Party Venue Matchmaker VenueTap Launches VIP Contest

We’re all looking for a matchmaker – someone to guide us toward the perfect fulfilling job, studio apartment, relationship. Why? Because we want the solutions to our problems, and we want them quick. And when we want to throw an unforgettable party but don’t know where and how, that’s when the easiest matchmaker of all comes into play: the internet, with website VenueTap.

Featured in CNBC and Reuters, and from the founder of MyClean.com, VenueTap makes it so you don’t contend with slow-moving word-of-mouth and unresponded-to emails to venue managers. Instead, you just hop online, fill in your reason for partying (30th birthday, high school band reunion, etc.), how many guests you’re expecting, and let VenueTap’s customized search engine of New York venues do the rest of the work.

 

 

And this week, VenueTap is launching a contest where the winner will receive these five wonderful things:
– A free, private VIP party at a venue for you and 30 of your friends
– Three bottles of vodka
– Table service
– Waitress service
– and mixers

The one thing you don’t get: a whole lot of hassle.

To enter the contest, all you do is sign up here to be a VenueTap Insider between now and Thursday the 24th. At the end of the seven-day raffle, a name will be announced… and I hope it’s yours. Or mine.
No, definitely mine.

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A New Burger King Emerges Triumphant at SUPERBURGER

This year’s SUPERBURGER wasn’t so much a Burger Bloodbath, as it was formerly known, but more than a few chins were glistening in the mid-afternoon Montauk sun, anointed as they were with plenty of sweet, sweet burger nectar. My chin included. 

Standing in a fenced off section of lawn on Star Island, feet from the Mega Yacht docks of the Montauk Yacht Club, was to be in a microcosm of the perfect summer get-together: lithe, long-legged beauties accompanied bottomless taps of Amstel Light and Amstel Wheat; games of ping (or beer) pong popped up at branded tables; and the pervasive aromas of hot coals suffused with the sizzling scent of ground meat drippings wafted gently through the air. This is how outdoor grilling is meant to be. 

Despite the fact that all were present to witness or to partake in what was to be a competition between masters of the culinary craft, very little about the event carried that charged, emotionally volatile atmosphere that comes with your standard cook-off. All the chefs were focused, no doubt, but affable and genuinely having a great time talking with friends and fans alike. 

“What more could I want?” said a smiling Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly of the West Village’s Fedora. “I’m here with friends, and this is a good balance between work and play. We’re just here to have fun. Winning is just, whatever. It’s not about that.”

Then what was it all about, I found myself asking. Is it just about standing around on a beautiful summer day, pushing yourself to consume as many insanely delicious meat-bun-condiment concoctions within a three-hour period? Well, as it turns out, yeah pretty much.

“The goal is to celebrate summer and have some good burgers,” said event organizer and progenitor Ben Leventhal, who first started the event six summers ago. “It’s a fun thing to bring the best of these great chefs together and watch them do something different. I think this is by far the strongest field we’ve ever had. The average quality of these burgers is very, very high. These are at least eights and nines, all of them.” 

Even head judge Kate Krader from Food & Wine magazine was smitten by the entrees. “So far, three years in, this is the best year ever,” she opined, speaking between bites into a heavily greased microphone.

The tune of the day seemed to be sticking to tradition, with each chef adding at least one personal twist to their creations, ranging from the somewhat simple (bacon grease for Jesse Gerstein and Dan Aldworth) to the innovative (chorizo and refried beans on Alex Stupak’s Mexican Hamburguesa) to the off-the-beaten path (Zak Pelaccio’s Lamb Burger). The judges were apparently looking to see who could best capture the essence of the consummate ‘Beach Burger,’ which the crowd and myself were blissfully unaware of until the very end. 

For my money, the absolute standouts were Pelaccio’s lamb burger (or lamburger, as it is pronounced à la mode Parisien) with Lady Jayne’s barrel-aged worcestershire sauce, sheep’s milk cheese, salted chilies, and aioli; PJ Calapa’s Butterfly Burger, which came straight to Montauk via Texas with French’s yellow mustard, white American cheese, and, hands-down, the best buttery, toasty bun in the game; and Stupak’s La Hamburguesa, a short rib patty with chorizo, refried beans, Chihuahua cheese and lime mayonnaise. 

