GoogaMooga: City’s Best Food, World’s Best Porta-Potties

Okay, so The Great GoogaMooga wasn’t all that great—but at a festival packed with chocolate ice cream, drip coffee, beer, and fried chicken, they sure did one thing right: the Porta-Potties.

These were no ordinary Porta-Potties. After gorging on three Baked ice cream sandwiches, a plate of Tertulia paella, half an Umami burger, a dirt cake chocolate pudding from a Top Chef contestant, and three beers—I was pooped and ready to pee.  

But unlike any other porta-potty I’ve ever seen in my entire life, these porta-potties had character. They had cleanliness. Immaculate seats and walls, no stench, and the best part: outside sink stations with pedal-pumped water and soap. So you can wash your hands.

For the four hours I was there (after circling the entirety of the park to find the tickets tent), I actually looked forward to going to the bathroom. Part of it was because I wanted to wait out the long line at the Dinosaur BBQ stand and mourn (in private) the fact that Wooly’s Ice was sold out by 3pm. Also, I drank too much beer. But most of all, I just appreciated the clean space and antibacterial soap. 

So next year, even if they continue to only serve dead animals and abstain from handing out Disneyland-style fast passes, let’s hope they do one thing right: preserve the potties. 

Five Music Festivals That Will Keep New Yorkers At Home This Summer

With Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza both coming up in the next few months, we’re afraid that our festival budgets are already maxed-out. But we here at BlackBook think there’s plenty more fun to be had and jams to be shared, and there are plenty of local music festivals this summer that will help us beat the heat and save some cash. No airfare or accomodation fees? We’re there—we just need to know where to go! Here are five upcoming events that will keep us having fun at home.

GoogaMooga: May 19-20, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park

Headliners: The Roots, Holy Ghost!, Hall and Oates, Fitz & the Tantrums

Special features: Food, food, and more food, including Momofuku Milk Bar, Kutsher’s Tribeca, The Spotted Pig, Dinosaur BBQ, Mile End, Vinegar Hill House, DuMont Burger, and for those health-conscious festival goers, Juice Press! Additionally, the festival will have a wine tasting tent featuring over 100 wines from around the world and a beer tasting pavilion featuring over 30 different domestic and foreign draft beer makers.

The gist: Eating Momofuku crack pie and drinking artisanal beer to the tune of “Rich Girl” sounds like my idea of a perfect Saturday.


Camp Bisco
: July 12-14, Indian Lookout Country Club, Mariaville, NY

Headliners: The Disco Biscuits, Skrillex, Crystal Castles, Atmosphere

Special features: Camp Bisco will feature three days and nights of music on five stages. Boogie away to top international dance acts as well as in the silent disco, where listeners tune in on wireless headsets. And the most fun part? Camping! Pull up in your RV or pitch your tent, and enjoy the fresh air of the great outdoors. Buy a VIP ticket for access to a VIP lounge and showers, plush toilets, and complimentary massages! VIP Platinum ticketholders get extra perks including a backstage Surf and Turf with members of the Disco Biscuits and other artists. I’m sold.

The gist: Camping in the unsullied upstate air, upbeat dance tunes, plush toilets, showers, and MASSAGES! What else would I need!?


Catalpa
: July 28-29, Randall’s Island

Headliners: The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg, TV on the Radio, Girl Talk, Cold War Kids

Special features: A silent disco will also be featured at Catalpa (seeing a new trend here?) There is also an Ultimate VIP Cabana and Hot-Tub Package for a group of ten with bottle service and other special accommodations. Frisky’s Church of Sham Marriages is setting up a basecamp within Catalpa. Looking to get married during the festival…or at least fake-married?? This 60-foot inflatable church is available for all of you lovers out there to get hitched. Great way to test (read: scare) your boyfriends, ladies! Don’t worry: rings and veils are provided! There’s also a raggae stage procured by High Times Magazine, which is sure to provide chill vibes. 

The gist of it: Snoops Dogg performing his seminal Doggystyle in its entirety, celebrating the sanctity of marriage, and cabanas with hot tubs, Catalpa will surely not disappoint.

