What to sip this summer, from cold brew to cocktails!
Cold caffeine for summer fueling
In New York City, The Wayfarer serves its own proprietary blend of cold brew coffee in vintage-inspired bottles.
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Wash any memory of Bieber from your brain with a bottomless brunch that's now on offer atThe Wayfarer. A $38 tab buys you unlimited mimosas and bloody marys, including the restaurant's Bloody Mary Bar with different types of juices and garnishes. Also included: an entree from the brunch menu like Short Rib Hash and Poached Eggs or Huevos Rancheros.
Wards Island sits in the East River just off of Manhattan, physically part of Randall's Island since the 1960s when New York filled in a channel that separated the two. On Wards, HELP USA operates an employment center, part of Project EATS, that offers vocational training for up to 200 homeless adults. Included in this vocational training—a culinary arts program, operated by Chef Dan Maguire, where trainees learn to cook and use vegetables grown in the island's garden. Beginning this past winter, Chris Shea, executive chef at the modern American midtown restaurant The Wayfarer, has participated in the Wards Island program, hiring graduates and using food grown in the garden there.
"I was introduced to Help USA's Wards Island's Culinary Arts program by my friend David Burke," said Shea, the former executive chef at David Burke Kitchen. "I visited the program's kitchen with [him] back in December, where I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Dan Maguire. Help USA's mission is to help those who are homeless and others in need become and remain self-reliant."
Since then, Shea has hired two graduates from the program to work in The Wayfarer's kitchen, one of whom has since moved on. "The other graduate is doing quite well as a prep cook and will soon be learning to work a station on the line," explained Shea. "He came to us with a good foundation for working in the kitchen. He has a good basic knowledge of prep work, knife skills, etc., and most importantly has a good attitude about work."
Shea has been utilizing ingredients from the Wards Island garden for some time now, in dishes like a special market salad, a Tuscan kale, strawberry, and rhubarb salad, and an octopus and beet dish. "Zach, the farmer who oversees the Wards Island farm, sends us a list of what's available," said Shea. "So far we have received all sorts of lettuces, kale, herbs and scallions, Swiss chard, baby beets, radishes and snap peas." For Shea, the partnership with the Wards Island program offers him a chance to give back to those in need, as well as the chance to feature high-quality local ingredients in his restaurant's dishes. "The best part of this job is really to continue to learn and to teach what you have learned to others. It is great to be able to hire the graduates and help them on their journey."
Tracee Ellis Ross is early, as she usually is — “Being prompt is very serious,” she says — when I meet her on West 57th Street. She’s wearing her favorite vintage jeans, a greenish Yohji Yamamoto duster she’s had for a while, and brand-new Prada platform brogues. She’s chatting animatedly on her phone with her father, Bob Ellis Silberstein, the gallant young music manager her mother, Diana Ross, married in 1971 after her epic relationship with Motown founder Berry Gordy became suffocatingly complicated. But that tumult ended long ago, and today her dad is a semi-retired 71-year-old who is, right now, telling his daughter about his morning bike ride in Central Park, followed by a walk with his dogs, Tupac and Snoop Dogg.
I don’t mind waiting. Even watching the star of ABC’s Black-ish talking on the phone on the sidewalk is fun: Ross is antic and expressive, unable to not perform. I keep thinking of her turn on Sesame Street when she did a bit about the letter B — introducing bear, banana, basketball, and Big Bird with Muppety, pop-eyed delight. Dad update over, we walk down the block to the Wayfarer, a bilevel restaurant that seeks to evoke a kind of vaguely Vegas Rat Pack swank. And Ross notices the picture first, at the top of the stairs: “See?” she says, when she spots her mother-as-icon among photos of JFK, the hippie crowd at Woodstock, and a Playboy Bunny. She thinks it’s probably from Mahogany.
Then the waitress arrives, and Ross squeals. “Your hair looks so dang cute!”
“Thank you!” says the server, who has twisted it up in a casual, boyish blonde side-knot. Ross orders mint green tea, which comes in a mug with a walrus drawn on it, which she also finds cute, and adds self-consciously: “I actually made that sound!” (That squeal.)
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Is rosé the wine that can turn otherwise-tough New York retailers into kinder, gentler versions of themselves? Drew Barrymore, the 41-year-old actress, author, cosmetics maven and wine producer, hopes so.
Ms. Barrymore, who splits her time between her homes in New York and Los Angeles, introduced her newest wine, the 2015 Barrymore by Carmel Road Rosé of Pinot Noir, to a group of New York wine merchants over lunch at The Wayfarer restaurant in Midtown Manhattan this week.
