DECEMBER BRUNCH & MIDNITE — NAUGHTY AND NICE: A CHRISTMAS STORY (Bob Clark, 1983)
136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry St. & Wythe Ave.
Wednesday, December 11, $75, 7:15
Once upon a time, there was a little cult movie that so perfectly captured the real Christmas spirit that it was a special holiday gift for those few who knew of its myriad charms. But when word got out, it sure got out, making A Christmas Story more ubiquitous in December than It’s a Wonderful Life. In fact, TBS will once again host a twenty-four-hour marathon of the film beginning at 8:00 on Christmas Eve, and the stage musical is back in New York City, running December 11-29 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. In A Christmas Story — which is directed by Bob Clark, who also made Porky’s and another holiday favorite, 1974’s Black Christmas — radio legend Jean Shepherd narrates stories based on his own life, which deal with light-up leg lamps and crossword puzzles, saying fffffffffff-udge and eating soap, shopping for trees and visiting Santa, but mostly, of course, they’re about family. And this is one crazy family, with Darren (Kolchak) McGavin as the grumpy Old Man, Melinda Dillon as his much-too-sweet wife, Ian Petrella as younger brother Randy, and Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, who dreams of getting his very own official Red Ryder carbine-action two-hundred-shot range model air rifle. And yes, little Scotty Schwartz, who plays Flick the pole licker, did indeed become a porn star, appearing in such naughty romps as New Wave Hookers 5, Dirty Bob’s Xcellent Adventures 35 & 36, and Still Insatiable. There are many ways to see A Christmas Story this holiday season, but the best might just be at Nitehawk Cinema’s “Naughty and Nice” Film Feast on December 11 at 7:15, when the movie will be shown along with a menu specially created for the screening. The four-course dinner begins with chestnut and cranberry stuffing bites with snap ginger liqueur whipped cream, paired with an Ovaltini (Lovely, Beautiful, Glorious Christmas), followed by bacon-wrapped meatloaf served with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage, to be washed down with “Oh Fuuudddggggeee” chocolate stout (Mrs. Parker’s Comfort Food). Next up is roasted duck breast with Bumpuses’ egg roll in a spiced orange reduction, accompanied by hot mulled wine (Chinese Turkey). And finally, for dessert, there’s coconut snowball cake (Pink Nightmare). Now, that sounds like a Christmas dinner you’ll never forget.
125 West 18th St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.
Monday, December 2, $55-$110, 6:30-9:00
Of course, there’s nothing quite like grandma’s Hanukkah latkes, burning hot and oh-so-fresh, you and your siblings devouring them nearly as fast as they’re coming out of the kitchen. But it will be a lot more than just potatoes, oil, onions, and salt and pepper on December 2, when the Metropolitan Pavilion plays host to Great Performances’ fifth annual Latke Festival. Fifteen local restaurants will be competing for the People’s Choice award, serving unique variants on the traditional holiday favorite. The decidedly nonkosher menu will consist of Kutsher’s Tribeca’s Peking duck, scallion, and sesame hoisin latke, known as the Big Megillah; Veselka’s latke with braised pork and cherry compote; Mile End’s butternut squash latke and fresh sage; Commerce’s scallion latke with farmer’s cheese, smoked salmon, and caviar; the Butterfly’s aged beef basted latke with sliced prime rib, caramelized onions, horseradish cream, and crispy rosemary; Delicatessen’s sweet potato latke slider with ground brisket, roasted apple, black pepper crème fraîche, and cranberry chutney; La Vara’s latke canaria, made with sweet potato chickpea, taro, and cadiz shrimp; Blue Hill Yogurt’s butternut squash latke with curried butternut yogurt; Stone Park Café’s braised short rib latke with smoked crème fraîche and sour cherry compote; the Vanderbilt’s potato and seaweed latke with sweet Maine shrimp; Benchmark’s caraway-scented latke, with short rib pastrami, truffled sauerkraut, and mustard crème; Toloache’s yucca latke with salmon pastrami and mojo de ago salsa; the Plaza Hotel’s crispy duck fat Yukon gold potato latke with Hudson Valley duck confit and kumquat-pomegranate gelée; Sylvia’s Table’s spaghetti squash latke with dehydrated olives, whipped feta, and sumac (with Great Performances); Garden Court Cafe at Asia Society’s sweet potato and kimchi latke with soy vinegar dipping sauce and perilla leaves; and Mae Mae Café’s potato pancake with maple mascarpone and cranberry bourbon sauce. There will also be breads and sufganiyot from Hot Bread Kitchen and drinks courtesy of Cliffton Dry Hard Cider, GuS (Grown Up Soda), the Brooklyn Roasting Company, and the Shmaltz Brewing Company, along with wine and vodka. The culinary judges who will select the Latke Festival Master include Ben Leventhal, Lee Schrager, Amanda Hesser, Joanne Wilson, Elinor Tatum, Jason Ackerman, Robert Lavalva, Alan Boss, and CBS medical correspondent Jonathan LaPook, who is not on hand to discuss the health concerns of such an eating frenzy. Tickets range from $55 to $110 depending on time of entry and various VIP bonuses and must be purchased in advance.
