The Central Park Conservancy's 16th Annual Taste Of Summer

Last Wednesday marked the 16th annual benefit for the Central Park Conservancy, Taste of Summer. The event was a tremendous success, with restaurants from all around New York City showcasing their culinary talents to the sounds of DJ Tom Finn playing crowd favorites. A large white tent complete with décor designed by Ed Libby & Company was set up at Naumberg Bandshell and entertained 1000 of New York’s elite with both an open bar and the chance to sample every dish imaginable. In total, the event raised $650,000 with the help of a silent auction that featured items such as a Tiffany & Co Bridget satchel, a reservation for eight at Rao’s, and a private tour of Isaac Mizrahi’s Studio and a private lunch for the lucky winner and a guest with the man himself. A variety of wines were provided by George Duboeuf and Hob Nob.

Our Perfect Summer Cocktail

While surfing the internet we stumbled upon this Martha Stewart recipe for Watermelon Limeade. Although we’re sure this would be a tasty drink year round, the ingredients make it the ultimate summer cocktail. After all, Martha does know best.

You’ll Need

-8 cups chopped seedless watermelon (about 6 pounds)
-1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
-2 tablespoons of sugar (+2 tablespoons more to taste)
-1/2 cup vodka (optional)
-Mint leaves

You’ll do
-Puree the watermelon in the blender (in batches) with lime juice and sugar until smooth. Add extra sugar if needed.
-Transfer puree to a pitcher; add vodka. Cover and chill until ready to serve
-Stir, pour over ice. Garnish with mint.

Quick, easy, and refreshing. This is one drink that is sure to impress your friends at any summer party.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 20 Minutes

Serves: 2 Quarts

$1 Burgers in New York?

For those of you who are tired of spending $20+ dollars on a gourmet burger, “Pop’s Dollar Food Shop” may have a solution for you. This low-key Midtown spot lies in the back of a pizza and gyro restaurant and is offering $1, we repeat, $1, burgers. It was opened by Fox Goodman on the belief that people should be able to have access to quality food at low prices. The most expensive item on the menu? A bacon double cheeseburger for a meager $3. Every burger is complete with cooked onions, ketchup, pickles, and cheese that will only cost you an extra 25 cents. The rolls are freshly baked every day, and the taste (they claim) is better than that of traditional fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King. The eatery also offers hot dogs and fries at the same competitive prices. The major gripe of the patrons was portion size, but each complaint was quickly justified by the joint's low prices. And hey, if you’re still hungry, another burger is only a buck away.

Pop's Dollar Food Shop is located at 7th Ave between 33rd and 34th Street.

Brewers' PicNYC

This weekend we attended the Brewers’ PicNYC event at Governor’s Island. The large picnic area was packed with hundreds of hungry foodies ready to sample some of the city’s finest food trucks and artisan beers. Despite the mile-long lines and apparent lack of organization, the event turned out to be a really good time. Of the trucks on display, some of the favorites were The Bistro Truck, Cup Cake Stop, Gorilla Cheese NYC, Kimchi Taco, and Luke’s Lobster. The Bistro Truck was serving up Moroccan fare that didn’t disappoint with yummy Chicken Pastilla (chicken, eggs, and almonds wrapped in phylo dough) and our personal favorite of the day, the Bistro Lamb Burger. Gorilla Cheese NYC was giving out samples of their traditional grilled cheese, which was complete with a perfectly crunchy, buttery toast on the outside and melty cheesy goodness on the inside. Even in the blistering heat, we loved the spicy rice cakes served up by the Kimchi Taco truck, which were chewy and hot and unlike anything we’ve ever tasted before. The lobster and crab rolls from Luke’s Lobster were as fresh as if we were in Maine. We ended this culinary extravaganza with one red velvet cupcake, which was moist and dense and topped with perfectly creamy frosting.

Everyone's Invited!

This week, the Times Square Alliance announced the details of their summer kickoff event, the 18th annual Taste of Times Square. This outdoor food and music festival will feature international cuisine from a variety of New York’s top restaurants, which will be accompanied by multiple acclaimed street-performing acts.

Lot on Tap: The Highline's Newest Beer-Garden

Attention New Yorkers! Top Chef and famous restauranteur Tom Colicchio has announced his plans to open a beer-garden near Manhattan’s famed High Line Park! An abandoned railroad track, the High Line has become the ideal place for picnics, first dates, or just a casual stroll. Beer-gardens are HUGE this summer in NYC and Colicchio’s newest venture, Lot on Tap, is sure to live up to the hype. Lot on Tap is an outdoor taproom fit to accommodate 350 patrons.

Crazy For Quinoa

Recently, I’ve been seeing quinoa a lot. They’re serving it in restaurants, selling it at farmer’s markets, and my mom’s even added it to her impressive recipe repertoire. You’ve heard it's great for you, but what is really so special about quinoa? The consumption of quinoa dates all the way back to the Incan times where it was referred to as “chisaya” or “mother of all grains”. Today, quinoa is back on our radar, and it's capturing the attention of vegans and omnivores alike. It is known for its high protein content and balanced set of amino acids. It is considered a complete protein, which is rare among plant foods. But the health benefits don’t end there. Quinoa is also a great source of dietary fiber and phosphorous, and has high magnesium and iron content. It is gluten free and easily digested. The taste isn’t bad, either. When cooked, quinoa is light and fluffy and has a nutty taste. You can have it at breakfast with honey and fruit like oatmeal, or at dinner as a side dish like rice or cous cous. With so many ways to enjoy and experiment with this crop, you’re likely to forget about its health benefits altogether.