 

Governors Ball Music Festival: June 23-24, Randall’s Island

Headliners: Beck, Passion Pit, Kid Cudi, Modest Mouse, Fiona Apple, Chromeo

Special features: An impressive roster of food offerings, which includes Luke’s Lobster, Asia Dog, The Taco Truck, Food Freak Grilled Cheese, and Hill Country. Lawn games include ping pong (presented by Spin New York), beer pong, bocce ball, and croquet. There will be a silent disco room (Yes, again!). VIP ticketholders will receive massage services, shaded seating, and more. The kicker? No overlapping sets! 

The gist: Eating Luke’s Lobster while getting a massage while playing beer pong whilst listening to Beck. I’m up for multitasking.

Electric Zoo: August 31-September 2, Randall’s Island

Headliners: Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Benny Benassi, Tiesto, David Guetta, Above and Beyond, A-Trak,

Specials features: Last year 85,000 people attended this special event and we are expecting a large turnout again! VIP passes include access to air-conditioned bathrooms, plush furniture, complimentary food, and an open bar. For all of you on a budget, Electric Zoo is offering a payment plan for ticket purchasers. You can now pay in installments over time. How thoughtful!

The gist: Three days of house music, electronic vibes, and thousands of festival-goers fist-pumping on Randall’s Island. Tiesto under the stars? And pay later? Done.

BlackBook Staff Picks: Dining, Drinking, Shopping, & Staying

Here at BlackBook, we pay a lot of attention to where cool customers go out — bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, hotels, you name it. So why not flip the frame and let you see where we go out? Here’s a periodically updated, exhaustive list of hotspots currently favored by everyone at BlackBook, from the mighty bosses down to the humble interns, from the charming local lounges around the corner to the jet-setting temples of luxe living.

EDITORIAL ● Editorial Director/Editor-in-Chief – Ray Rogers, Café Mogador (NYC) – Hummus, crack-caliber coffee, and outdoor patio for primo people-judging and “novel writing.” ● Creative Director – Jason Daniels, Babettes (East Hampton) – Don’t let the word “organic” turn you off . ● Executive Editor – Chris Mohney, Pegu Club (NYC) – OCD cocktail heaven. Pith helmet and ivory cane optional. ● Senior Editor – Nick Haramis, The Jane Hotel and Ballroom (NYC) – Latest smash from Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode gets all Edwardian on the WVill.

● Editor-at-Large – James Servin, The Raleigh (Miami) – The local equivalent of LA’s Chateau Marmont. ● Staff Writer – Ryan Adams, Republic (NYC) – Minimalist fave and only vaguely communist, which is more fun than the full-bore thing. ● Writer-at-Large – Alison Powell, Wurstküche (LA) – Hey, sausages! Downtown hipsters with a secret inner-manly-man are pleased. ● West Coast Editor – Matt Diehl, Cole’s (LA) – The 100-year-old buffet-style cafeteria comes back as something new (but the French dip stays). ● Nightlife Correspondent – Steve Lewis, La Esquina (NYC) – Day and night, eating, meeting and playing. ● Paris Correspondent – Dana Thomas, Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Hotel (Paris) – Posh sips & historic ambiance at the Ritz. ● Assistant Editors – Ben Barna, Tokyo (Montreal) – Buy one for the buff bartender while you’re at it—he’s a starving actor. Cayte GrieveCafé Asean (NYC) Foster Ethan KamerLa Superior (NYC) – Quite possibly the best little taqueria this side of town. ● Editorial Assistant – Eiseley Tauginas, Alta (NYC) – Alta, as in “high,” as in “haute,” at this sexy Village tapas spot. ● Copy Editor – Michèle Filon, Sripraphai (NYC) ● Editorial Interns – Annie Clinton Moto (NYC) – High-flavor food with dungeon loos. Sure, Moto’s for metros, but it’s hot anyway. Delia Paunescu Schiller’s Liquor Bar (NYC) – McNally’s successful entrée into the LES mess. Desiree Pais, Lit (NYC) – Rock bar du jour for hos and bros of the ain’t we the shit? set. Alexandra Vickers, Colette (Paris) – Art, style, music, sex and water.

