August 2015

There is a lot to digest in this newsletter so I will jump right into the events. Our July was a wild one as we sold out two events, had 46 members join us for dinner on July 4th, and a fire postponed another dinner. The only event left is Sunday, July 26th, at KNICKERBOCKER GRILL, one of the more popular restaurants in Greenwich Village. Just a few blocks south of Union Square, this old-school restaurant has been serving the neighborhood for 40 years.

August starts off with a fairly new NYC restaurant, HUMMUS 21, a delicious Kosher Mediterranean in Midtown. Don’t let ‘kosher’ fool you, it just means they put lots of care, blessings and quality into their meal. Named for the youth and freshness of someone 21, Humus 21 doesn’t disappoint, the food is fresh, all homemade and absolutely fantastic. Their 4.5 stars on YELP proves I am not the only one loving their meze! The following Saturday, August 8th we visit DA NOI, rescheduled due to a small fire, this 4-course, family owned Italian, 25-zagat rated very well-known Midtown gem, will be a hit for years to come. The next day, Sunday August 9th, due to being sold out in July, we repeat the Flatiron Food & History Tour. One of the restaurants we visit on this tour, OBICÀ, we are going to on August 30th . The following Thursday is a different event for the group as it is not held in a restaurant. It is an outdoor, waterfront (Dominoes Sugar Factory) event called the Food Karma Project. This is a farm-to-table-style dining series, held on a ‘farm’ in Williamsburg, pairing award winning chefs with New York State farms to prepare seasonally fresh and creative dishes with locally sourced ingredients.

This month, in celebration of Indian Independence day, we plan our first visit to an Indian restaurant in many years. On Saturday, August 15th join us at the recently opened midtown location of AKBAR PALACE. There will be Indian music and plenty of food. I made sure the menu is not spicy (though they will accommodate anything), so if you love Indian food or if you’ve never tried it, now is the best night to try it. Our next event is on Friday, August 21st, where we have a wine class at VINO-VERSITY. This is not just a normal wine tasting, this is an actual class teaching us on pairing international wines, cheeses, fruits and jams and is run by experts. Learn through humor, lecture and a lot of tasting. The next night, August 22nd we visit a favorite, BRASSERIE. Since 1959, this French classic has been a hot spot for NYC nightlife and fine meals. This might be our last visit to Brasserie, as their new landlord is unfortunately forcing them to leave. We end August with a 4-course Italian meal at OBICÀ, in a beautiful and modern, international restaurant. Obicà incorporates mozzarella into many of their dishes and are known to have the best in the world. The only mozzarella served at Obicà is from dairies and farms certified by the Consortium of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOPA. This will be our last group dinner for 2 weeks as the group heads to Austin & San Antonio! Space for the trip is still available but the tours are selling out. The New York Times listed San Antonio in their top 52 places to go in 2015, Kayak.com just listed San Antonio 1st in their list of unknown places for foodies and Austin ranks high on all travel sites.

The following August events are available for Single Gourmet Members and their guests:

1. Knickerbocker Grill-33 University Place (corner 9th street), Sunday, July 26th. 5:45 optional drinks; 6:45 dinner $75- 3-course, glass wine, coffee, tax, tip
The following August events are available for Single Gourmet Members and their guests:

Hummus 21- Mediterranean
1055 First Avenue (57th and 58th Street)
Saturday, August 1st
6:45 pm optional drinks, 7:30 pm dinner
$62- Mediterranean meal, gl of wine, coffee/tea t&t.

From the pita and hummus made hourly to the sauces, baklava and falafel, everything except the wine and veggies are handmade in house from scratch, at this 6 month old newcomer to Midtown East. With a taste of the entire Mediterranean, our menu consists of meze including tabule, hummus, briwat, falafel and Mediterranean salad, and then choices from chicken, lamb, shashuka and veggies. We came here to test out the menu and the food did not disappoint and their 4.5 stars on yelp solidified our visit.

