Showing posts with label Thrillist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thrillist. Show all posts


What You Missed at Thrillist's 2015 Taco Knockout

Remember when I told you about an epic taco event taking place this past weekend? Well, it was flipping fantastic and indeed epic.

Thrillist Taco Knockout pinataThrillist Taco Knockout event

Thrillist's 2015 Taco Knockout drew more than 600 people to the Hudson Hotel's Tequila Park Taqueria on Saturday May 2. There were pinatas and sombreros and tons to eat with 10 different tacos from NYC restaurants all competing for the acclaimed Taco Knockout belt. 

The 2014 Taco Knockout belt
Armed with empty stomaches, my pals and I had a mission to try all 10 in the 4 hours we were allotted and we felt the mission was more than doable. We were given our cocktail tickets and a fancy blue chip in which to vote for our favorite.

First things first...Milagro cocktails! I tried the "Freshest Margarita" while my friends sipped on the "Paloma Milagrosa."

Milagro cocktails at the Thrillist Taco Knockout event

Margarita at the Thrillist Taco Knockout event

Then we got right down to it. Here's the listing of tacos in the order we tried them and our thoughts on their merits:

Chef Alfonso Ruiz & Chef Tom Casatelli’s Sunset Pork with chipotle pineapple pork, pickled jalapeno corn tortilla, picked red onion & chipotle crema: This creation from Ho'Brah was a fairly standard taco, but delicious nonetheless. The meat was cooked nicely but the flavor combination was nothing special.

Sunset Pork Taco from Ho'Brah
Sunset Pork Taco from Ho'Brah
Chef Robert Cho’s Cho Nut Taco with smoked brisket, bacon, smoked kimchi, bourbon chipotle sauce, cheddar cheese, fried ramen crumble on a buttered fried tortilla with powdered sugar: This was a real flavor explosion from the chefs at Kimchi Smoke. They combined traditional Korean flavors with downhome-style BBQ deliciousness. The powdered sugar and fried ramen crumbles were unexpected yet welcome.

Cho Nut Taco from Kimchi Smoke
Cho Nut Taco from Kimchi Smoke
Tequila Park Taqueria Executive Chef Geoff Rudaw’s Chicken Vindaloo Taco with mango chutney, raita & crispy mee krob noodles: This was my favorite hands down and the one I voted for. I love it when flavor combinations from different ends of the world meet and this taco epitomized that concept. The only thing we wanted was a bit more heat.

Chicken Vindaloo Taco from Tequila Park Taqueria
Chicken Vindaloo Taco from Tequila Park Taqueria
Executive Chef Jesús Nuñez’s Taco y Olé with beef oxtail, fried egg cream, piquillo pepper, crispy jamon Serrano, herbs and pickled veggies: This taco, from Socarrat Paella Bar was another flavor fusion. We also appreciated how colorful it was, and I was a big fan of how the sauces mixed well in each individual bite.

Taco y Olé
Taco y Olé from Socarrat Paella Bar
Chefs & Owners Eduard Fraundeer & Wolfgang Ben’s Crispy Chicken Schnitzel Taco with ramp remoulade, radish and Austrian pumpkinseed salsa: "I love ramps," my friend exclaimed as she took a bite into this taco. The chefs from Edi & The Wolf really threw a curve ball with this taco, both because it was the first hard shell we had tasted and also because...schnitzel!?! It was much enjoyed, especially because of the ramps.

Crispy Chicken Schnitzel Taco from Edi & The Wolf
Crispy Chicken Schnitzel Taco from Edi & The Wolf
Chef Thomas Kelly’s Smoky Carnitas Tacos with manchego, crispy tortilla strips, corn salsa & creamy chipotle: Food truck cum storefront Mexicue went all-out comfort food with their taco. All together I thought it tasted reminiscent of a cheeseburger, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. My only complaint about this taco was how much liquid spilled out whenever I tried to take a bite. Definitely not something to eat on a first date.

Smoky Carnitas Tacos from Mexicue
Smoky Carnitas Taco from Mexicue
Chef Barry Frish​’s Buffalo Chicken Taquitos with family secret buffalo sauce and bleu cheese/ranch dip: When we first saw these creations from Taquitoria, a conversation was instantly sparked on the glories of Costco taquitos my friends and I apparently both devoured in middle school (those were the days). These babies were served with a combination sauce that had a bit of a big kick. The glory of the dipping sauce was though that you could control how much you wanted. Thanks for the walk down memory lane Taquitoria!

