Summertime, and the livin’ is easy — especially for the dedicated local foodies out there. Choice produce is at its peak and vendors, from celebrated restaurants to our favorite food trucks, are dishing at the top of their game.
Amstel Light and Flavorpill want to help you fight the monotonous and savor complexity this summer. That’s why we’ve teamed up to present a pretty exhaustive guide to the best food events of the season. Whether you’re looking for hand-made Italian delicacies in Boston, a chance to ride the food-truck craze in NYC, Asian street eats in Philadelphia, or una oportunidad to enjoy Central and South American fare in Chicago, we’ve got you covered — and then some. Check out our picks in these four cities, then mark your calendars and dig out your elastic waistband shorts. And of course, let us know in the comments if we missed your fave summer foodie fests.
Gourmet Latino Festival @ South Street Seaport
Enthusiastic and adventurous eaters, rejoice! The Gourmet Latino Festival brings together the top tier of Latin American chefs and mixologists for a series of demonstrations, tastings, and discussions of authentic Latin dishes and drinks. Topics run the gamut from corn to coconut and coffee, while star chefs like Jose Garces, Aaron Sanchez, and Sue Torres lead talks and demos. As part of the official Gourmet Latino Restaurant Week (June 9-17), the festival hosts multi-course dinners at restaurants like Calle Ocho, Palo Santo, and many more.
Sud de France @ Various Locations
Score a remarkable French getaway without the transatlantic flight (or accompanying airfare) with the Sud de France Festival. For most of June, you can explore the Languedoc-Roussillon region via its food, music, and more. Hit up tastings, discussions, and special dinners that all effortlessly transport you to the beautiful Sud de France.
Cook Out NYC @ Governors Island
Less than half a mile from Manhattan, and even closer to Brooklyn, sits Governors Island, a cornucopia of greenery, bike paths, and food vendors. Showcasing local culinary talent and live music, Cookout NYC should fulfill your summer need of sunshine and BBQ. Go for great grilled treats and chef demos. Stick around for the hot dog and burger cook-offs and the return of kimchipalooza, and then take a short walk to Picnic Point, where hammocks and ice cream await you.
Bastille Day @ Smith Street, Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill
Celebrate the storming of the Bastille in a decidedly less violent manner on Smith Street. More than 60 multicultural teams take to the sandy pits of the pétanque courts (filled in on Smith Street for one day only), while locals enjoy a block party with music, comestibles, and drinks from local eateries (and French expat staples) Cercle Rouge, BarTabac, and Provence En Boite.
Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest @ Coney Island
In a nation of overeaters, the yearly hot dog contest at Nathan’s Famous Coney Island outpost is an ideal way to celebrate the Fourth. Contestants from across the country (and often the world) vie for the championship title now held by Joey “Jaws” Chestnut who in 2011 ate 62 hot dogs in ten minutes. Women eaters start early, so if you want to check out women gorging themselves on franks, get there by 11:30am.
Parked! Food Truck Festival @ South Street Seaport
Food-truck feasting is all the rage these days, but due to the City’s archaic laws, finding your beloved street vendor can seem like a game of “catch me if you can.” Thanks to merrymaking missionaries MeanRed, the chase is over, at least for one day, as over 30 trucks are dropping anchor in the South Street Seaport for the latest edition of PARKED! On the savory side, your options include Red Hook Lobster Pound, Taim Falafel, Go Burger, and La Cense Burger. And representing for the sweet team are Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, the Treats Truck, and Kelvin Natural Slush (one of our personal faves). DJs and live music are also on tap.
Scott’s Pizza Tours @ Various Locations
Pizza in New York is a point of contention (and competition) for many, but if there’s one man that knows his slice, it’s Scott. Trust him to take you on one of several tours, highlighting a variety of classic pizza restaurants as well as the history of the humble pie: there’s the historic Greenwich Village tour, which hits three different legendary spots, the Pizza Bus, which starts in Manhattan but could end up at a brick oven joint in Brooklyn or the Bronx, and the Specialty Safari, which seeks out alternative ‘za styles from vegan to gluten-free.
Smorgasburg @ Williamsburg Waterfront
Vintage clothes are great, but our favorite part of the Brooklyn Flea is the food: packaged, prepared, raw, and everything in between. So we were ecstatic when the folks behind the Flea started Smorgasburg, a collection of some of our favorite food vendors, as well as 20 GrowNYC Greenmarket farmers. On the sweet side, there’s Momofuku Milk Bar, Fine & Raw Chocolate — whose treats are so decadent you won’t believe they’re vegan — and Blue Marble Ice Cream. On the savory side, Empire Mayonnaise Co. sells fancy mayo with flavors like Emu Egg and Black Garlic, SlantShack Jerky offers up tasty grass-fed jerky, and Asia Dog slings hot dogs with kimchi. Get there early in the day, grab some grub, and take in the beautiful view of Manhattan; we know that’s what we’re doing, every Saturday from here on out.
Brooklyn Flea (Fort Greene) @ Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School
One of the City’s best treats makes its fifth annual return for the summer. The Brooklyn Flea takes place at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in one of the area’s most beautiful neighborhoods, and features over 150 vendors selling everything from rare soul 45s to handmade shirts and vintage furniture. And don’t forget the food! Comestibles from Porchetta, People’s Pops, Dough, Red Hook Lobster Pound, and pretty much everything in between, are also available.