Da Noi- 25 Zagat Rated
214 East 49th Street (between 2nd/3rd)
Saturday, August 8th Rescheduled from July
7pm optional drinks, 8 pm dinner
$79 4-course, glass of wine, coffee, tax & tip

A whopping 2015 Zagat rated 25, for “old world red sauce cooking like nonna’s …where the crowd is right out of a scene from the Godfather.” A family owned (40 years in the business) highly rated, 5-star service, fine dining Italian establishment is just perfect for an August weekend. A wildly successful hit in their first 3 locations in the Italian sections of Staten Island and NJ, and voted in Zagats top of the “Best of Staten Island” list. Da Noi opened up in Midtown to raving reviews all across every review site. Family owned and run like the good-ole Italian restaurants of the past, “Da Noi” means “from/of us” in Italian, putting the family mark/seal on all their recipes. Our 4-course meal includes salads, pastas and Italian classics such as veal, chicken and fish finished off with a dessert trio.

Flatiron History and Food Walking Tour
Due to selling out we scheduled this again.
Sunday, August 9th 10:30am-1:30pm (meet at 10:15am)
Front of 200 Fifth Avenue (@23rd/24th)
$50 private group tour

We start our tour off at Eataly with a brief history lesson on Mario Batali’s huge Italian food store and the rooftop beirgarten. In Eataly we taste espresso at Caffee Lavazza- serving Italy since 1895. Then we go to Madison Park where we learn the history of the Toy Building, the Flatiron building, the initial garment district, the history of the park and the surrounding neighborhood. We have a burger tasting at Shake Shack (if there is no line, otherwise Schnipper’s), then head to an international Italian mozzarella restaurant, Obicà (see pg 4.), where we try homemade burrata, the best Napoleon style pizza and learn the history of the restaurant as well learn the mozzarella and burrata making process. Next, we head to Beecher’s Cheese factory, an artisanal shop where staff hand-make many of the cheeses right on the premises. After a cheese course/tour and a tasting of their amazing grilled cheese sandwich, we head to Union Square. Finally we head for dessert at Bread’s Bakery, an Israeli baking company opening up locations worldwide. Here we get to sample NYC # 1 rated and best babka! Made with chocolate and…..Nutella…Note: the physical tour of Breads bakery is no longer included as the health department prevents a group from going there, but we still sample the babka… YUMMY. The tour lasts around 3 hours. You won’t walk far (less than 7 blocks), but be sure to dress appropriately. RSVP early.

Food Karma Project- “Pig and Whiskey”
North Brooklyn Farms- in Williamsburg
320 Kent Avenue- Brooklyn
Thursday, August 13th
7 pm – 10 pm- Live Music- Folk and Blue Grass
$78 Unlimited food, craft beer, whiskey, wine, ciders
PLEASE RSVP early, limited tickets at this discount price

Join us for an unlimited “Pig & Whiskey” dinner with whiskeys from Van Brunt Stillhouse (Red Hook, Brooklyn) and pig roast from the Fleisher’s Craft Butchery culinary team! Guests can help themselves to an array of menu items from favorite local chefs along with refreshing craft beer and cocktails all evening long. Adding another twist to traditional farm-to-table dinners, food and drinks can be enjoyed at large communal dining tables, intimate cafe tables or right on the lush waterfront lawn! Sprawl out on comfy area rugs and pillows provided by Loloi or BYOBlanket for a fun picnic style setting beneath sweeping views of the Williamsburg Bridge and Manhattan skyline. A relaxed, interactive experience with chefs, farmers and mixologists on hand to discuss the food and libations, There will also be live music featuring the best local folk, bluegrass and Americana. Van Brunt Stillhouse is a small micro distillery in Red Hook Brooklyn. They take a time-honored traditional approach to distilling, sourcing wheat, rye and corn directly from upstate New York farmers. Making every spirit from scratch in the waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook in Brooklyn. Fleisher’s Craft Butchery is dedicated to selling the highest quality meat raised to the highest health and ethical standards. They source exclusively from farmers in New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Their culinary team is made up of passionate chefs. They pioneered craft butchery when they opened in 2004 and remained the nation’s leader when it comes to updating old-world methods with modern-day ideals. Complimenting dinner will be wines provided by Brooklyn Oenology, refreshing craft beer from Two Roads Brewing Co. and cocktails – all evening long.

