Serving up Smiles

One thing that is fascinating about food, is how it connects us across cultures, lifestyles and platforms. When I learned of enCourage Kids Foundation and their Serving up Smiles event, I was reminded of this ever bonding connection.

Serving up Smiles is an evening of fine cuisines provided by New York’s best, with an incredible line up of restaurants like Mastro’s, Bryant Park Grill and Butter. This event, directly supports programming for enCourage Kids, who are a resource to families and children affected by numerous health challenges. The enCourage Kids foundation provides an outlet for those affected to laugh, grow and experience life outside of the hospital. Families that are apart of enCourage Kids foundation are invited to attend Serving up Smiles, including donors, local supporters and now, we’re personally inviting you.

Make yourself Valuable,” is what Michael Jenkins, Chef de Cuisine at Butter told us when we sat with him to discuss his longevity in the industry. As one of the few faces of color, his vision for representation immediately tied to enCourage Kid’s mission to be as inclusive as possible.

Intrigued by the intensity at Butter, Chef Jenkins has been writing his own story in their kitchen for the past 11 years. He shared with us about how his favorite part of cooking was creating something so beautiful, with his own two hands, that would be destroyed in a matter of minutes. There is something to be said about how selfless the work of a Chef is and Chef Jenkins shows us that daily through his work and certainly through his participating in Serving up Smiles which he’s been apart of since it’s inception.

Serving up Smiles will be held on October 23rd at Chelsea Piers and is the brainchild of Executive Director, Michele Hall-Duncan. We had the opportunity to sit with Michele and talk about how this food driven event plays a huge part in the success of enCourage Kids Foundation.

Chef Josh Capon
Photography by Elizabeth Veneskey

Could you tell me more about enCncourage Kids Foundation?

We started as a WISH Foundation, 32 years ago. The founders saw a kid that was sick and decided they would grant that child a wish and then began doing so all around the country. We did that for a while but as wishes became more expensive for us to execute, we started looking at other programming, specifically in hospital programming. One of our programs, the escape program, allows children and families to participate in different activities like go to 6 Flags Great Adventures , movie dates in the summer for them, and a our enCourage Kids Night at Citi Field which serves at least 800 people.

We hosted almost 100 escape events last year and this year we’re celebrating 21 years of Pediatric Hospital support where we were given 15 million dollars to support over 850 projects in hospitals. The majority of our work is in the hospital, really supporting the pediatric team as these children go through surgeries and other life changes.

Serving up Smiles Event
Photography by Elizabeth Veneskey

It was impactful year for enCourage Kids Foundation, How did you end up starting Serving up Smiles? What is to be expected at the event?

We used to do this auction, and we hosted it for 25 years. It was back in the day when the athletes didn’t have their own charities yet, we had models and celebrities in attendance and then the climate changed. The athletes started doing their own events and it really started becoming labor intensive. When I took over as ED, I was invited to go the South Eastern’s chapter’s Red Ball and it was a tasting event. I loved this! It was just so much fun trying the different foods and I thought it would be great to do something similar.

We have an amazing band, Live Wire Entertainment,  and it’s really a fun event for the guest. They have the opportunity to talk, walk around and get to know one another and still participate in the auction which opens up a week before. The chef’s love it and we try to make an effort to go back and support them after the event, and our board members actively support them as well. Giselle Dean Miller, who’s Vice President of Special Events, does a great job finding the chefs and sharing our story with them and bringing them on board.

Serving up Smiles
Photography by Elizabeth Veneskey

How do you try to make the culinary aspect apart of the event once guest leave?

We have fun favors for the event that we do every year which are culinary inspired. We gave away these custom cutting boards and last year we did a whisk and everyone really loved them. Our auction is also full of culinary inspired experiences, trips, and restaurant related activities.

For more information about enCourage Kids Foundation, visit their website. Tickets for Serving up Smiles can be found here and if you’re unable to attend, you can still participate in their Silent Auction.

Share
beer overhead

Because it’s National Beer Lovers Day, we know you want to celebrate the right way. Now, craft beer is becoming a lot easier to find nowadays but there’s something about a place that has an atmosphere that compliments the intricate craft beer it serves. Whether it’s a relaxing patio, a lavish rooftop or sidewalk views, there is something for all occasions and we’ve picked out the best places to enjoy that Double IPA you’ve been looking for on National Beer Lovers Day. 

