This Week in Food: Eighties Night, Guest Chef at Tasca Chino, and St. Patrick’s Day

Eighties Night With Guest Bartender Danny Neff, Pouring Ribbons, 225 Avenue B, Monday, 6 p.m.

Grab an Eighties-themed cocktail or keep it simple with Jell-O shots from Pouring Ribbon’s Amanda Elder and guest bartender Danny Neff of Holiday Cocktail Lounge. Eighties-inspired attire is encouraged — think acid-washed jeans — and cocktails will be priced at $13 for the night. This week’s installment is based off the movie Weird Science, with future menus set to be based on other pop phenomenons from the decade of big hair.

A Collaboration of Flavors Dinner, Tasca Chino, 245 Park Avenue South, Wednesday

Bar Bolonat’s Einat Admony will team up with Tasca Chino’s Shahaf Shabtay for a special, globally inspired menu, which will be available for one night only. Select dishes include a seafood market bowl, Chinese-style duck, and beef tenderloin with apple shallot wasabi.

The Big Meat: 18th-Century Tavern Food, Greenpoint Beer & Ale, 7 N. 15th Street, Brooklyn, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Eat your way through the era of the American Revolution with smoked oysters, succotash, and roasted lamb at this educational dinner. The dining experience — which was created in collaboration with Old Stone House Director of Education Maggie Weber — will feature historic gastronomist Sarah Lohman, who will shed light on the eating habits of America’s founding families. Tickets are $70 (gratuity not included). Reserve them here.

St. Patrick’s Day, Multiple Locations, Thursday

Grab a Guinness or Irish whiskey at the Dead Rabbit during happy hour in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., bartenders will serve complimentary Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey cocktails, brew pairings, and pours of whiskey. At KTCHN, diners will be treated to an Irish jam session for $10, starting at 7 p.m., where members of the original Broadway cast of Once will perform live. KTCHN’s special dinner menu will include Reuben fritters, fish and chips, and themed cocktails. Those looking to avoid the bar scene can snag whiskey-flavored ice cream at Oddfellows Ice Cream Co. or a special St. Patrick’s Day milkshake at Black Tap.

The Birth of Saké Opening Night, IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue, Friday

Explore the ins and outs of sake brewing at the opening-night screening of The Birth of Saké. The film explores the ancient art of sake brewing at the Yoshida Brewery and the family that is keeping these traditional techniques alive.


This Week’s Five Best Food and Drink Events in NYC – 4/13/2105

This week, you can learn the secrets to being a beekeeper or explore a museum while tasting sake. Check out our five best food and drink events in NYC.

The Brisket Sessions with Jake Silverstein, editor-in-chief of the New York Times Magazine, Hill Country Brooklyn, 345 Adams Street, Brooklyn, Monday, 6:30 p.m.

Want to know what Jake Silverstein, former editor of the Texas Monthly, really thinks about NYC barbecue? Head out to this casual discussion, which will cover topics ranging from where to find proper brisket to changes taking place at the Times. Tickets include one beer, margarita, or soda; reserve one for $5.

Intro to Beekeeping at Brooklyn Grange, BLDG 92 at Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Learn how to make your own honey — or at least how to appreciate bees — at this interactive workshop led by Stone Barns beekeeper Dan Carr. Guests will learn the basics of beekeeping safety as well as the tools needed to start their own honey business, and the event will conclude with a tasting of honeys from around the world. Tickets are $40 and can be reserved through BLDG 92’s website.

Sake Dinner & Tasting, Dassara Brooklyn Ramen, 271 Smith Street, Brooklyn, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Decode the world of sake at this tasting, which also matches the rice wine to food. For $20, guests receive a sake flight paired with beets, longbeans with house-made tofu and kimchi, chicken meatballs, and Alaskan pollock skewers; ramen is also available for an additional $10.

Culture Salon: Rice Wine and Sake, American Museum of Natural History, West 79th Street & Central Park West, Thursday, 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Stick around this museum after hours and learn about the history of sake. Sommelier Chris Johnson will educate visitors on the distillation process as well as discuss the popularity of rice wine, and seven varieties of sake will be available for tastings. Tickets are $45 and can be reserved through the museum’s website.

