#SCBDReview: Classic French Cuisine on the #UES .@SelEtPoivreNYC

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If you find yourself on the Upper East Side craving French fare, look no further than Sel et Poivre. Owner/Chef Christian Schienle prepares classic French bistro dishes with a refined, updated flair.

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Our first dish that came out was celery root remoulade with red beets. It was great to cleanse our appetite. Next, came out Red Pepper Bisque that didn’t have any cream in it. It was full of flavor, I really loved it!

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Next came out entrees to try. Out of all we tried, my two favorites were the Duck a L’orange with wild rice and the Aged New York Sirloin with their famous Poivre Sauce. They both were cooked to perfection, I was in heaven. Our dishes came served with boiled potatoes and spinach and those did not disappoint either. Last, dessert came out, we tasted the chocolate lava cake and creme brulee. I loved the chocolate lava cake. It was delish!

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They have a great wine selection and the food is great, I’d highly recommend it!

 

*Disclaimer: The PR team paid for my meal. I was not required to write about these experiences and my opinions are my own and unbiased.*

#SCBDEventRecap The Village Voice Choice Eats Event 2014

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So, I’m not a foodie. In fact, if I could choose between eating and not, I’d take the latter. That’s just me though. But, when our editor-in-chief sent out an email stating she was ill and needed someone to attend The Village Voice “Choice Eats” Seventh Annual Tasting Event, I decided to dive in to help her out. It’s not like it was a burden because I was already in the city that night.

Getting there was a doozey because I hadn’t a clue where Basketball City was. But after I hopped onto the M line, got lost and hailed a cab, I was there. I forgot about everything else and focused on the event.

After checking in with the press table, how special I felt, it was time to mosey around. I had no clue where to start and I felt extremely disorganized. I’d never attended an event and I wanted to present myself as professional and organized as possible. My hope is that it showed.

The VIP area was upstairs and I made my way to check out the selections. Before my eyes were desserts, burgers, barbecued items, chicken, alcohol, you name it. Wherever food you were in the mood for, it was present. But, you must remember a fact about me, I’m all about health & fitness and even still, at an event such as this, I wanted to try to keep my cals in check.

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When I inquired about the amount of calories in one of my favorite desserts, the Peanut Butter & Blackberry Jam from Doughnut Plant, one of the women laughed at me and said, “Oh, honey, you can’t worry about calories at this event.” I mean, I totally wanted to be conscious of what I ate, but at the same time, I had to sample these delectable foods. Between you & I, some of the time, I bit half of it and then threw the rest away because that is the protocol at events like this, because there is food for days. I bet you’re thinking, “how dumb of you,” but, hey, I couldn’t enjoy it too much. I’m sort of trying to lose a couple of pounds.

Primarily, I was hooked to the back, where the desserts sat. I tried pastries, brownies, ice cream, butterscotch popcorn, Bubble tea and strawberry shortcake. Then, I made my rounds to the real food. I tried chicken burgers, a sandwich at Pickle Shack, Clarke’s famous cheeseburger, pork tacos and a vegan apple sage sausage sandwich. After that, I tried not to worry as much about calories. Oh well. I would just work out tomorrow harder.

I made my rounds. I couldn’t help but circle round and round. I told myself to stop, quit it, cut it out, but I couldn’t help myself.

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I would say my favorite was definitely the Chocolate chip cookie bar with chocolate ganache and pretzels from Robicelli’s in Brooklyn, NYC. The chocolate and pretzels went together well and I fell in love! I can’t hide it.

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My second was probably the OddFellows Ice Cream Company’s Cedar Creamiscle orange infused foam, graham cracker ice cream. It tasted so creamy and the graham cracker bits added to the taste.

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And, my third was from Fayda Bakery in Chinatown served their Strawberry Shortcake, which was out of this world! It was served with a strawberry and whipped cream on the top. Yummy much?

I was filled to capacity and needed to leave before I made another round. All in all, I believe this event allowed foodies to get a taste of popular desserts and foods of all kind. I was happy to attend and try everything from vegan, vegetarian to the not so healthy foods.

Happy eating!

#SCBDReview: .@VictorsCafe – A Delicious Cuban Institution in #NYC

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If you haven’t been to Victor’s Cuban Cafe & Lounge in New York, I advise you RUN there, now! Founded by Victor Del Corral in 1963, with the help of his wife, Eloina Ruiz de Ugarrio, Victor’s Café has become a patch in the quilt of New York City. An immigrant from Cuba, Victor worked tirelessly until he realized his dream of opening a restaurant in NYC at Victor’s original location on Columbus Avenue and 71st Street.

