Cooking With the Dumpling Diva, Under the Stars

"The Dumpling Diva," chef and hostess Marja Samsom, giving lessons at her Dumpling Academy on the roof.

There’s nothing quite like a summer evening on the Lower East Side, hanging out on a hidden rooftop with new and old friends. Recently we checked out the “Dumpling Academy,” at 2nd Floor on Clinton.  “Dumpling Diva” Marja Samsom (formerly of the Kitchen Club) has been running these evening cooking classes for a few months now.  The dumplings were delicious, as was the wine, chosen by Tony Powe (Barramundi, Alias). Marja will be back for another Dumpling Academy September 28th. You can find out more details and take advantage of other neighborhood deals by taking part in the Alias Zipcard program.

Hester Street Fair – Season Two Opens With a Bang

Hester Street Fair Returns for Season Two - photo by

The Hester Street Fair kicked off its second season in stlye on Saturday, as over 11,000 visitors stopped by to sample the fantastic selection of food and hand-crafted/vintage goods, while enjoying the perfect spring weather. Our friend, (and a co-founder of the fair) SuChin Pak, has just sent word that Luke’s Lobster was sold out by 3pm, Kings County Jerky sold out by 2pm and all of the food vendors had run out of many popular items by 4pm. Luckily La Sonrisa, Mighty Balls and Cheekys held down the fort until the very end (barely!).

Pak noted that, thanks to the Mother’s Day traffic, some of their jewelry vendors had their biggest sales to date. Here are some photos from our visit, including one of the Melt Bakery owners, Kareem Hamady and Julian Plyter, who are excited to be opening a brick and mortar space of their very own on Orchard Street, sometime in the next few months. They make some darn good ice cream sandwiches! (Melt will be featured in our Hester Street Fair Profile coming up this Wednesday.)