Covenhoven – Brooklyn

730 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

We will start in Brooklyn at Covenhoven , a relaxing oasis filled with beer lovers, board games and good times. With 16 taps on hand and a wall length fridge of bottles and cans available for on-the-go or on site consumption, they are sure to have something for everyone. Both draft list and the fridge are carefully curated each week to ensure quality regardless of season. The staff is engaging and you are sure to make new friends here.

Top Hops – LES 

94 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Heading across the Williamsburg Bridge to LES lies a true hidden gem in Top Hops. The enormous draft list towering with 18 taps including unique information handily sets it apart from the competition. While many breweries offer information on location and alcohol content, very few, if any, will tell you the last time the beer was tapped to gauge freshness, a luxury true craft beer lovers will appreciate. Toss in free delicious bar snacks, knowledgeable staff, educational events and 600+ bottle and cans from around the world and they may just never leave.

beer-bottles
Photo by Thomas Picauly

Milk & Hops 

166 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

On the quiet side of Chelsea you’ll find Milk and Hops, a craft beer bar and bottle shop. What appears to be a coffee shop from afar actually is a pretty neat location to meet up for business or for pleasure. Taps here tend to be a bit more diverse as I’ve seen beer from as far as Florida on tap. There’s somewhat sidewalk seating available and plenty of light to relax and enjoy. 

La Birreria/Sabbia – Manhattan 

200 Fifth Avenue, Roof, New York, NY 10010

A stone’s throw away you’ll find a brewery but not just any brewery, a rooftop brewery. Residing above Eataly in Flatiron, La Birreria welcomes you with energy and smiles. The selection here stretches internationally but particularly you’ll see special Dogfish Head options that you won’t find anywhere else. Heads up, may be harder to find a seat here but it’s all worth it. Arguably one of the best places to grab a beer in the City, La Birreria is a must amongst beer lovers. 

beer overhead

Singlecut – Queens

19-33 37th St, Astoria, NY 11105

Rounding out the tour we head out to Queens. Yes Queens, specifically Astoria. Grab your beer loving buddies and get away from the City for a bit. Here there are 12 taps with outstanding range of craft beers brewed just behind the main wall. This isn’t an onslaught of IPAs and Pale Ales either, there are sours and Belgian style Ales as well. The tasting room is spacious enough to stretch out a bit, again, this isn’t the City. The “trek” is worth it. 

 

Honorable Mentions: 

Five Boroughs Brewing in Sunset Park 

The Wilky in Bedford Stuyvesant 

Gun Hill Tavern – The Bronx 

This post was brought to you by Black x Crafty. Barry Greene is the founder of Black x Crafty, a movement centered around increasing attention to black owned breweries and craft beer consumers. Bridging the gap, one beer at a time. 

Wish You Were Beer Pin

If you’re looking for a way to be unapologetic about your love for beer, this is certainly the way to do it.  .

Share
NYC Restaurant week 2017 summer

Since its inception in 1992, NYC Restaurant Week has now expanded to four weeks of a financially friendly opportunity to explore and try restaurants you may otherwise feel out of your reach. With 390 restaurants participating, the options can seem a bit overwhelming. If you have no idea where to go, we want to help you make your choice during these last days. Note: NYC Restaurant Week ends tomorrow, Friday, August 18th. So make your reservations now!

So “how does this work?” you may be askingDuring NYC Restaurant Week, you can indulge in a 3-course prix-fixe meal, which will cost you $29 for lunch and $42 dinner (plus the cost of beverages, tax and gratuity). This menu is offered Monday – Friday and on Sundays at some locations. You can find out which restaurants are participating and explore the menus they are offering here.

NYC Restaurant week 2017 summer

To give you a taste of what to expect and to help you narrow your options, here is what a few of our hungry friends had to say:

Danielle, @DaniDares (Food Before Love Insider)

Where to go:

The Clocktower (Flatiron) (lunch)

What to order:

Appetizer: Shellfish linguini, lemongrass, king crab, lobster bisque

Entree: 36 Hour braised Pork Belly, crispy polenta, roasted apricots, golden thyme

Dessert: Peach Eton mess, almond whipped cream, vanilla meringue

Beverage: Gruner Ventliner

Favorite details of the experience: The entire experience was decadent. The walls are adorned with images of classic icons. It felt as if we were in someone’s home that was hosting us for lunch or the perfect setting for a game of clue. The bisque was fulfilling yet not heavy, and the pork belly melted in my mouth with such a succulent flavor.