ART ● Art Director – Amy Steinhauser, Five Leaves (NYC) – Café posthumously funded by Heath Ledger does justice to the work and hype put into it. ● Photography Assistant – Stephanie Swanicke, Brandy Library (NYC) – Highbrow mixology, let us know when it’s time to dust off the antique bottles on the upper shelf. ● Design/Photo Interns – Angela Chen, Dinosaur BBQ (NYC) – Roadhouse bringing southerners to Northern Manhattan. Krista Quick – Ottobar (Baltimore) – What can we say, this place rocks.Jeremy Jones – Tokyo Bar, (NYC) – Schizo décor and food, but decently done all the same.

FASHION & BEAUTY ● Fashion Director-at-Large – Elizabeth Sulcer, China Grill (NYC) -Heaping plates of Asian fusion amid fashionable environs. ● Market Editor – Bryan Levandowski, Bondi Road (NYC) – Wizards of Aus in NYC, we like your style. ● Fashion Assistant – Wilson Mathews III, Per Se (NYC) – Advanced gastronomy at the Time Warner Center. Thomas Keller pulls out all the stops. ● Fashion Interns – Samantha Shaw, Chez Janou (Paris) – Boisterous southern bistro near the Place des Vosges. Julien Blanc, La Esquina (NYC) – Fairly authentic Mexican and one of the city’s best-known “secret” bars. Laura Watters, Café Habana (NYC) – Scarfing roast pork is so much better when Mary-Kate is watching, longingly. Lindsay Abrams, Sketch: Gallery (London) – Quirky soho hot spot. BlackBook magazine Founder – Evanly Schindler, The Smile (NYC) – Earnest Sewn owners take over abandoned Double Crown space for Med-inspired cafe/boutique.

BLACKBOOK MEDIA CORP ● Chairman – Bob Hoff, Guys & Dolls (LA) – Sophisticated sexy in West Hollywood. 7 nights a week. ● CEO – Ari Horowitz, L’Ecole (NYC) – Get schooled in fine French cuisine at this tasty training center. ● Associate Publisher – Brett Wagner, Café Select (NYC) – SoHo café marries Swiss Alpine to downtown design, garners Next Brunch Place status. ● Director of Finance and Operations – Joe Friedman, Lucky Strike Lanes (NYC) – Scenester bowling from the dudes behind Marquee and Tao. ● Corporate Counsel – Drew Patrick of Drew Patrick Law, Dutch Kills (NYC) – Modern-day antique saloon from New York’s cocktail kings. ● Executive Assistant – Bridgette Bek, Motorino (NYC) – Belgian-bred Mathieu Palombino’s Billyburg pizza joint serves up personal pan-sized genius, one pie at a time.

ADVERTISING ● Senior Account Executive – Dina Matar, Gascogne (NYC) – Southern French cooking without the Southern French ‘tude. ● Account Executive – Brian Kantor, Botanica (NYC) – Dive that must be working some kind of Santeria to keep prices down in this excessive nabe. ● Executive Director, BlackBook Access – Gregg Berger, La Piaggia (Miami) – Keep your feet in the sand and your hand on the rosé glass at this waterfront café francaise. ● Detroit Account Executives – Jeff Hannigan, Blind Tiger Ale House (NYC) – Beer bar institution finds new home, devoted crowd. Kristen von Bernthal, Pure Food and Wine (NYC) – Say goodbye to a future of pacemakers and a gut the shape of China. Raw food is real food. ● Midwest Account Executives – Susan Welter, Perennial (Chicago) – This could easily become Chicago’s summer hotspot for years to come. ● Andrea Forrester, Mirai (Chicago) – Thumpin’ music and bumpin’ elbows don’t deter crowds from gathering for some of the city’s finest sushi. ● Southwest Account Executive – Molly Ballantine, Gjelina (LA) – New Venice, new American hotspot takes on Hollywood posturing and tude. ● Northwest Account Executives – Catherine Hurley, 15 Romolo (San Francisco) – Bourbon & Branch without the passwords and financial types. Shawn O’Meara, Suppenküche (San Francisco) – Fun place, hearty food. Check the diet at the door. Sales Coordinator – Claire Pujol, Fat Baby (NYC) – Dank in a clean way. Do not enter without skinny jeans.

