NYC Winter Events: Food & Drink Edition

With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s hard to imagine going hungry any time soon. However, this winter is stacked with wine and beer festivals, mystery dining events, cook-offs, and more. Here’s a roundup of NYC food and drink events happening this winter:


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CAMAJE Dinners in the Dark
12/1 – 12/29, various times

This bistro in the West Village invites guests to blindfold themselves in order to heighten their other senses for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. The menu is kept secret until the end of the meal, so diners must guess which food and wine are in front of them. Purchase tickets in advance through CAMAJE’s website.

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Bar Car Nights at the Holiday Train Show
12/4 – 1/16, 7 – 10pm
$35 (non-member) / $25 (member)

Sip a complimentary cocktail at an after-dark viewing of the New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show, where you’ll enjoy ice sculpture carving demonstrations, live jazz, and performances by Cirque de Light. These nights tend to sell out, so get your ticket in advance through the NYBG website.

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The Great Northeast Cheese Fest
12/5, 6 – 9pm
$60 (non-member) / $48 (member)

Gather with fellow cheese enthusiasts at Flushing Town Hall to sample the region’s finest artisanal cheeses and beverage pairings. The general admission ticket entitles guests to unlimited tasting of all cheese, beer, wine, cider, and desserts. Tickets are available via Eventbrite; a select number of VIP passes are available for $150 as well.

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7th Annual Latke Festival
12/7, 6:30 – 9pm
$65 (general admission) / $100 (VIP)

Enjoy latke creations from NYC restaurants including Veselka, Jimmy’s No 43, Ichabod’s and more. Proceeds will benefit The Sylvia Center, a nonprofit that inspires children and their families to establish healthy eating habits through hands-on experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. You can purchase tickets (or make a donation directly to The Sylvia Center) here.

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Brooklyn Cookie Takedown
12/12 – 12/15, 12 – 2pm

Help Royal Palms in Brooklyn decide who makes the best cookies in Brooklyn by sampling all the cookies you can eat – or email to throw your hat in the ring. You can buy tickets for Day 1 here and tickets for Day 2 here.

Jazz Age Tea Dance
12/13, 3 – 7pm
$50 – $80

Modeled after the British colonial tradition of the afternoon tea dance, this event will feature a spread of exotic teas and complimentary dance lessons. A full bar and gourmet food carts will also be available. Early bird tickets are sold out, but Tier 2 tickets are available for $65. Once those sell out, admission will be $80.


Eighth Annual Cassoulet Cookoff
1/10, 12 – 3pm

Jimmy’s No 43 offers amateur and professional chefs the chance to show off their cassoulet dishes, and ticket holders get to decide on a winner. (For those who don’t know, a cassoulet is a slow-cooked dish made with meat and beans.) Your $30 ticket allows you to sample 10+ cassoulets and comes with a complimentary beer, wine, or cider. Tickets are available online now.

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East Ville Des Foiles
1/16, 1:30 – 5:30pm
$50 (GA) / $60 (VIP)

Sample 4 floors of beers and whiskeys at this Prohibition-style tasting event, featuring burlesque and trapeze performers, swing jazz bands, and circus performers. The event will take place at Webster Hall, which was a hot spot during the Prohibition era for the likes of Al Capone. Tickets go on sale December 5th.

NYC Restaurant Week
1/18 – 2/5
$25 lunch / $38 dinner

Every summer and winter, more than 300 of NYC’s top restaurants participate in NYC Restaurant Week, offering three-course meals for $25 (lunch) and $35 (dinner). The 2016 winter session will run from January 18 through February 5 – check the website as the week approaches for a full list of participating restaurants and information on how to make a reservation.

Pinot Days New York
1/23, 1 – 4pm (public tasting)
$75 (Grand Festival) / $120 (VIP tasting and seminar)

Pinot producers from California, Oregon, and New Zealand will show off their finest wines for 1,000 attendees at City Winery. Tickets are available via Eventbrite.

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New Porc City
1/24, 5 – 8pm
$130.95 (general admission) / $208 (VIP)

Five chefs will cook over 38 dishes prepared from locally-raised, heritage breed pigs. Sample dishes inspired by Chinese, Sichuan, Korean, Thai, and Japanese cooking, and talk with the chefs to find out more about the food they’ve prepared. The $130.95 general admission ticket is all-inclusive, and VIP tickets will allow for early access. Tickets are available online now.

