Category Archives: Fair

San Gennaro Festival 2016

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New Yorkers are a resilient bunch with much pride in their city.  The bombing in Chelsea on September 17 would not deter them from carrying on.  The bombing occurred only two days into the ten-day San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy, but it didn’t keep the crowds from coming.  That’s good because it’s an important year for the festival–its 90th anniversary.

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September 19 is the feast day of San Gennaro and that is the day organizers celebrated with a mass and procession from the doors of the Most Precious Blood Church on Baxter Street around Canal Street and up through Mulberry Street.

Most Precious Blood Church

Most Precious Blood Church

This year’s grand marshal was Joe Causi.  A Bronx Tale‘s Chazz Palminteri also made an appearance at the festival.  (Tony Danza was the grand marshal of the parade last year, but this year,  I had my second run-in with the actor.  I was shopping in Alleva Dairy, the country’s oldest Italian cheese store, when a man said, “Excuse me, ma’am,” and brushed past me.  It was Tony.  Years ago, I ran into him on Bleecker Street and I asked for a photo to which he rudely said no.)

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Before Mass, I pinned a dollar on the statue of San Gennaro and got a pamphlet about him as well as a pin and prayer card.  Inside the church, there is a large presepio (Nativity scene) from Naples on display.

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Street vendors sell everything from American food to fair festival food like roasted corn,

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to pizza and cannoli

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to Italian tchotchkes

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to traditional Italian foods like these Italian cookies, taralli, mostaccioli and biscotti.

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I ate at Sal’s Pizza on Broome near Mulberry for pizza, sausage and broccoli rape.  At Sal’s, you get a side order of pasta with your entree, the traditional way.

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For dessert, some cassata and coffee at Caffe Palermo.

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New and Old Favorites at the 2015 North Carolina State Fair

The 2015 NC state fair has a lot of new food this year.  I can’t get into some of the ridiculous fried stuff at state fairs like peanut butter pickles.  But I will taste some of the more tame fried food.  Here are some new things at the fair this year:

Fried pimento cheese wonton’s from Woody’s–These are a winner.  What’s not to like about pimento cheese?  (These are easy to find if you just look for the big balloon blimp in the sky.  Do not follow the festival food map because it lists Woody’s in a different location.)  WINNER

pimento cheese

Fried s’mores–Hmm, this was a little disappointing. I was expecting a square smore deep fried, but this was just marshmallow deep fried with chocolate syrup–no graham.  If that’s your thing, you’ll like it.

s'mores, smores

Nu Jersey Turnpike sausage baguette from Baguettaboutit–A mild Italian fennel sausage with a roasted red pepper sauce in a crusty baguette.  My friend always gets sausage and pepper sandwiches, and this was a really nice change–especially the good bread.  WINNER

baguettaboutit

And Baguettaboutit also has delicious vegetarian sandwiches like this one with Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Tofurky Italian Sausage + Cracked Pepper and Parmesan Sauce.  WINNER

baguettaboutit

Candied yams ice cream from Lumpy’s–I love Lumpy’s ice cream.  But this flavor fell a bit flat for me.  Yam/sweet potato ice cream can have a starchy mouthfeel.  This one had some marshmallows scattered throughout, but I think a sweet syrup would’ve masked some of the starchiness.

Lumpy's

Sour lemon ice cream from Country Folks Creamery—I always like to get the ice cream that’s churned with a John Deere tractor.  This year’s new flavor is sour lemon.  It is sour, which I like, and definitely real lemon.  It reminded me of lemon gelato.  It’s really good.  WINNER

sour lemon ice cream

White chocolate mini baguette from La Farm Bakery–I love white chocolate, so I had to try this baguette.  La Farm makes great bread, but this just didn’t do it for me.  It was a bit too sweet and I just didn’t taste the white chocolate like I wanted to.  I was hoping it would be melted in the middle but it was mostly bread.  We also got an asiago parmesan bread for the road that’s great!

white chocolate

In addition to the new food at the fair, we got some old staples that we know we like.

Fried cheddar nuggets from Wisconsin cheese

fried cheese

a cinnamon sugar elephant ear

elephant ear

I also got some barbecue and slaw at Big Al’s in Raleigh

barbecue

And my friend got mini donuts–these tasted like they were made with funnel cake mix–I’m not a fan of that flavor but if you are, you’ll like them.

mini donuts, mini doughnuts

Muscadine grapes are from North Carolina, and this muscadine grape slushie was a sweet, refreshing drink!

muscadine grape

I checked out my favorite things at the fair–like the cake decorating contest.  This cute cake was the winner.

