Wine Enthusiast Recognizes Robby Younes of Crystal Springs

Plus: Food and drink events from Clifton to Cape May.

Crystal Springs has more than a few reasons to celebrate this year—including a dynamic new head chef—and chief operating officer Robby Younes just added to the list. The 38 year-old made Wine Enthusiast’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers list for 2018. As the award highlights, Younes hasn’t merely been a passive guardian of Crystal Springs’s wine catalogue. In 10 years, he’s grown the famous cellar from 38,000 to 105,000 bottles, with over 6,000 distinct labels and several rare collector wines. We have to assume he’s in a pretty good mood right now, so maybe opening one of those rare bottles isn’t out of the question.

And, of course, here’s a few food and drink events to look forward to this week.

The Final Week of “Local Harvest” at Spuntino Wine Bar
Through August 31

Spuntino Wine Bar bids adieu to summer bounty with the final week of its annual “Local Harvest” menu at Clifton Commons. The month-long five-course tasting menu features local New York and New Jersey products (Vrola Meat Company in South Amboy, Antonio Mozzarella in Newark), with dishes like local peach crudo, cider-brined pork loin and Montauk scallops. The tasting menu is $50 ($70 with wine pairings), but you can also get dishes a la carte; $1 from each dish (or $5 from each tasting menu) goes to City Green, a local non-profit working to bring urban farming to communities in northern New Jersey. Make your reservations here. Spuntino Wine Bar, 70 Kingsland Road, Clifton; 973-661-2435

Free Single Malt Whisky Tasting at the Heldrich Hotel
Thursday, August 30, 6 PM–8 PM

Typically all you have to say are “free” and “whiskey” to get folks to show up, but Thursday’s tasting at Christopher’s Bar at the Heldrich Hotel should actually yield a bit more in the way of savvy as opposed to just buzz (for instance, whiskey is spelled with or without “e” depending on where its made, but it’s all usually delicious). Education should get more intense than that: Whiskey Gourmet’s own Franck Mounier is an industry expert, so you’ll be in qualified hands sipping through four single malts from Scotland and Ireland, including—availability pending—a dram of none-too-subtly smoky Laphroaig. The Heldrich Hotel, 10 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick; 732-214-2200

Kimchi Smoke Pop-Up at Ice Cream by Mike
Friday, August 31, 5 PM–10 PM

Get your summer barbecue-ice cream fix in one shot. This Friday, Robert Austin Cho brings his charmingly unhinged Korean-Texan BBQ to Ice Cream by Mike in Ridgewood. No word on whether the chef plans on bringing some sinful new iteration of his “Chonut,” but something called a Korean Street Corn Dog will be making an appearance on the menu. Mike Elias himself will unveil a new creamsicle pop made with chewy bites of candied orange peel. No tickets required. Wet Naps suggested. Ice Cream by Mike, 305 East Ridgewood Avenue, Ridgewood; 201-343-4514

Jimmy’s Smokin’ Pig Roast at The Rusty Nail
Monday, September 3, 4 PM–9 PM

Grill Master Jimmy Burton found a way to make Mondays wonderful all summer long, but if you haven’t had a chance to check out his “Smokin’ Pig Roast” at the Rusty Nail, Labor Day will be your last shot. There might not be a better place to defy the return of fall than with beachside pork consumption at this funky surfer shack-turned-restaurant for the Beach Shack motel. As usual, the piece de resistance will be a slow-roasted Berkshire pig from nearby Beach Plum Farm. Sip something frosty, share fatty meats with friends, and toast the end of the season. The Rusty Nail, 205 Beach Avenue, Cape May; 609-884-0017

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