Want Some Stink With Your Cider?

Cider week is upon us! Having just returned from the Basque region of Spain, I'm newly educated in the intricacies of cider making (and drinking!) and have a whole new appreciation for this beverage. It's more than Martinellis y'all!

Our friends at Stinky Bklyn--in Chelsea--and Back Label Wine Merchants (107 W 20th Street) are celebrating in the best way possible...with a stinky cheese pairing class! On Saturday 11/1 from 4-5pm you can join them to taste a selection of handpicked ciders and cheeses for only $40. The best part is that you get a $20 voucher for anything in the store at the conclusion of your class.

If you want to sip your cider in Brooklyn, the flagship store (215 Smith Street) will be hosting several FREE classes for the duration of the week:

  • Victory Brewing Co. Tasting, Thursday, October 23 @ 6-8 pm: Draft and bottle tastings from Pennsylvania's famed Victory Brewing Company. Beers featured will include Wild Devil, a Brett-fermented IPA, and Storm King, a bittersweet Imperial Stout. They'll also be offering 20% off growler fills!
  • Wolffer Estate Cider Tasting, Saturday, October 25 @2-4 pm: Hailing from the Hamptons, Wolffer Vineyard and Cidery will be in-store with samples of their Dry Rose and Dry White ciders. Borrowing fermentation techniques from their wine production, their ciders are crisp and refreshing, and are great in lieu of wine for your dinner or cheese board.
  • Cider Mimosas, Sunday, October 26 @ 1-3 pm: Say what?? Cider Mimosas? That's right, they're mixing up fresh, tart cider from Champlain Orchards in Vermont with NY's own Critz Farms Rippleton Original Sparkling Hard Cider. It'll become your new Fall brunch libation of choice.
  • Virtue Cider & Crown Finish Caves Cheese Tasting, Saturday, November 1 @ 1-3 pm: They'll be pairing a variety of Virtue ciders with cheese from Crown Finish Caves in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. One featured cheese will be the Humble Herdsman, washed in Virtue's Red Streak. Our beer buyer Aiyana Knauer both suggested and ordered the Red Streak for washing to Benton of Crown Finish Caves, so this tasting will bring all elements of the cheese (and cider) full circle!
  • Guerrilla Hot Sauce Tasting, Saturday, November 1 @ 3-6 pm: Go sample fresh, local hot sauce made by Stinky Bklyn's own cheesemonger Brendon Doyle!
For more NYC Cider Week events, please click here. Happy sipping!


Party Like a Lush

Just got news of a new opening of one of my favorite bath and body stores, LUSH. Check them out tomorrow! It seems like there's swag to be had!


LUSH Herald Square
44 W. 34th Street
RSVP: heraldsquare@lush.com

When: Saturday 10/18 12-5 PM


Uncommonly Great Gifts

Searching for the perfect gift is never easy. You may think you know the perfect item to bequeath to your BFF for her promotion or your father-in-law for his birthday, but how do you decide where to purchase from? Enter Brooklyn-based Uncommon Goods.

The 15-year-old retailer is the perfect place to shop for everyone from your mom, your dog, your boss, and (because why not?) yourself. We're a big fan of their selection of NYC-centric items and eco-friendly packaging, not to mention their commitment to supporting individual artisans and designers. To test out their service, Uncommon Goods recently sent me a pair of their Fern Frond Earrings ($68).

How unique, right? I can't tell you how many compliments I've received on a simple pair of earrings! What I loved most was how they came packaged in a sock-like pouch made of recycled t-shirt material. Score one for the planet!

Among the aforementioned NYC-themed items, our favorites are the following:

Manhattan Rooftop Honey Flight ($45)

Elements of Nyc Pillows ($35-$55)

Hand Embroidered City Pillows ($158)

DIY Embroidery Poster - Brooklyn Bridge ($20)

Comment below with what strikes your fancy. Happy shopping!


A Buzzworthy Happy Hour

Don't get your beans in a bunch, but Monday 9/29 is National Coffee Day! So prep your percolator, clean your Chemex and be ready to celebrate and enjoy some delicious brew (preferably while reading a novel in a cozy wingbacked chair under the comfort of a fuzzy blanket and curled up with a golden doodle...just sayin').

If a fuzzy blanket is not in the cards for you on Monday, the second best option would be to check out the Coffee Happy Hour being hosted by Hudson Valley’s own Crown Maple syrup and Irving Farm at the latter's Grand Central Terminal kiosk from 7-9am.

For $2, they will be serving The Crown Maple Medicine Man--named for a classic cocktail, the drink will include a blend of Crown Maple, lemon and sage and Irving Farm’s Los Lorios coffee blend. The drink will be available after 9am for $4.


Rosh Hashana Ramen?

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, starts tonight and sundown. Traditionally, RH feasts include apples and honey for a sweet new year and round things like pomegranates and circular challah bread to symbolize life's cycles. I'm all for tradition, but I'm also for creating awesome new traditions. So when I saw GrubStreet's list of 10 Delicious Ways to Celebrate Rosh Hashana in New York, I had to share.

