Letters from Local Gourmands: Your Food Event Calendar for the Week

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Editor’s Note: Jeanne Hodesh, Edible Manhattan’s editorial assistant, also runs the fantastic weekly food newsletter and event round-up called Local Gourmands. We like getting her letters so much, we asked if we could share them here going forward. Be sure to check out her list of upcoming events after the letter–they’re also on our calendar to the right–and if you’d like to sign up to get these in your in-box, go to localgourmands.com.

Dear Local Gourmands,

On Friday night I was biking home through the streets of Clinton Hill, promising my completely numb toes that we only had a few more blocks to go, if they could just hold on a little longer.  Finally I locked up my bike, limped up the stairs, threw off my boots, and cradled my frozen stubs.  We wouldn’t be going back outside.  Instead, I hatched a plan to lure my friends over.  Frantic text messages reading “cornbread and cocktails!” did the trick, and pretty soon, my toes had defrosted and the living room was abuzz with conversation.

In my excitement I cooked up everything that was in the fridge.  I made a salad of apples with mustard vinaigrette, cooked freekah with currants, and quickly roasted the butternut squash that had just been waiting for a good party.  The leftover romanesco?  It was puréed into a creamy soup, of course, and topped with fatty bits of bacon.  Bottom line: Soup makes the party come to you.  Rather than ordering takeout, order your friends over. Speaking of, this week Chicago’s legendary blog and dinner series, Soup ‘n Bread comes to Brooklyn’s Bell House on Thursday night where no less than ten local chefs serve up some serious food to warm your soul.  (See the calendar below for deets.)

Tuesday, February 2, 6-11pm Vermont Beer & Cheese Night

Jimmy’s No. 43 43 E. 7th St.

Jimmy taps into some of Vermont’s finest brews– Otter Creek and Wolavers– and pairs them up with a special selection of cheese from the same state.  Anne Saxelby, one of the city’s finest cheesemongers, will share her knowledge about Jasper Hill and Blue Ledge farmstead cheeses.  An Otter Creek brewer will also be on hand to talk up his suds.

Tuesday, February 2, 7pm and 9:30pm

Anniversary Dinner at Beer Table

427 B 7th Ave., Park Slope

Reservations, 718.965.1196 or info@beertable.com Celebrate two years of Tuesday night dinners paired with excellent craft beers at Park Slope’s Beer Table.  Husband and wife team Justin and Tricia Phillips pull out some chestnuts from dinners past for this special anniversary edition.  Dinner is $35 a head, with beer pairing ($25). Check out the evening’s menu below:

  • Pickled eggs with jalapeño powder and sea salt (paired with Leipziger Gose)
  • Beet and sardine salad (paired with Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus)
  • Spicy meatloaf with olive oil mashed potatoes (paired with De Dolle Dulle Teve)
  • Chocolate malt cake (paired with Goose Island Bourbon County Stout)

Wednesday, February 3, 4-6pm

Why (and exactly how) New York Simply Loves Italian

NYU Fales Library 70 Washington Square South

Tickets, $10 (RSVP to 212.992.9081 or rsvp.bobst@nyu.edu)

Chris Cannon, Manhattan restaurateur, William Grimes, author and former restaurant critic forThe New York Times, Elena Kostioukovitch, author of Why Italians Love to Talk About Food, and Fabio Parasecoli along with moderator Clark Wolf, food and restaurant consultant, talk over New York’s obsession and long-time love of Italian food.

Wednesday, February 3, 10am-12pm

Rally to Legalize Beekeeping in NYC

Just Food

125 Worth St, Rm 330

RSVP, Nadia@justfood.org

As you have probably heard by now, beekeeping is still deemed illegal in our fare city.  Along with a committed corps of urban beekeepers and local honey lovers (including some politicians), Just Food has been rallying to turn the tides and make this important practice legal. On Wednesday, February 3, the Department and Board of Health and Mental Hygiene is convening a Public Hearing on the amendment to Health Code 161, in which article 161.01 currently bans beekeeping. Make your opinion heard. Give testimony in support of honeybees and beekeepers in the five boroughs. Oral testimony can be given at the Public Hearing on February 3rd, 10am-12pm at 125 Worth Street, NYC, Room 330. For questions or to RSVP, contact Nadia@justfood.org. For background information on Just Food’s New York City beekeeping campaign, go to http://www.justfood.org/food-justice/campaigns.

Thursday, February 4, 6-9pm Soup ‘n Bread The Bell House

149 7th St., btwn 2nd and 3rd Aves. The legendary Chicago-based Soup and Bread dinner party visits Brooklyn this week, and they’ve wrangled ten local chefs/bloggers/home cooks into serving up some serious soul food.  I’m not talking ribs, I’m talking soup–chowder, bisque, stew–sustaining winter life juice.  All donations benefit New York City Coalition Agains Hunger.  Cozy up, eat dinner, make a donation, and be inspired for the ground hog may or may not see his shadow, but I guarantee you soup season will prevail for the next few months.

Friday, February 5, 6-8pm

Vermicomposting Workshop

Lower East Side Ecology Center

The New School, Room 510

66 West 12th St

Tickets, $5 (at the door)

“Join the NYC Compost Project in Manhattan for this pre-Valentine’s Day ‘wormshop’ to learn how red wiggler worms can turn garbage into a special fertilizer for plants, trees, and roses! Worm bin set-up, maintenance, and troubleshooting will be covered, as well as demonstrations of romantic gifts that can be made from your compost. “Worm condo” and worms can be purchased for the discounted price of $44. Registration is required. Workshop fee $5 per person, cash only.”

