The Queens Night Market

The Queens International Night Market returns to Corona Park for it's fifth season this Saturday, with an incredible line-up of food vendors representing over 80 countries.  Since it began in 2015, the market has welcomed nearly one million visitors; many drawn to diversity and affordability of the event where all food is capped at just $5 dish.  The price cap continues today with only a handful of $6 exceptions.  

This year the Market is selling a limited number of ticketsto two "Sneak Preview" nights on  April 20th & 27th.  Guests can purchase a $5 ticket here for market entry before the public opening on May 4th, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit The New York Immigration Coalition and City Harvest.

Here's a run down of some of the fantastic food you can expect this year:

Native NoodlesSingaporean Laska Noodles- rice noodles, prawn and laska leaf in a coconut curry sauce

Joon RicePomegranate Walnut Chicken- a sweet and sour blend of chicken, ground wa…

La Barra at Little Spain

The new Hudson Yards opening has completely changed my quality of life at work.  What was once a desolate wasteland of crappy bodegas and a lone Subway sandwich shop, has now exploded into an actual food and drink destination.  Restaurants by world renown chefs Thomas Keller, David Chang and Michael Lomonaco dot the upper floors of the mall while the incredible Chef Jose Andres took over the basement with Mercado Little Spain. 

I've heard this space being referred to as the Spanish Eataly as guests can eat, drink and shop as they peruse the different market stalls. However the focus here is much more on the prepared foods than bringing separate ingredients home to cook on one's own.  

I was solo on my first visit so I focused on the tapas bar La Barra, where I could sit and order food and drink without moving around from kiosk to kiosk.  My glass of Spanish Rose was absolutely delicious but at $17 a glass the meager pour I received was disappointing to say the least.

Things impro…

Wine Time~ Camille Braun Sparkling Brut Rose

It's beginning to look a lot like Rose season and I'm kicking it off with one of my favorite pink bubbly wines, the Camille Braun Sparkling Brut Rose. 

This beautiful cremant comes from the Braun family whose roots in Alsace date back to 1523. It's made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes with aromas of red fruit, cream and biscuit with flavors of ripe strawberry, cherry and honey.  It's absolutely bursting with fruit but completely dry with delicate bubbles a lovely creamy finish. This is the perfect wine for celebrating Spring, Summer or just sitting on the couch. 

Corso Wines
Domaine Camille Braun
16 Grand Rue
Orschwihr, France

Spicy Village

There's not much to see on sleepy Forsyth Street in the Lower East Side.  In fact, one might pass by this tiny, florescent lit Chinese spot if it weren't for the crowds of people standing outside, looking hungry and often carrying a six pack of beer from the nearby bodega. These people are all waiting for the same thing, a tiny table inside to sit down and devour some Spicy Big Tray Chicken. 

This dish is exactly as it sounds; big chunks of chicken doused in spicy chili oil sauce loaded with cumin and peppercorn, usually served with fresh cilantro on top and a suggested order of hand pulled noodles. This chicken has the perfect amount of heat, just enough to leave some lingering flavor on your tongue but not enough to start sweating.  The noodles also add a cooling element to the dish as do the BYOB beers you hopefully brought along for the meal. 

There are other items on the menu worth trying out like the crispy pancakes stuffed with pork and the Scallion Sauce dumplings.  But …

NY Drinks NY Grand Tasting

The annual grand tasting of NY Drinks NY took place last week, high atop Rockefeller Center in the gorgeous Rainbow Room. This NYC landmark was absolutely buzzing with local winemakers, trade and professionals seeking out the best of  New York state wine.  

There were so many great producers on hand it's impossible to name them all but here are a few of my favorites.

Anthony Road Art Riesling- This beautiful Riesling from Seneca Lake was spontaneously fermented using native yeast giving it bright peach, pear and a slightly funky flavor. The entire winery is family owned and operated down to the very last touches, like the beautiful artwork on the bottle painted by winemaker, wife and mother Ann Martini.

Dr Konstantin Frank Sparkling Brut Rose- I love pink, bubbly roses and this might just be my favorite from the NY area.  It's made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes from the 2nd oldest vines in the United States using classic methode champenoise, giving it a creamy texture with flavors …

New Brew Friday- Other Half Green City

It's New Brew Friday and we're chilling in the neighborhood with an Other Half Green City at Blue Smoke.  

This New England style IPA is brewed with Citra, Centennial and Simco hops giving it juicy, tropical flavors of orange and pineapple with a dry biscuit finish.  It clocks in at just 7% and is the perfect pairing with some of Blue Smoke's Alabama White Sauce Wings, which are half off during all March Madness games. Cheers to the weekend!

Blue Smoke
116 East 27th Street at Lexington
New York, NY 10016

Happy Hour at Gramercy Tavern

It's no secret Gramercy Tavern is one of my favorite restaurants in the city and now they've added a weekday happy hour, which just makes me even more in love with this beautiful spot.

From 4:00 PM-6:00 PM each day the Tavern offers special prices on wine, beer, cider and specialty cocktails like the bubbly Roger Fitz Spritz with Grapefruit Liqueur, Aperol and prosecco and the frothy pink New York Sour with Templeton Rye, egg white, lemon and red wine.  All the drinks are fantastic and there's also a small menu of bar snacks in addition to the daily tavern menu. What a great excuse to head to the Tavern a little bit earlier during the week!

Gramercy Tavern
42 East 20th Street
New York, NY 10003