Mario Batali on Botanical Dinners, Michigan Love and Duck Testicles

Cargo shorts and orange Crocs: They’re not just for the kitchen. Ask Mario Batali — the exuberant chef-restaurateur, food television superstar and author also takes his Crocs to the crops.

Batali’s cuisine may be Mediterranean, but his sources are local. A farmers market frequenter and longtime forager, Batali partnered with the New York Botanical Garden to develop Mario Batali’s Kitchen Gardens within The Edible Garden; his portion includes a series of activities and special events centered around his recipes and family cooking.

His reign over Manhattan’s Italian restaurant-scape has been sweeping as well: Clean Platesapproved Babbo, Del Posto, OTTO Enoteca Pizzeria, Lupa Osteria Romano and hybrid marketplace and eatery sensation, Eataly.

Batali gave us the scoop on The Edible Garden, being an Italophile and locavore, duck testicles at the kids’ table and what he’s chewing on, at home and on set. Continue reading

In Good Spirits: Dine, Drink, and Dance for a Cause

What: Good Spirits – Summer Cocktails to Benefit Hot Bread Kitchen

When: July 24, 8:00pm to 11:00pm

Where: Ramscale Studios, 463 West Street, Penthouse

How Much: Tickets are $75, with additional contributions optional

We know it’s hot out there, but there are better ways to cool off than spending the night in front of your AC: for example, an evening of summer cocktails, edibles and boogieing at a rooftop penthouse in the West Village. Continue reading

Dine Around Town: A 12-Dinner Benefit

What: A City Farmer, A Chef & A Host dinner benefit

Where: A new friend’s home

When: July 24, 7:00pm to 10:00pm

How Much: $500 (plus fees)

If a chef’s table is simply not intimate enough, consider a benefit dinner party with your favorite chef, perhaps Peter Hoffman of Back Forty and Back Forty West, or Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen behind the stove, with New York’s most plugged in food, farm and sustainably savvy guests by your side. Continue reading

Urban Zen: Clean Plates at Donna Karan’s Wellness Series

What: Urban Zen Sustainable Wellness Series

Where: 4 Bay Street, Sag Harbor, NY

When: July 21, 11-1 (and every other Saturday through September 1)

How Much: Free

Donna Karan knows a thing or two about essentials. Her Essentials line began in the ‘80s with “Seven Easy Pieces” — bodysuit included, naturally — a woman could mix and match to create her entire wardrobe. Since 2008, the fashion mogul and yogi has focused her attention on life’s essentials: Well-being, culture and an empowered mind, body and spirit. Continue reading

All Along the Water Towers: Art Project Raises Awareness

All water is not equal — some has the ability to sustain life, while other types can deplete it. One of our most precious natural resources is in dire need of protection: Today 2.5 billion people have no access to basic sanitation and a child dies every 20 seconds from a water-related illness. Jay-Z, Jeff Koons and 30 other artists, musicians and designers are collaborating on a New York-based mission, The Water Tank Project, to help via skyline installations on local water towers — with eventual plans to take it across the globe. Continue reading

Digging in the Dirt: Satur Farms

Long Island is historically known for stretches of farms and vast sky that seems to dip down and touch the island’s surrounding waters. With farmland under threat of decline, Satur Farms in Cutchogue, New York, remains a beacon of sustainable hope. Paulette Satur and her husband, Eberhard Müller, co-founder and opening chef of Clean Plates-rated Le Bernardin, are committed to sustainable farming with a three-pronged approach benefiting laborer, purveyor, and plot. Continue reading