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Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival
1/30, 12 – 9:30pm (3 sessions)
$99 – $199

This Southern-fried festival celebrates beer, bourbon, barbecue, and bluegrass. Each session will feature all-you-care-to-taste sampling of beer and bourbon, seminars, whole-hog pulled pork, and a bacon eating contest. The $199 Session 3 ticket is good for the whole day; $109 gets you in for the 12-4pm session and $99 gets you entry for 5:30 – 9:30pm. Tickets are available via


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NYC Winter Wine Festival
2/6, 3 – 6pm and 8 – 11pm
$62.50 (early bird general admission) / $199 (VIP)

Enjoy 3 hours of tasting over 250 wines at Times Square’s PlayStation Theater while listening to live jazz and snacking on hors d’oeuvres and artisanal treats. Early bird tickets are available for the 3pm and 8pm sessions.

NYC Beer Week
2/19 – 2/28, various times
Prices vary

The NYC Brewers Guild will bring together over 100 bars, restaurants, and grocers for 10 days of tastings, beer pairings, historical tours, lectures, and special events. Check the NYCBG website in the coming months for a list of events and participating venues.

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NYC Brewer’s Choice
$60 (early bird)

Sample 40+ beers from local craft brewers, paired with food from local vendors and some live music. Early bird tickets are available for $60; more general admission tickets will become available closer to the event.

NYC Winter Events: Arts & Culture Edition

When the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it can be tempting to retreat to the warmth of your home rather than going out to explore. Winter in NYC is full of celebrations, special events, and outdoor activities, so it’s worth braving the cold. Ice skating, caroling, bike rides and runs for charity, and even a dip in the Atlantic Ocean are all on the agenda this year. Here’s a list of upcoming arts & cultural events coming up this winter:


Ice Skating in Bryant Park
Through March 6, 8am – 10pm
Free to enter

This 170′ x 100′ rink is part of Bank of America’s Winter Village at Bryant Park, an annual festival featuring holiday shops, food and drink, and special events throughout the holiday season. The skating rink offers free admission, and those who don’t own skates can rent a pair for $15. For a link to all other ice skating rinks in NYC, check out my blog post from last year’s skating season.

NYC Holiday Markets
Through 12/24, various times
Free to the public

NYC’s holiday markets offer a mix of art, clothing, handbags, jewelry, holiday items, and more from local artists and businesses. Whether you’re looking for a unique gift or a way to spend a chilly afternoon, take time to wander around the markets at Union Square, Columbus Circle, Grand Central Terminal, or one of the many other locations.

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Radio City Christmas Spectacular
11/15 – 1/3, various times
$49 – $250

Since the first Christmas Spectacular came to Radio City Music Hall in 1933, it has remained a New York City holiday tradition. The world-famous Rockettes are joined by Santa and wooden soldiers for a 90-minute program that gets better every year. Tickets are available through the Radio City Music Hall website.

11/21, 1:30 – 7pm
Free to register

This annual bike ride doubles as a food drive for the Bowery Mission and contains elements of a scavenger hunt as well. Bring your bike and $15-20 to spend on groceries for families in need. Register at Hudson Yards and finish at Interface NYC for an afterparty and awards.

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
11/26, 9 – 10:30am
Free to the public

Now entering its 89th year, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade will proceed down 6th Ave while 3.5 million people line up along the route to watch. The one-of-a-kind floats and musical performances have made the parade the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season in NYC. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, you can join 50 million others and view from home on NBC.


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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
12/2, 7-9pm
Free to the public

For the 83rd year in a row, tens of thousands of people will gather to watch the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center light up for the first time this holiday season. The ceremony is also broadcast live on NBC, where hundreds of millions will watch. The tree will also be lit daily from 5:30am to midnight through 8pm on January 6.


Menorah Lighting Ceremony in Grand Army Plaza
12/6 – 12/13, various times
Free to the public

The world’s largest Menorah stands at 32 feet tall, which is the maximum allowed by Jewish law. Since 1985, the annual Menorah lighting ceremony has taken place during each night of Chanukah, accompanied by live music and hot latkes. With the help of a Con Edison cherry-picker, Rabbi Shimon Hecht lights the Menorah with community leaders and special guests while special gifts are distributed to children. The Menorah-lighting schedule is available here.

Z100’s Jingle Ball
12/11, 7:30pm
$51 – $351

This annual concert series returns to Madison Square Garden on December 11, featuring The Weeknd, Calvin Harris, Tove Lo, and more. Tickets are sold out, but resale tickets are becoming available for those who missed out.

