There are all manner of fun, food events taking place in New York on a daily basis — from lavish, charity-driven galas to crowded, walk-around tastings and an endless array of pop-ups. But unless you have the time and money to party seven days a week, you’ll have to be somewhat discerning about what goes onto your calendar. So here are just a few worthy food celebrations we recommend getting tickets (or making reservations) for now!
The Thrillist Taco Knockout (May 2nd): Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, the media company, Thrillist, is hosting a taco throwdown at the Tequila Park Taqueria in the Hudson Hotel. $65 tickets ($80 for early entry) buys all-you-can eat access to the scrumptious, filled tortillas put forth by various competitors, including La Esquina, Goa Taco, Kimchi Smoke and Edi & The Wolf, as well as cocktails, cervezas, churros and more.
Kingsford Grill Invitational (May 2nd): Consider it the unofficial kickoff to barbecue season! Top grand champion grillers from across the country will gather at Hudson River Park to compete for $50,000 at Kingsford’s third annual event, and the honor of being crowned the “Best of the Best in Barbecue.” Judges such as Amy Mills (daughter of BBQ legend Mike Mills) will be on hand — along with attendees, of course — to eat and evaluate a wide array of slow-smoked offerings from six all-star teams; including New York’s own Billy Durney (Hometown), Hugh Magnum (Mighty Quinn’s) and Will Horowitz (Ducks Eatery)!
Choice Streets (May 5th): Not to be outdone by their massive, walk-around tasting event, Choice Eats, the Village Voice is bringing Choice Streets back to the Intrepid this month, to showcase New York’s very best food trucks. For $55-$85, ticketholders can try the wares of up to 20 mobile eateries, including Carl’s Steaks, Gorilla Cheese, Snowday, Solber Pupusas, The Vintage Ice Cream Guys and Sweet Chili.
Taste of Hope (May 12th): This tasting event will bring over 38 local restaurants together to raise money and awareness for HOPE — a Brooklyn-based career development organization for disadvantaged New Yorkers. Actually held in Manhattan, at the gorgeous Prince George Ballroom in Gramercy, $175 tickets will cover bites from Neuman’s Kitchen, Shake Shack, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Jimmy’s No. 43, Financier, Chickpea & Olive and more.
STREETS International (May 19th): Held at the Astor Center, this annual tasting event benefits STREETS International; a non-profit that is part hospitality school and part restaurant café in Hoi An, Vietnam, where local, disadvantaged youth are offered an 18-month training program designed to give them the tools and skills to achieve financial independence. Chefs like Wyle Dufresne, Leah Cohen, PJ Calapa and Tuome’s Thomas Chen will serve their interpretation of Southeast Asian street foods, complemented by an open bar with signature cocktails throughout the evening.
New Taste of the Upper West Side (May 27-30th): Sponsored by the Columbus Avenue BID, this three day event showcases the chefs who have flocked to the Upper West Side in recent years, with all proceeds dedicated to neighborhood projects. The celebrations kick off with a Soiree in the Park on the 27th — a cocktail party under the stars — followed by the Comfort Classics Competition on the 29th (a gathering of 40 great eateries, serving their most comforting dishes), and concludes with Best of the West on the 30th; a tasting event featuring some of the biggest culinary stars, and hosted by Marc Murphy and Anne Burrell.