The Best Independence Day Weekend Food Events in NYC

Narcissa’s Second Annual Fourth of July Lobster Bake
Narcissa (21 Cooper Square)
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For $60 per person, guests can enjoy spare ribs, a fresh steamed lobster, and Jersey sweet corn along with plenty of other sides. The offer includes dessert, but drinks are extra. Guests should contact Narcissa directly to make a reservation.

Rooftop Reds Wine Tasting

Rooftop Reds (Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn)
Saturday, 3 p.m.

Tour of the world’s first commercial rooftop vineyard and drink wine in a hammock. Guests will learn about winemaking on a roof — and they’ll be able to sample some of the goods, too. Tickets are $30. Reserve yours here.

I Pledge Allegiance to Rosé

Handy Liquor Bar (527 Broome Street)
Saturday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Enjoy rosé popsicles and challenge opponents to a game of rosé pong at this pop-up party hosted by canned rosé purveyors, the Drop. All guests receive a complimentary “frosé popsicle” while supplies last. Plus, there will be sangria and cocktails to toast with as well.

Fourth of July Pies and Bouillabaisse-Style Clambake

Benoit (60 W 55th Street)

Benoit and Four & Twenty Blackbirds have teamed up for two special Fourth of July pies. Guests can select from an apricot almond crumble pie served with honey-thyme ice cream or a peach verbena pie. Hungry for more than dessert? Benoit is also having a bouillabaisse-style clambake for two at $38 per person.

4th of July Party

Saxon + Parole
Monday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Grab a boozy popsicle or beer slushi and while you watch a whole-hog roast at this 4th of July party. Spend the afternoon building up an appetite with lawn and drinking games before feasting on pork sliders, summer salads, corn, and burgers. The all-you-can-eat offer costs $65 per person. Reserve your spot here.

Fourth of July Celebration

Fornino Pier 6 Rooftop
Monday, 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Fornino is offering a three-hour open bar complete with a buffet at its Brooklyn Bridge Park outpost — which, incidentally, boasts an epic view for fireworks. Guests can chow down on summer pastas, caesar salad, and Dough donuts for dessert. Get your ticket ($295 per person) by emailing


Best Weekend Food Events: Oiji’s Honey Butter Chips, Big Apple Barbecue, La Nuit en Rosé

25-Cent Nuggets
The Nugget Spot (230 East 14th Street)
Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.

What’s better than cheap, delicious finger food on a summer Friday? This afternoon, the Nugget Spot will offer 25-cent nuggets until close. All seven different styles of chicken nuggets on the menu will be available — including Southern Belle, Cap’n Crunk, Cheese n’ Chong, Sriracha Nugs, Tso Tswag, Buffalo, and Skinny Nuggs.

Free Falafel Bar
Nanoosh (111 University Place, and other locations)
Friday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

All five Manhattan locations of Nanoosh are celebrating International Falafel Day with a free falafel tasting bar. Guests can choose from a selection of toppings like hummus, tahini, and habañero sauce to kick things up a notch.

Big Apple Barbecue
Madison Square Park (Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street)
Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The country’s top pit masters will meet up in Madison Square Park this weekend for the annual Big Apple Barbecue party. This year’s lineup includes a new entrant (Dallas’s Hutchins BBQ) along with returning favorites like Sam Jones of North Carolina’s Skylight Inn and Billy Durney of Red Hook’s Hometown Bar-B-Que. VIP ticket packages start at $275 and allow guests to skip the line at all barbecue stands. Get your tickets here.

Honey Butter Chip Pop-Up
Oiji (119 First Avenue)
Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Craving some sweetness on the go? Oiji is offering honey butter chips with ice cream from their take-out window. Get this sweet, salty, crunchy treat for just $10.

La Nuit en Rosé
Hornblower Infinity Cruise Ship (Pier 40 at 343 West Street)
Saturday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Sample over 150 different rosés from France, Italy, and California at this walk-around tasting. The event includes a brief cruise along the Hudson River, as well as food and entertainment. Reserve a ticket, starting at $95, here.


Five Tasty Ways to Celebrate Bastille Day in NYC

If you missed this past weekend’s Bastille Day celebrations, don’t consider yourself unlucky, consider yourself a purist. Bastille Day, officially celebrated on July 14, is all about independence, so why not set the tone this year by leading friends to a brand-new event? Here are five worth considering:

French Restaurant Week, Multiple Locations, Tuesday through Friday

If you aren’t a stickler for dates, celebrate Bastille Day on your own time. Take advantage of special bites, lunch, and dinner deals throughout the week at nearly 120 participating restaurants. From crepes to steak frites, there’s plenty of opportunity to introduce traditional and modern takes on France’s world-famous cuisine to your palate. Offers range from $17 snacks to $178 dinner packages for two. Find a full roster of restaurants and offers on the French Restaurant Week website.

