Secret Summer Aquarius
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Secret Summer NYC is doing it again. Later this month, they will host Secret Summer Aquarius. The event will take place at The Foundry, an event space in Long Island City, Queens with beautiful 19th Century architecture. The menu will include sustainable seafood, Bespoke Mixology and Artic Chic. Plus, a portion of the proceeds will benefit New York City’s sustainable fisheries and shellfish farms.

The Aquarius theme is a nod to the astrological sign Aquarius, the sign of fish and water. Secret Summer Aquarius is 4,000 square-feet of NYC’s best seafood restaurants gathered under one roof in support of farm-to-table meals and responsible seafood farming. Here are a few of the seafood purveyors, vendors and restaurants you can expect.

PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur

PAMA mixes the complex sweet and tart flavors of a pomegranate. The liqueur uses all natural pomegranate juice, premium vodka and a splash of tequila. It’s easily mixable in a range of cocktails that will always go down smooth and easy. Fruity cocktails not your thing? Blue Point Brewery, Elijah Craig Bourbon and Brugal Rum will all be at the event as well.

PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
Photo by PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur.

Wild Fish Direct 

Wild Fish Direct is all about fresh seafood. Their team works tirelessly to provide sustainable fish and shellfish to wholesalers. You will enjoy the tastiest, guilt free fish from across the nation at Secret Summer Aquarius. There’s no guessing with Wild Fish Direct, each package of seafood comes with a unique story, vessel information, landing details and catch method so customers know what they are getting. In addition to Wild Fish Direct, expect delicious eats from Mochi Ice Cream and the Billion Oyster Project.

Wild Fish Direct
Photo by Wild Fish Direct.

You’ll want to end the night with an Aquarius themed photo-booth courtesy of 4FivePhoto! Secret Summer Aquarius is Saturday, January 27. Tickets are on sale now and going fast! Let us know in the comments if we’ll see you there.

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Renaissance Interior
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Food Before Love was cordially invited to the Grand Opening party of Renaissance Harlem. As a VIP guest, we helped the restaurant, which opened its doors last year, toast to their official grand opening celebration.

The classy and suave styled restaurant is located in the heart of Harlem and absolutely stands out. The building was previously home to rapper Doug E. Fresh’s restaurant, Doug E.’s Chicken & Waffles. Once Chef Cisse and his co-founder and cousin Chef Cheikh Ali acquired the building, they made it their own. The interior is beautifully designed, lined with brick walls and topped with an uniquely designed ceiling. The intimate yet spacious setting provides a cozy modern eating experience.

Renaissance Interior
Photo by Renaissance Harlem.

Chef Cisse and Chef Cheikh are also the owners of Ponty Bistro, which is just a few doors down. Although born of the same minds the restaurants are polar opposites when it comes to cuisine. Chef Cisse says none of the African French cuisine of Ponty Bistro can be found in the New American menu of Renaissance Harlem. He says it was important to stay in the neighborhood because Harlem is home for him and his cousin. The Senegal born chef has called Harlem home for many years and felt it could use a place like Renaissance Harlem, which infuses the cultures and foods that make Harlem what it is.

The Food

We had the pleasure of sampling a few hors d’oeuvres and cocktails that were reflective of the local culture. To wash down the fish empanadas, Thai chicken wings, and stuffed mushrooms, the chefs served cocktails.

The cocktails were made with liquor from Tambour Original and Kaiso. Two liquor brands Renaissance highlighted during their grand opening. Tambour Original is an African Palm Liquor whose history dates back hundreds of years when West Africans were denied liquor during the European colonization. Kaiso is a potent blend of coconut water, premium vodka and tequila that brings in New York’s Caribbean culture. Renaissance is one of handful of places in NYC where both brands can be found.

Cocktail made with Kaiso.

I’m excited to head back to Renaissance Harlem to taste more of their Harlem-inspired menu. My taste buds got great vibes from this place and I think yours will too!

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Spring Food Festivals
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When you think of winter foods, you probably think of hearty chilis, warms sandwiches and slow cooker recipes. But your probably don’t think of Winter Food Festivals. But what if I told you there is so much more to enjoy at the start of the new year? I’m talking all-inclusive Spring food festivals that showcase the best the season has to offer. Not to mention, they happen all before the weather gets too hot to function. Food, drinks, music, entertainment, and in some cases, a great excuse to travel. What more could you ask for? 