Branzino

Name: Jessica, @Jessbcause721

Where to go:

Schilling Restaurant and Bar (FiDi) (lunch)

What to order:

Appetizer: Chicken liver crostini with shallot marmalade, house pickles and dijon

Entree: Branzino w/ a black garlic broth, root vegetable fricasse and charred broccoli florets

Dessert: Tiramisu

Beverage: Traditional Austrian beer Hefeweizen

Favorite details of the experience:

I absolutely loved the chicken liver crostini! It was super rich and the sweetness of the shallot marmalade just literally melted in your mouth. I would go back just to have that. I also loved that the broth with the branzino was spicy. The branzino was tender and flaky, there is so much you can do with fish so I enjoyed that they kept the broth light and flavorful and kept the branzino as the star.I would give the food a 4, that tiramisu was heaven in a shot glass.

Ambiance of the restaurant is very farm to table as the location is an industrial converted garage with wooded accents, glowing string lights and plush pillow lined benches.  The door was pulled all the way up so we had a nice floating breeze. I adore restaurants like this that kind of invite the hum of the city in while you dine. You can always feel connected to the world around you..

Great for dates or just catching up with friends. The waitstaff was extremely friendly and were more than accommodating when my boyfriend and I wanted to sample a few of the beers before deciding. Service is definitely a 5. All in all I would love to go back, as I said before its cozy, I had a great time and the food was AMAZING!

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Haley & Sarah, @twotastebuds_nyc

Where to go:

Sant Ambroeus (West Village)

What to order:

Appetizer: Battuta Di Manzo (Steak tartare)

Entree: Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Dessert: Gelato & Sorbet

Beverage(s): Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon “La Contessa” 2015

Favorite details of the experience: The tagliatelle alla Bolognese was one of the best pasta dishes I have had in NYC and our waitress let us have a wine tasting while deciding which we wanted!

Where have you gone for NYC Restaurant Week? Let us know all about it in the comments below or tag us @FoodBeforeLove on instagram!

Share
Cup Tap + Cork

Calling all beer and wine lovers! The 5th annual Tap+Cork: Brooklyn Beer & Wine Fest hosted by Arts+Crafts is returning to Restoration Plaza on Saturday August 12, and you do not want to miss it. Described as the experience of grand tastings with a block party atmosphere, this day long even features over 60 craft beers and wines to taste, delicious food pairings from local vendors, and live music and entertainment. More than one thousand beer and wine lovers have come out to this event in the past, and they are doing it even bigger this year with added events throughout the weekend to cater to everyone’s needs.

Tap + Cork Flyer

This tasty fest will contain a multitude of curated craft beer and artisanal wine selections from known breweries and wineries such as Harlem Brew, Five Boroughs Brewing, Veltins’ Grebensteiner, Dyckman Brewery, Owls Brew, Brooklyn Oenology, Cherulin Thomas and Mouton Noir. Patrons will be given a commemorative sampling cup to try out the selections offered from different vendors. While sampling the delicious libations, you’ll be able to indulge in some equally delicious treats and eats from some local food vendors, and DJ CEO and DJ Christopher Sealey will be playing all the tunes in case beer and wine makes you want to dance a little.

Tap + Cork Group
Photo by Nicholas Nichols

In its fifth year, some other perks have been added to the fest such as TapNight Out on August 11, and the very first Tap+Cork Champagne Brunch on August 12, the day after the fest. The Saturday festival will also feature a #DrinkBetter VIP lounge, which has a special 3-hour tasting session with unlimited tastes of top-shelf curated selections, food, and beverage.

Sounds like something you’re interested in? Well, General Admissions tickets are only $25, and allow for 15 tastings (Yes, FIFTEEN!), and you can also buy additional sets of tastings at the event if fifteen is not enough to satisfy your craving, because with over 60 vendors, you may wanna try out more. VIP ticket start at $60 and includes access to the #DrinkBetter lounge.

Tap + Cork NYC
Photo by Nicholas Nichols

So, what are you waiting for beer and wine aficionado? Visit www.tapcorknyc.com for more information and to purchase those tickets.  And remember, Tap+Cork: Brooklyn Beer & Wine Fest is going down Saturday August 12, from 2-8 at Restoration Plaza (1368 Fulton Street).

Share
Secret Summer NYC Cocktail Glass

Pssst…can you keep a secret?

