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Best Weekend Food Events: Crawfish, Wine, and Guac Burger Dumplings

by CHLOE and Mimi Cheng’s Guac Burger Dumpling, Mimi Cheng’s, 179 2nd Avenue, Friday through March 31

Veggie burger joint by CHLOE has teamed up with Mimi Cheng’s for one month of guac burger dumplings. Throughout the month of March only, guests can enjoy by Chloe’s burger in dumpling form, which features black beans, quinoa, sweet potato, and corn salsa stuffed inside. The dumpling is topped off with guacamole and tortilla chips, alongside some beet ketchup dipping sauce.

Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason Dinner Menu Debuts, Soho Tiffin Junction, 42 East 8th Street, Friday, 6 p.m.

Chefs Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason lent their talents to create Soho Tiffin Junction’s new dinner menu, which debuts this Friday and will be available all year long. Dufresne advised on the menu and collaborated with the restaurant to create dishes like masala meatballs and fried chicken tenders marinated in curry. For dessert, Sam Mason of OddFellows Ice Cream Co. created a soft-serve version of the traditional kulfi (saffron, cardamon, caramelized milk) with toppings including chocolate sauce and rose syrup. The menu will be available every day of the week, from 6 p.m. until closing.

Wine Riot, 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue, Friday through Sunday, 7 p.m.

Sip on 250 wines from across the globe, poured by experts, at this interactive tasting experience. There will be plenty of booths for guests to stop by to get an unpretentious, wine-filled cram session and learn about these worldly vinos. Check out other activities throughout the armory, including a DJ and a photo booth. Finally, don’t forget to download an app that reveals where to buy the wines you’ve sampled at the riot. Tickets are $65.

Kids Food Festival, Celsius Restaurant at Bryant Park, 41 West 40th Street, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Crawfish season is here!
Crawfish season is here!

Join The Meatball Shop’s Daniel Holzman, and Seamus Mullen of Tertulia, as they demonstrate fun family recipes geared to get kids cooking in the kitchen. Additional family-focused activities include a balanced plate scavenger hunt, goody bag prizes, and a special appearance by Snoopy. Guests with kids who want to participate in hands-on cooking demos can get $25 tickets here.

Weekend Crawfish Boils, Double Wide Bar & Southern Kitchen, 505 E. 12th Street, Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m.

Fresh Louisiana crawfish season is in full force at Double Wide, where chefs prepare a traditional homemade crawfish boil each week. For $30, guests get a bucket filled with three pounds of crawfish, sausage, corn, and potatoes. The bar is also offering $5 Abita beers and rum cocktails. Can’t make it this weekend? Don’t worry, Double Wide will host these every weekend until the end of summer.

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This Weekend’s Five Best Food and Drink Events in NYC – 2/27/2015

Will a new month bring better weather to the New York area? Possibly. While you ponder this uncertainty, here are five sure things taking place this weekend.

Kids Food Festival, Bryant Park, 42nd Street at Sixth Avenue, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.

Mixing food and education, this event focuses on healthy eating habits for young whippersnappers and includes a variety of cooking demonstrations from the likes of chefs Bill Telepan and Joey Campanaro. Demonstrations include decorating cakes and learning how to make banana-and-peanut-butter quesadillas. The two-day fest also includes a scavenger hunt, food samples, and live entertainment. The event is free to attend, though tickets are $25 for all cooking demonstrations; check out the full lineup on the event website.

Third Annual “A Wing and a Prayer” Chicken Wing Cook Off, Hoboken Elks Club, 1005 Washington Street, Hoboken, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

Unlimited wings, wine, and beer are reason to brave the PATH and head out to this festive Hoboken party. Spicy, sour, and every flavor combination you’d consider dipping chicken in will be available until 9:30 p.m.; tickets are $40 and include all the food you can eat.

2015 NYC Beer Week Closing Beer & Brass Brunch, Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, Sunday, noon

Looking for a lively brunch option to entertain anyone crazy enough to visit New York this time of year? Try a buffet plate of fried chicken, pancakes, and other brunch fare courtesy of Blue Ribbon while enjoying a pint of New York craft brew. A brass band will perform from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., and guests can work off their meal on the lanes afterwards. Reservations are $40 and include one beer of choice.

Superf*ckingyawn! Launch, Threes Brewing, 333 Douglass Street, Brooklyn, Sunday, noon

For the launch party for Threes Brewing’s Superf*ckingyawn, an IPA whose title is just barely printable, the Meat Hook crew is roasting up a lamb, and a live bluegrass band will regale the crowd. Reservations are $50 if you want a food and beverage deal, though admission to the event is free.

