Manhattan Cocktail Classic opening night gala
Lidia Presents: Philharmonic Taste—An Austrian Tasting for Ears & Palate
NYC Craft Beer Festival
Boozehounds will be well (but hopefully not over) served this spring. The NYC Craft Beer Festival is a chance of hopheads to sample some of the country’s best beer, while the swanky Manhattan Cocktail Classic brings together some of the top mixologists for five days of tastings, lectures, demos and parties. In other news, outdoor food market and Brooklyn Flea offshoot returns in April, and, as of press time, there was no confirmation on whether Googa Mooga would attempt a do-over.
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Lauded Chelsea restaurant Del Posto hosts a cerebral soiree fusing oral and aural pleasures: fine wine, artful food and classical music—part of a new events and classes series. Esteemed chef Lidia Bastianich and a first violin player of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Andreas Grossbauer, will host a seven-course menu with Austrian vino and a string quartet performing complementary pieces—for instance, plum-jam-stuffed gnocchi with toasted bread crumbs and cinnamon paired with Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Tradition 2010 and accompanied by Franz Schubert’s Quartettsatz in C minor. Check online for further offerings, such as a course on making and cooking fresh pasta.
The suds fest is back for its vernal shindig. Ticket holders receive a tasting glass for unlimited two-ounce pours, but with 150 brews on offer and sessions lasting only two-and-a-half hours (three-and-a-half if you pony up for a VIP pass), you’ll need to have a plan of attack. Make a beeline (and get on line) for a citrusy Firestone Walker Double Jack and the farmhouse ale Allagash Interlude, then explore varieties by approximately 75 breweries from across the country. Soak up the alcohol with hearty snacks from Cooper’s Craft and Kitchen—such as a stout-braised, chipotle-smothered pork sandwich ($6)—the Guilty Goose and Tavern 29. Hops-heads itching to make their own concoction can attend cofounder of Bitter & Esters Douglas Amport’s seminar on brewing at home; check nyccraftbeerfest.com for other expert-led workshops, but arrive early, as they’re limited to 50 first-come first-served spots apiece.
The venerable epicurean extravaganza returns the weekend of April 6, spending Saturdays in Williamsburg's East River State Park and Sundays in Brooklyn Bridge Park at the walled-in, open-air Tobacco Warehouse through the summer. The 2013 iteration features returning vendors such as comfort-food maestro Buttermilk Channel, offering its beloved fried chicken and cheddar waffles. Welcome newbies like Vermont’s Rockville Market Farm, peddling breakfast gorditas ($5) with farm-made sausage, eggs, butternut-squash hot sauce and Shelburne Farms cheddar wrapped in a double tortilla; they’ll also be hawking farm-fresh eggs by the carton ($5 for a dozen). Last year saw the debut of Smorgasbar, an all-weather outdoor bar within the market, and though the beercentric watering hole won’t open until May or June, expect an expansion of offerings from breweries beyond Kings County. Visit smorgasburg.com for more information.
Celebrate the diversity of the city in the best way possible—with your taste buds. Now in its 11th year, this festival that began as a handful of restaurants in a JFK terminal has made its home in Citi Field’s Caesars Club, a sprawling convention hall with views of Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. Fifty food vendors from the borough will be on hand, from Redwood Deli and Ottomanelli & Sons to Mama’s and Bourbon Street Café (let’s hope they bring the outstanding gumbo they’ve served every other year). Sip on Turkish coffee from the Turkish Cultural Center and wine from Long Island’s Borghese Winery—all included in your admission price. Plus, we have it on good authority that Mr. Met himself will be present. Visit queensny.org/queenstaste for more informaiton.
For serious connoisseurs, this annual festival is an opportunity to pay homage to Manhattan’s preeminent cocktail culture—and revel in five days of merry, mixology-fueled debauchery. The close to a hundred events range from scholarly lectures and conferences to parties and bar crawls that don’t lend themselves to retention of information. The crown jewel of the fest is the opening-night gala, held at the grand New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Though details for the ball are still under lock and key, in 2012 it featured mountains of oysters, ’20s-style burlesque dancers and more than 30,000 hand-stirred cocktails. Tickets sold out in just a few hours last year; be at the ready when they go on sale March 15 at noon. Visit manhattancocktailclassic.com for more information.