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Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: 2015 Eater Awards, Court Street Grocers Takes On Manhattan and Daily Coffee Will Help You Live Longer

  • An Acclaimed Sushi Chef’s Fight Against the DOH Cost Him His Job: Sushi chef David Bouhadana is now out of a job at Sushi Dojo, four days after he launched a petition asking New York City's Department of Health to reconsider its no-bare-hand-contact rule. Sushi Dojo reopened over the weekend for the first time since October 22, when it was shut down by the DOH for Bouhadana's refusal to wear gloves or post his health inspection grade, among other reasons, but it did so without the vocal chef in the kitchen.
  • First Look: Combina Opens in SoHo Merging Spanish and Israeli Flavors.  On Tuesday, November 17, chef Einat Admony (Taim, Bar Bolonat, Balaboosta) will open Combina in SoHo. The restaurant takes influences both from Admony's native Israeli cuisine (which she has made famous at her other eateries Taim, Balaboosta and Bar Bolonat), as well as Spanish cuisine, hence the name, Combina.
  • The 2015 Eater Awards for New York City: Here are the winners for Chef of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, So Hot Right Now, Stone Cold Stunner, and Bartender of the Year.
  • Where to Eat the Best Sushi in NYC: In many ways, sushi bars have become the ultimate high-roller dining experience in New York. The past decade has seen the city's raw-fish ranks swell with a wave of excellent omakase spots and a rising tide of truly talented chefs. Whether you want a classic midtown experience or a boundary-pushing meal downtown, or you're just in search of the most reliable cheap supermarket sushi in town, these are the best places to eat raw fish right now.

  • The House That Julia Built: It may come as a surprise to learn that Julia Child, America’s quintessential French chef, lived in France for only a short time. But from her first breathless arrival in the fall of 1948 to her departure less than six years later en route to her husband’s diplomatic posts in Bonn and Oslo, few Americans had immersed themselves so deeply in the country’s cuisine.
  • Urban Outfitters Will Buy One of America’s Most Celebrated Restaurant Groups: Over the last few years, Urban Outfitters has been making a big push to integrate food and dining into its stores — see, for example, Ilan Hall's the Gorbals, which opened in Urban Outfitters' massive Williamsburg complex, citing increased spending in the food world and the difficulty of getting shoppers who rely on e-commerce inside the actual stores.
  • Drink To Your Health: Study Links Daily Coffee Habit To Longevity.  "In our study, we found people who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had about a 15 percent lower [risk of premature] mortality compared to people who didn't drink coffee," says one of the study authors, nutrition researcher Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health. Decaf drinkers also saw benefits.
  • Our 11 Favorite Winter Squashes (& How to Cook Them).  Because the texture of a squash can and should impact how you prepare it, we thought it would be handy to break down some of the most common edible squashes by texture—soft squashes, hard squashes, and those squashes that can only be described as weird but lovable. Here's what to make with each...


  • Paul Scheer Believes in the Power of a ‘Pizza Nightcap’: There’s only one way to make a good night in NYC absolutely great, and that’s by stopping at Joe’s Pizza late night (after 3 a.m.) for a “pizza nightcap.”* You might know this spot as the place Peter Parker worked in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. His spider senses told him this was the best slice of pizza in Manhattan, and he was right! 

  • By Chloe Gets Poetic With Vegan in the West Village: Everything at By Chloe is designed to be adorable, including the old-fashioned black-and-white-striped awning, the puns on the menu (“Kale us maybe!”), and those pert little spot illustrations, like a fallen ice-cream cone pouting at its doom. 
  • Bark Hot Dogs Closes Greenwich Village Location After Just Six Months: The Bark team had signed a lease for the space at 155 Bleecker St. more than two years ago, and even though sales were growing, it wasn't quite enough to keep pace with the "very high rent," Sharkey tells Eater. "It’s pretty unfortunate," he says. "We love being here. It was going pretty well. The economics just weren’t working out."
  • West Village Indian Favorite Surya Reopens After Three Years Away: Popular West Village Indian restaurant Surya is reopening today — this time in nearby Greenwich Village and with a more casual vibe. Surya closed its original location at 302 Bleecker Street in 2012 due to both rising rent and Sandy damage after more than a decade in the neighborhood, says co-owner Abishek Sharma, whose father Lala Sharma is the chef.
  • Court Street Grocers is Raising Manhattan’s Sandwich Game: One of Brooklyn’s most dependable, between-the-bread wizards has expanded its reach into Manhattan — Court Street Grocers — opening its first borough 41707outpost on Greenwich Village’s LaGuardia Place.  Well known for combining cut-above cold cuts with esoteric, gleefully trashy condiments (such as Mississippi’s own “comeback” sauce; a combo of chili sauce and mayonnaise), the owners have fleshed out their menu of favorites, like The Pork Roll (scrambled eggs, American cheese & Taylor ham), The Droopy (roast beef, fried onions, & horseradish), and the oddball Yam & Cheese (roasted sweet potatoes, whipped goat cheese, pickled beets), with a wide variety of signature selections.