Friday, February 5, 8pm

Grub Party at East New York Farms

The United Community Centers

613 New Lots Ave. at the corner of Schenck Ave.

RSVP here

Grub parties bring communities, groups, and organizations together to share a good meal and conversation centered on the theme of local food.  Join East New York Farms and friends (including Jin’s Journey, Food Security Roundtable, Malcom X Grassroots Movement, Brooklyn Food Coalition, and United Community Centers) for a potluck Grub dinner on February 5.  Bring a dish to share (along with the recipe), as well as a plate, a cup, and your own utensils. Come get your grub on with chefs, cooks, gardeners, food activists, food bloggers and fellow foodies of Brooklyn, and learn what good food initiatives and activities are afoot in our community.

Sunday, February 7, noon-3pm

Basic Urban Bee Keeping Courses

University Settlement at the Houston Street Center 273 Bowery Registration for four-week course, $100

Let the New York City Beekeeper’s Association help you make good on the sweetest New Year’s resolution possible: let 2010 be the year you become an urban beekeeper.  Yes, you! The NYCBA is offering two courses in 2010 for the absolute beginner and novice beekeeper. Each course is 12 hours long, spread out over four Sundays.

The cost of the course is $100.00 for the entire twelve-hour course, all of which goes towards room rental and the NYCBA. NYCBA’s volunteer instructors are professional beekeepers with a collective half century of experience.  February classes commence on 2/7, 2/14, 2/21, and 2/28.  The second series, in March, will be held on 3/7, 3/14, 3/21, and 3/28.


Of note a few weeks down the road…

Monday, February 8, 6:30-8:30

Wine’s Best Kept Secret: Authentic Sherry

Culinary Historians of New York

International Wine Center

350 Seventh Ave., #1201 btwn. 29th and 30th Streets

Tickets, $40 (non-members), $25 (members)

Linda Lawry, Director of the International Wine Center, is an official sherry educator, certified by the Consejo Regulador in Jerez, the region of Andalucia, Spain, where sherry has been made exclusively over the last 2000 years.  Sherry’s styles and flavors are more varied than those of any other wine in the world.  Lawry discusses the history of this fabled wine, sheds light on where the grapes are grown, and leads a tasting of a wide array of different sherries, including a very rare vintage, 1978 Gonzalez Byass Palo Cortado.

Tuesday, February 9, 6-7:30pm

The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao

New York Historical Society 170 Central Park West, at 77th St.

Tickets, $10 HSNY members, $20 non-members

212.757.0915 x100

Culinary historian Maricel E. Presilla, author of The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes, covers the trends in chocolate and cacao research in an illustrated lecture and tasting at The Horticultural Society of New York.  Sample some of the country’s best new artisanal chocolates as well as the author’s collection of Latin American-inspired chocolate truffles.  Savory foods laced with chocolate, cacao and hot chocolate will be served as well.

Wednesday, February 10, 4:30-8:30pm

Our World 2030: Preparing a New Generation for a Sustainable Future

The City College of New York

160 Convent Avenue

Shepard Hall, Room 550

Register here, (the event is free)

This discussion will explore why the economic viability and well-being of every community depends on education for sustainability and the transformation to a green economy. Will examine the critical issues of education and workforce training needed to leverage the emerging green economy—including issues of inclusion that minority populations and communities face in tapping the potential of a sustainable future.

Tuesday, February 16, 6:30-8pm

Eat What You Grow, Grow What You Eat

The Brooklyn Kitchen Labs

100 Frost St., Williamsburg

Rooftop farmer and founder of Growing Chefs, Annie Novak, leads a series of classes at the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs on how to start your own edible urban garden.  Over the course of four class sessions she’ll guide students through the necessary winter-time tasks, seed ordering, and plot preparation to make way for a successful growing season ahead.  Sign up now as this course is sure to sell out fast!

Thursday, February 18, 6:30pm

Southern Cooking in New York City

The Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Ave.

Reservations required, purchase tickets here

The Museum of the City of New York, in partnership with the Southern Foodways Alliance and Mississippi Development Authority/Division of Tourism, will host a discussion focusing on how The Great Migration transformed the culinary culture of the North. Leading the discussion are Jessica Harris, author of a forthcoming history of African-American foodways, and one of the 50 founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance. In 2007, she took leave from Queens College (where she is a full professor) to assume the Ray Charles Chair at Dillard University in New Orleans. And Ted Lee, one of the James Beard award-winning Charleston Lee brothers. Ted, along with his brother, Matt Lee, is at work on a book of essays about New York City food culture. The work will certainly examine the influence that South Carolina natives have had on New York, but at its core, the book will be a celebration of the multicultural delights of our nation’s culinary capitol. John T Edge will moderate the discussion.

Sunday, February 28, 8:30am-6pm

Just Food’s Annual CSA in NYC Conference

Just Food

Teacher’s College, Columbia University

The great thing about the off season (as it were) is that it gives us all a little down time (or at least time indoors) to plot and plan for the year ahead.  Take part in Just Food’s annual CSA in NYC Conference on February 28 to converse with farmers, food activists, and advocates from around the city and state to talk about how to start a CSA, how to strengthen the one you are a part of, issues facing regional farmers, and how we can all maximize our roles in the movement to increase access to locally grown food throughout the city.

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