Aquavit has two summertime celebrations: Herring Week and the Crayfish Festival. Owner Håken Swahn and chef-owner Marcus Samuelsson always hold a little reception for the press to let us know about them. Herring Week starts next week, the reception was today, so my boss Pam Parseghian and I walked over for a snack.
The reception was in Aquavit’s private room, at the far end of the bar which was unusually packed for a Wednesday at 1pm.
To my delight, at the reception I ran into young Nick Pandolfi, the baby brother of my friend Erica Duecy’s husband Jono. Nick just finished his junior year at NYU (can you believe it?) and, having just interned at Spin magazine is now interning with my friends at Food & Wine. He looked very pleased.
I also chatted with Johan Svensson, the executive chef, who said lunches have been crazy busy for the past three weeks, and no one knows why. He wasn't complaining, of course, but he wondered what precisely was going right.
Håken, speaking to the crowd, pointed out that Aquavit is 20 this year — an unusual feat for a New York restaurant. He also said they would be opening an Aquavit in Stockholm this February, which is nice. But of far more interest was his announcement of the opening in about a month of a commissary that would provide baked goods for a chain of AQ Cafes he hopes to open in New York. Further investigation is required.
Marcus told the room that, during a recent conversation with Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl, she told him that writers were pitching more stories on Scandinavian food than anything else.
I think maybe she was exaggerating.