This Week in Food: Tattoos, Tequila, Dim Sum Dinner, and Free Beer

Dim Sum Dinner
Vic’s (31 Great Jones Street)
Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Chefs from Cookshop, Rosie’s, Hundred Acres, and Vic’s are teaming up for a special, one-night-only dim sum dinner. The traditional cart service includes dishes like labne with flatbread, crab with green chiles, and monkfish cheeks poached in brown butter. Dinner is $68 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Reservations can be made by contacting Vic’s.

Kosher USA Book Talk
American Jewish Historical Society (15 West 16th Street)
Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Learn about the history of kosher food and taste some Passover treats from Breads Bakery. Author Roger Horowitz will discuss Kosher USA, a book that details, among other things, Coca-Cola’s and Jell-O’s attempts to break into the kosher-food world. Tickets are $10 for general admission, which includes sweets like cupcakes and chocolates. RSVP here.

Tattoos & Tequila Pop-Up
Burger & Lobster (39 W 19th Street)
Wednesday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Looking to show off some new ink this spring? Burger & Lobster has a free tattoo promotion just for you. Guests who get the Burger & Lobster logo (size restrictions apply) tattooed somewhere on their body will receive a free tequila shot… plus free food and drink at the restaurant for the remainder of 2016. Tattoo artists from Rising Dragon Tattoo Parlor will be on site, so you can get your ink and freebies right away.

Top of the List Tasting
The Vine Event Space (851 Avenue of the Americas)
Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Grab a glass of wine from some of America’s top producers — including California’s Cakebread and Silver Oak wineries — at this walk-around tasting. Then, feast on bites from restaurants like Tía Pol, Gramercy Tavern, and Casa Mono, among others. General admission tickets start at $85 and include unlimited wine tasting, food, and a one-year subscription to Wine & Spirits. Reserve your spot here.

Beer and Popcorn Pop-Up
Gild Hall (15 Gold Street)
Friday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Need to make a pit stop between flicks at the Tribeca Film Festival? Grab some complimentary Pipcorn popcorn and Bira (choose from the white ale or blonde lager) at Gild Hall this Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.


This Week in Food: Food Swap, Greenmarket Turns 40, and Absinthe Tasting

Seasonal Jewish Cooking: A Talk and Tasting, 92 Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., Monday, 7 p.m.

Explore the history of Jewish cuisine — from its inception to its modern focus on seasonality and sustainability — during this discussion featuring The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen author Amelia Saltsman. Saltsman will discuss the six mini-seasons central to Jewish cooking traditions, with samples of select recipes provided. Tickets are $25 and can be reserved here.

BK Swappers Food Swap, Fine & Raw, 288 Seigel Street, Brooklyn, Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Swap your homemade, edible goods and pick up some chocolate and beer along the way. Attendees are encouraged to bring items like homemade jams, jellies, spice rubs, and breads to trade with others free of charge. A selection of food and drink will be available for purchase. The event is free, but guests must RSVP in advance here.

NYC Greenmarket Turns 40: What’s in Store for the Next 40 years, Hunter College Silberman Building, 2180 Third Avenue, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Curious about the status of your local greenmarket? Attend a panel discussion featuring Greenmarket’s director Michael Hurwitz and chef Peter Hoffman of Back Forty West, who will be joined by a farmer and buyer to address public food policy. Reserve a free spot here.

Hot-Sauce Tasting Dinner Menu, Heatonist, 121 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, Thursday, 7 p.m.

Heatonist is collaborating with private chef duo bigLittle for a hot-sauce tasting series, where $75 nets you five courses paired around select hot sauces, small bites, and a Kings County Distillery cocktail. The menu will not be revealed until Thursday evening, and all guests must provide any dietary restrictions in advance. Guests can RSVP here.

Absinthe Tasting, Clement, 700 Fifth Avenue, Friday, 6 p.m.