Ready to pack your bags and indulge in mouth-watering eats? Get into all the festivals happening across the country in the upcoming weeks:

January

1. Uncorked Food & Wine Festival

Date: January 4-14, 2018
Location: Florida Keys
Join Miami Chef Phil Bryant, Chef Veronica Valdivia and Chef Michael Bertran for an eleven-day festival featuring wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, live music, food and wine pairings, art shows and so much more.

2. Oakland Restaurant Week

Date: January 11-21, 2018
Location: Oakland, California
Oakland restaurants will come together over two weekends for a festival that celebrates diverse yet delicious food offerings. Participating foodies will indulge in lunch or dinner ranging from $10-50.

3. Brewers Fest

Date: January 13, 2018
Location: Portland, Maine
In support of the Maine Brewers’ Guild, more than 50 brewers will come together for an amazing afternoon at the second largest brewfest in Maine. Including world-class beer from world-class breweries, the festival will feature everything from live music to a variety of food from local food trucks.

4. International Chocolate Festival

Date: January 19-21, 2018
Location: Florida
The International Chocolate Festival is the place where you can learn everything you need to know about chocolate, right from the experts. Fine chocolate samples from artisan chocolatiers, lectures on chocolate making and demonstrations from Miami’s master chefs will finish out the weekend.

5. Napa Valley Restaurant Week

Date: January 21-28, 2018
Location: Napa Valley, California
Through multi-course menus for lunch ($20) and dinner ($36 or $46), guests can try out the latest culinary hot-spots or revisit old favorites all week long.

6. NYC Restaurant Week

Date: January 22 – February 9, 2018
Location: New York
A great winter food event to attend if you’re new to the food scene in NYC. New York Restaurant Week is an event held twice a year where participating restaurants offer prix fixe lunches and dinners.

7. Beer, Bourbon and Barbecue Fest

Date: January 27, 2018
Location: New York
The Beer, Bourbon and Barbecue Fest is a full day of the best beers, bourbon, music and barbecue New York has to offer. Plus, admission buys guests a sampling glass to enjoy an all-you-care-to-taste sampling of beer and bourbon.

February

9. LA Cookie Con

Date: February 10-11, 2018
Location: Anaheim, California
Meet thousands of Californians who share in your love for all things sweet, salty and savory at LA Cookie Con. The festival will feature Celebrity Chef Duff Goldman, Founder of MyCupcakeAddiction Elise Strachan and Chef-Owner Ron Ben-Israel.

10. SOBE Wine and Food Festival

Date: February 21-25, 2018
Location: Miami, Florida
This festival is a star-studded five-day event showcasing the talent of the world’s most renowned spirit and wine producers, chefs and culinary artists. It attracts more than 65,000 guests annually to its 85+ events. Guests can expect uniquely crafted events showcasing world-class wine, spirits, food and lots of fun.

11. Food Tank Summit

Date: February 28, 2018
Location: Washington, D.C.
Food Tank Summit brings together some of the world’s most impactful food system leaders. Each event features incredible speakers in interactive panels moderated by top food journalists. There will also be opportunities for networking while enjoying delicious food.

12. Charleston Wine and Food Festival

Date: February 28 – March 4, 2018
Location: South Carolina
Creating an experience that celebrates the area’s rich flavor through the lens of award-winning chefs, the Charleston Wine and Food Festival is a world-class festival featuring chefs, farmers, beverage professionals and artists with distinct culinary personalities.

March

13. Coffee Fest

Date: March 16-18, 2018
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
The Coffee Fest is where passionate coffee and tea professionals meet to receive education, experience new products, and network with others.

14. Battle of Gumbo Gladiators

Date: March 24
Location: Shreveport, Louisiana
The Battle of Gumbo Gladiators serves as an annual fundraiser for Volunteers for Youth Justice. Teams are encouraged to decorate a 10×10 area with a theme to attract more attention and encourage a fun, food-loving environment.
What are your favorite food festivals to attend? Are any of these screaming your name? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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Holiday Drinks
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With the holidays approaching we have so many different things on our minds: what gifts to get for our loved ones, what our 2018 goals will be, which dress to wear on NYE, the list goes on. Take a break from that holiday stress and warm yourself up at some of these holiday hot spots for a few holiday themed drinks that will leave you with a warm feeling to last through the new year. Cheers!

