Showing posts with label US Open. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US Open. Show all posts

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Heineken House at US Open 2013

As much as I love to sip the champagne at the Moet & Chandon bar, I have to give credit to the Heineken people for their innovative spaces at the US Open this year.

It’s actually been 22 years since Heineken began their sponsorship of the tournament. While at first it meant the supply of the Dutch brew chilled at all the stands, it expanded to the original Red Star, a bar located near the President’s Gate.

Last year, this “bar” turned into a two story building, the top of which housed the new Red Star Café, a full service restaurant and bar. This year they have gone one step further, creating an entire village on top of the food court.

I took a walk through Heineken House and I was impressed. Not only is it a great place to relax away from the crowds, you’ll find a selection of food and drinks, as well as games and televisions showing live action of the Open. All of this with incredible views of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

Tyler Kord, chef/owner of No. 7 Sub, paired a menu of light fare to go with Heineken and Heineken Light, including the popular Broccoli Cuban.

If you don’t want to spend all your time relaxing on the swings, sitting back on the couches, eating and/or drinking (and I’m not sure who wouldn’t), you can try your hand at a round of “cornhole” or get your picture taken at the photo book. There’s also a “Pro Shop” where you can purchase Heineken merchandise.

I made it up to the village in time for yesterday’s “Heineken Perfect Pour” competition. There was a pretty good crowd there trying their luck at the perfect pour, judged by local bartenders (the competition will continue at 2:00 pm everyday through September 5th.

If you can’t make it to Heineken House at the US Open this year, you can (presuming you are over 21 years of age) participate in the “Crack the US Open” photo hunt on Instagram for a chance to win tickets to the Men’s Final next week.  Beginning September 3rd, visit @Crack_the_US_Open on Instagram, flip your phone and scroll through a panoramic view of a stadium to begin the hunt. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tasting US Open 2013

For more years than I’ll admit, I have spent weeks at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships covering tennis. It’s one of my favorite times of year. I catch up players and friends from the media. I also get to sample tons of delicious food and drinks, a task that has become more prevalent since I’ve focused on lifestyle writing.

I got started this year at the U.S. Open Food Tasting Preview. It was enough to convince anyone to come to the tournament whether or not they wanted to see tennis and the tournament is ready. The restaurants are prepared to serve 27,000 people during the tournament.

The tasting included appearances by chefs David Burke, Tony Mantunao and Masaharu Morimoto. They showed off their signature dishes and also told us about what’s new this year.  Here’s what was sampled (my friends Melanie and Meredith took care of the seafood sampling for me) from each restaurant:

Wine Bar
Burrata Cheese on French bread-light, tasty and a perfect wine accompaniment.
Salumi Antipasto with marinated artichokes and tomatoes and rosemary breadsticks-a nice selection of flavors mixing perfectly on this small plate.

Village Market
Kale Salad with yellow and green beans, tomato, carrots and cucumber in honey Dijon vinaigrette-fresh and light for a hot day at the National Tennis Center, but not very filling without added chicken.

Patio Café
Curried Crab and Watermelon Salad on a bed of baby lettuces with a curry aioli-large clumps of crab meat and sweet watermelon is a perfect match.

Hill Country Barbecue
Signature Brisket, pit-smoked over Texas oak-tender and tasty.
Pulled Pork Slider-one of the best I’ve had.
Maker’s Mark Bourbon Pecan Pie-save room for this one. Too bad they don’t make a full pie to go!

East Gage Grill
Pat Lafrieda Steak Sandwich topped with Monterey Jack cheese, caramelized onions and au jus on a French baguette-rare filet mignon with a bit of tangy sweetness.

Champions Bar & Grill
Grilled Portobello Burger stuffed with ratatouille, low-fat mozzarella and roasted pepper and served with chipotle mayo on brioche-an excellent combination that will be calling more than just vegetarians to the restaurant.

Morimoto Sushi-a selection of fish and vegetarian sushi that gets rave reviews.

Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche-large shrimp in a nice presentation, but not one of the top choices.