Jared Fischer (Clement’s director of wine and spirits) and Ted Breaux (Jade Absinthe’s founder) will lead an absinthe tasting designed to teach guests what to look for in absinthe besides a green fairy.  The tasting includes a welcome cocktail and three absinthes modeled after traditional recipes from the Combier distillery in Saumur, France. Small bites are included in the $65-per-person ticket package. Reservations can be made by contacting


This Week’s Five Best Food and Drink Events in NYC – 3/30/2015

April is on the horizon, and it looks like marginally better weather is, too. Get your month started right with these events.

Perfectly Paired Series — Tasting Tour of Belgium, Belgian Beer Cafe, 220 Fifth Avenue, Monday, 7 p.m.

Make your Monday seem more manageable with Belgian beer. Kicking off a new series of tastings, this event educates guests about different styles of Belgian brews and pairings like cheeses and sriracha. Sommeliers, chefs, and other beer pros will lead the discussion and talk about proper pouring technique. Tickets are $45.

Antoine’s at Delmonico’s, Delmonico’s, 56 Beaver Street, Tuesday

Famed French Quarter favorite Antoine’s is sending a few special menu items to New York’s own old-school treasure in celebration of Antoine’s 175th anniversary. The famed financial-district steakhouse (which is 178 years old this year) will add Creole-inspired dishes like sherry-laced alligator bisque and grilled pompano with lump crab meat, with plenty of traditional steaks and lobster Newberg available, too. The offer runs from March 20 through April 4.

A Taste of Fifth, The Grand Prospect Hall, 263 Prospect Avenue, Brooklyn, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.

Taste around Brooklyn’s Fifth Avenue dining scene when its hottest spots are all under one roof. Participating businesses include Grand Central Oyster Bar Brooklyn, Gorilla Coffee, and The Chocolate Room, plus 40 more. Tickets are $55 — $20 of which goes to a local charity you choose from a list of participants.

Marc Vetri: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto, 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, Thursday, 7 p.m.

Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri is taking a trip up the turnpike for this conversation on pasta. Double Dare alum Marc Summers hosts the discussion, which dives into food science, how to make dough, and proper sauce and condiment pairings. $30 tickets are available through the venue’s website.

Make Your Own Easter Basket Workshop, Chocolate Works Upper East Side, 1410 Lexington Avenue, Friday through Sunday, noon

Geared toward kids and kids at heart, this event allows guests to make their own Easter baskets or create chocolate-covered matzoh in celebration of Passover. Chocolate bunnies, candy, eggs, and toys will all be available for decoration; face-painting and lollipop decoration will also be available at additional cost. Tickets start at $15.


Five Great Restaurant Passovers in NYC, 2015

For those who can’t bear the thought of entertaining, or who are unable to entertain thanks to unforeseen circumstances, New York’s restaurants make Passover (which begins April 3, by the way) a breeze. Einat Admony and Anita Lo’s blowout at Balaboosta has long since sold out, but plenty of restaurants are offering special holiday menus — some for the entire week. Granted, you’ll have to shell out more than you typically would for a catering package, but if you’re yielding control to the pros, you might as well go for a (matzoh) balls-to-the-wall Pesach. And if not, you can always check your local Jewish deli. Here are five great restaurant Passovers in NYC restaurants.

Joe & Misses Doe (45 East 1st Street, 212-780-0262)
This is the sixth year that funky lovebirds Joe Dobias and Jill Schulster have hosted a “Progressive Passover” at their petite, eponymous New American restaurant on the southern edge of the East Village. Offered April 3, 4, and 5, diners can conduct their own services, though the intended experience is a bit more freewheeling, with dinner as the main event. Under Dobias, matzoh balls blush red from beets, and plates of braised brisket come with horseradish sauce and pastelicos, a kind of Israeli meat pie. The dessert, a “Passover Sundae,” takes its cues from chocolate and coconut macaroons.

Mile End (53 Bond Street, 212-529-2990)
On Friday, April 3, and Saturday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m., the Manhattan location of Noah and Rae Bernamoff’s Montreal-inspired deli will conduct a casual Seder with the main blessings and a recital of the four questions, followed by a $125 six-course prix-fixe dinner with wine pairings from chef Josh Sobel. Expect matzoh ball soup with smoked chicken and asparagus, smoked lamb shoulder with merguez sausage and rhubarb charoset, and a cake made with apples and almonds.

