AWESOME ALERT: Get $20 to Spend at the Zaarly Bazaar Just for Showing Up

You know Ebay. You know Etsy. Heck you might even know of Chirpify. But if you've ever felt the yearning for some good local old school commerce, Zaarly is where it's at. Using this new website, you can order a birthday cake, find custom made goods, and discover expert services and experiences.

Tomorrow, Zaarly is hosting a bazaar in Williamsburg from 3-6 pm at The Space at 50 N 3rd (located in The Villian) and they want you to come! Best of all, you'll get $20 to spend just for walking in the door, as well as free food and drinks!

It looks as though the free tickets are sold out online, however, you will still be able to enter if you have not reserved in advance. So if you fancy some soup in a jar, bespoke stationary, or maybe a terrarium or 2, why not stop by and see if your neighbors on Zaarly have something that suits your fancy.


Walk Like a New Yorker and Beat MS!

Every year for the last ten years I have walked in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Walk MS to raise awareness of the debilitating disease, fundraise to bring about new research breakthroughs, and honor my mom who was diagnosed when I was in high school. Walk MS 2013, a 6-mile walk starting at South Street Seaport and heading over the Brooklyn Bridge, is coming up in exactly one month. Over the past 10 years my team has raised more than $16 thousand and I'm aiming to raise another $2,500 this year.

By viewing my personal fundraising page, you can learn more about my personal story, why I walk and the meaning behind the team name, Straight Shooters 2. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will be sunny and warm as we walk across through the gorgeous area of Brooklyn Heights with our poster held high.

Straight Shooters 2 at the 2012 Walk MS

I would love to have any and all of my awesome readers participate and join the MS movement! To do so, you can either donate on my fundraising page, join my walk team (you get a free t-shirt if you raise $125 or more!), and/or come out for an open bar at Turtle Bay on Saturday April 13 from 8-11 pm! For $40, you'll enjoy a beer, wine and well liquor open bar, with $10 going to support our team! For more details on the open bar, RSVP here.

An Elegant Afternoon of Eating Cookies

I told you all about last week's Macaron Day and you're ever so thankful about that notice right? Either that or you're slapping yourself now for not participating and missing out on all the goodness. Well here's a recap of my experience.

I'm fortunate to work in a neighborhood surrounded by participating macaron bakeries so at lunch I went with a couple coworkers on a mini-macaron scavenger hunt. After lunch in the Plaza Food Hall (yay Luke's Lobster!), our first stop was FP Patisserie. There I chose the chocolate and nibs macaron, which I found delightful. The chocolate flavor wasn't too overpowering, and the macaron's texture was perfect (read: the cookies themselves were hollow like they're supposed to be).

Chocolate and nibs macaron from FP Patisserie
Gift boxes
Macaron display

Our next stop was Macaron Cafe on 59th Street and they win the award for the most amount of flavors and colors (some are even sparkly!). I decided on classic pistachio, though I was tempted by the lavender vanilla and nutella cookies. These macarons were a bit denser but full-flavored and a good all-around cookie.

Macarons at Macaron Cafe
Pistachio Macaron
Lastly we stopped in the china store Bernardaud for MadMac macarons. Their display was very elegant and they were sampling 4 flavors. I chose raspberry and my coworkers and I decided that MadMac wins the award for best macaron of the day. We even met the chef Florian Bellanger, from Cupcake Wars!

MadMac Macarons
My raspberry macaron

This is always a great event and I particularly loved the charitable aspect. A percentage of every purchase at participating bakeries went to one of NYC's greatest charities -- CityHarvest. I hope they were able to feed a lot of people based on New Yorkers' love for macarons!


Get Ready for a Virtual Food Coma

There's one day a year that I purposefully hold back food all day in order to prepare myself for a bit of a binge. That day in 2013 was yesterday for Choice Eats!

As I lined up with fellow gluttons outside of the the 69th Regiment Armory, I could feel my insides churning and my mouth salivating over what promised to be the biggest and baddest food event NYC would see all year. We were let into the VIP room downstairs, and despite being ridiculously warm, it was nice because we got a sneak preview of many of the food samples without the crowds. Here, my friend Laura and I tried the chicken chorizo sandwich from Brooklyn Cured, bite-sized chicken pot pies from City Grit, truly awesome kale chips (and unfortunately I didn't catch the restaurant that made them, anyone know?), BBQ pork ribs from Pig and Khao, a jam goat grilled cheese from Mrs. Dorsey's Kitchen, 2 different pretzels with 2 different dipping mustards at Sigmund's Pretzels, cheese from Beecher's, and, for the most unusual bite of the night, a red wine marinated egg from Thirty Acres.

