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Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: History Of The NYC Meatball, Il Buco Celebrates and a "Local's" Craft Beer Fest

  • How the New York City Meatball Helped Build Italian-American Cuisine:They're all meatballs. But nine times out of ten, when we talk about meatballs in New York, we're only referring to one. It's coated in red sauce and sits over bread or pasta. It's often flecked with dried oregano and hails, clearly, from Italy.
  • Cinnamon Snail and Calexico Triumph at Vendy Awards: The annual Emmys of the street food world, the Vendy Awards celebrated its 10th anniversary this weekend with a big gathering of food trucks on Governor's Island. Despite a bit of rain, guests seemed to have a good time sampling food from the nominees and previous favorites and winners like Solber Pupusas, King of Falafel, and NY Dosa.
  • The 18 Best Pizza Places In NYC: We've taken the painstaking effort to compile all the best pizza places in the city, be they fancy artisanal pies, casual slice joints, old school pizzerias or (gasp!) non-New York style (though we still firmly believe that there is no such thing as "New York style," there is merely Pizza and there is Not Pizza)
  • A Closer Look At The Nuts 4 Nuts Carts, A NYC Staple: The Nuts 4 Nuts carts around the city may seem like a forever-staple of our streets, but the first cart didn't get out there until 1993. At that time, it was called Nuts About Nuts, which was changed to Nuts 4 Nuts in 1998.
  • Discover Your New Favorite Brew At The Brooklyn Local Craft Beer Festival: Arch Rowan, one member of the Five Borough Beer Corp, who are producing the event, tells us the team made sure to look for as many breweries as they could, and the tinier the better. "The main thing was we really wanted to target guys who were lesser known, who are new, who are trying to focus on small-batch, artisanal ales," Rowan said.
  • A Sobering Future for New York’s Dive Bars: It has become a familiar sight in New York: legendary bars shut down or forced to move, often replaced with new construction or trendy shops. Even if a dive is able to relocate, it’s hard to recreate decades-old atmosphere. 


  • Restaurant Review, Claudette in Greenwich Village: Claudette’s charms are many and begin with those doors, which replace the woebegone sidewalk enclosure that used to make it look as if nobody were home. Losing a few seats has made reservations harder to land, but the reward is that the doors have let in the atypically cool breezes all summer, along with a view of lower Fifth Avenue’s wide, leisurely sidewalks, where somebody is always walking a bichon frisé.

  • How a Butcher Captured the Meatpacking District's Gritty Past:  A butcher in the Meatpacking District in the late 1970s, Richard Ovaduke once borrowed his roommate's 35-millimeter camera and shot the meat market and the surrounding cobblestoned neighborhood. At the time, it was chock-full of other workers whose day-to-day existence involved being elbow-deep in animal parts as well as topless dancers and crossdressers.
  • Greenpoint's Champion Coffee Heads West to Meatpacking: This fall, owner Talitha Whidbee finally decided to expand in a big way with a second coffee shop. Champion is heading west to the Meatpacking District, where it's slated to open on September 23 with 20 other food vendors in the 7,500-square-foot open-air Gansevoort Marketplace

  • Bond Vivant: Donna Lennard Reflects on Il Buco's Two Decades: Twenty years ago, when Donna Lennard opened Il Buco on Bond Street, she wasn't planning to become a restaurateur. Il Buco wasn't even a restaurant then.
    • How a Beloved Restaurant Moves Forward With a New Chef: At Il Buco Alimentari, which lost chef Justin Smillie earlier this year, owner Donna Lennard decided to take a risk: She recently named Roger Martinez — a Barcelona native who's worked for Ferran Adrià, opened his own restaurant in Spain, and most recently, cooked at Bouley — as her executive chef. Martinez started three weeks ago, and while the changes that he's making to the restaurant seem subtle, they're significant. We sat down with him and Lennard to talk about how things are going.
  • Landmarked Bowery Mansion To Become... Condos?: Last month word got out that 190 Bowery, that massive building on the corner of Bowery and Spring, was on the market. The owner, Jay Maisel, purchased the building for $102,000 in the 1960s, and has pretty much kept all 72 rooms for himself and family ever since (though at one point Roy Lichtenstein rented out a studio space there).
  • The Making of Cherche Midi's Funky Slab of Prime Rib: "We wanted to do a very luxurious steak," says Cherche Midi co-executive chef Daniel Parilla. "We do the cote de boeuf at Balthazar and Minetta Tavern, so we thought it would be nice to do something different." Rather than serving the rib as steaks, the decision was made to serve prime rib. Co-executive chef Shane McBride continues "the original idea of the restaurant was that it was the feminine Minetta, but we still wanted something for the boys to eat, so we went big."
  • Parm's Game Day Package: Starting this weekend, Parm will offer a game day package, which includes two dozen buffalo wings, baked ziti for six and a giant sub sandwich of your choice.

