things to do

Break the Habit NYers! Try Something NEW!

When someone first finds out what it is that I do for a living, I get a variety of responses, but there are a few that seem to repeat rather regularly. Most people first respond with many follow-up questions, and I can see their mouths begin to water as I describe to them further what it is that a food tour entails, and what exactly I'm responsible for in running such a business. Eventually, people tend to wind up in the same place though and say something like: "What an awesome job! Do you have a website or something? I'd love to do that with my friends/family/random travelers I like to pick up when they come into town!" Which is, of course, when I reach for my business card to hand over, and politely say something in return like: "Yeah, I love it! It's also fun for locals too! You get to discover neighborhoods you never knew before!" Then, of course, depending on how well I know them, the conversations will end, or continue, or morph or whatever. Lately, however, I've noticed a new response from those who are or just consider themselves to be New Yorkers. Both natives and transplants have had the same naivete--especially those potential interns I was interviewing back in June! I've gotten variations on the following a lot more than I'd like this past summer:  "Oh, awesome! I pretty much do food tours on my own all the time!" Which I guess people think is a flattering cute thing to say to someone who's just mentioned they literally run a business doing that thing, but it's not. It's somewhat insulting, but I know that it comes from a good place, so more importantly, it's inaccurate.

Sometimes my appetite takes all the lady out of me!

So. I wanted to dispel this popular myth for the rest of you. First, no you don't. You DO NOT do food tours on your own. Now, obviously, you and I BOTH know that you don't mean to say you do what I do, because I'm pretty sure you don't do all the research required to give information about every restaurant you stop into, or facts about the neighborhood, it's history and possibly the relevancy to the dish that you're currently consuming. I know that you probably can't recite the history of pizza and bagels in NYC like I can, and even if you do know where the last standing knishery is, you probably don't know where the knish was invented, what it came from and who Yonah Schimmel's even was. And if you love a good lobster roll, like moi, then you've definitely been to one of Luke's outputs, but do you even know what brought Luke to NYC in the first place? I mean have you ever been to the scene of Al Capone's Wedding or any of Alec Baldwin's? I have! Many times! And I point them out to the lucky people who join in on my tours!

OK, I'm sorry I got off on a tangent there, and we already covered how that's probably NOT the part of the tour you were thinking of. You're clearly thinking about the food. You were thinking about that time that you and your friends went to two or three different places in one night and ate so much! Or, about that time that you challenged yourself to try a new taco every week for a month! Maybe even when you went to that event and there were like 100 different restaurants there and you tried like half of them in just 2 hours! OK...that last one is very admirable, which I say cuz I've done it before. But none of this is what I do.

I guess Ill eat organic food for you!

In 2-3 hours, I take a group of people as small as two and as large as 16 to 6-8 different places, covering 1-2 miles of city streets and eating/drinking something at every one of those stops. As we walk I point of various historic sites, give background on the neighborhood itself, AND try to give you information on every stop we walk into. I carefully source every stop so that my guests are provided with the best food, ambiance and service. I also make sure that each bite we eat is in balance with the last. So, even if you request a taco tour, I'll make sure that each one we have is different from the last! And when I do my research, it usually takes me a full day or two to try a minimum of 10 different places so that I know that I'm bringing only the best to my guests--how often have you done that?!

I guess what I'm saying is that there are plenty of reasons to do a food tour. It's definitely a great activity to do when you have visitors in town, but I know for a fact that it's just as fun to do with a a friend who's from here--or even just on your own! I'm pretty good company I think--I mean, I've gotten another request from a repeat client, so I think that speaks for itself. You can even ask some of my friends who have been on a tour or two--if they're not sick of me and this city already, then I can assure you that you'll have an experience like none other! Get on out there NYC! Do something different! Why should you let the tourists have all the fun? Because you will learn something new and you haven't done this on your own!

$$$ New Tour Idea: LOBSTER ROLLS!!!

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 ypc

Drink 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.

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!