Akbar Palace-Authentic Cuisine of India
47 West 55 (5th and 6th Street)
Saturday, August 15th
6:45 pm optional drinks, 7:45 pm dinner

$52 Indian feast, glass of wine, coffee, tax and tip

One of the big fads in food for the past few years has been Indian food. I hesitated to initially try Indian because of the spices and family style aspect, but some members have asked for it and since we found a place that will make our dishes not spicy, made-to-order and non-family style, we thought this would be an ideal spot for our first Indian restaurant, on their Independence Day! Our appetizers are a mixed combo plate with lamb, chicken, shrimp, samosas and other Indian classics, along with the best homemade naan that I have ever eaten. We have entrée ch0ices from chicken tikka masala in a tomato cream sauce, chicken pistachio korma, lamb shahi korma in a creamy nut sauce, lamb spinach curry, salmon tikka, shrimp masala or seafood curry. The restaurant is fairly new, but the owner has owned restaurants all over NYC. They too have 4.5 stars on Yelp.
Vino-Versity- “Wine, Cheese, Fruit and Jam”
Friday, August 21st
1657 1st Avenue 86th/87th
7:00 pm – 9pm arrive 6:45 for seating
$47- Limited space RSVP asap

Become the non-chalant wine aficionado you’ve always wanted to be. This is a wine tasting class with cheese, fruit & jam. Led by wine and cheese expert from the Chelsea Market’s, ‘Lucy’s Whey’ cheese shop, this was nominated as one of the best Wine Tourism features of NYC! It also has a 4.5 star Yelp rating. Here’s a perfect chance to sit in a room and taste how cheese and wine both change as you eat & sip them together. Through an array of international cheeses and white, red, rosé, & sparkling wines, you will figure out which ones are magic together during this lecture with tasting! Vino-Versity is described as “a Mac computer store that crashed into a wood & brick winery,” as well-versed and knowledgeable staffers help “wine rookies” navigate the complex world of vino appreciation and providing tips on tasting.
Brasserie
100 East 53rd (Lexington and Park)
Saturday, August 22nd
7:00 pm optional drinks, 8:00 pm dinner
$87 3-course meal, glass wine, coffee, tax & tip

The Patina Group with over 60 restaurants worldwide, continues to shine at this French classic located in the recently sold Seagram building. Since 1959 this icon has been serving French cuisine with a modern twist in an ultra-sleek setting. A destination for New York nightlife and dining, it upholds the beloved culinary traditions of Paris. Zagat rated 21, “A “tried-and-true” “crowd-pleaser,” this sunken brasserie remains a “go-to” for “delicious” French bites and “unpretentious” service in a “stylish,” futuristic space while steadfast supporters keep it “happening”. ZAGAT, says this is as an “essential NYC” experience. Join us for what could be our last visit ever here.

Obicà- 24 Zagat
928 Broadway @21st Street across from Flatiron Bldg
Sunday, August 30th (limited to 34 members)
5:45 optional drinks; 6:45 dinner
$70- 4-courses, glass wine, coffee, tax, tip

Obicà, 24-Zagat, combines Italy’s finest artisanal ingredients with innovative presentations. Founded in Rome in 2004, Obicà means “Here we are” for their open kitchen concept. Known for presenting traditional Italian dishes in a clear and contemporary way, Obicà has expanded worldwide with twenty locations in Italy, England, Dubai, Japan, and the United States. In 2013, the restaurant partnered with “Slow Food Association” to commit to food linked with pleasure, culture, tradition and a style of life. Obicà uses mozzarella only made from the creamy and nutritious milk of the water buffalo, hand made by artisan producers in the Denominazione di Origine Protetta of Campania in Southern Italy and flown in to NYC. Our Italian 4-course meal will include-
Travel with The Single Gourmet
Sept 4th-7th-10th: Austin and San Antonio TX
($3445 enter trip, – $250 if sharing a room, -$300 if own airfare, $1995 just Austin)
THIS IS AN ALL INCLUSIVE TRIP- 3 Meals daily, Airfare, Hotels and Tours. Austin and San Antonio are only 80 miles apart, or about 90 minute drive. First, we spend 3 nights in Austin- the music capital of the world and the nation’s fastest growing city. Conde Nast Traveler labels it the #1 Top Destinations to watch saying, “It’s one of the most exciting cities in the world to be right now”. Austin is bustling with arts, music and activities. It’s one of the nation’s most thriving cities. Fodor’s says, “Austin is a boomtown of culture and creativity, the hub for music, comedy, food and filmmaking. They rank Austin a top travel destination.