Malbec World Day, The Dream Hotel, 355 West 16th Street, Friday, 6 p.m.

Celebrate Argentinian wine and try more than 120 Malbecs at this informational and interactive tasting. Wine talks, live music, and Argentinean dishes like empanadas and steak sandwiches are all included with the purchase of a ticket.


What’s Happening This Week: Sakamai Anniversary, Wine and Books, Cooking with Confidence, and Rare Beer Night

Now that the streets have been cleared of SantaCon debris, it’s time to get out and take advantage of the last few days before the holidays. We’ve rounded up a few special activities taking place this week that don’t require a rental costume.

Sakamai One Year Anniversary, Sakamai, 157 Ludlow Street, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.

Hot sake may sound good when it’s cold out, but cold sake is much tastier. For $60, guests can enjoy an open bar of select shochu cocktails and beer in addition to the Japanese rice wine until 10 p.m. Food will also be dished out until 8:30 p.m.; advance ticket purchases will save you $10.

Slow Food Book Club: Drift by John McGoran, Huckleberry Bar, 588 Grand Street, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Author John McGoran will discuss his latest novel, a thriller centered around genetically modified foods. McGoran, who is currently the editor-in-chief of Grid magazine, has spent two decades covering food and sustainability issues. The complimentary event coincides with the bar’s Wednesday night drink deal — find two-for-one glasses of wine plus a happy hour that runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

Meats Cooking with Confidence, The Meat Hook, 100 Frost Street, Brooklyn, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Meeting the parents for the first time this holiday season? Impress them with your meat skills honed via this course. Learn how to properly heat, prepare, season, and slice; samples and beer are included during the demonstration, and class participants receive 10 percent off any purchases made in store on the day of the class. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased through the butcher shop’s website.

Rare Beer Night, Clinton Hall, 90 Washington Street, Thursday, 7 p.m.

Showcasing a selection of double IPA’s, Belgians, and an 11.1 percent ABV Eighteen Weizenbock, this pay-as-you-drink event preaches quality over quantity when selecting a beer. A representative from Pennyslvania’s Weyerbacher Brewery will discuss what goes into making a beer with such a high ABV. Advanced registration is recommended.


Calendar Datebook Events FOOD ARCHIVES Listings NYC ARCHIVES

What’s Happening This Weekend: Free Hangover Bagel, Masquerade on Bowery, Sake All Stars, Diwali at Pippali

Still in a festive spirit? Or maybe you just want to go to a celebration wearing your actual clothes? No matter what your preference is, the city has a great selection for your mood. Here’s what to do this weekend.

Bagels and Brew, Bantam Bagels, 283 Bleecker Street, Friday, 7 a.m.

If you’re still nursing a spooky hangover, perhaps the word “free” will help ease the pain. While supplies last, the Bleecker Street bagel maker will roll out a special breakfast sandwich (cheddar cheese egg bagel with more melted cheddar topped off by bacon cream cheese and maple syrup) for anyone able to wake up early the night after Halloween. Owl’s Brew will be on hand with tea infused mocktails to help wake up even the earliest of birds. There is a one “hangover” Bantam limit per customer.

Masquerade On Bowery, Old Bowery Station, 168 Bowery, Friday, 9 p.m.

While it may not be an old opera house, patrons are invited to live out their “phantom” moments by ballroom dancing in an old subway station. The venue will feature an oyster salon, hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, and live music (not opera). Tickets are $95.

Sake All Stars, Sakagura, 211 East 43rd Street, Saturday, 6 p.m.

If you’ve grown tired of cider, perhaps a dose of rice wine might help. For $70, sake fans get their fill of favorite brands as a selection of Japanese brewers assemble for a night of tastings. A full lineup and chance to purchase entrance can be found via the event’s ticketing web site.

Diwali Celebration, Pippali, 129 East 27th Street, Sunday through Sunday

The festival of lights begins this Sunday with this newly opened Flatiron Indian restaurant, which will pay tribute to the holiday with a weeklong special vegetarian menu. Chef/owner Peter Beck, whose resume includes Tamarind, created an a la carte collection featuring various regional specialties like bread pakoda (a cranberry and lentil “sandwich” dipped in chickpea batter and fried). The menu will be available throughout the day; a full line up of dishes as well as reservations is available when you call the restaurant at 212-689-1999.