  • A Mystery of Chinatown: It’s easier to stumble on Taste of Northern China than to find it. The address is 88 East Broadway, but the storefront is around the corner, on Forsyth Street, with a mysterious 106 above the door (a suite number, it turns out).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: Praise of the Patty Melt, Tomato Debate and Il Buco's New Chef(s)

  • Because of popular demand, starting September 29th, Foods of NY Tours will be offering our Nolita/Noho food tour on Mondays at 11:45.  Chase away those Monday blues with a Brooklyn Blackout Cupcake from Little Cupcake Bakeshop and Salted Caramel Gelato from Il Buco Alimentari, while being serenaded by our lovely tour guide Anny on a quaint cobblestone street.  Tickets are now available!

  • Booze Production Booming In New York: Bottoms up, New Yorkers, because we're in the midst of a significant surge in alcohol produced within the city and the state. Wine, beer and now cider-making facilities within the city have tripled in the past three years, according to data found by the Post, with farm distilleries state-wide increasing 450% in the same time period.
  • Drinking for the Season: A Few Locally Made Beers to Seek Out This Fall: As temperatures begin to drop, and qualities like “refreshing” and “sessionable” become less important, a whole new world of flavor opens up to us: Beers become richer, heartier, more complex; they’re warming and comforting, the kind you want to enjoy alone in the calm of your living room late at night, or with friends and family over big holiday meals. Fortunately, many of our finest local breweries are churning out beers that will be a perfect match for the season.
  • In Praise of the Patty Melt: A patty melt is not quite a burger, which is why burger nerds stomp their feet and refuse to categorize it as such, denouncing it as an impostor, a sort of aspirational grilled cheese.  The good news is that in New York, a patty-melt trendlet is afoot. Here, a few variations, from humble to haute, listed in order of preference and rated on a scale from one to five.



  • Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick Re-List $22M House: Celebrity super-couple and serial real estate shoppers Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick are on the house hunt once again—the actors just re-listed their Greenwich Village townhouse at 20 East 10th Street for $22 million. 

  • Upstairs, a Walk on the Wild Side: When the High Line at the Rail Yards, the final section of the elevated park, opens on Sept. 21, we will no longer have to stop at 30th Street and stare longingly through the construction gate at the Queen Anne’s Lace blooming in wild profusion along the old tracks.  We can walk out on a wide plaza made of the familiar concrete planks, tapered so that plants appear to be pushing up out of the crevices.

  • Steven Spielberg Is Transforming DUMBO Into Cold War-Era New York: The Steven Spielberg-directed Cold War era movie is currently taking over the DUMBO section of Brooklyn. Signs for the previously untitled project, now going by St. James Place, began popping up around the area surrounding the Manhattan Bridge this week, and this morning about two blocks have been taken over by the production.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: A New Chelsea Market Tasting, Tomato Season is Fantastic and You Have "Chef" Mail Now

  • New Tasting on Chelsea Market Tour:  Last week Dickson’s Farmstand Meats started serving a delicious beef tartar to our tour guests.  This delicacy is based on the traditional French style, but with some added Dickson flair.  They take raw dry aged beef shoulder, which is a working muscle and has a lot of flavor (fat) as opposed to filet, which is passed through a medium sized dye to break up meat without over grinding.  That meat is all mixed together with some Minced Cornichon (tiny French pickles), Worcester Sauce, Red Wine Vinegar, Japanese Mayo (sweeter than american mayo), Salt and Pepper and Spicy Mustard.  Enjoy!

