10 Things You Need to Eat at Smorgasburg 2017

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How could there possibly be a better way to spend an NYC weekend, than eating your way through the more than a hundred food vendors + trucks that make of the annual festival of indulgence that is Smorgasburg (get it?) – which is underway once again. It will take place every Saturday at Williamsburg’s East River Park and Sunday at Prospect Park, between now and the end of October; and from donuts to short ribs to Shanghai street food, this is our handy guide to what you absolutely need to try.

First tip? Skip breakfast.

1  @duckseasonnyc

Brooklyn Duck Poutine with duck fat fries, duck bacon and aged cheddar

2  @ubekitchen

The top selling halo bowl with salted ube ice cream served in a hollow dragon fruit gourd. Top with your choice of red mung beans and fresh fruits like blackberry, mango and jackfruit. And of course, toasted coconut – because why not?

3  @destinationdumplings

From lamb dumplings with tzatziki to jerk chicken with yuzu pineapple salsa and peking duck dumplings with Hoisin sauce, it’s all amazing.

4  @carnal_bk

Get carnal: smoked short rib, marrow basted and topped with arugula, snap pea and horseradish pesto. Or pork shoulder sliders, slow cooked and tender with a rub made of coriander and ‘nduja (pureed and seasoned pork). Charred pineapple and leek gremolata set it all off.

5  @pop_pasta

Donuts aren’t just for dessert anymore. These handheld pasta and sauce bombs have even hit TV’s the Chew – @pop_pasta is blowing up. Choose from Aglio e olio, red sauce, carbonara or bolognese.

6  @rollplaynyc

“Namchos” or nachos with a Vietnamese twist from @rollplaynyc, featuring marinated beef and pickled carrots over crispy shrimp chips topped with cilantro and special sauce. Their namesake spring rolls are full to bursting with fresh cut veggies, and your choice of caramel pork belly, lemongrass flank steak, glazed tofu or jumbo garlic shrimp.

7  @dulcineanyc

A churro ice cream sandwich is the answer to every question. Ice cream flavors change daily with classics like nutella and strawberry updated with peanut butter and almond milk. The churros are crisp and made daily and sometimes dipped in chocolate. Add your choice of chocolate sauce, crumbled cookie pieces and sprinkles to what is a ridiculous flavor bomb.

8  @outerborough

Pancakes for lunch? Yes, when they are Taiwanese style scallion pancakes filled with crispy popcorn chicken, scallions and cilantro from @outerborough. Popcorn chicken not your thing? Switch to thin sliced braised beef with pickled carrots and borough sauce, a creamy tangy treat. Or try crispy tofu with mint and cucumber, sure to satisfy every palate.

Thank you @omgitsbomb and @ny.foodie for helping us @smorgasburg's top posts this weekend. 🙌

A post shared by Outer Borough (@outerborough) on

9  @ohhts

Virtuous, gluten-free and somehow still decadent, @ohhts’ new treat banana bread overnight oats features caramelized banana and layers of thick, creamy yogurt. Other flavors include cherry pie, strawberry shortcake and hint-of-vanilla.

10  @jianbiangcompany

Find Shanghai street food in your Brooklyn backyard with @jianbiangcompany. Their crepe-like batter is spread thin, crisped and then filled with your choice of eggs, beef, chicken, pork or tofu, sweet bean chili sauce and scallions. Folded and wrapped to go, this is the perfect snack for walking around the packed grounds and doing some quality people watching.

Cool Kids Alert: Art Major Gallery + Bar Opens in LA’s Koreatown

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For a moment, Highland Park was trying to be the next Echo Park (which was the next Silver Lake…we think). But the wild success of hipster paradise The Line Hotel (as well as its Roy Choi restaurant Commissary) has pretty much solidified Koreatown as LA’s “it” hood.

Now super cool indie gallerists Jessica Pak and Brian Lee (of the late Hold Up Art in Little Tokyo) have brought their creativity party to KTown’s Mariposa Avenue, in the form of the zany-cool new Art Major. The concept is simple: adulthood kinda sucks, and similar to The Line’s super popular Break Room 86 80s/karaoke/dance spot, this place is all about getting you in touch with that artistic child that you left behind in 7th grade drawing class.

Yes, it’s a bar-slash-gallery that will host exhibitions by up-and-coming talents. But it will also act as an earnest, un-ironic “inspiration lab,” with art supplies, board games, instant cameras and coloring books for patrons to use at will. And who knows what artistic awakenings or revelations just might come of it?

