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The 8th Annual New Taste of the Upper West Side This May

This May, get ready for the 8th annual New Taste of the Upper West Side, a three-night celebration of the restaurants and chefs of the Upper West Side, and one of my favorite food events in the city.  (I’ve written about New Taste of the Upper West Side before.)  This year, food celebrities NBC’s Adam Richman, host of Food Fighters, Food Network’s Anne Burrell, host of Worst Cooks of America, and Marc Murphy, owner and executive chef of Benchmarc Restaurants (Landmarc and Ditch Plains), executive chef of Kingside and judge of Food Network’s Chopped, will be hosting.  Over 80 area restaurants will be participating, some new and some returning, including Momofuku Milk BarBar Boulud, Boulud Sud, Sarabeth’s, The Meatball Shop, ParmRedFarm, Luke’s Lobster, Shake ShackRosa MexicanoTavern on the Green, and The Ribbon.  Participating chefs include Sarabeth Levine, Christina Tosi, Jacques Torres, Cesare Casella, Rich Torrisi and Bruce & Eric Bromberg.

Events include

1.  Soirée in the Park is an outdoor cocktail party with live chamber music, champagne and hors d’oeuvres from a number of restaurants like Sarabeth’s and Luke’s Lobster.  The event is a fundraiser for Theodore Roosevelt Park, surrounding the American Museum of Natural History, and all net proceeds are donated for park enhancements.

Where: Theodore Roosevelt Park

When: Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 at 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM  (Rain Date: Thursday, May 28th, 2015 at 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM)

Cost: $150 per person

2.  Comfort Classics presented by Sysco.  Forty UWS restaurants compete for “Best Comfort Food Dish.”  NBC’s Adam Richman, host of Food Fighters and author of  Straight Up Tasty (released May 2015) is host. Food Network’s  Katie Lee will be autographing a limited number of copies of her new book, Endless Summer CookbookChristina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar will be there along with Shake Shack, Sarabeth’s, The Meatball Shop and an impressive list of area restaurants. There will be international wine selections, cocktails and live music by the Silver Arrow Band. 

Where: Columbus Avenue between West 76th and 77th Streets

When: Friday, May 29th, 2015 at 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Cost: $105 per person or 2 for $185

3.  Best of the West is an event celebrating the Upper West Side’s most famous and celebrated restaurants and chefs.  There will be wonderful cuisine, world-class wines and cocktails, and music by Joe Battaglia & The New York Big Band.  Hosts are Anne Burrell, host of Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America, and Marc Murphy, judge of Food Network’s Chopped.  Over 40 area restaurants will be participating.

Where: Columbus Avenue between West 76th and 77th Streets

When: Saturday, May 30th, 2015 at 7:30 PM – 10 PM

Cost: $135 per person or 2 for $250

Best of the West also offers a VIP experience, Best of the West VIP, with exclusive access to a private lounge to enjoy unlimited champagne. VIP guests receive a gift bag of goodies from Upper West Side shops and sponsors, and participate in private book signings with complimentary cookbooks from Anne Burrell and Marc Murphy.  VIP admission starts an hour earlier than the event, so you can mingle with star chefs.

Best of the West VIP

Where: Columbus Avenue between West 76th and 77th Streets

When: Saturday, May 30th, 2015 at 6:30 PM – 10 PM

Cost: $225 per person

This year’s event sponsors include Ford, New York Post, Palm Bay International, Sysco Foods, Manhattan Beer, Argo Real Estate, Brusco Group, Celebrity Cruises, Diamond Kosher Salt, Rosa Mexicano, The Westsider, The Spirit, Alan Garten & Friends, Barritt’s Ginger Beer, Beacon, Belvedere Capital, doNYC, Five Star Catering, Flowers on the Park, Jana Water, Polar Beverages, Richard Bloch Architect, Tito’s Vodka, West Side Rag and White Plains Linen.

The Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District (“BID”), a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit, created the annual event and donates all net proceeds to the area for improvement and beautification projects, such as the Columbus Avenue BID’s Sustainable Streetscape project, the Wellness in the Schools program, Greenhouse Classroom, Citymeals-on-Wheels and Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Golden Breakfast Porridge (Kaachi)

I’d been wanting to try this golden breakfast porridge (kaachi) from Honest & Tasty since I read about it last year.  It looks warm and comforting for the cold days we are having now.  Her photos make it look enticing too.  My photo doesn’t do it justice.  I used grass-fed butter and didn’t add the turmeric because I was cooking for two (and the other person wouldn’t have liked it).  So it is missing that lovely golden color.  The consistency is like creamy mashed potatoes, and the flavor is like farina.  I like my farina with butter, so I ate the kaachi with only butter and a sprinkle of sugar.  Definitely a heart-warming dish for the winter!

kaachi, porridge

Italian Christmas Eve Fish

Every Christmas Eve, Italians serve seafood.  For religious reasons, they do not eat meat on Christmas Eve.  Some people refer to this tradition as the Feast of the Seven Fishes.  I would say most people make baccala, calamari and octopus.  My grandfather used to make fried smelts, and my grandma also made eel.  Here’s a sample of what we had this year.

Baccala salad:

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Fried baccala:

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Baked clams:

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Linguine with squid sauce:

photo(63)

Calamari:

photo(64)

Grilled calamari:

photo(61)

Octopus salad:

photo(59)

Lobster tails:

photo(57)

Shrimp cocktail:

photo(58)

Miniature Cheese Shop

What do you think of this miniature cheese shop?

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Giveaway Extended!

Enter the GIVEAWAY in honor of my 1000th post!  The deadline has been extended until Dec. 15.

Weekend Whets 11/21

Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY in celebration of my 1000th post!

Momo Crawl, Saturday, November 22, 2014, 2 p.m., Jackson Heights Food Court Marquee, 73-07 37th Rd., Jackson Heights, Queens:  Sample momos from different vendors for $1 each and vote for the best.

Thanksgiving Dinner, Thursday, November 27, 2014, 4 to 7 p.m., The Water Table, Brooklyn

Thanksgiving 4-Course Prix Fixe, Thursday, November 27, 2014, 12 p.m., Blenheim Restaurant, West Village, Manhattan

wd-50 Final Dinners, November 19-23, 26, 28; Thanksgiving Day; and Last Call November 29, wd-50, Lower East Side, Manhattan

The Donnoli–the New Pastry Hybrid

The NY Daily News reported on the donnoli–a doughnut and cannoli hybrid from Alidoro in Manhattan that is a contender for next cronut.  What’s not to love about cannoli cream in a doughnut?