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First Course

CHEAP EATS
Virgola NYC is Offering $1 Oysters All Month Long

Like Oysters? Like not spending a lot of money?

Good news: Virgola, the oyster and Italian wine bar located in the West Village, will be offering delicious oysters all month long for the price of a candy bar at the dollar store. What could possibly be better than that?

The oyster selection will change everyday, but the price tag on will remain the same, just like your constant, hopeless love.

LIQUID COURAGE
Mark Your Calendar for Le Gran Cercle in Le Gran Pomme

Wine enthusiasts, assemble! Especially the lovers of Bordeaux, Cabernet fiends, Right and Left Bank aficionados, and Francophiles. We have found the perfect way for you to dually celebrate your love of Bordeaux wines with the impending joy of spring: Le Grand des Vins de Bordeaux Wine Tasting on April 9th.

With the recent union of premier Merlot winemakers of the Right Bank with the premier Cabernet winemakers of the Left Bank, the newly christened Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux organization has joined hands in welcoming over 200 chateaux to embark on a mission to expose wine drinkers the world over to this region’s magnificent product.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
Sneak Preview: The 3rd Annual Choice Streets on May 7th

New York, NY -- The Intrepid plays host to the most delicious food truck rainbow to ever grace the west side. Tickets for the Choice Streets 3rd Annual Food Truck Event go on sale Wednesday, April 2nd, and will feature 20+ of NYC's best food trucks, including old school favorites like Coolhaus, Nuchas, and Korilla, and fresh new trucks like Moo Shu Grill and Sweet Chilli NYC. The event will take place on May 7th, 2014 (rain date May 9th), and will feature three tiers of ticket prices and options. Alll ticketholders will be offered complimentary food tasting, unlimited beverages, complimentary access to the Intrepid Museum (a $22 value on its own) and entertainment throughout the night.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
A Delicious Champagne Brunch at the New Jersey Food & Wine Festival

The New Jersey Food & Wine Festival held their sixth annual soiree at Crystal Springs Resort this past weekend. We attended the lavish Champagne Brunch on Sunday, March 30th, which was held in the luxurious Emerald Ballroom where the high ceilings and chandeliers made the brunch even grander. Guests sat at large round tables while waiters offered coffee and, of course, champagne. The guests were then able to walk up to the buffet style layout of the brunch where they chose different foods from an omelet station, a juicing station, a waffle, pancake, and French toast station, ham and roast beef station, cheese spread, and a table full of bread, croissants, muffins, bagels, and other breakfast pastries.

DELICIOUS DEBUTS
Tessa to Open Tomorrow Night + More Spring Openings


For foodies, this spring is bound to bear more than just warm weather.

Tessa, a well-designed Mediterranean joint, will be moving into a prime 1,750-square-foot space on the Upper West Side that has seen restaurants come and go over the years. Named after one of the owner’s daughters, it is to feature world class French and Italian flavors. The spot will be headed by Chef Cedric Tovar, who has spent time at both Bobo and Rosemary’s, both gems in the downtown culinary scene. Similar to other up-and-coming restaurants north of Lincoln Center, Tessa features modern design with equal attention to both form and function. The design showcases a ground level bar area and an upstairs dining room. Tessa opens this Thursday. It is located at 349 Amsterdam Avenue.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
92Y Teaches Us All We Wanted to Know About Food and Cooking in Jewish Culture

Last week, Joonbug.com had the pleasure of attending one of the awesome talks from the Food and Wine program at the 92Y. The evening was titled “More Than Matzah Balls: Food and Cooking in Jewish Culture,” and it definitely changed the way we thought about Jewish food.

Here in New York--and arguably, all over the U.S.--we have this idea about Jewish cooking that’s very traditionally based in Ashkenazi (Western and Eastern European) Jewish culture. You know, the average Bubbe standards: chicken soup with matzo balls, gefilte fish, chopped liver, etc. However, as the talk’s panelists explained, there’s a whole lot more to Jewish food than that. The palate of Jewish cooking, inspired by the worldwide diaspora of Jews, is actually quite diverse, sourced both from western and eastern culinary cultures.

TOP 5
Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month!

The month of April, already admired for its warmer temperatures and promising showers, also plays host to a very notable month long holiday—National Grilled Cheese Month. And whether you’re a fan of white American, brie, or even the traditional cheddar, you’ll be amazed by the many ways restaurants across NYC are dishing out in order to provide customers with the best grilled cheese sandwiches possible. Here are our Top restaurants which are serving up grilled cheese spin-offs for you to visit and enjoy this month:

Featuring a seasonal menu, this restaurant should definitely be the first stop on your sandwich adventure. The menu is almost completely made up of grilled cheese options, such as a breakfast sandwich of crispy pork belly, egg, Gouda, gruyere, and kewpie mayonnaise on a brioche bun or a classic Muenster and white American on peasant bread for lunch. But be warned, not all of the options are this standard. Those who love the taste of blue cheese can sink their teeth into the pear puree, stilton, toasted walnut, and sliced pear sandwich, or grab a protein booster and try a sharp white cheddar, avocado mash, lemon, and herbed kewpie mayo on peasant bread. With so many other options, there’s an opportunity for a person with any taste to find something to love, so bring your friends and take a trip downtown!

CULINARY OCCASIONS
Weekend Pick: 5th Annual Meatball Slapdown at Brooklyn Brewery

When: Thursday, April 3rd, 7pm

DELICIOUS DEBUTS
Tavern on the Green to Reopen in May

The New York City icon, Tavern on the Green, is finally set to reopen.

The restaurant, in the middle of Central Park, was originally built in 1934, and quickly became a landmark tourist destination renowned for its beautiful location and over-the-top décor. In 2007, it was the second highest-grossing independent restaurant in America. Unfortunately, Tavern on the Green’s rapid growth led to problems, as the restaurant owned a reputation for low-quality food and filed a $2.2 million employee discrimination settlement. The Tavern could not survive the financial crisis, and shuttered in 2009.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
Cooking Paella with Tio Pepe

On March 28th, Joonbug.com was lucky enough to be invited to a cooking demonstration at New York City’s own Tio Pepe in honor of World Paella Day where we were treated with an impromptu wine tasting and desert sampling. For those who don’t know, paella is a traditional Spanish dish. Almost like Spain’s version of Jambalaya, it’s considered to be “scavenger food” made with rice, meats, and veggies.