Super (Duper) Market Hits NYC With Artisanal Food From Both Coasts

super duper marketThere are supermarkets and then there are Super (Duper) Markets – in other words, what happens when big names like PAPER Magazine, Target and American Express team up to create a culinary experience. Kicking off Friday, the event will bring together food innovators from across the country for a three-day pop-up supermarket in a raw Chelsea warehouse space in New York City.

The Super (Duper) Market will feature a selection of West Coast imports, like Boulette’s Larder, Humphrey Slocombe, Tartine Bakery and Miette Candy, along with East Coast favorites like Red Rooster and The Spotted Pig. And then there are the wild cards, like organic eggs raised on hotelier Andre Balazs’ Locust Farm and olive oil produced by designer Norma Kamali. There will also be cooking workshops for children and exclusive private dinners in the evenings.

So wait – why are PAPER, Target and AmEx entering the pop-up artisanal food market arena again?

“Instead of starting bands or making art so many young, creative people are baking, cooking, butchering and growing or raising food naturally, sustainably and responsibly,” said PAPER editor and publisher Kim Hastreiter in a release. “Everyone from farmers to cheese makers, organic winemakers to foragers, spice mix masters to amazing innovative chefs. There are even those who are innovating off the grid – baking divine nettles and peach pizza over wood on the back of a pickup truck; or adding truffle and foie gras to ice cream! It is to these idealistic innovators and to this spirit that I tip my hat and dedicate the Super (Duper) Market.”

My curiosity and appetite are sufficiently piqued.

Super (Duper) Market will take place Friday, July 13, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, July 14, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, July 15, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 410 West 16th Street in New York City.

What German McDonald’s thinks of New York City

Apparently Germans really like to visit New York City. How else to explain a new Big Apple-inspired menu of cupcakes, now appearing at McDonald’s restaurants across Germany? According to food website Eater, the new German cupcake campaign features sweet desserts named after New York’s “tourist hot-spots,” including Chelsea, Central Park, SoHo and the East Village. The campaign appears to be a tribute to the New York’s never-ending cupcake craze, inspired by famous bakeries like the perpetually crowded Magnolia Bakery.

Each cupcake also comes complete with a trendy description and suitable New York-style “hipster” mascot. Did you know for instance that the East Village is home to all of the city’s most famous artists? Maybe 30 years ago. Even if it’s slightly off the mark, it’s always interesting to catch a glimpse of another culture’s take on your own. In a way, famous cities like New York have become global brands, exporting their cupcakes, t-shirts and grocery stores around the world.

Anybody seen these on the menu on a recent trip to Germany? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Daily Pampering: New hotel brings luxury to New York’s Chelsea neighborhood

Eventi
There’s a new hotel in Chelsea, and it is fabulous.

Eventi is a brand new property from Kimpton Hotels, which also has The Muse, 70 Park Hotel and Ink 43 in New York City. Hailed as the first luxury hotel in New York’s fashionable Chelsea area, the 54-story glass tower occupies an entire block of Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue) between 29th and 30th Streets. A look through the gallery will prove to you that they’ve picked up on Chelsea’s uniquely flamboyant vibe to make an attractive, cosmopolitan haven for true Chelsea lovers.

“Eventi will be a place that feels alive, with a heart beat that pulses with creativity and sends energy to every corner of the hotel,” says Thomas Mathes, general manager of Eventi. That includes all 292 rooms, the Barbara Nessim artwork and the comfortable living room with a fireplace where guests can lounge and enjoy a daily wine hour.

The hotel also serves the local community; a 20,000 square foot Food Parc and bar, as well as an indoor-outdoor Basque cuisine restaurant, are scheduled to open in Fall 2010.

If you’re interested in checking out the new Eventi hotel, now is the time; they’re still in Preview Rate mode, and you can get 20 percent off the best available rate for stays through September 5, 2010. Click here to book.

Three great hotel deals in NYC this winter

It’s getting cold in New York City and as the temps drop so do prices for the city’s hotels. Across Manhattan, you’ll find deep discounts and deals, plus added perks and freebies. Here are three fantastic hotel finds for winter.

