Pig Island 2019

 

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The 10th annual Pig Island BBQ fest was held on September 7th.

The event was held on the waterfront at Erie Basin Park in Red Hook Brooklyn. The neighborhood of Red  Hook is an old industrial waterfront area that in the 1990’s Life magazine called “one of the worst neighborhoods in the United States”. That has changed as the neighborhood has been going to a resurgence. Box stores such as IKEA and Fairway have made their way into the neighborhood and many of the warehouses have been converted to galleries, artists lofts, breweries and distilleries.

The event was produced by the Food Karma Project helmed by Jimmy Carbone who along with Josh Ozersky conceived Meatopia back in 2010. That wanted a farm to table event using pigs from small farmers.

With the cancellation of the Big Apple BBQ block party this year, this event was the premier bbq event of the year in New York and “the last great bbq event of the Summer”.

I attended after a two year hiatus. The park is on the waterway with expansive views of the harbor most of the way around. It was a big outdoor bbq with people and families spreading blankets on the grass while strolling from vendor to vendor.

Since my last visit more spirit vendors were in attendance this time around. Some of the interesting ones was Irish Whiskey from Kilbeggan and Tyrconnell which had a wide range of whiskey styles that I didn’t think Irish whiskey had. There were some nice single malts from Laphroaig, Auchentoshan and Bowmore, a couple of nice rye from Ragtime Rye and Knob Creek was on hand to make a smoked to order Old Fashioned.

When general admission was let in some of the food lines grew long, it seems that there’s a hierarchy of bbq vendors and some of the lines were longer than others.

 

BBQ to be sampled: 

Puerco a lo Cubano Vietnamese Larb
The Foxy Burger Mixiotes de Puerco
Apple Cider Brined Hog Pulled Pork Tacos
Puerco Ahumado Smoked Chorizo
Half Pig Porcetta BBQ Pigtail
Pulled Pork Bacon Cups Roasted Pernil

 

 

International Wine Fest At The Golden Nugget 2019

 

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On August 24th I attended the 8th annual International WineFest held at the Golden Nugget hotel and casino.

The Golden Nugget casino along with Harrah’s and the Borgata are in the Marina district of Atlantic City in New Jersey. That’s about a couple of miles from the famous boardwalk where the bulk of the casinos are located.

Originally, seven years ago the festival began as the Cal-Ital wine festival. It had paired Italian along wines with California wineries of Italian heritage. Some of those included Sbragia, Mondavi, Sebastiani, Seghesio, Peroncelli and Louis Martini to name a few. Italian immigrants had brought over their wine culture and wine making skills to the early winemaking industry in California. It was an exciting concept and they poured some nice juice.

Unfortunately I believe the organizers of the event found that concept too limiting for a large wine event so they segued into an international festival theme which gave them more product to bring into the fest.

The Wine Fest was a two day event with the grand tasting on Saturday evening which I attended. Over 100 wines from the wine producing countries of the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia were poured.

While there were no trophy wines present, it was a good opportunity for a neophyte wine drinker to experience a broad range of international wines and styles. The room was never overcrowded and there was never a long wait for a pour of wine.

Along with live music, a buffet and their signature attractive wine ambassadors pouring, it made for a fun evening of drinking wine before you got back to the business of gambling.

 

I was in a Champagne drinking mood that evening so my go to drink for the night was Champagne.

Paul Goerg: Brut reserve, blanc de blanc , brut  .

Pol Couronne’s: Brut cuvee, blanc de blanc, brut rosé.

 

Some others I sampled:

Robert Mondavi: Bourbon barrel aged Cabernet Sauvignon, barrel aged Chardonnay, rum barrel aged Merlot.

Rodney Strong: Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Vallery estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Merlot.

Francis Coppola: Sofia Rosé, Diamond Collection Oregon Pinot Noir.

Heavy Weight: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Knockout Red.

Smoke Tree: Rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir.

Dancing Crow: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel.

19 Crimes: Hard Chardonnay, Shiraz, The Warden, Red Blend.

Oyster Bay: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Barossa Valley GSM.

