Author: Robert Stepanek

2013 JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION AWARDS

The most-awaited event on the culinary calendar is once again in view. The James Beard Foundation Awards will be celebrating the finest achievements in the culinary arts with two events, on May 3rd and May 6th. The awards on Friday, May 3rd at Gotham Hall (1356 Broadway at 36th Street) honor writers, journalists, graphic artists, restaurant designers, broadcasters, and people in broadcast media in more than 30 categories related to the culinary arts, and will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:00 PM to be followed by a catered dinner coinciding with the Awards program beginning at 7:00 PM. The host of the affair will be Ted Allen, a 2012 James Beard Award winner, and further details regarding information about the event and tickets can be had by calling (914) 231-6180.

WINTER TRAVELS IN QUEBEC

Considering that I am the sort of traveller undeterred by the cold – I made my first visit to Sweden in the month of December – when I had the opportunity to journey to Quebec during the waning days of this winter, I was eager to go. I had only been to Montreal in the Province previously, and while I love that city and its at once cosmopolitan and locally distinctive character, I had never experienced the landscape or countryside that has shaped and molded the Francophone domain of our neighbor to the north.

NEW YORK CITY WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL 2012

While there are certainly no shortage of great established restaurants and gourmet markets for New York area gourmands to partake of year-round – with new ones opening all the time – October represents a sort of culmination of these blessings with the annual New York City Wine and Food Festival taking place for a half-week in locations throughout lower Manhattan, with the 2012 edition running from Thursday, October 11th through Sunday, October 14th. It seems apt that such a bountiful event occurs at this time of year, the season traditionally marked by harvest celebrations, and thus a return to heartier fare with the onset of colder weather.

AND THE WINNERS ARE…THE 2012 JAMES BEARD AWARD WINNERS

The 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards, the annual celebration of excellence in American cuisine, were held on May 4 and May 7. While certainly focused on cooking and food, the Awards encompass all aspects that contribute to appreciation of cuisine, including education, service, restaurant design, and food writing.

2012 JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION AWARDS

If the arena of fine dining in America has an equivalent to the Academy Awards, the James Beard Foundation Awards surely would be it. Given annually to an array of chefs, restaurateurs, writers, journalists, graphic artists, restaurant designers, broadcasters, and people in broadcast media, the ceremonies on May 4th and May 7th this year will feature presentations to more than 60 honorees in recognition of achievements in all aspects of the industry, representing the highest honor for food and beverage professionals in North America.

TASTE OF THE LOWER EASTSIDE

One of the blessings of the continued development of real estate in lower Manhattan is the concomitant growth in high quality dining options available throughout the area, not only within the ever-growing collection of boutique hotels that appear every year, but also stand-alone establishments which serve a residential population drawn to the increasing number of sleek rental buildings which parallel the hotels. An annual opportunity to sample a wide array of these fine cuisines is Grand Street Settlement’s Taste of the Lower East Side™ charity event, which will once again be held at the 82 Mercer Street event space in Soho, and take place on April 26th this year.

CALIFORNIA FIG FEST 2011

For those of you who may be in California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley area over the weekend beginning August 12th, it would well be worth an excursion to Fresno, where the annual Fig Fest will be taking place on Saturday, August 13th.

FRYE FLAGSHIP STORE OPENS IN SOHO

Typically whenever one enters a spanking new establishment, the aromas that greet you reflect the freshly installed materials of the construction trade – wallboard, grout, flooring, woodwork, and most of all paint – prior to any of these surfaces being imbued by the mostly human scents that eventually season any public environment. Thus it was refreshing when I visited the new Frye store on Spring Street in Soho before it opened to the public that the unambiguous redolence was that of leather – despite work still being done on the space at the time. Perhaps this should be of no surprise for a manufacturer of shoes, boots, handbags and accessories made of cowhide, but it nonetheless lends the location an immediate olfactory atmosphere of authenticity and venerability.

A NEW WAY TO SEE?

With the advent of broadband technology, streaming media and digital projection of filmed entertainment, there has been a current of distress voiced in various cinema publications regarding the death of film, as we have known it. While many independent film producers hail the digital revolution as a democratizing force that will level the playing field for them in their attempts to gain an audience in the face of a marketplace hegemony long enjoyed by Hollywood and its’ boutique-indie spawn, there will indeed be something considerable lost when the term motion pictures no longer refers to flickering images on celluloid.

VAI SPUNTINO BAR

The very definition of the word ‘cozy’, Vai Spuntino Bar is perhaps the best location in Soho if what you seek is an intimate atmosphere to sample some exceptional wines and innovative cuisine.