Most of the same food carts selling the ubiquitous street meat also offer a strikingly vegan dish that is both traditional and modern. Falafel checks all the boxes from traditional, healthy, and delicious. On this hunger inducing virtual program, our resident food expert Brian Hoffman will explore all aspects of this humble little fritter from its historic controversial origins to recommendations on the best versions in New York to an explanation on how they are made. Along the way, we will learn from some of the best falafel chefs on New York food carts, and Brian will show us how to make great falafel at home with a live cooking demonstration.
Public markets are one of the foundational institutions of urban life. The Project for Public Spaces defines public markets as indoor or outdoor markets that “operate in public space, serve locally owned and operated businesses, and have public goals.” They not only a place of commerce, or a tourist attraction, but a place for convening and community building that cuts across social, cultural, and economic strata. In many American cities, such spaces can be hard to find, which is why we cherish the truly great public markets that have survived. In this virtual program, we will survey some of our favorite public markets that we’ve had the chance to visit, what makes them great, and what are their “public goals,” from Los Angeles to Cleveland, Philadelphia to Flint, and even here in New York City.
For the past month, teams have been exploring New York City completing scavenger hunt challenges all about street vending. With over 100 teams competing, it has been an intense race, as teams had to complete 40 challenges while also raising money for the Street Vendor Project. Join us for our closing ceremonies as we look at some of the highlights of the competition, and most importantly, announce the winners and award prizes in these categories:
Scavenger Hunt Champion – Cloudy with a Chance of Matzah Balls
Scavenger Hunt Runner-Up – Eat Something New in Queens
Vendor Power Spirit Award – Bones Day
Fundraising Champion – Cloudy with a Chance of Matzah Balls
On Thanksgiving, we’re looking back at an unsung hero of the holiday during World War II, a merchant ship called SS Great Republic. This ship helped execute the great turkey-lift of 1944, delivering turkey to nearly two million American soldiers fighting in Europe. As we’ll discover, delivering this meal stretched the military’s supply chain, and the New York Port of Embarkation, to its limits.
Take a behind-the-scenes virtual tour of Russ & Daughters’ Appetizing Factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard! We’ll hear the story of how this iconic New York business was started over a hundred years ago by a pushcart peddler on the streets of the Lower East Side and step inside their bakery to see how they make bagels, babka, black and white cookies, and other appetizing delicacies!
Food carts are an iconic image of New York City that most New Yorkers pass every day. Even if they stop to enjoy their food, not many take in the beauty and visual appeal of food carts – that’s why photographer Maxwell Schiano published a 64-page zine of his photography celebrating these icons, New York City Vibe, Volume One. In this conversation, we will learn about his process and check out his stunning photos that reveal so many wonderful details about these carts and the people working inside them. We will also be joined by Carina Kauffman-Gutierrez, deputy director of the Street Vendor Project, who will update us on the current challenges vendors face in New York City.
For the final installment of this Thai food and culture series, we will travel virtually to Thailand and learn some basic Thai phrases to help us get around. Titcha Ho, a PhD candidate and lecturer at the University at Albany and professional tutor and language consultant, will give us a basic introduction to the Thai language. Then we will experience a live cooking demonstration from the Bangkok location of Somtum Der, a highly-acclaimed global restaurant group with two locations in New York City. Somtum Der CEO Tatchai Nakapan will also join to share how his restaurants have brought Isan (northeastern Thailand) cuisine to a global audience, from Bangkok to Tokyo, Ho Chi Minh City to Brooklyn!
Food is all about family and community, and Queens not only boasts some of the best Thai restaurants in New York City, but is also home to the largest Thai enclave in the northeast. On this virtual program, we will explore the neighborhood of Elmhurst with author, tour guide, local resident, and culinary consultant Joe DiStefano, who will join us live from Queens and highlight landmarks of the Thai community. We will also stop in to Sabay Thai to chat with Chef Busaya to learn about her upbringing in Northern Thailand and see what she’s cooking up in the kitchen. And we will head to Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, where Chef Tan will share dishes inspired by his mother at the family-owned Wanisa Home Kitchen.
How have Americans’ perceptions of Thai food and culture changed over time? And how have these perceptions affected what’s on the menu? We will tackle these questions with Mark Padoongpatt, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of Asian and Asian American Studies at University of Nevada Las Vegas and author of Flavors of Empire: Food and the Making of Thai America, who will share how Thai immigrants have navigated food systems to recreate the “yum” of their homeland. We’ll then head to the Baltimore-Washington area for interviews and cooking demos with two long-time Thai favorites that both feature diverse menus and incorporate a range of cultural influences. We’ll be joined by Chef Aulie Bunyarataphan and Mel Oursinsiri, the husband and wife team behind Bangkok Joe’s in Georgetown, who will share their story and how their concept came to include Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and French flavors alongside traditional Bangkok cuisine. Then we’ll visit with restauranteur Sireenuch Tengamnuary, owner for longtime Baltimore restaurant Thai Landing, and we’ll check in on her new restaurant, Towson, MD’s Absolute Thai-Sushi, where a Japanese sushi menu complements a wide range of Thai specialities.