Outsmart the Holidays with Wunwun

We touched on it last week: Wunwun, the anything-on-demand app that helps you get anything that you want from any NYC store (standing in lines for $24 per hour), with a customized helper sending texts, pictures, and asking questions along the way. The service works perfectly, with the real joy being that it allows you to be in two places at once. Since it’s the holidays, there is no time this could be better put to use, whether you’re a New Yorker home for the holidays or a tourist spending the holidays in the city (Wunwun is Manhattan-only right now). Shopping is so much of a hassle this season, especially because of the lines, and Wunwun will stand in them for you.

Here are a few ideas on how to use Wunwun to score last minute gifts and outsmart the crowds:

Ladurée

The beloved purveyor of French macarons, currently has only a single Upper East Side location. While the goods are certainly worth the wait, it could cost you an hour of your time. Send a helper to pick up a dozen for you.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

The home of this summer’s biggest craze, Cronuts, still requires a pre-sunrise, early morning commitment. Holiday parties and their ensuing hangovers will make this impossible. Send a helper and check something off of your list before you even wake up.

Ippudo  

Arguably the best ramen (at least the most famous) in the city, with waits clocking in at cinematic lengths, Ippudo makes the perfect end to a day out shopping in the cold. Send a helper to hold your place while you enjoy a drink nearby or peruse nearby shops.

Download Wunwun in the app store.

FOOD CURRENTLY: Sriracha, Foraging, and (iPhone) Apps

Bro, do you even forage?

With the amount of coverage regarding the looming Sriracha shortage – beloved condiment to gutter punks, French chefs, food bloggers, and your mom, (and starring briefly as a Lay’s flavor) – one has to ask if we’ve hit Foodie Critical Mass. There’s never been more excitement or conversation about food, restaurants, and the food system, which is great. Sriracha is the perfect embodiment of where we are with food culture, a rags to riches story featuring an entrepreneur bringing to light a previously unappreciated cuisine by using an easy-to-get and very bold flavor profile. Its ubiquity is shocking; a recent trip to the Bahamas landed me in the island’s poorly stocked grocery store, featuring only cans of tuna, wilted iceberg, and a fully stocked Sriracha aisle.

Mass appreciation at hand, the widespread obsession with eye-wateringly hot foods has grown as well, so facing this shortage, now’s the chance for a new star to take center stage. Gochujang, the funky fermented Korean hot spread (you’ll find it in any Koreatown BBQ) is an easy sub. Szechaun peppercorns, made famous by Danny Bowien’s Mission Chinese, make your tongue numb, and the still-long waits suggest that Mission’s cinnamon challenge quality has definite appeal.

Perhaps, though, Fredrik Berselius’s brilliant foraging for Aska could be the buzzy new thing (maybe facilitated by the help of the anything-on-demand Wunwun app). It’s hard to imagine drunk bros foraging for conifer sprouts in Washington Square Park, but I don’t think that anybody foresaw sending children the to the hospital with inflamed stomachs from Flaming Hot Cheetos. Just imagine what it would mean for Santacon. Next year…

#NoGoatLeftBehind: The Farmer’s Dinner Series at The Fat Radish

Serendipity placed The Fat Radish’s most recent Farmer’s Dinner on Sunday night, an evening that turned out to be the first brisk one of the season. Huddled inside the cozy front bar, invited guests like jewelry designers Lizzie and Kathryn Fortunato mingled with the rest, sipping on crisp sekt and nibbling on what turned out to be many’s first experience with goat, the theme of the evening. The second of the Farmer’s Dinner series, No Goat Left Behind was the much anticipated sequel to the enormously successful first installment, Let’s Get Piggy With It, in which nose to tail dining took a literal turn and a single pig was utilized for every dish served.

No Goat Left Behind is an initiative formed to raise diners’ awareness of two issues – first being that our country’s insatiable appetite for goat cheese leads to an abundance of wasted goat meat, (and as such, mistreated animals,) the second being that goat is delicious. Most admitted their familiarity with the protein du jour was limited to Jamaican curries and Indian stews, with a nervous excitement for what Chef Phil Lewis had in store. The evening kicked with an assortment of crostini featuring goat liver mousse, goat tartar, and goat heart, and a goat charcuterie board, which the group inhaled.

The five-course meal was the perfect antidote for the shock of the surprisingly cold night, with diners sitting communally around candlelight, enjoying the menu among the constant chatter of new friends discussing each course. Beginning with a croquette, both rich and light, cut with cucumber, dill, and yogurt, the food proved to be warm and enveloping. The wines, by Savio Soares Selections, paired unexpected grapes from small organic wineries with traditional flavor attributes – the Pinot Grigio, for instance, mimicked the most pitch-perfect Riesling to the goat croquette. The next course moved to a goat and quinoa-stuffed cabbage unlike anything you’ve choked down at a family reunion, swimming in a veloute of potato and garlic, followed by a family-style platter of braised goat and served over soft, velvety polenta. The roasted loin and leg of baby goat with mashed potatoes used its decadence to set up for the dessert, a fennel and goat’s milk panacotta, garnished with grapefruit and cracked black pepper, the perfect crisp astringency to take one down from the luxurious umami of the entire evening.

By the end of the dinner, the crowd – the type of people that marketers pray for, designers, chefs, hoteliers, architects, and jewelry designers – gave a final toast, celebrating the talent behind the meal, the organizers who toiled over the details, and the cause itself – the celebration of the unsung and incredible goat. Nicholas Wilber, former chef at The Fat Radish, now uptown at Silkstone’s newest venture, The East Pole, may have said it best: “it’s kind of like that ‘kale’ moment.” With goat making regular appearances on the specials menu at The East Pole, and an evening in which every cuisine of now benefits from it, that may just be the case.

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