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PLAYING THE ODDS

With Global Welcome Ambassador Taylor Swift high above, looking down on us from one of two Tribeca lofts, it’s easy to lose faith in the New York music scene, or any residual edginess lingering therein. But the Brooklyn Rock Lottery is here to prove, once again, that this city is still home to the real deal, creatively speaking. Today, members of 25 hand-picked bands including the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Au Revoir Simone, Crocodiles, Parquet Courts, and St. Lucia will take the challenge. They’ll be divvied up, via a random lottery, into five groups, given 12 hours to write and rehearse five new songs (limited to one cover), and will perform their handiwork for you, the live audience, later tonight. Come hear your local acts test their chops after a hard day’s work — all proceeds go toward the Harmony Program, which provides after-school music education to NYC’s underserved communities.

Sat., Dec. 6, 9 p.m., 2014

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Recipe: Here’s Why Bartenders Like Micaela Piccolo Love the Paper Plane

Sick of your usual call drink? Try something new. In this series, we’re asking the city’s bartenders to name their current drinks of choice. Check out our Good Call archives for another round.

Today’s call comes by way of Micaela Piccolo, head bartender at Distilled (211 West Broadway; 212-601-9514).

Though it’s easy for people to trust doctors and dentists when it comes to personal hygiene, allowing a bartender to explore your personal taste can be a bit more challenging. But, says bartender Micaela Piccolo, if you want to find the right drink for you, it’s imperative that you let go of your inhibitions and trust what their bartender has to say. “Don’t be afraid to have a conversation,” she says. “If [your bartender is] good, they’ll know what they’re talking about. Let them steer you in the right direction…Don’t order a cocktail because you think it sounds good. I’m going to know you’re not going to like it.”

And sometimes that conversation really benefits the bartender: Piccolo’s customers helped her find her favorite drink, the paper plane. “To be honest, when I first fell in love with spirits, I was a gin girl,” she says. “But, slowly and steadily, I made my way through every other spirit on my back bar and realized that there were too many great liquors to choose from. I eventually found an irreplaceable love for Scotch which, lead me to explore the whiskey family extensively. I began to really educate myself on craft cocktails that were whiskey-based, and that is when I found the ‘Paper Plane.’ I remember the first time I made the drink for a guest. They loved it so much I had to make three more for their friends. I even think I made some extra for myself to taste. I sipped and thought, ‘Holy crap, this is delicious.'”

One of the best parts about the ‘Paper Plane’ — a drink created by fellow New York bartender Sam Ross, who named it after a “badass song” by M.I.A. — is its flexibility. “It’s a changeable drink…it’s all booze,” says Piccolo. Bartenders can substitute Campari or another amaro for Aperol; the proportions will always be the same. “When I experienced my first ‘Paper Plane,’ I was swept away by the flavors playing the most savory melody on my palate,” says Piccolo. “Having merged two of my favorite worlds, one of whiskey and the other of aperitifs, I find myself ordering this drink more often than others. If you’re a bourbon drinker, but happen to be looking for something a bit more invigorating and fresh, then this is the perfect cocktail for you.”

Outside of grabbing a ‘Paper Plane’ at her home base, Piccolo has a few locations close by to land her favorite drink. “The Pegu Club is probably my favorite place to order this puppy,” she says. “I am also lucky enough to work around the corner from two fantastic bars, Macao Trading Co. and Ward III. Both bars execute the drink flawlessly.”

For those that prefer mixing cocktails at home, the recipe for the ‘Paper Plane’ and Piccolo’s second favorite drink, the daiquiri, are below.

Paper Plane

3/4 ounce Bourbon (the original called for Buffalo Trace)
3/4 ounce Amaro Nonino
3/4 ounce Aperol
3/4 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain, and serve up.

Classic Daiquiri

2 ounces white rum
1 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup

Shake with ice, strain, and serve up with a lime wedge.