Sounds of Reggae Starring Shaggy
12/13, 7pm
$79 – $99

Sounds of Reggae will return to Brooklyn for an encore after its wildly popular debut in 2012. This time, the concert will take place at the historic Kings Theatre in Brooklyn and will feature Grammy Award Winner Shaggy alongside the legendary reggae band, Third World. A portion of the concert proceeds will benefit the American Foundation for the University of The West Indies (AFUWI) scholarship fund. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

New York Philharmonic Presents Handel’s Messiah
12/15 – 12/19, various times
$29 – $134

Handel’s Messiah is an essential part of the Christmas season for classical music lovers, and the New York Philharmonic brings it to life each year at Lincoln Center. Tickets are available through the Philharmonic website.

Christmas Eve Caroling in Washington Square Park
12/14, 5 – 6pm
Free to the public

Join the Rob Susman Brass Quartet and the Washington Square Association for an hour of singing classic Christmas carols. The Washington Square Association will hand out songbooks with lyrics, and all are welcome to join in on the fun.

Kwanzaa at the American Museum of Natural History
12/27, 12pm and 3pm
Free with museum admission

World-famous entertainer and Harlem native Doug E. Fresh will join the American Museum of Natural History’s 37th annual Kwanzaa celebration. Linda Humes of the Yaffa Cultural Arts will guide the audience through the history and seven principles of Kwanzaa, and filmmaker MK Asante will introduce his movie, “The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration.” A musical tribute to Maya Angelou and a Q&A with Jamilah Lemieux, Senior Editor of EBONY Magazine will wrap up this year’s festivities.

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New Year’s Eve in Times Square
12/31, 3pm – 12:15am
Free to the public

In the hours leading up to midnight, the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration will feature musical performances, confetti, and a pyrotechnic display while approximately one million people gather in the epicenter of New York City to ring in 2016. Arrive early to ensure a good view, or watch the webcast from the comfort of your home.


No Pants Subway Ride
Data and Time TBA
Free to the public

What started as a prank in 2002 has become a wacky yet beloved New York tradition. Each year, a group of brave New Yorkers board the subway sans pants, pretending they do not know each other and acting as though there is nothing odd about their pants-less attire. The date and time will be announced by Improv Everywhere in early December

New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading
1/1, 2pm – 2am
Ticket price TBA

The Poetry Project’s 41st Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading will feature 140 poets, raffle prizes, food vendors, and books for sale. Proceeds will fund The Poetry Project’s programs, workshops, and special events. Tickets will be available online – in the meantime, you can email or call (212) 674-0910 for more information.

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Coney Island Polar Plunge
1/1, 1pm
$20 to register

Join the Coney Island Polar Bear club for a dip in the chilly Atlantic and raise money for Camp Sunshine, a retreat for kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Registered attendees will also receive free admission to the NY Aquarium. There is a $20 minimum for registration, and there are prizes for those who raise $100 or more. Register online ahead of time to avoid lines on the day of the event.

Fifty First Jokes
1/2, 7:30pm
$10 in advance / $12 at the door

Each year, 50 NYC comedians gather to tell the first joke they’ve written for the new year. This year’s show at the Bell House in Brooklyn will feature up-and-coming comics Aparna Nancheria, Ben Kronberg, Brooke Van Poppelen, and more.

Winter Jazzfest
1/13 – 1/17, various times
$145 for 5-day pass

Winter Jazzfest was established in 2005 to give greater exposure to New York’s jazz scene. With over 100 acts playing at 10 different venues, this year’s lineup will include artist-in-residence Dave King along with Channeling Coltrane, Kamasi Washington, The Ex, Bill Laswell, Colin Stetson, and more. The 5 Day pass will get you into all Jazzfest shows, or you can purchase single and two-day passes for $45 and $75 respectively. Tickets are on sale now.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
1/16, all day
Free to volunteer

Honor the memory of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. by joining fellow New Yorkers in community service efforts across the city. Past volunteer opportunities have included food drives, park beautification and cleanup, sorting clothing donations, and more. Registration for this year’s day of service will open on the Volunteer New York! website later this month, and you can email with questions.

NYC Broadway Week
1/19 – 2/5, various times
Ticket prices vary

Get 2-for-1 tickets to the best Broadway shows in town. Information will be added to the NYC Go website closer to the January 19th start date.

