Best Weekend Food Events: MOFAD Opening, Pierogi Day, and Boorito Halloween Deal

Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) Lab Opening, MOFAD Lab, 62 Bayard Street, Brooklyn, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 12–8 p.m./10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The city’s first museum dedicated to the needs of foodies is now open — and showcasing the story behind smells for its first exhibit. “Flavors: Making It and Faking It” urges attendees to interact with food odors they know too well (and perhaps create new scents along the way). MOFAD Lab also offers guests the chance to sample MSG in tablet form to get a better understanding of umami, not to mention several historical artifacts and video presentations designed for food lovers. General admission for adults is $10, and additional information about the museum, including membership, can be found on its website.

Swiss Water Coffee Pop-Up, 300 Lafayette Street, Friday through November 8, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Thinking about switching from regular to decaf? If the thought scares you, consider a conversation and cupping demonstration that may persuade you to take the leap of faith. The decaffeinated celebration includes live demonstrations, art inspired by coffee, and free tastings of  espresso, cold brew, and other styles of coffee.

Pierogi Day, East Village Meat Market, 139 Second Avenue, Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Show the pierogi some love by heading out to the East Village for an unlimited free tasting of the Ukrainian specialty. Local businesses including Veselka will offer varieties like potato, cheese, short rib, and pumpkin for hungry customers. Attendees will also be able to snag pierogies to take home, too, if they don’t feel like chowing down in public.

“Boorito” Halloween Deal, all Chipotle locations, Saturday, 5 p.m. to close
Need a friendly place to grab a bite that will accept your Pizza Rat costume for the artistic genius that it is? All Chipotle locations will offer three-buck burritos, salads, bowls, and tacos to guests who arrive dressed in a costume that has an added “this doesn’t quite fit stylistically” element — think fake mustache or random eye patch.

Ho Foods Taiwanese Pop-Up, The Old Bowery Station, 168 Bowery, Sunday, 5–6:15 p.m.
Grab one of the remaining spots at this one-day affair, which offers a $40 five-course menu full of Taiwanese specialties. Beef noodle soup, sweet sausage with sticky rice, and preserved egg with tofu are a few warm dishes you’ll find, with cocktails and nonalcoholic drinks available for purchase. Reserve a seat here.


Here Are the Five Best Food Events in NYC This Week – 5/5/2014

Hard weekend of partying making your Monday tough? Recover at one of these food events, where you can grab free gelato, meet your favorite street food vendors, or taste some wine from Portland.

Teacher Appreciation Day at Chipotle, all Chipotle locations, Tuesday, 4 p.m.

Chipotle shows teachers a little love: From 4 p.m. until closing on Tuesday, all educators who present a valid ID at any Chipotle location will receive a free burrito, burrito bowl, tacos, or salad with the purchase of another menu item. The offer is available for in-store orders only and is offered to teachers, faculty, and school staff of all levels.

The Great Street Meet, Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Mingle with some of your favorite street vendors and learn more about their livelihoods and the issues that face these small business owners. Admission to this event includes an open bar courtesy of Bronx Brewery and treats from Nuchas and The Cinnamon Snail.

Gelato Pre-Launch Party, Gastronomie 491, 491 Columbus Avenue, Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Gastronomie 491 is offering a complimentary sneak peak of its new gelato flavor and needs volunteer taste testers. The shop’s resident chef Joshua Brambir and founder Nicole Ahronee will be on site explain the secret to making great gelato. Just make sure you stop by before 9 p.m.

Choice Streets, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex on Pier 86, West 46th Street and Twelfth Avenue, 7 p.m.

We still have a few tickets left to our Choice Streets food truck party, where you can sample bites from more than 20 of the city’s best mobile vendors. Your $50 ticket also buys you unlimited drinks and entrance to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex. Head on over to the Choice Streets website for more info or to pick up tickets.