Even the Players Dining is getting an upgrade this year.  They have added gluten-free sandwiches; a Juice, Smoothie and Espresso Bar; and a Chocolate Milk Bar. I’m looking forward to sampling some of those offerings.

Grey Goose was on hand to sample their Signature Cocktail, the Honey Deuce, during the meal and then we went down to the Moet & Chandon Terrace, where I greeted some of my friends from Moet who I was at America’s Cup with and enjoyed some of their great bubbly.

In addition to the Grey Goose and Moet champagne bars, the U.S. Open also has a Wine Bar (which offers food pairings) and the Heineken Red Star Café.

While I enjoyed trying everything new and will certainly seek some of these dishes out over the next week or so, I am happy to say some of my U.S. Open “staples” are back, including the Caprese Panini in the South Plaza, the Potato Knish from the Glatt Kosher Cart and, of course, the Chocolate Peanut Butter from the Ben & Jerry’s, where they also have a great variety of low calorie smoothies to keep me cool in the hot sun. Then again, you can never go wrong with the Classic Burger and Waffle Fries. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Trading the US Open for Sweet Corn and Barbecue

It’s the third week in August and there’s only one place I’ve been during that time for most of my adult life, the U.S. Open Championships in Flushing Meadow Park, New York. Even after I stopped covering tennis full time in 2008, I still covered the Open for the entire three weeks. Through the Qualifying, the Main Draw and the Junior Championships, my daily column gets up to two million hits during the event. I’ve also added additional outlets to my coverage over the years.

I was especially excited about the U.S. Open this year because, in addition to the food, wine and spirits stories I’ve been doing the past few years, I was also doing some celebrity articles. Unfortunately, none of it would pan out this year. My back problems got to the point where I knew I couldn’t drive to New York and handle walking around the huge tennis center. I considered borrowing a scooter or even a wheelchair, but my doctor convinced me that I needed to stay home, rest my back and get treatment.  
The U.S. Open is much more than a tennis event, it’s a foodie’s (or food writer’s) dream. Last year, I even got to sample some of the U.S. Open food and drinks before the event. There are always some new and exciting offerings each year, but my priorities never seem to change: the Sweet & Savory Crepe booth where Crepe Express provides my favorite thin pancake filled with mushrooms, spinach and Swiss cheese; and the seasoned waffle fries, available at many of the booths, which everyone seems to love. Those items are my first day and last day musts, and in between I try to sample something different from the wide-range of offerings at the restaurants and food court each day. (Thank heaven for all the walking, I’ve actually never gained weight at the Open.)

Saturday, August 27th was to be something even better than gourmet food at the U.S. Open. It was Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day, a celebrity-filled event that’s always a lot of fun. I was especially looking forward to this year’s as one of my favorite actors, Bradley Cooper, was appearing. Armed with lots of assignments, I had hoped to have a few minutes to actually speak to him and it was one of the disappointments in my not going, but I wasn’t the only one this day didn’t work out for. Millions of people around the Northeastern United States have a lot more to be dismayed about than I do as Hurricane Irene flooded neighborhoods, damaged property and even took some lives.

I didn’t get to go to the U.S. Open or meet Bradley Cooper, but I did get to be home yesterday, where it was dry and sunny. I also got to do something that I’ve missed all these years I’ve been in New York at the U.S. Open. I went to the Sweet Corn Festival in Urbana. There was no fine wine or  overpriced seasoned fries, but I had some delicious (Central Illinois) Sweet Corn, Barbecued Pork (from Holy Smoke Barbecue), Macaroni & Cheese (from Louie’s BBQ) and finished Frozen Custard. Then, I went home and iced my back and was thankful that I wasn’t awaiting a monster storm like my friends, family and tennis-writing colleagues back east.

The silver lining to the cloud (pardon the pun) is that the storm didn’t appear to damage the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center after all and it looks like play for the main draw will start on Monday as planned. I am flying to New York in a few weeks and hope to be walking well enough to still make it in to the U.S. Open for the finals -- and the crepes, of course.