The NYC Wine and Food Festival returns in October, but who the hell wants to pay $195 for a chicken tasting, even if its hosted by Whoopi Goldberg? Opt for these homegrown fests instead.
Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint
Sept. 18, 1pm to 5pm at East River State Park, 90 Kent Ave., Williamsburg.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the North Brooklyn scene, this ticketed block party offers the opportunity to sample from 50+ local establishments, including cocktail hideaway Fresh Kills, French favorite Le Fond, Spanish spot El Born, wine bar The Camlin, and the Museum of Food and Drink. In addition to these relative newcomers there’ll be neighborhood fixtures like Maison Premiere, Pies’n’Thighs, Brooklyn Star, and Anella. If nothing else this is a chance to get a taste of the highly lauded Lilia without having to beg for a reservation– while Blonde Redhead plays, no less. See here for the fest’s full lineup as well as tickets, which range from $24.50 (four tastes and two beverages) to $70 (12 tastes, 6 beverages).
Chef One New York Dumpling Festival
Sept. 24, noon to 5pm at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, E. Houston St, bet. Chrystie and Forsyth Sts., Lower East Side.
The Lower East Side will be a foodie free-for-all on the weekend of Sept. 24, thanks to a dumpling festival on Saturday and Pickle Day on Sunday. Founded in Bushwick, where the Chef One factory is located, the dumpling fest has now moved to Manhattan. As usual, the highlight will be an eating contest during which contestants will try to top the current male and female champs, who respectively sucked down 86 dumplings and 93 dumplings in two minutes. Admission is free but $20 tickets get you four tastings and a tote. Proceeds go to the Food Bank of New York.
Lower East Side Pickle Day
Sept. 25, noon to 5pm, Orchard St. bet. Delancey and East Houston Sts., Lower East Side.
This annual “pickle bazaar” promises 20+ picklers, including Rick’s Picks, McClure’s, Brooklyn Brine, and plenty you haven’t heard of before. Think you can brine with the best of them? Sign up to compete in a home-pickling contest. Have a primordial fear of pickles? Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of other food from local vendors like Saxelby Cheesemongers, Wassail, The Meatball Shop, and Arancini Bros. The full list is here.
Grub Street Food Festival
Oct. 1, 11am to 5pm, Essex and Hester Streets, Lower East Side.
Grub Street’s annual collaboration with Hester Street Fair is always worth a drop-in, and I’m not just saying that because I helped launch it back when I was editor at Grub Street. This year, vendors include a handful of East Village favorites, including nouveau ice cream parlor OddFellows, nouveau Indian spot Babu Ji, and nouveau deli Harry & Ida’s. Oh, and regular ol’ lobster joint Red Hook Lobster Pound. That’s just the start of the 50+ vendors, most of which are listed here. While Hester is usually dry, there’ll be a beer tent for this glorious ocaj.