The Roof
124 West 57th Street, Midtown

This Midtown bar is located on the top of the Viceroy hotel and transforms into the “Winter Room” through the month of December. Stop by their enclosed rooftop to enjoy the city view while sipping on a Central Park Sleigh Ride, their version of spiked hot chocolate, or a Rooftop Toddy from their holiday menu. If the holiday themed drinks don’t keep you warm, they provide blankets and pillows to help guests have the ultimate cozy night out.

Winter Holiday Garden at Midnights
149 N. Sixth St., Williamsburg

For the Brooklynites not willing to travel into the city for their holiday drink fix, Midnights in Williamsburg is exactly the spot you need to check out. This winter, they’ll be decking their tented outdoor space with holiday lights, Christmas trees, and fire pits to keep warm. Whether you’re going for dinner or a weekend brunch, don’t forget to try their spiked Mexican peppermint hot chocolate or their boozy cider with bourbon and apple cider.

Photo by Midnights.

Miracle on Ninth at MACE
Nov. 24 through Dec. 24, 649 E. 9th St., Manhattan, East Village

For the fourth year in a row, Miracle on Ninth is returning to East Village bar Mace through Christmas Eve. Expect to see this bar completely transformed into a winter wonderland with Christmas lights, garland, and other holiday decorations. After taking in all of the holiday décor, relax with one of their holiday inspired drinks like the Run Run Rudolph (an iced hot chocolate with tequila) and How the Gimlet Stole Christmas, a gin based cocktail.

Photo by MACE.

VYNL
100 Third Avenue, East Village

Hidden behind an East Village record store is where you’ll find this vintage cocktail bar and $10 holiday themed drink specials. The VYNL Winter Wonderland will be serving up Santa Sangria, a Gin Stocking, and spiked hot chocolate from now until the end of January. So grab some friends, have a holiday themed drink, and take in their ceiling full of LED stars.

Sleyenda (Leyenda)
221 Smith St, Brooklyn, Cobble Hill

What’s Christmas without a little Slay? Latin restaurant Leyenda in Cobble Hill will be pulling out all the holiday stops this year and transforming into Sleyenda for the season. This bar will will be paying tribute to the holidays and also pop divas live Beyonce with disco balls, Christmas card menus, Bey themed ornaments hanging around, and of course some festive holiday themed drinks. Make sure you grab a Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate with mescal while you sing along to some Queen Bey tunes.

Photo by Leyenda.

Don’t let this holiday season slip by without trying one of these delicious holiday themed bars. Let us know if we missed a spot; comment below with some of your favorite spots that offer holiday cocktails. Happy drinking and happy holidays!

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poco sangria hybird
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The holidays are upon us and what better way to bring in the spirit than indulging in a refreshing glass (or two) of sangria!  Yup, today, December 20, is National Sangria Day!

Of Spanish and Portuguese origin, sangria is a fruit infused wine punch consisting of red, white or rosé wine, sweetened with chopped fruit and often mixed with other ingredients such as orange juice, brandy, spices, carbonated soda and other liquors. The different types of sangria are endless!

So, if you are a sangria lover like we are, go check out some of our picks of where you can go celebrate and enjoy some of NYC’s best sangria!

Poco
33 Avenue B at 3rd Street, New York, NY 10009

This casual tapas spot in Alphabet City serves a special house sangria and occasional live music with its Spanish plates. Their delicious red or white sangria is $9 a glass or $35 for a pitcher. They even have a version of the classic sangria called the Poco Hybrid – red and white sangria mixed with St. Germain, blood orange juice and topped with champagne. Added bonus: happy hour is every Tuesday through Friday and Sunday 5-8 p.m. It includes $6 tapas and half price signature cocktails.

poco sangria hybird
The famous Poco Hybird is a must try for National Sangria Day, drink up! Photo by Poco.

Boqueria
1460 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10075

With a few locations throughout the city, their Upper East Side location offers happy hour from 3:30-7 p.m. on weekdays including red, white or rosé sangria for $6 a glass or $25 a pitcher. They also feature an impressive six specialty sangria varieties to choose from: the Blanca (white wine, rum white peach, lemon), the Rosada (rosé wine, tequila, cranberry, pomegranate, hibiscus soaked strawberries) or the de Arándano (rosé wine, brandy, cinnamon, cloves, brandied cranberries).

