Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Poll of the Week - 8.30.2010

Little Scarlet’s in Montréal! Home to hockey, Mounties, and Celine Dion, I’m in Canada on a business trip, which is very exciting – but unfortunately, I’m having a hard time finding internet access. This means that I’m going to have to keep this “Poll of the Week” short and sweet, and that you’ll be hearing a lot from me once I come back next week!

Now, most of you probably don’t know this, but along with a habit of saying “tom-ah-to”, Little Scarlet inherited Canadian citizenship – and proud of it! So as I return to the not-exactly-motherland, this week’s “Poll of the Week” is staying on topic with a Canada-themed question: when you think of Canada, what’s the first food (or food product) that comes to mind?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Poll of the Week - 8.30.2010

Poll of the week will go up this afternoon - check back soon!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Free Van Leeuwen Ice Cream - today only

Today only, members of Gilt City (NYC discount website) are entitled to a free ice cream cone from any Van Leeuwen ice cream truck! Signing up for Gilt City is easy and free, plus they’ll send you discounts to cool stuff in the city.  You can follow them on Twitter (@GiltCityNYC) - or better yet, follow Van Leeuwen on Twitter (@VLAIC) - to find an ice cream truck location near you.

With flavors like Earl Grey, hazelnut, red currant, and ginger (alongside the obligatory chocolate-vanilla-strawberry), this is one free scoop you won’t want to miss out on!

Sorry, Ben & Jerry’s – your Free Cone Day is great and all, but this girl’s heart belongs to Van Leeuwen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Epicurious Entertains NYC: Sept 29-Oct 3

Great news! The “Epicurious Entertains NYC” event is back!

What’s that? You didn’t go last year? Well, to fill you in, Epicurious Entertains NYC is a week-long event starting September 29, with cooking demonstrations, tastings, and celebrity chef dinners with the likes of Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, Madhur Jaffrey, and Karen DeMasco. And to make this event even more enticing, this food spectacular moves out of the sterility of the convention center and into the glamour of “The SoHo Mansion” (aka, some lucky person’s private residence) in downtown Manhattan.

Daytime events include lunches with samplings from Porchetta, neighboring La Esquina, and Brooklyn’s darling Pies ‘n’ Thighs. And if you’re a fan of “Cooking with Dexter”, you’ll love the “Cooking with Kids” class on Saturday. Or you can take some time off and revel in the excitement of football season with a spread prepared by Hill Country’s Elizabeth Karmel – that’s right, barbecue!

If you’re more of a night owl, though, perhaps you’d enjoy a dinner lovingly prepared by that Italian grandmother you always wished you had, Lidia Bastianich? Or maybe you’d like to stay on the cutting edge of New York’s dining scene by getting a sneak peek at menu items from Marcus Samuelsson’s new restaurant, Red Rooster?

But tickets to this exclusive food event go fast (last year, they sold out in 48 hours), so now’s the time to jump on this if you want to go. Ticket prices range from $35-$150, and can be bought at ovationtix.com.

Epicurious Entertains NYC: “The SoHo Mansion”, 214 Lafayette St (@ Kenmare St).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ice Cream and Beer Pairing at Jimmy’s No 43!

Had enough of tired wine-and-cheese parties? Stop by Jimmy’s No. 43 tomorrow, August 25, for the annual August Ice Cream, Sorbet, and Beer Pairing! The pair behind NYC Degustation Advisory Team, Chris Cuzme and Mary Izett, will lead you through six pairings of craft beers and local ice creams and sorbets. Selections vary from year to year, but past tastings have included Hefeweizen and raspberry sorbet, Reissdorf Kölsch and cucumber-jalepeno sorbet, and a root-beer float-inspired oatmeal stout with vanilla ice cream.

Tickets are $35 and tasting sessions are either from 6h30-7h45 or 8h15-9h30. Buy your tickets online at brownpapertickets.com!

August Ice Cream, Sorbet, and Beer Pairing: Jimmy’s No. 43, 43 E 7th St (b/w 2nd & 3rd Aves), 212.982.3006. $35, buy tickets here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Poll of the Week - 8.22.2010

Labor Day is coming up before you know it, with only two weekends left to escape to the beach or your backyard before summer ends and you’re in back-to-school mode. Even though “summer work hours” will end in the next week or so, there’s still a few more weeks of summer before fall technically arrives on September 22.

This week’s “Poll of the Week” wants to know, of all of summer’s wonderful foods, what do you feel you still haven’t had enough of?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Poll of the Week - 8.16.2010

As long as people have been making and eating meals, they’ve been enjoying what comes after: desserts. Always a popular menu item, desserts in New York have been elevated above the main course through the advent of Serendipity’s frozen hot chocolate, Magnolia’s cupcakes, and Momofuku Milk Bar’s “crack pie” and “compost cookie”. In a world where dessert and pastry chefs like Pichet Ong (The Sweet Spot), Karen DeMasco (Locanda Verde), Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar), and Jacques Torres (Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven) are household names, desserts are no longer relegated to the back of the display counter!

Whether you’re obsessed with Pinkberry’s frozen yoghurt, have had heated debates about where the best cupcakes come from (Butter Lane, all the way!), or can recite Jerry Seinfeld’s ode to the black & white, New York’s desserts are well ingrained in America’s sweet-tooth.  This week’s “Poll of the Week” wants to know, what’s your favorite New York dessert?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

2010 Vendy Award Nominees Are Up!

2010’s Vendy Award nominees have been announced! In case you’ve been living under a rock, you know that New York is literally crawling with street food vendors, selling everything from ubiquitous halal meat and ice cream to more upscale and off-beat treats like lobster rolls and schnitzel. True, New York City doesn’t have anyone competing in Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race” (equal parts food competition and “Amazing Race”?), but that’s alright: we’ve got the Vendys!