NC state fair winning cake

I love the folk crafts at the Village of Yesteryear, the gardens and bonsai trees, and the North Carolina pottery tent.  I even took a stroll through the soybean farmers’ tent with a wall of the Bayer logo.  I tried not to think about all the soybean oil I ingested and had a good time!  (I did see a food booth somewhere at the fair advertising that all its food was cooked with olive oil.)  Anyway, a good time was had by all!

Artylicious Cakes

If you’ve read my blog enough, you know I can’t pass up a bakery.  So when I saw a sign for cupcakes at Artylicious Cakes, I had to stop in.  Artylicious Cakes is a bakery in Raleigh, NC.  The owner, Iriene Wangsawidjaja, specializes in cake art and has had her cakes featured in magazines as well as at local events and has won awards at the NC State Fair (blue ribbon for a Lorax cake).  Her fondant work is gorgeous, and if I were looking for a special occasion cake, I would have her make it.  Irene is very sweet, and on my visit, let me and my friend try a number of flavors before deciding.  Ultimately, we chose lemonberry, lemon cake with a hint of strawberry and vanilla creme, as our favorite.   Also, the chocolate raspberry, hazelnut mocha and black forest are all divine.  Her buttercream is so tasty, smooth and silky.  I really love the texture of her cakes.  She also has cupcakes, cheesecake and macaroons available, and they all look lovely.

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Weekend Whets 9/20

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87th Annual Feast of San Gennaro, Thursday, September 12, 2013 through Sunday, September 22, 2013, Little Italy, Manhattan:  Italian festival with Italian food vendors, games and entertainment.

delicious pizza with creamy mozzarella from Italian Food Center on Mulberry Street

delicious pizza with creamy mozzarella from Italian Food Center booth on Mulberry Street

Culinary Class:  Ravioli, Friday, September 20, 2013, 6:30 p.m., Westchester Italian Cultural Center:  Learn how to make ravioli with four different fillings such as cheese, spinach, mushrooms and squash.  $50-$60.

Viva La Comida!, Friday, September 20, 2013, 82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Queens:  Celebration of the area’s local businesses.  Food vendors, food trucks, music and pop up shops.

First Annual Lobstah Palooza, Saturday, September 21, 2013, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., The Well, 272 Meserole Street, Brooklyn:  Full lobster dinner and DJs.  $35-$40.

Stone Street Oyster Festival, Saturday, September 21, 2013, Noon to 6 p.m., Stone Street, Lower Manhattan:  Part of New York Oyster Week.  A party with music and oysters.

Taste of the West Village 2013, Saturday, September 21, 2013, noon to 4 p.m., The Yard at P.S.41, Greenwich Avenue and Charles Street, West Village:  Sample cuisine from West Village restaurants.  Tickets $40.

The Ultimate Peruvian Experience, Saturday, September 21, 2013, 7 p.m., Raymi Restaurant, Manhattan:  Afro-Peruvian music and 3-course meal. $65.

A Dinner for Haiti, Sunday, September 22, 2013, Louro, West Village:  Nossa Mesa Supper Club at Louro restaurant features a Haitian-inspired menu.  $65.

Celebrity Chef Benefit Dinner at Hearth, Monday, September 23, 2013, 7 p.m., Hearth, Manhattan:  Seven course dinner with each course prepared by a different celebrity chef, including Michael Symon.  All proceeds will go directly to A Life Story Foundation.  Tickets $325.

Tasting Table’s Macaroon Workshop with Danny Macaroons, Monday, September 23, 2013, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tasting Table Test Kitchen and Dining Room, 495 Broome Street, Manhattan:  Learn how to make coconut macaroons from Danny Cohen of Danny Macaroons.  $50 ticket includes macaroon demonstration and workshop, reception with small bites and cocktails, a box of your own macaroons and a signed copy of Danny’s new book, The Macaroon Bible.  Must be a subscriber of Tasting Table.

Chef’s Table with Jimmy Bradley, Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Sur la table, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan:  Chef/owner of The Red Cat prepares dishes and serves them as each is prepared.

Fall Feast, Thursday, September 26, 2013, 7:30 p.m., 38 Prince (between Mott and Mulberry), Nolita:  Farm to table dinner featuring Union Square Greenmarket items.  $55.

11th Annual Taste of the Village, Thursday, September 26, 2013, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Washington Square Park, Village:  Over 30 local food and wine vendors and jazz.  Tickets $50.

Savor the Season, Thursday, September 26, 2013, 6:30 p.m . to 10 p.m., Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan:  Celebrate 20 years of Harvest Home Farmer’s Markets in New York City with tastings from chefs and restaurants north of 96th Street, including Marcus Samuelsson.

The Joy of Sake, Thursday, September 26, 2013, 6 p.m . to 9 p.m., The Altman Building (135 W 18th Street), Manhattan:  Sake tasting. Tickets $95.

