Summer is coming to a close, and the air has become cool and crisp. While fall harvest and menu changes begin to unfold, there have been two recent events that I can’t help but talk about.
This last week’s Harvest in the Square and Diner en Blanc events were certainly ones to remember! While each venue attracted a different realm of personalities and backgrounds, foodies united on each front to be a part of these special occasions.
Harvest in the Square has been putting on a successful show for 18 years now, specializing in local operators and featuring several restaurant concepts throughout the Union Square vicinity. The event was held right at the north side of the park in an enclosed tent and was easy to access for taste-testers commuting from throughout the city and beyond.
This year’s event featured more than 40 food purveyors, as well as a number of vineyards, beer breweries and distributors. There was an eclectic mix of exhibitors ranging from the new Union Square Hotel’s The Fourth restaurant and popular local spot Chat n Chew to more large scale ones such as Whole Foods Market and GrowNYC Greenmarket.
In addition, there was a nice country band playing, which really made for a nice atmosphere to hang out and mingle. Although many of the concepts were not particularly high-end or niche, there was a great mix of operators and specialty products to keep everyone entertained and interested in all booths. The crowd appeared lively throughout the evening and was mixed in age and background. There were several real estate sponsors, including Vornado, ABS Real Estate Partners and Related, in addition to the many local residents, students and traveling taste-testers alike.
Diner en Blanc is the definition of what I believe a cool food-driven event and experience should be. This circuit originated in Paris and travels to major cities across the world hosting annual events. In short, it’s a gigantic 4,000-plus person, clad-in-all-white (head to toe) flash-mob dinner at a secret location. There is a tremendous waiting list, and it’s very difficult to get a membership space.
Small groups are initiated across the city, and guests travel together, descending upon the undisclosed location, which this year happened to be in Bryant Park. Each couple is to bring its own white folding table, chairs, food, utensils, center pieces and any other outrageous white decorations you can think of to make it special and memorable. Popular food bags I saw being consumed included Bouchon Bakery, Maison Kayser and the Upper East Side’s Suzu Sushi.
Call it the world’s largest picnic, which, once the food is consumed, evolved into a full dance party from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Diner en Blanc attracts the thrill-seeking restaurant-goers who will go out of their way for a good meal and exciting experience. We met people across all ages, ethnicities and occupations, with a common interest in quality food and an eye for a good time.
Mark your calendars next year, people! Sign up sooner than later for next year’s Diner en Blanc waiting list—and make sure you are a part of these exciting functions!