Portland (Oregon) Wine Dinner, Buttermilk Channel, 524 Court Street, Brooklyn, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

Portlandia visits its Brooklyn cousin this week via a Buttermilk Channel-hosted wine dinner that will showcase bottlings from the Pacific Northwest. Rose City’s Division Wine Company winemaker Katie Monroe will lead guests through the tasting; the menu, which celebrates spring, features crispy soft-shell crab, pappardelle, and pork. Reservations are $95 and can be secured by contacting the restaurant.


6 Spots That Make Last Minute Super Bowl Party Planning Easy

Still haven’t figured out the food situation for your Super Bowl party? Before heading to the bodega for the last bag of Sabor de Soledad (R.I.P. 30 Rock ), enlist the help of some professionals and take out an epic feast of game-time classics. These kitchens are still receiving orders for Sunday but their food supplies are running low — quickly — so make arrangements ASAP. Of course if all else fails, you could always make a move to one of these 18 places.

Here’s our last ditch Super Bowl food guide.

Parm: Before everyone starts making a beeline for Carbone, head to this designer sandwich shop for the works. Ask for the Super Bowl Package and score chicken or meatball heroes, Mario’s lasagna, Sunday salad, and a whole coffee cake. Email

Bon Chon Chicken: Because if you’re ordering wings from anywhere else, you’re doing it wrong. Break away from the sports bar standard Buffalo sauce and order the addictive and sticky spicy soy and garlic chicken. The K-town locale will only acknowledge pre-orders for game day takeout, so call in advance to reserve your wings. 212-308-8810

Chipotle: Guacamole? Check. Chips? Check? A free hand for beer? Check, check. The fast casual Mexican chain will be serving “burritos by the box,” and can be made with meat, vegetarian, or both. Download an order form at or in-house at any location.

The Meatball Shop: Enjoy making ball jokes as much as the owners of this multi-location restaurant do? Great! Order the Bucket ‘O Balls: 25 beef, chicken (including a Super Bowl special buffalo chicken option), pork, or vegetable balls. Visit or any location to place an order.

New York Beverage: Forget the bottles and cans and order a keg from these Bronx-based distributors. Their list boasts over 300 varieties of beer including Domestic, German, English, and Mexican options. Know this: the company delivers on Saturdays, so make space in your fridge (or back porch) until game time. 718-401-7700

Baked by Melissa: Dessert may be a Super Bowl afterthought, but it shouldn’t be forgotten completely. The one-bite cupcakes from this Soho-based brand will offset all the salt you ate earlier in the evening (that’s how a balanced diet works, right?). 49ers fans can order a box of red velvet bites with chocolate frosting and gold dust, while those rooting for the Ravens can score mini chocolate cakes with purple and yellow icing. Or make half orders of both options and see which team gets devoured first.


Checking Out ShopHouse, the New Asian Chipotle Spinoff

I happened to be in Washington, D.C. over the weekend, and while I was there, I ventured to Dupont Circle to check out ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen (1516 Connecticut Avenue NW, 202-232-4141), otherwise known as the “Asian Chipotle.” Like Chipotle, the fast-casual concept champions natural and organic ingredients and hormone-free meats in its pan-Asian offerings. And although there aren’t plans for nationwide expansion at this point in time, analysts have given a thumbs-up to the concept. Time will tell if it will come to New York City. For now (and for those of you heading to D.C. for Thanksgiving), a look at the first ShopHouse.

The concept works just like at Chipotle: Customers choose either a banh mi, rice bowl, or cold noodle bowl. Then they get to pick either grilled chicken satay, grilled steak, pork-and-chicken meatballs, or ground organic tofu with turmeric and other spices. Veggies include Chinese broccoli, eggplant with Thai basil, blistered long beans, and spicy charred corn. Then the meal is sauced either with tamarind vinaigrette, green curry, or spicy red curry, and then garnished with any of the following: Singaporean-style pickles, herb salad, green papaya slaw, toasted rice, crushed peanuts, and/or toasted garlic. Needless to say, there are a lot of permutations.