Pétanque Tournament, Cercle Rouge, 241 West Broadway, Tuesday, noon

In Tribeca, guests can work up an appetite by entering a pétanque tournament or just relax with some rosé as a spectator. The menu includes oysters, mussel pots, and a côte de boeuf with sauce béarnaise for two if you and your partner want to bond a little more. The bar will also have plenty of cold Champagne in lieu of Gatorade for players and patrons in need of thirst-quenching.

Tasting Tour, Le District, 200 Vesey Street, Tuesday, 5 to 9 p.m.

Views of the Hudson substitute nicely for the River Seine at this newly opened Battery Park City hideaway. For $20 per person, guests can toast independence with a glass of wine before storming the market’s six sections. From the boulangerie to rotisserie, guests can snack on French breads, cheeses, and charcuterie, among other traditional bites. Tickets can be purchased at the market’s onsite concierge stand.

Get Frenchy with steak frites
Get Frenchy with steak frites

Aperitif Flight Tasting and Cocktails, Anfora, 34 Eighth Avenue, 5 p.m.

Instead of trying to polish off a bottle of Bordeaux while toasting Les Bleus, consider a much more conservative approach: an aperitif flight. For $16, guests can head to this West Village wine bar for a taste of green chartreuse and other French spirits; you can also grab a signature French cocktail for $13.

Rooftop Party, Hotel Americano, 518 West 27th Street, Tuesday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

If you’re looking for one location to serve as an all-encompassing Parisian pad, this Chelsea hotel is hard to beat. Revelers can start their Uber-free evening downstairs with a French-focused dinner followed by a rooftop soiree. At 5 p.m., a DJ will spin tunes alongside the hotel’s rooftop pool well into the early hours, in case you’re looking to break out some revolutionary dance moves before heading home. Reservations are required.


So, Is Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Wine Worth the Hype?

The vinous baby of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt has finally arrived stateside! If you haven’t heard, Brangie are now Provençal winemakers, having delivered their inaugural vintage of rosé from their Château Miraval estate last week. But erase any vision of Angie lovingly tending vines in muddy boots, hair matted to forehead under the hot midsummer sun; or Brad, come harvest time, with his usual overgrown goatee, gently picking grapes during cool pre-dawn hours and hand-sorting them at the table. That’s only in the movies, folks.

In reality, if you own a château as a second, third, or sixth home, you probably aren’t foot-stomping fruit. But that doesn’t mean the wine isn’t good. Miraval has a history of quality organic wine production long before its celebrity ownership, most notably for its Pink Floyd rosé, so named because the group recorded part of their album The Wall in the château’s recording studio.

In recent years, the 1,000-acre estate was acquired by the duo through the glitterati version of rent-to-own (they leased for several years before dropping $60 million on the property). As far as their new wine label, someone else was hired to do everything but pay the mortgage. Well, not just someone. The Jolie-Pitts teamed up with Marc Perrin, owner of famed Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, to turn a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Rolle into the high-profile Miraval Provence Rosé 2012 with the Jolie-Pitt & Perrin names featured on the back.

If you actually care about tasting the celebrity couple’s wine, move quickly. Their first offering, released on the château’s website in early March, sold out in six hours — a winemaker’s wet dream and one that is definitely not recurring for most. Fortunately for us New Yorkers, Union Square Wines just received one of the largest allotments in the country. As a recipient of USQ’s newsletter, I was notified a month ago that I could pre-order a bottle to ensure one precious little Jolie-Pitt rosé would be mine. I felt like a sucker for buying it, but inquiring minds want to know: Is it worth the hype?

The bottle itself is gorgeous, reminiscent of Ruinart Champagne’s curvy, sexy glass, although the unwieldy shape (and enormous punt!) doesn’t easily lend itself to storage. Not that you would stick this in your wine fridge for any length of time — the luminescent, salmon-pink juice practically dares you not to cut the foil and uncork it immediately. The wine inside is perfumed and smacks of summer: blooming jasmine and honeysuckle, red fruits of cherry, raspberry and watermelon, plus zippy citrus peel. Refreshing. Eminently drinkable. As lyrical as A River Runs Through It? Not quite; but profoundly better than that overhyped stinker Salt.

