This Weekend: Work & Play All of Labor Day

It seems to be happening fast. Last night I felt comfortable going out in my leather jacket; the temperatures easily allowed it. There was a hint of cool air in the wind, and traffic was nonexistent. I could park anywhere in my ‘hood. I had a Kojak spot in front of the house. New Yorkers were off to elsewheres, grasping at the last straws of summer. Union Pool’s patrons included last-gasping college types partying hardy before they were off to dorms in exotic locales where they will surely party just as hardy. The small talk was all about "what are you doing for the weekend?" As for me, I’m headed out Monday to DJ poolside at The Montauk Beach House.

My plan (and I never plan) is to play all surf rock, from Jan and Dean to the Ventures to the Tandems, Beach Boys, and Dick Dale – heavy on the surf guitar instrumental tracks. I’m bringing along a bikini-clad go-go gal for effect. I might drive out on Sunday morning and crash at a friend’s. I want to catch the DJ setfrom Julio Santo Domingo. He is the founder of Sheik ‘n’ Beik parties and record label. They throw events in New York City as well as in Miami, London, Paris, and Barcelona. It’s going to be techno music for the socialites…  not my usual cup of tea but since it is the end of summer… I may upgrade from that cup of tea. Besides, while not teetotaling, I get to hang with pal DJ and The Montauk Beach House booker Terry Casey, fast friend DJ Kris Graham, and the awesome DJ Brigitte Marie who, with a bunch of others, will be on before and after sir Julio. I’ll pop by Ditch Plains Beach, where surfers will be trying to catch that last wave of the season. The trip home should take about seven hours of bumper-to-bumper. Amanda will opt for singing “99 Barrels of Beer” rather than listen to my mixed tapes …again. Although it’s hard to have trouble in bumper-to-bumper please be aware that the roads are dangerously full of party animals who truly believe that they can
drink and drive.

Last night I dined with Marky Ramone, his lovely Marion, Jonny Lennon, and Adam Alpert at Gran Electrica, 5 Front Street, in Brooklyn. It was all fun and games ‘till the food came and then it was hard to concentrate on anything else. It was outside and wonderful and the war stories underneath the ivy were so much fun. Mark, the last of the Ramones as I knew them, is enjoying considerable success in his "post" career with his band Blitzkrieg and all sorts of other spin-offs and endeavors. The best benchmark for success, as I see it when I get to hang with him, is the all apparent love and respect and admiration he shares with Marion. I met them, we figured out last night, over 34 years ago. They have never wavered. He has never allowed the awe I have for his career interfere with our friendship. Jonny and Adam are my DJ agents and they must be good at it because I’m spinning three times this week…The Montauk Beach House on Monday, Hotel Chantelle tonight, and Bantam tomorrow. I will move off my usual rock offerings at all three gigs and serve up some Michael Jackson, who was born on August 29th, 1958. I read that, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, Michael Jackson was the most successful entertainer of all time. I guess that depends on how you define success.

Hey Kids, It’s Goatober

Last year’s “No Goat Left Behind” program proved so successful, Heritage Foods USA decided to do it again. Enter, Goatober: a month dedicated to eating, milking, and loving these funny-eyed, four-legged mammals. 

“It’s urgent for us to have an outlet to sell these lovely creatures so we can focus on our primary goal, which is to make cheese,” said Angela Miller co-owner Consider Bardwell Farm. “We want to create a demand for goat meat the way there is a demand for lamb, they are very similar in flavor.” 

Heritage Foods USA started their push for goat awareness to bring to light the amount of male goats, which can’t be milked for our beloved goat cheese, that end up getting slaughtered with no purpose. Goats can birth two or three kids at a time, but what can you do with the males besides consume them? So, eat we must.

