red Snapper Tacos
w/ “Fruit Punch” Sangria

Salad
Roasted Corn & Vegetable Medley w/ Chipotle Bacon & Queso Fresco
w/ Bodegas Valdesil Godello Valdeorras Val de Sil Montenovo (Spain)

Entrée
Mini Bison Sliders w/ Buffalo Mozzarella and Olive Tapenade
Homemade Truffle Rosemary Parmesan Chips
w/ “P.S.” Local 2 Brooklyn Dark Ale

Dessert
Coconut “Twinkies” w/ Lemon Curd Filling
w/ Kahlua-Rum Chocolate “Milk”

It was just like showing up to a new classroom — some old friends and some new faces to get to know. This is why I started 8.ate@eight and what I love about my table. People can come together to enjoy good food and drink and easily fall into conversation with an unfamiliar group.

Pablo is the Principal at his own school he started -- how awesome is that!

As the 8.ate@eight-ers filed in, I was busy at work grilling pizzas on the BBQ. Not an entirely new concept, but a new twist on school lunch favorite — wasn’t pizza day a must?! With dough and toppings on hand, I grilled up three different versions: an Arugula, Fig & Proscuitto w/ Grated Parmesan Cheese Pizza, a Greek Olive Tapenade, Pickled Red Onion & Feta w/ Lemon Olive Oil Pie and a crowd-pleasing favorite, Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Fennel & Fresh Mozzarella w/ Grandma’s Sauce & Fresh Rooftop Basil.

Fresh Figs

Served alongside the pizza were some Red Snapper Tacos with a Lime-Chili Marinade and Avocado Sauce. I’m pretty sure the lunch ladies didn’t fill our shells with anything better than greasy ground beef, but I wanted to keep it light. Both of the appetizers were served with an adult version of fruit punch: sangria! With a winning combination of spanish vino, brandy, triple sec and lemonade, I soaked a combination of lemon, lime, orange slices and cherries overnight and topped each cup off with a little club soda — every party is better with bubbles!

Red Snapper Tacos

Sangria "Fruit Punch"

Probably the least eaten items on those styrofoam trays were the vegetable medleys and fruit cup cocktails, so I decided to do a combination of both with a modified version of my friend Nora’s delicious corn salad. There are several things that are great about this salad and its a recipe for success that I have written about before: sweet, spicy, citrusy, savory and salty. I roasted several ears of sweet jersey corn, removing the kernels and adding to a combination of grapes {strange, but sweet and amazing}, red bell peppers {peppery and colorful}, red chilis {that subtle spicy kick that I love}, cilantro {a polarizing ingredient for many, but even I converted a hater at the table}, scallions and lime. So that’s the regular combination, but I also decided this salad would do well with a few bits of chipotle bacon crumbled on top with some queso fresco — if only school veggies were always this good.

Roasted Corn & Vegetable Medley

Roasted Corn Salad

It’s not only important to eat your veggies, but a good healthy protein also tops the food pyramid. I keep speaking the praises of bison to anyone who will listen {recipe here}, so I thought if I put them in slider form I could win the hearts of my table too. So let’s reiterate some important facts — please take notes.

Bison tastes very similar to beef, but is slightly richer, so I complemented that flavor with a spread of salty olive tapenade on the mini buns and melted some creamy buffalo mozzarella on top for a better take on a kiddie craving.

Mini Bison Sliders

And just like PB&J is a match made in heaven, so are burgers and chips. So I carried out the dutch oven, a few pounds of potatoes and got to work slicing, rinsing, drying and frying the makings of my Homemade Truffle, Rosemary Parmesan Chips. A lot of work, but there is something very satisfying about putting Frito Lay to shame from your own kitchen {recipe to follow}.

Toss in corn starch to remove moisture and create crispier results

Toss in 375 degree oil 4-5 minutes until golden blond

Strain and Season with Fresh Rosemary and Truffle Salt

Season with Rosemary, Truffle Salt, Parmesan Cheese and Try Not to Eat Too Many

While everyone settled in for the Ferris Bueller classic, Naerim also made a guest appearance and served her Coconut “Twinkie” with Lemon Curd filling and I blended up some Kahlua-Rum Chocolate “Milk” just in case  everyone didn’t have enough to drink.