  • Katz's Is Selling Its Air Rights, But Promises Pastrami's Safe: The much beloved 126-year-old Katz's Delicatessen has sold the air rights over its corner location, but co-owner Jake Dell, promises "at no point will anyone value the corner of Houston and Ludlow for anything other" than the holy seat of pastrami. 
  • Tomato Season Brings Beautiful Bounty To NYC Greenmarkets: There's a whole world beyond the cherry and beefsteak tomatoes abundant at grocery stores, where you're lucky to find a tomato not devoid of flavor and marred by a grainy texture. Like all flora, there's a season for these things, and that season is now for the incredibly varied and beautiful tomato.
  • Lobsters Dying Out In Long Island Sound: Before you contemplate stealing a bunch of live lobsters from your local Shop Rite, keep in mind that the Long Island Sound is suffering from a serious lobster die off, threatening $40 lobster rolls areawide.

  • Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese: The signature of a great American-style pizza is not the toppings du jour but the cheese: hot, gooey mozzarella, with big, dark splotches of caramelization.
  • 40 Percent of Restaurant Workers Live in Poverty: It's no secret that the restaurant industry doesn't pay all that well, but a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reveals that nearly 40 percent of all restaurant employees live in poverty.
  • New USPS Stamps Feature James Beard & Other Chefs: Five celebrity chefs will be honored on a new set of USPS stamps. According to the United States Postal Service, the chefs were chosen because they "revolutionized our understanding of food." James Beard is confirmed, and Linns reports that Chinese food champion Joyce Chen, legendary cookbook author Julia Child, Southern cooking ambassador Edna Lewis, and South American chef Felipe Rojas-Lombardi will also be honored.


  • At Play in the Cardboard Jungle: On a recent weeknight in Greenwich Village, amid the circus of New York University dive bars, comedy-show hecklers and the drummers of Washington Square Park, there was a different sort of chaos.  It was at the tables of the Uncommons, a board-game coffee shop just south of the park that claims to be Manhattan’s first. 

  • Dish Spotting, Bubby’s High Line $100 Sundae: Come summer, who isn’t a sucker for ice cream?  No, seriously.  But a $100 dollar ice cream sundae?  Bubby’s High Line just unveiled a new, over-the-top creation with homemade ice cream you’ll want to know the scoop on (get it, scoop?).
  • Landlords ditching big chains, seek quirkier retailers: Rather than the usual national chains, they’re looking for “a quirkier, less predictable mix of retail tenants, one that can bring more energy,” according to Crain’s. This trend comes as big landlords have millions of square feet of retail space available. Jamestown Properties was one of the first to pioneer the idea at Chelsea Market in the late nineties.

  • There Is No Secondi Choice: One of several reasons to like Bar Primi, Andrew Carmellini’s new restaurant at East Second Street and the Bowery, is that there is almost nothing on the menu but appetizers and pasta. You can eat all the things you go to Italian places for without ordering a $35 grilled salmon simply to prove that you know fusilli is not considered a main course in Milan.
  • Late-Night Egg Shop Opening in Nolita: Here’s one of those ideas that fall under the heading Why Hasn’t Anyone Done This Before? — a casual spot devoted almost exclusively to serving eggs around-the-clock, from 8 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and till 1 a.m. on weekends.

  • New Chinese Mothers Feast on Pickled Pigs’ Feet: According to traditional Chinese beliefs, geung cho warms the body and stimulates the production of breast milk. The hardboiled eggs also symbolize birth, and the yolk and white represent the ideal balance of yin and yang. “When a woman has given birth it’s said that she has exposed herself to the cold. The worry is that your body will remain cold, and this will invite sickness,” Young explains. “Eating geung cho restores balance.”

