Taste of Home 2017

On the evening of Wednesday, June 14th, Housing Works hosted “Taste of Home,” its annual culinary benefit that fully supports those living with HIV/AIDS in the New York City area. Taste of Home took place at Housing Works’ own Bookstore Cafe, a cozy destination that is a downtown staple for tourists and locals alike. However, for the event, the charming bookstore transformed into a hospitable and upscale dining venue, where guests enjoyed tasting the craft of some of NYC’s supreme chefs.

Upon arrival, guests checked in and were greeted by amiable hosts with a menu of tasting options for the night. Throughout the bookstore were numerous tables adorned with a wide array of cuisines. VIP hour, which was accessible to those who purchased VIP admission tickets, consisted of a reception with hors d'oeuvres from Comparti New York and an intimate “meet and greet” with the chefs and co-host Alex Guarnaschelli, a highly acclaimed chef who has made appearances on both Chopped and Iron Chef.

General admission, which began at 7:00 p.m., provided guests with foods from Shopsin’s Tamara Shopsin, Mission Chinese Food’s Angela Dimayuga, Bread & Salt’s Rick Easton, Superiority Burger’s Brooks Headley, and Comparti New York’s Felipe Donnelly. Dessert was presented by Butter’s Kevin O’Brien. Each of the various foods, from ceviche to cheddar cheese pancakes, were served and described by the chefs at their own decorative tables dispersed throughout the bookstore. Additionally, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company beer and Nomikai Fizzy Rosé were served as refreshments.

Overall, hosts Alex Guarnaschelli, Sam Sifton, Geoff Bartakovics, and Francis Lam, in addition to honorary chairs Ruth Reichl, Mo Rocca, and Jessica Seinfeld were remarkable in organizing this delightful evening celebrating the art of food, as well as Housing Works’ mission of providing services and displaying political advocacy for those living with HIV/AIDS. Housing Works, which accounts for not only Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, but also Housing Works Thrift Shops and The Works Catering, is based on the three pillars of advocacy, service, and entrepreneurial businesses, all of which center around fighting both AIDS and homelessness in New York City. 100% of the proceeds raised through “Taste of Home” went towards ending HIV/AIDS.

Photos courtesy of Astrid Stawiarz for Getty Images

For more information or donate to Housing Works visit: http://www.housingworks.org/

 

House of Kim Crawford

On Wednesday, August 3rd, @kimcrawfordwines hosted the House of Kim Crawford, transforming the beautiful townhouse of 80 Washington Place, Greenwich Village into a summery lounge, complete with beautiful art installations and avant-garde decorations.

A display of golden balloons framing walls of the townhouse.

A display of golden balloons framing walls of the townhouse.

Upon entering, guests were immediately greeted with champagnes glasses filled with Sauvignon Blanc. Other offerings included Pinot Noir and wine infused slushies.

In addition to these treats, there was a gorgeous set up for guests to take plenty of pictures for their social media accounts, as well as an in house artist who did portraits on the spot.  Both of these party favors were tried out by actress and esteemed guest Kate Bosworth.

So, the next time you’re looking for a beverage to be the star of your party, look no further than Kim Crawford Wines.

The townhouse had a staggering price of $31.5 million dollars, there was no doubt that Kim Crawford Wines pulled out all the stops for this extravagant event.


Special thanks to Jamie from ShadowPR. 

Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails

It’s crazy how fast a year goes by! Just one year ago, Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails opened its doors on the streets of Kips Bay. Known for its rustic décor, extensive and elaborate drink menu, and creative takes on popular dishes, Handcraft has been a leader for change in the community. To celebrate the success and hard work of the past year, Handcraft hosted a party with drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and more drinks!

Photo by Sunny Norton

Photo by Sunny Norton

The restaurant was dimly lit and by the time I got there, pleasant chatter had already started to fill the restaurant. The interior was decorated in what the owners described as “industrial chic,” and the warm tones of the wood tables and exposed bulbs definitely matched the atmosphere.

Photo by Sunny Norton

Photo by Sunny Norton

There was a nearly constant crowd around the bar, eager for the locally sourced drinks on tap and the delicious cocktails created by none other than co-owner, Alex Mouzakitis. Now I normally hate drink-based parties because when you’re under 21 the most interesting your drink tends to get is water with a slice of lemon, but Alex was more than willing to make me a Berry Lemonade without the vodka.

Photo by Sunny Norton

Photo by Sunny Norton

Before things got too crazy, I got a chance to talk with the two owners, Chad Gaudet and Alex Mouzakitis, and ask them a few questions about the past year. They describe the past year as a rollercoaster. Alex says they have to “go month to month, week to week, sometimes day to day,” because like anything else in life, there are good days and bad days.

Photo by Sunny Norton

Photo by Sunny Norton

As for the next few years, they obviously hope to keep up the success of the past year as well as potentially opening more locations. For now, they hope to encourage the shift toward higher quality of dining going on in the surrounding neighborhood.

Photo by Sunny Norton

Photo by Sunny Norton

When asked about the inspiration for their food, Chad directed me to their Executive Chef, Giancarlo Autenzio. He describes their food as “worldwide cuisine” which is inspired by his travels, though he admits that Southern cuisine is probably the strongest influence and that the Louisiana Gumbo is his “heart and soul.”

Photo by Sunny Norton

Photo by Sunny Norton

Giancarlo is actually the executive chef at two restaurants, so the last year has been understandably stressful for him, but he really enjoys the freedom he has at Handcraft to experiment with food. He says he has “no doubt the food will only get better” because they welcome critiques from their customers and “cater to the community.”

Photo by Sunny Norton

Photo by Sunny Norton

The food really was incredible. Waiters waded through the thick crowd of people, carrying with them roasted cauliflower, prosciutto and watermelon, and the most succulent meatballs I have ever had, and while I only had a few small bites here and there it definitely got me craving to come back for more. So here’s to a successful year at a spectacular restaurant and many more anniversaries to come.

Photo by Sunny Norton

Photo by Sunny Norton

Trademark Burger Launch Party

A homely and economical burger joint has recently sprung into the vibrant neighborhood of SoHo. This new meat destination is called Trademark Burger and located on Thompson Street; it’s intimately small but delightful. Trademark Burger had a Launch party where exclusive guests got to sample Chef Sebastien's complimentary menu. For the past few months the chef/owner of Cocotte and executive chef/ partner of Good Bytes has been quietly working on improving everyone's favorite meal: the burger.

The restaurant only has a handful of seats and is about the size of a NYC studio apartment. With the place being so small, the menu is understandably minuscule.The food tasting sample consisted of mini versions of all of the items on the menu. All of the burgers were juicy and flavorful. The beef was sourced from a Colorado rancher whose cows get to live 34 month long life which doubles the typical 14 months that most cows get. This ensures a tastier and more enriched flavor. 

I was able to grab a seat by the bar and starting tasting some of the shakes. My favorite was the vanilla. 

Menu tasting

Menu tasting

The best part about Trademark burgers is the price. A burger will set you back only 7 dollars, and a hot dog will cost you 4 dollar bills. These prices are nearly unheard of at SoHo, and for the quality of food you are getting in return, this place should definitely be on your radar the next time you're in the area.