2013

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like A Business!

Exciting things are happening at Fun Foodie NYC!! So I'm sorry I haven't had the time to give you a rundown on Foodie activities each week as I wish I could, but if things keep moving at this pace, perhaps I'll be able to hire some extra help to get me back on track! Fall is almost OVER!

Anyway, first thing's first: ONLY ONE WEEK LEFT of the Falling for Hell's Thailand Tour! This final week we have special tours with a couple of Thanksgiving-themed items! You don't want to miss out on this great tour with rich history and delicious bites! It's now or...next year! I'll point out that this coming Saturday is SMALL Business Saturday...and it doesn't get smaller than this!

But if you can't make it to the Hell's Kitchen tour, then you can at least get an idea of what your missing, as my new ad is complete for my Yelp page! And the tour that we captured was the Hell's Kitchen tour. Of course I think it's a great representation of the kind of experience you can expect from all of my tours. Check out the video here or on my Yelp page. And of course, if you've been on a tour please feel free to leave me a review there!

Thanksgiving the NY way!

And continuing on with the multimedia presence for Fun Foodie NYC, I did my first ever podcast this past Sunday! My good friend, Adriane Hamilton and her comedian buddies do a weekly podcast and asked me to join in for their all Food episode in honor of T-day! I had so much fun on the show that I hope to be back again soon! You can check out the episode on the Empty Party Podcast site. PS....there's a discount offer made to the listeners, so LISTEN IN!!

What comes next week? The HOLIDAY TOUR! If you're looking for some things to do with the family send them my way! This was my very first tour as anew company, and I'm so excited to be offering it again! I would love to have you check it out and I guarantee you we'll have fun and EAT well!! Trust me when I say that this tour is great for everyone who enjoys eating and the great lights of NYC's holiday center!

I'm also working on some private tours for guests in December, so if that's something that you think you might enjoy as well please feel free to contact me directly for more information.

The time for gingerbread is upon us!

Foodie Weekend #11: It's Beertember Ya'll

I know I've been quiet since Labor Day, but aside from the business of putting together the upcoming season's tours, I lost a friend and have been dealing with that for the last couple of weeks, but this is not the post for that. My buddy was an Upper West Sider, and by all accounts he was a foodie and a food professional, so he deserves his own tribute. Stay tuned for more on Gabe in the coming weeks. But until then we've got a weekend to cover! And with the change of seasons in the air, there's plenty to do in this great city! Annual Italian Festival for San Gennaro.

Thursday:

I would have mentioned this last week, if I'd posted anything, but since I didn't I didn't want to leave off a favorite of mine every September, the annual excuse to go to touristy Little Italy, is The Feast of San Gennaro. Get out your cash and head to Mulberry for food, fun and one of the silliest freak shows around! The Feast ends this weekend so don't miss out!

Burgers & Whiskey go together like peanut butter and jelly, and when that whiskey is bourbon, well that's just what dreams are made of. And tonight you can get them both thanks to the New York Distilling Company, Go Burger and Thrillist! Because tonight is the Bourbon n Burgers Party to benefit The Little Warriors, which is a nonprofit organization that provides outdoor fun to children of our fallen Navy SEALS. And if you use the code "thrillist" at checkout, you'll get 50% off those tix!

Photoville Brooklyn brings together a few of my favorite things: Photography, Food, and Beer! All just a train ride away, or less if you're a neighbor to this pop-up. Starting this Thursday and going through the following Sunday, you can participate in this fun pop-up in a bunch of different ways! Head on over to the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park to simply vieweat and interact, or you can check out the schedule for daytime workshops and talks or evening screenings & events.

Beer. For. Days.

Friday:

If you've read my blog before, you know I like me some BEER! And this Friday we're getting another Beer week here in NYC, from Get Real Presents! To start things off, we have NY Beer Day, which is looking to be the largest tap takeover in the WORLD! From 5pm-4am NY Brews will be on offer at Bars and Restaurants throughout the city for a minor $4 a pop! Tickets are only $5 to participate so why miss it? But don't stop there! There's also the Lamb Jam Masters on Monday and Oystoberfest which will be next weekend--I said is was a weeklong event! Check out all of the events and keep in mind that a lot of these proceeds will be going to the NY Mayor's Fund for Sandy Relief and the Food Bank of NY.

Saturday:

Frustrated to be back at work? Well let it all out with a Hammer...by checking out this year's Hammer & Claws Blue Crab Festival with three seatings over Saturday and Sunday. Your ticket to this authentic Maryland Blue Crab Feast gets you unlimited crab and Abita beer at The Tunnel in Chelsea! Get ready to whack some crab!

Recently people around the world were participating in these color runs, but for me that's kind of boring--mostly cuz I don't run and there's no food. But this run my get me to gear up (if I weren't working out of town I'd totally be there!) and take the city by speeded foot! Why? Well it's the 4th annual NYC PIzza Run! You heard correct--the PIZZA RUN! I mean, it's our staple food, so it deserves the respect of a run, right?! Signing up for the run will get you 3 slices of pizza, a t-shirt, after party, and other cool things, but I had you at pizza! Plus, these guys are donating some of the proceeds to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (ironic? hypocritical? yeah, suppose so, but it's still a good cause and good pizza). and you can register for your spot today!

Beer here too! I know, I already mentioned that other Beer Week thing, but if you're looking for some island fun that's outside of Manhattan, then you'll wanna head over to Randall's. The first New York Beer Fest will be starting at noon, and ending at 4pm, so don't dawdle! Of course, there will be BEER, food and music at the Fest, and tickets are available with or without the ferry ride.

If Beer's not your thing, but shellfish is, then you can try out a more historic celebration at the Stone Street Oyster Festival in lower Manhattan. Cuz, well it's also Oyster Week in New York, which once was the #1 place to get those bivalves. There are a variety of events for you to chose from, but given the history of Stone Street's Oyster Shucking past, it seems the most relevant for me to mention on my site!

"Selfish Shellfish"

Fall for some means pumpkins, and for others...Oktoberfest! I like both. But this weekend you can kick off your German Beer-loving celebrations in Brooklyn at the Radegast Hall & Biergarten. They've technically started their holiday drinking this past Tuesday, but the big event that you want to get your bum to is the Pig Roast this weekend! There will be traditional live music, a mug holding competition, the aforementioned roasting of swine and of course, some keg tapping! Admission is free, just pay as you go!

You like Lobstah? How about electronic music? And Brooklyn? GREAT! Then I've got the perfect thing for your Saturday: it's the 1st ever Lobstah Palooza, taking place at The Well in Brooklyn. Not only does your ticket get you entry to this music fest, but you'll also be getting some fresh-as-heck Maine Lobster served up with some super-tasty sides. And that music I mentioned? Provided for your enjoyment from Chemicals of Creation. And of course, being at The Well...there will be BOOZE!

Looking for more of that Latin flavor in your cuisine? Then look no further than Queens, for the annual Viva La Comida! Festival. Jackson Heights is going to be on full display with food and local boutique vendors from the streets of this ethnically rich neighborhood! You have over 30 places to peruse and the majority of them do have food, so come hungry! There's no tickets to buy, just make your way to 82nd Street & Roosevelt between 4-10pm, and get your comida on!

The Tangled Vine specializes in wine and food together. And I'm not just saying that from an outsider's perspective, I know a few people who do and have worked for this great UWS spot. They've told me of their studious efforts to keep up with the evolving wine list. Well, this month they're offering weekly wine tastings to highlight the various wine regions around the world. September is France, and this weekend is all about the Rhone Valley (one of my faves!) The tasting is from 5-7pm and you can book your spot by calling: (646) 863.3896 or emailing: reservations@tangledvinebar.com

Sunday:

Photo Credit: Remember Forever

One of the many great companies that I've had the pleasure to work with is Remember Forever Photography. They offer a variety of courses in the art of capturing life's moments on...memory cards? Clearly I'm out of touch, cuz I wanted to say film. Anyway, this weekend they're delving into the world of FOOD! And because they love their foodies, they're extending a discount your way! If you're interested in signing up for this 3-hour course at Agozar, you can use the code YUMMYPHOTOS when you book online or over the phone: (646) 736-3231 for $10 off. Did I mention you'll get to eat the food you shoot after? Oh, yeah, you do! Spaces are limited so book ASAP!

That's a lot right? But wait...there's more! If you haven't given yourself the time to wander around the streets of Brooklyn's Northside (Williamsburg, Greenpoint), then you can hit it all up this Sunday at the Taste of the Northside event over at the East River State Park. You know enough about these Brooklyn hotspots to know there's gonna be food...REAL GOOD FOOD! Plus, proceeds from your tickets will go to the construction of the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center. Now go get your block party on!

Foodie Weekend #9: BBQ End of Days

Get your final summer kicks in as we enjoy the last of August before LABOR DAY WEEKEND :( Still haven't been to a clambake or a crab boil or a lobster fest like me?! Well let's get this done together!!! Thursday:

O Live Brooklyn wants you to learn about olive oil, so tonight they're offering a 101 class on the subject for a mere $20! You will also walk away with your own bottle of the stuff included in the price. Check out their website for RSVP info.

Do you have a dark side? Well if so you should head to Greenwood Cemetery tonight as it's the last night of Drinks to Die For. The Beer Garden at Brooklyn Historical Society has been taking their brews to the landmarked graveyard to drink amongst the dead this summer and tonight's your final shot to join in on the spooky fun! Drink tickets are only $5, the event itself is free and when else can you drink alongside Boss Tweed, Basquiat, and Louis Comfort Tiffany?!