Cocktail Omakase Night at SakaMai Tonight

Omakase–or chef’s choice–usually only applies to sushi offerings at high-end Japanese spots. But SakaMai takes the concept to a brand-new level by moving it from the sushi bar to the sake bar, offering a cocktail omakase night that’s distinctive in this city.

The concept is simple: Take a seat at the bar and let head mixologist Shingo Gokan take you through a tantalizing tour of tastes with round after round of cocktails he creates for you on the spot. The drinks are paired with small bites from executive chef Takanori Akiyama, and the duo works together closely to create the menu. Just don’t expect to know what’s coming–the pair plays its hand close to the chest, says SakaMai owner and creative director Natalie Graham; even she usually doesn’t know what the duo has in mind until the day before the event.

Graham nabbed Gokan from cocktail bar Angel’s Share (where he was a pioneer in the city’s craft cocktail movement) by promising him he’s be able to do the cocktail omakase, which was a dream for the bartender. And Akiyama is a Japan native with a flare for putting a worldly spin on Japanese classics.

To avoid getting guests hammered by the fourth course, Gokan tries to make cocktails that are not too strong. But the what drinks lack in potency they make up for in presentation. Graham says the last time she attended one of these nights, there were some theatrics like fire-pouring in the dark, a smoke machine, dried fish spines on skewers, and fresh coconuts cracked with a mallet.

Cocktail omakase nights have been occasional occurrences since SakaMai opened at the beginning of the year, and they’ve begun to gain a cult following. And if you’ve never experienced one, now might be your chance. The restaurant is hosting two seatings tonight and tomorrow night: a longer session that starts at 9 p.m. and includes 10 courses for $160, and a shorter meal with fewer courses for $120 that begins at 6 p.m. We hear slots are still open for tonight’s 9 p.m. session, though the other three seatings are fully booked.

Cocktail omakase nights are just a tiny aspect of everything going on at SakaMai. To find out more, make sure to check out the profile of SakaMai in this week’s edition of the Village Voice.


This Week’s Events: Spain’s Great Match, Coffee Workshop, Joy of Sake Festival, and Prosciutto Di Parma Palooza

Prosciutto di Parma fanatics unite this Thursday at the Wythe Hotel
Prosciutto di Parma fanatics unite this Thursday at the Wythe Hotel
Courtesy Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma via Facebook
Prosciutto di Parma fanatics unite this Thursday at the Wythe Hotel

We’ve combed the depths of the Internet to bring you a collection of fall events worth checking out this week. Just make sure to take off that chic scarf before diving into a plate.

Spain’s Great Match, Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Wining and designing are all the rage at this showcase of Spanish culture, which will spotlight a selection of over 300 Spanish wines and craft beers along with a variety of bites from the city’s top Spanish restaurants like Txikito. The work of designer Luis Eslava will also be on display. Tickets start at $75, and a VIP ticket includes early admission along with access to a 5:30 p.m. wine seminar.

Sweetness and Traceability: A Guatemalan Coffee Workshop, Third Rail Coffee, 159 Second Avenue, Wednesday, 6 p.m.

If your appreciation of coffee goes beyond the heart your barista leaves in your latte, head to this midweek seminar where you’ll learn about what to look for from a professional. Master roaster Josué Morales Guate, co-founder of Mayaland Coffee, will lead a discussion and tasting of Guatemalan coffee. Attendees will also have the chance to speak with farmers of the featured coffees. Though the event is free, space is limited, and advanced registration is recommended.

The Joy of Sake Festival, The Altman Building, 135 West 18th Street, Thursday, 6 p.m.

Though sake might be fun to drop into a Sapporo every now and then, learning to enjoy it correctly is essential if you dine out at top Japanese restaurants. This celebration of the Japanese spirit aims to educate attendees on how to sip while they explore over 300 premium varieties, The event will feature appetizers from 15 restaurants including the ramen burger by Keizo Shimamoto and offerings from wd~50. Tickets include access to all food and sake tastings and cost $95 in advance.

