For 100 Percent Local Eats and Drinks, Hit Up This Week’s Festival

No matter where you go, everyone has local and seasonal food on the brain. Whether that means it’s a crappy sports bar you walk into where they claim they use these ingredients (but really they are trying to capitalize on a trend), or places that are actually committed to the cause. This week, don’t bother trying to weed out the fakers; for a truly local food experience, hit up one of the establishments featured at Edible’s Eat Drink Local festival, which runs until June 30.

Not only can diners try truly local foods, but also beer, wine, and booze, all made in or near New York state. Some restaurants, like Northern Spy Food Co., Good Restaurant, and The Green Table, have always focused on local and seasonal fare and will be dishing out goods not far from their normal menu. The real treat is to try spots that aren’t known for concentrating on local goods and seeing what they are doing. For example, The Bowery Diner has a special dish each night, like tonight’s clams with spinach, Chinese sausage, and corn. You can get Swiss food made with local ingredients at Trestle on Tenth, locally sourced Peking duck at Bobo, and feel-good pizza from Nick and Toni’s Café on the Upper West Side. 

Naturally, Brooklyn is in on the game, too, with restaurants like the Saul Bolton’s popular eatery Saul, fresh Italian food from Osteria il Paiolo in Williamsburg, and both of George Weld’s joints,Egg and Parish Hall.  But wait, what about the drinks I mentioned before? Stop by Jimmy’s No. 43 for regional brews paired local meats and cheese, Almond for a glorious selection of New York craft beers, and for you wine lovers, on Thursday City Grit hosts a dinner that features rose from New York wineries. If that’s not enough, on Wednesday the Fifth Annual Taste of Greenmarket commences in the event space at 82 Mercer and includes chefs and bartenders from all over the city (Dan Barber, Julie Reiner, Michael Anthony, and more!) cooking up bites and making cocktails with food from, obviously, the Greenmarket. Also, as if eating locally didn’t make you feel good enough about yourself, all the proceeds from this tasting event go to support the Greenmarket Youth Education Project. 

So Many Events, So Little Time

If I wasn’t too busy to write about anything, these are the things I might write about. I want to discuss the avalanche of invitations I receive through the media snowstorm that has become my life, and probably yours. I ache for the days when a young punk would hand me a flyer when I left a joint. Nowadays, my e-mails, my phone, and my computer are all billboards for a zillion events I just don’t want to attend, or can’t possibly. I have people inviting me to parties in Vegas, L.A., Greece, and South America. I guess a wide net is thrown out, and what happens, happens. With almost 5,000 Facebook friends, I am not only invited, but used as a platform to annoy my crew. I have a steadfast rule: If you invite me via text or through some Stepford voice message, I don’t listen, and of course, I don’t attend. I don’t mind it when a college student, intern, or a real human calls and politely asks if I want to go, even if it’s from Noel Ashman.

Anyway, I’m way too busy to attend or write about anything this week, what with the openings, the moving to Brooklyn, my Friday visit to Michael Alig, and of course, all the Paris Fashion Week events I’m asked to cover. I’d attend an event — or three — in Gay Paree, but it seems impossible, as all my nice duds are packed in cardboard boxes, and I can’t find the Paris “L” train stop on my brand new, and very fashionable, plastic subway map.

Anyway, back to the things I would check out if I had time to check them out. First off, I really want to attend the Freestyle Archityper 2 event at the Raw Space Gallery. The gallery is on 11th Avenue between 21st, and 22nd Streets. I love the space, and am excited about this event. If I only had a minute! It is described as a “Structural Intervention by Carlos Rodriguez.” Carlos, also known as Mare 139, was tagging walls and trains back in the mid ’70s. He elevated his art in 1985 into what is described as “novel sculpture idiom,” and his “sculptural interventions in public and private spaces inciting community dialogue about contemporary urban art, and its affect on our landscape.” This event is part of the Hip Hop Theater Festival, which has been enticing me, inviting me to one fabulous event, after another. I don’t mind this bombardment of invitations. It’s not spam if you want to know about it, and I have been reading every word sent to me attached by the publicists.