I opted for a chicken bowl over white rice with half long beans and half eggplant, sauced with red curry and topped with papaya slaw, toasted garlic, herbs, and crushed peanuts. The chicken was very tender, and the long beans had great wok flavor, although the eggplant tasted somewhat overcooked, as though it had been sitting around in the warming tray. There were many competing tastes going on, but it worked well, and is a good bang for your buck, since it’s only $6.59 for a huge portion. Is it amazing beyond belief? Not really, but it’s pretty good with bright, clean flavors and filling and cheap — that is, Asian Chipotle.

Meatball banh mi
Meatball banh mi

I also got the banh mi with pork-and-chicken meatballs ($6.36), which was OK, but not as good as the rice bowl. The sandwich came slathered in spicy mayo and showered with green papaya slaw and crushed peanuts. My two biggest complaints about the sandwich were that there was really too much bread for the filling, and that the meatballs were a tad cold. The meatballs themselves, though, were quite flavorful and packed a good amount of heat. I am not sure if I love the addition of peanuts and green papaya in a banh mi, but that’s more personal preference than anything else. Nevertheless, it’s interesting that the humble Vietnamese sandwich has come so far as to enter the fast-casual concept lexicon — a huge feat for Vietnamese cuisine.

Indeed, what makes ShopHouse unique is that it’s doing a great job of introducing lesser-known Asian flavors and ingredients to the mainstream. The food is accessible to those who might not have a lot of experience with Thai, Singaporean, or Vietnamese cuisine yet simultaneously appeases those who do with flavors that aren’t significantly altered for American palates. For that reason, it’s worth a visit.

Outside ShopHouse in Dupont Circle
Outside ShopHouse in Dupont Circle

Chipotle Founder Named ‘Innovator of the Year’; Consumers ‘Ripped Off’ When Buying Fish

Just in case you were wondering, “Montezuma’s Revenge” has not been a problem for athletes at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
[Washington Post]

Kosher food is becoming more conventional in Berlin, post-World War II. [Reuters]

Restaurants are getting ready to raise prices as Americans begin to see higher food prices at grocery stores.

Wall Street Journal Magazine has named Steve Ells, founder of Chipotle, “Innovator of the Year.”
[Wall Street Journal]

Consumer Reports announces that people are “ripped off” when they purchase fish at markets and supermarkets.
[USA Today]

It’s not your fault if you didn’t know that last Monday was Food Day in New York. You weren’t alone.

It’s official: Google paid $151 million for Zagat in a deal that was announced back in September.
[NY Times]



Fork in the Road’s Favorite Fast Food Items

It’s time for Tuesday Toasts, our weekly feature highlighting the Fork in the Road team’s favorite versions of popular dishes and favorite spots in the city for a given activity. They might not be the best or the coolest or the newest, but instead represent the things and places that are near and dear to our hearts. Will the team have wildly diverging opinions, or do great minds think alike? There’s only one way to find out. Up this week: Our Favorite Fast Food Items.

“The Whopper at Burger King — the original, not recent disgusting permutations. Love the smoky flavor of the ‘meat’ and plethora of vegetables.” –Robert Sietsema

“The barbacoa burrito from Chipotle. I get it with veggies instead of beans, guac, and sour cream (no cheese, though), with both the spicy and medium salsas. Then it’s always a quest to see if I can finish all of it in one sitting.” –Lauren Shockey

“Shack Burger from Shake Shack.” –Chantal Martineau

For more dining news, head to Fork in the Road, or follow us @ForkintheRoadVV, or me @ldshockey.