Today it's her birthday! Dorothy Parker, that is. And the Dorothy Parker Society is celebrating the 120 years of her at the New York Distilling Company. And if you get there from 6-8pm you'll find yourself a specially priced martini for $1.20! The rest of the evening will offer continued happy hour discounts, readings and raffles for your lush self!

Friday:

Before you head out of town for your last summer getaway try a tour of some food trucks by ditching work a little early! Food Truck Fridays will continue, but will your summer Fridays do the same?

Saturday:

The Arrogant Swine is bringing you authentic North Carolina Whole Hog BBQ in Greenpoint! These guys held similar events in the past and wanted to make sure you got your fill of pig before the summer's gone! There's also going to be live music, craft beer from Founders Brewery and a portion of the proceeds are going to good! There are noon and evening sessions as well as VIP tickets for both here!

Get your Margarita on! The first NYC Margarita March has arrived, with tickets still available for purchase! You'll get up to 8 margs at various venues as well as some food nibbles to keep your belly filled. All venues are in Lower Manhattan and you can pick up your pass at The Parkside Lounge between 12-2pm.

If you find yourself in Chelsea this afternoon, why not head west and check out the Blues BBQ taking place at Hudson River Park? The free event will be starting at 2pm, presenting a number of great musicians and some tasty food for your purchase from some of my favorite BBQ joints, like Dinosaur and Delaney!

Alphabet City Beer Co has teamed up with Ventura Sails and Narraganset to bring you beer on the water with their fourth Sunset Cruise to set sail out of lower Manhattan's harbor. Tickets are still available and there will be food available along with the beer on the cruise...in case you're worried about getting stranded for too long without sustenance! And if you'd like to meet your fellow sailing buddies before hitting the open waters, there's a gathering at ABC Beer starting at 4pm.

Pairing food & music is pretty common, and this year's Afropunk Fest is no different. Get your groove on so you can burn some of the calories you'll spend by gorging on some of the great vendors you have to choose from at the event. I mean I even include some of these guys on my tours! The festival take place over Saturday and Sunday, and will also feature Art, Yoga, Shopping and some tricked out bikes on display for you to envy! Admission is free, but if you'd like to skip the lines and donate to the good people that make these things happen then you should take care of it ahead of time.

Sunday:

The Annual Brighton Jubilee Festival is going down on Sunday and is considered one of Brooklyn's Biggest Summer Events. The Russians represent their history and culture and their ties to old Brighton with this celebration that's been going on along Brighton's streets for over 35 years! The event is free and there will be a range of food vendors available for you to buy street eats from. If you've yet to explore Brighton Beach, I'd say this is a great time to do it!

Guest Blog: The End of an Internship by Paige McKenna

The Original Umami Burger. Definitely a bomb of flavor! So here I am on my last day as a Fun Foodie NYC intern, spending it quite appropriately. When I first researched and applied to this internship it promised fun and food, and well, I'm sitting here holding my stomach from being so extremely full after eating what was without a doubt the best burger I have ever eaten in my life. And no, that is not an exaggeration. I would eat another right now if you placed one in front of me. Umami Burger recently opened [its first NYC location] on Sixth Ave. and I quickly learned it is the heaven of burger joints. From the start, the menu overwhelmed me because I did not see one thing that I wouldn't like. So, I let the chef choose for me. I was served the Original Umami Burger along with fries and an orange Fanta to wash it down. My first bite pretty much sent me into a delicious trance, and every bite after that was mouthwatering satisfaction. This, however, was not even how my last day began. Before I was introduced to Umami, I met up with Adrienne who waited, like a trooper and a Cronut-crazed New Yorker, for three and a half hours to pick us up two Cronuts. So we sat and enjoyed a cocunut filled Cronut, as we killed time until Umami opened. While the pastry was a treat for my morning breakfast and definitely one of the best pastries I've had, I cannot say that I would wait in line for three hours at 6am. That burger on the other hand...that I would wait in line for.

The Coconut Cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery.

Now that I've got your mouth watering and you are probably craving either a big juicy burger or a sweet treat, I'll reflect on what definitely has been a fun summer interning for Adrienne and Fun Foodie NYC Tours. Growing up in New Jersey and living right next to the train station, I have spent my life commuting into the city. I love it here. As a rising senior in college, it was time for me to start thinking about entering the big scary real world. Towards the end of May I was doing my usual research on fun things that were going on in the city and keeping up with any job opportunities. This is when I came across Fun Foodie NYC Tours. I read the description of the type of intern they were looking to hire: someone who was creative, hardworking, interested in New York and the foodie culture, and interested in marketing and hospitality. Being an English major at a small liberal arts school, I will be honest and tell you that I have no idea what I want to do after college. The internship for Fun Foodie NYC, however, immediately grabbed my attention. So i researched the company, emailed Adrienne, and shortly after met with her over coffee for a quick interview, and surprise! I got the job!

I was very excited to begin working and to help Adrienne lift her company off the ground and promote it to the New York area. I knew I made the right decision pursuing Fun Foodie NYC after my first day on the job: a complimentary food tour through the Upper West Side. I got the history of the area, as well as a milkshake, macaroons, Mexican food, a shrimp roll, and more. Yeah, you could say I was hooked. Over the next couple of months I worked with Adrienne two to three days a week whether it was promoting the tours on Facebook and Twitter, completing any intern busy work, or planning routes and researching different areas for future tours. As a Fun Foodie intern I gained skills in organization, research (and filtering the bad and the good of what I found), and after spending the majority of my time on a laptop and tablet I can confidently say that I do feel more technologically inclined. Along with these skills that will help me in school and in future jobs, I grew so much in the city of New York. I became more familiar with the different areas and neighborhoods. I have almost mastered the subway system (still kicking myself for the amount of money I've wasted all these years on being lazy and taking cabs). I've found a few new favorite restaurants that I can't wait to show off to my friends, and I basically have continued to love New York more and more everyday. If there is one thing this summer has helped me learn about myself, it is that I definitely will be living in New York City at one point in my life, and after interning for Fun Foodie NYC, I will continue to deliciously eat my way through the city as well.

Shrimp Roll from Luke's Lobster. The favorite stop on my first food tour on the UWS.

Not to get all sappy, but I am so thankful for this opportunity. I had a summer internship that was unique and fun, and I learned so much about this type of business, New York, and most importantly myself. Working with Adrienne has been a privilege, and I'm so excited for her future interns as I head back to school. She promised fun and food and that is what I got. Since you're reading this, and I am still on duty, I have to promote the tours just one more time. Take one!!! They are fun, informative, incredibly tasty, and the tour guide is beyond great. At the very least, treat yourself to a bite of heaven and go get yourself an Umami burger. Seriously. Best. Burger. Ever.

Paige McKenna is going into her senior year as an English Major/Writing Minor at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. She interned for Fun Foodie NYC Tours from June through Mid-August and was a great help with marketing the tours. Please use the contact form if you'd like to be in touch with Paige. We wish her the best of luck for her senior year and expect to hear great things from her where ever it is her path may lead her!

Foodie Weekend #7: Short & Sweet

Well I have a very limited time to post these weekend foodie activities, so I'm hoping I can get it all done without a lot of my fancy wordiness, so I can make it to jobs one and then two today! Oh, what I week! Thursday:

Harpoon Brewery and The House of Brews on Restaurant Row are celebrating the brewers anniversary with a Totally Rad Retro Night--tonight only! Check out what's brewing and buy your tickets before it's too late!

Friday:

PaperMag's 2nd Annual Super(Duper) Market will be starting on Friday and open through the weekend with food offerings to get you through all the other shopping there!

Saturday:

It's time for the 3rd Annual Ice Cream Bonanza from Smorgasburg/Brooklyn Flea. You can check out the Creme de la Creme on Saturday AND Sunday at the East River State Park! Stop Screaming Already!

The Kickstarter Flim Fest 2013 is taking place in Brooklyn, and not only will it feature films that were created using the crowdfunding site, but food will be provided by vendors who also got a kickstart through their campaigns!

Sunday:

Summer means Crab! So get to this Maryland-Style Steamed Crab Feast at the Drink on Sunday end get your fill of Blue Crustacean goodness for a mere $35!

Have a good weekend! And eat well!

Ode to an Institution & a Neighborhood: Big Nick's Burger Joint & Pizza Joint Closed After 50+ Years Serving the UWS

Where do I start? This is gonna get emotional kids, so get ready. The final night of operation for Big Nick's Burger Joint & Pizza Joint.

If you've read any of my posts or my website, then you'll probably know that I'm a Native New Yorker. Not only a Native New Yorker, thought, a Manhattanite. To me it's not unusual because it's the only life I've ever known, but others have called me a unicorn. I guess some people just have a hard time even believing that I really exist. But my fellow Natives get it. They get me (unless they're from the East Side, of course:-) ). The kids that I grew up with, those fellow Upper West Siders, and those who may have "lived" elsewhere, but adopted the UWS as their 2nd home, they truly know who I am and what makes me that way. We all shared a lot of the same insanities, challenges, and experiences. We've also all seen our neighborhood change drastically over the last 30 years with a few dependables that withstood the real estate storms (good and bad) and the big box invasions (mostly bad) and the increase in banks and nail salons to shut down places we literally grew up in. Places that weren't just a restaurant or a bar, but were home. They were mecca, they were our oases. We didn't have cars. We didn't have backyards or basements or attics...OK, sometimes we would sneak into those places, but there were all sorts of dangers when we did--mostly that we'd still be cold in the winter or hot in the summer and likely someone would find us and kick us out (and then tell our parents if not the police). What I'm saying is that while you may not understand how it is that I grew up in the city, I don't understand what your life was like in the burbs or whereever. What this all means is that we attach major emotions to our local watering holes or divey diners, that would host our late night bullshitting in their booths as we fill up on greasy fried food or underage boozing just to connect with one another. Because despite what you may think of NYers that's something we're damn good at, connecting at a real human level. With so many different characters, it just becomes second nature to be able to have a deep meaning conversation with a complete stranger, when you want to, or to completely ignore your neighbor, when you're just too damn tired. So, when you find a place where they know your face, if not your name and welcome you in for unlimited hours to contemplate the world with old friends and new, it becomes easy to call that place home. And next thing you know you're spending your nights and probably your days there. Big Nick's was one of those places.

