Author Archives: Tara for TKGO

Give Blood, Eat Dessert

Check out our guest post!

Our friends at Sip N Sizzle, a new NYC food & reviews blog, reached out to us for a guest post. Inspired by the 30 flyers the New York Blood Center sent me in the last 2 months, I explain my three favorite places (and desserts) to refuel after giving blood. One catch: No cupcakes allowed! We all know where to get those…

Check it out here: Top Places to Get Sugar After Giving Blood in NYC

Tara

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Hog Heaven: The Big Apple BBQ Block Party

You know you’ve been spoiled when you have to shower twice before the smell of barbecue smoke begins to subside.

Madison Square Park turned into a literal pork steam bath this weekend for the 9th annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party. New York institutions like Blue Smoke, Pappy’s and Hill Country had crowds lined up to suck on four ribs or a pulled pork sandwich for $8.

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Everywhere, people were eating. They slurp down ribs on stairways, brisket while leaning against walls, pork sandwiches sitting in the park, and whole hog standing in lines for more whole hog. Picnic tables and impromptu beer gardens line the Madison Avenue side of the park, and bluegrass bands rotate playing sets. [Below, a favorite: The Crooners.]

What makes the Big Apple BBQ unique is its attendance. All ages, backgrounds and personalities make their way here. Unlike some festivals, where everyone seems to have the same interests, the only thing bringing this crowd together is a love for meat. …But I’m sure the 75-degree weather didn’t hurt.

Tara

Shot of the Week

Soweto, Johannesburg, South AfricaThree men work on a car in the outskirts of Soweto, a township in the southwest of Johannesburg, South Africa, in December 2006.

Tara

Shot of the Week

Aguas Calientes Machu Picchu hostelThe view from an open-air hostel in Aguas Calientes, Peru, overlooked an apartment complex and a steep incline up the nearby mountain.

Click to read more on the train to Aguas Calientes from Cusco, or learn about the climb up Machu Picchu.

Tara

Shot of the Week

Mardi Gras 2011 Thoth parade route

Beads thrown from the floats get caught in trees off the parade routes. You can still find them dangling there all year long.

Thanks for reading all our Mardi Gras 2011 coverage this week! Let us know if you’re going next year…

Tara for TKGO

Mardi Gras 2011: Get More Swag!

Mardi Gras is all about sharing. When you want something your neighbor caught four of, you’ll believe me.

But there are some items you won’t give away, no matter how much little kids stare and adults drool. Ladies and gentlemen, TKGO picks the top throws from Mardi Gras 2011:

Mardi Gras throws 2011 bacchus rex endymion zulu musesSo how do you catch these awesome things? A few tips:

Beggars can’t be choosers. A sign that reads “Mini Hurricane Glasses, Please!” will only get you angry glares. But at the Muses parade, an all-women krewe where the coveted throw is a hand-decorated high heeled shoe, the more playful, less demanding signs (“Mama needs a new pair of shoes!”) got plenty of laughs from krewe members and a shoe for the spectator.

Make eye contact with one krewe member on the float. It doesn’t necessarily take words to form a friendship. Don’t forget your manners! Thank them afterward for what they throw you—they may toss something else your way!

Befriend spectators standing next to you. If they know you want something they already have, trade! (They also may know someone in the parade, which can’t hurt.)

Sing the Saints song or show some general spirit. Who from New Orleans doesn’t cheer for their teams? Krewe members do…

And if you’re really desperate, hang out at the parade origin to hear the announcements of which float each krewe member is assigned. Call their names as the float passes by and hope you look like someone they actually know.

Any helpful tips or favorite throws? Share them in the comments!

Tara for TKGO

Mardi Gras Parades 2011: The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club

Zulu feels different from many of the other parades. They borrow a few floats from other krewes and throw beads made for parades as far back as 2009, but the sentiment here is unrivaled.

The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club isn’t called a krewe—it was founded in 1916 before the term was popular—but it is one. Zulu is one of the oldest organizations to march. Their parade takes place at 8 a.m. on Fat Tuesday, so the highly motivated will stay up all night on Monday and go to bed after the parade ends Tuesday morning. (If you plan to do this, you should know Zulu’s notorious reputation for running late.)

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The Zulus offer arguably the most sought-after throw of Mardi Gras—the coconut. A throw is anything given away by krewe members on the floats or walking through the streets during the parade, and can range from plain sets of beads to pendants to an item exclusive to that krewe. Zulu’s coconuts are hand-painted and/or carved by individual members of the krewe, so they don’t throw them to just anyone.

In the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, Zulu ran into controversy with its costumes—grass skirts and blackface don’t exactly promote racial equality. You’ll still see the marching Zulus wearing this in recent parades, and in fact they are known for the intricacy and detail used to construct their outfits.

Tara for TKGO