MARKETING ● Marketing Manager – Julie Fabricant, Kingswood (NYC) – Creative Aussie eats. Feel like king of the W. Vill woods. ● Partnerships & Promotions Manager – Andrew Berman, Bozu (NYC) – Sunken Japanese paradise. Delectable sushi, incredible drinks. ● Interns – Rebecca Hill, Chicago Brauhaus (Chicago) – One of the last of Chicago’s great German restaurants with live oompah bands and an Oktoberfest menu year-round. Delna Joshi, Hudson Terrace (NYC) – Rooftop pleaser for drunk summer afternoons. Brianne Murphy, Beauty Bar (NYC) – Kitschy theme bar serving up mani/drink combos under a row of hair dryers. Elizabeth Pirozzi, Pink Elephant (NYC) – Gangsters, models, and house. Where one goes, the others must follow. Monica Dybuncio, Cha Cha Cha (San Francisco) – The Haight’s never-ending Caribbean party where Santerias and sangria rule. Emily Pflug Presidio, Delfina (San Francisco) – Overly moussed males, technophiles, and high-class hipsters collide in this local fine dining favorite. Lea Abeyta, The Annex (NYC) – Grown-up newcomer from Dark Room boys. Tiswas Saturday, Interpol’s Paul B holding down Wednesday. Joanna Rubinstein, Bar Breton (NYC) – Fleur de Sel’s tastes of Brittany now available in brasserie form. Marie Baginski, East Andrews Cafe & Bar (Atlanta) – Label toters run amok at Buckhead restaurant-bar and pack the place on Thursdays and Fridays. Megan Kunecki, Blender Theater at Gramercy (NYC) -New indie rocker hosting artists you put on your iPod for show while you’re really listening to “Since U Been Gone” again. Jay Kassirer, The Smile (NYC) – Earnest Sewn owners take over abandoned Double Crown space for Med-inspired cafe/boutique. Suhee Eom, Momofuku Ssäm Bar (NYC) – Chef-of-the-minute David Chang fancies up Korean burritos and gets avant-garde after 6pm. Jaime Marie, Sueños (NYC) – Sweet dreams of organic tequila and make-your-own-tacos really can come true! Rana Razavi, Sanctuary (Miami) – Swank rooftop bar and the promise of hanky panky in the pool.

DIGITAL ● Director of Development – Daniel Murphy, Yerba Buena (NYC) – Petite hot zone with wide range of Pan-Latino small plates. ● Lead Architect – Matt Hackett, Beast (Brooklyn) – Small plates and top brunch, come get lost in Prospect Heights. Developer – Bastian Kuberek, Motor City Bar (NYC) – Front like you remember how to drive and these 8 Milers might let you hang. ● Developer – Dan Simon, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill (NYC) ● Designer – Matt Strmiska, Manuel’s (Austin) – Immaculate cleanliness, smart design, and Wine Spectator-designated mole don’t come cheap even for the downtown lunch crowd. ● Developer – Sam Withrow, Pacific Standard (NYC) – Mellow, big-hearted Slope pub keepin’ it pacific. ● Quality Assurance Engineer – Sunde Johnson, Stone Park Café (NYC) – White on white, Williams-Sonoma, Maclarens, fish sandwiches, and burgers. ● Mobile Developer – Otto Toth, Centolire (NYC) – Mangia, mangia, and then ride up and down in the funny glass elevator until the hostess kicks you out.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS ● Bob Hoff, Guys & Dolls (LA) – Sophisticated sexy in West Hollywood. 7 nights a week. ● Ari Horowitz, L’Ecole (NYC) – Get schooled in fine French cuisine at this tasty training center. ● Eric Gertler, SoHo House (NYC) – Members-only decadent den where you may find scruffy English rockers or snaggle-toothed English bankers. Guess which is more likely. ● Joe Landry, Local (LA) – Anything goes, as long as it’s not beef. ● Irwin Lieber, Fishtail by David Burke (NYC) – Fresh seafood in the UES by celeb chef David Burke. ● Dan Pelson, Marea (NYC) – Hopes for a high tide abound at Michael White’s temple to Italian seafood. ● Barry Rubenstein, Shun Lee Café (NYC) – Haute Chinese and dim sum on a glossy, ’80s-fabulous set. ● Jack Sullivan, Blue Ribbon (NYC) – Bromberg bros brasserie takes care of Soho’s after-midnight crowd.
Brian Wilson Tickets Capital One Bank Theatre at Westbury Tickets Westbury Tickets