And just how egalitarian is Art Major? There are snacks available for purchase – but they’re totally cool if you bring your own food. Just don’t be boring.

 

Art Major Koreatown

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The First Virtual Reality Cocktail? Report from London’s One Aldwych

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London has no shortage of glamorous hotel tippling establishments. But the absolutely gorgeous Lobby Bar at the One Aldwych has always been a favorite. So imagine our thrill when we heard they were adding a fascinating bit of high tech to the experience.

Indeed, as part of their new Showtime Cocktails program, one particular creation, The Origin (an urbane mix of Dalmore 12-Year-Old Whisky, Merlet cherry liqueur, cherry purée, fresh grapefruit juice, chocolate bitters & Lallier champagne) will get the full virtual reality treatment. The drink actually comes with a VR headset, which takes you on a magnificent journey from the Scottish Highlands to Covent Garden and back to the bar just as your cocktail is being served. For our part, having endured years of old-timey bartender mustaches and suspenders, we’re thrilled that the art of drinking is at last pointing the way to the future.

While you’re there, make sure to sample one of their other terribly sophisticated, theatre-referencing cocktails, like the Ce Soir, the Jasmine Breeze or the Fairy Garden Infusion, the latter inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

 

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PREVIEW: NYC’s Taste of the Nation with Danny Meyer

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Awesome food, great cause – as Danny Meyer of Union Hospitality Group will chair (along with Anita Lo of Annisa and Bryce Shuman of Betony) NYC’s Taste of the Nation on Monday, April 24th.

Attendees will get to spin cotton candy with Brooklyn Floss or sip one of 10 different varieties of rosé in the “Rosé Garden,” all while raising money for No Kid Hungry. And the food? Heavenly nibbles will be provided by Gerardo Gonzalez of Lalito, Eli Sussman of Samesa, Sam Mason of Oddfellows Ice Cream, Juwnghyun Park of Atoboy, and Nick Anderer of Maialino and Marta, to name just a few.

Some of what to expect from the more than 40 food and cocktail stations? Curried chickpea tamales with charred poblanos from Lalito; gnochetti with rabbit ragu, guanciale and fava beans from Freek’s Mill; and deviled eggs with prosciutto di parma from Pig Bleecker.

What we’re most excited for, though, are the Donut Derby – where the Doughnut Project will go head to head with Underwest Donuts for the winning title – and indulging our sweet tooth at the Candy Carnival, featuring local handmade sweets.

The event begins at 6PM for VIP tastings, 7PM for other tickets holders.

Taste of the Nation

Miami Weekend: The Stylish New Plymouth Hotel

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Nothing says “get me outta here” faster than a walk down SoBe’s trendy Collins Avenue on a busy weekend; yet as everyone eventually finds out, relief is just a fashionable hotel lobby away. Miami’s main drag teems with far too many overamped hotspots – so for us the stress level only starts to subside when we propel ourselves a block or two away from it all.

It’s why, in our most recent attempt to escape the daily hustle of NYC, we made our homebase the charmingly retro-fabulous new Plymouth hotel. In a striking Art Deco building and nicely located across the street from the stately Bass Museum of Art and Collins Park, it’s just the sort of chill oasis we prefer – with its own private slice of beach – and much to our delight, was not stingy with the pampering and fancy-pants amenities.

 

  • Image by Steve Hill

 

Hitting the beach was priority #1. But after soaking up the sun, we had a quick prosecco at The Cafe at our fave Lincoln Road literary destination Books & Books.

But we were also excited to check out the brandy-new outpost of NYC’s Employees Only. When it opened in New York in 2004, its sophisticated take on cocktail preparation and presentation blasted through the prevailing “Cosmotini” culture that had dominated the bar scene. Their weeks old operation in Miami offered a similar experience, a classy, grown-up respite from so much cheesy club culture. As with the original, the drinks are smashing (the Fraise Sauvage is Fords Gin shaken with wild strawberries and Tahitian vanilla), the select bites distinctive – we loved the bone marrow poppers – and per their moniker, hospitality pros (as in “employees only” –  get it?) tend to gather there, making it a lively scene – as those people really know how to get their drink on.