Prosciutto di Parma Palooza, Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma, chefs like Sara Jenkins and Danny Bowien pay tribute to the house of hog by offering up their best prosciutto concoctions. The event will include a discussion on the aging process as well as proper carving technique–though we predict the taste test of different aged samples will be the most popular feature of the evening. A tattoo artist will give anyone willing a free prosciutto di Parma tattoo. Tickets are $75 and include all tastings, wine, and cocktails.



Meet a Sake Samurai (and Get a Buzz on) Tonight at Sakamai

A bit of sippable good news came by way of the folks over at Sakamai sake lounge: the crew will be hosting its inaugural “sake samurai happy hour” tonight.

Not only is this evocative of a delightfully drunken daimyo, it means that tonight and one Thursday per month from now on, sake sensei Tim Sullivan (who runs the Urban Sake website) and certified sake sommelier Chizuko Niikawa will be behind Sakamai’s pour bar filling glasses full of premium sake while offering tasting notes and sagely sake suggestions and fielding questions from drinkers.

The event is built into Sakamai’s regular 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday sake happy hour, and Sakamai’s proprietors say they hope the event will gain an impassioned following similar to the crowd the spot draws for Tuesday shochu happy hours.

Natalie Graham, one of Sakamai’s owners, also said that there will always be a theme at play during the sake samurai happy hours, be it a particular brewery or sakes made with certain strains of rice or yeast.

The inaugural theme is that of Iwate prefecture, a rural region in the northeast of Japan’s main island Honshu that’s home to 27 sake breweries and the Nambu Toji collective, the largest group of sake brewers in Japan. Tonight’s event is sponsored by two companies from Ninohe City in Iwate’s extreme north, and you’ll see Kuji Brewery’s Nanbu Bijin junmai, junmai gingo, and junmai daiginjo sakes.

Iwate is also famous for lacquerware, and Iwate-based lacquerware company Joboji Urushi is also an event sponsor; you’ll be able to examine the products on the scene.

Head on over to the Sakamai website for more details on the event.


New York’s Sake Culture Is the Best Outside of Japan

Tim Sullivan is one of the most prolific sake lovers in New York. His blog, Urban Sake, is an encyclopedia of sake knowledge, with tastings notes on hundreds of bottles and a comprehensive glossary of Japanese terms — Sullivan was named a “Sake Samurai” by Japan’s Sake Brewers Association back in 2007 for preaching the gospel of rice juice in the U.S. Since then, he quit his day job to evangelize full time, teaching classes on the finer points of sake culture, organizing themed tastings around town, and consulting for a number of breweries. I asked him what pairs best with ramen, and what to drink right now as we edge closer to spring.

I’ve been really enjoying Shigure lately; where do you like to drink in the city? My first recommendation is always Sakagura. I tell my students it’s the mother ship — it’s been around for 15 years and has the largest list in the city. It can be overwhelming, but for selection, elegance, and broadness of appeal it’s my number one choice. And if you just want to dip your toes in the water you can tell them what sort of wines and beers you like, and they’ll make a suggestion.

What should we be drinking right now? It’s March, so that means New York is getting deliveries of nama sake. I absolutely love these unpasteurized and undiluted sakes — they’re juicy, springy, and full of fruity flavors. This year, Kamikokoro and Nanbu Bijin are really delicious.

Kamikokoro Toukagen
Kamikokoro Toukagen

You’ve been monitoring it for years now, but how are we doing? What’s the state of New York’s sake culture? We’re doing great! I’m confident that we have the best sake scene outside of Japan (and that’s including the rest of Asia). The quality of sake coming in from Japan is getting better all the time, and in New York, the number of sakes available and the opportunity for tastings is just so good.

What about retail? Sakaya, which is dedicated completely to sake, is really the place to start. Rick Smith and Hiroko Furukawa are good friends of mine, but they’re so easy to talk to and learn from. There’s also Landmark Wine and Sake, and Ambassador Wine and Spirits — they have a temperature-controlled room dedicated to sake, and a great selection.