Glazed challah braided with marzipan and topped with sliced almonds?!...swoon! Apple-and-honey galettes?...Yes, please! And definitely throw in some of that chopped liver!

For your information, I'm going totally off the wall tomorrow night and indulging in Dassara's Rosh Hashana ramen. Pics to come. Happy and healthy new year to everyone!


Get Your Pink On

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to kick things off right STK is throwing the perfect party for you to get your drink and your pink on, all while raising money for a good cause!

On Tuesday September 30, the steakhouse will teamed up with The Global Party for a night of donating, dancing and a specialty “drink pink” bar featuring the STK signature Strawberry Cobbler composed of Belvedere Vodka, freshly muddled strawberries and finished with a graham cracker crust. Guests are encouraged to donate $20 upon entry to the VIP cocktail party.

Here are the deets:

Where: STK Midtown (1114 Avenue of the Americas)

When: Tuesday 9/30, 6:00-8:00pm

Attire: Business/Casual, Cocktail (wear pink!)

RSVP: Jennifer@thisismission.com

In addition, during the month of October, all STK locations across the globe will be donating 100% of the proceeds from their Strawberry Cobbler cocktail to breast cancer research so guests can continue to help such a worthy cause all month long.


Sorba The Great

Ramen may be the new it food in NYC, but don't you hate it when your noodles and toppings are overrun with broth? Enter Sorba--a new noodle bowl concoction brought to you from Japanese Iron Chef Yuji Wakiya and his new Flatiron restaurant, Koa. The concept of sorba focuses on presentation in a large bowl, handcrafted noodles made from soymilk imported from Japan, and a shallow amount of broth meant to supplement the noodles and toppings, and not the other way around. In addition to sorba, Koa features many traditional Chinese dishes executed with a Japanese flair. I was invited to try the just opened restaurant this past weekend with the boyfriend and would heartily recommend that you check it out!

After being greeted by co-owners Keiko Ono Aoki (of Benihana fame) and Tora Matsuoka, we were seated in the front dining room, which is wrapped in rich wood and decorated with elegant white leather chairs and hanging rope "noodles." The back dining room is designed around a large square bar and features giant iron birdcage chandeliers and hanging tree branches. Tora introduced us to the restaurant concept and designed a menu for us featuring Koa's signature dishes and of course, sake.

We started with the yuzu crispy shrimp with sweet & spicy yuzu pepper cream sauce ($14), crispy crabmeat wontons with coconut chili powder and sweet chili sauce ($10), vegetable spring rolls with sweet miso sauce ($9), and the Szechuan salad ($12).

Crispy crabmeat wontons ($10)
Vegetable spring rolls ($9)

Yuzu crispy shrimp ($14)
Szechuan salad ($12)

The yuzu shrimp was our favorite of the appetizers--tangy, succulent, and crunchy with a late, late kick. It was definitely nice to have a glass of light sake on hand to wash things down with. The Szechuan salad will not be for everyone. It is made with traditionally Szechuan peppercorns that create a tingling, numbing sensation on your tongue as you eat. It is a very different, yet fun, experience. The spring rolls were good but fairly typical and the wontons were great, creamy on the inside but fried to a perfect crisp.

Next up cocktail-wise was the Yu-Gin with Bulldog gin, yuzu juice, cucumber, shiso, and tonic water. It was a refreshing accompaniment to our second course of steamed Chilean sea bass with
broccoli ($29). This was a dish, Aoki explained, that showcased the clean, simple Japanese technique on a typical Chinese dish (which would normally be covered in sauce). Koa's version focused on the freshness of the fish and sprinkled it with some flair--ginger scallion sauce, flecks of bell pepper, and crispy sticks of fried creamy. This was a winning dish for sure.

The Yu-Gin and the front dining room of Koa

Steamed Chilean sea bass ($29)

Next, Tora brought out Koa's signature sorba dish, the soymilk dan dan with ground beef and soymilk broth ($23). If you've ever tried a traditional dan dan noodle dish before, you know the feeling of not being able to stop eating because the second you do you realize how on fire your mouth is, but for some masochistic reason, you go back to slurping. This dish is somewhat reminiscent of that, but much, much milder. That's thanks to the soymilk. The story goes (as we were told twice), that the Iron Chef came to the US and tried the 6 different soymilks available here and spat them all out in disgust. So Koa imports a special brand from Japan which enables dishes like the soymilk dan dan to be very balanced and really shine.

Soymilk dan dan sorba ($23)
We capped things off with a bowl of yuzu sorbet, a very refreshing palate cleanser, and the Lady M cocktail with Ciroc coconut vodka, soy milk, three wishes infused syrup, and premium matcha green tea. The cocktail was one of my favorite items of the night and would go back just for that dessert drink--super creamy but no dairy!

Yuzu sorbet

Lady M cocktail

Koa just opened for weekend service so it was pretty empty when we were there (usually a red flag for me), but I'm sure with word of mouth and a few adventurous ramen lovers looking for something a little different, this will soon be a tough reservation to snag. Check it out and let us know what you think.

KOA Restaurant on Urbanspoon