  • Anatomy of a Dish, Burger Ramen: Meet the burger ramen. It's noodles topped with a beef patty, American cheese and bacon. And it's just one of the must-try things at Berg'n, the much-anticipated and finally open 9,000-square-foot parking garage turned epic food hall in Crown Heights, Brooklyn from Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg guys Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: Chef Rafele Cooking Class Now Public, Murray's Cheese Ice Cream and Sushi Rules To Follow

  • Cooking Class:  Now available for sale to the Public is our Rafele Cooking Class at Ristorante Rafele.  This three hour long class includes a four course dinner, each student participates in creating several dishes with Rafele, wine parings and non-alcoholic beverages for $150/person.  Classes are held select Tuesdays at 3pm which are listed on our web site with a maximum size of 12 students.  Plan a Cooking Class and one of our Food Tours next time you are in town!

  • The 10 Best Pastrami Dishes in NYC That Aren't Sandwiches: The pastrami sandwich? A local luminary and national treasure. But the deli darling that launched a thousand fake orgasms has also found itself the star of numerous dishes that straight up balk at the Earl of Sandwich's beloved invention. Here are our 10 favorites, which may just be the best thing to happen to pastrami since sliced rye bread.
  • Carnegie Deli Owners Are Fighting To the Death, in Court: All of the lawsuits at the Carnegie Deli are coming to a head as owners Marian and Sandy Levine duke out their divorce in court, and one judge is fed up with it.
  • 'Friends' Central Perk pop-up coffee shop hits Manhattan: Television Group, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and Eight O’Clock Coffee are partnering to re-create the Central Perk coffeehouse at a pop-up location in downtown Manhattan this September, and there are plenty of reasons to check it out besides the free coffee.

  • Meat Market; Pat LaFrieda Reflects on Four Generations of Butchery: Pat the third is a fourth generation butcher; his great-grandfather, Anthony, came to the States in 1906. He'd begun to learn the meat business in his native Naples, and here, he had the opportunity to step out on his own in 1922. All five of his sons -- including Pat Sr. -- worked for the company, and in the '50s, they started selling to restaurants during a labor strike. 
  • All The Cakes You Can Make With Just A Box Of Cake Mix And A Bottle Of Soda: It would appear that no cake recipe is as easy to follow as the one printed on the back of a cake mix box.  But there is something easier, dear cake-lovers. Swap all but the cake mix for a bottle of soda.
  • Philippine de Rothschild, Wine Nobility, Dies at 80: Philippine de Rothschild, a scion of the vaunted winemaking family who helped modernize and expand a renowned wine-producing enterprise that sells 22 million bottles annually, died on Saturday in Paris. She was 80.


  • Nolita landlord cashes in on rising rents: A humble single-story garage on Elizabeth Street in the heart of increasingly trendy Nolita stands on the verge of a major makeover. The owner of 242 Elizabeth St., which in recent years has been the site of a series of retail pop-up shops, is spending $5.9 million to build a seven-story property, starting with street-level retail and ending with a pricey penthouse.

  • Watch a Tokyo Chef Explain the Rules of Eating Sushi:  If Anthony Bourdain's 2012 graphic novel taught us anything, it's that diners at high-end sushi counters enter into an unspoken kind of contract the moment they pull up a stool: The chef agrees to prepare an exquisite meal of carefully selected, delicately handled rice and fish, and the customer agrees to not be a total moron.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Take 2: Faicco's House-made Mozzarella and Sausage.

For this Take 2 we had the opportunity to take two of our great tour guides, Sephrah and Raheem, behind the scenes of Faicco’s Pork shop to help the staff make their famous fresh mozzarella and pork sausage.  If you have taken our Original Greenwich Village food tour, you have probably tasted their amazing Rice Balls, or “arancini” which means “little orange” in Italian, as well as their house cured homemade Soppressata.  But that is only a small sample of ALL that they offer.

They also have extra large “carnivorous” fresh made hero’s which could feed an army, or one of Tony Soprano’s crew members.  Try some neighborhood favorites like an Itallian with proscuitto, capicola, sopresatta, fresh mozz, lettuce, tomato, onion and oil.  Or try a chicken cutlet with broccoli rage and fresh mozzarella.  If you have ever been there during lunch time and have seen all of the police cars and firetrucks parked outside, you know it’s a great spot!

