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

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.

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.

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.

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.


One of my friends posted a picture to Facebook over the weekend showing cleverly arranged waffles, bacon and fruit on plates for his kids. I don’t have kids, but I can have fun, too. Here’s my take on David Honig’s porpoiseful breakfast plate.

Creative side to pancake plate

After a neighbor complained that she could only find “five or six” organic foods in Washington Heights or Inwood, I started collecting data that shows otherwise. In fact, the selection of organic, local and natural items available in northern Manhattan has increased significantly just in the four months since started compiling this directory. Now, healthy and… Continue reading

Green tea health benefits.
Penn State researchers find green tea has potential value in fighting oral cancer. Photo by Nathan Cooke. Used with permission under Creative Commons license.

Researchers at Penn State say they have found another point to add to the growing list of green tea benefits, this time potential anti-cancer effect. Their research shows that a compound in green tea targets mouth cancer cells, without harming healthy cells. Read more at

According to a news release from the researchers:

Earlier studies had shown that epigallocatechin-3-gallate — EGCG — a compound found in green tea, killed oral cancer cells without harming normal cells, but researchers did not understand the reasons for its ability to target the cancer cells, said Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science and co-director of Penn State’s Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health. The current study shows that EGCG may trigger a process in the mitochondria that leads to cell death.

“EGCG is doing something to damage the mitochondria and that mitochondrial damage sets up a cycle causing more damage and it spirals out, until the cell undergoes programmed cell death,” said Lambert. “It looks like EGCG causes the formation of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells, which damages the mitochondria, and the mitochondria responds by making more reactive oxygen species.”

(Source: Penn State News Office)