With the countdown toward 2012 coming much quicker than anyone anticipated, it’s time to look back at the year that was 2011 here at LocalBozo.com. Check in with us all week long as we’ll be choosing our favorite New York City experiences of the past year including restaurants, concerts, bars, films, and local events. Have a Happy and Healthy New Year and a Prosperous 2012 from all of us at Localbozo.com: All Local Stops.
Every Monday through Friday, New Yorkers of all walks of life hop on mass transit to their respective jobs. We only get two days a week away from the daily grind to truly enjoy the city we call home. So it is of the utmost importance to use those days wisely. Luckily, throughout the year so many exciting events are held locally which allow us to explore more than just what’s in our own neighborhoods. Be it a pork centric food tasting on Governor’s Island or a high brow cocktail gala at the New York Public Library, LocalBozo.com was there in 2011. Although narrowing it down to just five was a challenge, here are our top five favorite local events of the past year.
Number 5. The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party (Posted 6/13/11)
What we wrote then: “The folks behind this year’s event once again showed that despite thousands of people, New York City can expertly run an efficient and infinitely enjoyable event for its inhabitants.”
Looking Back: Every June, New York City’s Madison Square Park is overrun by rabid fans of barbeque. It’s hard to believe that a park in our concrete jungle would be virtually transformed into a state fair, the likes of which you’d find deep in the heart of Texas. But the lengthy lines surrounded by a massive sea of people reveal that not only can it be done, the Big Apple BBQ Block Party goes off every year without a hitch. Having been to this feeding frenzy in the past, we searched for the “Que” cooked up from joints outside of Manhattan’s boroughs. The highlights included St. Louis style ribs from the iconic Pappy’s Smokehouse and the delightfully sauce covered pulled pork sandwich from Ubon’s Smokehouse of Yazoo, MS. If you decide to come out this June, be sure to pick up a FastPass because the lines at this celebration of all things meat, are no laughing matter.
Number 4. Get Real NY’s Belgian Beer Festival (Posted 7/11/11)
What we wrote then: “Since each of the beers were so unique, it was virtually impossible to have a favorite- each sample provided us with something new to fall in love with.”
Looking Back: I think by now we can all agree that beer is one of the greatest gifts on the planet. The great people at Get Real NY, wholeheartedly agree with this notion of suds supremacy. This past July, LocalBozo took you to Get Real NY’s Belgian Beer Festival, held in the spacious Altman Building in Chelsea. As we arrived on night one of the two day, all-you-can-consume event, the layout was pitch perfect, allowing ticketed patrons easy access to a seemingly endless supply of Belgian ales. Much of this was due to the innovative “cube fridge” used for dispensing beers in the center of the room. Every side of the square had plenty of taps on it, with volunteers on each side pouring beer for guests into small glasses to use and subsequently take home at the end of the night. Local brews like Kelso of Brooklyn’s hoppy yet fruity Belgian Pale Ale, were among our favorites. And the addition of fine food selections from the likes of Luke’s Lobster and Eddies Oysters didn’t hurt either. Throughout the evening there was no beer snobbery to be found, just tons of beer love.
Number 3. Pig Island (Posted 9/12/11)
What we wrote then: “Events like Pig Island offer a glimpse into the intricacies of the different restaurants and chefs city-wide and for an affordable price (just $70 for a day long smorgasbord), you can stuff yourself full of some of the best under the radar spots in New York whilst imbibing craft beers until you can move no longer.”
Looking Back: In the past few years Governor’s Island has become a hot bed for innovative events and concert festivals. And even though we took the ferry over several times this year, one colossal event made it on our list- the celebration of all things pork known simply as “Pig Island.” This massive swine-centric event was expertly produced by Jimmy’s No. 43 proprietor Jimmy Carbone. At an event of this caliber one must arrive early to stake out the choice eats, and get on the right lines. As the day progressed the lines were long, but that did not seem to bother anyone in attendance since the weather was in our favor and the all-you-could-drink Sixpoint Craft Ales’ helped out as well. If you love pork like we do, it’s easy to spread yourself out thin trying to sample everything while missing the choice eats. But with an easy going flow, and a trusty map we were able to work our way through all this fantastic gluttony. Chef Michael Ferraro of Delicatessen provided us with our favorite dish of the day called “pig pies.” This pie dish mixed in fresh chunks of pork in a pot pie/quiche style dish with melted leeks and a compote of Roquefort cheese and sweet figs. If we could forever take up residence on “Pig Island” we would. We just need to find the right broker.
