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Events: New Taste of the Upper West Side: Local foods in delicious abundance

As fairly new residents of Manhattan's Upper West Side, Jay and I have been trying to sample as many of the local restaurants as we can. So what better way to try a lot of restaurants in one place than by attending the New Taste of the Upper West Side?
I've long been a fan of red wines from Austria -- in fact, I usually order Zwiegelt whenever I see it on a wine list (which, sadly, isn't as often as I'd like). No matter the producer, it's usually a reliably juicy, slightly spicy wine with cherry and red berry flavors, sometimes aged in oak but sometimes not. However, Austrian wine is still rather difficult to find...
If you haven't heard of Txakoli (sometimes, confusingly, known as Txakolina or Chacoli), or the grape hondarrabi zuri, you're not alone. But this tangy, low-alcohol wine that's popular in Spain's Basque regions (especially in and around San Sebastian) is gaining popularity in the U.S.
All the hype about Cyrus had prepared me to expect great things. It has two Michelin stars, the San Francisco Chronicle awarded it four stars, and it has been talked about as one of the best restaurants in the country, upping the bar on fine dining to Healdsburg.
I dug around the NYC event sites and the dozens of email blasts for something to do on a waning summer (yes, its still summer damnit!) weekend and found The Last Supper Festival 2010. It purported to feature live bands, DJs, new media artists installations, experimental films, a writing salon, and other random performance art - sounded perfect. Liz and I would find these events throughout SF - many of them being Burning Man derivatives - and have been hard pressed to dig up the same type of ADD-inducing nights in NYC. I'm sure we're just not in the right crowd.
After hitting several North Fork wineries on a rainy Sunday morning, Jay and I needed some fortification before hitting several more. Being by the ocean, we knew we wanted to eat seafood, so we decided to try out a newish small plates seafood-oriented restaurant called Noah's in Greenport.
Just 50 years ago, some of the only things growing on Long Island’s North Fork were potatoes. But now this area just north of the Hamptons and only an-hour-and-a-half east of New York City is home to more than 40 wineries, some producing very high-quality wines.
On our 11th anniversary weekend in Long Island’s North Fork, Jay and I wanted to try somewhere new for dinner. Luce & Hawkins, at the historic Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport, seemed like a promising choice. This new restaurant focuses on seasonal, local cuisine, with many herbs and some veggies coming straight from the gardens outside the inn.
I chose an out of the way place...a little wine bar name Pinkerton on the corner of 'where the hell am i' and 'this doesn't look like brooklyn' street in Williamsburg. The intent was to meet up with a friend of a friend who just so happen to be in the wine importing / distributing biz just to get an idea of what it might take to bring in the delicious wines from Canada to share with our friends here in NYC.
Winederlust visits two trendy LA restaurants: Gjelina and Animal.
We only visit L.I.C. for two reasons - babies and backyards, but tonight we found another one. This petite bar right next to the (7) train subway entrance is reason enough to cross the filth of the Newtown Creek or venture towards the glow of the Pepsi sign like a wayward moth.
After Sam Sifton of the NY Times wrote that Motorino "serves the city's best pizza" on February 17, I had to give it a try to see for myself. I'd been to a couple of the other trendy New York pizza places – Company, Keste and, of course, Franny's, which is just down the block from our Brooklyn apartment – so while I'm by no means a pizza expert, I at least had some basis for comparison.
I had expected the Mermaid Oyster Bar, on the edge of Greenwich Village, to look more like a ramshackle fish shack. Instead, it reminded me of an upscale Nantucket restaurant, its white walls covered with pictures of beachy-looking scenes and a specials board announcing the day's oyster selections.
Jay and I are a little obsessed with uni. So we were really excited when we first went to Soto a couple of years ago for my birthday: The chef, Sotohiro Kosugi, ran a successful sushi restaurant in Atlanta before opening this intimate place in the West Village that specializes in uni in many guises.



“I just don’t see Big Wine allowing labels on wine reading something like this: This wine was dealcoholized by reverse osmosis and smoothed out with micro-oxygenation. Ingredients: Water, alcohol, grapes, chestnut tannin, oak extract, oak dust, genetically modified yeast, urea, enzymes, grape juice, tartaric acid, bentonite, and Velcorin.” – Alice Feiring, The Battle for Wine and Love or How I Saved the World from Parkerization

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