Telepan (72 West 69th Street, 212-580-4300)
At chef Bill Telepan’s beloved greenmarket restaurant, nestled into an Upper West Side townhouse, the kitchen serves a $95 four-course prix-fixe menu comprising traditional Seder meal flavors given nouveau twists. An amuse features smoked trout potato latkes, chopped liver, and a dried fruit chutney-apple salad, and diners can choose between fish like arctic char and striped bass, hanger steak with brisket, or roast chicken with olives and chickpeas. Kosher wines will also be available for the holiday.

Morso (420 East 59th Street, 212-759-2706)
Pino Luongo will celebrate the first two nights of Passover at his rustic Italian restaurant tucked under the Queensboro Bridge with a $55 three-course prix-fixe. Start with a choice of crostini, like Tuscan-style chicken liver or Roman-Jewish fried artichokes, then opt for family-style portions of braised brisket or roast chicken. Desserts play with chocolate and coconut, as flourless cakes or macaroons.

Russ and Daughters Cafe (127 Orchard Street, 212-475-4881)
This cafe, an offshoot of the venerable Lower East Side smoked-fish institution, will host a blowout $175 prix-fixe hosted by musician Laurie Anderson. There’s no set menu yet, so if you’re willing to take the plunge, reservations are only available via email sent to


Maury Rubin on City Bakery and Birdbath’s Delicious Coconut Macaroons

Maury Rubin, owner of City Bakery and Birdbath, grew up eating coconut macaroons–the ultimate Passover dessert–from a Manischewitz can. Years later, he introduced a more refined version at his baked goods empire in Lower Manhattan. The huge, pyramid-shaped monsters are browned on each corner to create three triangles of shredded coconut that meet at the top in a rounded point.

Jewish bakeries tend to dress up the traditional sweets with dipped chocolate or raspberry preserves, but Rubin (who famously serves 35 kinds of hot chocolate) has only served one kind for the last five years: original.

Rubin and his army of bakers use organic dried and shredded coconut from a small supplier. Bits as thick as wide rice noodles wind up smushed between tiny shreds that make the macaroon easy to break apart into bite-size pieces.

Only a few experts in his kitchen are “authorized” to mold them. “It’s a bit of a struggle to get that triangle just right,” said Rubin. “There are people in the kitchen who get their hands batted away from trying to make them.” It’s no wonder they come out like delicate, Passover-friendly mountains.

Find larger macaroons for $4 each at City Bakery, and a smaller version for $3 each at Birdbath’s various locations.



Matzo Pizza for Passover at Pie

Three pies are available made with unleavened dough at Pie.

Pizza-by-the-pound purveyor Pie is offering matzo-based pizzas for Passover. This popular parlor–which won a Voice award for Best Fast Food in 2003–offers lush thin-crust pies in elongated shapes, all displayed on a long marble counter, to be cut at any length at the diner’s request.

The matzo pies utilize the same crust chemistry, only without yeast. They are strictly vegetarian, and kept on a separate back counter. Three were available yesterday, including one with chopped fresh tomatoes and lots of garlic, another adorned with slices of eggplant, and a third like a regular slice, with fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce. All were quite tasty, and the crackly crust made the pizzas a unique contribution to the diverse pizza landscape of New York City.

You can get the sample of all three shown above for $6 on the regular pizza sampler plate, with a beverage, which proves to be quite a deal.

124 Fourth Avenue

Yes, there are innumerable spellings of “matzo.”


10 Great Ways to Cater Your Passover Seder in New York

Joan Nathan would never cater her Passover seder. The famed cookbook writer known for her Jewish-American recipes usually cooks everything for the holiday, which starts on Monday, March 25. She even hosts a gefilte fish-making party for a few friends at her home in Washington, D.C. “If I didn’t have a tradition of making my own, maybe I’d go out and get it,” she tells Fork in the Road. “It’s so much fun to go to a kosher store and see what’s going on for Passover. Every year it gets better and better.” While wandering in the West Village recently, she passed by rosemary matzo in a bakery window, a reminder that New York City is the American center of traditional and not-so-traditional Jewish cooking. “All those places now cater to the New York market,” says Nathan. “In New York, you can even find a reasonable gefilte fish.