The Upper West Side between Central Park & Riverside.

The history of the Upper West Side is sort of a Rags to Riches to Rags to Riches story. Compared to Manhattan neighborhoods below 59th street and even more so below 14th street, the UWS (as we call it), is a pretty young neighborhood. In the early 1800's there were some farms and villages, including the historic Seneca Village that was comprised mostly of freed black slaves who were displaced by the building of Central Park. Ah, the parks--another place that was home to those of us that grew up in the neighborhood. Central Park and Riverside Park make the Upper West Side, literally. As the neighborhood is actually defined by the reaches of Central Park (59th-110th Streets). The bordering parks opened in the mid-late 1800's setting the stage for luxury developments to come in along the beautiful vistas created by these landmarks. The rich were moving in. And,of course with the Ninth Avenue Elevated train (The El) bringing the working class into the area, tenements were built to accommodate another class of resident. And Broadway provided a main shopping thoroughfare for the lot of them. The difference between the East and West Sides is not just the old vs the new money (Early on German tycoons moved to the UES after a major tragedy in the East Village), but also the diversity in the crowd. The variety of housing and businesses on the UWS led not only business professionals, but creative types and educators and blue collar workers of all shapes, sizes and colors to move into the area. Things were going very well up until the depression hit. And it hit the UWS hard. People turned to drugs and so followed crime. Just another layer of the fabric that has made us what we are. Crime drives down real estate and more and more immigrants move in. The Upper West Side's ever-changing face continues and Mayor LaGuardia seeks to turn things around. So the place featured in West Side Story becomes slated for a huge arts complex, that we now know and love as Lincoln Center. This was all apart of a major urban renewal project started in the 1950's. And it worked. For the most part anyway. Dollars started flowing back into the Upper West Side, and the artists and political activists never left. Great schools were created, but a lot of the lower income residents still had issues with drugs and crime, so people were still hesitant  to buy property through the 80's. Enter the parents of myself and the friends I grew up with. Some of whom still have super-rent controlled apartments, but then others had families who decided to buy on the UWS in the late 1970's early 1980's. My parents purchased a three bedroom apartment on West 70th Street in a pre-war co-op for under $200,000 in 1983. Which, to bring you up to speed, would probably go for close to a million dollars today, at least.

City living.

My sister was born shortly after we moved into the Santa Monica, and the two of us grew up in what is now one of the most sought after neighborhoods for young families and professionals who can afford it. You're smack dab in the center of a great school district for both public and private educations, and you're surrounded by parks and artistic institutions as mentioned already. And in the last 5-10 years there have been a ton of great restaurants moving up to the area, making it quite the culinary hotspot (if you've got the $ to spare). We've even got some big box stores in the area--missing your hometown Cold Stone Creamery? Check it out on 72nd Street! They do all the things you'd expect from any other part of the country! Yeah you can stop by a Best Buy on your way to Lincoln Center, no problem it's right there! Or maybe just pop into Daniel Boulud's restaurant/cafe that's just across the street for a little nibble of high-end foodstuffs. But at the time we were growing up there it was still very diverse and very middle class.

Another old UWS bar gone by the wayside. RIP Yogi's.

 

With huge housing projects starting across the street from our little old building and filling in the blocks through to Hell's Kitchen, affordable housing was aplenty, for a time. Going North there were tons of smaller buildings and brownstones that had been around for quite a while and many people managed to fall into the rent-control goldmine as they stuck through the bad times and the good. It truly was a small community. There are people who have lived in the area since I was a child and when I see them today they still recognize me and I them, because we shared our home. Things that most people think cityfolk lack, we had. Because we were surrounded by small businesses. They weren't just businesses, they were people, and they were safe havens, they were comforting for parents of children in such a big city. We knew if we walked up the block to the pharmacy, they'd know us--as kids that was our local candy store. The owners at the Italian restaurant would greet us as we'd dine in regularly to get our fixes of our favorite foods (mine was fettuccine alfredo and I rarely had to even order it). We went to school with the kids of the cashiers at our A&P, and often my mom would end up holding up the line as she'd gossip with her friends. Woolworth's provided a place for us to try out all of our hobbies and interests, from knitting to sticker collecting to hamster owning, and the staff knew to be on high alert when we walked into the store, as we also tried our hands at petty-theft there before getting caught at The Paper House a few blocks north. We saw Pathmark turn into Rite Aid, turn into Duane Reade and then into a financial institution (before the epic Walgreens takeover). When I got caught doing bad things in High School, my friend was able to escape to our local bagel shop, where every single employee in there knew us by name--and although they weren't necessarily the wisest when it came to minor care, we knew that they would always keep us safe.

The land now owned by Trump on the West Side.

Slowly, at first, we watched as these things would shut down one by one, all citing the same issue: "The Rent is Too Damn High!" Some were just a symptom of poor business performance, but the ones that the whole neighborhood loved, were gone because there was no way they'd be able to make enough money to pay their rents without pricing out their loyal customers. Why were rents going up? Well it started with a man who had a big plan...you might know him by "The Donald" or simply Trump. The building I grew up in was the last one on 70th Street all the way west. 70th & Freedom Place. But that's no longer the case. Today it sits right next to a Trump building--a HUGE Trump building. For years the community board would battle The Donald, his hair, and his various investors. He was going to come right in and steal the views we'd enjoyed for many years, to lay out a strip of these ginormous condos. Not to mention what the implications would be to bring in these giant residences. Eventually an agreement was made that required him to build out the extension of Riverside Park in order for him to get the space. But as soon as he was looking into the space, things began to change. Buildings started going down and new bigger ones would come up in their place, all the while getting rid of the small businesses located on the ground floors. We got our first big multiplex in the area, which would have the 1st IMAX screen in NY and I think the 3rd in the world at the time.  This was when things started changing. Some for the good and others not so much. One by one our favorite restaurants and stores would disappear, and we'd be upset about it, but a lot of them we could understand. As I said, a lot of the early ones were whole buildings that were changing. But once that slowed, it just became a matter of who could hold onto these fancy new spaces and their high-priced leases.

Prime Real Estate for Fancy Dining

But even as we watched and dealt with the changes of our neighborhood, some things we were pretty sure weren't going to go anywhere. They had history and a steady flow of customers. They weren't packed or anything, not always, but they had a good amount of business. Enough were the bartenders and servers were making a living wage. No one was complaining, and if they were it was just them being New Yorkers. The first of these old standbys to face the fate of many small businesses before them was the All State. You had to walk down a small flight of stairs to reach the bar and restaurant with old school charm and lots of woodwork. You'd think they were just another pub, by the look of the space and the (mostly) old bartenders that hung behind the front bar as soon as you walked in. But when you'd get the menu you would see that one page was written out as it was changed daily to offer you fresh and seasonal foods, while the other side was printed out with your typical pub fare. The quality of the food was surprisingly good. And for my household--especially my father and I, it was the old go-to when we couldn't decide where to have dinner or lunch. After pondering our options we'd just look at each other and almost simultaneously say "All State?" Old reliable. Until we got the news that the place we'd all at one point or another carved our names or thoughts into the tables was going to be closing. We heard it from our friend whose sister even worked there for a little while. Tragic we thought. What will happen to the bartender that's been there for decades and his following that visits him nightly for his stories and his booze? I guess they'll move over to P&G, another local watering hole with great drinks and service, but little to no good food that was just a couple blocks away. It was another Cheersy spot where everyone knew your name. P&G, being strictly a bar scene, was definitely the place you'd go for cheap drinks and sufficient buybacks. You'd also go when you wanted to run into friends, because at some point in the evening, if they were going out in the area they'd likely stop in there. There were rumors before All State closed that one of the owners of P&G was trying to buy it, but that didn't work out and soon other places came and went in that space. But at least some of the staff found a new place to work at P&G for a shift or two, and the locals had a new watering hole. For there wouldn't be a reason that P&G would close, if anything we would think it'd get landmarked. One of the last remaining neon signed bars left in the city, it was a place where my mom used to hang out before she even met my father--back when she used to drink. And her daughters were carrying on the tradition with one another and our friends. It was good enough of a hole that we kept going there even when we were of legal drinking age! ;) But soon they started posting notices and collecting signatures to keep P&G open. The community board began to change its tune about its feelings for a bar in that corner spot! But all of the history, we thought! There's no way you can shut this place down! There's Ratpack signatures in the basement! It was a mafia hangout at one point! Did I mention that signage?! We're talking a ton of TV shows and movies! We all signed the petitions, and got our friends to do the same, we sent out emails and begged and pleaded and hoped it wasn't really going to happen. But as you can infer from the tense I've used to describe it, it shut down. Guess the middles class don't need a place to drink anymore. And not just drink, but communicate with one another. These are places where you could go for hours upon hours and do that thing that people rarely do now...connect. Now that it's closed I suppose those regulars have found new spots, perhaps they frequent Malachy's, which for now, is still around.