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In 1980, the now iconic restaurant moved to its spacious new quarters at 236 West 52nd Street (near Broadway), where it has continued to capture the hearts of New Yorkers, theater-goers, and a creative cast of regulars including Barbara Walters, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, and Brett Ratner. The attached Cuba Lounge hosts a lively bar scene with live music in the evenings, serving colorful tapas and deliciously crafted cocktails.

The restaurant itself is divided into three spacious dining rooms, accented with warm lighting, colorful Cuban art and lofty sky-lit ceilings.  The Cuba Lounge is intimate and warm, featuring a tapas menu and a variety of traditional Cuban cocktails such as Mojitos and Sangria.

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When I came in, with two other bloggers we sat at a table in the corner with a perfect few of the space. It’s a gorgeous space, perfect for a business meeting or celebration. Our waiter came by and took our cocktail order. I decided to get La Coqueta ($12) which had Fords gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, wild strawberry puree, topped with Prosseco. It was a delicious, definitely a cocktail I’d get again. We were then sent out a few appetizers to try, everything was delicious, it was actually hard to pick a favorite. One of the appetizers that stood out was the 1492 Aperitivo Cubano ($29) which was an assortment of classic Cuban appetizers. It was nice mix of different Cuban classics for the three of us to try. The dish is made for two but can definitely serve 3-4, what a deal? I am a ceviche lover so the ceviche de pargo ($14) was also a favorite of mine! I’m getting hungry thinking about it.

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Just a heads up, all entrees come served with rice and black beans and can be substituted if you’d like another side dish but trust me, you won’t. The rice & black beans they serve are some of the best I’ve tasted and I’m Colombian. All the dishes they brought out were amazing, they brought out the famous, Ropa Vieja ($25), Churrasco con Chimichurri ($29), and Lechon Asado ($26). My favorites were the Churrasco and Ropa Vieja. They were cooked to perfection and full of flavor.

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Last, dessert came out and it was phenomenal. I grew up eating arroz con leche (rice pudding) and the rice pudding did not disappoint. It was delicious and perfect with a cappuccino. We tried three desserts but that one made me feel like I was home.

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If you’re looking for something different, whether you just want to join friends for amazing food and well-crafted cocktails or are celebrating a holiday or anniversary I highly recommend Victor’s, it’ll change your life!

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#SCBDBeauty: Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day with @pierremichelny!

 

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In recent years, pastel hair color has been all the rage. Celebrities like Kelly Osbourne, Lady Gaga, and Lauren Conrad (pictured above) have been rocking some not-so-natural hair colors for a fun, edgy look. Ombre is a great way to try this colorful trend, especially for those who don’t want to lose their natural color or just experiment with something different.

This St. Patrick’s Day, show off your Irish side with mint green ombre hair! Pierre Michel Salon, located at 135 East 57th Street, is offering temporary hair coloring in honor of this festive holiday. Come in to dye your tips mint like LC’s or go bold like Lady Gaga did below!

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For more info about Pierre Michel or to book an appointment, visit their website!

#SCBDEvent: .@TheDoeFund Hosts 3rd Annual sweet: New York Tasting Event

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On Thursday, March 13th, The Doe Fund will be hosting it’s 3rd annual sweet: New York to support homeless people in NYC. Students from the Doe Fund’s culinary employment program will work alongside chefs from the top NYC restaurants to treat guests to sweet and savory dishes. All proceeds will go to the Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing, and Able Program, which helps formerly homeless men and women get back on their feet through career development and educational tools.

Guests will be given the VIP treatment and served dishes from some of New York’s most famous restaurants, including Dinosaur BBQ, Magnolia Bakery, Tao, and Capital Grille. Patrons can also enjoy specialty cocktails crafted by expert mixologists, along with wine from award-winning vineyards and craft beers and spirits. Along with dinner and drinks, there will be a not-so-silent auction and the musical stylings of celebrity DJ Chelsea Leyland.

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VIP Tickets cost $150, and tickets to the main event cost $100. You can purchase tickets online and find out more information about the event. Join the Doe Fund on March 13th at 6 PM at the Bowery Hotel for dinner, drinks, and dancing for a good cause!