Chicken Chorizo Sandwich (Brooklyn Cured)
Bite-Sized Chicken Pot Pies (City Grit)
Kale Chips
BBQ Pork Ribs (Pig and Khao)
Salted and Truffle Cheddar Pretzels with Wholegrain and Beet Horseradish Mustards (Sigmund's Pretzels)
Jam Goat Grilled Cheese (Mrs. Dorsey's Kitchen)
Beecher's Cheese
Red Wine Marinated Egg (Thirty Acres)
Then Laura and I entered the main tent armed with a set of rules (split mostly everything, no drinking until we're done eating, eat as little bread as possible, etc.) which made our Choice Eats experience flow seamlessly.

First stops were set aside for seafood. None of the lobster roll places were actually serving lobster rolls, which sucked, but was as expected. We did a shrimp roll taste test between Luke's Lobster and Red Hook Lobster Pound and Luke's won by a landslide. Everything they do is simple and delicious, showcasing the fresh seafood, while Red Hook seemed to hide their shrimp in lettuce and mayonnaise.

Shrimp Roll (Luke's Lobster)
Shrimp Roll (Red Hook Lobster Pound)
We then made our way around the event guessing which tables would run out or garner the biggest crowds. First stop, The Meatball Shop for their buffalo chicken balls, and good thing we did, because the lines for these guys were CRAZY later on. In the same row we visited Txikito for their Patatas Riojanas (braised lamb with chorizo and potato Alava style) and Rosamunde Sausage Grill for their beer sausage

Buffalo Meatball (The Meatball Shop)
Patatas Riojanas (Txikito)
Beer Sausage (Rosamunde Sausage Grill)
There was lots more meat to be had on the south side of the armory (is this paleo thing really starting to catch on?). First there was country pate with spicy tomato jam and pigs ears at Resto, pastrami sliders with coleslaw from John Brown Smokehouse, and (one of my favorites) Greek coffee rubbed skirt steak and sesame crusted fried feta from Ovelia Psistaria Bar.

Country Pate with spicy tomato jam and pigs ears (Resto)

Pastrami Sliders with Coleslaw (John Brown Smokehouse)
Ovelia Psistaria Bar
Although I didn't sample anything from Pulino's, they has an awesome display of antipasti and tiramisu. Allswell was also serving up some mighty fine meat pies. We got the chorizo pie (I sensed a big chorizo trend last night), and I loved the buttery, flaky crust.

Antipasti and Tiramisu (Pulino's)
Chorizo Pie (Allswell)
Then we, of course, stopped for a dessert break; boozy cupcakes from Butter & Scotch, Almond Joy Bastoncini and Farro-Walnut Burgers (I know, not dessert) from Del Posto (who always has an amazing table at Choice Eats), and cannoli from Carlo's Bakery.

Boozy Cupcakes (Butter & Scotch)
Farro-Walnut Burger (Del Posto)
Almond Joy Bastoncini (Del Posto)
Dessert Display (Carlo's Bakery)
We started to slow down, but quickly got a second wind as we made our way down the center aisle. Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue was serving up delicious chopped barbecued pork sliders (although the pickles were a bit too intense and briney for me), while Joe Dough replaced their giant sandwich display from last year with a buttermilk biscuit with breakfast sausage and wildflower honey butter (this girl loooooooooves her biscuits, so that made me happy).

Chopped Barbecued Pork Sliders (Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue)
Buttermilk Biscuit with Breakfast Sausage and Wildflower Honey Butter (Joe Dough)
The chets at Porchetta were dishing out super moist porchetta crostini and the currywurst at Landbrot Bakery & Bar really had a lot of great flavor and spice.

Currywurst (Landbrot Bakery & Bar
The next and almost last 5 bites were perhaps my favorites of the night. Dirt Candy always surprises me with their ingenuity and last night was no exception; I loved their cherry tomato tart with smoked feta. El Amacen also hit it out of the park with their hand cut steak empanadas, ceviche de bife, and costilla de res (Malbec braised shortrib). Anyone that knows me knows that truffle is the way to my heart, and Max found my heart with their porcini ravioli with truffled cream sauce. Those were all great, but I've been telling everyone about the double decker broccoli taco from No. 7 as well as the pork bun with caramelized onions from Nom Wah Tea Parlor.

Cherry Tomato Tart with Smoked Feta (Dirt Candy)
Hand Cut Steak Empanadas, Ceviche de Bife, and Costilla de Res (Malbec Braised Shortrib)
Porcini Ravioli with Truffled Cream Sauce
Double Decker Broccoli Taco with Peanuts, Feta, and Black Beans (No. 7)

Mini Steamed Pork Bun with Caramelized Onions (Nom Wah Tea Parlor)
Mexico Lindo impressed me again this year with their tamales with mole and butternut squash, and after hearing someone describe the fried chicken from Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter as "bangin,'" we had to try it ourselves. It was pretty yummy indeed.