Home Decor at the All State

A place for friends and family to catch up and have silly fun.

I guess with the pattern of these beloved dives closing you might wonder why the shuttered Big Nick's Burger Joint would be such a big deal. My first answer is that unlike the other places I mentioned, Big Nick's was always BUSY. It was open 23 hours, 7 days a week and it was always BUSY. Sometimes in the wee hours it was less busy, but there was never a lull. And if the restaurant itself wasn't full of people there would certainly be tons of deliveries going out. 23 hours, 7 days a week! Also it WAS the Upper West Side. Everyone went there--poor, rich and everything in between. You went for the full experience. For all of these reasons and more it was a place that we naively thought would be around forever.  I know that I can say we because I've been commiserating with my fellow Upper West Siders for the last two and a half days since we found out. Yes, this was a place we went late at night or early in the morning with friends, but it was also a place where you'd go with your family. It was the epitome of a greasy spoon with a menu that lasted for days. And for a place that was a quarter of the size of most of your big chains, they would amaze you with the number of items that would fling out of their kitchens by the hour. It's a place that would get flack from one of those restaurant makeover reality shows because of all the things that we loved it for. They NEVER changed the decor, as I said--the menu was enormous and overwhelming, and the service was often pretty crappy. But the food was good, and you were never rushed to move along, even if you were just bullshitting over milkshakes. The walls were plastered with signs about specials on directions on how to properly pronounce the word Gyro. And then there were all the signs for the waitstaff to selectively ignore. Not only did I bond with friends and family there, but I took dates there. It was sort of a litmus test for me, and a place were I was safe. Once, the notoriously cold-shouldered waitress, who retired a couple years ago, was more into my date than I was. I had never seen her smile before until I brought this guy there. Of course it made me look like a liar as I'd warned him ahead of our arrival about the she-devil that we'd probably be served by. But this wasn't a reason to dislike the joint--we loved it. As my mom would say, it added character. And if we were too stoned to leave my friends couch we would find the phone and simply order a double-double, extra crispy, with cheese (two orders each of fries and onion rings covered in cheese and DEEP friend) for delivery...two blocks away. And although I haven't been there as often as I used to (mostly because I don't live in the hood any longer), it's always been a comfort to know that it was there. A place we could go after spending far too much on drinks in the area, we'd count on those burgers and gyros and cheese fries and pizzas to soak up all that alcohol. And we'd know that unless they were approaching cleaning hour, we wouldn't be pushed out. I'm sure that a lot of you out there have your hometown diners that you're equally attached to, but probably don't face the same threat of a shutdown if they're as successful as Big Nick's was, because the real estate is astronomical. And if you don't have a place like that, then I'm sorry for you. Nick, who's the owner of Big Nick's has said that they're looking into moving uptown--which would be great for me, as I live uptown, but of course it'll never be the same. I've also seen similar establishments like P&G attempt a location change only to be met by failure there as well. So I'm skeptic. I mean the thing about a neighborhood spot is that's it's just not the same if it's not in the neighborhood.

My final meal at Big Nick's Gyro and Cheese Fries (they ran out of onion rings)

Whatever the fate of Big Nick's is, I will treasure its existence forever in my mind and my soul. But, as with the passing of anything you have love for it will always sting that it's no longer there. Because these places that have so much history for me, for my friends, my family and my neighbors as well as the transplants aplenty that were touched by them, I may scoff at your suggestion to eat at Panera Bread, when  there's a little luncheonette on the corner. So if you've ever wondered why I try to avoid those huge chains, it's because of events like the closing of Big Nick's that make it near impossible for me not to hate them. Without the money from their corporate offices, they wouldn't be able to afford the skyrocketing rents that push out the mom and pop shops that add character and charm and provide a landing spot to their neighbors. This is why we resist your Walmarts, IHOPS, Dennys, etc. We were perfectly happy with Big Nick's and Woolworth's, and now they're gone. So RIP to those we miss, and good luck to those that are still around. Remember the next time you're thinking of where to eat your next meal that it's not just a restaurant, it's a neighborhood spot, and if it's not--skip it!

Foodie Weekend #6: Chilling Out, FINALLY

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of THOSE people--you know, the kind that gets all excited about Summer, freaks out when it's too hot and then cringes as soon as it starts cooling down at all...ok maybe I am a little. I mean I love the beach, when I can go, which I have yet to do this summer! Until THIS WEEKEND! YIPPEE! So, while I'm thrilled to give my AC a break for a few days and I was happy to do a tour today in much cooler climates than the 100 degrees of a week ago, I would be happier if the temps were a little higher given my final escape is now upon us. But I'm not freaking out about it, because either way I will be sitting on a beach, so screw you guys I'm leaving home! ;) BUT if you're not as lucky as I am, or stalking me out to Cape May, NJ...then perhaps you should look into some of the following activities and you can tell me all about it! Chillin in Cape May

Thursday:

Obviously I must mention RESTAURANT WEEK Summer 2013 Edition! Yes, the prices have gone up, but you knew that was going to happen--I mean the monthly metrocard is now $112 so clearly good 'ol restaurant week is gonna change too! Alas it's still much cheaper than what you're usually going to spend for a three-course meal at one of these establishments. So, here's the lowdown: the deals started Monday and continue through at least August 16th (some will continue into September). Lunch is $25 and dinner is $38. While drinks, tax and gratuities are not included, there are usually pretty good pairing options or deals to be had on house wines, etc. Each restaurant can make their own drink options as they'd like. Most restaurants are Monday through Friday only, but some offer weekend menus as well. My advice is always lunch over dinner if they have it, but I would also just see what they offer, as some places are much better deals than others. You can check out the 293 restaurants that are participating at NYC & Co's site. From there most of the menus and online bookings can be accessed and you can narrow your search results by cuisine, neighborhood, meals served, etc. Happy EATING! :) Also keep an eye out around town for unofficial restaurant week deals they're usually better than the official ones, just from places that aren't members of NYC & Co.

restwksummer2013

Several tastes and one vote! Check out the Taste of Chinatown experience today and tomorrow! Several competitors will be duking it out an hour at a time as you make your way through to help celebrate Time Out New York's Chinatown Issue. Tell them who you think does it best--will it be the newbies or the old school? Also--your ticket gets you a comp beer to wash down that Dim Sum!

Friday:

absolut lunch break

If you're a fan of food & Hip Hop, then you're probably a fan of Questlove's, cuz he clearly loves them both (and no that's not a dig at his frame). This Friday you can extend your lunch hour and head over to Marquee for a little midday dance party. While the parties happen every week, for the masses of working stiffs looking for a little break from reality, this week you can shake your hips to the music stylings of famed DJ Questlove. You can read about these funky lunchtime jams in the NYT, or you can experience it yourself! I'd say go for the latter--and take pics!

Saturday:

For a little free daytime fun you can make your way over to Williams-Sonoma at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. Tasting Table has brought back it's live demo of the great Sous Chef Series, where you can to watch the masters make the food that you'll then get to taste. In the past menu cards have been provided. And as we're in tomato season, you'll be indulging in some great Tomato tastes from Anup Joshi of Tertulia.

01-Bushwick-Block-Party-2011

Where's Brooklyn at? Well, from me it's South East, but I don't know where you are, so Google it. You're already there you say? Or you wanted to try my Carroll Gardens food tour this weekend but I'm going to NJ for their beaches? OH, I see...well you should definitely check out the Bushwick Block Party then! This year's party includes performances from some of your favorite hipster and non-hipster bands, contests, skate demos, raffles, a photobooth, and lots of FOOD! Roberta's will be slinging pizzas, Yuji Ramen will also be providing pizza--I kid, they'll have ramen for ya! Crif Dogs will be there, Red Hook Lobster, and MORE! See and eat for yourself! Did I mention that 10% of all pizza sales go to charity? I did now!

If I was to pick ONE event to go to this weekend it would probably be this next one...you know, if I were going to be here. The first ever New York State Food and Beer Expo is going to be at the East River State Park in good ol Brooklyn! In addition to the over 20 microbreweries there will be food...of course, it's in the title I know! There will be local vendors represented AND a cheeseburger cookoff! If you get the VIP pass you'll get some food samplings from some greats, including Mrs. Dorsey's Kitchen(a stop on my holiday tour)! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. So let the BIBA of Williamsburg show you a good time and don't forget to take some pics for me!

OK, so I would also want to check out Tequila Fest at Tequila Park. Obviously. Also, as it's in Manhattan I'd probably be more likely to make it. Your ticket gets you 5 tequila tastings and 3 tacos. Tacos and Tequila?! What more could you ask for in the summer. Oh, you want a discount too? Well then you should head over to Urbandaddy. Ask yourself why you haven't been a perks member up until now and sign up! You won't regret it, unless you don't like good deals. Then definitely don't do it. Then, if you're lucky there will still be some discounted tix for Tequila Fest for you.

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Actually I'm glad to be out of town for the weekend, because I wouldn't know what to choose...I didn't even get to the Pig Roast. That's right. Those crazy kids at 3rd Ward are having a Pig Roast starting at 2pm. There will be music, dancing, fun activities like double dutch and, of course, FOOD & BOOZE! Get your pork on! Not only will there be your standard slow-roasted pork, but Coolhaus will be there with their amazing ice cream sandwiches! It is summer after all!

