Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Strong Buzz Guide to Summer!

Now that the weather is warming up, Andrea Strong asked me to write a piece on some of NYC's seasonal offerings. From Greenmarket menus to street fairs, here is my latest Strong Buzz round-up!

The Strong Buzz Guide to Summer: The Best Eats From Blue Crabs to Greenmarket Tastings (and where to get them all)

We New Yorkers endured a long, brutal winter and a chilly, rainy spring—we’re in serious need of a little relief. Sure, sunshine and warm temperatures are a solid start, but what we’re all really craving is an al fresco meal (or ten). Most restaurants roll out the sidewalk tables the moment the thermometer reads above 60 degrees, and to celebrate the beginning of the outdoor dining season, The Strong Buzz’s Rachel Barbarotta has compiled a list of the best places to go for summer’s amazing seasonal fare, everything from blue crabs to Greenmarket menus.

Where: 190 Avenue B (at 12th Street), 212-388-1990, www.backfortynyc.com
When: Tuesday nights through the end of August (except 7/5) plus Wednesday 8/31 and Friday 9/2 - $40 per person.
On the menu: Back Forty will provide the mallets for a true Chesapeake Crab Boil including Spiced Blue Crabs, Buttery Potatoes and String Beans along with seasonal desserts and pitchers of Sixpoint Crisp Lager for an additional $15. Don’t worry if you’ve never cracked open a Blue Crab with your bare hands, the staff at Back Forty will show you how it’s done and provide plenty of towels to clean it all up. If you don’t mind getting a little messy in the name of sweet, succulent crab, this is definitely the place for you!

Where: 1 East 15th Street (at 5th Avenue), 212-647-1515, www.tocquevillerestaurant.com
When: Now through Columbus Day - $39 for lunch, $55 for dinner and $30 for wine pairing
On the menu: In an age where we can find any restaurant menu online, it’s quite unusual when even the chef doesn’t know what he’ll be serving tomorrow! Tocqueville’s Chef Marco Moreira takes the Greenmarket trend to heart by creating fresh and inventive new dishes every single night. Chef Marco is leaving the fate of his menu to the offerings of his local Greenmarket, only featuring ingredients that he can find on that given day. This will guarantee the freshest dishes and a true taste of the summer season. Last year’s offerings included such creations as Fried Green Tomatoes with fluffy sheep’s milk ricotta and green tomato jam and Grilled White Peach Cobbler with sweet corn gelato and fresh blueberries. If sweet corn gelato doesn’t scream “seasonal ingredients,” we don’t know what does!

Where: Hester Street (at Essex Street), 917-267-9496, www.hesterstreetfair.com
When: Every Saturday from 10am-6pm
On the menu: Some of the best things about New York City in the summer are the street fairs. Those who drive may disagree, as traffic is often re-routed around them, but the Hester Street Fair is not only one of the hippest street fairs in all of Manhattan, but it also boasts some of the best food. With everything from New Orleans-style sandwiches and treats from Cheeky Sandwiches to fresh offerings from Lower East Side hotspot The Fat Radish, there is truly something for everyone. And who doesn’t love checking out unique jewelry and clothing while munching on an Empanada from La Sonrisa?

BEST FOR DATE NIGHT: Park Avenue Summer
Where: 100 East 63rd Street (at Park Avenue), 212-644-1900, www.parkavenyc.com
When: Sunday evenings throughout the summer - $35, 3-course Paella Menu
On the menu: At a restaurant that thrives on the concept of changing their menu with the seasons, Park Avenue Summer is the perfect spot to celebrate the warmer weather. Park Avenue Summer will offer a three-course Hamptons Paella Menu paired with Lieb Cellars Rosé on Sunday evenings for the duration of the summer. For an authentic paella experience, the classic Spanish dish will be made in the dining room in a 4-foot paellera and will be loaded with summery ingredients like Maine lobster, native corn and mussels. The regular menu will also include other summer favorites such as Swordfish Nicoise with Haricots Verts and Mediterranean Branzino. While this certainly isn’t a meal you’ll have to crack open with a mallet, the elegance of Park Avenue Summer is a true delight.

Where: 242 10th Avenue (at 24th Street), 212-645-5659, www.trestleontenth.com
When: Select cocktails (four at a time) from The Drinkable Garden menu will be on circulation for brunch, lunch and dinner throughout the summer
On the menu: When you were little, you used to feed your vegetables to the family dog under the table. And while you can’t quite remember the exact day when you decided you actually liked Brussels sprouts, you never thought you’d be drinking them through a straw! To celebrate the season, Trestle on Tenth opened their newly renovated outdoor patio and simultaneously announced their brand new cocktail menu including drinks made with fresh vegetables! Whether you prefer the Belle of the Ball with vodka, red bell pepper, mint, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and yellow chartreuse or the 20/20 with house-made carrot-infused Tito’s vodka, fresh carrot and lime juice, we promise not to rat you out to your mom!

Bring on the sunshine!

Let's Eat!
The Fabulous Foodie

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