Coconut "Twinkies" with Lemon Curd

As usual, we cleared the plates, handed out some blankets as the night started to cool and fired up the projector for our guest visitor: Ed Rooney. No better end to another memorable 8.ate@eight supper club.

Ed Rooney Was Our Guest Visitor

Thanks!

Thanks to Naerim again for all the help serving drinks and food and ending the evening with a great new take on an old lunchbox treat! Thanks to Kristin for snapping some pics while I was manning the grill. And I of course want to thank everyone who grabbed a seat at the table — it was lovely to have you all!

I’m ruminating on some future indoor events for the fall and winter, so stay tuned. If you aren’t on the dinner distribution list, email me at 8ateateight@gmail.com to be added. See you at the table!

Recipe Goodness:

Homemade Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries

Prep Time: 1 Hour | Cook Time: 20-30 Minutes
Serves 4

2 1/2 # russet potatoes  (about 4 large)
3 QT. peanut or canola oil

Peel and cut potatoes into either long sticks or 1/2-inch thick circles for fries or use a mandolin to thinly slice flat or waffle cut circles {using the waffle blade} for chips. Rinse cut potatoes in large bowl under cold running water until water turns clear. Cover with cold water and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.

Pour off water,spread potatoes onto towels, and thoroughly dry {important for crispiness}. Transfer to large bowl and toss with cornstarch until evenly coated. Transfer to wire rack set on rimmed baking sheet and let rest until fine white coating forms, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large, heavy bottomed dutch oven, fitted w/clip-on candy thermometer, heat oil to 325.  Add half of potatoes a handful at a time and increase heat to high.  Fry, shirring with mesh spider until potatoes start to turn from white to blond, 4-5 min.(oil temp will drop). Transfer fries to paper towels to absorb oil and cool. Return oil to 325 and repeat with rest of potatoes. Let potatoes cool.

Heat oil to 375. Add half of fries or chips, a handful at a time, and fry until golden brown, 2-3 min. Transfer to paper towels & repeat with remaining fries. Season immediately with chopped rosemary, truffle salt and shaved parmesan.

Read About Past 8.ate@eight Events:
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic!

What are you still doing here? It’s over. Go home.

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Do This!: Le Grand Fooding 2010 New York vs. San Francisco

It all started with an off the cuff comment by king of the Momofuku empire, David Chang, “Fuckin’ every restaurant in San Francisco is just serving figs on a plate with nothing on it. Do something with your food.” Not surprisingly, the comment was picked up across the media circuit, spread like a California forest fire and without hesitation the San Francisco culinary scene was shooting back. And so was born a culinary face-off of epic proportions {all in the name of charity of course}: Le Grand Fooding 2010 New York vs. San Francisco.

For $50 you can snatch a ticket to Le Grand Yummy either on September 24th or 25th, which includes 1 flute of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, 1 Rhône Valley wine & pizza pairing, and 1 Belvedere Experience and a whole lotta yummy fooding prepared by a long list of noteworthy NY and SF-based chefs. All proceeds go to support Action Against Hunger.

Where: MoMa PS1 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City
What: September 24th Fooding Menu
September 25th Fooding Menu
How: Buy Tickets Now {$50}!
Why: Because when can you ever eat and drink
at one of these restaurants for less than $50! And it’s for charity!

More About…
David Chang: Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!
Pizza Moto: NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage

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Gone Fishin’ :: Back in a Week…

Farewell Bachelorhood!

As I referenced in a previous post, I’m off in San Francisco to be the best groom’s girl I can be in my brother’s wedding this weekend. Jackie, my soon-to-be sister-in-law, works for Ghirardelli. She’s pretty darn sweet as a person, but it also doesn’t hurt that she brings a dowry consisting of a lifetime supply of chocolate. Welcome to the family!

