“You drove from New York City to Quebec to get some cheese,” asked the obviously skeptical Canadian border guard. He allowed me to proceed after I gave the only right answer: “There are many outstanding cheeses made in Quebec, sir.”

And the next adventure begins.   

 
  

Native American Crafts for sale.
Native crafts for sale at annual Indian heritage festival in Inwood, NYC.

One of the highlights of summer in the city is the array of festivals each year. In northern Manhattan, Drums Along The Hudson is an annual Native American festival that has become an annual attraction, drawing hundreds from the local neighborhoods and beyond. Traditional foods like fry bread, storytelling, and face painting are among the highlights, along with performances and demonstrations of dances and chants passed on from generations of indigenous peoples.

Here’s a short video that captures the spirit:

Here's 45-seconds that I hope captures the spirit of today's Drums Along the Hudson festival of Native American culture, held in Inwood Hill Park. (Good shot of Luis Ramos dancing at the end.)

Posted by Doug Levy on Sunday, June 14, 2015

Chefs had fun, too.
Marcus Samuelsson, Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Aaron Sanchez pictured.
Charles' Country Fried Chicken
Charles' Country Fried Chicken served a traditional soul food sampler, with Charles' signature chicken.
Co-Founder and host Marcus Samuelsson
Chef Marcus Samuelsson greeted guests arriving for the Harlem Stroll.
Sylvia's
Chicken and waffle, appetizer style, from Sylvia's.
Spring pea soup
Sweet spring pea soup by the Sylvia Center was one of the most memorable bites.
Co-host Bill Clinton
President Clinton poses with workers on his way out from the Harlem Stroll.
The Stroll
Part of Morningside Park was converted into the Harlem Stroll for two days.
Jerk Chicken, British Virgin Islands Style
Jerk chicken with sweet potato puree, promoting Caribbean travel.
Shaved asparagus salad
The Grange served an asparagus and prosciutto salad.
Texas beer Shiner Bock
Apparently Shiner Bock is popular in Harlem.
Crowds around chefs
The stars were out, and accessible at the Harlem Stroll.
Chefs had fun, too.
Marcus Samuelsson, Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Aaron Sanchez pictured.
Chefs had fun, too.
Marcus Samuelsson, Scott Conant, Al...
Charles' Country Fried Chicken
Charles' Country Fried Chicken served a traditional soul food sampler, with Charles' signature chicken.
Charles' Country Frie
Charles' Country Fried Chicken serv...
Co-Founder and host Marcus Samuelsson
Chef Marcus Samuelsson greeted guests arriving for the Harlem Stroll.
Co-Founder and host M
Chef Marcus Samuelsson greeted gues...
Sylvia's
Chicken and waffle, appetizer style, from Sylvia's.
Sylvia's
Chicken and waffle, appetizer style...
Spring pea soup
Sweet spring pea soup by the Sylvia Center was one of the most memorable bites.
Spring pea soup
Sweet spring pea soup by the Sylvia...
Co-host Bill Clinton
President Clinton poses with workers on his way out from the Harlem Stroll.
Co-host Bill Clinton
President Clinton poses with worker...
The Stroll
Part of Morningside Park was converted into the Harlem Stroll for two days.
The Stroll
Part of Morningside Park was conver...
Jerk Chicken, British Virgin Islands Style
Jerk chicken with sweet potato puree, promoting Caribbean travel.
Jerk Chicken, British
Jerk chicken with sweet potato pure...
Shaved asparagus salad
The Grange served an asparagus and prosciutto salad.
Shaved asparagus sala
The Grange served an asparagus and ...
Texas beer Shiner Bock
Apparently Shiner Bock is popular in Harlem.
Texas beer Shiner Boc
Apparently Shiner Bock is popular i...
Crowds around chefs
The stars were out, and accessible at the Harlem Stroll.
Crowds around chefs
The stars were out, and accessible ...

First attempts to produce major festivals rarely go this well. The inaugural Harlem Eat Up proved what is possible when committed chefs and the community come together and invest professional resources — and lots of their own time to make a big event happen.

Harlem Eat Up is a four-day series of special meals, workshops, chef talks, and tastings celebrating the renaissance of culinary arts in Harlem. In the years since Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Malcolm X Boulevard near 125th Street, a long list of restaurants have followed.

The centerpiece, called the Harlem Stroll, consisted of tasting events on both weekend afternoons. Some of Harlem’s top-rated restaurants offered samples, along with dozens of beer and wine samples.

On the demonstration stage, chef Aaron Sanchez joked that he learned about herbs in Morningside Park when he was a teenager in the neighborhood. A lot has changed In those 20 or so years, including that Sanchez is a Food Network star, co-owner with John Besh of Johnny Sanchez in New Orleans and Baltimore, and chef/partner of Paloma, in Stamford, Ct.

Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez having fun at Harlem Eat Up.
Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez having fun at Harlem Eat Up.

Fans of television food shows had plenty to satisfy their cravings. Throughout the afternoon, some of the most familiar faces from television kitchens were visible and accessible. Daniel Bouloud walked around, while Scott Conant and Alex Guarnaschelli were part of the peanut gallery as Sanchez performed a cooking demonstration emceed by Samuelsson.

