by Meryl Pearlstein
With New York City Restaurant Week (January 16-February 10) already underway, foodies have hundreds of great restaurants from which to choose. But there are other food events and celebrations well worth checking out in the next few days, including the Kids Food Festival and the start of Mehtaphor’s Global New Year dinner series.
At this weekend’s Kids Food Festival at Citi Pond in Bryant Park, chef Jehangir Mehta continues his mission to educate children about the role of nutrition in combating obesity. Chef Mehta will be joining food personalities and chefs such as David Burke (David Burke Townhouse, Fishtail by David Burke, David Burke Kitchen), Ben Pollinger (Oceana) and Jackie Newgent, RD, to present culinary demonstrations and offer healthy samples. The festival provides plenty of fun activities, including the “Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt,” a puppet show and the “Silly Workout,” but also aims to educate parents and kids about the importance of making balanced food choices. General admission is free from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on January 21 and 22; tickets are required for cooking demos and other chef events. Festival partners are the James Beard Foundation and Share Our Strength. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.kidsfoodfestival.com.
On Monday, the busy chef will be launching a global New Year dinner series at his restaurant Mehtaphor. Chef Mehta and his culinary team will be creating menus influenced by New Year celebrations of various cultures worldwide. The series kicks off with a celebration of the “Year of the Dragon” with a Chinese-inspired New Year feast on Monday, January 23. The six-course dinner with wine pairings is as eclectic as the dishes found in Mehta’s Graffiti and Mehtaphor restaurants, including cucumber ginger slaw with lychee granita, sesame scallion shrimp with chickpea bitter gould, a crab almond roll with chili reduction, garlic tomato pork dumplings, persimmon green chili duck with bok choi and a chocolate steamed bun with red bean ice cream. In addition to providing detailed descriptions of each sweet and savory dish, Mehta will share the pairing rationale for each of the evening’s six wines, which include selections from Italy, France, Austria and Spain. The prix-fixe menu is available for $75 per person. Seatings are from 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.
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