This year, 53 restaurants have participated in the effort to bring goat to the table, including Minetta Tavern, Colicchio and Sons, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Fette Sau, Gran Electrica, Parish Hall and more. Also, if you happen to be in Charleston, SC, at 6:30pm on Sunday, Hominy Grill’s James Beard award-winning chef Robert Stehling hosts a five-course feast of goat with dishes like grille goat loin, goat cheese salad, and goats head soup. Of course, if you happen to live in Brooklyn, getting a good goat curry isn’t too hard either, especially if you hit up Fisherman’s Cove or Christie’s Jamaican Patties

Get Down With 2013’s Michelin-Rated Restaurants

This week restaurants around the city celebrated the release of the 2013 Michelin Guide. One of the best features about this prestigious tome is their “good cuisine at reasonable price,” Bib Gourmand section. For the Bib Gourmand, they consider restaurant that offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less. Here, they don’t offer stars, but getting mentioned in the guide is enough for many eateries. 

“I couldn’t be more excited about our mention in the Michelin guide,” said Speedy Romeo chef and co-owner Justin Bazdarich. “I really see the guide as an honest measure for a restaurant rating, so, it means a lot to me to gain their respect.”

Aside from Speedy Romeo, highlighted this year include Gran Electrica, Pok Pok, and Battersby, which was also voted one of the best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetite magazine. It also appears to be the golden time for Bed-Stuy’s Do or Dine. Not only did chef and co-owner Justin Warner winFood Network Star a couple months ago, but the restaurant has their second notable mention in the Michelin Guide.

In Manhattan, notice went to August, Il Buco Aimentari & Vineria, and Danny Meyer’s Untitled. There were also quite a few Asian places in the guide including Family Recipe, Jin Ramen, Yunnan Kitchen, and Uncle Zhou in Queens. With the one-star awards, the Asian trend continued with Café China, Hakkasan, and Jungsik at the top of the list.

On the higher end of things, three Michelin stars went, unsurprisingly, to eateries including Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, and La Bernardin. There was one astounding twist; out of seven venues, one award went to a non-Manhattan restaurant: Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. See folks, Brooklyn is rising. Just wait until it’s all outer boroughs and ramen joints.

The Governor Is In: Colonie Spreads Its Brooklyn Reign in DUMBO

When a group of servers who formally worked at Public got together and opened their first restaurant Colonie, it was gamble to see if people would take the trek to Brooklyn Heights to check out the place. After all, first time restaurateurs Elise Rosenberg, Emelie Kihilstrom, and Tamer Hamawi, were running it. Even before it opened, people were excited, and once they unlocked their doors, it was packed daily. Later, chef Brad McDonald joined the team and a scant year-and-a-half after opening Colonie, the team debuts their third restaurant Governor, which opens in DUMBO today.

“Brad was ready to do something of his own in New York and in his neighborhood,” said Rosenberg. “He had recently moved to DUMBO and was appalled by the lack of dining choices, which is very similar to Colonie’s situation in Brooklyn Heights.”

The new restaurant focuses on foods dear to McDonald’s heart, meaning he takes dishes from his training at Per Se and the famed Noma in Copenhagen.

“We [at Governor] are more creative than Colonie and here it’s more about comfort and innovation without being pretentious,” said Rosenberg. “We want to be the neighborhood restaurant where you can walk in wearing jeans and grab a snack or come in for a full-on tasting menu.”

The tasting menu isn’t in full swing yet, they are after all just opening today. But the regular menu is chock full of options that stem from McDonald’s foraging expeditions and, like the other restaurants, uses local and seasonal ingredients. The space is key too. Located in the Clocktower Building at 15 Main St., Governor boasts 18-foot ceilings that allowed them to add a mezzanine to the restaurant. They are right next to the water and the 60-seat venue has a full bar where they have created a seasonal cocktail list complete with fresh juices.

Now, the team has to see if Governor will garner the same crowds as Colonie and their Mexican restaurant Gran Electrica, also in DUMBO. But, if it takes after its namesake,Robert Gair, who was nicknamed Governor and who the building was erected in honor of oh so long ago, it will be strong and good.