USQ still has a few cases in stock. Bottles are priced at $22.99 or $19.99 each if you buy six. But my advice is to buy one, skip the case, and diversify your rosé portfolio. France, Spain and USA, to name a few, all have exciting offerings from family-owned wineries of ardent vintners who can’t sell out of a wine based on star power in 6 hours, let alone 6 months, even if their wines should.


5 Best NY Rosés to Drink Right Now

[See Previously: 10 Tips for Wine Rookies]

As summer winds down (or up, depending on your plans), it’s time to celebrate the pink drink that fuels fantasies of seaside, Provençal retreats. If I had a garden hose that spouted such watermelon-hued berry bliss, I would fill a pool and host a fête. Alas, no such aquifer exists; the best we can do is visit the gorgeous vineyards of Long Island or pick up some chilled bottles and take the party to Sheep Meadow — discreetly, of course.

A chilled glass of rosé appeals to drinkers of white and red — it refreshes while offering fruit and body to pair with all manner of foods. Wolffer Estate in Bridgehampton might be the most prolific and well-known rosé producer out of the East End, but there are many others to seek out. Below are my five favorites to enjoy right now, before summer’s end.

Keep in mind that though our demand for rosé has grown, local production remains small. A helpful note on finding my five picks: You can buy them directly from the wineries (in-person or on their websites), try your local wine store like Astor Wines and Spirits in NYC, or check out Empire State Cellars (the first all NY wine shop) which ships to NYC for a flat $10 fee.

Channing Daughters (South Fork) 2011 Rosato di Lagrein ($20). Purplish-pink and brimming with flavor, this dry, 100 percent Lagrein rosé is crisp, floral, fruity, and spicy, all in one sip.

Channing Daughters made eight variations of rosé, both from well-known grapes such as Merlot to more esoteric varietals (at least for Long Island) like Lagrein. Hues range from pale tangerine to pink flamingo, and are as pretty sitting on the table as they are in the glass. Tastings are inside at the bar, but there is a shaded patio that faces the vineyards with several benches. About half the rosati are sold out, so check their website. Channing Daughters focuses largely on Northern Italian varietals and has an intriguing lineup of whites, reds, and orange wines to explore, should you (gasp) tire of rosé.

Peconic Bay (North Fork) NV Nautique Esprit de Rosé ($9.99). 50/50 Cab Sauv and Cab Franc, this dry, medium-bodied wine is redolent of muddled strawberries, dried herbs, orange peel, and tea leaves.

Peconic features an indoor tasting bar and outdoor, shaded patio with plentiful seating, and live music on weekends. In addition to the Nautique rosé, a great value at $9.99 (or $99 a case), I highly recommend their whites. The Riesling and Gewurztraminer are exceptional North Fork examples of these grapes.

Paumanok (North Fork) 2011 Dry Rosé ($17.99). A blend of Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Pale persimmon in color and highly aromatic, with pronounced strawberry-rhubarb notes on the refreshing, zippy palate.

Paumanok has a large deck overlooking the vineyards and allows outside picnic food. They have a well-regarded lineup of whites and reds, including a Chenin Blanc. Their Tuthill Lane reds are great examples of the depths Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon can reach in Long Island in an excellent vintage, albeit pricey at $60 a bottle.

Mattebella Vineyards (North Fork) 2011 Dry Rosé ($18). Mostly Merlot with a splash of Cab Franc. This dry, pale pink, lighter-bodied wine smells and tastes like a garden in full-bloom showing herbs, flowers and plump, red fruits with balanced acidity.

Mattebella evokes a lawn party at a friend’s rustic country cottage, with a smattering of tables scattered outside. The owners are hands-on and friendly, and will happily share with you the joys and frustrations of owning a vineyard. They make several other wines, including Chardonnay and old-world-style red blends. The 2011 rosé was picked up by Jean-George Vongerichten’s flagship restaurant as the house pour.

Croteaux Vineyards (North Fork) 2011 Merlot 314 Rosé ($19). Salmon-hued, medium-bodied, and dry, this juicy, merlot-based wine shows notes of melon, apple, dried lavender, and roses, with sea-salt woven throughout.

Specializing in rosé only, Croteaux made 12 versions for 2012. Their tasting garden is gorgeous — think romantic French countryside. Prices range from $19 for their signature merlot based wines up to $30 for fuller-bodied versions. Croteaux is releasing a new rosé at the end of summer called Voyage for only $16. Yay, rosé in the fall!

Dog owners should note that Croteaux Vineyards, Peconic Bay, Paumanok, and Mattebella Vineyards are all dog friendly!

Lauren Mowery is a wine and travel writer based in NYC. She blogs at Chasing the Vine.