Sunday:

Another Brooklyn event, but this one will transport you to the Middle East. A Persian Food Tasting Menu will make you believe you've left NYC and gone overseas. Andy Baraghani will cook for you in his own home, and share with you his Persian roots and the exotic flavors he left behind. You'll get to bring your own beverages to pair with the food form Andy's past. What better way to enjoy your own friends or make new ones than in the comforts of someone else's home?!

persian paradise3

Brunch always. So, go on and get out there. Do it for me! So I can live vicariously through you and then, hopefully I'll have some new tour photos and updates for you next week. And then we can spend the weekend together! :) TTFN

Foodie Weekend #5: HEATwave

HOLY HOTNESS!!!!! Guys, it is sweltering out there! Hence the delay in this post...my brain is not functioning at normal speed. With that said I'm not listing Thursday Activities. As far as I'm concerned you should be staying inside tonight, but that's your call! Hopefully the heat will break tomorrow and you can run around the city eating your way through it as intended by nature. Friday:

Don't worry, a grill you wouldn't have to bring to Queens Farm!

Don't just eat your food, camp with it! This weekend, Queens Farm is having their annual summer BBQ & campout! Grab your sleeping bag and your hungry bellies, and get your tickets for this unique event that will include food, drinks, and dancing! There will be a DJ there into the late night hours for you partying types to dance of the calories from your campfires s'mores! Don't miss out on this opportunity--make sure you purchase those tickets before head out to Queens. And don't worry--coffee will be served in the morning to get you going for the rest of your weekend.

Saturday:

beerandjazz

Beer & Jazz! How's about that combo for a Saturday? The Annual Craft Beer & Summer Jazz Festival will be taking place at Webster Hall on Saturday with two admission times. Depending on your ticket class, there's food available as well. There are some retail vendors that will be providing goods and FOOD for purchase as well. Of course with a craft beer festival the most important part is the beer, and this one includes around 150 different beers for you to taste. You can buy your tickets and find out more information on their site.

Friends and not-so-much, all covered in TOMATO

The Spanish are coming! And they're bringing their strange tradition of tomato-tossing with them! You too can join in on the drunk tomato battling this weekend without having to renew your passport! La Tomatina is the proper Spanish name for this bizarre practice of throwing overly-ripe tomatos at your friends and strangers alike. The good people of Tomato Battle, who've been around the country with this, have finally brought the boozy, messy, musical fun to Brooklyn NYC! Get your tickets and you can head out by noon to start your drinking before the biggest food fight you'll ever take part in begins!

Sunday:

The Gardens that make Carroll unique!

Cool Down on Court Street in Carroll Gardens this weekend! With the temperatures back under 90 degrees, what better way to celebrate than with a late afternoon stroll through one of the most beautiful parts of Brooklyn. For a limited time only I'm offering a huge discount on the tour! 50% off if you book with code 72113Half at checkout!

After the tour, I'll send you over to Dassara for some Danish comfort food! Revolving Dansk is made up of a Danish couple that's taken up the task of creating an underground communities of Danes and those interested in the type of Danish Street Food that's been gaining popularity in Europe and now in the US as well. They've been pairing with local Brooklyn restos to bring you a taste of their homeland, and this Sunday you can find them on Smith Street.

Famed Dane Dog.

Fatty 'Cue is braving the heat and smoking out their resto with Smoked Out Sundays! $35 gets you all you can consume beer, pulled pork, and brisket. You'll also have live music and DJs at the Brooklyn location from 12-6pm.

 

Foodie Weekend #4: C'est La Vie!

Perhaps my attitude with this blog has been a little "lassez-faire" but alas, it was in anticipation of Bastille Day! And also there was our Independence day and the week before that I was busy with the Del Close Marathon....but that's neither here nor there. Here we are! Mid July! Let's get out, and celebrate our French allies! Or not. But go forth and eat AND drink my children! Classier than you think?

Saturday

Ma Peche, one of the Momofuku restaurants (a frequent vendor of mine), has a french name so this counts toward your Bastille celebrations! The restaurant hosts a monthly wine and cocktail class and this weekend's lesson should pique your interest! You can head to the midtown restaurant for a lesson in wine...boxed wine that is! Surprise yourself and your friends and learn the positives and negatives of boxed wine vs. bottled wine. Class is taught by noted wine writer Talia Baiocchi and will be from 5-6:30pm. Check out the eventbrite page for tickets and more information about this and the rest of the classes in the series.

FeteParadiso2

I don't know about you my I have some friends in Paris right now, but sadly I can't afford such luxuries! But, have no fear if you're like me, you can escape to a French paradise all our own without a boarding pass! Check out Fete Paradiso, kicking off this weekend in time for the Bastille festivities, on Governors Island. There are beautiful carnival rides, inspired by French artists. This is the first time the traveling French fair hits the US and you can celebrate with them this weekend or next or any of them from now through the end of September, but why not go when its most festive?! Of course, I wouldn't be mentioning it if it was all rides and no food! There's word of a beer garden, and also French restaurant, Le Gamin, will be providing more traditional eats from you croque madames to steak frites!

Sunday

Bastille in Brooklyn if you'd like! This year, Chez Oskar ("Le Funky French Bistro") is hosting a brunch in honor of France! If you'd rather hang in Fort Greene for France then this is the ticket! There will be a prix-fixe menu that will include champagne as well as several standard French activities...like a Robespierre photo booth, a Petanque (similar to bocce ball) tournament out back, and of course some can-can dancers! Festivities on Sunday will begin at 11am, so why not make a day of it?!

Better than a shoprite ad!

Do you like your independence days to be traditional? If so you should check out the oldest running Bastille Day festival put on by the authority that is FIAF (French Institute Alliance Francaise). Did I mention I've taken classes with them? They're great! This annual block party event offers live music, dancing, cheese tasting, and language lessons. Enjoy pastries from some of the best Franco-American chefs, including the CRONUT master: Dominique Ansel Bakery, Epicerie Boulud, and Francois Payard. Don't miss out on the Ricard cocktails and beer tastings. This is another excuse to party! All this is happening on Sunday from noon to 5 PM on E. 60th Street between Fifth and Lexington.

Foodie Weekend #3: Making Up for Lost Time!

OK, I know what you're thinking--this was supposed to be a weekly blog, but there's hasn't been a post since before Memorial Day Weekend! I know, and I'm sorry. I don't have great excuses...I mean it was my birthday just after that and then I was busy training interns and whatnot, but still, I slacked and I'm SORRY! Especially as there's been so much going on! But, here I am! Back to giving you the SCOOP of the city's foodie happenings. Speaking of SCOOP, there's a lot of ice cream fun going on...I know, it's cheesy, but still true.

I'm Screaming, can you hear me?!

Thursday:

First up, an ode to Game of Thrones, and a competition all powered by you! And foursquare. Basically you have until tomorrow to visit your favorite ice cream joint and when you check in on foursquare you're to hashtag--># the following, if it's your favorite ice cream joint: #gameofcones How do you know which one to go to? Well, like I said, it should be your favorite. Whether that's Big Gay Ice Cream, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, Il Laboratorio del Gelato, or Coolhaus you should go get some and show your love!

Iron Cone

Speaking of Coolhaus...and free ice cream...we are now! They're running a promotion from now through the 23rd in conjunction with Showtime before the upcoming season of Dexter. FREE Coolhaus y'all! Check out their twitter: @CoolhausNY or in LA: @CoolhausLA for more details on the where and when...I went today, cuz I love Coolhaus and FREE things :) and the sammie is delicious! Vanilla Ice Cream with a Cherry sauce and the cookies represent the light and dark sides of Dexter, which means you get Double Chocolate AND Snickerdoodle, which is great for a person like me, who can't make up my mind when it comes to those awesome cookies!

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Or you could check out a brand new Ice Cream shop, called Oddfellows Ice Cream Co. that opened in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and features some yums, like tequlia cream with pineapple!

Also for tonight is a CRAB BOIL! I know! Happening on the Upper West Side (yes, the West side IS the best side) at Ditch Plains tonight and then once a month the next couple of months. So check it out while you can!

Gotta love a good seafood boil!

Friday:

Well Friday brings us into summer as we have the longest day of the year! But, not to fret! The good people at Thrillist NY have compiled a list of activities for you to do on what they're calling the BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE! Download the itinerary and get in on some good and sometimes free eats!

Make the longest day your best with Thrillist!

"Friday Night Bites" is what the New York Historical Society is calling this series of talks and tastes at its home on the Upper West Side, and this one is going to be good! Reps from The Morris Kitchen will be demonstrating some cocktail recipes with historic flare and homemade syrups! Best of all? It's FREE! Just check out the link for information on reservations, etc.

Saturday:

Brewin' it and brewin' it and brewin' it WOW

Satur-DAY Drinking in Brooklyn! Check out Downtown Brooklyn's Homebrewer's challenge starting before noon! You can get your tickets and find out all of the details, like the vendors and which charities they're raising money for (oh did I forget to mention your drinking bucks do good deeds?!) all at the Rally Downtown HomeBrewklyn site.

As everyone knows already, Brooklyn is the place to be. And this Saturday you can pretend you're in Brooklyn by heading to Southern Manhattan, as there are several top BK vendors showing up downtown for a great block party! Smorgasbar at the South Street Seaport is hosting The Almost Annual Big Ten Block Party which will include Sixpoint beers, Marble Hill Ice Cream and many more. Buy your tickets today!

