New York's Upper West Side Food Festival

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I find people generally fall into one of two camps when it comes to food festivals: you either love em’ or you hate em’.  And generally speaking, festivals in the city can be overcrowded, feel like a battle for tiny samples of food, and (since most take place during the summer months), really HOT.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the food festival I attended this month, New Taste of the Upper West Side, was the exception to all the above.  While the line to get in was long (wrapping around the block!), it moved seriously fast, and we were inside in less than 10 minutes.  (Kudos, staff!)  The food tastings from 42 UWS restaurants were generous (after making the tent round we were seriously full–some tables, such as Shake Shack, even gave full sized burgers!)  And best of all, the festival was located inside a tent, so attendees were saved from the June heat.  Gold stars all around, New Taste of the UWS!

My favorite part of the festival was discovering new restaurants to dine at after the festivities were over.  Based on the tastings, here’s the 5 UWS restaurants I can’t wait to try:

  • Momofuku Milk Bar (because those birthday cake truffles BLEW ME AWAY)
  • Papparedella (a fluffy little pasta stuffed with cheese and pear, drizzled with black truffle and parmigiano makes for a delightful summer pasta)
  • Ellla Kitchen and Bar (veggie empanadas stuffed with spinach and corn and lots of manchego cheese, drizzled with a chipotle aioli is RIGHT up my alley)
  • Communal Oven & Earth (my hubby raved about the mini lamb sliders all night long)
  • Birdbath Bakery (a pretty dessert wins lots of points in my book, and the adorable blueberry-lemon tart with edible flowers was an Instagram waiting to happen)

Would love to know…are you a food festival fan?  Any favorite restaurants on the Upper West Side we should add to the list?  Let’s talk below!

Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York...as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
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