Austin ranks– “#1 Aspirational City” (economy, demographics and quality of life,) #1 Fastest-Growing City, #1 “City to Watch”, # 1 economy in the U.S.,# 1 Best City To Open a Business, #1 for income vs expenses, #1 for millennials, #1 City for Job Growth, #1 Vegan-Friendly City, #1 City in America to be Single, #1 on the list of “Ten Best Cities in the U.S. to Live”, #1 city for young adults, #1 city for under 30, #1 for BBQ, #1 on the list of Top American Boomtowns, #1 Top Ten Destinations to Watch. Austin is ranked among “America’s Coolest Cities to Live,” Departures.com, Conde Nast and Orbitz name Austin a Top Travel Destination.
Let’s not forget San Antonio which was listed by NY Times in 2015 as one of the top 52 places to go this year. The Times states, “San Antonio’s riverside promenade, River Walk, one of Texas’s most visited attractions, was expanded in 2013 from 3 to 15 miles, linking to four of the city’s historic Spanish colonial missions, that has created a development boom. In late 2013, the Briscoe Western Art Museum opened in the former San Antonio Library. The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, host venue to the San Antonio Symphony and nine other cultural institutions, joined the River Walk, adding an outdoor plaza an reaches the redeveloped Pearl Brewery, home to restaurants” and the Culinary Institute.

We have a live music tour, 2 riverboat tours, a wine tour, a ‘real Austin’ tour, an architectural tour, visit to the #1 bbq place in the world, visits to every neighborhood in Austin, a hop on hop off bus tour, a grand tour of San Antonio, visiting all the sites there as well as the riverwalk, the Alamo and various museums in both cities, we tour and road trip to Hill Country and Fredericksburg as well as visit the redeveloped Pearl Brewery with the Culinary Institute. Our restaurants will be a mix of 4-star fine and traditional cuisine of the city. This will be a fun trip. Even if you have been to San Antonio, their 2013 expansion of the riverwalk has created a whole different city.