Levine’s General Store Gluten-Free EatUP! First Anniversary Celebration, Freddy’s Bar, 627 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, Sunday, 1 p.m.

If your gluten-free cupboard is bare these days, it makes sense to stock up at this pop-up market, which offers a large selection of locally made gluten-free items. Shoppers can meet the makers, sample, and purchase everything from Italian pasta to decadent baked goods. There’s also $5 American Pale Ale and a tasting from Glutenberg Beer, plus the chance to mingle with fellow gluten-free folk.

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Best Public Restroom

Most of us working New Yorkers have arrived at the bleak, almost Zen acceptance that when we leave our apartments at the beginning of the day, we likely won’t be back for another 10 to 12 hours. Books, laptops, lunches, sports equipment — it all comes with us. But the one essential thing we can’t bring along is our bathroom. If you’ve got to go around the Grand Central area, you’re in luck — no need to buy a superfluous beverage from a coffee chain just to use the amenities. The public restrooms at Bryant Park have been maintained to a nearly absurd standard of excellence ever since the 95-year-old building that houses the facilities underwent a $200,000 renovation in 2006. We know what you’re thinking: “A park restroom? Don’t those exist solely for shooting drugs and/or illicit hookups? Do they even have toilets?” Well, this one does — and how. The mosaic-tiled toilettes are clean (to say the very least), and consistently well-stocked with soap, paper towels — and fresh flowers in a large decorative copper vase. Ten-foot coffered ceilings feature handsome crown molding and cove lighting. And here’s the kicker: There’s a full-time attendant to tidy up, spray air freshener, and help keep the line in check. A separate alcove with a vanity ledge and mirror framed in cherrywood is convenient for touching up makeup and ensuring speedy sink turnover. Moms can rely on the sturdy baby-changing table (made out of bianco-verde marble imported from India). Lavish? You bet! The new design is modeled on the facilities at the Plaza and the Waldorf. It’s the most-used public restroom in any city park but no worse for wear. Former NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe called it the “gold standard for park comfort stations,” and we full-bladderedly agree.

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TO THE BAT-CAKE!

Seventy-five years ago, a cloaked figure swung over rooftops on the cover of Detective Comics #27. It was our first view of Batman, and we’ve never looked away for long. Celebrating that anniversary, current Batman writer Scott Snyder (fresh off “Zero Year,” a bombastic rethink of the character’s origin) will join DC Comics exec John Cunningham in the Bryant Park Reading Room for a conversation about Gotham’s guardian. The tree-lined setting seems like a perfect place for Poison Ivy to attack with giant Venus fly traps; thankfully, the party’s not at the Guggenheim’s exhibit of jewel-encrusted penguin statuettes.

Wed., Aug. 13, 12:30 p.m., 2014

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ALL OF A SUDDEN

Summer in New York City means outdoor movies galore. Tonight the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival hosts a screening of the 1959 classic Suddenly Last Summer. Featuring greats like Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Montgomery Clift, the film is a Gore Vidal adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ psychodrama. What better suits a carefree summer evening than a plot concerning Euro-trip drama and the threat of lobotomy? Bring a blanket, snacks and some friends to midtown for some genuine American thrill-inducing cinema. After all, watching a Southern Gothic film after dark in Manhattan is practically out of a movie itself. The lawn opens at 5 and films begin at thirty minutes past sunset, exact times vary.

Mon., July 14, 7:30 p.m., 2014

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GET HOOKED

Who would have thought that the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street would become the fly fishing headquarters of New York? But with two Orvis stores right there, you can’t find a better place to learn to fly fish and get ready for some great outdoor experiences. To get you started, the folks at Orvis — who sell the gear, teach you how to use it, and offer a wide range of adventures as well as sponsoring a strong environmental protection program — conduct a free fly fishing class every Saturday through July 19 at Bryant Park, focusing on fly casting and outfit rigging. Later on, they can help you find great local places to test your new skills. Meet at Fifth Avenue Terrace at 41st Street.

Sat., April 26, 10 a.m., 2014

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Behind the Scenes of Winter Wonderland Pop-Up Celsius at Bryant Park

Stomaching Midtown is easier now that the majority of tourist hordes have dissipated post-holidays — and sometime before winter ends, it’s worth stopping by Celsius at Bryant Park (42nd Street and Sixth Avenue). The two-story snow white structure is a symbol of human ingenuity, which can be just as heartwarming as the traditional tree-lighting ceremony.