Le Fooding, Friday, September 27, 2013, and Saturday, September 28, 2013, 7 p.m., Brooklyn:  Time’Mach’Inn dinners with menus celebrating food trends in recent decades in NYC.

Grand Central Oyster Bar’s Oyster Frenzy, September 28, 2013, noon to 5 p.m., Grand Central Oyster Bar.

Smoke @ ICC, Saturday, September 28, 2013, 4:15 p.m. to 8 p.m., Pier 57 at 15th Street, Manhattan:  Teams from around the country compete to smoke the best brisket in 4 categories.  Public tasting, beer garden and live music.  Tickets $65.

The 10th Annual NYC Dumpling Festival Eating Contest, Saturday, September 28, 2013, noon to 5 p.m., Sara D. Roosevelt Park on East Houston Street between Chrystie and Forsyth Streets, Manhattan:  All proceeds benefit the Food Bank For New York City in this dumpling eating contest with men’s and women’s divisions.

Taste of France, Saturday, September 28, 2013, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.,  and Sunday, September 29, 2013, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Bryant Park, Midtown, Manhattan:  A celebration of all things French with cooking demos and tastings.

OCTOBER

The Big Smoke, Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn:  A menu of smoked meats and beer from Brooklyn Brewery.  Tickets $45.

Plate by Plate: Project by Project NY’s Annual Tasting Benefit , Friday, October 4, 2013, 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., 82 Mercer, Soho:  Charity event showcasing New York’s premier restaurants. Tickets $150.

North:  Nordic Food Festival, October 2 through 7, 2013, various locations, NYC:  Celebrate Nordic cuisine with lunches/dinners by Scandinavian chefs and cooking classes with Scandinavian chefs.

3rd Annual EscapeMaker’s Local Food & Travel Expo in Brooklyn, Saturday, October 5, 2013, noon to 5 p.m., Borough Hall, Brooklyn:  Exhibitors who are within a 50-mile radius of Brooklyn will be exhibiting.  Tastings and a special Made in Brooklyn market.

Slow U – Sustainable Seafood (Sashimi and More), Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 6:30 p.m., International Culinary Center (formerly known as the French Culinary Institute), 462 Broadway, Manhattan:  Enjoy sushi as you learn about sustainable local fisheries and the family fishermen.

Slice Out Hunger, Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 6 p.m., St Anthony’s Church – 154 Sullivan St (at Houston), Soho:  Sponsors match every dollar spent for Food Bank For New York City.  Tickets are $1 each.  Pizzerias include Lombardi’s, Rubirosa, John’s, Grimaldi’s, Joe’s, DiFara, Arturo’s and more.

Italian Restaurant Week, October 10-17, 2013, Brooklyn:  Celebrate Italian Heritage Month and Columbus Day with some Italian food in Brooklyn.

Sugar Skull Decorating Workshop, October 13, 2013, 12:30 p.m., Fabriscope, 41 Willow Place, Brooklyn:  Learn how to make sugar skulls for Day of the Dead Mexican holiday.  $50.

Tasting Table Presents an Evening with Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi, Friday, October 18, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tasting Table Test Kitchen and Dining Room, 495 Broome Street, Floor 2, Manhattan:  Chefs sign their cookbook.  Ticket includes cookbook, canapes, unlimited drinks.  $60.

Chocabaret:  A Chocolate Tasting Set to Music, Sunday, October 20, 2013, 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street, Midtown:  Chocolate tasting and singing by Chef Jackie Gordon.  $60.

Get My Goat, October 27, 2013, 5:30 p.m., The Farm on Adderley,
1108 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn:  The Farm on Adderley and Slow Food NYC feature a dinner menu with goat including roasted goat, goat cheese and goat’s milk. $30.

Plates for Change: Neighbors Together’s Fall Chef Showcase, October 30, 2013, 6 p.m., The Green Building, 452 Union Street, Brooklyn:  Event featuring the signature dishes of New York restaurants, such as David Chang’s Momofuku, Ryan Angulo’s Buttermilk Channel and Jehangir Mehta’s Graffiti.  Event honors filmmakers Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, co-directors of A Place at the Table, a documentary about the effects of consumer insecurity in the food industry.

Weekend Whets 4/19

NYC Hot Sauce Expo, Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21, 2013, 10 a.m., Food Karma Projects Presents Events on Kent, 110 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn:  Live music, fire breathers, spicy food vendors, awards show, eating challenges and contests, adult beverages and the best hot sauce companies from North America.

Prohibition, Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21, 2013, 1 p.m., location TBA:  A period dining experience by chefs Rob McCue and Adam C. Banks.

