Rocking Yelp Events
I need to apologize. One thing that I’m not great about is managing the material on the sidebar of the blog. It’s a work in progress. Much like the #518 Recos section, the blogroll is in dire need of an update, and I’m afraid that some more of my favorite regional food blogs are going to have to be sent to the X-Files.
But there was also a problem with the slug that’s been running in the top right corner of the blog for the past couple of days. It said that you were invited to the next Official Yelp Event at The City Beer Hall. And while that was true when the event was originally posted, it became less true soon after. And that was my fault.
What most people may not know is that there are many different types of Yelp events. Last night’s No Bull at The City Beer Hall evolved into a Yelp Elite Event. What does that mean? Well, let me tell you.
Reviews and pictures from the amazing experience last night at The City Beer Hall are already being posted. There will be official pictures up in a about a week or so.
I’ve wanted to have an Official Yelp Event at The City Beer Hall since I took the job as Yelp’s Community Ambassador. Primarily because there are still people who aren’t aware of the great culinary talent in the kitchen, led by Dimitrios Menagias. Far too many people know the place for its beer list, free pizzas, and mechanical bull.
Well, the culinary talent in the back of the house has only grown deeper with the arrival of Ian O’Leary (formerly of The Gingerman) and the mechanical bull is history. In its place is a private dining room upstairs, which The City Beer Hall will soon be providing family-style birthday parties. The idea is to provide an alternative for people who aren’t interested in drinking a giant cocktail out of a fishbowl or a giant beer from a glass boot.
So the City Beer Hall offered to let the Yelp Elite Squad be the first to try out this experience.
The private dining room was set with two long tables, each set for eighteen people, and I selected one birthday guest of honor for each table. We were all treated to a spread of cheeses and charcuterie, complete with accompaniments that included housemade pickles and mustard.
Richard Wilson worked on the beverage pairings, and brought in all local producers. So Nine Pin, Albany Distilling Co, Harvest Spirits, Shmaltz Brewing, and Common Roots Brewing were all represented.
Then the feast came out in courses. First were the wild mushroom toasts and fried smelts. Then the roast suckling pig, cumin crusted leg of lamb, curry spaetzle, and roasted root vegetables. There was even a dramatic showpiece of a dessert for the birthday girls, and a nutella panna cotta for everyone else.
Last night the diet went out the window. And I don’t regret it for a second. I’ve never had lamb that tender before. But everything was delicious. From the black vinegar tartar sauce for the fried smeltz to the light and deeply flavorful spaetzel.
I loved Rich’s Diamondback cocktail. I’m a little embarrassed that this classic of rye, green chartreuse, and applejack was off my radar. Those are three of my favorite things. Now all I need to do is replenish my supply of applejack.
Hearing the chefs talk about what they do is always a treat. Dimitrios has such love for what he does, it’s immediately apparent when he speaks. And Ian had some amazing insight as to what it means to cook for beer pairings versus simply cooking with beer. The prooftext was the pairing in front of us, and how well the roasted meats went with the complexity of the Shmaltz 2016 Reunion Ale. And the Common Roots Coffee Cup went beautifully with the cocoa notes of the panna cotta.
This was no ordinary Official Yelp Event. It was super special. So unless you were a member of the Yelp Elite Squad, a spot on the guest list was really beyond your grasp. However, anyone can strive for Yelp Elite status, and part of my job is coaching those who want the badge.
For the curious, here’s the breakdown of Yelp Events.
Official Yelp Events are free to members of the Yelp community, and typically involve something to eat and drink. As it turns out, The Local Yelp newsletter this week is a rundown of some of the Official Yelp Events we’ve had in the past.
Yelp Elite Events are a subset of Official Yelp Events. These offer even more special experiences. If we’re sitting down around a table with food and beverage pairings, it’s like an Elite Event. Like the preview of The Hollow’s new menu or that time we filled the private dining room at The Melting Pot. But Elite Events can also be about unique experiences, like getting behind the counter at Cider Belly or getting into the fields with Farmer Gordon at 9 Miles East for some farm-to-pizza pizza.
Don’t forget the Unofficial Yelp Events. Because we have those too. And that’s mostly people getting together to eat a lot of delicious things, be that dim sum, tavern fare, or some other culinary exploration.
Anyway, I hope that helps clear things up a bit. I would indeed love to see more of the FLB community out and about. And these Yelp Events are a great way to do it.