So follow us back into the kitchen of Faicco’s, or as we like to call it…the “Willy Wonka” of sausage!


Part 1, Making Fresh Mozzarella:

The First step to making fresh mozzarella is learning how to say it.  We found a few, “Mozzarealla” “Mozz” “Mot-za-relllll” “Cheese of the gods”!  How ever you say it, it all should taste the same, right?  Wrong!  Like all other great food products it’s all about starting with good quality ingredients, like fresh unsalted cheese curd.  Let’s watch Faicco’s Mozzarella star Patrick walk Sephrah and Raheem on prepping the cheese curd.



Look at how much fun it is!

Once the cheese curd has been sliced and washed, it is time to bathe the mozz in hot water to give it that smooth look and easy pliability to form the Mozzarella balls!



Now that the Mozzarella has a good texture we can start to form the balls.


Once the Mozzarella balls are formed we let them sit in a light salt brine for about 15 minutes before they are packaged up for sale on the Faicco’s counter.

video video

And yes, Raheem did eat his Mozzarella that night...with some delicious olive oil infused with basil from our friends at O&Co.

Check back next week for Part 2: Making the Sausage!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: Texas Brisket in NYC, Nutella Hogs Hazelnuts and Tip Top Sushi

  • Why Are New York City's Biggest Restaurateurs Heading to Washington, DC?  CityCenterDC is a 10-acre real estate development in Washington, DC that will be home to condominiums, offices, and apartments. By the end of 2015, it will also be home to two restaurants from two well-known, NYC-based chef/restaurateurs: David Chang, who will be opening a Momofuku outpost next year, and Daniel Boulud, who will be opening DBGB Kitchen + Bar this Fall.
  • Brisket Is Worth the Wait: At new operations like Randalls Barbecue and Lonestar Empire, they specialize in Texas brisket. Exemplary slow-smoked, Texas-style whole beef briskets have proliferated at recently established barbecue restaurants like Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque, BrisketTown and Hometown, and at weekly food markets like Smorgasburg and the Hester Street Fair.
  • The greasy competition among NYC’s halal street carts: As most Midtowners know, the hordes who gather day and night are waiting for the Halal Guys, a chicken, lamb and rice cart that’s become perhaps the city’s most famous open-air dining destination.

  • Nutella Hogs Hazelnuts to Meet the World's Insatiable Craving for Chocolaty Goodness: There are more than 50 hazelnuts per 13-ounce jar of Nutella, and with 180 million kilograms of the chocolatey spread produced each year, that adds up to an insane number of hazelnuts. Right now, many confectioners are scrambling to secure hazelnuts: Hail storms and frost in March damaged the crop in Turkey, the world’s main growing area, causing prices to climb by as much as 60 percent this year.
  • WATCH THIS VIDEO TO SEE HOW PARMESAN CHEESE IS MADE: Potluck Video, the team that went behind the scenes at Sun Noodle factory to document the making of ramen noodles, gives us a look at how one of the world’s most beloved dairy products is made in “How Parmesan Cheese Is Made.”
  • Watch a Clip From the New Season of Mind of a Chef: The third season of PBS's food show Mind of a Chef, which features the Nordic genius of Magnus Nilsson and the obsessive, genre-busting Edward Lee, premieres in just a few weeks, and here's an outtake that offers some insight into Lee's work. 


  • Massive New Food Hall Arriving on Gansevoort Street: New York is about to get another enormous indoor food market. The Gansevoort Street Market, which originally opened in the late 1800's, will be revived in early September just near the southern tip of The High Line.

  • The 12 Best Record Stores In NYC, OTHER MUSIC: Unlike the now-deceased Tower Records that used to stand across the street, this 18-year-old record shop has managed to withstand the iTunes era thanks to its spectacular vinyl and CD collection, impressively organized by the store's super-hip, super-knowledgeable staff.

