Welcome to Gawker Media's super-spectacular Spring Guide, with events that will make your spring 2010 unforgettable. First up: Taste It!, the hit list of food/beverage happenings that will have you eating and drinking your way from Boston to LA.
Boozin'. On a Sunday Afternoon
Um, yeah, brunch without a scandalously dirty bloody Mary or a sparkly mimosa is basically pointless. And what better to do on a Spring afternoon than get partially buzzed with friends? Here are some great boozetastic brunches and other outdoor dining establishments that will please everyone from the ripest fauxhemian to the poshest wine snob.
Featured Spot: New York City
Williamsburg's Harefield Road (769 Metropolitan Avenue) sports a sunny outdoor seating area and a $12 brunch that comes with a free Mary or mimosa. Plus a copious amount of fauxhemian-watching, good service, and a cozy atmosphere. [Map] Click here for more drunken brunch spots in NYC. Or here, for a more Brooklyn-centered take. Or here.
Featured Spot: San Francisco
SOMA's Oola (860 Folsom Street), serves chicken and waffles and other brunch fare. But it makes the guide because of their brunch drink specialty, the "Mission Statement", which includes shots of Bloody Mary, tequila, and PBR. Good morning! [Map] Click here for more drunken brunch spots in SF.
Featured Spot: Washington, D.C.
Beacon Bar & Grill (located in the Beacon Hotel at 1615 Rhode Island Avenue, NW) is a white-linen-napkin establishment near Dupont Circle. It's a two-story lounge, with an open air patio, as well as a dining room reminiscent of a 1930's ocean liner. Their brunch buffet comes with unlimited champagne, mimosas and Bloody Marys. Yes. [Map] Click here for more drunken brunch spots in DC.
Featured Spot: Chicago
Feast (two locations: Bucktown & Gold Coast) gets rave review from locals with special mentions of their "Love Juice"—a strawberry blended drink with champagne and vodka. [Map] Click here for more drunken brunch spots in Chicago.
Sweet Berry Wine. And Other Fine Things
Speaking of wine snobs, we turn now to the world of fancy things like wine, oysters, artisanal cheeses, and something known as "luxury ice cream." So open your wallets and your mouths and prepare to be cold-cocked by a whirling dervish of culinary events happening through June.
Ninth Avenue International Food Fest, New York City
Experience cuisines from Poland, Italy, Spain, Greece, Asia and many others at this street fair of street fairs on Manhattan's Ninth Avenue (between 42nd & 57th Streets). Rain or shine! Free. May 15-16 [Map]
Food & Wine Classic in Aspen
Do your fantasies include David Chang teaching you the finesse of Korean BBQ marinades? Then get thee to Aspen, CO this June—where you can do just that, along with a million other culinary-orgy-type things, like cooking demonstrations, food samplings and wine tastings—for the Food & Wine Classic (also known as the Event that Top Chef Winners Get Invited To). June 18-20. $1185. [Map]
In My Edible Garden Discussion, Newport Beach, CA
If you don't have the cash for Aspen, join in on the monthly In My Edible Garden discussion led by Steve Hampson, edible gardener extraordinaire, about vegetables, herbs, fruits, berries, and more that you can plant in your own backyard. May 30. Roger's Gardens [Map]
Georgia Peach Festival
During the final weekend of the week-long Georgia Peach Festival, you can taste the Wold's Largest Peach Cobbler—11 by 5 feet and about eight inches deep—made from 90 pounds of butter, 150 pounds of sugar, 150 pounds of flour, 32 gallons of milk and, of course, 75 gallons of peaches. Road trip with "Space Cowboy" on repeat is in your future. June 11-19 [Map]
Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival
Calling all cheese-heads! Head to Little Chute, WI for the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival and you will enjoy: a cheese curd eating contest, the big cheese parade, cheese carving demonstrations, free cheese tasting, the big cheese breakfast, a cheesecake contest, and a chainsaw artist, whom we can only assume is using that bad boy to carve a totem pole out of Wisconsin Cheddar. June 4-6 [Map]
San Francisco Oyster Fest
During the San Francisco Oyster Fest, Mollusk lovers congregate in the Great Meadow at Fort Mason in San Francisco, CA for cooking demos and to take part in the Shuck and Suck competition. This year, Cake is playing. Was Blue Öyster Cult not available? May 15 [Map]
Chicago Luxury Ice Cream Festival
Luxury ice cream has risen in popularity enough to warrant its own festival. The 2nd Annual Luxury Ice Cream Festival will be held at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago and will feature tastings of extraordinary and never-before-tasted ice cream creations, live demonstrations and workshops, and something called the Great Chicago Brain Freeze—a delicious chef competition where attendees vote for the winners and taste the results. Only $25. June 2-4 [Map]
For the Winos. And Beer-os
Passport to Sonoma Valley 2010
There's no place more heaven-like than California's Wine Country for vino fans. Visit participating Sonoma, CA wineries on May 15-16 for tastings of current releases, library wines and special bottlings. It'll cost you $90 for a weekend "passport," but your designated driver only has to pay $25. [Map]
Uncorked! The San Francisco Wine Festival
Ghirardelli Square presents the Uncorked! wine festival, showcasing more than 50 top-tier wineries from California's premium wine-making regions. May 22 [Map]
Virginia Beer Festival, Norfolk, VA
Experience the fine art of beer-making at the annual Virginia Beer Festival. You'll imbibe live music, food, and great beers from Europe and America. May 15 [Map] Click here to find a beer fest near you.
Eat Balls! Or Not
OK, enough standard fare. For those sick of boring their tastebuds to unconsciousness, check out these adventuresome tastebud-tinglers from the tame (egg creams) to the borderline perverse (balls!) taking place this spring throughout the country. Let's start with melons.
Melons, Melons, Melons!
The Luling, TX Watermelon Thump is a cheap-as-dirt ($2-$3) celebration of the most succulent of melons. Test your seed-spitting skills and compete in a melon-eating contest, and see which local grower will win the prize for largest Black Diamond melon. June 24-27. Can't make it to Texas? Throw your own Watermelon Party. [Map]
Trying to find a group activity to do with your Aunt Sadie and your roommate Xiu? Or just need an excuse to binge on kosher delicacies? NYC's The Museum at Eldridge Street's 10th annual Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival celebrates the intersection of Chinese and Jewish cultures with kosher egg rolls and egg creams. Admission is free. June 6. [Map]
Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival
Throckmorton, TX may have counted only 905 residents in the 2000 Census, but each May the town swells to 3,000 for the Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival—one magical weekend of "adult beverages" and "Tastes Like Chicken" BBQ cook-offs. What tastes like chicken, you ask? Bull balls. May 21-22. [Map]
Don't call organizers of this copycat festival (see above) rip-off artists because the title alone is a stunning achievement. And they prefer turkey gonads to bull testes when creating their fried testicular masterpieces. The Olean [MO] Testicle Festival takes place on June 5. Call Gail for info. [Map]