 

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Need a Recipe for a Real Cocktail Awakening? Check out the Jungle Bird

Sick of your usual call drink? Try something new. In this series, we’re asking the city’s bartenders to name their current drinks of choice. 

Today’s call comes by way of Dustin Olson, beverage director at Forrest Point (970 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-366-2742).

For Forrest Point bartender Dustin Olson, coming face to face with a drink called the Jungle Bird wasn’t just about finding a tipple that epitomized balance (though that was an “A-ha” moment for him). The discovery also showed Olson that he was on the right path.

Olson supported his passion for the performing arts by working in the restaurant industry, slinging drinks and food in all sorts of establishments, from the type Pete Wells would review to sports bars. “Looking back at a career in the business that had been 20 years long, I decided to take things a little more seriously,” he says.

He had minimal experience with cocktails, though, and he wasn’t in tune with New York’s emerging cocktail scene until a chance encounter with Ward III’s Michael Neff landed him a spot trailing at one of the city’s best rum houses. That kickstarted a career shift to mixology. “Mikey Diehl. Michael Neff. Ken McCoy. Vincent Favela…I had a lot of people who were willing to teach me,” Olson says. He seized the opportunity and was immediately thrown into the thick of things due to the bar’s renowned bespoke cocktail menu.

“The bespoke program is trial by fire,” he says. “You need to get your templates and your classics down very quickly. A lot of what you are doing is snake-charming. At the end of the day, you’re using one of 10 templates.”

It was at Ward III that Olson learned about the Jungle Bird. “I rose through the ranks at Ward III with Mikey Diehl, whose knowledge of all things tiki made the slow Sunday shifts we shared a whole lot more interesting,” he says. “One night, he introduced me to the Jungle Bird as a rare example of a classic tiki cocktail that prominently featured a bitter element. I was hooked, and started making it for anyone who deferred to me for their choice of drink. Even those who didn’t necessarily enjoy it (which did not happen often) couldn’t deny that, at the very least, it had a whole lot to say. To me, it was a lesson in the glass…I’m not sure there’s a cocktail that provides a better lesson in using a bitter component to achieve balance. If I said I was making you a drink that had Black Strap rum, pineapple juice, and simple syrup in it, you’d likely book a dentist appointment before taking a sip. Yet with the addition of Campari, you have a drink that’s complex, delicious, and, yes, wonderfully balanced…I tasted it and I was like, ‘That’s a cocktail.’ ”

Olson also marveled at how seemingly disparate components worked together. “Black Strap rum is quite difficult to work with,” he says. “It’s got a very heavy maple component. It’s very rich. The maple overwhelmed everything. We had it in an atomizer….Pineapple juice and orange juice are a bit tricky. You’re dealing with a lot of elements here that can overwhelm a cocktail.”

Check out Olson’s recipe:

The Jungle Bird

A note from Olson: “The original recipe calls for 4 ounces of pineapple juice and Jamaican rum. From what I understand, it was Giuseppe Gonzalez who introduced the Black Strap, and recent versions call for 1.5 ounces of pineapple juice. Mr. Diehl prefers even less pineapple, and I concur. Here’s the one I make.”

1.5 ounces Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1 ounce Pineapple Juice (fresh if possible)
0.75 ounce Campari
0.5 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
0.5 ounce Simple Syrup

Build all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice, shake (with conviction), and strain over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with any tiki accoutrements you deem appropriate.

In addition to Ward III, Olson enjoys grabbing a Jungle Bird at Featherweight and notes that most competent bartenders should know how to make one, though “extra consideration should be paid to bars that employ fresh pineapple juice.”

Olson often follows that with a Haitian Divorce. “Tom Richter did a series of Old Fashioned variations using Pedro Ximenez sherry as a sweetener while running the program at The Beagle (RIP),” he says. “Thankfully, he’s brought them over to Dear Irving and Raine’s Law Room. You’d also be able to order them at Milk & Honey or Attaboy. My personal favorite is the Haitian Divorce.”