“Why does it always have to be white beans,” declared Samuelsson as Sanchez pureed beans with fish to make a version of brandade. The two bantered back and forth with good-natured jokes about each other’s ethnic and culinary background, but they saved their biggest barbs for chefs who weren’t there. Clearly, it was all in good fun.

Next year likely will be even better, but this was a fabulous start.

 

Marcus Samuelsson and Bill Clinton greeted crowds of food fans to the first (and hopefully annual) Harlem Stroll, a festival of diversity, showing off Harlem’s restaurants, neighborhood organizations, and the work of local artists. 

Celebrity chefs, local restaurateurs, and their fans strolled around three tents of tastings.

Celebrity chefs Scott Conant, Marcus Samuelsson, Alex Guarnaschelli, and AaronSanchez were among the attendees.

Former President Clinton poses with workers as he exited the event.
 
 

Highlights so far include a sweet spring pea soup by the Sylvia Center, Jerk Chicken slider by Harlem Shake, and a tasting plate by Charles’ Country Fried Chicken. 

And a hilarious cooking demo by Aaron Sanchez with Samuelsson, as other TV star chefs egged them on. 

Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez on stage.

This Middle Eastern street food vendor demonstrates one of the most impressive frying techniques I have seen. Watch him in this video to see him craft perfect  little balls of fried dough (which a Jordanian friend of my calls “floats”) and flips them into the fryer from a distance. Fun to watch, and probably fun to eat.

 

بالفيديو: أسرع وأمهر صانع “عوامة” في الأردن

Posted by Alghad Newspaper on Monday, March 2, 2015

Thanks to my friend Primo for help translating and understanding the original post.

Karen Greene has a passion for preserving these receptacles, according to an article in Crain’s New York Business about her photography of Art Deco mailbox masterpieces.

So glad to see my neighbor Karen Greene doing good work like this — and getting recognized for it.

A clinical psychologist, she is also an amateur photographer with a passion for documenting the city’s Art Deco mailboxes. Last year, Art Deco Mailboxes, the book she co-wrote featuring her pictures, was published by W.W. Norton, and she’s now speaking to New York art aficionados about the cultural importance of century-old letter receptacles.

‘Karen has done a marvelous thing by focusing attention on something we see all the time but don’t really think about anymore,’ said Roberta Nusim, president of the Art Deco Society of New York.

Source: She’s got mail: On a mission to save the city’s Art Deco mailboxes | Crain’s New York Business

Also check out the book that includes Karen’s photographs:

 

Cochon Butcher restaurant, New Orleans Here’s a glimpse of one of the best meals I had in New Orleans recently. Cochon Butcher is the casual side of Chef Donald Link’s New Orleans restaurant family. Cold cuts made on the spot, sausages hanging all around, and house-made pickles result in a terrific place to enjoy high-quality interpretations of New Orleans style cuisine. http://www.cochonbutcher.com/

Posted by Doug Levy on Sunday, May 3, 2015

Here’s a glimpse of one of the best meals I had in New Orleans recently. Cochon Butcher is the casual side of Chef Donald Link’s New Orleans restaurant family. Cold cuts made on the spot, sausages hanging all around, and house-made pickles result in a terrific place to enjoy high-quality interpretations of New Orleans style cuisine. http://www.cochonbutcher.com/

Cochon Butcher on Urbanspoon

The marketers of New Zealand wine took an idea started by St. Supery winery in California six years ago and helped turn Sauvignon Blanc Day into a global event, with tastings around the world on Friday, April 24, so that the day stretches into two on social media. Fair enough: Many New Zealand wines are worthy of such attention. Although some of my favorite NZ wines are pinot noir, more than two-thirds of all wine produced in New Zealand is Sauvignon Blanc.

Many people may recognize New Zealand wines among some of the lowest price wines sold in the United States — it’s not hard to find respectable bottles for around $10. Some of this results from efficient bottling and transport (some wines are bulk shipped to California for bottling and distribution.) And, New Zealand benefits from the relatively recent development of its wine industry — mostly within the past  30 years or so.

This week, I tasted two sample bottles from Nobilo. Both were good; one I look forward to enjoying again. Other enjoyable NZ Sauvignon Blancs I’ve had include  ones by Ata Rangi (the 2011 was velvety soft); Wairau River and Cloudy Bay.

New Zealand wine
Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc is a good value at around $12.
The better of the two bottles was 2014 Nobilo Regional Sauvignon Blanc. Pale straw hues, pronounced grapefruit flavor, and a long, mineral finish, this dry wine worked well with spicy foods and strong cheese, and it would match many seafood dishes perfectly. At around $14 a bottle, this represents a very good wine for the price.

The other sample was 2014 Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc. Definitely more complex, this wine’s high acidity and light body belies the expected silky balance. The nose had notes of gasoline (petrol if I follow the standard wine flavor glossaries,) flowers, apricot and bell pepper. Grapefruit dominates the flavor, with some white and black pepper. Still a good value for around $17, the balance of the $14 Nobilo Regional still wins for me.

These are only two of hundreds of good New. Zealand wines available in the United States. One advantage of the Global Economy is greater opportunity to enjoy products from around the world. New Zealand wines fit that category quite nicely.

This post was based in part on sample wines provided by the producers.