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!

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GRACE JAMAICA JERK NEW YORK 2016-558

Delicious food hailing from the Caribbean, musical performances, cooking exhibitions and demos, giveaways, contests and more. Did we get your attention? The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival is back for its 7th year and we want you there! It’s touted as being “New York’s Biggest Caribbean Food Festival” and rightfully so. This annual fête held at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York on Sunday, July 23rd from noon – 8pm, attracts a mix of over 20,000 foodies, reggae and soca music lovers and cultural enthusiasts from all over the city.

NYC Jerk Fest Logo

Imagine being surrounded by all your favorite Caribbean dishes cooked up in flavorful jerk spice, of course. This jerk themed festival gives you a chance to sample and indulge in it all with several food vendors present! Patrons will also be able to witness and cheer on their favorite chefs competing and showcasing their talents in the Jerk Cook-Off where one deserving chef will be declared the festival’s Jerk Champion.

GRACE JAMAICA JERK NEW YORK 2016-558

Plus, this year special guests such as Morgan Heritage, Alison Hinds, Konshens and Barrington Levy will be hitting the Main Stage with exciting, explosive performances that are sure to please and get you winding your waist!

Visit the Cultural Stage and connect with Caribbean heritage while enjoying dance performances, poetry, story telling and comedy.It really is a win, win situation so round up your crew of friends and family and spend the day enjoying the cool vibes and celebrating the Caribbean’s vibrant culture and distinctive cuisine.

GRACE JAMAICA JERK FEST 2015

Wait, did you get your tickets yet? If not, don’t worry, go to Jerk Festival NY  to purchase yours and check out the full itinerary of fun-filled festival events and happenings.

Don’t wait too long though, ’cause the countdown is on and Sunday is almost here!

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Soco Macaroni and Cheese
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National Macaroni and Cheese day is something we try to celebrate often, but it’s official now because you’ve decided to join us.

If you’re like me, you love the creamy, cheesy, deliciousness that is Macaroni and Cheese. A perfect day for you is settling down to a bowl of this comfort meal. Looking to celebrate in New York City the right way? Check out this list of restaurants in that will support your Macaroni and Cheese addiction and help you celebrate National Macaroni and Cheese day correctly

Mangoseed

Mangoseed is a modern Caribbean restaurant located in the heart of Flatbush with new and old island favorites.  One of which is their 4 cheese Macaroni & Cheese dish. It is wonderful on its own but it also pairs deliciously with oxtail gravy. Show up before 7pm to try out their tropical cocktails during happy hour on National Macaroni and Cheese day.

757 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11226

Soco

Soco is another Brooklyn favorite located in Clinton Hills, very well known for their red velvet waffles and their fabulously massive Aunt Cruz macaroni and cheese. Their mac can be perfectly washed down with Soco’s New Orleans inspired cocktail the Mardi Gras. Show up before 7pm for discounted Macaroni and cheese plus, half priced drinks.

509 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

Soco Macaroni and Cheese

Bobwhite Counter

Bobwhite Counter is a small, quaint, southern comfort spot located in the East Village. Not only do they give you life with their fried chicken, but their mac & cheese tastes like someone’s Southern grandma put their foot in it. Their macaroni & cheese is only $6 but gives you all the cheesy greatness you are looking for.

94 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009

Miss Lily’s 7A

Miss Lily’s brings authentic Caribbean fare to the east village. With traditional reggae & soca blasting from their speakers, you can have your favorite curried edible with a side of their flavorful mac. Baked like a pie, it brings me back to the islands (Trinidad & Tobago to be exact) where my grandmother whipped up a similar treat.

109 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

Harlem Public 

Harlem Public is a cozy neighborhood bar that serves up pub inspired cuisine, including awesome macaroni & cheese (or Mac & Steez, as they call it). If you want to be extra fancy, they throw can throw in bacon, pulled pork, or chicken.

3612 Broadway, New York, NY 10031

Harlem Public Macaroni and Cheese
Photo Courtesy of Rafael H. (yelp)

Mac Shack

Mac Shack is a well known Brooklyn eatery that churns out every style macaroni & cheese you can think of. Feeling like you want to sample them all? They offer daily specials to try out mini portions of any Mac you’re in the mood for.