That’s a relief. Home cooks may aspire to Joan Nathan’s heights at the holidays, but even the most ambitious may draw the line at making their own gefilte fish. It already takes long enough to get through a seder; it makes sense to call in reinforcements to get the meal on the table. Whether you’re hosting a meal for four or 40, or bringing a dish to someone else’s home, some of the city’s Jewish-inspired eateries are here to help you out.

Shank Bone: Dickson’s Farmstead Meats
Pick up a lamb shank bone from Dickson’s in Chelsea Market. Here, all the meat comes from local farms and most of the cuts are organic. The bones are no different and cost $12 a pound (bones average about a pound and a third). 75 Ninth Ave.

Charoset: 2nd Avenue Deli
Known for its cold cuts and potato pancakes, 2nd Avenue Deli sells charoset — the mixture of chopped apples, wine, nuts, and cinnamon meant to represent the mortar with which Jewish slaves built pyramids in Egypt — all year round. The recipe is traditional and homey, and the result is a light spread to be eaten with matzo or by itself. Buy it by the quart ($17.90) or the pint ($8.95) for take-out or delivery. 162 E. 33rd St.

Matzo: Streit’s
Streit’s Matzo Factory is one of the last remaining relics of Jewish heritage on the Lower East Side. Although it’s now an international company, a visit to the original matzo-making operation can be a Passover ritual in itself. Watch machines churn out the flat matzo and then buy a box at the factory, in most grocery stores, or online where the company also sells dozens of other kosher-for-Passover products like chow mein noodles, potato chips, and pesto sauce. 148-154 Rivington St.

Horseradish: Gefilteria
The Brooklyn-based start-up was founded by one of Joan Nathan’s former assistants and sells gefilte fish and horseradish at various gourmet carriers and pop-ups. Dip your fish in sweet beet horseradish and carrot-citrus-flavored varieties. A single jar runs for $6.50 online or at one of these retailers around the city. Various Locations

Gefilte Fish: Zabar’s
Gefilte fish is perhaps the most polarizing traditional Jewish dish, but Zabar’s has been known to convert even the most petrified eaters. The Upper West Side landmark store makes each fish loaf by hand from pike and carp. Orders can be placed online in quantities of two ($7.98) to 12 ($39.98) or in store for the same prices. 2245 Broadway

Chopped Liver: Mile End Deli
For Hanukkah, Mile End Deli topped its latkes with chopped liver, a rendition made with onion relish, egg, and pumpernickel. It’s rich and creamy, a special holiday treat. The chopped liver returns as part of the Mile End Passover catering menu, and the deli will offer enough to serve four to six for $15.

Brisket: Grow and Behold
Small farmers supply pastured meat to this strictly kosher start-up, and though the company’s not certified organic, Grow and Behold ensures that its meat is “free-range organic.” In addition to kosher-for-Passover briskets and roasts, they also carry hot dogs, chorizo, turkey, and chicken that can be delivered to your door. Orders must be placed online at before Thursday, March 21 to ensure delivery by March 25. The same meat can also be found at Pardes Restaurant near Atlantic Terminal and on Long Island. Various Locations

Matzo Balls: Artie’s
Artie’s may not be the most famous deli in New York, and its matzo ball soup is often overlooked when recounting the greats. But the fluffy softball-size matzo balls are present on many Upper West Side tables. Order the (not kosher) chicken-based soup with noodles for $11 a quart, and extra matzo balls for $1.50 each. 2290 Broadway

Potato Pancakes: Ben’s Deli
All year round, the latkes at Ben’s Deli, crispy with just a hint of grease, are the size of small saucers. But come Passover, the kosher chain serves miniature versions for $10.80 a dozen. Pick them up in the Midtown store or order online. 209 W. 38th St.