“New York is a very tough market for anything celebrity-oriented,” Ms. Barrymore observed during a post-lunch chat along with winemaker Kris Kato of Carmel Road Winery in Monterey, Calif. The three of us met in a small private room whose stained carpet and rather grim décor seemed particularly at odds with the glamorous and ebullient Ms. Barrymore.
Mr. Kato and Ms. Barrymore were eager to describe a collaborative process that went well beyond a standard celebrity-labeled product. Mr. Kato might bring her samples of various possible blends, or Ms. Barrymore will send him pictures of wines that she tasted and enjoyed.
“There was an Italian Pinot Nero she really liked,” Mr. Kato recalled. He added: “She really liked the spice in that wine. She’ll say, ‘I really want a wine with a little spice, a little fruit.’”
Sometimes the two will send one another actual bottles of wines that they liked or they will sit down and share a bottle. Ms. Barrymore fondly recalled a shared bottle called Sexual Chocolate. Was that a wine made from actual chocolate? I asked. “It’s a red wine from a great little winery we both liked,” Ms. Barrymore replied.
Although there are two other Barrymore-labeled wines in the market currently—a Pinot Grigio and a Pinot Noir—the collaborative process was particularly important in the creation of the rosé, according to Mr. Kato, especially the color.
“We really wanted a pretty wine,” said Ms. Barrymore, looking at her pink-hued glass approvingly. But the wine had to be good. And it had to be dry. Ms. Barrymore wasn’t a fan of sweet wines. Or as she put it: “I will not dive into the sweet waters.”
Did Ms. Barrymore have a favorite New York restaurant or two where she hoped to see her wine? “If those Torrisi boys would have it I would be thrilled,” she replied. The “Torrisi boys” are Rich Torrisi, Mario Carbone and Jeff Zalaznick, who own a group of hip downtown restaurants that include Carbone, Dirty French, Santini and Parm.
How could they say no to Drew Barrymore? I asked. “I think they could,” she said with a self-deprecating laugh.
Ms. Barrymore was particularly interested in having her rosé offered by the glass. “I will pay a lot for a glass of wine in a restaurant,” she said. How much was a lot? “Probably $25-$30,” she replied. “I guess I’m not a real high-roller,” she said.
The Barrymore wine label, which features a large and rather ornate “B,” was designed by her friend Shepard Fairey, the street artist, and is the crest of her grandfather, the actor John Barrymore.
Was he was a wine drinker? I asked. After all, the tagline for her wine label is “From our family to yours.” He was not. In fact, Ms. Barrymore noted with a different sort of laugh, “I don’t come from a family-family. I don’t even have a family.” Ms. Barrymore’s best-selling memoir, ‘Little Girl Lost,’ tells that particular story.
Wine, however, has provided her with a family of sorts. “I think that’s what’s good about wine. It’s a very good binding agent, a glue of sorts,” said Ms. Barrymore. It’s a family that attracts a certain kind of person as well. As she noted, “Wine is a very passionate thing—it’s not for the faint of heart.”
At The Wayfarer’s Bloody Mary bar, offered during weekend brunch, thirsty diners can mix their own Bloody Mary and choose next-level garnishes, with about 1,440 combinations of spirits, bases, spices, hot sauces, and garnishes to mix and match. Bloody Mary bases consist of traditional red tomato juice, spicy tomato juice, tomato water, and cold-pressed green juice. The rim can be seasoned with a range of sweet and spicy flavors, like poppy and sesame seed, smoked paprika, and celery salt. Shrimp, truffled grilled cheese, pork rinds, cheddar cheese, bacon, olives, and pepperoncini, are just a few of the garnishes. ($15)
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Tax Day is over and done with. What better time to celebrate than with half-price drinks and some fun in the sun that has finally come to New York City.
Uncle Sam may not cut anyone slack on Tax Day, The Wayfarer but restaurant (101 West 57th Street) is giving its guests a very important tax break by offerings 50% off alcoholic beverages at its bar all day long on Monday, April 18th (this year’s deadline for filing). Whether you’re looking to lift your spirits after filing or splurge your refund check, head to The Wayfarer and take advantage of your own capital gains with ½ off all wine, spirits and handcrafted cocktails at the restaurant. Want to celebrate your lucrative year? Enjoy a glass or bottle of champagne off their wine list. Or if you’re in need some liquid courage to help make that check out to the IRS, perhaps The Vagabond (made with Montelobos Mezcal, Milagro Silver Tequila, Green Chartreuse, Jalapeno-Infused Aperol, Grapefruit Bitters) is in order.
For a list of The Wayfarer’s cocktail and wine lists, please visit: http://www.thewayfarernyc.com
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