Outsider Art Fair
1/21 – 1/24, schedule TBA
Free to enter

Head to the Metropolitan Pavillon in Chelsea to peruse and buy works from unknown and unconventional artists. A schedule and list of artists will be added to the fair’s website in January.

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Central Park Winter Jam
1/24, 11am – 3pm
Free to the public

This free winter sports festival welcomes New Yorkers of all ages for a day of snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. Fresh snow will be brought from Gore Mountain, and equipment will be provided free of charge.


Empire State Building Run-Up
2/3, 8pm

The 39th annual Empire State Building Run-Up will challenge runners to race up 86 flights (that’s 1,576 stairs) in one of the world’s most famous buildings. The fastest runners are able to climb to the top in about 10 minutes, while the ascent takes about one minute in the elevator. Those interested in running should sign up for the lottery via NYC Runs before November 29.

New York Fashion Week
2/11 – 2/18, various times
Ticket prices vary

Known as one of the “big 4” fashion weeks (along with those in Paris, London, and Milan), New York Fashion Week is where designers from all over the world show their collections to buyers, editors, and the general public. A list of public events will be listed online as Fashion Week approaches.

Cupid’s Undie Run
2/13, 12pm
$35 through November 30

This unconventional fundraiser collected over $3.5 million last year for #EndNF, and this year the Children’s Tumor Foundation will receive all proceeds. Run a mile around Manhattan’s Pier 84 in your skivvies and enjoy an open bar to celebrate afterwards. Register on Cupid’s website to join the fun!

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Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
2/14, 1pm
Free to the public

Ring in the Year of the Monkey at this annual parade featuring traditional lion and dragon dances, costumes, floats, multicolored confetti, and food vendors.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
2/15 – 2/16, 8am – 4pm
$40 – $110

This two-day, all-breed dog show will take place over the course of two days at Madison Square Garden and The Piers 92/94. Watch as canines from all over the world compete for Best in Show – tickets are available through the Westminster Kennel Club’s website.


New Listing: 15 West 12th Street, #3A


A generously sized and brightly lit studio located in the Gold Coast section of Greenwich Village.

You’ll enjoy beautiful parquet hardwood floors, high ceilings, great closet space and a flexible layout in this third floor home. The large main room is filled with light from an over-sized corner window wrapping around the north and west exposures, presenting tranquil treetop views of the building courtyard. This 24-foot by 11-foot space provides ample room for both living and sleeping areas. The white-on-white kitchen is outfitted with ample cabinet space, while the bathroom/dressing area features floor-to-ceiling tile, a full tub/shower with glass doors and a linen closet. Another oversized closet can be found in the entry foyer.

This is a 24-hour doorman building with live-in super. There is a common garden plus bike room, storage and laundry rooms on site. The building allows for guarantors, co-purchasers and pied-à-terres. Pets are allowed with board approval. This lovely studio is just three blocks away from Union Square’s greenmarket and retail destinations. A quick stroll down Fifth Avenue brings you to the foot of the Washington Square Arch and everything the vibrant Washington Square Park area has to offer. Transportation couldn’t be easier with access to the 4/5/6, N/Q/R, 1/2/3, F/M, L and PATH trains all within walking distance. For more information about this listing, please call me at (917) 854-5069 and/or click here.



The Best Michelin Starred Restaurants in NYC

Each year, New York foodies await the next Michelin guide to see which of the city’s restaurants will join the prestigious ranks of Michelin starred establishments. The 2016 Michelin guide was released at the end of September, and I was pleased to see some old favorites remain on the list, and excited to scout out the up-and-coming spots earning their first star. Here’s a list of my favorite Michelin starred restaurants in NYC:

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The Finch
212 Greene Ave
b/t Cambridge Pl & Grand Ave
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

Located on the ground level of a newly renovated brownstone in Clinton Hill, the Finch serves seasonal New American fare with a focus on hospitality. The restaurant is helmed by chef Gabe McMackin, who has worked at Gramercy Tavern and Roberta’s, among other well-known New York establishments. Given the Finch’s commitment to serving fresh, in-season cuisine, the menu is constantly changing, but reviewers have enjoyed the pasta dishes, shaved lamb tongue, and the reasonably-priced small plates.

