Memorial Day Weekend is my official summer kick off and I know many of us are looking for ways to get out and find the best of what NYC has to offer in terms of food and drink. This summer, the city is hosting a roster of events including street fairs, classes, restaurant crawls, and much more. Here are the best food and drink events coming up this summer:
Queens Night Market
Saturdays, 6pm – Midnight (through October)
New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows
Corona Park, Queens
The Queens International Night Market is a large, family-friendly open-air night market in Queens, featuring over 100 independent vendors selling merchandise, art, and food and featuring small-scale cultural performances and entertainment, all celebrating the rich cultural diversity and heritage of NYC and Queens. Admission is free, and options include artisan meatballs, Chinese buns, Hungarian fare, hand-pulled noodles, and more.
Saturdays and Sundays, 11am – 6pm (through November)
Saturdays in Williamsburg – 90 Kent Ave. (at N. 7th St.)
Sundays in Brooklyn Bridge Park – Pier 5
Smorgasburg launched in May 2011 as a spin-off of Brooklyn Flea. Every Saturday and Sunday from April through November, Smorgasburg showcases 100+ local and regional food vendors to upwards of 10,000 visitors, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Brooklyn. Starting July 11, Smorgasburg will expand to Queens, occupying a combination outdoor lot and indoor building at 43-29 Crescent Street, Long Island City. You can visit the Brooklyn locations now, or keep an eye on the Smorgasburg website for more information about the Queens outpost. Admission to all Smorgasburg locations is free.
Taste of Jewish Culture Street Fair
Sunday, June 21, 12 – 7pm
6th Avenue and 46th Street, Manhattan
The Workmen’s Circle’s Taste of Jewish Culture Street Fair is a signature event that brings together thousands of foodies and dozens of purveyors of delicious food for a day of eating, learning, and celebrating in New York. You can enjoy food from Baz Bagel & Restaurant, Mile End Deli, OddFellows Ice Cream Co., and many more. Food isn’t the only thing on the menu—the Street Fair will also feature klezmer music and dancing. Admission is free and more information will be available on the The Workmen’s Circle website as the date approaches.
Drink Like (M)ad Men and Women
Thursday, June 25, 7pm
92Y (Lexington Avenue at 92nd St, Manhattan)
Find out what ad men and women actually drank in the 1960s and whether the show’s depiction of imbibing is historically correct. You’ll also, of course, taste some delicious era-appropriate whiskies and cocktails while learning, through a visual history, how savvy marketers changed how we drink. This event is led by Noah Rothbaum, the former editor in chief of Liquor.com and author of The Art of American Whiskey. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased through the 92Y website.
Taste Asia 2015
Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27, all day
Times Square, Manhattan
Taste Asia has grown into the largest Asian food festival in North America, drawing hundreds of notable chefs and thousands of foodie spectators to the heart of New York City for a two-day foodie extravaganza in Times Square. Taste Asia will offer tastings from local restaurants and live cultural performances, including a special Dumpling Making & Eating Contest hosted by Cathy Erway, celebrated author of The Food of Taiwan and The Art of Eating In. Meanwhile, the 7th International Chinese Culinary Competition will focus on regional Chinese cuisines spanning from Sichuan’s fiery-tingly plates to the Northeast’s most hearty dishes. Admission is free, and you can find more information on the Taste Asia website.
The NYC Cheesemonger Invitational
Saturday, June 27, 5 – 8:30pm
Larkin Cold Storage
Long Island City, Queens
This self-described “Burning Man meets Wrestlemania of cheese” pits the country’s best cheesemakers against each other in NYC and San Francisco. The NYC competition will offer all-you-can-eat samples (and all-you-can-drink beverages!) for attendees, who can purchase tickets for $60 ahead of time, or pay the full price of $75.
Williamsburg Restaurant Crawl
Sunday, June 28, 1 – 7pm
Join hundreds of attendees and travel throughout Williamsburg to enjoy tastings at over 20+ restaurants, bars and eateries. You can start at whichever participating restaurant you would like, and visit as many restaurants on the list as you wish. Crawl passes are $25 or 4 for $85 on Eventbrite. For more information, including a list of participating restaurants, visit restaurantcrawl.us or call 347.609.5843.