901 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Enjoy National Macaroni and Cheese Day!

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National Mojito Day

Attention all you Mojito lovers! National Mojito Day is Today, Tuesday,  July 11th and we’ve got you covered on where to celebrate and enjoy some of the best mojitos in NYC!

This popular cocktail originating from Cuba, is a delicious way to beat the heat with its mix of refreshing flavors. Traditionally, a mojito consists of five ingredients: white rum, sugar (typically sugar cane juice), lime, soda water and mint.

Here are our picks of where to sip on your favorite drink or if you’re a mojito newbie – try for the first time.

Havana Central

In the heart of Times Square is a bustling restaurant featuring Cuban cuisine, cocktails and live music in a retro Havana style atmosphere. Their mojitos are stellar and offered in a wide range of flavors – each served with a sugar cane stick. Stop in on National Mojito Day for $6 mojitos all day ($1 extra for flavors) and food specials featuring $1 empanadas. 151 West 46th Street, New York, NY

National Mojito Day
Photo By Neha Deshmukh

Guantanamera 

This friendly, fun and vibrant with magnificent mojitos and complimentary hand-rolled cigars (Friday – Saturday only after 7pm) and live Cuban music. Come enjoy $6 mojitos all day on Mojito Tuesdays and during happy hour Sunday – Thursday from 4pm – 7pm.  939 8th Avenue, New York, NY

Corner Social 

Harlem’s hotspot offers killer cocktails which never disappoint. Check out their version of your favorite mojito on their rotating daily specials menu. The last time I visited I had an amazing coconut one as I took in the bustling happy hour scene inside this cozy, brick exposed bar. If weather permits, enjoy the lively sidewalk seating and all the action in the center of Harlem on National Mojito Day.  321 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY

Habana Outpost

National Mojito Day
Photographed by N. Salter

Located in the fashionably cultural Fort Greene section of Brooklyn is a diverse, cool hangout spot offering up Mexican-Cuban food and refreshing frozen drinks such as the Morita, a great mojito/margarita combo and individual fruit flavored mojitos.  Place your food and drink order at the counter upon entering and then wander on out to the outdoor patio area complete with picnic style tables and umbrellas.  Do strike up a convo with someone at the next table or just enjoy people watching as you sip on your mojito. Don’t forgot to try some of the yummy food options like the popular grilled Mexican street corn with cotija cheese and fish tacos. 757 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY (between South Oxford Street and Portland Avenue) 

Havana Alma de Cuba

Courtesy Havana Alma de Cuba
Courtesy Havana Alma de Cuba

Known for Cuban comfort food, great mojitos and outdoor garden seating. On National Mojito Day classic mojitos are $6 during happy hour Monday – Wednesday from 4pm – 7pm and customers can receive complimentary cigars Tuesday – Wednesday, 7pm – 11pm  94 Christopher Street, New York, NY

Amor Cubano

Located in East Harlem offers a large selection of mojitos – at least ten! – to choose from including peach, passion fruit and even a champagne topped mojito!  Try out a few flavors during daily happy hour from 4pm – 7pm and late nights on the weekend from 11pm – closing.  2018 3rd Avenue, New York, NY

Brooklyn Beso

National Mojito Day BK BEso
Courtesy of Brooklyn Beso

Located in the heart of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, where you can enjoy delicious mojitos by the glass or pitcher in flavors such as guavo and ginger to complement their Latin-inspired menu.  Even better, stop by during happy hour, Tuesday-Friday from 3pm – 8pm and all day Monday for the 2 for 1 special and $2 off all frozen drinks. 370 Lewis Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Mad  Dog & Beans Mexican Cantina

Mad Dog will offer half off all mojitos all day on National Mojito Day. Stop by either of their two locations and toast the day away! Even more special, on National Mojito Day, the Financial District location  is also participating in the Stone Street Streetfest along with other restaurants in the area for a night of celebration and networking to support Self Help Africa. 20% of all purchases will go to supporting Self Help Africa’s work in empowering rural entrepreneurs in Africa. 83 Pearl Street, New York, NY and 5 East 38th Street, New York, NY

