Oh, forget those Manhattan Housewives and Jersey persons-of-Italian-extraction! We’ve got Monteverde at Oldstone Manor, and no televised geek show can match it.
I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t tear my eyes away from this train wreck, whose latest crunching metal includes a Queens lawyer-slash-bride wannabe who is suing over her botched Monteverde wedding reception. Recent tabloid reports vary, but the gist is that Jennifer Daddio (NOT pictured here) handed Monteverde her deposit of anywhere from $9,600 to $17000, in hopes of booking an elegant wedding at the historic Knickerbocker estate (that kinda overlooks a nuclear reactor, but that’s another story). Twelve days after Daddio cut the check, Monteverde’s owner Richard Friedberg filed for bankruptcy, allegedly vamoosing with all her hope-filled green.
Twenty-eight-year-old Daddio claims that she contracted with the spa/restaurant/reception hall in the understanding that her $40,000/200 guest wedding would be a well-staffed affair. Sadly, Dick Friedberg’s financial woes allegedly caused Daddio’s Monteverde wedding planner to flee the ship; Daddio now claims that Monteverde currently operates with skeleton crew under the direction of a “restaurant carpenter.” Understandably, Daddio might have sought the return of her fat deposit. And, PS: after earning raves from almost everyone (including Westchester Magazine and the New York Times, Monteverde’s phone now rings unanswered, and its website posts only three weekly days of restaurant operation.
Does the name Dick Friedberg jingle any bells? Well, it might if you’re a Twit. Or read food blogs like this. Or read the New York Times. In a landmark case for the power of New Media, Dick Friedberg was called out repeatedly on Twitter and on foodie blogs like Grub Street by ex-employee Chef Ryan Skeen. (He oversaw the kitchen at Monteverde’s fabulous NYC sister restaurant, Allen and Delancey.) Skeen aired Friedberg’s pile of dirty financial laundry through a multitude of web outlets, spinning tales of bounced payroll checks and purveyors that would only accept cash. Skeen alleges in this NY Times article that taking his case to the web was a ploy to position himself with a new restaurant, (which worked, to a degree, though now his every stumble at the new joint is uploaded, too). Such is the price of Internet fame, I guess.
Both Monteverde and Allen and Delancey achieved restaurant-world heights under Skeen’s predecessor, charming Brit Chef Neil Ferguson, formerly chef at equally star-crossed Gordon Ramsay at the London. High-flying Ferguson left Friedberg for Soho House, reportedly in hopes of bankable paychecks, in a restaurant world shocker that was predicted right here at Eater. Actually, it was a no-brainer – we’d heard earfuls from disgruntled Monteverde staffers, and had eaten a deeply middling meal that spoke reams about the state of its kitchen. Ryan Skeen immediately hopped into Chef Ferguson’s breech, because, after all, Allen and Delancey still had a fine rep.
But what about Daddio, that poor bride and her bucks? Not to be cynical, but this isn’t Friedberg’s first time at the rodeo. We hear from other sources that he’s been in court before, which is all shaming and public and stuff, but it rarely yields financial restitution. I’m thinking that Daddio should cut her losses and get hitched in the Queens courthouse (seems handy), then take the remainder of her wedding budget on a six month South Pacific honeymoon.
Piggy Pub Grub
Birdsall House’s charcuterie plate with Brovetto aged Tilset cheese with hops; pork pate sausage with mustard; and bacon lardon with apple butter.
Wait a second – did I mention pork yet? Chez Panisse alum Chef Matt Hutchins is offering this homage to the pig at Westchester’s hottest new restaurant, Birdsall House, which is located on Main Street in downtown Peekskill. The patina-soaked retro pub comes from John Sharp and Tim Reinke, who are the elite team of partners behind NYC’s Blind Tiger Ale House. Birdsall House promises to sling deceptively straightforward locavorian grub – like that fabulous, cave-aged Bovetto Tilset and Hemlock Hill burgers – perfect to pair with Birdsall’s carefully-curated beers and spirits.
Austrian Desserts with Alex Grunert of Blue Hill at Stone Barns with BHSB’s Wine Director, Thomas Carter at the Astor Center
April 6, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Join Alex Grunert, renowned Pastry Chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, for a seasonal tour of Austrian desserts. Chef Grunert will share his favorite recipes, from the nostalgic classics of his grandmother’s kitchen like Apple Strudel and Sacher Torte, to avant-garde interpretations using the season’s bounty. Sample classic and original creations while Chef Grunert shares recipes and behind-the-scenes tips from his own pastry kitchen. Also expect a variety of wine, beer, and spirits as Thomas Carter, wine director of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, takes us through finding the perfect match for your sweet endings. $75
Art of Italian Wine Making at Westchester Italian Cultural Center
April 13, 6:30 pm
It’s actually more complicated than just squishing some grapes and seeing what happens. This wine tasting and lecture is presented by Certified Wine Maker Giovanni Petretta from Santo Stefano Wine Making and will be showcased by antipasti prepared by Certified Master Chef Ken Arnone. Members $ 49.95, Non-Members $ 59.95
Annual Running of the Sheep at Rainbeau Ridge Farm
Here’s a vastly silly YouTube clip from last April 12th, when Rainbeau Ridge’s Lisa Schwartz held a spring “Running of the Sheep”. Now, it’s either been a long winter, or those suckers need a haircut; they’re running like food writers after a month of heavy meals.