Proud to be a New Yorker during the month of June! It is Pride month after all! And yes, I know that the pride wee refer to is "Gay Pride" (I use quotations as there are a lot more members of the community at large that are in that group of people celebrating pride) With our annual Pride parade happening next weekend, there have been several events throughout the month to celebrate equality amongst all sexual persuasions, identifications, and preferences. And to kick off the biggest, gayest week of them all is a grand old brunch this Saturday at the Mercedes Club in Hell's Kitchen. I mention Big and Gay, as the owners of the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop are going to be judging the synchronized-swimming competition. There will also be some very tasty food offerings from some heavy hitting LGBTQ chef superstars, including the great Elizabeth Falkner! And what brunch would be complete without booze? There will be plenty of Marys...bloody and otherwise as there will be queens as well. And best of all? Proceeds go to charity! Get your tix today!

BIG GAY BRUNCH!

Since we're on the topic of pride, it wouldn't be June without the annual Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, which almost didn't happen this year, due to lack of funds!  Can you believe it?!  I can't! Thankfully, due to crowdfunding, we're back on track with this fantastical event taking place on Sunday. And after the show of Mermaid love, you can grab your tickets to the Mermaid Riverboat Ball, which will include free beer and pizza from one of our vendors, Two Boots! The parade starts at 1pm and the ball at 6pm. And of course, if you'd rather keep your flippers on the land you can also attend the Drunken Mermaid Gala at the Gowanas Ballroom, also starting at 6pm.

Merm-everything!

Sunday:

Tastes like Summer!

Didn't get enough Beer or BBQ this weekend?! Well have no fear the Knights of Bruklyn, Home Brewer's Sentry, 3rd Annual Home Brew Competition is going down at The Bell House & Union Hall! The event starts at noon and your ticket includes some of that BBQ! Get in on this!

If you can't make it out to Coney Island, but you'd like to shop outdoors, then you can head to South Street Seaport Sunday and enjoy the opening of the New Amsterdam Market. Then keep coming back all summer long!

We've got a great forecast coming up so GET OUT THERE and enjoy your weekend! And of course, if you need more help, I can always take you on one of my tours! There's three, 3 to choose from!

Foodie Weekend #2: Extended Memorial Day Edition

Break out the grill cuz it's Memorial Day Weekend! Or...if you'll be in NYC, forget that, because the NYPD & the FDNY don't take kindly to fire-escape grilling! So, if you're not escaping to the Hamptons on the new "Cannonball" train or even the time-tested Jitney, then see below for a plethora of ideas to partake in. The weather may not be perfect, but it's still better than winter, right?! Do not attempt in your apartment.

Thursday, 5/23:

Elastic City Spring Benefit will raise money for the arts with your tickets and donations, all while providing entertainment, cocktails, and dessert from Babycakes! There will also be a raffle and silent auction to include goodies from Shakespeare in the Park and pieces from some of the featured artists. 7:30pm.

Saturday, 5/25:

Free food, drinks and SOCCER at an undisclosed location! Heineken International presents a viewing of the UEFA Champions League Final with a lot of bonuses involved. Of course, it's a super secret party and the only way to get in without great connections is through the internet. You can email Askmen.com tweet @ThrillistNYC with #FakeWembley and why you think soccer is cool. And I'm sure there are other ways to get in there too...if you find them let me know. :)

Brooklyn invades Manhattan with the opening of SmorgasBar at South Street Seaport! The people who bring you Smorgasburg and The Brooklyn Flea are now bringing some much-needed attention and and dough back to the badly hit Sandy vic. There's a long list of great Brooklyn reps that will be setting up shop and selling their wares for the benefit of all. Plus there's a couple new bars in the are that you should check out while you're there, like Watermark.

Sunday, 5/26:

BBQ alone, is so common, how about BBQ and hip-hop? Check out RUB-A-GRUB at the Do or Dine backyard in Brooklyn. Pre-sale tickets are out, but you can show up early and get your tix at the door! Performances will be headed up by the legendary Ali Shaheed Muhammad, from A Tribe Called Quest. And your food will be supplied by Food Network Star winning chef of Do or Dine. If I weren't busy with an Arrested Development Netflix-a-thon, I'd do this for sure!

Monday, 5/27:

With a full weekend of classic mainland grilling, it might be easy to forget about our lonely island to our west, you know, Hawaii. But Andrew Carmellini's hotspot The Dutch is taking it tropical by offering a Memorial Day Luau at the restaurant from 12pm to 9pm. There will be a prix-fixe lunch until 5pm and a family style dinner from 5-9pm. Classic Hawaiin dishes will include suckling pig and tuna poke. This might be a rare chance to step inside the place without a forever-long wait! Aloha!

Internship Opportunity! FUN & FOOD PROMISED!

I'm looking for an intern to help me out this summer, while learning a lot about the industry and building their skill set/resume. If you or anyone you know is interested, please contact me here.

Hospitality & Marketing Intern at a Fun New Food Tour Company

Do you love food? Do you find yourself engulfed in the NYC foodie scene? Do your friends turn to you whenever they’re looking for a good restaurant suggestion or ideas on what to do when their friends and family come to town? I became a Food Tour Guide for just those reasons.  I started Fun Foodie NYC Tours to share my passion for food, hospitality and NYC history with others from around the world or around the corner. My taste buds are inspired by the seasons as are my tours (for the most part anyway). I also wanted to step outside the box a little bit and offer tours in areas that are less traveled by my competitors.

The company is very new, and currently consists of me, myself and I. I love what I do, but there's A LOT to do for one person. Through my years of experience in hospitality, and the goals I'm striving for now, I have a lot to offer in terms of a great work experience. I'm not looking for someone just to do filing and posting on Facebook (although those might sometimes be required). I would like someone who's interested in learning about marketing, developing vendor relationships, learning and creating tours and possibly even becoming a guide.

My ideal candidate is someone who enjoys learning about New York City, about the food industry and just about running a business in general. Outgoing and easygoing personalities are going to be most successful in this position. I’m looking for someone that truly understands what hospitality is all about and is creative enough to think on their toes to solve any problems that may arise last minute.

What You Will Learn:

  • How to develop vendor relationships for tours and events.
  • How to budget, research and create tours—both public and private.
  • The importance of scheduling and follow-through for both vendors and customers.
  • Best practices for various social media platforms in terms of marketing.
  • How to conduct a tour & what to study for the NYC sightseeing guide’s exam.
  • How to use Zerve.com as a ticket seller site.

What We Require:

  • Interest in hospitality, and specifically with the NYC food scene. Students of all areas are welcome, as long as you have an interest in this field and an understanding of good business practices. Performers are welcome.
  • Highly organized, with an ability to prioritize time-sensitive assignments.
  • Creative self-starter—someone who will be comfortable heading projects without prompting once familiar with the company and my goals.
  • Friendly and warm demeanor; the key to a successful tour, is being someone that your guests WANT to spend three hours with, everything after that is easy.
  • Love for using social networking sites, and general excitement to learn new skills.
  • Interest in NYC history is a plus, but not required.

If this sounds like a good fit, I’d love to hear from you. This will be an unpaid internship, with opportunities to make some money assisting on tours for larger groups and the possibility of work, if you do become licensed. You will be expected to shadow some tours during the internship to understand them, and you will be provided food samples at no cost on those tours.

The position begins as soon as the right candidate is found and will last the summer (with scheduling details dependent on that candidate).  You are expected to work a minimum of 15 hours a week, with a flexible schedule and you may be needed on weekends.

Your Foodie Weekend: 1st Edition!

I figured it's about time I start making some weekly posts. Obviously, this one addresses the end of the week...or, as commoners call it, THE WEEKEND! Now, for someone who's been in hospitality for years, the weekend doesn't always mean the same thing to me that it does to most. And being a small business owner, well...it means I have even less time that's just to myself. But I do often get to enjoy some good weekend fun--I am my own boss after all!

And this weekend there's SOO much going on in this city that it's going to be very difficult to get any work done! So what are your options?

First up is the one that everyone's talking about: The GREAT GOOGAMOOGA!

GoogaMess 2012

It sounds like something a child made up...and perhaps it is. It's a weekend full of events including music and lots of food and drinks all set in a big park. In Brooklyn. This is the second year for the (previously over-) ambitious festival, and here's hoping that the organizers and participants have all learned from mistakes of the past! Last year, the lines were unbearably long and vendors ran out of food rather early on, as they were oversold on the event, and so the hoards took to twitter and the critics and attendees revolted. Some lesser folks might be discouraged from attempting this feat once more...ever again, let alone just one year later. But not these guys! They apologized profusely for their mistakes, and those who were there, while they were likely not full at the end of the day, were happy with the selection of vendors, events and music that played. So the organizers have vowed that they've learned from the errors of last year and promise a much better weekend of fun for all who give them a second chance! The kickoff starts tomorrow, 5/17 and runs through Sunday, 5/19 in Prospect Park. You can get your tickets and see more information on the GoogaMooga website.

Gatsby Summer!

Now, if the sound of the sunshine, sweat, and the great Brooklyn outdoors don't seem up your alley there's plenty more going on! Let's bring it up a notch in the class-factor and look to the annual Manhattan Cocktail Classic.

Opening Night Gala. Photo Credit: Belathée Photography

Food and drink outdoors?! Unless you're in the Hamptons, you're NOT interested! And with all of the Great Gatsby hoopla, you'd be a fool to spend your time any other way than the way of the uppercrust, right?! Well celebrate the libations of today, yesterday AND tomorrow, all concocted by some truly masterful bartenders! There are so many events going on for the Manhattan Cocktail Classic that they couldn't fit it all into one weekend! Opening Night Gala will take place tomorrow evening, with various events around the city to take place through Tuesday, the 21st! Take that Googa! But seriously, folks go to their site and check out all the events and information on how to get tickets, and if you wanna bring me along...well you know how to reach me!