Haitian Divorce

1.5 ounces Aged Rum (Barbancourt 8yr, ideally)
0.75 ounce Mezcal (Tom uses VIDA, from Del Maguey)
0.5 ounce Pedro Ximenez Sherry (Lustau)
2-4 dashes (depending on your dasher) Angostura Bitters

Build all ingredients in an Old Fashioned glass. Add ice (one large cube, if possible) and stir. Garnish with an expressed lime and orange peel.


 

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Here’s a Recipe for an Excellent Vieux Carré From Ward III’s Kenneth McCoy

Sick of your usual call drink? Try something new. In this series, we’re asking the city’s bartenders to name their current drinks of choice.

Today’s call comes by way of Kenneth McCoy of Ward III (111 Reade St.; 212-240-9194) and The Rum House (228 West 47th Street; 646-490-6924).

What’s your call drink?

The vieux carré.

What is it about this drink that you like so much?

It’s such an elegant sounding drink — it makes me feel regal just saying the words “vieux carré.” It’s a delicious drink with a sweet spice that takes me to another time that doesn’t exist anymore, plus it combines two of my favorite spirits, rye and cognac. They are beautiful brown spirits with a rich history in the cocktail world.

Has it always been your favorite? How long did it take you to find it? What was that process like?

No, not always. Working in and owning a whiskey bar, you gotta love the brown water, but you also get introduced to new or not-popular-anymore drinks. Not that this is a new drink — this is actually a very old drink that I ignored for awhile. One of Ward III’s regulars who is now a good friend, John Hedigan, is a fellow bartender who would come in and order them all the time. I hadn’t recalled hearing it mentioned in a while, so I made one for myself as well, and there you have it — a newfound love.

Could you name a few places around town that make your favorite drink?

Yes, John could make you one at Harefield Road in Williamsburg. He’s only there on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays though, so I go to the Sicilian Scotsman Nino Cirabisi at Bonnie Vee on Stanton Street when John’s not working.

What’s the recipe for those that want to make it at home?

1 ounce Old Overholt Rye
1 ounce Delamain XO Cognac
1 ounce Dolin Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
A babies kiss of Benedictine

Combine all ingredients into a chilled mixing glass, add ice, and stir for 20 seconds. Pour into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon twist.

What’s your second favorite drink? Recipe?

My second favorite is the classic old fashioned, which is so good but not always made well. Here’s my recipe for the perfect old fashioned:

2 ounces Rye or Bourbon (my preference is rye, specifically Old Overholt rye in a chilled mixing glass)
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
2 dashes of Regan’s orange bitters
Splash of simple syrup
1 teaspoon of brandied cherry juice

Combine all ingredients in a chilled mixing glass, Add ice and stir for 20 seconds. Pour into a chilled old fashioned glass over one large piece of ice. Garnish with an orange zest and enjoy!

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This Week’s Five Best Food Events – 8/11/2015

What’s the best way to spend your free time this week? How about taking a class on urban gardening, sampling Italian-Jewish cuisine, or twisting and twirling some sausage? Here are the five best food events happening in NYC.

Enlightened Eaters, James Beard House, 167 West 12th Street, Wednesday, noon

Authors Ernie Zahn and Ron Williams will be in attendance at the James Beard House to discuss their book Fair Tomatoes, which showcases the struggle of tomato workers in Florida. Topics covered include an in-depth look into working conditions of select farms as well as a lesson on how to become a more sustainable consumer. Refreshments including chocolate, coffee, and tea will be served, and a suggested donation of $20 is recommended for non-students.

Sausage Making Class, Fleisher’s at #323 on Pier 41, 260 Conover Street,
Brooklyn, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Get a jump on Labor Day barbecue duty and join Fleisher’s in Red Hook for an evening of sausage making — and drink a few Belgian ales, too. The class also includes a whole hog butchering demonstration and a beer pairing from Brooklyn Brew Shop. Tickets are $75.

Jewish Italy: Food, Culture, and Travel, 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, Thursday, 7 p.m.