Tamales with Mole and Butternut Squash (Mexico Lindo)
A Mini Fried Chicken Picnic (Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter)
Before we gave up completely, we headed back to the Choice Sweets section for some Bonfire Minis -- cocoa waffle cookie, dark chocolate ganache, salted caramel sauce, roasted meringue -- from The Good Batch and Asian sweets from Fay Da Bakery, not to mention some bubble tea!

Bonfire Minis (The Good Batch)
Asian Sweets (Fay Da Bakery)
Laura and I rocking Smartwater, beer, and bubble tea from Fay Da
All in all, it was a successful night. I was definitely full, but not to the "past-full" level I had gotten to in years passed. We got to most of what we wanted before the crowds loomed, which was key, and I left with a goodie bag from whole foods (woot woot!). With all that said...who's ready for Choice Streets?


Holy Macaron-y!

We all love macarons but we all gawk at the ridiculous price tags and find it hard to justify purchasing more than one, am I right? Having attempted to make the confections more than once, I can understand first hand why macarons are so expensive--if you've ever tried, you know what I mean! However, it's because of this fact that tomorrow March 20, 2013 will be one of your most favorite days this Spring.

Sponsored by François Payard Bakery and benefiting Cityharvest, Macaron Day will feature many bakeries throughout NYC, EACH giving away free macarons all day tomorrow. Quantities are limited though, so I'd recommend you make this your lunch tomorrow. That's what I'm going to do :)

Here is the list of participating bakeries in Manhattan (go here for the full list):

Bisous, Ciao. Macarons, 101 Stanton Street (212) 260-3463, and 235 Bleecker Street (212)-675-6366
Bosie Tea Parlor, 10 Morton Street (212) 352-9900
Bakery at Time Warner Center, Ten Columbus Circle, Third Floor, (212) 823-9366
Bouchon Bakery at Rockefeller Center, One Rockefeller Plaza, (212) 782-3890
Butterfield Market, 1114 Lexington Avenue (212) 288-7800
Épicerie Boulud, 1900 Broadway, (212) 595-0303
Francois Payard Bakery, 1775 Broadway/3 Columbus Circle, (212) 956-1775
FP Patisserie, 1 W 59th St, (212) 759-1600
Macaron Café, 161 West 36th Street (212) 566-8300, 44 E. 59th Street (212)995-0888, and 750 Third Avenue (212)995-0888
Macaron Parlour, 111 St. Marks Place (347) 979-6023
Mad-Mac “The Authentic French Macarons” at Bernardaud, 499 Park Avenue at 59th Street, (973) 225-0930
Mille Feuille Bakery and Café, 552 Laguardia Pl (646) 626-6472
Todd English Food Hall at The Plaza Hotel, 1 W 59th St, (212) 986-9260


AWESOME GIVEAWAY: 2 Tickets to F#%king Up Everything

Everyone loves a good curse word, it can't be denied. That's why I can proclaim without even seeing it that F#%king Up Everything must be an amazing show.

The show is a rock musical comedy with bongs, thongs and indie rock songs. It's also an old-fashioned boy-meets-girl love story. When these Brooklyn hipsters aren’t true to who they are, they ruin everything. Especially children’s puppeteer Christian Schwartzelberg when he meets singer-songwriter Juliana, the girl of his dreams.

Featuring a sexy, young cast of Broadway's rising stars including Max Crumm (Grease)​, Jason
Gotay (Bring It On)​, George Salazar (Godspell)​, and Dawn Cantwell (NYMF's Next Broadway
Sensation), a score that rocks the house, and an award winning book by David Eric Davis and Sam
Forman, F#%king Up Everything​ will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you with a
“heart on” for days on end.

All my readers are in luck! I'm giving away a pair of tickets to F#%king Up Everything! There are 4 easy ways to win, and each comment counts as an entry. Be sure to leave your email in each comment so that I can contact you if you are the winner.

1) REQUIRED - Follow this blog by clicking on the button on the right panel and leave a comment below letting me know you did so.

2) REQUIRED - Leave a comment letting me know what the last thing was you f#%ked up (bonus points if anything awesome came of it).

3) Follow me on Twitter @yaelleah and leave a comment below letting me know you did so.

4) Tweet about this contest "I just entered to win 2 tix to @fueonstage on Awesome In New York! http://bit.ly/Zmp2ar" and let me know with a link to your tweet.

Winners will be chosen using Random.org on Monday 3/11. You have until Monday 3/11 at 12 p.m. EST to enter the contest. Good luck!

Congratulations Jerseygirl137! She was the 5th commenter and wins a pair of tickets to F#%king Up Everything! Thanks to everyone for entering and stay awesome!