Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.

    Announcing the Brooklyn Semi-Finalists in the The Great King Street Cocktail Competition

    In honor of our current Alcohol Issue, which features a profile of Compass Box Whisky Company founder John Glaser, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn recently partnered with the Scotch whisky makers to host the Great King Street Cocktail Competition. Great King Street is a new blend by Compass Box, one named after the Scottish street where the company is registered and designed for mixing. We asked professional Manhattan and Brooklyn drinks-makers to create a cocktail made with Great King Street and at least one seasonal ingredient.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Latkes are a “Proletariat Treat.” Agreed!

    Someone just sent us a link to Ralph’s Gardner’s column in the Wall Street Journal this week. The writer tours the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan with Michael Arad, its designer, but kicks off the piece at the Latke Festival we helped co-host back in December. Arad happened to be one of our-co-judges, which crowned the smoked fish-topped potato pancakes from Almond as the winner.

    How Do You Define Real Brooklyn Food? Come to Manhattan to Find Out

    When we published Edible Brooklyn: The Cookbook back in October, we intended for it to be a community cookbook, a snapshot via 100 collected recipes from the cooks in our community, be they restaurant chefs, gardeners, grandmothers, pickle-makers, cheesemongers, brewers, bakers or baristas. Needless to say that’s sparked plenty of discussion on what real Brooklyn food is. We’re going to let you help us decide with the help of a panel of four Brooklyn food experts and cookbook contributors on January 17 at the Tenement Museum.

    Bulk Mail: Help Doug Wood Send a Million Anti-Fracking Letters to Gov. Cuomo

    It might not be true that Gov. Cuomo will stop plans for fracking in New York State if he receives a million letters against the natural gas drilling technique, but the rumor is good news to folks like Doug Wood, who launched amillionfrackingletters.com back in September. The site was set up to send hundreds of notes to Albany urging the Governor to ban hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking. Wood runs the Port Washington, Long Island-based nonprofit Grassroots Environmental Education with his wife Patti, and fracking has long been one of their touchstone issues.

    U.K. Dispatch–In This Beer Loving Town, Brooklyn Can Hold its Own

    LONDON–For years we’d thought of this city’s lovely old-fashioned taverns and tap rooms as the holy grail of good beer, thanks to the Campaign for Real Ale launched back in 1971, when most of us Brooklynites were still guzzling Bud in squat pop-top cans. Things looked to be headed in the same direction in the U.K. until the real ale movement, now called CAMRA, was founded by four drinkers concerned about the homogenization of both the beers they were drinking and the pubs where they were being served.

    Brooklyn’s Best Dinner Reservation? A Seat at the Friday Night Pilgrims’ Kitchen Table

    We’re still a little groggy after the New Year’s holiday, so apologies we didn’t bring this great Daily News story and video on The Friday Night Pilgrims to your attention more quickly. Led by none other than the honorable judge Mike Pesce–whose homemade limoncello we covered in our current issue–the self-proclaimed Pilgrims are a group of bold-faced Brooklyn names (a few judges, council member, an assemblywoman, for example, plus yours truly on the night the Daily News came by) that get together to cook a multi-multi-multi course feast in a ground floor brownstone kitchen on one of Cobble Hill’s most lovely residential stretches.

    Want a Career Change? Check Columbia’s MA Program in Health and Science Journalism

    This is generally the time of year for daydreaming about self-improvement, career changes and The Future. That’s why we wanted to pass along a note we received from Columbia Journalism School about their nine-month Robert Wood Johnson Foundation MA Program in Health and Science Journalism. It’s for those who want to focus on science, health, or environmental reporting, either experienced journalists in other fields or those who already cover science. (We can think of plenty of ways those topics intersect with our own particular passions, for sure.)

    Happy Holidays from Edible Brooklyn!

    At this time of year, we like to quote our good friend Jimmy Carbone, the owner of Jimmy’s 43 over in Manhattan and a co-host of Beer Sessions on Brooklyn’s Heritage Radio Network. (Note that his East Village bar will be hosting a Christmas Day feast featuring kale salad with hazelnuts, apple and black pepper cider vinaigrette, onion thyme bread pudding, toasted prime rib with wild mushroom jus and shaved horseradish, rosemary maple glazed ham, skillet bread, caramelized honey turnips and spiced pear cake and will be hosted by the owners of Green Flash Brewing, should you have no place to be on Sunday.) As the good man says: “Merry Merry, Happy Happy.” To you and yours this holiday weekend!

    One More Last Minute Gift We Secretly Just Want Ourselves: Brooklyn Brown Ale Malt Vinegar

    As we barrel ahead toward Christmas Day (that’s a vinegar joke, get it?) we’d just like to add one more item to the list of extremely last-minute gift ideas we presented on Monday. That would be a lovely glass bottle of the malt vinegar made with Brooklyn Brewery Brown Ale in-house by the owners of The Brooklyn Kitchen. It’s sweet and tart, practically drinkable, and just $7.99 at the shop, which can be found at 100 Frost Street at the corner of Meeker Avenue.

    Free Tomorrow Night? Take the Noshwalks Snacking Tour of the Holiday Lights of Dyker Heights

    We first took one of Myra Alperson’s food tours nearly a decade ago–we spent a day snacking around Astoria, in Queens–and were instantly impressed by her knowledge of city eats and streets. Alperson puts out a great printed newsletter of her finds called NoshNews (which would make a great last-minute gift) and also gives guided walk-about tours called Noshwalks of the city’s most interesting food neighborhoods.