Buffalo Chicken Taquitos from Taquitoria
Buffalo Chicken Taquitos from Taquitoria
Executive Chef Adrian Ramirez’s Mahi Mahi BLT Taco with grilled mahi mahi, chipotle-piloncillo bacon, shredded lettuce, lime pico de gallo, agave cilantro aioli: Frankly, I'm surprised we didn't see more fish tacos. This version from La Esquina was perfect for me and almost earned my vote although my friends thought it was a bit too spicy. The thing that most impressed me about this taco was that the chefs were making the tortillas right in front of us. Talk about fresh!

Mahi Mahi BLT Taco from La Equina
Mahi Mahi BLT Taco from La Equina
Executive Chef Sasha Shor’s House-Cured Smoked Pork Belly Taco with poblano lime ranch and hot pink pickled onions: Talk about flavor! This taco from Tres Carnes was the ultimate in mega-rich taco with homemade pork belly that melted in your mouth. I also got a kick out of the hot pink onions.

House-Cured Pork Belly Taco from Tres Carnes
House-Cured Pork Belly Taco from Tres Carnes
Executive Chef Brian Tsao’s Beef Bulgogi Tacos with wonton skins, Asian pear, kimchi slaw, toasted sesame & scallion: Last but not least, this taco from Mira Sushi & Izakaya wins the award for most likely not a taco, but it was still good anyway. The crispy wonton shell gave it an interesting flair and the beef was flavorful.

Beef Bulgogi Taco from Mira Sushi & Izakaya
Beef Bulgogi Taco from Mira Sushi & Izakaya
Other scrumptious food items available throughout the event were super-creamy guacamole from Rosa Mexicano and all sorts of churros (some with bacon bits and dulce de leche and there was even a chocolate fountain!).
Guacamole from Rosa Mexicano
Guacamole from Rosa Mexicano
There was also fantastic entertainment by DJ Dirty Digits, percussionist Jimmy Lopez and flash mob performances by the Northeast’s finest mariachi band, Mariachi Tapatio de Alvaro Paulino and folkloric dance group Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Nueva York. 

Mariachi Tapatio de Alvaro Paulino
Mariachi Tapatio de Alvaro Paulino
Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Nueva York
Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Nueva York
Where can I get one of those dresses?

As the event wrapped up and everyone yearned for their stretch pants, Mexicue was awarded the 2015 Thrillist Taco Knockout belt for their Smoky Carnitas Taco.

Chef Barry Frish from Mexicue wins the Taco Knockout
Chef Barry Frish from Mexicue wins the Taco Knockout
And lastly, here are some snaps of my and my friends with our taco-eating hats on...literally :)

Friends at Thrillist's Taco Knockout

Friends at Thrillist's Taco Knockout

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! Celebrate responsibly, please!


Get Your Tickets for Thrillist's Taco Knockout this Saturday--Unlimited Tacos, Cervezas and Churros!

Still looking for ways to fill your Cinco de Mayo weekend? I know a place where you can stuff your face with tacos, cocktails and cervezas in addition to help select the next belt-winning taco chef.

Thrillist Taco Knockout Logo

Thrillist is hosting their annual Taco Knockout this Saturday May 2 from 2-5 pm at Tequila Park Taqueria at the Hudson Hotel (356 W 58th Street @ Columbus). There are 2 ticket options: general ($65) which comes with unlimited tacos, cervezas, and churros as well as 1 custom cocktail and especial ($80) which adds on early entry (1pm) as well as one additional custom cocktail. Pretty much no matter how you shake it, it's an amazing deal.

Last year's event looked like a fine fiesta--and featured taco flavors like sriracha lamb and duck chorizo--so I can't wait to see what they cook up this year. I'll be there with my taco hat on so come say hi if you decide to spend your afternoon feasting al fresco with Thrillist!


Dating by Subway Stop

Quick! Where's the best place to meet a Tinder Date near the 18th Street 1 stop? What about the 23rd Street 6 stop? The folks at Thrillist have come up with a handy little guide of all of the best date spots next to EVERY subway stop in Manhattan. You're welcome.


Better Than All The Rest

The best. It's what everyone strives to be, right? So would a celebration of the best be, well, the BEST thing ever? 

Join Thrillist in toasting to the Fest of the Best, a tasty event featuring the best of NYC restaurants in 2014. Participating restaurants include: Bacchanal, Blenheim, BLT Fish Shack, Blue Water Grill, Crave Fish Bar, Emily, French Louis, Margaux, Monarch Room, Randolph, and Seoul Chicken.

