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Food and Drink

The International Restaurant & Food Service Show Was Back at The Javits

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The International Restaurant & Food Service Show was at the Javits Center from March 3- 5. The show featured  hundreds of vendors from food  & beverage products, equipment, services, distributors, technology.

Sponsored by the New York State Restaurant Association, this show provides thousands of industry professionals with access to a renowned education programs, special events, and hundreds of leading vendors and purveyors dedicated to serving the restaurant & foodservice community.

The show was co-located with Coffee Fest giving all attendees access to both events in the same exhibit hall.

The show also featured demonstrations  by top chefs in the NEW” Culinary Innovation Theater. There was plenty of tasting  of products. I was happy to see some plant based foods. The show floor was jammed with buyers from all over the world looking for the latest food fad and new equipment. It was great to see the show returning in full force after the pandemic.

Magda Katz has been in the entertainment world for most of her life as a child actress, assistant to the head publicist of Avco Embassy Pictures, theatrical print agent. She went on to manage the show business career of her 2 children for over 15 years. For the last five years Magda has been filming and editing video trailers of live performances as well as celebrity interviews. Broadway After Dark was the first website to feature her video trailers. She contributed in creating a star studded 90th birthday party for Mickey Rooney at Feinstein’s at the Regency Hotel. Her video trailers have a large international following. Videos are featured on www.t2conline.com. All of Magda’s videos can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/user/MagdaCorrespondent

Cabaret

Cabaret Loses The West Bank Cafe and Laurie Beechman Theatre

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The West Bank Cafe and the Laurie Beechman theatre are closing their doors in August.

The West Bank Cafe opened in 1978. The restaurant’s early clients even included the notorious Irish gang, the Westies. The neighborhood was rough. In 1980, The New York Times awarded West Bank two stars, which increased its visibility and attracted a wider range of diners. 
In this era, West Bank Cafe’s owner, Steve Olsen opened the Laurie Beechman Theatre downstairs from the Cafe, which staged plays and hosted events nightly. A young Lewis Black was named playwright-in-residence; Howard Stern aired his third-annual live birthday broadcast from the theater; and the restaurant’s regulars included Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Bruce Willis, among others.

Soon the redevelopment of 42nd Street spread further west, bringing new businesses and residents to the area. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, the restaurant was a leader in the growing Theater District and Hell’s Kitchen dining scenes. As new theaters opened in the area, the restaurant’s connection to stage and screen remained strong as well. The Laurie Beechman Theatre continued to regularly stage the work of emerging writers, actors, and singers (many of whom later became stars) as well as established acts: The Who even gave four live performances at the restaurant while their musical Tommy was running on Broadway.

After 45 years, the restaurant’s surrounding neighborhood and America’s culinary tastes have changed dramatically. West Bank Cafe has evolved along with the neighborhood and maintained a commitment to serving high-quality food in a unpretentious setting where both theater-goers and theatre stars feel at home.

In 2020 the West Bank was likely to close imminently as it faced mounting debts and a steep drop-off in customers due to COVID. By Tuesday, though, there was an online fundraiser had raised more than $330,000, shooting past its initial goal of $250,000. Donations came pouring in thanks to Tom D’Angora, a Broadway producer and longtime customer. But things took off on Christmas Day, thanks to a star-studded, nine-hour telethon, featuring speeches and performances by Sean Penn, Nathan Lane, Pete Townshend, Debra Messing, Andre De Shields and dozens more performers who have called themselves West Bank regulars during its 42-year history.

The money raised allowed Olsen to pay off the cafe’s debts and save some cash for the future. Sadly it seems 2024 might be the end.

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Food and Drink

68th Annual Summer Fancy Food Show Highlights

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Specialty food and beverage products from 2,400+ exhibitors came to New York City at Javits Center for the 68th Annual Summer Fancy Food Show.

Speciality Foods Association brought the important and beloved event to the Big Apple this June.

Like Air Puffcorn

More than 29,000 specialty food and beverage industry professionals came together for the sold-out show that hosted exhibitors from 56 international countries across dozens of specialty food and beverage categories.

Brooklyn Bread

In addition to makers and buyers, event attracted industry affiliates, press, influencers, investors, and trendspotters.

Raincoast Crisps

“This year’s Show highlighted our incredible specialty food community in so many different ways, and SFA appreciates everyone who participated,” said SFA President Bill Lynch. “It was the place to be for a captivating keynote with Whole Foods Market CEO Jason Buechel and an insightful fireside chat with Kristen Kish, who also hosted our SFA Awards Gala. The exhibitors brought their best to the Show yet again, and the collective energy this year was palpable. We saw innovations in product format, flavor, and more that will reverberate through the wider food industry in the months to come.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethel’s

The winners of the five sofi Grand Honors Awards were revealed at the SFA Awards Gala on Monday, June 24, hosted by Kristen Kish of Bravo’s Top Chef.

Smul

The 2024 Grand Honors Award winners:

  • Outstanding Packaging: Strawberry Soft-Serve Milkshake by Fanci Freeze and Pivot North Consulting
  • Outstanding New Product: Flash Frozen Guinness Beef Stew by Jane Foodie
  • Outstanding Classic: Uncured Wagyu Beef Salami by Alef Sausage Inc.
  • Product of the Year/Beverage: Barcoop Bevy Bloody Mary with Smoked Sea Salt and Chiles by Bittermilk LLC
  • Product of the Year/Food: Molasses Spice Cookies by Girl In The Little Red Kitchen, LLC

The SFA operates an Exhibitor Food Donation Program in partnership with City Harvest to ensure unused food makes it to New Yorkers in need. 125 volunteers rescued 95 pallets of specialty food, which were then delivered to six of City Harvest’s partner agencies around New York City.