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218 Bowery
b/t Spring St & Rivington St
Nolita, Manhattan

Lauded by Bloomberg as “the French restaurant New York deserves,” Rebelle draws inspiration from the bistronomy movement, which has been steadily gaining ground in France. Bistronomy scraps the fancy linens and expensive silverware in order to bring gourmet food to the public at an affordable price – this is, perhaps, where Rebelle gets its name. The menu is split into four categories, encouraging diners to select a course from each. The lamb tartare is a must-try, and the wait staff is more than happy to help you craft the perfect meal.

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Somtum Der
85 Ave A
(at 6th Street)
East Village, Manhattan

This restaurant is named for its signature dish, som tum. This papaya salad is made to order in eight variations, all of which are delightfully tart and spicy. The second part of the restaurant’s name denotes a warm invitation in the Isan region of Thailand, where the owners and chef are from. The menu is a mix of Isan and central-Thai food, with plenty of options for carnivores and vegetarians alike. Small plates are meant to share, as is the norm for Isan food. The restaurant measures the spiciness of dishes on a scale of one to four chili peppers; the high end of the scale is not for the faint of heart. Build a meal out of some sticky rice, a grilled or fried entree, some soup, and of course the papaya salad.

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Uncle Boon’s
7 Spring St
b/t Bowery & Elizabeth St
Nolita, Manhattan

Uncle Boon’s is run by owners and chefs Ann Redding and Matt Danzer, a husband-and-wife team who met while working at Per Se. Redding, who grew up in Thailand, named the restaurant after a beloved uncle, and decorated the restaurant with trinkets from family houses in Thailand. Essential dishes include the crab fried rice and classic massaman curry served with beef ribs.

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181 Thompson St
b/t Houston St & Bleecker St
Greenwich Village, Manhattan

Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, the creators of beloved Italian-American staples Parm and Torrisi, designed Carbone as a nod to the great Italian-American restaurants of mid-20th century New York. Carbone aims to bring delicious food in a comfortable and unpretentious setting. Serving old favorites such as seafood salad, linguini vongole, and veal parmesan, Carbone is one of my go-tos when I want comfort food at Michelin star quality.

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160 Havemeyer St
b/t 3rd St & 2nd St
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Semilla is a self-described “vegetable-forward” restaurant, meaning meat and fish play a secondary role to vegetables on the menu. All food is sourced from nearby farmers, and the menu is completely dependent on what is in-season and available. The U-shaped bar seats just 18 people, and is meant to encourage conversation and interaction among diners. With a menu that changes daily and a confoundingly tiny kitchen, Semilla delivers a unique experience to those looking for a vegetable-based, locally-sourced meal.

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73 Thompson St
b/t Spring St & Broome St
South Village, Manhattan

Chef Hirohisa Hayashi hails from a region once called Echizen in the countryside of Japan. He opened his eponymous restaurant in the Village in order to bring a bit of his hometown to NYC. Relying on simple ingredients and traditional Japanese cooking methods (boiling, stewing, and frying), Hayashi has created a menu from which guests can choose a seven-course or nine-course tasting. The sake list is just as notable as the food, and certainly shouldn’t be skipped.

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414 E 9th St
b/t East 9th St & Avenue A
East Village, Manhattan

Owner and chef Toshio Tomito spent over 16 years at Nobu before endeavoring to open his own spot, the name of which translates to “just right” from Japanese. Tomito strives to achieve the perfect balance between classic and contemporary by adding his own innovations to traditional Kappo cuisine. Fresh ingredients are sourced directly from Japan whenever possible to ensure superior quality. The tasting menu provides a sample of raw, fried, and cooked fish with housemade soba noodles and Western preparations to complement the Japanese cuisine.

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ZZ’s Clam Bar
169 Thompson St
b/t Houston St & Bleecker St
Greenwich Village, Manhattan

This tiny, 12-seat raw bar requires a reservation and serves up craft cocktails to go with their toasts, tartare, and of course, oysters and clams. Helmed by the Torrisis of Carbone, ZZ’s provides a high-end experience for raw bar enthusiasts with a speakeasy feel.

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Take Root
187 Sackett St
b/t Hicks St & Henry St
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

With just 12 seats and a sparse schedule, Take Root offers a $120 tasting menu with fresh ingredients and entirely homemade items. The restaurant was opened by chef Elise Kornack and her partner Anna Hieronimus when they were just twenty-five years old, serving a menu that predominantly featured vegetables. Kornack and Hieronimus remain the only employees at Take Root, and they continue to serve vegetable-focused contemporary American cuisine to a lucky 12 guests each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Let me know in the comments which of the newcomers you’re waiting to try out!