And what’s the point of the Vendys, you ask? Well, it’s the ultimate street food showcase and a great way to show thanks and respect to the sidewalk chefs who have you covered from morning coffee to mid-day falafel fix to late-night dessert cravings. Mario Batali has called it “the Oscars of food for the real New York”, and one lucky cart will take home the coveted “Best Street Food Vendor” award.

The Awards are presented during a big street fair-type event on Governor’s Island on September 25, from 12-5. Tickets aren’t exactly cheap (general admission starts at $85), but part of the ticket price gets donated to benefit the Street Vendor Project (and is tax-deductible) and the rest of it goes toward an open bar (wine, beer, and soda) and all-you-can-eat fare from the five finalists. Tickets sell out really fast, so jump on this immediately – and show up hungry!

Click here to learn more about this year’s five finalists:
  • Bistro Truck, serving along 5th Ave between 16th and 17th Street (Moroccan-Mediterranean Bistro)
  • El Rey de Sabor, serving at 49th and Park Ave, 60th and 3rd Ave, and 43rd and 6th Ave (Puebla-style Mexican)
  • King of Falafel and Shawarma, serving the outer borough of Queens at 30th St and Broadway, Astoria (Middle Eastern)
  • Patacon Pisao, serving along 202nd between 9th and 10th Aves (Typical Venezuelan street food)
  • Schnitzel & Things, serving all over Manhattan – check their Twitter feed for current location @schnitzeltruck (Austrian cuisine with a new American twist)

6th Annual Vendy Awards: Governors Island, 12pm-5pm, buy tickets here. Governors Island ferry is free (schedule and directions).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Some thoughts on Restaurant Week (ends Sept 6)

Restaurant Week in New York has been extended through Labor Day (September 6), which has a lot of people excited. And for good reason, right? I mean, when else can you eat a meal for under $35 at such wonderful restaurants as Les Halles, Café Boulud, Le Cirque, and Nobu? Prix fixe menus at $24.07 for lunch and $35 for dinner are pretty great deals in this town – but you get what you pay for.

Restaurant Week can be a great way to visit restaurants beyond your neighborhood, comfort zone, and price range. But far too frequently, a Restaurant Week meal can turn into a real disappointment. Maybe the restaurant’s signature dish isn’t included in the Restaurant Week Menu. Or the portions are noticeably smaller than they ought to be, or the food comes out luke-warm – or even worse, it tastes like it took a trip through the microwave. All too often, Restaurant Week yields meals that are sub-par for the restaurant, with the house’s attention and kitchen’s efforts focused more on regular diners and à la carte menu items.

Obviously, this isn’t the case everywhere and Restaurant Week does have its perks. But if you’re worried about getting fleeced, a little research can help you take advantage of Restaurant Week prices without rolling the dice on your meal. Over the last two years, the restaurant industry has been hit hard, and many restaurants developed “recession specials” just to survive. Fortunately for New York’s hungry diners, not only did a lot of these restaurants survive, but their specials did too. Some of these specials are still in their original form, while others have been reincarnated into new bar menus, weekly one-night specials, and secret-code arrangements with organizations like BlackboardEats.com and Tasting Table.

With just over three weeks left in Restaurant Week (yes, that sounds silly), go ahead – make that reservation, visit that restaurant you’ve been eying. But remember, if you look in the right places, New York’s “restaurant week” never really ends. Just make sure you keep seeking out those new places and foods!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Poll of the Week - 8.09.2010

It’s kind of a sorry statement when the temperature dips down to the upper-80s and you’re like yes, it feels so cool outside! But that’s what happened in New York this weekend, and us city dwellers who weren’t able to escape to the beach or a suburban friend’s pool flocked to the shady parts of Central Park to enjoy those beautiful, sunny days.

Between the guitar-strummers, proud new parents, radical exercisers, and croquet players, there’s a lot of great people-watching to do there. But long hours outside in the sun can make you pretty hungry, and no one wants to give up that perfectly chosen plot of grass… so naturally, the only way to keep your spot and stay satiated is with a picnic!

This week’s “Poll of the Week” asks, when you pack up goodies for a picnic in the park, what’s your ultimate must-have item?

P.S. I know I’ve been super M.I.A. lately, but not to worry - this week Little Scarlet is back and posting much more than before!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Poll of the Week - 8.02.2010

With the popularity of television shows like “Jersey Shore” (I hear a new season premiered recently…), it would seem that New Jersey’s greatest claim to fame is… Seaside Heights?? As a proud Garden State native, I just can’t let that one slide, I’m sorry: New Jersey has beautiful landscapes, a rich colonial history, and Long Beach Island is a lovely shore to visit! But one of New Jersey’s greatest institutions can be found scattered in amongst the winding highways and sprawling farms, and that’s New Jersey’s diners.

True, diners are obviously a popular road-side attraction all over the country, there’s even a Food Network show entirely devoted to them – but they are quite literally everywhere in New Jersey. Although it hardly seems possible, every once in a while I meet someone who’s never heard of a diner before (shocking all by itself!) – and maybe it’s because of New York’s proximity to New Jersey, but I’m even more amazed to hear people frequently respond, “Oh yeah, it’s a Jersey thing.” I’m not sure how accurate that statement is, but you know what? I’ll take that shout-out and run with it, thank you very much!

This week’s “Poll of the Week” is in honor of the great American diner – what’s your favorite traditional diner food?

Also, if there’s a diner food you love that isn’t listed above, write in to Little Scarlet with a Comment and tell us about your favorite!