Jack Daniel’s Coffee

The next Fancy Food Shows are the 2025 Winter Fancy Food Show(Opens in a new window), January 19-21 in Las Vegas and the 2025 Summer Fancy Food Show(Opens in a new window), June 29-July 1, in New York City.

 

 

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Events

A Sweet Day of Fun with Malibu Rum on National Piña Colada Day

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The Royalton Park Ave was the sweet place to be for the National Piña Colada Day celebration with Malibu Rum.

Some favorite Malibu Piña Colada Recipes were enjoyed at the poolside affair. Malibu is the number one white rum-based coconut spirit in the world. Try these at home today!

Malibu Coconut Water Piña Colada

1.5 parts Malibu Original

1.5 parts Coconut Water

2 parts Dole® Canned 100% Pineapple Juice

0.5 parts Fresh Lime Juice

Garnish: Slice of pineapple

Ice

Method

Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker

Shake until cold and strain into a chilled glass filled with ice cubes

Top with a slice of pineapple

Malibu Sparkling Piña Colada 

Ingredients

1 Part Malibu Original

⅓ parts Dole® Canned 100% Pineapple Juice

⅓ parts Cream of Coconut

2 parts Sparkling Wine

Garnish: Pineapple wedge

Ice

Method

Pour all ingredients (except sparkling wine) into an ice-filled shaker

Shake until cold, pour sparkling wine into shaker and stir

Strain into a chilled glass and top with a slice of pineapple

 

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Art

NOFLEX Korean Dinning Surrounded By Art and Technology

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NOFLEX, located at 286 5th Avenue  right off 30th street us the first media art loungeThis contemporary Korean restaurant and bar is managed by Next Dining, a distinguished hospitality group from Korea.

The art on the walls

The art on the walls

The restaurant offers inventive Korean cuisine made with fresh ingredients and diverse flavors. The ambiance of the space is unparalleled, with a 72-foot LED wall and vibrant lighting that will transport you to Seoul.

The Bar

There is also an upstairs, overlooking the fun.

You can enjoy an impressive selection of cocktails, wine, sake. We tried The Pornstar Mojito’s ($17) Sparkling Wine with lime, mint and passion fruit. Refreshing and cooling served with a flower.

The space is very modern and has a club-like vibe, so I am sure after hours is very different than at dinner time, which was cool inviting and relaxed.

Looking at the menu

The menu is extensive and if you like seafood and sushi NOFLEX is sure to please. I am not exactly a seafood lover, however my guest and I went on a exploration of shrimp. 
We started our journey with Hand Rolled Cigar Rolls filled with beef and shrimp, served with aside of truffle aioli ($19). As far as food goes this was my favorite dish. The truffle aioli was fantastic, I ended up dipping everything in this sauce. These were crispy, juice and delectable.

Onto the Deep Fried Shrimp Skewers ($21) 6 pieces of lightly crispy shrimp in a wasabi mayo. The batter was more like the texture of coconut, and they were light and filling. Both were easily shared.

For entrees, we tried the Shrimp Scallion Pancakes ($25). Each slice was filled with a whole shrimp and there were eight slices. I would have preferred the shrimp to be cut up with scallions, as the garlic was barely a taste, however the truffle aioli  sauce from the cigars, perked these up and help immensely.

Also for an entree the Gambas ($33) which is shrimp in a spicy, garlic sauce served with slices of baguettes. This was Roger’s favorite dish.

And then there was dessert….. Roger and I would go to NOFLEX strictly for their Brûlé Banana Nutella Croffle ($17). This dessert is  a cross between a croissant and waffle, with ice bream. This was seriously sensational. First of all, I am not even a fan of bananas, but done in the Brûlé style they were out of this world and a Croffle with Nutella is a serious culinary adventure.We also tried the Silky Vanilla Cheesecake ($17) that was also excellent. What made this so good was that it was light with these fabulous cookie crumbles that elevated this classic dessert.

Bibi

We found out our fabulous server Bibi created these treasures.

NOFLEX is a wonderful addition to the neighborhood and has one of the best desserts I have ever had.

NOFlEX, 286 5th Avenue off of 30th closed on Monday’s and opened for dinner at 5pm.

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Art

A Weekend In The Hamptons

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I started off my weekend in The Hampton’s at an event for Hamptons Social Magazine.

Ilene Smith and Roger Sichel

Erika Katz and her daughter

The event was at Zadig & Voltaire East Hampton. The beautiful jewlery by Stacy Engman, was highlighted.

Stacy Engman

We were treated to some delicious ice cream and wine.

Then our friend photographer, artist and festival producer, Roger Sichel had a showing of some of his art at at Romany Kramoris Gallery, 41 Main Street in Sag Harbor. We attended his opening

Roger is prolific in creativing experiences that span generations and genres. From creating one of New York’s first erotic film festivals with judges Andy Warhol, Gore Vidal and Milos Forman to producing rock concerts with the Doors, Four Seasons and Isaac Hayes nationwide, Roger identifies most as a cultural observer and photographic journalist. Sichel has now entered the next phase of his artistic career and is choosing to explore neo-pop mixed media, inspired by his own life, as well as current events, while simultaneously preserving the legacy of his work in photojournalism.

Ann Liguori

Ann Liguori

Ann Liguori

The next day we attended the book signing at Barnes and Nobles of  Ann Liguori, sports Radio and TV Personality. Ann is the author of a new book called “Life on the Green, Lessons & Wisdom from Legends of Golf.” Hopefully we will have her on “Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents,” because this book sounds fascinating.

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