Nathan’s 2015 Hotdog Eating Contest
Saturday, July 4, 12pm
A holiday tradition since 1916, Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest is televised on ESPN and draws an estimated 40,000 fans to the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island to watch in person. The top male and top female finishers from each qualifier will earn a spot to compete in the finals for a spot in the Hall of Fame. Joey Chestnut of San Jose, CA holds the world record for eating 69 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes, and will seek his ninth straight title this year. Miki Sudo of Las Vegas, NV won her first title in last year’s championship where she consumed 34 Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes. Miki will defend her title as Female Champion in this year’s championship and seek a second win. The spectacle is free to watch, and its proximity to the beaches at Coney Island makes this the perfect 4th of July activity.
French Restaurant Week
Monday, July 13 – Sunday, July 19
Since its creation in 2011, French Restaurant Week has been hosted by over 120 participating restaurants. This special week offers customers the ability to enjoy special prix-fixe menu options during dinner, with a portion of the proceeds going to Action Against Hunger. For a list of participating restaurants, check out the French Restaurant Week website.
Stanton Street Kitchen & Sixpoint Brewery present: A Seat at the Brewer’s Table
Tuesday, July 14, 7:30 – 10pm
Stanton Street Kitchen
Lower East Side, Manhattan
Stanton Street Kitchen Executive Chef (Erik Blauberg) and Sixpoint Brewery’s head brewers (Heather McReynolds, Keir Hamilton and Marcus Lutter) collaborate on a 5-course contemporary and internationally-inspired menu. All courses are paired with beer selections from Red Hook’s award-winning Sixpoint Brewery. Blauberg and Sixpoint’s head brewers will be on-site and actively involved in your culinary experience, hosted in Manhattan’s only beer cellar. You can reserve tickets on Eventbrite for $75.
NYC Restaurant Week
Monday, July 20 – Friday, August 14
NYC Restaurant Week is a semiannual promotion that celebrates fine dining at an affordable price. Participating restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe menus specially priced at $25 for lunch and $38 for dinner. The list of participating restaurants and reservations will be available in July, and dining guide booklets booklets are available in participating restaurants, major hotels and at Official NYC Information Centers the week prior to program launch. Check the NYC Restaurant Week website for more information.
The Catskills Comes to Queens
Saturday, August 1, 6 – 9pm
Flushing Town Hall
This premiere food and wine tasting will bring the best of the Catskills—grass-fed beef, Heritage pork, cheeses, farm-fresh produce, chocolate, beer, wine, cider, and more—to Queens on the evening of August 1. Hugue Dufour of M. Wells Steakhouse in Long Island City will be one of more than 20 chefs featured, and Town Hall’s garden will be devoted to the smoky arts, with several barbecue pitmasters and at least one spit-roasted whole animal. General admission tickets are $95 on Eventbrite, and the Early Bird Special allows you to buy three and get one free.
Tap+Cork Brooklyn Beer & Wine Fest
Friday, August 14 – Saturday, August 15
Now in its third year, Tap+Cork events combine the sophistication of grand tastings with the celebratory atmosphere of summer festivals and neighborhood block parties. Each event features award-winning selections of craft beers, regional wineries and attracts thousands for tastings, live music and entertainment. Check the Tap+Cork website for information on tickets as the event approaches.
Food Truck Rally
Sunday, August 16, 11am – 5pm (and various other dates)
Grand Army Plaza
Prospect Park, Brooklyn
The Prospect Park Alliance and Dispatch NY present a sampling of cuisines from around the world from New York’s best food trucks. You can find a full list of vendors and dates here.
Saturday, August 22, 2pm
Moving to its new, larger home at Pier 26, Hudson River Park’s Blues BBQ Festival returns for the 16th season. Pairing America’s best Blues and Roots musicians with New York City’s best BBQ restaurants, Blues BBQ makes for an unforgettable summer day on the Hudson River. This year’s artists include the Otis Taylor Band and Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens. For more information on this free event, check out the Blues BBQ website.
Saturday, September 12, 11:30am – 4pm
Erie Basin Park
Red Hook, Brooklyn
Showcasing the best of New York State local farmers, chefs, brewers and vintners all dedicated to bringing home the bacon, Pig Island returns to the Red Hook waterfront. Pig Island pairs NY State hogs with NYC chefs to bring the best of New York State to New York City. Along with appetizers, barbecue, and desserts, this porcine festival will feature vegetarian stations and live entertainment. Early bird tickets are currently on sale for $85, and a limited number of VIP tables are available for $1,000.