Chanterelle at Robert, Sunday, April 21, 2013, Robert at the Museum of Arts and Design, Columbus Circle, Manhattan:  Owners of former Tribeca restaurant Chanterelle recreate it for one night only.  Six courses.  Menu created by artist Israeli-American Izhar Patkin.  $125.  100 seats available.

Sweet Sensations, Sunday, April 21, 2013, 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Openhouse–the Old Bowery Station, 168 Bowery, Manhattan:  Local bakers and food bloggers bake sweet treats to benefit C-CAPa nonprofit organization that provides culinary programs to underserved youth.  Tickets $39.

Earth Day Dinner at Del Posto, Monday, April 22, 2013, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Del Posto, 85 10th Avenue, Manhattan:  A five-course vegetarian dinner in honor of Mother Earth with Annie Novak, Urban Garden Goddess, and Amy Thompson of Lucy’s Whey.

Baking for Spring!  Make Homemade Pies & Delicious Cocktails, Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., GE Monogram Design Center, 150 East 58th Street, Manhattan:  Hands-on pie making event making mini blueberry, raspberry and blackberry pies to take home. $40.

The Joy of Cheese and Gastronomie 491 Present The Gastronomie 9, Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 7 p.m., Gastronomie 491, 491 Columbus Avenue (between 83rd and 84th), Upper West Side, Manhattan:  A discussion and tasting of nine cheeses.

Taste of the Lower East Side, Thursday, April 25, 2013, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Manhattan:  Experience bites and drinks from the area’s restaurants.  Tickets $195 general admission or $300 VIP.

Single Subject Food Books:  A Symposium, Saturday, April 27, 2013, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Roger Smith Hotel, 501 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan:  Discusses the trend and popularity of single subject food books like salt, sugar, potatoes, etc.  Tickets $30.

LuckyRice New York, Monday, April 29, 2013 through Sunday, May 5, 2013, Manhattan:  A celebration of Asian cuisine.  Each night showcases a different type of Asian food.  Opening night is a dumpling party.

Third Coast ShortDocs Challenge in partnership with the James Beard Foundation, deadline April 30, 2013:  Create a story inspired by the idea of “appetite” that’s two to three minutes in length, presented in three “courses” and includes one of the five tastes in the title: bitter, salty, sour, sweet or umami.

Food Book Fair, Friday, May 3, 2013 to Sunday, May 5, 2013, Brooklyn:  An event celebrating food books with vendors, cooking demos, tastings and panel discussions.

Swedish and Norwegian Christmas Fairs

This weekend, the Swedish Seamen’s Church and the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Manhattan are holding their annual Christmas fairs.  I hit the Norwegian fair first.  This one’s a little off the beaten path on E. 52nd Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

Have some glogg, available in the foyer, as you watch the train.

train

In the main room, there are knitted goods, Christmas decorations, Scandinavian food, baked goods, raffles and a cafe with open-faced sandwiches.

raffle at Norwegian Seamen’s Christmas fair

There were many cookies to choose from, including pepparkakor and krumkake.

baked goods

I bought almond tea cakes that are quite yummy.

almond tea cakes

The Swedish Seamen’s Church is in the heart of the city, on E. 48th Street near Fifth Avenue.  The space was a little smaller here, so it seemed more crowded.  They also had Christmas decorations and baked goods.  If you’re looking for more Scandinavian food items, the Norwegian church is the better bet.  Here, there were baked goods, including cardamom buns, limpa bread, finskar pinnar and more.  I got cinnamon buns.

cinnamon buns

If you want to catch one of the fairs, or both, they go through Sunday evening.

The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park

The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park are open.  Get your fill of cheer with numerous booths of local and handmade jewelry, ornaments, scarves and hats, housewares and more, including one of my favorites–St. Petersburg Collections with Russian ornaments.

skating rink

There’s the skating rink and the restaurant and lounge, Celsius, if you want to get in from the cold.

Celsius

This year, there are many food booths to keep the foodie happy.  There are plenty of artisan food purveyors here.  Have some gruyere grits at Daisy Grits.  There’s TopArepa with toppings to make your arepa sweet or savory.  Get a warm baked apple strudel at Strudels & Pies by Hans.

Max Brenner’s

There’s plenty of chocolate, including Max Brenner, Raaka Chocolate from Brooklyn and No Chewing Allowed.  Get a pickle from a barrel at Pickle Me Pete.

Pickle Me Pete

There’s also churros, Turkish food, vegetarian food, kettle corn, doughnuts, macarons, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, crepes and artisan soft pretzels in flavors like cinnamon raisin or truffles and cheese.

macarons

Of course, there’s an apple cider stand. The longest line I saw was at Wafels & Dinges; no surprise people want a hot waffle on a cold night!

You can even find foodie home decor at Brazilian Home Collection.

fruit home decor