Perrin: Cote du Rhone Rosé, Cote du Rhone Villages Rouge, Vinsobre Les Cornuds.

Louis Jadot: Macon Villages Blanc, Rosé, Beaujolais Villages.

Cavaliere D’Oro: Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva.

Laurennz V: Friendly Gruner Veltlener, Charming Gruner.

Quinta Do Crasto: Douro White, Douro Red.

Montes: Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

 

New York Cocktail Expo 2019

 

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On August 18th I attended the 3rd annual New York Cocktail Expo. The Expo which began in Rockville Center, Long Island in 2016 has grown to be New York’s premier cocktail festival, “the most attended cocktail event in New York”.

The event was held at the Melrose Ballroom located at 36-08 33rd Street in Long Island City, Queens, a short walk from the “N” train. It’s cavernous (and dark) music venue space where on this day all three floors were full of spirits and cocktails.

The 3rd floor held the “Rum Room” which was decorated in tiki style with many wearing an Hawaiian shirt. The floor was full of rum with many of the usual favorites such as Diplomatico, Appleton Rum, Plantation Rum and The Real McCoy and some off the radar brands such as Soggy Dollar, Stroh and Transcontinental Rum Line to name a few. The two other floors in the rest of the venue were packed with various whiskey, gin, vodka, tequila, cachaça, specialty liquor, beer, cider, and quite a few locally made apple brandy.

There was a cocktail competition and a Tiki Throwdown going on with Mixologists from local restaurants and bars participating so every table had a particular specialty cocktail to sample as well as whatever spirit was being poured. Consumers had the chance to vote on their favorite.

The winner of the Best Cocktail of the Year went to Bartender Leah Moss of Tooker Alley in Brooklyn using spirits from Balcones Distillery.

The winner of the Tiki Throwdown was Paradise Lounge in Ridgewood, Queens using Plantation Rum.

The event last year had one long session and was quite crowded, this year they decided to break the event into two sessions which made for a more manageable crowd size, I attended the evening session.

 

 

 

Beer Without Beards

 

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On Saturday afternoon of August 10th I attended the second annual Beer without Beards “stumbling through the stubble of craft beer” festival.

The event which was promoted by Hop Culture is the country’s largest celebration of female led craft breweries.

It’s actually a week of beer dinners and a bottle share event ending with the festival which had 24 breweries owned by women or having women brewers.

The event was  held at The Well at 272 Meserole Street in Bushwick Brooklyn. It’s a bar and performance space in the former Hittleman Brewery which was erected in 1867 in an area that was once Brooklyn’s Brewers Row. At one time there were 17 breweries in 9 blocks! The bar pays homage to that past by serving over 200 different beer.

The neighborhood is ground zero for Millennial hipsters so it’s not surprising that many of the people enjoying the festival were young and tattooed.

The event was held in the outdoor “graffiti garden” where you had the opportunity to sample the beer and chat with many of the women owners and brewers.

 

Breweries pouring:

Austin Street Backward Flag
Drake’s Fort Point
Garrison City Harlem Brewing Co.
King’s Court LIC Beer Project
Mikkeller NYC Moustache Brewing
Resident Culture Rhinegeist
Stone Brewing Superstition
Tales The Rare Barrel
Troegs Twin Elepnant 
Three Weavers

Two Roads

 

 

Secret Summer Cocktail Party 2019

 

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On Sunday afternoon August 4th, I attended the fifth annual Secret Summer cocktail festival. It was promoted as “the country’s only farm to bar festival dedicated to sustainable cocktails” using locally sourced ingredients. The event was produced by High-Life Productions and RAPT Hospitality.

The event was held again for the fifth year at The Foundry, an event space located at 42-38 9th Street in the the industrial waterfront area of Long Island City, a stones throw away from the Queensborough (Ed Koch) Bridge. The Foundry is a restored 19th century foundry, literally a brick fortress with an outdoor courtyard and several rooms.

Each of the rooms (or experiences as they called it) was dedicated to a particular sponsored spirit with mixologists on hand to make several signature cocktails with that spirit. New this year was a travelling trailer from Suntory whiskey which housed a tasting room with a rooftop sitting area.