#SCBDReview: Soho’s KittiChai and NYC Restaurant Week

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Every year I try to get a group of friends together to try out a new restaurant for NYC restaurant week. The past few times our plans had fallen through, but this year I was determined to get into the city. There are a lot of opinions on this twice yearly tradition of restaurant week. There are those who hate their favorite spots being flushed with newcomers and most likely one time diners. Others think the entire ”promotion” is a rip off because smaller portions are often served and items that aren’t on the regular menu are presented (Those who have worked in the industry will understand this most likely means items will cut costs, are about to go bad, in excess, or they want the diner to be a guinea pig for a new idea). But there are also the people (like me) who see it as an opportunity (and excuse!) to try out restaurants they might not otherwise be able to afford on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, my first 2 choices for restaurants to try out for this occasion were booked up for the day we chose to go out on within a day of the menus being posted online (The Marrow and Perilla-Harold Dieterle’s restaurants). I scanned through the participating list for other places that were on my to-do list (When you don’t live in the city it’s harder to make a dent in this list…it seems to just grows). I settled on Kittichai in Soho. It is an upscale Thai restaurant with some eclectic and contemporary flare.

The décor was eye catching with brilliantly lit vases with flowers in them, a large pond with floating candles in the center of the dining room, and wooden accents to tone down the bright lights of the other decor. It was a perfect symmetry of light and dark.

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We noticed that the menu not only had the $38 restaurant week Pre-Fixe menu but, it also featured 2 other pre-selected menu’s (for slightly higher prices) to choose from as well. Each menu had a $15 wine pairing option for your 3 courses. We stuck with the restaurant week menu but did add on the 3 course wine pairing (you can’t beat $15…but I will admit they were half glasses). We also threw in some side dishes to split with our table.

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I started with a cocktail before our wine flight began. It was a salted plum brandy with vanilla essence and orange peel. It reminded me of a whiskey sour. It had a great balance of sweet and tart.

I chose the Wild Mushroom Dumplings for my appetizer course. The dumplings were just slightly crispy and they came with a soy coconut foam sauce that I could have licked the platter trying not to waste any. Needless to say, I enjoyed it. I also tried the Hot and Sour Seafood Soup, the Duck Confit Salad, and the Crispy Rock Shrimp. ALL of them were delicious…but I thought my dumplings took the cake on that course. The wine selected for the appetizers was a Riesling. It is not usually my favorite varietal however; I thought it paired nicely to offset the heavy spices that were in each of the dishes.

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For my main course I chose the Braised Pork Cheek that paired with spiced palm sugar braise, truffle powder, and steamed buns. Whoa. These pork buns were awesome! I didn’t even want to share (Luckily 3 of the 5 of us ordered this dish so I didn’t have to share too much!). I nibbled on the Crispy Branzino and Chili-Smoked Hanger Steak from my dining companions as well. This place really understands how to pack in flavors. Our side dishes included the Roti with a Peanut Curry dipping sauce, Charred Cauliflower (SO good!), Stir-fried Jasmine Rice with Sausage and Cashews, and Stir-Fried Vegetables with Garlic and Ginger Soy Sauce. The wine presented for the main dishes was a Pinot Noir. It was light and fruity but a bit forgettable.

The portions were smaller so I was able to try everything on the table and still have room for dessert. I went for the Black Cardamom Lava Cake with Thai Basil Ice Cream. I love chocolate and the lava cake was a hit. However; I want to highlight how refreshingly good the Thai Basil Ice Cream was. I always wonder if the trend to put savory flavors into ice cream will work. This one did. It ended my dinner on a high note. Our pairing for the dessert was a sparkling wine. It was perfect for a cheers with good friends over the great meal we had just indulged in.

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This meal truly blew me away. I do have to admit that you are a bit fooled by the low price tag of $38. You can’t help but be suckered into drinks and side dishes so our bill was a lot heftier than that original price tag. But I do not intend to become a one and done customer at Kittichai. I can’t wait to go back and try more of what they have to offer.

#SCBDEvent: Mardi Gras Celebration @WHotelsNYC

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W New York - Downtown

Tonight The W New York – Downtown will be hosting a Mardi Gras celebration featuring complementary cupcakes, signature cocktails straight from the French Quarter, and the chance to win a trip to New Orleans! 