Blend on the Water 

National Mojito Day Blend on the Water
Courtesy of Blend on the Water

In Long Island City in Queens, Blend on the Water offers modern Latin fusion cuisine with a beautiful waterfront view and tasty cocktails and sharable drinks. The coconut mojitos are a favorite. Get one during happy hour Monday – Friday, 11am – 7pm 4540 Center Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 
 

 

 

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Diane-Kochilas-Rice-up
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Whether you are familiar with Greek culture and Mediterranean cuisine or not, this is something you can appreciate. Allow us to give you a little taste of something new with an experience provided by Chef Diane Kochilas.

Nestled in the intimate tasting room Sopra above Amali, a Mediterranean restaurant, celebrity chef and cookbook author Diane Kochilas hosted a cooking demonstration of RiceUp risotto.

The room buzzed with a mixture of Greek and English greetings and chattering, and liveliness filled the room as wine flowed and tasty appetizers were passed to whet guests’ palettes.

In between greeting guests, Chef Diane patiently stirred the pot, which sent the aroma floating through the room and built the anticipation for the main event. Before serving Chef Diane and other distinguished guests share the importance of this product.

Diane-Kochilas-Rice-up

Having been such a staple in the home as well as for special occasions for many families, rice is an important part of a meal and a culture. What RiceUp has created is important because it shares piece of that on a commercial level. They have created a high quality product that honors the authenticity of Greek tradition and brings it together harmoniously with the convenience of the American lifestyle, without a compromise in flavor.. This product makes this special experience accessible to more people, specifically those who identify as Greek American.

Chef Diane served the lemon risotto which was simple and rich in flavor – creamy with an ever so slight citrus zest. There was also a sweet and spicy risotto, which was embellished with cinnamon, pistachios and raisins. She shared about how she likes to experiment with garnishes and watch how the dishes can evolve. She shared her love for food and her culture with each plate.

Though Chef Diane’s risotto had her special touch, RiceUp boasts to be easy to create at home. With recipes and samples given in the gift bags, guests were equipped with the perfect meal: simple, quick and delicious.

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Picky's Speed Pie

Hailing from Brooklyn, Picky Eater’s NYC restaurant is quickly becoming a staple of the neighborhood. Most popularly visited for their Trini style barbecue lamb, Picky’s is a crowd favorite. If you don’t believe us, just ask Flatbush. Food Before Love was invited to the Picky’s Eater’s pizza party pop up at Sugarcane in Prospect Heights. Every now again, Picky’s will host a themed pop up event highlighting different foods with Caribbean flavors.

Picky's Pop up Restaurant

Sugarcane, another Caribbean restaurant, is extremely popular amongst the locals. No matter the day of the week. you’ll always find a line outside of Black professionals waiting for a table. However on this particular day, Picky’s pizza made the wait a bit more worthwhile. It became obvious to any bystander, that Picky’s Pop was going overwhelmingly well. We took it to the kitchen to find out what the chef was cooking up and how much pizza we could really bite into. 

Picky's Pop up

Picky’s Pizza Party menu was Island Flavored with choices like Sunday Lunch – callaloo base, topped with shredded saltfish, ricotta cheese and cherry tomatoes. There were options for Vegetarians like the vital Ital Veggie which consisted of pineapple, sweet peppers, onions and tomatoes. Being the jerk chicken lover that I am, Picky put together a speed pie for me. This personal pizza came with shredded jerk chicken, pineapples, and a drizzle of their signature sauce. Talk about hot!

Picky's Speed Pie

It’s not jerk chicken if there’s no heat. The key is to not let that heat overpower the flavor of the chicken. Picky’s made the perfect pizza when he combined these ingredients and he wasn’t stingy. Plenty of chicken adorned my plate and the sweetness of the pineapple helped combat the hotness. However, it was truly the jerk sauce that took the dish through the roof, making it juicy as it soaked into all parts of the pizza. For information more information on Picky’s next pop up, follow them on instagram @PickyEatersNYC and don’t hesitate to RSVP!

Picky's Speed Pie

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