  • Summer Sips, Vietnamese Iced Coffee: Now that iced coffee season is in full swing, you may find yourself craving a little variety from your daily cold-brew.  For those willing to venture into sweeter realms of coffee on the rocks, Vietnamese-style iced coffee (Ca Phe Sua Da) may just be your summer salvation.
  • A Recipe Book That Does Not Stray Far: Patti Jackson, the restaurant’s chef and owner, called the recipe “an agglomeration of Pennsylvania Dutch and Shaker pies, stuff that’s always interested me.” At this point, it’s hard to find a New York chef who doesn’t cook with ingredients from the mid-Atlantic, but ones who draw on the region’s recipes are much more unusual.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: NYC Burgers, How To Talk Like A Chef and Smorgasburg Pops Up in Central Park

  • New York City's 13 Iconic Burgers: New York City has some of the nation's oldest and most storied hamburgers. Here is a guide to 13 of the city's true icons, which are as diverse in form as the New York burger scene is broad.
  • Nighttime Smorgasburg Coming To Central Park: Brooklyn's line friendly foodie paradise Smorgasburg will be coming to Central Park for a one-night-only extravaganza next month.
  • German Artists Did The Brooklyn Bridge White Flag Stunt: A pair of German artists tells the NY Times that they are responsible for planting two white flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge, and they've provided compelling video evidence to support their claim. Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke have come forward to explain that the incident had nothing to do with terrorism, and was instead a nod to John Roebling, the German-born engineer who designed the bridge.

  • Is Industry City the next Chelsea Market?:Developer Jamestown Properties is hoping to accelerate gentrification in Sunset Park by teaming with the purveyors of the popular Mister Sunday dance party and redeveloping Industry City.
  • THE HIDDEN LANGUAGE OF RESTAURANT KITCHENS: In the Hidden Language, Nat Towsen interviews an insider of a particular subculture in order to examine the terms and phrases created by that subculture to serve its own needs. This is language innate to an insider and incomprehensible, if not invisible, to an outsider.


  • Greenwich Village Stalwart Po is Currently Closed: Po, the 20-year-old Greenwich Village trattoria that put Mario Batali on the map, is currently closed. A sign in the window reads: "Due to a kitchen mechanical failure, Con Ed has temporarily shut off our gas main."
  • Find Affordable Round-the-Clock Nostalgia at Hamilton's Luncheonette in the Village: Recently, the owners of West 4th's Cafe Minerva opened a shiny new corner luncheonette and soda shop called Hamilton's (51 Bank st.). Forget the usual flair and picture menus, this is the good old days filtered through a runway lens. Celadon accents offset bare white walls for an almost sterile feel, but the behatted, perky young soda jerks are eager to please. We checked in on lunchtime service to slurp up some manufactured nostalgia with the neighborhood.

  • The Death of the "Sex and the City" Restaurant: In a 2004 episode of Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw refers to Pastis as “the only restaurant that seemed to exist” in NYC. Today, the Keith McNally bistro is closed, the windows papered over, the front door locked. The shuttering of the iconic bistro was a blow to Downtown revelers, who could depend on Pastis for a textbook steak frites at midnight, but it also marked the end of another era — the Sex and the City restaurant.

  • Landmarked Bowery Mansion On The Market: Even if the address "190 Bowery" doesn't ring a bell, you have most likely stopped and noticed the building at some point—it's the one with all that graffiti on the corner of Spring Street. Its exterior has remained somewhat of a tribute to the Bowery as it was decades ago. There's no boutique hotel inside, no Starbucks on the ground floor, and it has pretty much looked abandoned for years. And now for the first time in five decades, it appears to be on the market.
  • OpenTable Gets in on the Mobile Payment Game: Open Table is launching an app for mobile payment at over 45 restaurants in New York today including Il Buco Alimentari

  • Shark Fin Soup Is Going Extinct: According to a new report from WildAid, sales of shark fin have fallen by 50 to 70 percent in China—a drastic decrease by any calculation. While many people polled said that awareness campaigns and fears over fake fins and high mercury levels played a big role in their decision to stop consuming shark fins, more than a quarter of respondents cited China’s 2013 ban on shark fin from state banquets as a key motivator.

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