Italy is home to the world’s oldest Jewish settlement, a tradition translated today through cuisine. In this class, guests will sample a few classic dishes while learning about the history of foods with stories centered on fried artichokes and goose salami. The talk will also include a virtual tour of historic Jewish sites like the Tuscan village known as Little Jerusalem. Tickets are $45.

Urban Gardening Class, New York Vintners, 21 Warren Street, Friday, 1 p.m.

Join experienced horticulturist Renee Giroux of David Bouley’s Bouley Botanical for an afternoon discussion of urban farming. This class, geared toward home and professional chefs, will cover how to grow herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Tickets are $30.

Indian Independence Day, Savoury, 489 Columbus Avenue, Friday

To honor Indian Independence Day, chef Lala Sharma is offering a five course meal for $50 which also includes a complimentary glass of wine or Indian beer. Guests receive two entrees, two appetizers, and a dessert, with accompaniments like naan and basmati. The restaurant also plans to extend the celebration through the weekend by offering its 1947 (the year India gained independence) beer for $3.

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Washington Market Tavern: A Restaurant Four Generations in the Making

Though Washington Market Tavern (41 Murray Street; 646-964-4860) is not even two weeks old, its relationship to Tribeca goes back decades — and not just because it’s located in a landmark building. Owner Eric Schwimmer’s great grandfather and grandfather operated a stall in the old Washington Market, a burgeoning scene of commerce that represented the largest fruit and produce exchange in America during the 1940s. In 1977, Schwimmer’s family opened local bar and grill Mudville 9. That makes Schwimmer a fourth generation Tribecan.

Schwimmer was trained by his father, and he’s worked just about every job imaginable in the restaurant industry. “If you want to be in the restaurant business, learn how to use a mop and learn how to fix things,” he advises.

Schwimmer’s ability to fix things helped him with the build out of his new space, where the plumbing, electricity, and HVAC systems were all replaced, not to mention the entire interior of the three floor establishment. Only a brass railing remains of 41 Murray Street’s former life, a reminder of what Schwimmer calls a “mom and pop land” left behind so he could execute his vision. You might now call the decor “tavern chic.” Six wraparound booths with white cushions sit across from the long polished wooden bar, while the middle of the floor is filled with high bar stools and tables for four. Diners can chat up the bartenders and charge their phone at the same time — there are built in stations tucked away throughout the restaurant.

Towards the back, a small staircase leads to a bright dining room illuminated by rays from a skylight. There’s also a downstairs lounge, and Schwimmer plans to feature a cocktail series with different in-house bartenders in addition to hosting private parties and events. The downstairs lounge is also open for regular service for those looking for a dark and romantic hideaway.

As for the menu, the tavern deals in dishes for a casual setting that revolve around French culinary technique. Schwimmer cites Minetta Tavern as an inspiration, albeit his place has a more American focus. “This is how I like to eat,” he says. “That’s why I made this menu…you eat this food you’re not coming out of here bloated.”

Schwimmer tapped veteran chef Aksel Theilkuhl to run the show; Theilkuhl cooked under renowned chefs like Laurent Tourondel. The seasonal menu is broken up into four categories (Raw, Garden, Ocean, and Farm) and includes options for veggie lovers, like Blooming Hill Farms carrots, cooked multiple ways. The chef is also turning out lamb tartare, fava bean ravioli, and Maine lobster, and he plans to roll out a market board menu, which will include a burger, charcuterie, and, potentially, flatbreads, with everything based on seasonality.

“Vegetables are definitely a driving factor for me right now,” says Theilkuhl of his menu. “A lot of people come to restaurants and don’t necessarily think, let me have an entire dish driven by vegetables. I’m kind of hoping to change that a little bit. Vegetables have a bad wrap in a sense because I feel like a lot of restaurants or places in general don’t understand the process behind how to cook vegetables properly.”

That philosophy is applied to all four food categories as well as artisanal cocktails, on the drinks list in addition to wine and beer.