Recently, another event caught my experienced eye. It seems Samuel Adams Beer is bringing back some concoction of theirs—by popular demand, of course. Noble Pils hits the shelves in January for the second time. Normally I would ignore an invitation to imbibe. Loyal readers know that I only drink 2 or 3 times a year (whenever I have sex it becomes very necessary, but I digress). Anyway, those wild and crazy folk over at Sam Adams are dragging Eddie Murray, and my favorite rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, to Hoppy Hour at Jimmy’s No. 43. I was born on February 2nd, Groundhogs Day, and I kind of am worried about my pal Phil. If I am not going to get any sleep, I’ve got to believe Phil should. I am very concerned that, after all this hoopla, (or is it “hopla”) he will be ready and well-rested for his big day, when he informs all of us just how harsh our winter will be. This kind of stunt may throw off his balance, and who knows what might happen. Between global warming and Sam Adams, I think the whole mechanism might become askew. I am also concerned what his “inner circle” might look like. If the beer isn’t enough to entice you, getting a picture with my furry friend might be just the thing. This shindig is tomorrow night. Bring lettuce.

The last thing I’m going to chat about on this day is the hiring of my trusty old intern/assistant, Nadeska Alexis at Blackbook. I highly recommended Nadeska, who I have never called by that name. She was, and will always be NASDAQ to me and mine, as Nadeska was way too difficult for me to remember after a night out on the town. NASDAQ is the real deal. She is always one of the brightest people in the room—provided the room is not too crowdedl. She is more beautiful than many, and funnier than a banana peel pratfall. The one thing I can truly vouch for is she can take a punch. No, I never hit her, but in my fast-paced world of club superstars—with their quirks, and egos—she never let them see her sweat. Often, when we left a meeting with some club god who believed he was curing the common cold, saving the rain forests, the dolphins, and babies everywhere by running some joint, she would double over in painful laughter. She absolutely got it. She knew who was cool and who was full of balloon fuel. She could read between my lines, and instinctively knew when I was going to blow a gasket and pummel an interviewee. She saved me many times. Blackbook’s Victor Ozols, who has some fancy title over there that I never paid attention too, except when I steal his candy, wrote about my beloved friend:

“In addition to the standard intern labor of transcribing interviews, editing blog copy, and generally helping everything run smoothly, she also worked closely with Nightlife Correspondent Steve Lewis, running around from club to club, and nightlife empresario to nightlife empresario, coordinating interviews, smoothing ruffled feathers, and staying on top of all that is important in the New York nightclub scene. It was a trial by fire if there ever was one, and Steve could not have recommended her more highly for her skill, finesse, and grace under pressure.”

NASDAQ has recently worked for AOL’s music site, writing about hip hop, pop, R&B, shows, albums, and a ton of etceteras. I don’t really know what she is going to do over at Blackbook. That info is above my pay grade. And besides, half the time I don’t know what I’m doing there either. I do know that all of us are blessed that she has agreed to rejoin the flock. Welcome home NASDAQ!

Uncork New York!: City Winery Hosts an Empire State Wine Fest

Climbing aboard the locavore bandwagon is tricky for Manhattanites. Most of our acreage is covered in concrete. And heavily populated. Greenmarkets are a help, although less so when it comes to wine. There’s only one homegrown vintage, “Château Latif,” cultivated in a backyard on E. 92nd Street. It’s not widely distributed. Expanding our immediate options is City Winery, Michael Dorf’s newish restaurant slash concert hall slash full-on winemaking operation. There’s some precedent for Manhattan fermentation. Our humble island was the first spot in the state to cultivate grapes, with the Dutch putting down vines in the 1600’s. The rest of New York soon followed, creating what’s now a thriving wine industry.

The last three decades have been particularly fruitful, with the number of Empire State wineries increasing by a factor of ten. To sample some of those vintages without racking up the miles on the Zipcar, head to City Winery this Sunday, December 6, for Uncork New York!. Nearly three dozen wineries will be represented, from Long Island to the Hudson Valley to the Finger Lakes and beyond. You can sample some 100 wines, and should you have any locavore entertaining coming up, buy some to take home. There will also be Empire State cheese, ice cream, bread, and fruit, among the dozen-plus purveyors. Tickets are $45 and also include sample tastes from NYC restaurants. Park Slope fave Palo Santo will be serving anticuchos de puerco, Jimmy’s No. 43 is planning a rabbit cassoulet, and Il Buco is covering dessert, plating panna cotta with aged balsamico. That’s one of the nice things about living in Manhattan: local is so often world class.