  • Dana Cowin Stepping Down as Food & Wine Editor: Dana Cowin, who has been the editor in chief of Food & Wine magazine for 21 years, is stepping aside. But she will maintain a connection with Food & Wine.  Her new post, as of mid-January, will be chief creative officer of Chefs Club International, the parent of Chefs Club by Food & Wine, a restaurant group with locations in Manhattan and Aspen, Colo.

  • Manhattan's Last Coin-Operated Arcade Memorialized In New Documentary:  When the city's beloved Chinatown Fair arcade shuttered in February 2011, beset by rising rents and a shifting gaming industry, it disbanded a tightly-knit group of people who found both solace and acceptance among its packed rows of game towers. The arcade and its impact on its community, both the one inside its walls and the neighborhood it stands in, is the subject of new documentary The Lost Arcade by Kurt Vincent and Irene Chin. 

Dear Danielle: Where Should I Eat In NYC On Thanksgiving?

Dear Danielle –

With Thanksgiving coming up, I’m looking for a restaurant that serves a nice Thanksgiving Day lunch or dinner in a homey atmosphere — but that won’t break the bank. This year, I don’t have the time for prep work nor the energy for doing dishes. And I feel it would be fun to see what NYC has to offer - and let someone else do the cooking!  Any recommendations?
Despises Doing Dishes

Dear Despises Doing Dishes –

You’re in luck! With New York City being the food mecca that it is, you have many options when it comes to enjoying a beautiful Thanksgiving meal outside of the home. From traditional turkey feasts to unique takes on delicious holiday fare, here are a few of our favorite options.

For an Italian twist on traditional: Rafele

Rafele is offering up a delicious menu for Thanksgiving. They do have a turkey with stuffing but I would go for the porchetta entrée with pear and parsnip puree.  It’s AUTUMN in a dish... which is what the entire holiday menu evokes. Italian Thanksgiving fare, done right. Let the heat from the restaurant’s wood-fired oven and the smoke from Chef Raffaele’s good looks warm your heart and soul this year.
$70 per person or á la carte


29 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
(212) 242-1999

Rafele Dining Room

Chef Rafele in Action

For a true feast, Italian-style: Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria

Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria is doing a beautiful Thanksgiving menu, with a combination of decadent family-style sides and starters, and your choice of first and second courses. Smashed Yukon gold potatoes and sweet potatoes, mixed kale, buckwheat stuffing – traditional sides done way better than I could manage at home. And beautiful extends to the space as well. In short, Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria does everything right. Both the cuisine and the space are reminiscent of a rustic market straight out of Tuscany.
$85.00 per person, wine pairings available


53 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012
(212) 837-2622

And if you’re looking to host in your home or bring some amazing dishes to your family celebration, look no further than Il Buco’s Thanksgiving takeout menu. You’ll be the star of the holiday!

For a traditional turkey feast with all the fixins: The Smile

The Smile is a beautiful space in Nolita offering a LOT of food to satisfy all of your deep Thanksgiving day desires.  Alongside their apple-cider brined turkey, you’ll get a delectable array of sides from stuffing to cranberry to brussel sprouts. The classics done right. Top it off with a bourbon pumpkin pie or a maple pecan pie and you’ll be guaranteed to roll home full and happy. P.S. Only the cool kids need apply: This place is hipper than Brooklyn.
$60 per person

26 Bond St, New York, NY 10012
(646) 329-5836


Enjoy! Let us know what you decide!
Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!


Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: FNYT Chelsea Market Food Tour in the news, Chefs Dish On Juicy Turkeys and The Guide to NYC Ultra-Luxe Burgers

  • CHELSEA MARKET FOOD TOUR NEW YORK CITY: As you can imagine there are quite a few choices of Food Tours in New York and a great variance of price. I wanted to do a tour of the famous Chelsea Markets and I also heard that Foods of New York Tours not only have a Chelsea Market tour but they throw on a walk along the “The High Line”, one of New York cities great draw cards. More about that later. That meant that Foods of New York Tours won the race hands down for me.
  • Brooklyn food tours: Ray’s Food and Walking Tours, Foods of New York, and more: This nearly five-hour “Best of Brooklyn” excursion—a combination of walking and driving—starts in Greenwich Village before taking guests to Williamsburg and Greenpoint then onto Sunset Park then back to Dumbo, sampling everything from pierogies to an authentic Cuban sandwich to Jacque Torres chocolates.