Greeley Square Park
33rd St. between Broadway & Sixth Ave.
Daily through November 24, 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
As if the Macy’s Herald Square area isn’t already crowded enough with Thanksgiving approaching and the holiday shopping season moving into full gear ridiculously early, now there’s another reason to head to the Midtown hotspot. Urban Space, the company that finds unique indoor and outdoor specialty market opportunities for retailers and in the past has developed such popular outlets as Mad. Sq. Eats, the Union Square Holiday Market, the Dekalb Market, and others, is now operating Broadway Bites, a culinary mecca in Greeley Square Park. John Quincy Adams Ward’s statue of abolitionist, social reformer, political activist, newspaper editor, and presidential candidate Horace Greeley overlooks thirty food stations that offer international food and drink daily from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm through November 24. You can start with Bantam Bagels’ cream-cheese-infused dough balls and a cup of joe from Gorilla Coffee, then move on to a slice of pizza from Roberta’s, a lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound, a bulgogi burger from Asiadog, a rice ball from Arancini Bros., barbecue from Mason Jar NYC, takoyaki teriyaki balls from Mimi & Coco NY, a variety of meatballs from Mighty Balls, or gluten-free veggie fare from Two Tablespoons and healthy shakes from SoBar. There’s also California street food from Jicama NYC, Indian from Chutney, Thai from Bangkok Bar, Korean from Seoul Lee Korean Barbecue, Turkish from MMM Enfes, Mexican from Mexicue, cured meats from Charlito’s Cocina, sausage and beer from Dorrian’s Winter Garden, creative sliders from Slide, sandwiches and beer from the Cannibal and Mayhem & Stout, grilled cheeses from Mrs. Dorsey’s Kitchen, and sweet and savory crepes from Bar Suzette. For dessert, our favorite is Macaron Parlour, but you can also try Stuffed Artisan Cannolis, Nunu Chocolates, Doughnuttery, Sigmund’s Pretzels, and miniature Dutch pancakes from the Poffertjes Man. As with Mad. Sq. Eats, it’s worth making a trip to this outdoor food court, not just stop by if you happen to be in the area or are going to or coming from Macy’s, Penn Station, or Madison Square Garden.
The fourth annual Grub Street Food Festival takes places today as part of the Hester Street Fair on the Lower East Side, where pushcarts gained popularity more than a hundred years ago. Approximately seventy eateries will be offering tasty bites; there will also be live music, a beer garden, and a Tailgate Zone that will be showing Sunday’s football games. Among the participating restaurants and food businesses are Doughnut Plant, Mimi and Coco NY, Macaron Parlour, Asiadog, Fat Radish, MELT Bakery, the Pickle Guys, Cuzins Duzin, Heartbeet Juicery, Brooklyn Taco Co., Luke’s Lobster, Roberta’s, Bocce’s Bakery, Oaxaca, Pop Karma, BabyCakes, Sticky’s Finger Joint, Arancini Bros., Bibingka-esk, Cheeky Sandwiches, and many more. The food festival is sponsored by Grub Street, New York magazine’s food blog.
Saturday, October 12, $40-$50, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
It’s become more than just a trend for neighborhoods all over the five boroughs to host culinary events featuring signature dishes from local restaurants. Now Gramercy Park is getting in on the action with the inaugural Taste of Gramercy. On October 12 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, more than two dozen eateries will be serving food, including Gramercy Tavern, L’Express, Friend of a Farmer, Big Daddy’s Branded, City Crab, Dos Caminos, Ichabod’s, One Lucky Duck, Ponty Bistro, Paul & Jimmy’s, Pure Food and Wine, Wildwood Barbeque, and Casa Mono. Tickets, which are good for five tastings, are $40 in advance and $50 on the day of the event, with part of the proceeds benefiting such local schools as PS 40 and School of the Future, with any leftover food going to the Bowery Mission.
Saturday, October 12, free, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Back in the day, no one would ever have equated CBGB — the punk club that helped launch the careers of such seminal musicians as Patti Smith, Talking Heads, and Television — with Times Square, particularly the new, Disney-fied Crossroads of the World. But this is a different era, as the CBGB bathroom was even re-created for the recent Met Costume Institute exhibit “Punk: Chaos to Couture,” although it wasn’t quite as we remembered it. But on Saturday, October 12, the second annual CBGB Festival will take over Times Square, with five stages of live music along Broadway. Between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, the Wallflowers and Lisa Loeb will be playing on the South Stage, while Divine Fits and up-and-coming bands will be playing on the North Stage. After 4:00, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy (DJ set) and My Morning Jacket will take over the South Stage, with Grizzly Bear on the North Stage. The food court will include such favorites as DBGB, Luke’s Lobster, BGR the Burger Joint, Crif Dogs, House of ’Que, and Ho’brah Taco. Among the special activities are an Animal BMX ramp, a rock-climbing walls a Two Boots pizza-eating contest, an art commune creating a CBGB mural, a Smashing Pumpkin tent with professional pumpkin carvers, an enormous interactive touch screen, and a CBGB salon offering punk makeovers.