Alas, I am no burger judge, and those select few saw things differently. Perhaps my judgment was clouded by Momofuku’s Christina Tosi’s Grasshopper Pie with basil mint foam, or merely by the fact I was unable to take one bite of each burger and throw the rest away for fear of hurting feelings or receiving a reprimand for wasting food. But when the judges cast their lot, the cards fell as followed:

Rated on a 100-point scale, with the points awarded as the judges see fit, first place was decided by a margin of only .4 points while third was a mere 1.2 points behind second; margins that are, as judge Josh Capon so eloquently phrased it, "very small numbers.”

Third place with 82 points was last year’s runners-up Jesse Gerstein and Dan Aldworth, one of two amateur groups in the event. Second place came in at 82.4 and was Harold Moore of Commerce.

And the winner of the Amstel Light SUPERBURGER Trophy and a spot in the New York City or Miami Food and Wine Festival was Seamus Mullen of Tertulia with his Hamburguesa Ligeramente Ahumada; a lightly smoked beef burger topped with smoked American cheddar, caramelized onion jam, and nora pepper ketchup. It was, to be sure, a most excellent burger; the first one I sampled, in fact, and more than worthy to bear the savory mantle of SUPERBURGER. 

A Robust Roster: The Best New Android Apps

Usher in the beginning of spring with seven of the best new android apps on the market. Find a spot under the shade of a tree, grasp that ‘droid in your hand, and just press "install." Soon, you’ll be playing the trombone, managing your TiVo, and creating your own app. Ah, the good life. 

IBONE [$1.99]
Winner of the “Best Musical Instrument App” in the 2009 Best App Ever Awards (there is such a thing), this standard has finally joined the Android club, eliciting more sonorous waves of trombone sounds from passersby and their phones. Users can not only play along with music from their own customized collection, but also choose from the iBone Songbook. With a lot of touching, blowing into the mic, and sliding of the fingers, you too can make beautiful music. Arthur Pryor would be proud. (Google him.)

MYLIFE [Free]
Launched as part of a $35 million campaign to promote personal relationships via their site, MyLife lets you plug into multiple social networks, like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, all in one place. No more opening each individual app—a daunting task, we know. With all major social media newsfeeds pulled in, and a database of 700 million user profiles to view, this all-purpose hub allows for optimal stalking of ex-friends, estranged family, former flames, and people you cannot tolerate but are strangely fascinated with.

TIVO [Free]
Admit it: there’s no feeling as desperate as when you’re at work and it suddenly dawns on you that you forgot to set your DVR to record the latest episode of Bachelor Pad. Stupid! Not to worry. With this long overdue app, your phone transforms into your cable remote, allowing TiVo and non-TiVo DVR users to browse a 14-day schedule, manage and schedule future recordings, and comment on shows on Facebook or Twitter. The app also lets you search for on-demand shows from Netflix, Blockbuster, or Amazon Instant Video. Control your DVR, control your life.

PAUSEAPP [Free]
Promoting an uninterrupted life, PauseApp presses “pause” on all mobile distractions by giving you a breather from calls, texts, and critical emails from your boss. Calls go directly to voicemail, texts and emails are held in purgatory, and auto-replies are sent when prompted. Except for five essential contacts of your choosing, no one else can reach you, so decide carefully. It’s a refreshing dose of 20th century-style privacy in this overloaded I-just-ate-a-tuna-sandwich-so-now-I’ll-tweet-about-it age.

VIMEO [Free]
When you’re dying to watch that home video of your friend’s failed attempt at krumping—or want to upload it for the world to see—this mobile version of the popular video platform allows you to do just that. Personalize your channel viewing preferences, browse and comment on videos, add and edit your own, and upload your raw footage in high-def. Don’t thank us—we’re sure your friend will.

WIKIPEDIA [Free]
You can finally look up the genus of the helmeted guinea fowl and the mysterious origins of the bicycle chain without ever opening an actual encyclopedia. As if Wikipedia needed an introduction, this crowd-sourced, 20-million-article game–changer comes with more features than the actual website. You can save articles for offline use, view any single entry in a different language (try Esperanto), and share them with your pals to prove that there really is a sport called dwarf tossing. The best part: it’ll be accessible the next time Wikipedia decides to go dark.

ANDROMO APP MAKER [Free]
Think you can create the next Angry Birds, but don’t have the money, time, or coding chops? There’s an app for that. Andromo, coined “The App Maker for Everyone,” is a platform where you can create and customize your app’s appearance and add features like YouTube videos, Flickr galleries, social media feeds, and more. Whether you’re a business owner, musician, student, or podiatrist, Andromo gives you the space to communicate and promote whatever idea you have and add it to the Android Market for sharing. With over 700,000 Android devices activated every day, your app will be seen, so don’t slack.