Join them this evening at 5 PM for a taste of the Big Easy without having to leave the Big Apple. Kick off the celebration with the Taylor Bird Sazerac, a $9 cocktail that hails from the W French Quarter’s SoBou restaurant. If you’re curious to see what you’re getting yourself into, check out the recipe before you take the dive:

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Taylor Bird Sazerac Cocktail $9

1 oz. Cognac

1 oz. Rye whiskey

1 barspoon Steen’s cane syrup (or extra-rich 3:1 demerara syrup)

2 dashes orange bitters

4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Absinthe rinse

Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer

Glass: rocks

Garnish: lemon twist

Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe to coat. Stir the remaining ingredients in a mixing glass with cracked ice and strain into the rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist after expressing its oils over the drink.

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With the purchase of the Taylor Bird Sazerac, you’ll receive a complementary King Cake cupcake from Billy’s Bakery. One of these delicious cupcakes contains a surprise ingredient: a baby! Whoever finds the baby hiding underneath their creamy purple and green frosting will win a two-night stay for two in New Orleans.

For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to find the baby and win the trip, the W New Orleans is offering several specialty packages in honor of Mardi Gras. Check out their website to snag a five night stay at the W New Orleans and get a chance to march in the Krewe of Orpheus parade or grab some daily “to-go” cocktails from SoBou.

If you’re looking for an authentic Mardi Gras celebration with some New York flair, then the W – Downtown is the spot for you! The celebration starts at 5 PM tonight on 123 Washington Street. As they say in the Big Easy, laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

#SCBDEvent: 2014 .@ChoiceEats takes place March 25th in #NYC

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The Village Voice’s seventh annual tasting event, “Choice Eats,” announces a fourth round of participating restaurants today, bringing the total up to 75 participants. The 18 newly added restaurants are: Black Tree, Buka, Chandni, Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken, Doughnut Plant, Grandaisy Bakery, Jones Wood Foundry, Juliette Restaurant, Khe Yo, Kuma Inn, Liddabit Sweets, Mexico Lindo, Mooncake Foods, Mrs. Dorsey’s Kitchen, Ovenly, Peppa’s Jerk Chicken, Rosamunde Sausage Grill and Rubirosa.

Today’s newly announced restaurants will join previously announced restaurants: 606 R&D, Alobar, Ample Hills Creamery, Anella, Bear, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Bhatti Indian Grill, Bien Cuit, Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter, Brooklyn Kolache Co., Bunker, Butter & Scotch, Carlo’s Bakery, Coppelia, Devi, Dirt Candy, Edi and the Wolf, Egg, El Almacen, Fay Da Bakery, Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue, Fonda, Indian Clove, Jimmy’s No. 43, John Brown Smokehouse, Kaia Wine Bar, La Newyorkina, Larb Ubol, Little Prince, Littleneck, Louro, Luke’s Lobster, Mables Smokehouse, Maima’s Liberian Bistro, Martha, Max, No. 7, Oda House, OddFellows Ice Cream Co., Ovelia Psistaria, Pete Zaaz, Queens Comfort, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Robicelli’s, SCRATCHbread, Sheep Station, Spicy Bampa, Swine, Tabata Noodle Restaurant, Telepan Local, The Kati Roll Company, The Meatball Shop, The Pines, Thistle Hill Tavern, Xe May Sandwich Shop, Yunnan Kitchen and Zenon Taverna.

“Choice Eats” will be accepting volunteer applications until March 7th to assist The Village Voice team on-site at the event. All volunteers will receive a free general admission ticket to The Village Voice‘s Third annual “Choice Streets” Food Truck Tasting Event to be held in May 2014 (specific date TBA). To apply, you must be 21 years or older and fill out this application, here: http://bit.ly/CEvolunteer.

VIP tickets for “Choice Eats” 2014 officially sold out in minutes since going on sale on January 29th and only a limited number of General Admission tickets are still available. Purchase tickets, here: www.villagevoice.com/choiceeats. The event will take place on Tuesday, March 25th at Basketball City at Pier 36 located in Lower Manhattan from 7:00PM-10:00PM with a VIP-only hour from 6:00PM-7:00PM.

Brooklyn indie-rockers DIIV will DJ this year’s “Choice Eats” event. DIIV is the nom-de-plume of Z. Cole Smith, musical provocateur and front-man of an atmospheric and autumnally-charged new four-piece. The band is signed to Captured Tracks and has been hailed by Pitchfork, Stereogum and their likes for their dreamy, psychedelic style. DIIV have performed on the Late Show with David Letterman and at major music festivals including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and more.

“Choice Eats” is one of New York City’s most unique food events where 3,000 attendees sample food from over 60 of the most sought after restaurants across all the city’s boroughs from over 35 countries, all handpicked by The Village Voice’s food critics and previously featured in theFork In The Road blog.