For a first look inside Washington Market Tavern, check out a few photos on the next page.

 

Chef Aksel Theilkuhl preparing a dish. The chef's menu concentrates on local, seasonal ingredients.
Chef Aksel Theilkuhl preparing a dish. The chef’s menu concentrates on local, seasonal ingredients.
Veggie lovers will find an ample selection of items like Blooming Hill Farm Fresh Carrots
Veggie lovers will find an ample selection of items like Blooming Hill Farm Fresh Carrots
Lamb tartare
Lamb tartare
The bar at Washington Market Tavern
The bar at Washington Market Tavern
Inside the first floor bar and dining room at Washington Market Tavern
Inside the first floor bar and dining room at Washington Market Tavern

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IDOL WORSHIP

Her face is so recognizable, her image so much a staple of the public domain that it’s hard to believe there are photographs of her the world has still never seen. But Tribeca’s SUMO Gallery has them. This weekend Marilyn: The Lost Photos opens in New York, showcasing rare pictures of Marilyn Monroe taken between 1952 and 1956. Five photographers contributed to the collection, some of them Monroe’s intimate acquaintances such as her former makeup artist Milton Greene and her close friend Mischa Pelz. Shortly before her death in 1962, the ultimate American It-girl expressed anxiety about not being able to live up to her own larger-than-life reputation as a sex symbol: “My men…expect bells to ring and whistles to whistle, but my anatomy is the same as any other woman’s.” These images capture that humanity, catching Monroe with chin doubled up or hunched over mid-laugh. Consequently, they’re some of the most charming we’ve seen.

Tue., July 22, 10 a.m.; Wed., July 23, 10 a.m.; Thu., July 24, 10 a.m., 2014

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Here Are This Week’s Five Best Food Events – 6/30/2014

This week marks the anniversary of the birth of our nation, and we’re betting a number of you will celebrate via the age old practice of hightailing it out of town. If you’re sticking around, consider these five exceptionally delicious events.

The Mission Chinese Pop Up: Behind Frankie’s 457, Frankie’s 457, 457 Court Street, Brooklyn, Tuesday and Wednesday

While we wait for Danny Bowien’s Mission Chinese Food to make a permanent return, we can experience the food via a series of pop-up events. The prix fixe dinners have previously featured dishes like squash porridge and peppered pork belly. Those interested in upcoming dinners can buy tickets in advance by emailing mcfpopup@gmail.com.

Guacamole Festival, Maya, 1191 First Avenue, Tuesday through September 30

Last week, Scarlett Lindeman decried the cobb salad-like guacamoles she’s been seeing around town. This week kicks of a celebration of such smashed avocado dip. Starting Tuesday, guests at this Richard Sandoval restaurant can order special guacs with ingredients like chicharron, kiwi, and grasshoppers. The restaurant is featuring seven special guacamoles ranging from $10 to $16. Consider sampling Tuesday through Friday during the 3 to 8 p.m. happy hour, when margaritas are just $6.

All You Can Drink Craft Cans, Idle Hands, 25 Avenue B, Wednesday, 6 p.m.

Celebrate the revolution in craft beer — and our nation — this week by taking advantage of a $25 all-you-can-drink deal from 6 to 10 p.m. Pound canned brews like Dale’s Pale Ale, Harpoon, and Shiner Bock, or order a 12-ouncer for just $4. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the event.

Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, 1310 Surf Avenue, Coney Island, Brooklyn, Friday, 10 a.m.

You know the drill. Grown men and women from around the world compete to see who can eat the most hot dogs in the quickest time — last year’s winners Joey Chestnut put away 69 dogs in 10 minutes; Sonya Thomas devoured 45. The festivities include entertainment throughout the day; the women’s contest begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by the men at 12:40 p.m.

Fourth of July Party, Grand Banks — Sherman Zwicker schooner, Pier 25, Friday, 6 p.m.