I’m sure I will have no shortage of things to blog about upon my return — I promise it will be more interesting than a post about rice and will include musings from Napa. In the meantime, visit some old favorites…

Make A Delicious Dinner For Friends:
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa
Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops
Grilled Thyme-Cumin Vegetable Kabobs
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake with BBQ’d Summer Berries {bottom of post}
More Recipes >>> EAT@HOME

Keep Busy in the City:
Do This!: Artisanal Premium Cheese & Wine Classes w/ Jessica Wurwarg
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table
NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage
NYC Best: Take the Dull Out Of Cooking {Knives} with Samurai Sharpening @ Chelsea Market

Enjoy a Cold One in the Garden:
Not so Standard Biergarten
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Nothing says Warm Weather Like a “Gut Biergarten”

And in the Spirit of Weddings, Go on a Date!:
Summer Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
The Red Cat: Comfortable Quarters & Cuisine
Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
August in April
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo
barmarche: Some Clever Crudites

Eat Up!
Christina

Sibling Fun in Tokyo

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recipe goodness :: kickin’ ancho chili fresh lime margarita

The Fixins' for Fresh Lime Margaritas

Ok, so I love a fresh lime margarita on a hot summer evening and apparently so do a lot of you! I have received overwhelming feedback and a lot of great comments from my Fresh Lime-Margarita Marinated Watermelon recipe, so in the spirit of another tequila shot, try this one when you’re looking for something with a new twist and a subtle spicy kick, a perfect complement to the sweet, fresh fruit  juices! It’s refreshing, it’s unique, and most importantly, it’s easy! Don’t be afraid, this is not that spicy, but the chili adds a depth to the drink that cuts through all that citrus and makes it truly tasty. By the way, did you know margarita means daisy in spanish? Doesn’t that just sound like a delightful name for a killer cocktail?

Ancho Chili Margarita with Fresh Lime-Orange-Grapefruit Juice

Recipe:
2 0z tequila
2 oz mixed juice {lime, orange, grapefruit, agave}
ice
kosher salt and lime slice for rim

What you Need {See below for proportions}:
1 Bottle Tequila Blanco {I find the white tequila is smoother}
1 Dried Ancho Chili
Raw Agave
Limes
Oranges
Grapefruits

Fresh Squeezed Lime, Orange, Grapefruit

People experiment with the proportions of tequila to lime juice all the time, so it’s just a matter of personal taste.  Since my recipe uses fresh squeezed juice and a little raw agave for sweetness, you don’t need to add any triple sec or cointreau. And because of the fresh juice, I like to make this one with a 1:1 proportion of tequila to fruit juice. Here’s what you can expect to get from all that squeezing {approximately}.

8 limes=8 ounces
4 juice oranges=8 ounces
1 grapefruit=7 ounces

Figure out how many total drinks you plan on making. You need 2 oz of tequila and 2 oz of juice for every drink, so multiply that to know how much you need in total of both. Here’s an example to figure out how much of everything you need to make 3 drinks for 4 people. Adjust to fit your crew!

  1. 2 hours before you plan to serve the margaritas, add one dried ancho chili to the bottle of tequila. Note: the longer this soaks, the less spicy it will get as the pepper actually breaks down in the tequila. If you don’t plan on using an entire bottle, you may want to pour the tequila over the pepper in a separate container and watch it turn a cool red hue!
  2. Juice all of your limes, oranges and grapefruits into a separate container. Add 1 tsp of agave for every 8oz of total fresh fruit juice.  Mix thoroughly and chill. Keep a few lime halves to run across the top of your glasses later to make the salt stick.
  3. Ready to drink? Run a leftover lime half around the rim of a chilled glass. Pour some kosher salt on a plate and dip the rim in the salt if desired. Fill the glass with ice.
  4. You can either use a cocktail shaker or just mix equal parts tequila and fresh fruit juice in a pitcher and pour over ice in each glass.
  5. Stir, sip, enjoy, repeat.

Other Summer Sippers:
Fresh Lime-Margarita Marinated Watermelon
Pink Fizzy Lemonade Cocktails Beat the Heat

Summer Sipper Sides:
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa

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NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage

My two most favorite past-times: good food and good music. Both are readily accessible in this fine big apple city that I live in, but put them together and you’ve got yourself the makings of a double good time. Summerstage, the outdoor venue in the middle of Central Park, has long been my favorite venue to catch a show. Most shows are free as it’s privately funded through sponsors and a few benefit concerts, it’s small enough that you can touch the stage without taking a sharp elbow to the gut, and with a blanket and starry night to set the scene, it’s easy to settle down and take in some good tunes.