A Behind-the-Scenes Look at The Chew; Madison Square Garden Goes Foodie

A behind-the-scenes look at The Chew, which starts Monday, starring Mario Batali, Top Chef alum Carla Hall, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly of the show What Not to Wear, and Daphne Oz, Dr. Oz’s daughter.
[NY Times]

PepsiCo is launching an initiative to increase its access to chickpeas by growing them in Ethiopia, which could reduce famine in Africa.
[NY Times]

The child nutrition bill signed by President Obama in December brought more fresh produce to school lunches, but also requires requires schools to increase prices.
[NY Times]

The new Madison Square Garden food options will include sausages by Andrew Carmellini, chicken by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and burgers by Drew Nieporent.
[NY Times]

Shocker: Just as new food-safety testing requirements kick in, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says that the food industry is overregulated.

Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said he came up with the idea for his new chain, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, during a two-week binge in Thailand and Singapore.

Want to eat like U.N. diplomat? Have Cypriot food at Zenon Taverna, in Astoria;
Guyanese at Kaieteur, in Jamaica; and Bhutanese at New Sushi Q, in Astoria.
[NY Post]


And In Case You Haven’t Seen It Yet: Here’s That Chipotle Video Featuring Willie Nelson Covering Coldplay

Oh, how to feel about Chipotle’s new short film intended to express its philosophy on sustainability and the value of small farms? On the one hand, it features Willie Nelson; on the other hand, it’s a restaurant chain. But that chain is Chipotle, a company that hired nose-to-tail chef Nate Appleman to make to-die-for chorizo tacos and experiment with local ingredients. Still, isn’t this the same Chipotle that’s been unscrupulously selling bacon-laced bean burritos to unsuspecting vegetarians for years? OK, OK. But the video has adorable Wallace & Gromit-style animation. Yes, but it’s also clearly a corporate marketing ploy that inevitably glosses over many of the problems driven by a fast-food culture. Wait: Isn’t the company donating $0.60 from each iTunes download of the video’s song to its Cultivate Foundation, which funds sustainable agriculture initiatives? Yeah, but isn’t that song originally by Coldplay? Ack! We admit it: We’re torn. Why don’t you watch for yourself and let us know what you think …


Paula Deen Responds to Anthony Bourdain; Chipotle Addresses Bacon in Beans

It would appear that dogs are the final frontier when it comes to gourmet food trucks. Bocce’s Bakery launched its Biscuit Bike this summer, offering organic dog treats, including cupcakes.
[NY Post]

Paula Deen shot back at Anthony Bourdain after he called her the “most dangerous person in America” by touting her own charity work.
[NY Post]

Burger King’s new ad campaign debuts this weekend, featuring beauty shots of fresh ingredients being prepped and not a King in sight.
[USA Today]

Chipotle warns vegetarians of the bacon content in its pinto beans on its website, but not on menus. After the CEO got a letter from a Maxim editor, the policy is changing.
[Huffington Post]

Ramadan will coincide with the 2012 Olympics, meaning certain athletes will be fasting, which could affect their performance.
[New Scientist]


Chipotle Goes to Europe, While McDonald’s Goes ‘Big America’

The latest instance of our country’s attempts to make the rest of the planet too fat for its theater seats comes from the combined forces of Chipotle and McDonald’s.

Following a rumor that it would be opening 200 locations in the U.K., a rep for the company told Grub Street that while Chipotle would indeed be expanding in Europe, the 200-store figure was “untrue.”

The Mexican(ish) fast-food chain next plans to open up an outpost in Paris, where it will join such cultural emissaries as Pizza Hut and Starbucks. And, of course, McDonald’s, which has lately been busy rolling out a series of Big America burgers in Israel.

Eater reports that the concoctions feature half-pound patties and cost the equivalent of $9.25, which could make even John DeLucie blush. Much as it did with its German cupcakes, the conglomerate is paying a backhanded compliment to New York, this time with a Big New York burger that comprises sirloin and short rib and has 639 calories. There’s also a Big Texas patty with barbecue sauce and fried onion and 698 calories. McDonald’s seems to have missed the middle part of the U.S., but should it get around to it; Israel may want to increase its per capita banana consumption.