The Upper West Side’s Moroccan-themed Marrakech Hotel is offering rates starting at $99 per night, which is 20% off the normal rate. Guests will also receive two complimentary tickets to the Top of the Rock. The deal is valid January 4 to February 28 with a two-night stay. To book online, use the Deal1.

Three GEM Hotels locations (SoHo, Chelsea and Midtown West) are offering a rate of $129 per night in January and February. Blackout dates are January 22 to 25, January 30 to February 5 and February 13 to 14.

Rates at The Portland Square Hotel, in Times Square, are just $129 per night for a queen guestroom. That’s a savings of 20% off the regular rate. Guests will also receive two tickets to the Discovery Channel’s Titanic Exhibition. As with the Marrakech Hotel deal, the rate at The Portland Square Hotel is valid January 4 to February 28 with a two-night stay and the promo code Deal1.

Hotdogs: the Montreal and New York taste test

It was fun to bring Montreal food insider Katerine Rollet into the world of hotdogs. Her refined palate is more accustomed to the culinary masterpieces she unearths in her home town, and she has the impeccable judgment that a food-illiterate like me can only admire. But, for a moment in New York and a moment farther north, she decided to come down to my level and explore the world of hotdogs.

Katerine and I formulated a fun plan. When she was in New York last month, we met for a hotdog at Chelsea Papaya, on West 23rd Street and Seventh Ave. This is one of many hotdog-and-papaya joints in the city, and I chose it because of the contrast with the surrounding neighborhood. Who would think to grab a dog in one of the trendiest parts of Manhattan? The restaurants in Chelsea are beyond impressive, which made a great backdrop for our experiment. Two days later, in Montreal’s Plateau neighborhood (a French Canadian cousin to Chelsea), we’d meet again for a local dog – this time at Mont-Royal Hot Dog. In the end, we’d compare notes on our respective blogs.

The major difference between New York and Montreal – or, specifically, their hotdoggeries – is style. In Manhattan, the dogs are grilled, and the roll may be warmed on the grill briefly before preparation, but the dog itself is the main event. Montreal boils its hotdogs, but what it does with everything else is most impressive. This is something I’ve noticed elsewhere outside the United States, especially in Scandinavia – the dogs are passable, but the surroundings are winners.

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The fare at Chelsea Papaya snapped when bitten. It was crisp, with a burst of distinct grilled hotdog flavor unleashed on your taste buds from the instant consumption begins. While some prefer onions or slaw on their dogs, I tend to go with just a little ketchup and mustard at Chelsea Papaya – to enhance the hotdog without concealing its flavor.

Mont-Royal’s dogs were at a slight disadvantage, being steamed instead of grilled. Steamed dogs do come across a tad on the bland side, making the ketchup and mustard more important to the experience. Yet, if you adopt the local style for “dressing” a hotdog, the entire experience changes.

Yes, “dressing.”

Order a hotdog “all dressed,” and you’ll receive it with coleslaw, chopped onion and mustard, with the fresh slaw providing the feeling of crispness missing in plain boiled hotdogs. A complexity of flavor results that uses the hotdog as the canvas rather than the masterpiece. The other aspect of the Montreal hotdog that shouldn’t be missed is the toasted roll. Again, you get the crispy feel, but the warmth is also important. There’s nothing worse than cold soggy bread (which happens, sometimes, with hotdog rolls) – this will never happen when you order your hotdog “toasted.”

The dog shops in Manhattan would be wise to offer a toasted roll, though it’s probably impossible to do so, given the number of people places like Chelsea Papaya serve every day.

As we navigated the hotdog world, I have to admit that I let Katerine go down a road that couldn’t end well. While at Chelsea Papaya, she decided to mix in her mouth a bite of hotdog and a sip of the papaya drink for which these establishments are known. Sometimes two good things aren’t good together, as you’ll see in the video. (Sorry about that, Katerine!)

So, who wins?

Well, in the interest of maintaining friendly Canadian-American foodie relations, I won’t say which is better. But, I will tell you that when I head up to Montreal, I’ll definitely end every hotdog order with, “toasted and dressed” – there’s no other way to put a few back up there.Disclosure: Tourisme-Montreal picked up the tab for this trip, but my views are my own.