Back by popular demand, “Choice Eats” will offer all ticketholders an array of dessert offerings in the “Choice Sweets” section of the event. Choice Sweets participants will be featured on the main floor, with a select few exclusive to the VIP lounge.

Typically held at the 69th Armory, this year’s “Choice Eats” will move to a new downtown location, Pier 36 @ Basketball City, the state of the art Lower Manhattan venue that will enable the event to grow its footprint plus expand the number of attendees, participating restaurants, demos and more. The venue regularly transforms its seven side-by-side basketball courts to an elegant event space for expos, corporate events and now for the Village Voice’s Seventh Annual “Choice Eats.”

Sponsors confirmed for Choice Eats 2014 include: Stella Artois, Great Brewers, Southern Wine & Spirits, Whole Foods Market, Disney NEWSIES on Broadway, Diamond Vision, Asahi Beer USA, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Blueprint Brands, Asahi Beer, Verizon FIOS, New York Health & Racquet Club, Pisco Portón, Abita Brewing Company, Alphabet City Brewing Company, Blue Point Brewing Company, Brewery

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Ommegang, Crabbies Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, Lagunitas Brewing Company, MOA Brewing Co., Oskar Blues Brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Singha Beer, Sixpoint Brewery, Smuttynose Brewing Company, Black Dirt Distillery, Catoctin Creek, Dulce Vida Organic Tequila, New Holland Brewing, Rogue Spirits, Suerte Tequila, Virginia Distillery Company, Woody Creek Distillers, SingleCut Beer, Four Roses Bourbon, Cabot Creamery and Hot 97.

 

For more information on “Choice Eats” please have a bite here:

www.villagevoice.com/choiceeats

https://www.facebook.com/voicechoiceeats

https://twitter.com/ChoiceEats

 

Event Details:

Choice Eats 7th Annual Tasting Event

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TICKETS: On Sale Now: http://www.villagevoice.com/choiceeats

VENUE: Basketball City | 299 South St. | New York, NY 10002

COST: $85 – VIP (SOLD OUT)

$60 – General Admission (STILL AVAILABLE)

6:00-7:00pm – VIP HOUR

7:00-10:00pm – EVENT

 

Getting There:

The event’s new venue, Basketball City, is conveniently located just north of the Manhattan bridge and steps away from F Train on the East Broadway Stop. It is also accessible by buses and the J, M line at Essex Street.

#SCBDEvent: .@KENandCOOK Oscar Screening Party

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The Academy Awards are the hottest event in Hollywood. It’s a night of glitz, glam, and all the fabulous celebrities you could ever imagine. Unfortunately, most of us commoners will never get to hit the red carpet and join in these festivities. Luck for you, there are other options for you to feel just a fabulous as the Oscar nominees themselves!

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This Sunday, Ken & Cook Restaurant and Bar will be holding an Oscars viewing party for all of you movie-buffs and Hollywood wanna-be’s. Guests are asked to dress in their best black tie attire to walk the red carpet and view the show from a giant projector behind the bar. While you’re viewing, treat yourself to some Oscar-inspired cocktails along with Ken & Cook’s delicious dinner menu and get the VIP treatment! The party starts at 6 PM sharp, just in time for the Red Carpet Pre-Show. Space is limited, so if you want to RSVP, call the restaurant at 212-966-3058 or e-mail them at reservations@kenandcook.com

#SCBDEvent: .@NYCraftBeerFest — Spring Seasonal

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What’s the best way to say farewell

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to February and hello to March?

THE NYC CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL – SPRING SEASONAL!

You know exactly what I am about to say.

…I’M SO EXCITED.

150 craft beers from all over the country, unlimited 2 oz tastings, and the most amazing, exciting energy in New York City!

Uhm hello, best weekend ever? YES.

There’s also delicious food – a tantalizing spread, that never fails to pair perfectly with my beer tastings!

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Here’s the event information — but hurry! Tickets are selling out!

Click here to get your tickets!

Friday, Feb. 28th (One Session)

SESSION 1: Gen. Admission 8:00 PM – 10:30 PM / VIP & Connoisseur 7:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Saturday, March. 1st (Two Sessions)

SESSION 1: VIP & Connoisseur 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM / General Admission 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM

SESSION 2: VIP & Connoisseur 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM / General Admission 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM /

*** There is NO Afternoon Session on Friday***

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