Spirits used in the many cocktails that were available to sip on included: Suntory Whiskey Toki, Haiku gin, Roku gin, Huku vodka, Westward whiskey, Uncle Nearest whiskey, Aldez tequila, Gem & Bolt mezcal, Aperol, Mr Black coffee liquor, Chinolo passion fruit liquor, Toma Bloody Mary and Blue Point beer.

One of the non alcoholic options available were coffee drinks from Elmhurst Coffee Bar made with various non-cow milk products such as oat milk, walnut milk and hemp milk.

I would say that this is one of the best cocktail parties of the year in the city. You were able to spend the afternoon wandering around the many rooms and courtyard sampling cocktails while being entertained by immersive performances, aerialists, local artists, live music and DJ’s.

It was a typically hot and humid August afternoon so my go-to drink for the day was the classic gin & tonic made with Roku gin and London Essence tonic.

 

 

Rosé Splash

 

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Rosé Splash was a rosé wine themed boat ride that was held aboard the Spirit of New York on the afternoon of September 3rd. It’s not to be confused with the other rosé boat ride, the La Nuit en Rosé boat ride from last May.

The boat shoved off from Pier 61 at Chelsea Piers at West 21st Street in Manhattan for a leisurely three hour cruise along the Hudson river and lower Manhattan.

The Spirit of New York which is normally used as a dinner cruise venue, is a fairly large boat and today had three floors of tasting tables and a buffet, They poured an international selection of wines including New York State wines in addition to spirits such as Ketal One vodka, Taconic Distillery whiskey and Goslings rum to name a few.

It was a beautiful afternoon to be on the water and the crowd enjoyed themselves. I didn’t think that the quality of the wines today were as good as the wines poured at the La Nuit en Rosé boat event, but with three floors of wine and spirits, there was plenty to keep everyone occupied for the afternoon. Plus, they had really good bread at the buffet table.

 

 

Dan’s Taste of Two Forks 2019

 

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Dan’s Paper is a weekly publication that focuses on the Hampton’s lifestyle. Their “Taste of Summer” is a series of food and wine parties out in the Hamptons that include everything from a rosé soirée to a taco fiesta.

On Saturday July 20th they hosted their 9th annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks. With this years demise of the long running (28 years) Chefs & Champagne event, the Taste of Two Forks, “the #1 event of the Summer in the Hampton’s” is now the premier foodie event on the east end.

It was a food and wine celebration with over 40 restaurants serving their signature dishes, 20 vineyards pouring wine along with beer, spirits and cocktails to accompany all that food. Music was provided by DJ Phresh.

The event which was one huge cocktail party was held under the big tents overlooking Mecox Bay at Fairview Farm located on 19 Horsemill Lane in Bridgehampton.

It was a brutally hot Summer day and it seemed that the outdoor venue might turn out to have sauna-like conditions, but a strong breeze off of Mecox Bay blissfully cooled down the temperature to comfortable levels. I was happy to spend the afternoon grazing and drinking Aperol spritzs and hard seltzer.

 

 

Some of the food I sampled:

The Clubhouse: Tuna tartare in crispy taco.

Saaz Indian: Chicken tikka masala, basmati rice.

Topping Rose House: Oyster kimchi.

Shinnecock Lobster Factory: Lobster fritters and truffle fondue.

Vermont Wagyu: Wagyu sliders.

The Frisky Oyster: Peconic gold oyster friskafeller.

Calissa: Brisket souvlaki.

North Sea Tavern: Seafood salad.

Grace & Grit: Spicy Long Island seafood chowder.

Union Cantina: Skirt steak taco.

Anker & Green Hill: Tuna, quinoa, cucumber, tomato, cilantro.

Smokin’ Wolf BBQ & More: Slow smoked BBQ pulled pork sliders.

T Bar Southhampton: Yellowfin tuna tartare.

The Halyard: Crab and summer bean salad.

The Garden at Watermill: Scallop crudo.

Scarpetta Beach: Yellowtail crudo.

Mirabelle Restaurant: Rissoles of duck and foie gras.