Well some secrets aren’t meant to keep!

Secret Summer NYC is back for another exciting installment as the first and only farm-to-bar immersive food and cocktail festival combined with music, fashion, art and performance.

Only days away, this one-of-a-kind event takes place on Sunday, August 6th, from 4pm – 10pm at the The Foundry, an event space located in Long Island City, Queens that will be transformed into a lush, garden-like setting befitting for this summer time soirée that attracts NYC’s hottest crowd. What better way to spend your Sunday Funday than sipping on creative cocktails and noshing on gourmet bites in a beautiful urban oasis!

Secret Summer NYC Bartender
Shot by Dee Williams

The MVP of the day – the drinks – will be curated by bespoke catering and hospitality company, RAPT New York, who specializes in farm-to-bar mixology sourcing the best ingredients from locally owned farms and urban hydroponic gardens. A glimpse into the cocktail menu showcases intriguing creations with clever names, such as the “Resting Birch Face”, with Woodford Reserve bourbon, foraged black birch, Wilklow Orchard cherries and Farm One mints and the “Figgedaboudit”, a concoction of Zacapa 23 rum, mission figs from Murray Farm, Harmless Harvest coconut water, honey and thyme.

Secret Summer NYC Cocktail Menu
Shot by Dee Williams

After getting your drinks on, you’ll definitely want to sample some food to accompany them. This year’s featured food trucks include Luke’s Lobster, La Pulperia, Big D’s Grub Truck and Wafels & Dinges. Offering a variety of flavors and cuisines to satisfy multiple palates, from savory to sweet – these trucks will have you covered whether you want a light bite or something heartier.

Secret Summer NYC Cocktail
Shot by Dee Williams

What’s a good summer party without entertainment? Secret Summer will present a live band, drumming performance group and a DJ to set the musical mood. Plus, for extra fun factor, a photo booth, gold flash tattoo stations, nail art stations and face painting and mehdni body art will all be featured.

Secret Summer NYC Cocktail Glass
Shot by Dee Williams

General Admission tickets include complimentary cocktails and drinks; food is for purchase. And luckily, tickets are still available here. Be sure to use the promo code ‘SecretFoodies‘ to receive 20% off.

If indicative of summers’ past, this year will sure to be an experience like no other. Hope to see you there!

Share

passion
[pash-uh n]
noun

1. a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

2. strong amorous feeling or desire; an intense emotion.

Food. Food is our passion and it shows in everything we do here at Food Before Love – the services we provide, the information we share, the food related experiences we create, and the relationships we foster.

It’s been 5 years since Food Before Love was created and as I reflect back on our beginnings and on all the awesome moments and things we’ve accomplished, I want to give a huge shout out to you all. Thank you for making us great, we truly appreciate you!

We have the PASSION…and now we need your SUPPORT – more than ever.

“Support people who are creative in public.” ~Someone Smart

So, I’ve been wearing many hats and handling all the daily tasks needed to run this business and you know what – it’s a lot for one person.

Through the years we’ve partnered with some amazing interns, writers and foodies and we couldn’t be more grateful for that opportunity. Our current team of Food Before Love Insiders are the bomb and have been instrumental in getting our name out there. But, it’s still not enough and we’re pushing the envelope for more.

“To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.”  ~Anita Roddick

We are ready for this change, but there are some financial restraints to consider. Stay tuned because coming up within the next few weeks, we will be filling you in on our Fall crowdfunding campaign launch.

Here’s what our short check list looks like:

– Revamping our site to make it more functional

– Bringing aboard an ‘in the know’ Social Media Manager

– Growing our sponsorship and partner base for major projects like the food festival

We can’t wait until this team is in place, so Food Before Love can provide even more to the food community. The team we build must maintain Food Before Love’s creativity and ability to stay on top of all the latest food trends and happenings. Don’t you agree?

Next steps? Well – do you have the skill set to move Food Before Love forward? Contact us then!

Spread the word about our crowdfunding campaign coming soon and our exciting endeavors to your network of those that share the same mind set and passion that we do. You can also follow us on @FoodBeforeLove. Tell what you love about us and what you would like to see more of!

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” ~Maya Angelou

We need individuals that support our vision and can work independently to achieve it. For direct crowdfunding specific updates and donation information, sign up here.

Seriously though, are you in?

I’m looking forward to seeing you alongside us on this campaign and I’ll be in touch!

Share