Though champagne and oysters don’t come cheap, if you’re going to drop bills, it may as well be for the men who helped create them. The Grand Banks, a new restaurant and floating museum from Mark Firth of Marlow and Sons, will be rocking the harbor with an all-inclusive dinner and drinks deal. Though the boat will be docked for the duration of the event, guests can expect solid views of the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island fireworks. You’ll find a special holiday cocktail along with wine, beer, and passed bites available throughout the evening. Tickets, $250 per person, can be purchased through the oyster bar’s website.

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These Are This Weekend’s Four Best Food Events in NYC – 5/16/2014

One more workday, and then it’s time to take it easy. Get your plans together — we have a few event suggestions for you.

Nat Sherman Summer Pop Up, 218 Conover Street, Friday through Sunday, noon

Returning to Red Hook for the second year in a row, Nat Sherman is bringing back its cigar shop and cigar-cocktail pairings to a row of sinful pleasures that already includes Widow Jane Distillery and Cacao Prieto chocolatiers. The shop will remain open throughout the summer and into early fall and can be visited Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.

Taste of Tribeca, 334 Greenwich Street, Saturday, 11:30 a.m.

‘Tis the season for neighborhood tastings, and come Saturday, Tribeca’s infamous high-end eateries will showcase the food that’s made them perennial award winners. For $45 in advance or $50 on the day of the event, guests can sample the best of restaurants like Bouley and Tribeca Grill. Pick up a tasting card, which includes six tastes.

Cold Brew Stumptown Tasting at Momofuku Milk Bar, Momofuku Milk Bar, 360 Smith Street, Brooklyn, Saturday, 2 p.m.

On Saturday, the Carroll Gardens location of Christina Tosi and David Chang’s magical crack pie-making workshop will host a lesson on making cold brew coffee. The event is free, and you can snack on treats like compost cookies and b’day truffles while you learn.

The Judgement of Brooklyn, Skylight One Hanson, One Hanson Place, Brooklyn, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Based on the infamous Judgement of Paris in 1976, which put California wines on the global map after they were pitted against their French counterparts, this Brooklyn party will host a blind tasting of food, wine, and beer. Taste 32 wines and 32 beers — some of which will be French, and some of which are American — and snack on trademark dishes from 10 different restaurants. Tickets are $65.

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Here Are This Week’s Four Best Happy Hour Specials in NYC – 5/14/2014

If you didn’t notice, May is almost half over, and you’re a little more than a week away from Memorial Day weekend. Celebrate by toasting at one of these four happy hours.

The Hudson Bond, 215 West 40th Street

Drafts and well drinks are each $5 from 4 to 7 p.m. at this spacious lounge, and sangria is $7. The cocktail line-up deals classics like the Austin Mule and Manhattan. And take note: This place is a stone’s throw from Penn Station, which makes it a prime stop for commuters who need a stiff drink — or Newark airport-goers who need a little liquid courage before the trek.

Saleya, 65 West Broadway

Fuel your boozy happy hour with a little pizza. From 4 to 7 p.m., this bar turns out select cocktails at $6 paired to $5 pies. The Mediterranean restaurant features cocktails with regionally appropriate names like the Corsica, a combination of pureed cucumbers, Aperol, and gin.

The New York Beer Company, 321 West 44th Street

This craft beer emporium features two separate happy hours nightly, which feature a rotating rosters on specials. On Wednesdays, look for $5 select drafts and a two-for-one special on craft beer cans from 11 a.m until 8 p.m. and then again from midnight until closing. Thursdays see a $15 growler-of-the-week deal, and Mondays and Tuesdays bring two-for-one specials on specific breweries.

Charlie’s Bar and Kitchen, 112 Lincoln Avenue, Bronx

This south Bronx cocktail bar is a lively setting for those near the Mott Haven area, and it offers a roster of specials on cocktails and beers from 4 to 8 p.m. Pop in on Monday nights for trivia and half-priced bottles of wine after 8 p.m., Tuesdays brings live music, and Friday features karaoke.