 

design district

 

Late mornings we indulged in the Plymouth’s so many special touches, from poolside breakfast, to a languid dip in the gorgeous pool to a lazy hang in one of the antique cabanas. A lunchtime cocktail at the tiki-like lobby bar motivated us up and out one day to the Design District (pictured above) where high fashion window-shopping can be taken to wallet busting extremes, if you’re not careful.

A short cab ride south from the Design District took us to once scruffy Wynwood, which seems to become more populous and stocked full of fabulous galleries, boutiques and trendy watering holes with each visit. Out latest favorite turned out to be with the new Wynwood Yard (pictured below) a pop-up food, music and general hangout space that even has a edible garden (ask first, don’t just start munching).

 

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But we never leave Miami without getting our Cubano on in Little Havana, a short trek west of Miami’s business center Brickell. Strolling down 8th St east of 17th Ave you’ll find cigars being rolled in storefront windows, plus mariquitas, tostones, and Cuban sandwiches on every corner, and the best bar in town, the Ball and Chain, which has been open since the ‘30s. It was also where Billie Holiday, Count Basie, and Chet Baker played at impromptu jam sessions in the ‘50s. The real thing.

Back at the Plymouth, another New York City icon had recently made its Miami debut: Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill. Dinner at this newest outpost of the Bromberg Bros. exalted mini-chain is just as sublime down south, with delectable Maki dishes like Negi Hama, Karai Kaibashira and Ebi Tempura – and a serious sake selection.

 

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Omar’s Celebrates 4th Anniversary With Glamorous Bash

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Alexandre Assouline, Michaela Vybohova & Omar

 

When Omar Hernandez opened his namesake West Village nightspot in in 2013, it immediately came to epitomize the new paradigm of elite, clandestine, yet anything by stuffy members-only supper club. Since then its plush, elegant rooms have been a prestigious meeting point and glamorous refuge for many of New York’s most fascinating people in media, fashion, publishing, etc., while also earning a stealthy reputation as a magnet for international royalty. It has, as well, hosted parties for the likes of Priyanka Chopra, Carolina Herrera and Mikimoto/BlackBook, the latter attended by Parker Posey, Nolan Funk and Cynthia Rowley.

This week the party was for Omar’s itself, a dress-up affair celebrating its fourth anniversary. In attendance were notables in fashion (Christian Siriano, Catherine Malandrino, Halston’s Cameron Silver), society (Tinsley Mortimer, Ann Dexter-Jones) and art (Tatyana Murray, Xander Ferreira), as well as photographer Ellen von Unwerth, publishing scion Alexandre Assouline, models Alex Lundqvist and Michaela Vybohova and the inimitable George Wayne – who all toasted the evening with specialty Tequila Avion cocktails. Superstar DJ Elle Dee was on the decks, providing the soundtrack.

A good bet the guest list for its five-year anniversary fete is already being considered.

 

  • Cameron Silver & Omar
  • Xander Ferreira & Ann Dexter-Jones
  • Tatyana Murray & Omar
  • Keytt & Alex Lundqvist
  • Catherine Malandrino & Omar
  • Amanda Whitcroft & Gabe Kennedy
  • George Wayne
  • Keith Patrick, Camilla Olsson, Omar & Nabeela Abrahams

Free People Threw a Party in Their Pants

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BFA / Noel McGrath

Last week, Free People, the bohemian retailer with a penchant for lively

prints, invited friends and family to put on their favorite pair of pants, and, well, just

dance. The event, which celebrated the release of a new line of bottoms, was held on

the recently opened twelfth floor of Neuehouse, a member’s only club for creatives

in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. With custom cocktails courtesy of Tito’s Vodka and

Pressed Juicery, and a DJ-set by Harley Viera-Newton, attendees danced the night

way. The room, dimly lit, with strobing ultraviolet lights, made for quite the

atmosphere. So much so that even those of with two left feet couldn’t help but get

our groove on. Between the electric outfits—you could have sworn Coachella was in

full swing—and sweeping 360-degree views, it was hard to not feel the buzz,

cocktails be damned.

Apart from the dancing, the highlight of the evening was an unexpected

double-dutch session. The jump ropes, adorned in glow sticks, quickly became the

center of attention, and the jumpers did not disappoint. By the end of the night, after

hours of dancing and an unmentionable number of juice-infused vodkas, attendees

strode out with smiles on their faces. Free People indeed.

