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What Jay Astafa taught me about Italian food + get in on his exclusive pop-up event in NYC

What Jay Astafa taught me about Italian food + get in on his exclusive pop-up event in NYC

| On 11, Apr 2013

It was September 2011 when I first heard about a young, motivated, vegan chef on Long Island who was doing astonishing things with Italian food. That also happened to be the same month that I set out on my little cross country adventure. Six months later I found myself sitting down at a red checkered covered table, for lunch at Jay’s family pizzeria – breaking one of my road trip rules – and dining at a restaurant that wasn’t completely vegan. But the buzz around Jay’s work was too great, I couldn’t stay away! The guilt immediately lifted as the kind server set a basket of deep fried, [vegan] cheesy-as-all-get-out mozzarella sticks down in front of me. Ooooh mamma! Jay wasn’t there at the time but that didn’t stop me from indulging in his culinary perfections. I also enjoyed one of his vegan pizzas, “The Works.”

At the time that I visited his restaurant Jay would have only been seventeen or eighteen. And yet he had designed a full vegan menu for the family restaurant which, by the way, marked the first restaurant on Long Island to offer vegan cuisine. Since that glorious, grease-filled afternoon I’ve peeked in on Jay’s career every so often, out of admiration. He’s since refined his skills even further, having graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute and is working on developing his own restaurant – Jay Kitchen, a vegan fine dining establishment, which will open this fall.

So what has Jay taught me about Italian food? Um… well… that it’s awesome! Okay, maybe I just used that first line to get you on over here, and if you’re still reading along then, I guess it worked. ;) But the big news that I REALLY want to share with you is that you can try Jay’s sophisticated cuisine BEFORE his restaurant opens! This is a two night only event and will be your only opportunity to get in on the goods before everyone else does. Where, when, what, how:

> The Old Bowery Station – 168 Bowery, NYC 10013
> April 25th & 26th @ 7PM
> Featuring an EIGHT course tasting menu with complimentary wines
> Reserve your seats here: Jay Kitchen

Are you ready for this? Take a look at the menu – and try not to drool. Or do. ‘Evs. Oh – and keep in mind that there are limited seats so if you want in be sure to reserve your ticket(s) ASAP.

This menu is inspired by organic spring vegetables, using a modern and innovative approach.

king oyster mushroom scallop
aged balsamic caviar and green pea puree

spring crostini duo
pickled ramps & cashew chèvre `
sorrel-mint pesto, pea tendrils, green peas, cashew parmesan

chilled potato and leek soup
olive oil foam and chives

ravioli with asparagus and ricotta
house made cashew cream butter, cashew parmesan
*GF option spaghetti with asparagus and ricotta

smoked cauliflower steak
sunchoke puree, morels, fava beans, snap peas,
green garlic, truffle vinaigrette, shaved black summer truffles

housemade cheese plate
aged cashew cheese and brie, strawberry-rhubarb compote,
orange scented vegan honey, rosemary-almond crackers

“dragon breath” caramel popcorn
a fun suprise

grand marnier infused chocolate tart
pistachio gelato, raspberry coulis, pistachio tuile,
raspberry pop candy, fleur de sel salted caramel powder


If that doesn’t convince you that you NEED to be at this exclusive, schmancy, schmoozy event, then also know that I will be there. So at the very least you can hang with yours truly, and “pretend” to enjoy your meal. ;)  If you’re not yet convinced check out this awesome behind the scenes video that Sparrow Media put together, special for Jay’s pop-up restaurant.


Hope to see you there!
xo, Kristin


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