Industry Insiders: John Stage, Pit Man

For a taste of what many have named New York City’s best barbecue, you must venture up to 131st Street in Harlem, take a gander under the Riverside Drive Bridge, and viola, Dinosaur BBQ. John Stage, the owner of the original Syracuse roadhouse and its satellite locations (Rochester, Harlem), sat us down at the roundtable, gave us a tour of the slow-roasting barbecue pits, and explained the art of making beautiful meat.

How did Dinosaur BBQ come into being? I started Dinosaur BBQ in 1983 as a mobile concession business, doing biker events, fairs, festivals. I was a gypsy BBQ guy for five years. I ended up in Syracuse and opened up my first Dinosaur location in 1988, opened up my second one in Rochester in 1998, and my son went to college around 2004 so I decided to move back to New York. That’s when I opened up Dinosaur here.

So, you started out feeding bikers? I was at this event in 1983 called the Harley Rendezvous, and it was a big gathering of hardcore bikers. I wasn’t doing anything really significant at the time, so I was looking around, and saying, “Man, I should get in the business of feeding bikers. They’re some hungry men.” Back then, it was a very, very close society. It’s not like it is now where everybody rides a Harley. I literally cut a fifty-five gallon drum in half and went to the organizers of these bike events and asked them to let me cook. That’s how it started. I called myself Dinosaur BBQ, but I really wasn’t barbecue. I was grilling. As I started cracking the Mason-Dixon line in the mid-80s I realized what I was doing; as a matter of fact I was told what I was doing. People would say, “Son, this is good but it ain’t barbecue.” I didn’t know what the hell barbecue was. I was raised in New York. To me, barbecue was throwing a hamburger or hot dog on a grill. I started learning about pits and slow cooking, and it really intrigued me. I eventually got on my bike and took a tour of the south to get a taste of what real barbecue was. It became a life’s pursuit from that point.

How do you describe the Dinosaur BBQ recipe? We smoke in the traditional southern manner. In Tennessee, Texas, and North Carolina, we’re all pretty much doing the same thing — cooking meat for long periods of time with an indirect fire. If you had to categorize it, our pulled pork is probably the most Memphis-based, our brisket is definitely Texan. Our barbecue pits are made in Mesquite, Texas, but we’ve got our own style. I can’t say I’m ever one to try and duplicate any one region.

How’d you choose this location? I was living on 101st Street at the time, and every time I went on the West Side Highway on 125th Street, I liked the feel and the vibe of it. I just loved the idea of being under this bridge. If you walk out, take a look at this bridge, it was the same architect that built the Eiffel Tower. There’s such a power and presence here.

Describe the Dinosaur BBQ clientele. We probably have the most diverse clientele in New York City. We get everybody from my neighbors, the Harlemites, people from all over Manhattan, the Bronx, Jersey, Westchester, some Columbia University students. You name it, we get it. You come here on any night and you’re going to see black, Latino, white people just mixing it up having a good time.

All coming together for the love of barbecue? Barbecue defies all socioeconomic boundaries. I’ve always said that. You know, rich and poor — it don’t matter. People feel good when eating barbecue. It’s really diverse and I like it that way.

