Farm Aid and Frankie the Butcher

And while the thousands of music lovers weren’t denied funnel cakes and fries, there was plenty of organic milk and yogurt – Horizon Organic was a major sponsor – and the VIPs (artists, production people and folks who bought all-access tickets) could catch a glimpse of Alice Waters (she was in town on book tour) and have some good eats from the Dinners-at-the-Farm chefs, Jonathan Rapp, of River Tavern, and Drew McLachlan of Feast Gourmet Market in Deep River, CT, who drove their big red kitchen-on-a-truck to the city without mishap and with baskets of some of the most fabulous wild mushrooms any of us had seen in a long time. (They ended up on top of grilled pizzas.)


Michael, my husband, and I were there to lend the chefs our hands, but they were so super organized and so well staffed that there was time to duck out to hear Matisyahu and The Derek Trucks Band.

A lot of sun, a lot of music and a lot of dishwashing later, we took off,  knowing it was going to be a grand hassle to find our way off Randall’s Island and on to the Upper West Side.  (If only we’d been as smart as Peter Hoffman of restaurant Savoy in Soho – he and his son bicycled to the concert!)  But no, it wasn’t a hassle at all.  We stumbled on a booth marked “Transportation” and discovered that the concert organizers had arranged to ferry staff hither and yon.  So we hopped into a car with a guy who worked with Willie Nelson on a recent recording and headed across the river.

Now this is the real story of the day:  Our volunteer driver was Frankie the Butcher!  If this name sounds familiar to you, it’s because he was on Law and Order and in Spider Man 2 and he was Bobby Flay‘s sidekick on a bunch of Food Network shows.  He’s an actor, but before that he was – and still is – a real-life butcher.  In fact, he can often be found at Oppenheimer Meats on the Upper West Side.  And how can I be sure he’s a real butcher?  He talked about veal chops all the way into Manhattan!  (And yes, he does look like he’s related to Tony Soprano. )


I’ve been convinced forever that the world is a small place and that the food world is even smaller, and last night certainly proved it – again.


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