Macaroons: William Greenberg Jr. Desserts
Not to be confused with French macarons, these Jewish coconut-based cookies usually come as palm-size hand-made sweet gut-bombs. William Greenberg on the Upper East Side has perfected the Passover desserts. The bakery sells vanilla macaroons dipped in chocolate for $32 a pound, as well as plain chocolate or vanilla, both for $30 a pound. Call to reserve a box; Monday morning, lines will be out the door. 1100 Madison Ave.

This post was originally published on March 12.



Your Kosher Salt Might Not Be Kosher

Attention all Passover-prepping chefs: Not all kosher salt is kosher. The Jewish Daily Forward reports that the term “kosher salt” is a “20th-century American construction” that gained popularity in observant Jewish homes in the 1950s as it was used to clean and preserve meat before it was served. Salt expert Gil Marks told the Forward that the flaky crystals really found success when “certain companies started marketing to Jews.” Since then, kosher salt has become a favorite among chefs and home cooks, as much for its crunchy grains as for its lack of additives (table salt regularly contains iodine). So what, exactly, makes this favorite ingredient kosher? Like many other Jewish rituals, the process of creating true “kosher salt” requires strict rabbinical supervision. Oy. [JDF]


A Very Artisanal Passover: Vermatzah Is Matzo from Vermont

The cardboard-like crackers on Seder plates are a Passover requirement, but typically a dry and flavorless one. Not anymore. Vermont’s Naga Bakehouse is baking a new small-batch matzo — aptly monikered Vermatzah — by sifting locally-sourced wheat with nutty emmer, the ancient grain better known as farro. A wood-firing process renders a complex, slightly sweet piece of flatbread that retains an ample crunch, even when fried or chocolate-dipped. Unlike the squares of the Manischewitz variety that dominate the traditional matzo market, Naga’s version is hand-shaped into rounds, each one slightly smaller than a dinner plate.

Passover purists should know that Vermatzah is an “eco-kosher” food, which the Naga team defines as one that embodies the “deep well-springs of Jewish wisdom,” but not a kosher pareve one. Since observant Jews are banned from eating leavened bread during the week-long holiday, rabbinical supervision is required during the matzo-making process to ensure that it follows Jewish dietary law. By not employing an in-house rabbi, Naga Bakehouse is not producing a kosher-for-Passover product.

Still, as anyone who has bought local (but not organic) produce at a farmer’s market knows, there is often more to a small farm’s story than an umbrella group’s stamp of approval.

The company, which prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients, attaches a small bag of wheat seeds to each package of Vermatzah, giving curious cooks the chance to farm in their own homes — or apartments.

Online orders for Vermatzah should be placed by March 23.


Make Joe Dobias’ Mexican Matzo Balls

Last week, we spoke with Joe Dobias about practically everything in the business, including opening JoeDoe with only $90,000 , overpriced restaurant food, Mario Batali, and the city’s restaurant critics. The only thing not discussed: how much of a pro Dobias is with matzo. But never fear, we have one of his recipes here: a Mexican take on matzo-ball soup.

Matzo Balls via Mexico

Yeild: 12 matzo balls, 2-3 oz. each

For the matzo balls:
2 cups matzo meal
5 eggs
¾ cup olive oil
¾ cup soda water
1 jalapeño
1.5 tbsp. cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

For the matzo broth (soup):
1 onion, small dice
2 jalapeño, diced fine (with seeds)
4 pieces garlic, minced fine
1 qt. water
2 qt. tomato, whole canned
½ cup lime juice
1 cup white vinegar
½ cup cilantro

Soup garnishes:
Cotija cheese
Pickled jalapeños
Tomatillo sauce

Make the matzo:
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
Weigh out 3 oz. matzo mixture.
Drop directly into tomato broth.
Cook for 1-1.5 hours. Cool in broth or serve immediately.

Make the broth:
Sweat onion, jalapeño, and garlic in olive oil for 10 minutes or until soft.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Assemble the soup:
Place 3 matzo balls in a bowl.
Cover with a few spoons of tomato broth.
Spoon tomatillo around border of bowl.
Sprinkle matzo balls with cotija.
Top with 3-4 pieces of pickled jalapeños.