Around Town: Lao New Year, Smorgasburg, and Sake

April 9, 2015 Updated: October 8, 2018
Smorgasburg crowd. (Smorgasburg/Jon von Pamer)
Smorgasburg crowd. (Smorgasburg/Jon von Pamer)

Smorgasburg Returns

Coachella is to music as Smorgasburg is to food. The food extravaganza came out of hibernation from its winter Crown Heights hideout with an impressive lineup of returning and new vendors. We’re drooling over Ramen Burger, the brisket sandwich from Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue, rice balls from Rice & Miso Everyday, every donut from Dough, and the french fry burrito from Best Buds Burritos. Happy feasting.

Saturdays, East River State Park, Williamsburg. Sundays at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5. Both 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Eat With Your Hands With Madhur Jaffrey

Forget forks, knives, and spoons. Dig into the distinct pleasures of utensils-free dining with Arun Venugopal and his guests (including Indian food world authority Madhur Jaffrey) for a delicious Indian meal, featuring eggplant chennai roast, mustard curry, and chicken kottumali. Bring on the wet-wipes!

Tuesday, April 14, 7:30 p.m. The Greene Space, 44 Charlton St. (corner of Varick Street). Tickets $40.

Taste of the Lower East Side

Nothing brings a community together better than good food. Join Grand St. Settlement and up to 50 acclaimed and diverse restaurants for the 15th annual Taste of the Lower East Side. Participating restaurants include Veselka, The Stanton Social, Russ & Daughters, and Porsena. Proceeds from this event support Grand St. Settlement’s continuum of human services and programming for 10,00 New Yorkers of all ages. Tickets include unlimited tastings and open bars.

Wednesday, April 15, 6 p.m.–10 p.m. Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St. Tickets $195.

Papaya Salad. (Courtesy of Khe-Yo)
Papaya Salad. (Courtesy of Khe-Yo)

Lao New Year at Khe-Yo

When a chef enlists his mother to cook for a special event, you know it’s a big deal.

And so the executive chef of Laotian-inspired Khe-Yo, Soulayphet Schwader, will be joined by his mother Soubanh to cook for the Lao New Year dinner at the restaurant.

Soubanh, an elder in the Lao community in Wichita, Kansas, will be offering New Year’s blessings to diners.

On the menu, expect their take on New Year classics like Grilled Goat Marinated with lemongrass and garlic, Green Circle Chicken Laap with tamarind lemongrass broth, and four different types of fish dishes.

“It’s like a big feast,” Schwader said.

He is particularly excited about by the poached black bass, Pouhn Pa, poached with charred eggplant, shallots, chilies, garlic, jalapeño, and that magical funky ingredient, padek, fermented fish sauce.

“You never see it anywhere except at someone’s house,” he said.

The dishes are accompanied by a plethora of steamed and raw vegetables and herbs. And of course, the sauces: charred eggplant, roasted mushroom, spicy bang-bang, smoked chili, and shrimp paste.

Served in the traditional way, all the dishes are brought out all at once to mix and match and enjoy with sticky rice.

April 13–19. Khe-Yo, 157 Duane St. (between Hudson St. & West Broadway). Tickets $65.

Sake set from the American Museum of Natural History
Sake set from the American Museum of Natural History

Cultural Salon: Sake and Rice Wine

Trace the history and traditions of sake and rice wine with “sake samurai” and sommelier Chris Johnson. Drink your way across the continent and learn why this alcoholic beverage has been consumed for hundreds of years. This experience details the culinary history and distillation processes, with inspiration from the American Museum of Natural History collections.

Thursday, April 16, 6:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. American Museum of Natural History, enter at 77th St. Tickets $45.

Ceviche prepared by chef Admir Alibasic. (Courtesy of Admir Alibasic)
Ceviche prepared by chef Admir Alibasic. (Courtesy of Admir Alibasic)

Taste of Hope

The American Cancer Society’s Taste of Hope is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, offering guests a chance to support the fight against cancer while taking part in a delicious culinary tasting experience.

Every year, more than 50 notable chefs and restaurants donate their time and talents to Taste of Hope—raising over $1.3 million in its brief history. 

This year’s chef honoree is chef Dale Talde of BravoTV’s “Top Chef” and celebrity chef Elizabeth Falkner as the culinary chair.

The cuisine will range from chocolate bombshells and carving stations, to authentic street food.
Admir Alibasic, executive chef at Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse, said, “I didn’t think twice to help and am honored to cook for the American Cancer Society. ACS deserves all the help we can provide and if my participation makes a difference, I’ll be there every year. Cancer starts the battle but it doesn’t need to end it.”

Thursday, April 30. Metropolitan West, 639 W. 46th St. Tickets $175–$ 250.


El Original: Joining the flanks of the slowly but surely growing Tex-Mex pioneers in the city, El Original opened last week. 
For more details, click here(El Original, 735 10th Ave.)

LOLO Organics: Make your wildest juice dreams a reality at LOLO’s new Chelsea Market location.
For more details, click here. (LOLO Foods, Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave.)

Mexicue Kitchen & Bar: Tacos and tequila. Mexicue Kitchen & Bar opening April 16.
For more details, click here(Mexicue Kitchen & Bar, 225 5th Ave.)

Neapolitan Express: First pizzeria opens on Wall Street.
For more details, click here. (Neapolitan ExpressThe Trump Building, 40 Wall St.)