If you get hungry—and of course you will—they have a $40 prix fixe meal option which includes 4 tapas, 2 main courses, churros for dessert and unlimited sangria!

Sangria 46
338 West 46th St, New York, NY 10036

If fruit flavored sangrias are your fav, stop by Sangria 46 to celebrate National Sangria Day. Their traditional red and white options with chunks of fresh fruit, include apple and citrus slices and they also have strawberry, peach, mango and raspberry lemoncello flavors for $7 a glass.

Sangria 46
Fruit and wine, what’s not to love! Photo by @goddess.m1.

Sala One Nine
35 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011

Come here for the daily happy hour from 4-7 p.m. featuring their half priced signature sangria. Their white version is a favorite of mine and their red uses brandy. Both are great options if you’re craving a strong and fruity pick me up.

Angel of Harlem
2272 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, New York, NY 10027

Lively Harlem mainstay serves up Caribbean cuisine and tasty cocktails. Wednesdays and Thursdays they have happy hour all night! This includes $7 sangrias and a $30 prix fixe dinner! Good thing National Sangria Day falls on a Wednesday this year! When I’m at Angel of Harlem, their white sangria is a must for me.

Angel of Harlem
Photo by Angel of Harlem.

El Kallejon
209 East 117th Street, New York, NY 10035

Such a cozy hidden gem in East Harlem with beautifully crafted cocktails, delicious Mexican small plates and a laid back vibe. Try their $7 sangria during their daily happy hour from 4-7 p.m. The variety of flavors are amazing, specially blended and well presented. If you like a spicy kick try the Kallejon with cilantro and jalapeño. If you prefer a sweeter, more traditional sangria, the red, white or rosé versions are mixed with berries and tropical fruit blends.

Calle Ocho
45 West 81st Street, New York, NY 10024

An NYC favorite known for their Latin themed boozy brunch featuring unlimited sangria. Calle Ocho has a large selection of sangrias to enjoy at any time of day! Head to the Upper West Side for your choice of red or white, with flavors such as the Havana Banana (coconut rum infused with banana and lychee) or the Samba (Acaį liquor, brandy and blueberries).

Calle Ocho
Red, white and Rose sangrias are on deck for National Sangria Day at Calle Ocho! Photo by Calle Ocho.

Tio Pepe
168 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014

This Spanish style West Village mainstay serves up some of the best sangria in NYC along with its signature paella. During daily happy hour, $7 gets you classic sangria in red or white. For a light bite try something from the $7 happy hour tapas menu, such as their chicken and cod fish croquetas, chorizos riojana infused with rioja wine or mussels.

Where are you pouring it up for National Sangria Day? Share with us in the comment below and don’t forget to tag us in all of your boozy Insta photos. Cheers!

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Beer tasting
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Attention all you beer lovers and newbies alike: please join us on Tuesday, November 14 at 7 p.m. for another fun-filled Food Before Love special event. This time, we are heading to Duke’s in NYC for a #WishYouWereBeer tasting! So, if you want to step up your usual after work happy hour game, round up your crew and be there for good times amongst other fellow foodies.

Your $25 ticket gets you five beer tastings including the featured beer of the evening – Bells Brewing. After that beers are just $5 for the duration of the event! As a bonus, Devil’s Backbone will offer three beers on tap as one of your options, plus, a Bell’s Brewing representative will be on deck to give us some beer education and answer any questions. By the end of the night, we will surely be a bit closer to beer connoisseur status!

Wish you were beer
Just $25 gets you some amazing craft beer and fun night out with beer lovers and newbies alike.

Of course we can satisfy our appetites and pair our hoppy drinks with delicious food from Duke’s menu or indulge in half priced tacos. If you’re feeling lucky, you can partake in a game or two of Bingo. Who knows? You may be the one to win one of the prizes!

Ok, we don’t want you to get left out of all this action! So, be sure to purchase your tickets here or below. Come hungry and ready to drink and don’t forget to use #WishYouWereBeer on when posting on social media. We look forward to you joining in and enjoying this experience with us!

Cheers!

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