Madrid & Barcelona- Dec 26th –Jan 5th
The Trip is 1 day longer and less expensive than Italy. Call for pricing if interested
Overnight flight Dec 26th, arrive in Madrid the 27th to a welcome lunch and reception. Included: Private Tour of Madrid- see the capital’s most impressive sights, such as the Plaza de Oriente, the historic quarter, the 17th-century Plaza Mayor, the Baroque square with arcades filled with picturesque cafes, the Plaza de la Villa, City Hall and the narrow streets of Madrid of the “Austrias”, the gastronomic centre of Madrid including the oldest restaurant in the world. The tour will also include a visit to the Royal Palace. Eenjoy a Flamenco and dinner show at the highly-rated Corral de la Moreria, considered to be the premier flamenco venue in the world. The Corral de la Moreria is featured in the book ‘1,000 Places to See Before You Die’ and has been frequented by international artists, celebrities and the King of Spain himself. The next day we have a tour of Toledo. Toledo is a thousand-year-old masterpiece. Its heyday was in the 16th century when it became the capital of the mighty Spanish empire. The beautifully preserved buildings of this ancient town provide striking testimony of Toledo’s rich and colorful past. The city of Toledo, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is located on a rocky headland, bordered by the river Tajo in the very heart of Spain, one hour from Madrid. Toledo and its narrow, winding streets and steps, stone and brick houses and churches embodies Spain’s past. Here we marvel at El Greco’s famed Burial of the Count of Orgaz, considered to be El Greco’s finest work and one of the greatest masterpieces of all time. Lunch is included. Guided tour of Madrid’s Art Galleries- visiting the Reina Sofia and Museo de arte Thyssen-Bornemisza. Lunch is included. Private Wine Tasting Experience with the guidance of a sommelier and expert on Spanish wine. The following day we leave Madrid and board the 2.5 hour high speed train to Barcelona (a guide will travel with us). Upon arrival in Barcelona we have a half day private tour of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The tour stresses the importance of Catalan history and culture, shows us the Passeig de Gracia, the most stylish street of Barcelona, La Rambla, with its outdoor cafes, La Boqueria, one of the best outdoor markets in the world, the Gothic Quarter full of buildings from the 13th to the 15th century, the medieval Cathedral and the Picasso Museum. Celebrate New Year’s, (Nochevieja) like a local with a festive dinner and party! New Year’s day is a rest day but we do have lunch together. A Guided Tour of Gaudi & Modernisme Architecture- spend half a day focusing Barcelona’s most vibrant and exciting period – the period of visionary architect Antonio Gaudi. Visit the iconic Casa Milà, a fantasy in stone which appears to have been carved out of the living rock, the magical Cathedral of Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s most famous work and a worldwide symbol for Barcelona, the Parc Güell where many Gaudí aficionados consider this outdoor park his finest work. Next we have a Private Cooking Class in Barcelona-Enjoy a hands-on introduction to Spanish cooking with your chef whose infectious passion for Mediterranean cuisine will set the scene for a fun way to learn about traditional and contemporary homemade specialties. Start with a tour around the famous Boqueria market, getting plenty of tips on picking local, seasonal products. From the Boqueria, head to the kitchen, with the chef involving us as much as we wish in the preparation of the dishes. The next day we have an Exclusive Private Wine Excursion to the wine region of Priorat. The remote, rocky hills of the Priorat wine region are the birthplace of intense, mineral reds considered to be Spain’s most elite wines. Enjoy another gastronomic highlight but this time away from the sophisticated urbane and chic Barcelona… and into the authentic countryside of Catalunya… and Priorat. Visit one winery before lunch… and when ready make your way to lunch in an authentic local restaurant with incredible local produce. The wine will be flowing…After lunch, another top winery. A fun and fascinating day for all wine aficionados and a rare treat to go to the soul of Spain’s most exclusive wines. Our final day is a day of shopping and leisure and to join us in walking the city, this evening, a special farewell dinner at Michelin Star Restaurant.

To reserve at any or all the events please go to our website and view your dashboard event calendar or call us at (646-825-0268), email us at singourmetny@aol.com or mail checks to:
The Single Gourmet, c/o Aaron Lefkowitz, 69 west 9th Street Apartment #6A, New York, NY 10011

1. Knickerbocker Grill – Village Gem for 40 years Sun. July 26th 5:45pm $75 _______
2. Hummus 21- NEW MEDITERANEAN Sat. August 1st 6:45 pm $62________
3. DA NOI- 25 ZAGAT RATED 4-course Sat. August 8th 7:00pm $79________
4. Flatiron Food and Walking Tour Sun. August 9th 10:15am $50________
5. Food Karma- Pig, Whiskey & Unlimited Drinks Thu, August 13th 7-10pm $78_______
6. Akbar Palace- Indian Independence Day Sat. August 15th 6:45pm $52 _______
7. VINO-VERSITY- Wine, Cheese, Fruit & Jam Fri. August 21st 6 :45pm $47 _______
8. BRASSERIE- Patina Group French Sat. August 22nd 7:00pm $87 _______
9. Obica- 4-course International Italian Restaurant Sun. August 30th 5:45pm $70_______
10. AUSTIN & SAN ANTONIO Full Payment July 26th See above on pricing
11. Barcelona and Madrid- I am interested in more information ________

Name: ____________________________¬¬¬¬¬___________
____Check or CC Number_______________________Expiration ________ZIP__________
Phone number____________________ email __________________
Signature________________________________________________I understand my Austin payment is final and non-refundable as hotel and airfare and tours are all pre booked.

 

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