How do your restaurants upstate different from this one? They’re all different. You can never duplicate an original. I would never try to take the Syracuse restaurant and put it anywhere else. I had to go with the architectural integrity of each building. The one in Syracuse is an old, turn-of-the-century auto dealership — it was the first Cadillac dealership in Syracuse. The Rochester location is a 1905 train station. It’s on the water, and it’s an incredible piece of architecture. They all feel like a Dinosaur, but they look a little bit different. They have the same vibe and flavor, but I would never try to copy any of them. I want them all to be slightly different. If someone goes, “Well this don’t feel like Syracuse” … well good, it’s not supposed to.

Was the first joint a hit from the start? It wasn’t at first. Again, back then it was a different environment. If there were motorcycles parked in front of a restaurant years ago, it had a bad reputation. Now nobody cares. Back then it was different. So the first year, nobody really got us, and then it started catching. By the second year, it was big. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I finally got a liquor license. We were a place just to get a good plate of food. But no one was going on dates there; no one was making it a night out. Once we got our liquor license, then the whole vibe of it changed, and we became a real place to go to. Then we started adding live music.

Do you guys do music shows here in the New York location? On Monday night we have an open jam, and on Friday and Saturday. We have music three nights a week, sometimes four.

Do you have any interest in expanding? We’re looking at a space in Brooklyn right now. I take one at a time. We may put another one upstate, but I’m not sure yet. There’s three balls in the air and I’m not sure where they’re going to drop right now.

What should someone order their first time here? Our number-one selling item is the ribs. Our ribs are St. Louis cut, and we slow-smoke them for up to four hours until the meat pulls off the bone. We rub them, smoke them lightly, and put light sauce on them. Our brisket is all about that slow-cooking process. We’ll smoke the brisket for up to 12 hours. and all the fat and all the connective tissue is based out. It ends up having slightly more fat than a bone of skinless chicken breast. The fatty part of the brisket drips out. I’ll put a plate of lean brisket up against any order of skinless breast, and it’ll have a lower fat content and be healthier for you. Pulled pork is the same thing. It’s a pork shoulder. If you put a nine-pound pork shoulder in the pit, you’re going to end up with four pounds of usable meat, because all that fat drips out of it. That’s what makes good barbecue. You want to start with a fatty piece of meat, and then the cooking process leaves it with a good flavor. It’s lean, and you’re never going to see hunks of fat on a piece of pulled pork.

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What time do you have to start cooking the meat to get ready for lunch hour? What you would be eating for lunch today went into the barbecue pit last night. We load it up about 1 a.m.

Does someone have to be here 24 hours a day? No, we’ll build a fire that will take it until about six in the morning. The barbecue pits maintain a certain temperature, and they cook very slowly at 250 degrees. The fuel self-regulates. If you’re burning low, that fire takes a long time to go down. If we were cooking at 500 degrees, that fire would be gone in an hour and a half. Because it’s at 250 degrees, we can stretch it until about 6 a.m. Another guy comes in around 7 a.m., puts another log on the fire, and builds it back up again.

Where do you go out in this neighborhood? My favorite bar in Harlem is St. Nick’s Pub on 148th Street and St. Nicholas. It’s a great old-school jazz club. Showman’s on 125th Street is a blast. Lennox Lounge is cool. I go around the corner to my friends at Toast — that’s a good Dinosaur watering hole. Those are my Harlem haunts.

How much barbecue do you eat on a daily basis? We’re going to sit down at 11:30 a.m. and do a big tasting. We do this every day in the morning, and then again at 5 p.m. When the barbecue comes out, we inspect it and taste it. I eat barbecue every day. I’m not sitting down with massive plates of it, but I’m sampling it everyday. We get a team of the general manager, the kitchen manager, and my service director. We all sit down to sample our food each day, and then we have a roundtable discussion about it. If something’s perfect, it goes over here, if it needs a little something more, it goes over here. We just re-tweak everything.

Best barbecue joints in the country? I loveThe Salt Lick right outside of Austin. It’s the quintessential Texas barbecue restaurant. It’s about 22 miles outside of Austin, in a dry county, and it’s nestled on this very picturesque road. You start smelling it about a mile out. If I’m in Memphis, I like the Cozy Corner.