Tribeca's FOOD festival

Now, in between, before and during all of that drinking you're going to want some food to fill your belly. Do those other events have that, sure! But so does this one...and plus you know there's rich and famous people with children who will probably not be at the Cocktail Classic, BUT they'll be pounding the pavement of Tribeca!

Tribecan Street Fair

Did I mention there's only ONE day that you can enjoy the Taste of Tribeca? How about the fact that it's all to raise money for Tribeca's public schools? Ah. OK, well now you know--those things are both true! The event takes place on Saturday, from 11:30am to 3pm. You will find it on Duane Street (between Greenwich & Hudson). There's several events for kids to enjoy while you're busy stuffing your face with food from some of the 70 participating restaurants from the area! Check out the schedule and various ticket options at the Taste of Tribeca site. For this one, you should get there early, but I wouldn't imagine that there will be any time that it's empty...we're talking about Tribeca during the brunch rush! There will be strollers!

9th Ave

So you wanna keep it to the street, but you were thinking even more casual and a little further north? We can totally do that...it's the annual 9th Avenue International Food Festival after all!

Block and blocks of food!

That picture looks VERY dramatic, but that's not even a mile of food guys! Not even a mile! On BOTH Saturday & Sunday, the 18th and 19th you can make your way north or south along 9th Ave, from 42nd to 57th Streets and you will be accosted by a variety of worldly scents! The festival opens up at 12 noon and ends at 5pm, both days. And the best part? It's just a big ol street fair, guys, so it's FREE to enter and the food is nice and cheap! YAY! We love that, right?! With so many choices you might feel overwhelmed, but remember you can walk up and down those blocks as many times as you need to burn those extra calories! I wouldn't miss it, but you might be stuck in Brooklyn, so I get it if you do!

And now, I must admit, I've run past my time and I have to run off...but there's still more events to speak of, so quickly we'll pop over to Queens for Smoke 2013: Whiskey, Cigar & BBQ Festival on Saturday, and The Momo Crawl 2013 on Sunday.

Wet Weather Weekend...

New_York_Central_20th_Century_Limited_1938 With the weather being all muggy and rainy, what better time to take in a train show?!

And this weekend there's tons to see at Grand Central--still celebrating it's 100 years. Today and tomorrow there are several events taking place at the station, including displays of old trains, fun for kids, tours, readings, performances, AND there's always great food! If you treat yourself to the Oyster Bar, you'll be partaking in history as well, as it's been around since the very beginning! Right now they're offering daily specials for $20.13 in honor of the occasion.

So, get the kids if you have them and/or your camera and come out the Grand Central for a step back in time. If you take public transport to get there you won't even need your umbrella!

For more information on schedules and events, check out their site.

And don't forget to call your Mom tomorrow! Happy Mother's Day! :)

Books to Feed...

food bookI know that we have CINCO De MAYO coming up this weekend, which is one of my favorites! But I have a catering job, so I'm not celebrating! :P So, for anyone else that's not partaking in Tequila drinking, OR you are just interested in checking out things on days that aren't Sunday as well...you might want to check out the Food Book Fair, happening this weekend in Brooklyn. DUH. Rundown NYC made a mention in a recent email about this "comi-con for foodies" and I knew I should pass the info along. I myself am looking for some novels that will take me places outside of a kitchen my that's neither here nor there. If my head was in another place right now I'd definitely be scouring the streets of ol BK for foodie fun and brain eats...in book form. It looks like there's gonna be a bunch of fun events as well, that would be worth checking out for sure. So if you're looking for something different to do this first weekend in May, check it out!

MAY your Spring be Flavorful!

May is here!!! And it's my favorite month for a variety of reasons: Birthday goodness in the Greek Isle of Manhattan's Lower East Side!

1. It's my birthday month! I was born on May 29th and I share that honor with my cousin, Dana who's exactly 1 year older than me, and I take this time to remind her of that fact every year! We also have the same birthday as that beloved President, John F Kennedy. So, clearly we're destined for great things! Last year was a big one for me. I hit 30 and celebrated at one of my tour stops, Souvlaki GR, in the Lower East Side. They've got great food, wine and a perfect atmosphere for such an event (it's designed to make you feel as though you're in the Greek Isles, you're inside, but feel like you're outside)! This year, I'm thinking I might try a small family dinner at Feast and then get someone with outdoor space to throw a party with grilling and beer involved. If you want to be that person, just let me know!

Crawfish Boils don't happen in Winter! Yay! Spring!

2. That brings me to my next favorite thing...outdoor dining and drinking and grilling and drinking and YAY outdoors! May is a great time to have some outdoor brunch or waterfront margaritas or throw a party that includes meat and booze and me! There are all sorts of great opportunities to take advantage of NYC and the outdoors and it's al fresco dining. I love wandering around South Street Seaport...more on that soon, going to the beer garden (I know there are several, but the best is the Bohemian Hall in Queens, sorry guys), or playing drinking games on a friends terrace, deck or patio! I also enjoy going to street fairs, which is cheap and always a good time, here's a listing of those, for you to check out!

Last year's cinco de mayo we went to a foodie fest outdoors combining so many of my favorite activities with BIG HATS!

3. You might notice the Cinco de Mayo at Grand Central event in that listing, which brings me to the next great thing about May...all of the various Foodievents throughout the city. I've brought up a few already in this blog, and I will highlight more as the weeks go. But for now I will mention one that's going on tomorrow. As I use Grand Central on my winter tour I figured it was appropriate to point out The Flavor of Midtown, which is taking place tomorrow from 7-9:30pm in Vanderbilt Hall. You can check out more information and link to buy tickets here. There will be more than 30 restaurants and food and drink vendors there for you to sample from, including some standouts, like Murray's Cheese, Magnolia Bakery, and the historic Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant.

So, what are you waiting for? GET OUT THERE!

You Can't Buy Love, But You CAN Buy me This Sandwich!

Mmmm...lobster Well I don't know about you, but one of my favorite food things from New England is the lobster roll. For that reason I like to include a little sample of it on a tour when I can...yeah that's right come on a tour and find out!

Well as an ode to our friends up north, I wanted to mention this delicious style of food...and treat with a little improv "Yes, and..." so I'm sharing with you this post from Rundown NYC's email about what looks to be the most delicious sandwich ever...The ANGRY LOBSTER FATTY MELT. You can find it at Hudson Common...through TOMORROW! So gimme a call and buy us both one. :)

Angry. Lobster. Fatty. Melt.

And something else you can do tomorrow (with me) is go to the HIGHLINE...

 

Summer City Streets from an Elevated Railroad Park :)

and let's get some meat! Stop it with your dirty mind! Not THAT kind of meat...although, this woman does have needs! :) I'm talking about some tasty, homemade smokey meat...some fall-off-the-bone, melts-in-your-everything, kind of meat (ok that got dirty again).

Most of my friends think the only important Delaney is Michael Delaney, Master writer, improviser and actor...but that's NOT the Delaney I'm talking about. DANIEL Delaney, is a chef who's taken smoking into his own hands and has earned himself quite a following for carnivores because of his great technique and a knack for knowing his red-blooded beauties. He started out doing a sort of pop-up shop, where his fans could pre-order their brisket and then dine in a temporary spot whenever they were able to get there (spots were limited of course).  Due to their popularity and resulting success they set up shop in none other than Williamsburg with Briskettown (Brisketlab was the name of the pop-up series). You can treat yourself to meatfood 7 days a week in their Brooklyn shop! And now...for those of us that LOVE the Highline...they're opening up a cart in the famed park with great views and people watching! And they're calling it Smokeline. Starting tomorrow and running through October, we can all meat at the high line and eat! See? I know. Here's the email I received with this great news:

" Howdy Friends, I'll preface this email with a *non-April-Fool's-Day-disclaimer*: I recognize that this would be the best day in the world to prank you all. And I'm working hard to figure out how to do that separately, but this note, I assure you, is true blue. :)

It's with great pleasure that I announce Delaney Barbecue's expansion into Manhattan with SmokeLine, a satellite smoked meat outpost conveniently located on the High Line in Chelsea at W 15th Street!

The cart will be opening up later this month, and will feature many of the same proteins you've come to know at BrisketTown, with a few new surprises! Expect a very rib-focused menu, some new sandwiches (fried cheese and brisket anyone?), an expanded pie menu (featuring pies by Rachell Roth, our new rockstar baker), and a made-to-order soda bar! It'll be right smack dab in the middle of the park, along with some of our longtime friends like Blue Bottle Coffee, and a bunch of other new and delicious acquaintances. It'll be opening April 18th, and will stay open until October 18th.

I'm unbelievably excited to be able to bring our food to the island. I think that the High Line is a great opportunity for a new comer like us to wade in the water, meet a ton of new hungry folks, while continuing our goal of feeding New York the finest damn 'cue around! Keep your eyes and ears open for developments as we build out our cart and get ready for the launch. I'll be posting photos and updates to our Facebook page (like us, plz), and will blog about the progression on our website.

Thanks as always for all the support.

Love, Dan & The Delaney BBQ Team

PS: Everything at the cart will be vegan. April Fools! Copyright © 2013 Brisketlab, All rights reserved. You're on this list because you signed up at http://brisketlab.com Our mailing address is: Brisketlab PO Box 110072 Brooklyn, New York 11211"

Smoke.Meat.High Line.

