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…

This Week’s NY Happenings: Taste of Greenwich House, Aska, XL

TODAY (Monday): Taste Of Greenwich House
For over a century, Greenwich House has been uplifting New Yorkers with social programs, from music schools to senior centers. Pitch in by ponying up for the annual Taste of Greenwich House tonight, Monday the 11th, and you’ll graze from a greatest hits package of neighbor restaurants. Anita Lo and Annisa will be featured, joined by fresh blood like BarracaMarble Lane, and Swine. Live music and an open bar will keep the Metropolitan Pavilion swinging.

General admission for Taste of Greenwich House at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 W. 18th St., Chelsea) begins at 7:30pm tonight, Monday the 11th. Tickets are $150 ($100 is tax-deductible). To learn more about the event space, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides. Photo by Ebbe Sweet Photography.

FRIDAY: Scandi Man Can
Fredrik Berselius’s smash Aska continues to evolve, with an upgraded tasting menu kicking off this Friday. Ten courses tour through Scandi-inspired innovations, with drink pairings to match (weekend nights only).

Ten-course tasting menus start this Friday at Aska (90 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg). To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

SUNDAY: Saint Patrick McMullan
Irish eyes will be smiling when Patrick McMullan kicks off his 30th annual St. Patty’s Day party at XL. Irish dancers, DJ Lady Oh’Bunny, and Stoli Shamrock martinis highlight the bill.

St. Patrick’s Day at XL (512 W. 42nd St., Midtown West) starts at 10pm on Sunday the 17th. To learn more about the bar, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Be the first to know about the latest openings & events in NYC by signing up for the weekly BlackBook Happenings email & downloading the BlackBook City Guides app for iPhone and Android.