A look at the 2017 Long Beach International Film Festival’s Taste on the Beach
Launched in 2012, the Long Beach International Film Festival is set to return for its sixth annual edition, running from August 1 through August 4. Over the course of four days, the 2017 edition of the Long Island festival will not only feature 40-something films — a few of which are world premieres — but also musical performances, a charity-oriented casino night, filmmaker panel discussions, and food and drink tastings. What makes the festival further unique, however, is that almost all of these events are either on or within a few feet of Long Beach’s beach and boardwalk.
On the closing night of the festival, August 4, the Long Beach International Film Festival will host Taste of the Beach on the sand. The list of restaurants involved is a mix of local and regional favorites. On behalf of The Daily Meal, I spoke with some of the festival’s participating vendors about what they’re cooking up.
The Daily Meal: What will you be serving at Taste On The Beach?
Chef Phil Weinstein of J.A. Heneghans in Point Lookout, N.Y.: I will be serving Heneghan Farms grass-fed beef sliders. The Heneghan family owns and operates a farm upstate in Coxsackie, New York. They are raising grass-fed and finished cattle. We serve the grass-fed beef at the restaurant. We currently serve a burger and also have a different cut of the week each week that changes. We started this grass-fed operation two years ago, but we started serving the beef at the restaurant about six months ago. The farm also grows produce and also has chickens, which we get some of our eggs from. This is a very exciting operation to be a part of and I'd like to showcase that at Taste on the Beach.
Chef Alex Menides of Athenian Greek Tavern in Commack, N.Y.: We will be serving a traditional appetizer of spanakopita (spinach pie) and tzatziki sauce. Greek comfort food at its simplest and its best.
Dominick Delledera, managing partner of Seasons 52 in Garden City, N.Y.: Mini Indulgences — they are the exact desserts we carry in the restaurant.
Chef Zachary Rude of Verde Kitchen & Cocktails in Bay Shore, N.Y.: Lobster Rolls on house-made focaccia bread and local ceviche — fresh fish "cooked" only by using fresh citrus, with seasonal garnish.
Peechee Castillo, cofounder of Batter Up! in Bellmore, N.Y.: We will be serving raw edible cookie dough along with raw edible cookie dough tarts and pies with our homemade graham cracker crust.
Chef Ryan Keough of Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas in Garden City, N.Y.: Pork ribs with balsamic barbecue sauce. It is a seasonal item. We serve it at the restaurant every spring and summer.
What is your favorite item on your restaurant's menu?
Weinstein, J.A. Heneghans: My favorite menu item is our Dijon-crusted pork chop, served with Cheddar and leek mashed potatoes. Very simple and delicious!
Menides, Athenian Greek Tavern: My favorite item on our menu is our whole roasted lamb on a spit. It's one of our healthiest and tastiest ways to prepare and to eat lamb.
Delledera, Seasons 52: Cedar plank salmon.
Rude, Verde Kitchen: We have a lot of favorites, but our Oaxacan Carne Asada — skirt steak — is probably our most well-known. We've won quite a few accolades on this entree alone. It's guajillo chile-marinated grass-fed skirt steak with sweet plantains, fresh avocado, charred green onions and poblano peppers and served with toasted garlic rice and warm corn tortillas!
Castillo, Batter Up!: Everything!
Keough, Spuntino: I love the seasonal items that we put on each new menu, but right now my favorite has to be our entire pasta section. Last year we introduced an initiative to make all pasta dough in-house, everything from the spaghetti to pappardelle. Also, our house-made doughnuts. Ciambelle is my favorite dessert.
Aside from Taste On The Beach, what's coming up for your restaurant?
Weinstein, J.A. Heneghans: Like I mentioned, we have this exciting “Heneghan Farm to Heneghan Table” operation. Also in the near-future we hope to get lobster and oysters from Maine, where the Heneghan family also owns and operates a restaurant on the wharf.
Menides, Athenian Greek Tavern: A few months back we were strolling the boardwalk.
Delledera, Seasons 52: With summer coming to an end, my main focus is starting to book those holiday parties. Trying to get as much holiday business to execute this season!
Rude, Verde Kitchen: We are opening Coastal Kitchen & Daiquiri Bar at the end of this summer and we also have a lot of fun charitable events coming up. Our Bay Shore's Alive by the Bay events in August are going to be great, and we also have another collaboration between Verde and Coastal called the Coastal Verde Sunset Cruise onboard the Moon Chaser Party Boat out on the Great South Bay.
Castillo, Batter Up!: We have a stand at the Deer Park Tanger outlet every Saturday until November 3.
Keough, Spuntino: Shortly after the Taste on the Beach, our entire team is cooking at the James Beard House on August 9. We are featuring a coastal tapas menu with dishes inspired from the coast of Italy.
When was the last time you were in Long Beach?
Weinstein, J.A. Heneghans: I live in Long Beach, so I'm there every day.
Menides, Athenian Greek Tavern: We will be participating in a few events in the fall and winter including fundraisers for the Marty Lyons Foundation, Stony Brook Children's Hospital, and Long Island's Fight for Charity.
Delledera, Seasons 52: This summer!
Rude, Verde Kitchen: A few weeks ago. Great town!
Castillo, Batter Up!: We were in Long Beach a week ago.
Keough, Spuntino: Long Beach is a favorite spot to visit. I'm there all the time meeting up with friends, finding new fishing spots, or just walking along the boardwalk.
When not busy with your restaurant, how do you like to spend your free time?
Weinstein, J.A. Heneghans: Being a chef takes up most of my time, but when I do get a chance to relax, I enjoy spending time with family and friends as well as exploring other restaurants and trying new foods.
Menides, Athenian Greek Tavern: Being in the restaurant business, as many can attest, is a full-time job with excessive hours. Any free time that I get is spent with my family, my wife, Kathy, and my sons, Jack, 7, and George, 10.
Delledera, Seasons 52: I enjoy reading and hanging with boyfriends, friends and my dog.
Rude, Verde Kitchen: Going out to try new restaurants, breweries, wineries and exploring Long Island!
Castillo, Batter Up!: We love to try new restaurants and enjoy the company of family and friends. We enjoy doing anything outdoors – kayaking, hiking, running, bike riding, and snowboarding. I love ballroom dancing and Christine loves poker!
Keough, Spuntino: I'm usually with my daughter spending time together and enjoying our summer at the beach.