It's al going down ​on Saturday, ​December ​6th from 1-​4​ PM at Villian (50 N 3rd St between Kent and Wythe, Brooklyn). ​Samsung will be on hand to host a "Food Porn Lounge," complete with food stylists who will teach everyone how to properly style their #foodporn shots. Guests will additionally enjoy unlimited specialty cocktails provided by Grey Goose. At the end of the night, one restaurant will be crowned with the People's Choice Award for "Best of 2014."

Early bird tickets are available at this link for a discounted rate of $55 (for a limited time)​. General Admission tickets will then go on sale for $65.


A Night for the Twitterati and Facebook Elite

If I could pick any invention of my lifetime and crown it the best, I would pick social media. Seriously, how boring would your life be without it? And yea, I know, my life sort of revolves around it. So when you throw social media a party, it better be an awesome one, complete with free drinks. With Thrillist having a proven reputation for throwing a kickin' party, it was a no-brainer that they co-sponsored the closing party for Social Media Week last Friday. 

Anyone could RSVP through Thrillist's email invite, but I scored a pair of VIP passes through a promotion sponsored by Meebo, the Internet's newest check-in gadget. The party was held at midtown's newest club, District 36, swanky yet chill with easily accessible bars and a friendly feel. The open bar was sponsored by Macallan's, and though I'm not usually a scotch drinker, whatever they were mixing up with a splash of grenadine and soda tasted amazing. The Korilla BBQ truck was also passing out kimchi tacos which were tasty but definitely spicy and not the neatest thing to eat on the dance floor. Social media made an appearance as well, with everyone being asked to tweet, check-in and blog about the event.

Since I was with friends who weren't cool enough to be sporting green VIP wristbands, I spent the majority of time on the lower level, which was just as well because it was very easy to get drinks and they thankfully didn't overpack the place. However, just because I could, I took a trip upstairs to see what was so cool about being a VIP. Truthfully nothing. It was like a can of sardines in the VIP section and though they had some seating, it was hot and sweaty and there was no place to dance...gasp!

View of the dance floor from the VIP section
A Thrillist party wouldn't be complete with out a "celebrity" appearance, and thought I still don't know who he is (sorry), Chiddy Bang performed and even rapped about Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook, which got the social media geek-filled crowd hyped up. 

Chiddy Bang
Overall, the party was a fun way to close a week full of all that is social media. So tell me, when's the next Thrillist party and can they just keep my name on the list indefinitely?


Thrill Me

When I first started reading Thrillist a while back, I had no idea it was a male-slanted thing. I got great deals, cool finds and random tidbits of weird life sent directly to my inbox, and I liked it. Even after I figured out that I was not part of the website and newsletter's target audience, I stayed a loyal follower, for the perks of course. 

Wednesday night, Thrillist celebrated its fifth anniversary with a bang and a shave. Held at Le Poisson Rouge, a venue I've been meaning to check out since day one of being a New Yorker, the party was co-sponsored by Phillips Norelco, with free shaves and razors for the very manly crowd. Walking in, my cousin Nola and I were greeted by a nostalgic toy -- a photobooth. It beckoned and we acquiesced, as I could not even tell you the last time I was in one of those. I do declare that they should be present at every cool party from here on out.

Photobooth shoot: Normal, Jazz Hands, Bad Smell, Serious
Free drinks were provided by Bacardi, Jose Cuervo, Ciroc and Red Stripe. I tried one of Bacardi's new bottled drinks, and it was pretty good, but definitely sweet. We switched to Ciroc after that, and I'd highly recommend the Ciroc Coco Loso concoction as it brings vacation to your taste buds. Mmmmm coconut!

Drink Specials
The DJ was awesome, and I'm not just saying that. Song after song I was more excited and couldn't stop dancing. You know when you decide to take a break on the next song that sucks? Well, none of them sucked and we were dancing divas. He played everything from Madonna's "Like a Prayer" to Cee-Lo's "F*ck You" and several others that made my (and ever other person born in the late 80s) night. 

Me and Nola and our big curly hair hanging out on the dance floor
And I bumped into Laura from 89thandbroke!
Le Poisson Rouge is known for the musicians and bands (and slam poets) it hosts, and Thrillist kept up the tradition by having Atomic Tom play a set for the party. Having never heard of them before, I was open for anything and was super excited by what I heard. The energy protruding out of the lead singer was contagious and he had everyone dancing and singing aloud. I sort of wish that I had youtubed some of their music before the party so that I could have joined in on the singing charade. 

Atomic Time
In all, I had the most fun that I've had on a Wednesday night in a long time, met some interesting people, and got a snazzy photobooth picture that I can hang on my bulletin board. Thanks Thrillist and congratulations on an awesome five years!