First Course

Major Crawfish Cookouts at Stuyvesant Cove Park this Weekend

For those of us who aren’t bashful about eating with their hands and who boldly let the fat drip down their chin in public, our time has come. This weekend marks the return of Crawfish NY’s Crawfish Boil for NOLA. The original event is scheduled for Saturday, May 16 on the water at Stuyvesant Cove Park from 4 to 8, and it quickly sold out. Thankfully, because of the high demand, an identical event will be staged the next day at the same location from 3 to 7, so if you missed your chance to sign up for the Saturday event, you still have a chance. (Or, if you did sign up for Saturday, and just want to indulge your inner glutton in all its glory, you can go for both).

1st Annual Brooklyn Beer Experiment

We live in a competitive society. Whether you’re rooting for the Knicks to vanquish their NBA rivals,* or hoping your brainy daughter will be the only member of her graduating class to get into Harvard,^ American life is all about “beating the other guy.” What’s the satisfaction of doing something well if you’re kicking somebody else’s ass?

A recent manifestation of this national trait has been the growing popularity of the “cook-off.” Whether we’re talking chowder or chili, the competitive spirit has entered the culinary realm in a major way. Next up on the NYC circuit is the First Annual Brooklyn Beer Experiment. On June 7th, the Bell House music club in Gowanus will be hosting two simultaneous competitions: one for the best food dish where beer is part of the recipe, and one for the best homemade brew.

KFC and Oprah Winfrey Give Away Free Chicken!

If I were the CEO of KFC, I would definitely not be a fan of Oprah. For those of you that don’t know, media giant Oprah Winfrey and chicken giant KFC recently teamed up together in some sort of national giveaway of chicken in order to give Americans a free meal. Yes, folks, you have read correctly- all around the country, KFC is giving away free chicken. FREE. CHICKEN.

Of course, there’s a catch. In order to receive your free chicken, you had to download a coupon from the KFC website, which according to some reports, was almost impossible to download. The coupon, which was for KFC’s new line of grilled chicken, was good for two pieces of the stuff, two sides and a biscuit- not bad at all in this horrible economy. Sadly, due to the obvious overwhelming response from like, everywhere, you can no longer download the coupon.

(Almost) Instant Ice Cream

With the weather (trying) to get warmer as the days pass us by, most of us prefer to indulge ourselves in treats of the frozen kind- whether it be a frozen alcoholic beverage or just plain old ice cream. For those of you that don’t mind a little bit of an experiment, try making instant ice cream. According to Chow.com, the combined ingredients make the dessert taste similar to a fruity ice cream dish. Here’s how you do it:

Prep Time: Less than 2 minutes
Cook Time: Probably about the same

….Only in NYC?

Question: What would you do if you saw a giant cow strolling down a busy NYC street?

I honestly don’t know which is more amusing: reading about this, envisioning the actual scene or the fact that it really happened. Yesterday, while some of us were slaving away at boring 9 to 5s, a cow escaped a slaughterhouse in Queens and decided to take a stroll- for over an hour. The slaughterhouse, which is located at 158th street and Beaver Street, is pretty much in the heart of Jamaica- a very busy part of Queens and definitely no place for a cow.

Although NYC police have probably seen almost everything imaginable, they aren’t necessarily used to herding large farm animals on city streets and had to call in the Emergency Service Unit to seize the cow (I mean, the cow walked well over 20 blocks before the police even attempted to respond). Eventually, they did so and sent her over to an animal shelter operated by the city in Brooklyn. If she is not claimed, she will be sent upstate to Farm Sanctuary, a vegan farm which specializes in taking care of the random animals found roaming the mean streets of New York that do not belong (ie: goats, sheep and such).

Drank: The Anti Energy Drink

Want to slow your roll Southern style (and we don't mean by sippin' sizurp)? - drank, the anti energy drink, promises to be the premier lifestyle beverage for those who appreciate extreme relaxation.

Purple drank, seen in the Pussycat Doll's "Bottle Pop" and Keri Hilson "Turning Me On" videos as well as the pimp cups of Lil Wayne, Ludacris, and Three 6 Mafia, just became available to the rest of us in 7-Eleven's nationwide.

The lightly carbonated beverage, that tastes like yummy grape soda, packs a powerful punch of melatonin, rose hips, and valerian root which act as natural calming agents poised to to slow your roll and ease you into a quality sleep.

This first-ever beverage of its kind is perfect after a hard night of partying or before a trans-Atlantic flight and is a natural alternative to sleep aides. So go ahead - get your lean on!

A Blast from the Past

“Have you ever looked for a favorite food item at the store only to find that it is no longer available? Do you have foods from your childhood that you fondly remember, but can't find?” -Niche Foods Website

I have been looking for Lemon Cookies for what seems like forever and after many fruitless ventures to supermarkets, I gave up. Finally, my prayers have been answered. For those of you that are too young to remember (or who have never tasted their powdered lemon greatness) Lemon cookies- or Coolers as they were once known, are small cookies filled with sweet lemon bits and covered in powdered sugar. The cookies were originally made by Sunshine Biscuits- the originators of Vienna Fingers cookies and Cheez-its. However, when the company merged with cookie giant Keebler in 1996, some brands, such as the Lemon Coolers, were discontinued. Others brands that were discontinued with the merger were Hi-Ho crackers, Hydrox cookies and Chip-a-Roos.

Restaurant Opening: Montenapo

620 8th Avenue (near w. 40th street)

Set to open on May 13th in the New York Times building, the upscale venue will serve Italian cuisine made from organic ingredients. Owners Henry Kallan and Jozef Juck say they had to be innovative in the kitchen. They only use free-range poultry, humanely raised meats and wild fish instead of farm raised. The Italian cuisine featured on the menu will be taken to a new level, using healthier recipes and all-natural ingredients. They will make their own pastas, deserts and breads. Why Italian? Because it’s one of the healthiest cuisines and its comfort food, according to the owners.

Daily Eats: Salt

Cuisine: American Nouveau
Price Range: Expensive

58 MacDougal St.
(between Prince and Houston Street)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 674-4968

With its modern yet casual interior, Salt is more reminiscent of the simple, clean little places nestled in side streets of the sleepy west coast beach towns of Santa Cruz or Carmel than of the chic and bustling streets of Manhattan. Flooded with natural sunlight by day and illuminated by the soft glow of candlelight by night, patrons are instantly put at ease, whether they nestle themselves among the plush pillows lining the windows or take a seat at the bar facing the warm, exposed brick. But there it is, and it’s not to be underestimated by its relaxed ambience.

Restaurant Openings: Salon Tea

Salon Tea
501 E. 75th Street (at York Ave.)

The one place you can find your perfect cup of tea. Inspired by 17th century French salons, Salon Tea serves selections of the purest herbs, spices and botanicals picked from private estates from all over the world. The society hostess, a signature tea, is naturally decaffeinated and a vanilla-infused China black tea fully fermented. You can also chose from a selection of edibles like macaroons with almond flour, madeleines and clotted cream scones.