Sure, Smorgasburg used to satiate your eccentric food cravings, but, like everything else in this city, popularity got the best of it and now it’s a crowded, sweaty mess, populated with frat boys, tourists and out-of-town parents scrambling for the last bite of $12 truffled ramen burrito and fighting for a table in the shade. If you’re looking for a chiller place to sample an array of drinks and creative new eats while hanging outside with your besties, maybe one of these summer food fests will do the trick. Just don’t bogart the okinomiyaki on a stick.
Bars + Restaurants
CoffeeCon is relocating to the borough that burnt its tongue drinking coffee before it was cool. The “Consumer Coffee Festival,” which previously took place at Broad Street Ballroom, will be catering to the caffeine-inclined at Industry City this Saturday from 9am to 4pm. Tickets range from $22.50 to $45, and perks include prizes, samples, brewing and tasting classes, a presentation of Café Cinema film clips; panels on the Future of Coffee and Sustainability; and for *sedimental* value, a Chemex Pop Up Museum with a collection of “75 years of coffee making history.”
If after falling in love with the ever-popular flat white you’ve found yourself searching for anything Australian, your prayers have officially been answered. In April, Bluestone Lane, the Aussie-influenced coffee roasters with locations in the West Village and on the Upper East Side, opened their latest cafe inside of 51 Astor Place. And earlier today another Oz-inspired cafe launched in Noho with a menu filled with simple dishes inspired by the Lucky Country.
Bushwick lost one of its pioneering restaurants over the weekend when Northeast Kingdom closed after more than 10 years off of the Jefferson stop. (Yes, Virginia, it opened way before there was a “Jefftown.”) In a goodbye message, owners Paris Smeraldo and Meg Lipke explained that they hoped to devote more time and energy to their children and their upstate farm and home (Lipke, a visual artist, will continue working from her Bushwick studio).
Memorial Day weekend has officially arrived, and while many of us plan to head to the beach to check out the Coney Art Walls, Riis Park Beach Bazaar, the Rockaway boardwalk concessions, and this season’s newcomers to Beach 96th Street, others are way too lazy to take that hour-long train ride and are keeping it local. After all, there’s a lot going on here in town: from a theatrical prom to pin shopping to outdoor movies to the newly reopened Nowadays and Seaport Smorgasburg, to boozing on floating bars in Chelsea, Greenpoint, and Tribeca.
Maison Premiere has been the Belle of the Brooklyn Ball since it opened in 2011– the Williamsburg oyster bar is perpetually brimming with enraptured guests and hovering, perspiring would-bes waiting for a seat at the horseshoe bar. Earlier this month, their off-the-chain booze operation earned them the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Bar Program.” I mean, where else can you find a classy, non-diabetes-forming answer to the tiki trend, an unrivaled selection of absinthe drips, and a $20 martini that looks worthy of Macaulay Culkin’s character in a sorely needed Richie Rich Redux?
A replacement for the flash-in-the-pan Latin fusion cantina Lorenzo’s has arrived at the Jefferson stop in Bushwick. Daniel Cipriani, the proprietor of Sea Wolf, who also owns a pair of dining establishments in Williamsburg– Lodge and Urban Rustic– as well as the Playland Grill in Rockaway, told us that the surf-n’-turf corner spot has been krilling it, so to speak, since it officially opened a few weeks ago.
It was a long, hard winter which, honestly, now that I’m looking back on it, I managed to block most of it out. But dare I say that spring has perhaps been worse, and not necessarily because of the fits-n-starts weather that teased all of us into thinking life was about to go our way (yeah right). Instead, it was the uncertainty of whether or not the Barge Bar was ever going to reopen along the Greenpoint waterfront.
Plenty of upscale diners have hit the food scene as of late– for one, there’s Juno, the Bushwick restaurant that John Barclay (founding dude at Bossa Nova Civic Club) recently pulled out of– and there was even a short-lived spot called Amancay’s Diner that was, well, a bit more of a downscale kind of place, with a spin-the-bottle setup and an owner who was better known for throwing jello-wrestling parties than his food.
But Hail Mary– a new Greenpoint restaurant that opened on Wednesday night in the former home of 68 and then subsequently (briefly too) Hook & Cleaver which was run by Chopped chef Diane DiMeo– is pushing the diner concept even further with their avant-garde take on the American everyman classic.
It’s forecast to rain all weekend (boo), but today the weather gods are giving us a pretty tantalizing taste of the summer vibes around the corner. And we all know what that means: soaking up drinks, drinks, and more draaanks galore.
The Passport Program is a not-too-shabby way to make your summer imbibing a little bit cheaper, especially if your #goals this summer include expanding your cocktail repertoire and hitting new bars on the drink scene.
When you’re out picking up groceries for the week, ever wonder what recipes the other shoppers have up their sleeves? If you shop at Trader Joe’s you’re probably too busy elbowing people out of the way and fighting over the last jar of coconut oil to really get a good look at your neighbors’ shopping lists. (Wait, does anyone handwrite those things anymore?) But if you live near the sleepy old-school Essex Street Market, you’ve surely got a little more time to poke around and wonder about the diverse cast of vendors and shoppers rubbing shoulders amid the fruit and vegetable sellers, Japanese specialty items and fancy cheeses. If there’s anywhere you’d shop to whip up something unique, it’s here.