What began as a 1,500-square-foot tent meant to give tourists and locals a respite from the winter chill and the ice skating rink is now a brick-and-mortar pop-up — a structure complete with its own plumbing and electricity that’ll be dismantled in March. The bi-level restaurant and bar is the brainchild of development and hospitality firm Upsilon Ventures, perhaps the only organization capable of getting a Department of Buildings approval after 14 days of construction.

“At the beginning, we were really focused on setting up the experience, the artistic, holiday flare,” notes Sar Inbar, principal and executive director of business development at the firm, who is involved in the planning, oversight, and execution of Celsius as well as the Winter Village at Bryant Park. Not to mention giving people a place to eat and drink. But as time went on, the team realized that local foot traffic was continuously growing and a larger space was needed to appease the masses — a tent was no longer viable. And so plans were laid for a sturdier oasis: a 7,000-square-foot custom designed glass-enclosed structure that would serve as a completely functioning restaurant. “We were trying to integrate it as an organ within the overall organism within Winter Village,” says Inbar.

And while this is a temporary structure, Inbar says the key was in making it feel permanent: “Everything you touch, everything you feel is real.” Water is pumped in from the main line. The interior design is crafted to reflect the overall theme of the restaurant. The bathrooms are exactly what you’d find in any functioning business establishment. “God is in the details. In order to make sure everything ticks like a Swiss clock, no detail is too insignificant,” he says. It takes 15 days and nights to create the space.

The structure has undergone a few face lifts over the years, one of which enclosed its second level. And every year brings a change, whether it’s the decor, the food, or the cocktails. But thanks to its success — and ability to manage construction teams, regulatory agencies, and what the consumer wants — Upsilon has made a name for itself in designing holiday scenes. The firm is also involved in Prospect Park’s new ice skating attraction Lakeside.

Hit Celsius before it closes on March 2.


 

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TURKEY ON ICE

Here’s a great Turkey Day plan: parade, eat, nap, eat, ice skate. Not all the city’s rinks are open yet, but here are two that accommodate a lot of skaters and give you a chance to be outside for the holiday. In Manhattan, the Winter Village at Bryant Park is a beautiful setting, especially at night when the lights make it a winter wonderland. The skating is free, and you can rent skates ($15) and helmets, get your own skates sharpened, and have a snack 
at Ice Bites. Bag check and lockers are free, and you can buy a lock. If you’re in Brooklyn, you can enjoy the brand-new McCarren Rink installed over “the beach” plaza at the center of the McCarren Park Pool, and it’s pretty cool. The 60-by-120-foot rink accommodates more than 300 skaters, and admission is a reasonable $8 for adults, $4 for kids. Stay warm! The Winter Village is open from Sunday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to midnight, Bryant Park, 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, bryantpark.org, free, $15 for skate rental.

Mondays-Sundays, 11 a.m. Starts: Nov. 15. Continues through Jan. 10, 2013

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‘Accordions Around the World’

Squeeze boxes of many modes—cajun, blues, classical, Italian, folk, Lawrence Welk-ian, etc.—will be deployed about Bryant Square in honor of today’s 75th anniversary of the American Accordionists’ Association. At 7 p.m., the contingent will assemble for a mass rendition of “New York, New York” on the Fountain Terrace, followed by a jam and dance party. Bring your own bandoneon, button box, or harmonium at 9 for a public free-for-all.

Thursdays, 5 p.m. Starts: Aug. 15. Continues through Aug. 29, 2013

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OCCUPY THIS MOVIE

The beginning of August means the beginning of summer’s end. Before you get ready for chilly fall nights, though, head out to Bryant Park and enjoy the last three films in HBO’s Summer Film Festival. The free festival, which has run on Mondays since June, continues tonight with Norma Rae (1979), starring Sally Field in her Oscar-winning role as a factory worker who aims to unionize her shop. The festival rounds out the season with The Women on August 12 and E.T: The Extraterrestrial on August 19. Chairs, plastic sheets, and tarps are not permitted on the lawn where the movies are shown, so be sure to bring a blanket or sit in one of the park chairs on the sidelines. In addition to the movie, the festival provides dinner and dessert options from the Hester Street Fair and other vendors.

Mon., Aug. 5, 5 p.m., 2013