I am very excited to inform all of you that I now have my very own food show.
Pause for dramatic effect. (I like to think at least a handful of you are crying and/or peed your pants.)
Okay, so you can’t actually watch it on television, but you can watch it on your phone/computer, which is fine (for now). I’ll take what I can get.
Let’s back up a little bit.
About six months ago, I was introduced to an app called Tastemade, which allows you to make fun, bite-size food videos on your iPhone. I was intrigued, but it was the description on their website that really reeled me in: “Be the star of your own food show!” As you know, I’ve been trying to do exactly that for years, and apparently all I had to do was download this app?! SOLD.
After watching a few Tastemade videos, I was both excited and terrified. Each video on the app looked impressively professional, and being technologically challenged, I was not convinced that I would be able to pull off such fanciness. I was wrong. I’m pretty sure that the simple format was made for peeps like me, since it breaks the process down into five idiot-proof steps. All you have to do is shoot a 10-second intro, followed by some ambience shots of where you’re eating, a 15-second discussion of the food, a few food shots, and a 10-second closing. Pick a filter and some tunes, and the app will turn your clips into a snazzy “appisode.” It’s like magic.
Needless to say, I downloaded the app immediately and made my very first Halloween-themed video about Spiced Pumpkin Punch. (You may remember my roommate’s show-stopping performance as Batman.) Although I very much enjoyed shooting that debut appisode, I failed to make any more Tastemade videos because I am easily distracted very busy and important. And my phone is usually dead.
However, when I received a call from Tastemade last month asking if I would be interested in making a bunch of videos for their upcoming extravaganza in NYC, I immediately accepted the offer. Recalling the promise of stardom on their website, it took all my restraint not to scream through the phone, “Yes! Yes! A thousand times, YES!”
So, last week, I charged my phone, gathered a trusty crew of volunteer videographers, and set out to eat my way through downtown NYC on cam-ah-rah. The experience was equal parts awkward, hilarious, delicious, and physically challenging. (Eating at four restaurants in a single day will put you straight in the hurt locker. Even Logan struggled, which is saying a lot.) In short, it was absurd, and I loved every second of it.
I am pleased to report that after seven days of restaurant hopping, there are now many videos of yours truly on the Tastemade platform, which you can watch by downloading the free app on your iPhone and following me (@serenagwolf). You can also start making your own fabulous movie magic, which I highly recommend/would be thrilled to see. And please don’t hesitate to get weird and creative with the app, friends. If you don’t want to do actual restaurant raves, you can also use the format to make festival and event recaps, recipe videos (à la Spiced Pumpkin Punch), DIY tutorials, and much more.
To give you a little taste of the wonders of Tastemade, I’ve included a few of my favorite videos from last week’s adventure below, along with some exclusive behind-the-scenes commentary for your enjoyment. Happy hump day, kids.
Cookshop: This was my premier restaurant appisode, so I’m kind of attached to it in all its awkward glory. You’ll notice that I conclude the intro with, “We’re about to crunch a huge brunch.” What I meant to say was, “crush a huge brunch,” which was apparently a tongue twister. My cameraman didn’t believe in fifth second chances, so he refused to let me correct myself. I must have known this subconsciously, as you can see the panic in my eyes during the last second of the clip. You win some, you lose some.
Porsena: We had some technical difficulties while shooting the intro, which led to me screaming “Buonasera!” several times at unsuspecting passerby on the streets of the East Village. Worth it.
Billy’s Bakery: That’s not my dog.
A Salt & Battery: The epic deliciousness experienced when I bit into a deep fried Mars Bar at this fine British establishment was actually a shock. I barely managed to get out that very garbled, “Oh my God.”
La Bonbonniere: This is probably the best diner in all of NYC, and its food has cured many a hangover over the years. Plus, they have awesome outdoor seating, and the staff is a crew of the nicest and most hilarious dudes ever. Disclaimer: If you eat inside, you will smell like hash browns and sausage for the rest of the day. Some people (i.e. my roommate) find this attractive, but in case you aren’t into meaty perfume, ask to sit outside.
Lafayette: When I went to take a video of the rotisserie chickens in the middle of the restaurant, a nice man approached and asked if I’d like him to take a picture of me with the birds. Unwilling to explain that I was making movie magic, I awkwardly declined his offer by saying, “No thanks, I’m good. I just really like chickens!” Then I returned to my table where my classy order of sparkling rosé, French fries, and a plate of pastries was waiting for me. Nice little Saturday.
Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria: With all the cured meats flying around this restaurant, it took everything in my power not to scream, “I’m a star! I’m on top! Somebody bring me some haaaaaaam!” à la Liz Lemon.
Tertulia: BOMB.COM. This is Seamus Mullen’s tapas joint in the West Village, and it has deservedly won infinity awards. After we ate, I shamelessly stood in front of the open kitchen to get a genius ambience shot and almost caused several waiter collisions/deaths. It was awkward.
Mission Cantina: Of all my Tastemade adventures, this was probably the most delicious and festive. Just so you know, it was prime dinner hour when we left, and many confused individuals gathered to watch my roommate piggyback me down the block after our feast. Super fiesta all around.
Nourish Kitchen and Table: Nutritionist and owner Marissa Lippert only needed one take to deliver her flawless and exactly 15 second spiel on the Morning Green Juice. Proof that eating kale and drinking green juice makes you smarter, prettier, and good at everything. Hallelujah.
Van Leeuwen’s Ice Cream Truck: I know I say it twice in the video, but the ice cream really is locally sourced and delightful. More importantly, the man in the truck is very cute and friendly, so if you’re single and like ice cream, I recommend stopping by for some afternoon delight. YOLO.
Hop Shing: Dear God. I was actually very stressed inside this restaurant. First of all, we were in Chinatown at noon on a Sunday, and I was slightly hungover. The restaurant was packed with thousands of Chinese families, and I don’t think they approved of me or my movie-making ways. However, it was all worth it to observe my roommate inhale dumplings and a mountain of piping hot sesame chicken, as it gave him freakish amounts of joy.
Standard Biergarten: All I can say is, I’m rather proud of my beer chugging skills. Oh, and “prost” means “cheers” in German.
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