As if April 15th Wasn't Heavy Enough

Boston Red Socks, winning at Fenway Park I won't try to be poignant, as I find it hard to compose my thoughts in the face of such tragedy. What's happened is incomprehensible. And I think that there have been many who have made some great points about the terrible events that have occurred in Boston. I've always liked it as a sort of cousin city to ours, with a lot of great history, charm and pride. A lot of New Yorkers have connections to Boston, as do a lot of Americans. To that end I will just say to the Bostonians, that you are not alone, but I think you know that already. Our sports teams may be rivals, but those rivalries obviously come out of respect and love. Keep supporting one another and leaning on those around you, including other nearby communities who, you will find start pouring in to lift you up. In NYC we've seen this on more than one occasion, and it's exactly the sort of thing that Patton Oswalt was so eloquent about. There's more good than bad out there in the world and as you're mired in the darkness of these events, don't forget to keep your eyes open for these bright shining lights that are your neighbors from all corners of the world.

I imagine that there will be several other events to raise money, resources, etc as the days go on, but the first of it's kind that I've seen comes from a very talented, funny and smart man, Anthony Atamanuik of the Upright Citizen's Brigade. If you're free this evening and you'd like to both tear yourself away from the news AND raise money for the Boston Red Cross then check it out, he's dedicating his weekly show to the cause, and this is from his Facebook page:

"The Tony Show! Boston Red Cross Fundraiser

Tuesday 04.16.13 9:30pm UCB East Ave A & 3rd st

In light of today's events, The Tony Show will be raising money for the Red Cross. Tony will be sharing old stories from Bean Town and helping out those affected by a violent act of cowardice at the Marathon.

With these great stand-ups, who are not required to do Boston-centric material!

Jamie Lee (Conan) Phil Hanley (Late Late Show w/Craig Ferguson) Emil Kim (Thunderbird Comedy Show)"

Make reservations here.

When I was celebrating my birth in the great city of Boston.

Also, if you're in Boston or looking for some of those needed resources for someone who is, you can check out this info from Eater Boston.

"Resources for Marathon Runners, Friends and Family

Tuesday, April 16, 2013, by Aaron Kagan

Here are some resources that may be useful for those affected by the tragic events at yesterday's Boston Marathon.

If you are trying to find someone at the marathon, call the mayor's hotline at 617-635-4500.

Google has also created a "person finder" specific to the event for those trying to locate people who were in attendance:

http://google.org/personfinder/2013-boston-explosions/

If you were at the marathon, officials have recommended that you let people know your whereabouts and that you are okay. You can do so via your own social media platforms or through this Red Cross resource:

http://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php

If you have information about the explosions or if you have photos or video of the incidents, please call  1-800-494-TIPS  or  1-800- CALL-FBI . You can also text the word "TIP" to the number 27463 from a mobile phone.

The site of the explosions is being treated as a crime scene and is therefore closed to the public. See here for a map of that area:

http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/uploads/48206_1_15_13.png

If you can house someone in need of a place to stay, see this Google doc:

https://docs.google.com/a/eater.com/forms/d/1dqIKVq6IqX4BVXqOW_a9-qmXt1KJ_4Nu3NPNnC1g1mw/viewform

Anyone in need of crisis counseling is encouraged to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at  1-800-985-5990 . You can also text ''TalkWithUs'' to 66746.

For further updates, follow the Boston Police Department on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/boston_police

If you have any additional resources, please share them at boston@eater.com"

Lastly, I offer this advice: TURN OFF THE TV for as long as you can.

Sum(mer) Upcoming Foodievents in NYC!

I say summer since it's 80 degrees out today, but it's still spring and surely we'll feel it again in a couple days! But until then I will enjoy this outdoor weather, perhaps with a sangria in hand? Either way, Spring in NYC is sooo filled with great offerings that I wanted to point some things out that perhaps you're missing!

citymeals ypcDrink well, feel good & do good with Citymeals on-wheels Young Professionals Committee. They're having an event on April 18th, to raise money for the great organization that gets food to our New Yorkers that aren't as able to get it for themselves. So schmooze and network all while raising funds for a good cause! You might not physically feel better in the morning, but your soul will at least! The event takes place at Brother Jimmy's on Lexington and 31st from 6:30-8:30pm, and you can find out more, as well as the RSVP info by checking out their Facebook Page.

hot sauce expo logo

What's that you say? 80 degrees still isn't hot enough for you? Oh well then you should definitely head on over to the 1st Annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo! Mark your calendars for April 21st and/or 22nd from 10am - 6pm in beautiful Brooklyn's East River Park! There are VIP tickets available, events of all kinds, including a variety of competitions, but probably the most exciting will be the Screaming Mi Mi Awards! There are dozen of vendors all ready to get you hot & sweaty! Surprise yourself and your tastebuds with a great spring day activity!

googamooga

May's Messy GoogaMooga! I know that it sounds like gibberish, but it's a big ol' music and food festival that happens in Brooklyn. Last year was year one and it turned out to be quite the cray cray experience...or so I read from the tweets, I figured I would give them a year or so to figure things out, but I'm sure they've learned a lot from past mistakes! There will be lots of food, beer & wine to indulge in...I'd just recommend getting there early! So if you're interested, you can buy your tickets online now, for any or all days: May 17, 18, 19. Me? We'll see...perhaps I'll be creating my own food festival in a more reserved tour on the UWS feel free to join me if that's more your speed.

"Antonia with Ciabatta- fresh from the oven at Daniel (photo by Michael Harlan Turkell)"

You know the Highline...what about the Lowline? Well this is a fun project that's looking to create some great park space underground in the Lower East Side...yep UNDERground! I think it's all pretty cool and so do a bunch of other people out there, and you can learn more at one of their upcoming April events! Check out the details for April 12, 22nd or 25th at their website and feel free to look around while you're there and make a contribution if it's a project you can get behind as well!

One of the things that I wanted to direct your attention to comes from one of my fave foodie charities, Hot Bread Kitchen. Along with the great programs they have to teach the underprivileged culinary and business skills that they can bring with them into a career to support themselves and their families, they've also got programs to help good food upstarts. It's called HBK Incubates, and they're accepting applications until May 31st.

So there you have some spring activities to put into your calendar and in the meantime you can try sneaking into Whisky Live tomorrow, or just wander around the park--remember the beach may be calling your name, but they're not open for you yet! And as always, you can check out one of my tours for a very fun way to spend your day outdoors!

Spring & Summer Pretty Please!!!

A view from the top, of the Upper West Side. While the thermometer still isn't quite where we'd like it to be, I'd say we're getting there! And with the dawn of the more happy-making seasons it's time for some new tours!! Plan your days and make some of mine by joining me on my newest food tours!

First up is the Spring Tour!

I'm bringing you to the neighborhood that brought me up, the Upper West Side. Long dubbed a "culinary wasteland", it was always a place of family and beauty, even during the city's darker days. But the food finds have finally caught up to its culturally sophisticated inhabitants! With some of the most expensive addresses on the island, we could ponder for hours why it took so long for restauranteurs to realize the built-in customers they'd have if only they took to opening a location uptown. To our benefit though, whatever the reason is, it's peeled away as we welcome merchant upon merchant into this lovely, homey and historical neighborhood! So let's explore some of this new cuisine that's representative of nearly every continent! And while we taste what there is to offer, we'll also see some of that history I mentioned and if you don't know from your own experiences, let me enlighten you on what it was like to grow up in this town. This used to be my playground, but today it's yours as well!

Next I've got a Friday Tour that'll cover three seasons!

800px-Pizza_Truck_NYC_50_jeh

When I worked in the corporate world it was still in hospitality, which basically meant that "Summer Fridays" were never something I was able to enjoy. :( Now that I run my own company, I'm responsible for my own schedule and I'm forcing myself to work for you and for the greater good of the foodie community! OK, so it's nice work if you can get it! Why don't you join me while you skip he rest of your Friday afternoon and we can enjoy some of the goods fresh of the various trucks and vans and carts that want to feed you in lower Manhattan? Our truckin' culture has evolved to produce some of the best food that you can find in the city...all available from the back (or center really) of someone's oversized vehicle! Food carts started out of necessity, but they've turned into mini-restaurants created out of passionate entrepreneurs with good taste and smart business sense! Forget that "TPS report" and join me for a more fun Friday activity! I'll tell you about that summer that I worked in the heat of my friend's own Feed Your Hole Truck...you know, while we feed our own...mouths!

Lastly, for now is the Summertime Tour!

Glorious Green in Carroll Gardens!

Shortly after St Patrick's Day I was challenged by a former schoolmate to try his corned beef...literally. I'd said it was gross on a friend's Facebook page and he said he could change my mind. When I discovered that he was one of the owners of Court Street Grocers, I decided to take the trip out to Brooklyn and try his house-cured meat (I know, it sounds a lot dirtier than it was)! "Would you like a Reuben?" he asked..."Yes, please!" And sure enough, it was THE best one I'd ever tried! To top it all off I finally had perspective on a neighborhood I knew of, but wasn't at all familiar with and as soon as I walked out of the subway I was inspired. I was originally considering a more midtown neighborhood for the summer tour, but then it hit me that Brooklyn would be a much cooler place to be--in all senses of the word! Not only is it a pretty and quiet neighborhood, perfect for a summer walking tour, but it's rich in immigrant history, culture and a variety of foodstuffs that range from your local corner store to some high-end dinner hot spots. So on this tour we'll explore it all...and just think--without Facebook, it would never have been possible!