GOODNIGHT MR. LEWIS: Webster Hall Closes, Avant Gardner Opens…Eureka!

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The purchase of the iconic East Village club, Webster Hall, by concert conglomerates AEG Presents and Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, with Bowery Presents taking over the booking, marks the end of big club entertainment in the Borough of Manhattan. Sure there are a couple of venues of size still going through the motions, but nothing that I consider worth the cab fare. Smaller spots thrive with rumors of new joints opening coming at me just about every week.

However, community boards determined to make Manhattan a bedroom community are only giving out 2AM licenses, a strategy that will eventually end the game as we know it. The city that never sleeps will seemingly go to bed early. The problem with 2AM closings for the city’s economy are profound, except for big real estate interests. The restaurant industry may lose its last turn if revelers don’t book 10pm reservations in order to enjoy lounges and dance clubs that close at 2. Taxis, Ubers. 24-hour delis and all the other places and services that feed on late night partiers will surely suffer. The incomes of future Broadway stars and artists and actors who live off tips will decrease as rents soar.

Yet in what will from this point on define this tale of two cities, Brooklyn’s Cityfox has been granted a full liquor license over the objections of local community boards. This 6000 person capacity, 80,000 square foot venue promises to be all things to all people and will surely be a boost to everything Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick. Long ago the “bridge and tunnel” patrons of Manhattan clubs migrated to the “city,” gobbling up condos, while the artistic, creative types crossed those dreaded bridges and formed the creative cauldron that now includes parts of Bed-Stuy and Ridgewood.

 

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The new owners of Webster Hall will reportedly spend $10 million to make the space, which has thrived for well over a hundred years, a more comfortable and modern venue. I believe the place is landmarked, and that raises the question on what can be redone and what must remain as it ever was. I talked to a couple of Webster Hall employees and one predicted some of them will retain their jobs. They couldn’t say whether club nights will be part of the new programing or how the reported $35 million purchase price will be divided among the huge Ballinger family which operated the spot since 1992.

Soon there will be very few reasons to travel into Manhattan. Every shop or restaurant worth its salt will find a niche in the outer boroughs. An entirely new city has emerged and now it is grander on most levels than our original city of dreams. I was at Webster Hall last week for Kayvon Zand’s fabulous Saturday night fete on the VIP balcony. I sat right about where I had seen The Ramones and Tina Turner and a hundred legendary acts. Down below a rather not very large crowd stood around watching a DJ while a few actually danced. Kayvon told me his crowd loved the big club experience that they had heard about in the history books. I smiled thinking to myself that this wasn’t it.

Cityfox’s new Bushwick spot called Avant Gardner will more than provide an alternative. The reasons people dressed up and went out hasn’t changed in 20 years, and it won’t in a hundred years or a millennium. We go out to meet each other, hang out in front of the DJ booth or the fire under the stars. It is here that we seek ourselves and display it and share it with others. The redefining of Webster Hall and the promise of Avant Gardner is a eureka moment, a passing of the torch. Manhattan as an “in” spot will still flourish in its nooks and crannies, but the heavy lifting will be found across the East River.

 

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FIRST LOOK: Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai Hotel

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Was it so long ago, the Dubai real estate market seemed in peril, and analysts predicted the whole place might just…”go out of business”?

Surely those worries are dispelled now, however – and Dubai is back to showing off in a really big way. To wit, this extravagant new statement hotel, brought to you by two of the most notable names in statement luxury: Viceroy and Jumeirah. Indeed, the Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai has just soft-opened, with 477 plush rooms spread over 16 towering floors. The building itself is a feat of trick-of-the-eye architecture, sporting a massive glass cube that appears to float in front of the hotel. The interiors, by superstar designers Yabu Pushelberg, exhibit a soothing, understated luxe.

 

JUNIOR SUITE PARTIAL SEA VIEW

 

This being Dubai, the hotel flaunts four restaurants (including an outpost of London’s celeb-magnet Quattro Passi, by Michelin-starred Amalfi chef Antonio Mellino), the chic wine bar Elevate, and a spectacular pool with corresponding poolside bar. For detox and mover/shaker stress relief, there’s also a 1675 square meter spa. Expect excellent people watching throughout.

N.B. The very busy Viceroy Hotel Group is also prepping new hotels in Chicago, Colombia, Argentina, Panama, Portugal and Turkey. Stay tuned.

 

VICEROY SWIMMING POOL