© Steven Solomon
The Riesling-obsessed sommelier of NYC's Terroir, Paul Grieco, with the German Wine Queen.
You never know what you’re going to learn when you flip through sommelier Paul Grieco’s wine list at Terroir in NYC. In addition to wine descriptions and tasting notes, there might be a love letter to Spain’s FC Barcelona soccer team or a poem about Lindsay Lohan and Justin Timberlake. The other night I stopped in, and after flipping through pages of Rieslings, I came to a page about the Summer of Riesling
concert and cruise, taking place July 19. The three-hour cruise around NY Harbor includes three awesome bands and tons of Riesling, and it will be captained by Grieco and the Deutschen Weinkoenigin (German wine queen) from the Ahr region. For tickets, click here
© Michael Toolan
Hungry crowds at the first annual Philadelphia Vendy Awards.
Food-truck visionaries, like L.A.’s Roy Choi
of Kogi fame and the folks behind NYC's Rickshaw Dumpling Bar
, are transforming their cities into street-food meccas. Now, nearly every city in America is undergoing its own street-food revolution. “Philadelphia has a really vibrant street-food culture,” says Helena Tubis, managing director of the New York–based Vendy Awards, “but it doesn’t get recognition.” Inspired by three Philadelphia vendors who visited the 2010 Vendys in New York, the City of Brotherly Love celebrated its own first annual Vendy Awards
last weekend, honoring the street vendors who keep Philly well-fed on the go. Finalists included old standbys as well as fresh new faces: Vendy Cup winner Gigi and Big R’s truck has been serving Caribbean-American soul food for 10 years, while People’s Choice Award winner Cucina Zapata, which serves Thai-Mexican fusion tacos, has been open only two months.
Now in its seventh year, the NYC Vendys
are scheduled for September 24 (tickets available here
). New Yorkers have already submitted more than a thousand nominations for their favorite vendors, including nominees for the new Most Heroic Vendor Award, which recognizes the non-culinary ways street-food vendors contribute to their local communities (such as the vendor who foiled a Times Square car bomb attempt
in 2010). As if turning out awesome lunches for thousands of New Yorkers every day weren’t heroic enough.
© Thomas Kelly
Mexicue's Berkshire Pulled Pork Slider
We love our food trucks, let that be known. But truth be told, on a hot day I prefer a comfortable, climate-controlled brick-and-mortar restaurant. That's why I am thrilled that NYC's Mexicue truck is opening a real restaurant space. Cofounder Thomas Kelly stopped by the F&W Test Kitchen yesterday with a few members of the sweet-as-molasses Mexicue team to give us a taste of what they'll be charring, smoking and slow-cooking at their new storefront on Seventh Avenue (between 29th and 30th Streets) here in Manhattan. And let me be the millionth person to tell you (their press has been fantastic), Mexicue's food is very, very good. They meld Mexican flavors with the tangy twist of barbecue from the American South, as in their short-rib tacos, where the slight brace of vinegar in the warm-spiced mole is so clearly right. For their pulled-pork sliders, they partially smoke, then braise, Berkshire pork, adding pickled red onions and avocado mashed with salt and lime. We also sampled barbecued-brisket sliders (the favorite of several staffers), smoky bean tacos (vegetarian and intensely satisfying), bright salsas and a killer romaine salad with toasty almonds, dried cranberries and roasted green poblanos in a spicy vinaigrette (our Test Kitchen's Grace Parisi thinks it may be her go-to salad for the summer). In addition to sliders and tacos, the 22-seat restaurant will offer rice bowls for topping with any of their sandwich or taco fillings and, in a couple months, a carefully curated beer and wine list. Best of all (for me, at least), it's only a short walk from the F&W offices, and there are plans for a second location coming soon.
© SeaDream Yacht Club
The bar area of one of SeaDream's ship's upper deck.
Cruise-goers no longer have to endure cattle-call, surf-and-turf dinners and “red or white” wine choices aboard luxury cruises: Cruise lines are stepping up their culinary offerings with gastronomy-focused itineraries this summer. SeaDream Yacht Club
will offer a seven-night journey from Amsterdam to Bordeaux at the end of July, with lessons on French wines and cuisine to prepare guests for their arrival in Bordeaux (and for their return home, where they can impress friends with their new wine-and-food cred). The ship stops along the way in Caen, where guests can participate in a tasting of local wines, and in St. Rochelle, where the ship’s chef will lead a market tour to shop for regional cheeses, fresh fish and vegetables to prepare for that night’s dinner. In the port of Belle-Île, bivalve-lovers can help the chef select oysters to pair with the afternoon Chardonnay tasting. Of course, cruisers who’d rather leave grocery shopping off their vacation to-do list can let the bounty come to them: Local winemakers will board the ship at many ports to host afternoon wine tastings.
The Washington, DC-based chocolate company Fleurir
is known for its truffles and clever, regionally inspired bars (The Great Plains Bar is made with crispy, salty bread crumbs; The Northeast Bar is studded with maple-pecan toffee). But because they opened their beautiful little Georgetown shop in June, chocolate's slow season, they created something new to combat DC’s melting heat: an artisanal version of Fudgesicles. They swear that giving hot and cranky people these cold, chocolatey pops makes things at least 63% better