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Classes on cooking, painting, tea — even sushi — on Long Island

Kristine Henderson, owner of Infuse Tea Bar in West Sayville, holds tastings and workshops and says she thinks of tea "like a fine wine or a high-quality Scotch." (Credit: Newsday / Jessica Rotkiewicz)

The classrooms are everywhere — hidden in the side rooms of restaurants, behind the wall of pots in a tea shop or edged inside a retail store. More and more venues are hosting in-house classes designed to teach patrons about food, drink or craft in a social setting.

Sushi-making class

WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-2 p.m. March 6
Photo Credit: Aji 53

WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m.-2 p.m. March 6 at Aji 53, 53 E. Main St., Bay Shore. Reservations required, class limited to 50 people.

INFO 631-591-3107,

COST $38 (includes drinks)

The sushi restaurant has experimented with classes, most recently offering a sushi and sake pairing class. Next up is a new three-hour class teaching people how to make three rolls and four pieces of sashimi. "In our culture, instead of giving you something, we would rather teach you how to make it. We want the people who love our food to be involved in the process," manager Kai Ang says. Bring your own sharp chef's knife to cut the fish and the sushi roll into pieces, and be ready to eat a lot of sushi.

Soapmaking class

WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Feb. 24 (continues
Photo Credit: in2ition mercantile

WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Feb. 24 (continues the fourth Wednesday of every month) at in2ition mercantile - 475 Montauk Hwy., Oakdale. Reservations required, class limited to eight people.

INFO 631-699-8310,

COST $25

Jennifer Wojcieski and Nick Yasinosky's Oakdale shop focuses on sustainable and holistic goods and services, including homemade skin care products. A monthly class invites patrons to create a one-of-a-kind soap by playing with provided scents and colorings. "After having a few health issues of my own, I learned that the products we use every day greatly impacts our lives and the way we feel, that's when I reconnected with nature through aromatherapy and it grew from there," Wojcieski says.

Worldly food classes

WHEN | WHERE 6:45-8:45 p.m. Wednesdays (March 2:
Photo Credit: Jonah Markowitz

WHEN | WHERE 6:45-8:45 p.m. Wednesdays (March 2: Bordeaux wines; March 9: Baguette baking), Salumi - 5600 Merrick Rd., Massapequa. Reservations required.

INFO 516-620-0057,

COST $50-$60

The rustic tapas spot hosts "Salumi School" in the market cafe nestled next to the restaurant. "Each month we focus on a new theme," sommelier Andrew Isaacson says. "In March, we're taking a look at France." He and owner/chef Lilly Kanarova help students travel around the world through food by dabbling in international wine and creating from-scratch bread or pasta.

Tea-tasting workshop

WHEN | WHERE 7:30-9 p.m. Fridays, Infuse Tea
Photo Credit: Newsday/Jessica Rotkiewicz

WHEN | WHERE 7:30-9 p.m. Fridays, Infuse Tea Bar - 106 Main St., West Sayville. Reservations required. Class is limited to eight people.

INFO 631-278-5755,

COST $25

More than just a tea store selling loose leaf teas and accessories, Infuse Tea Bar brings knowledge of ancient and modern tea traditions from all over the world to Long Island. "The classes are designed for everyone," owner Kristine Henderson says. "I get a mix of tea experts, couples who come for date night, and newbies who just want to try out a bunch of different teas." With more than 350 varieties of loose leaf teas, Henderson has plenty to cover.

Cooking class

WHEN | WHERE 7-8:30 p.m. one Wednesday a
Photo Credit: Crushed Olive

WHEN | WHERE 7-8:30 p.m. one Wednesday a month at Crushed Olive - 278 Main St., Huntington (631-423-1500) and 31A Main St., Sayville (631-256-5777). Reservations required. Classes limited to 14 people.


COST $30

Crushed Olive -- a family-run string of gourmet olive oil shops -- began hosting in-house cooking classes a few years ago after customers kept returning to the store to ask for cooking tips. "The flavored oils were such a new concept, and people kept asking us how they could use the products in their cooking," says Mona Rossero, one of the owners. That's when Erica Gross, an employee at their Sayville store, approached them with the idea of cooking classes that highlighted their products. Now, each month Gross leads classes in two of their largest stores, located in Sayville and Huntington.

Craft-making class

WHEN | WHERE 7-9 p.m. March 1 (choose-your-own
Photo Credit: WhichCrafter's Studio

WHEN | WHERE 7-9 p.m. March 1 (choose-your-own design mosaic) and March 2 (St. Patrick's Day wreath), WhichCrafter's Studio - 1704 Washington Ave., Seaford. Reservations required.

INFO 516-804-2776,

COST $25-$40

The newly opened WhichCrafter's Studio aims to be a haven for people to relax by crafting or making artwork. "Often, I purchased crafts but never took them out of the bag because of the time and mess," owner MaryJayne Oliva says. "We provide all the supplies and a comfortable working space. All you have to worry about is showing up and having a good time." Beginner sewing lessons and jewelry-making sessions are coming soon, Oliva says.

Cupcake decorating and wine pairing class

WHEN | WHERE 3-5 p.m. one Sunday a
Photo Credit: Vine Wine Bar

WHEN | WHERE 3-5 p.m. one Sunday a month (March 13: cupcake decorating and wine pairing), The Vine Wine Bar - 2259 Merrick Rd., Merrick. Reservations required.

INFO 516-812-7883,

COST $55

Sundays at The Vine Wine Bar are reserved for classes. With the restaurant closed, "we can have the whole building dedicated to the class," owner Lynn Mione says. Once a month, the focus is on cupcakes. "We infuse icing with wine, learn how to decorate a cupcake, then we eat the cupcakes while pairing them with four different wines," she says. "Even after eating cupcakes in class, everyone still has enough to bring home."

Candle making

WHEN | WHERE Walk-in 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday,
Photo Credit: Paint A Piece

WHEN | WHERE Walk-in 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sundays, Paint A Piece - 6126 Jericho Tpke., Commack

INFO 631-486-6969,

COST $18-$28

Paint A Piece studio offers a variety of pottery painting, glass fusing and canvas painting projects. Patrons can show up anytime the creative mood strikes and make a candle by choosing from wildly colored waxes in many scents and textures. The process takes about 45 minutes, making it a quick and easy activity to add to any night out.


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