This season Summerstage added just another reason to love this venue and make it a “must do” summer activity: good food. Normally you would expect the standard overdone hamburger and dirty water dog as the only options at a place like this, but with much excitement I discovered a few food purveyors from Brooklyn Flea and the fine wine makers from City Winery have been brought in to satiate our every desire.

Central Park Syrah from City Winery Anyone?

City Winery

Wash Down a Darn Good Dog from Asia Dog

How about the Ginny with homemade kimchi and nori flakes or the Sidney with thai mango relish, cucumber, red onion, cilantro & crushed peanuts. Those two lady dogs sound a lot more interesting than your usual Frank.

Marlow & Sons/Daughters and AsiaDog

I Adopted Marlow Sons & Daughters

This Brooklyn based butcher serves up a cut above the rest with their grass-fed beef burgers, house made pork sausage and barbecued pork sandwich with jalapeno lime aioli, picked onion, mint and cilantro. I wanted the pork sammy, but popular demand cleared out that supply in a matter of minutes. My pork sausage with pickled relish did not disappoint though, it was flavorful, freshly cooked and the relish added a nice zing quickly making me forget this was concert food.

My Marlow & Daughters House Made Pork Sausage w/ Pickled Relish

Truckin’ Good Pizza from Pizza Moto

Fresh from the mobile wood burning oven {hopefully those aren’t Central Park trees} you can order a slice with all sort of goodies on top and a thin, crispy crust, just as pizza should be.

Pizza Moto

Ice Cream, You Scream for Blue Marble…

If sweets are more your craving, try a a few scoops or classic root beer float {I wonder if they would make this with Blue Moon} from Blue Marble Ice Cream. All products are made only from premium grass-fed organic dairy.

Blue Marble Ice Cream

Prices range from about $4-8 depending on the item, so you won’t break the bank while enjoying these seriously good eats with your tunes at Summerstage…unless of course you get the munchies. The Flaming Lips liked this so much, they threw a party. It’s not too late to catch a show as events are scheduled through September. See Schedule HERE.

The Flaming Lips Threw A Huge Celebration

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Summer Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar

Mermaid Oyster Bar Selection

The ancient Romans prized oysters for being aphrodisiacs. The 18th-century lover Casanova, in particular, is said to have eaten fifty oysters for breakfast every morning to make him virile. Is there any truth to these mollusks making mermaids sing? Oysters do contain a high amount of zinc, a lack of which has been linked to male impotency, but there is no scientific evidence that these pearl-producing friends can produce much more than a tasty meal and perhaps a little sex-appeal as these slippery little suckers get slurped out of their shell.

Mermaid Oyster Bar

August 5th is National Oyster Day, so what better day to suck down some summer seafood and see where the evening takes you. One of my favorite tiny seafood shops is Mermaid Oyster Bar {sister restaurant to The Mermaid Inn}. This quaint little joint has a clean white-walled New England feel to it, with an open air front, high bar stools and booth seating that lines the fish-framed wainscoted walls. It’s great for a casual evening out to enjoy some really fresh and spectacular shuckin’.

With a menu featuring 13 different types of Oysters native to both the East and West coast, you can choose from a variety of sizes with a range of sweet and briny characteristics. My favorite {no joke} was called the Naked Cowboy. This Long Island Oyster was sweet and smooth and actually one of the most inexpensive options on the menu {hooray for local fishermen}.

There are plenty of other delicious options on the menu if oysters don’t appeal to you. The Shimp Po’ Boy is spicy and generously sized and the Lobster Roll is a classic served on a sweet brioche bun that won’t disappoint. And if you’re looking for a side, don’t forget the Old Bay Seasoned Fries, which are the  perfect crispy, salty and spicy accompaniment to a cold beer and tray of oysters.

The Skim: As if the tray of lovin’ oysters isn’t enough of an enticement for a good night out, at the end of the meal you’ll also get a special little treat — an espresso cup portion of chocolate mousse and a fortune telling fish. Perhaps he can reveal the future of a shuckin’ good time???

Map: {79 MacDougal Street & Bleecker}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-260-0100

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