Number 2. The 2011 Food Network New York City Food and Wine Festival – Grand Tasting (Posted 10/3/11)
What we wrote then: “Over-whelming, intense, gluttonous, and a ton of fun. Those are just a few words to describe the “Grand Tasting” at the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by ShopRite.”
Looking Back: LocalBozo provided you with full coverage of the The 2011 Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival like none other. From an interview with food impresario Lee Schrager, to all the helpings at “Meatball Madness,” to a rare meatball and wine pairing event with Dan Holzman (Meatball Shop) we were there. Yet there was nothing as epic as the “Grand Tasting” celebration which took place in the massive Pier 57 hanger, resting along the Hudson River. The sold out event featured food celebrities like Alton Brown, Paula Dean, and Andrew Zimmern, each of whom took to the stage to give lively demonstrations to their foodie fans. But unlike watching TV, patrons could taste hundreds of delicious food samples, from the simple to the exotic, while mingling with their favorite food personality. To say we were overwhelmed would be an understatement. As we walked up and down the aisles of the event, it appeared that everyone wanted to put something new and exciting on our plate, while filling our glasses with some superb wine and spirits. Now this was living.
Number 1. The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Opening Gala (Posted 5/16/11)
What we wrote then: “The event’s opening night gala was as classy and well planned an event that Manhattan offers to the general public. Each floor provided a completely different drinking experience and vibe than the one which preceded it.”
Looking Back: The Manhattan Cocktail Classic opening night gala was bar none the classiest and the most fun event we have attended in the past year. Right off the bat, you have the historic location of the New York Public Library as the home to the party. The Cocktail Classic staff took this already beautiful landmark and transformed it into a one night only hotspot that rivaled the trendiest club in town. If that wasn’t enough, guests all dressed up in their black tie finest, sampled some of the tastiest spirits made by some of the best mixologists on the planet. Between the dancing and the mingling, the entire night was a whirlwind. The Manhattan Cocktail Classic returns this spring, so do yourself a favor, and start picking out your tuxedos and gowns now.
Honorable Mention: Here’s a few of our other favorites that JUST missed the cut:
The Village Voice Brooklyn Pour (Posted 10/17/11)
Yeah, That’s The Ticket: This may have been the first annual Brooklyn Pour, but we doubt it will be the last. Skylight One Hanson’s historic bank vault was an incredible setting as the beer never stopped flowing for the entirety of the four hour event. The Pour also allowed patrons a chance to sample several of winter beers that now pack our fridges, before they were even on market shelves.
Escapemaker.com & Edible Manhattan Present ‘Edible Escape’ (Posted 10/20/11)
Yeah, That’s The Ticket: The ornate, and Gothic Angel Orensanz Center in New York City’s Lower East Side was the perfect setting for an October evening filled with sampling great local cuisine, wines, and learning about great New York travel destinations. It was also a rare occasion to speak directly with the producers of these fine products that please us, while helping the local economy.
Meatopia 2011 (Posted 7/24/11)
Yeah, That’s The Ticket: A beautiful summer afternoon turned evening hosted the most unique setting for 2011′s Meatopia. The innumerable amounts of meat purveyors lined Brooklyn Bridge Park with the biggest names in meat on hand for live demonstrations, and slicing and dicing up plenty of samples for attendees. Because there were so many different options, lines were minimal, but because there were so many different options, we’ve also never left an event with fuller stomachs. The breathtaking views of lower Manhattan with a “scrapple stuffed pig’s head” in one hand and an Amstel Light in the other, made this four hour event one of the highlights of this past summer. Meatopia 2012 simply cannot come fast enough.
- Jay Rubin