Are you digging anything strange and new? Lately, I’ve been introducing people to a sake from Kyoto called Yuzu Omoi, made with the Japanese citrus. It’s almost like a sake lemonade, perfect for brunch instead of a mimosa — and because of the really low alcohol, it’s not going to knock you on your butt. It’s very nontraditional, but I think it’s a bellwether of things to come.

Do you have favorite sake sommeliers in town? Hiromi Kiyama at 15 East is great, and her recommendations are always so fantastic. I work often with Chiziko Nikawa, who was the sake sommelier at Sakagura for many years.

Help a food critic out — what kind of sakes go best with ramen? When I first started going out to eat ramen, I was annoyed that these places didn’t have my high-end sakes that I love to drink. But I realized those just don’t go stylistically with ramen, which is inexpensive, greasy, slurp-and-run fare. So, don’t think fancy! Rough and ready sakes pair best with ramen, like inexpensive junmai or honjozo that are dry, robust, and rice-y.



Freakishly Cute King Cake-Cups at Bee’s Knees, Guest Chefs to Cook at Aldea

Monday, February 11
Guest Chef Series at Aldea
Chef George Mendes brings John Shields and Scott Anderson to Aldea for a six-course meal highlighting winter ingredients. For $145 a person, which includes wine pairings, diners will taste two dishes from each chef. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. 31 W. 17th St.

Tuesday, February 12
Food, Cocktails, and Conversation with Amanda Freitag
Amanda Freitag, former chef of The Harrison and frequent Chopped judge, will host a charity dinner with Scott Conant at his Soho loft, the SCM Culinary Suite. Tickets are pricey at $250 a pop, but proceeds will benefit the Food and Finance High School, which helps provide education to culinary students in New York. Email to RSVP. 598 Broadway

King Cake-Cups at Bee’s Knees
Fat Tuesday means one thing: King Cake. West Village bakery Bee’s Knees will deliver Mardi Gras joy in every one of their freakishly cute cake cups on Tuesday. Each cup will have a miniature baby doll in it, just like a New Orleans-style King Cake. 113 W. 10th St.

Sake and the City
Celebrate sake with members of the Japanese Sake and Shochu Makers Association at the Astor Center. Guests will taste sakes and cocktails from different producers. Experts from SakaiMai, Urban Sake, and Brushstroke will do demonstrations, mix up drinks, and give brief lectures. 399 Lafayette St.

Wednesday, February 13
How to Prepare a Mexican Feast at the Brooklyn Brewery
Some of Brooklyn’s most popular Mexican joints will come to Brooklyn Brewery to share their culinary tricks. Brooklyn Salsa Company will give salsa demonstrations, Lonestar Taco will teach the ins and outs of flour and corn tortillas, and La Newyorkina will divulge secrets for making Mexican paletas and other desserts. Tickets are $5 and beers from the Brewery are discounted at $5. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and lectures run until 10 p.m. 79 N. 11th St., Brooklyn

Saturday, February 16
Not Just Talk: Food in the South Bronx
The BLK ProjeK will sponsor panels at The Point to discuss food access in the South Bronx. They promise a day of “talks, visioning, art, music, and of course great food and drink.” Speakers include Karen Washington of Black Urban Farmers and Gardeners and Nicole Taylor, host of Hot Grease. Tickets start at $25. 940 Garrison Ave., Bronx


Happy National Sake Day

Happy National Sake Day. A bunch of restaurants across town are celebrating with Sake Hour. The holiday coincides with the start of the sake season in Japan, when brewing officially begins. Here’s our round-up:

— Haru is inviting New Yorkers to toast to this tradition on a dime during Sake Hour, where Haru’s signature hot/cold sake is offered for $4.50 and sake-based specialty cocktails are offered for $7.50 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

— Koi Bryant Park is offering the Rockin Cucumber, a sake cocktail with vodka, lime juice, and cucumber. Additionally, Koi Sake, a fragrant, well-balanced sake of the premier Junmai Daiginjo class, and is sold exclusively to Koi guests — at both the brand new Koi SoHo and Koi Bryant Park — for $85 per 500-milliliter bottle.

In celebration of Japan’s National Sake Day, SushiSamba will be offering 50 percent off all bottles of sake from its premium selection. The promotion will be available at all New York locations on October 1 from noon to close.