  • A Guide to New York's Ultra-Luxe Hamburgers: These burgers are ridiculously priced compared to average ones, but considering the ingredients at play do they actually offer a relative value?
  • Seamless Ghosts Are Still Haunting New York City: An ongoing practice in the restaurant industry to create fake listings on Seamless and Grubhub to increase potential orders is apparently still going on. NBC found that more than 10 percent of New York's 100 top-rated Seamless and GrubHub restaurants were "ghosts," or fake restaurants that are created by either a different, existing restaurant or unlicensed kitchens.
  • A Guide To NYC's Many Delicious Food Halls: There's the older guard like Chelsea Market, Eataly, and Grand Central Terminal, which combine the food court concept with gourmet grocery stalls and fine dining restaurants. And then there's the new wave, which is all about getting a quick meal pieced together from multiple vendors, if that's what you're in the mood for.
    • Breaking Down the Brunch Options at UrbanSpace Vanderbilt: Instead of waiting hours on line for weekend brunch at that one, overwhelmingly popular spot, why not hedge your bets and head to UrbanSpace Vanderbilt?  The stylish, new food hall adjacent to Grand Central Terminal just launched a killer brunch program from 9am- 5pm on Saturdays & Sundays, and all their vendors are in on the action. 
  • Why Are So Many Chefs Leaving New York?  As one of the great restaurant capitals of the world, NYC’s kitchens are a revolving door for young cooks who want to learn from some of the greatest in the biz. The pace, the volume and the ambition of the concepts executed here is unrivaled by most other places in the world. But recently, an alarming number of chefs have announced that they're packing up their knives and getting out of the Big Apple.
  • Where to Buy Your Thanksgiving Pies: If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner at home this year (or spending it at someone else’s), consider saving yourself the trouble of crimping dough or pre-baking pastry shells.  That’s because NYC is absolutely glutted with spots serving incredibly innovative, artisanal pies, including Bien Cuit, Butter & Scotch, Momofuku Milk Bar and more.  So if you really want to make an impression this holiday, go ahead and place your order now, for apple-lined, pumpkin-filled and pecan-topped treat

  • Chefs share tips and techniques for the juiciest Thanksgiving turkey: At the most basic level, brining refers to presalting protein before it gets cooked. Think pork shoulder, chicken legs and even fish. Salt loves water, and when it's sprinkled onto the skin of these proteins, it draws out the water and then fills that empty space with salty brine.
  • AB InBev Officially Buys SABMiller to Create Beer Mega Giant: Budweiser producer AB InBev has finally announced its acquisition ofSABMiller, reports the Associated Press, a merger of the two largest global brewers that results in a company set to produce one-third of the world's beer. As AB InBev continues to purchase distributors to squash craft beer competitors, its latest buy will create a beer giant that owns 29 percent of the global beer market, with Heineken in a distant second at 9 percent.
  • Amazon to Bring Restaurant Food Delivery to More Than 20 Cities in the U.S.: major player has entered the ongoing food delivery wars: Amazon announced late yesterday it would be expanding its Prime Now-based restaurant delivery into 20 major metropolitan areas across the U.S. Tech Crunch notes the service went live in parts of Los Angeles this week.


  • First Look: Quality Eats Opens Tonight in the West Village.  The folks behind Midtown steak emporium Quality Meats are dropping the "M" (and the fancy ambiance) to bring you Quality Eats, opening tonight in the former Whitehall space on Greenwich Avenue. The first downtown outpost for Michael Stillman's restaurant group who also owns Quality Italian and Maloney & Porcelli, the vibe here is "casual, meat-centric neighborhood restaurant."
  • Chef Harold Dieterle to Close Kin Shop and Perilla: Harold Dieterle, the 38-year-old Long Island native who rose to nationwide fame as the winner of Bravo TV's inaugural Top Chef season, and who once presided over a trio of well-regarded Village establishments, is closing his remaining restaurants and at least temporarily leaving the hospitality industry.
  • Court Street Grocers Opens in Greenwich Village Tomorrow, With Brand-New Sandwiches: Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross will open the much-anticipated Greenwich Village outpost of Court Street Grocers, their excellent sandwich shop and general store, Thursday at 8 a.m. The new location is their third brick-and-mortar and will be a full-fledged store along the lines of the Carroll Gardens original, as opposed to the sandwiches-only Hero Shop. To start, they'll only open for breakfast and lunch, but they expect to roll out dinner service no later than a month from now — or as soon as their beer-and-wine license goes through.

  • Beneath Washington Square, Forgotten Tombs Begin to Yield Their Secrets: When they died, their bodies were placed in six-sided coffins and taken to the northern outskirts of the city, near the corner of Wooster and Sixth Streets. There, in a 27-foot-long underground burial chamber with randomly coursed fieldstone walls and a whitewashed, barrel-vaulted brick ceiling, they were laid to rest behind a locked wooden door. Then they were forgotten.  Until Tuesday.

  • 'Berlin Currywurst' Brings German Street Grub to Chelsea Market: A German-couple who fled their corporate jobs for the restaurant business in 2010 will bring a classic Berlin street dish to Chelsea Market this January, according to a spokeswoman for Chelsea Market.  Berlin Currywurst, specializes in the sausage, curry, ketchup combo that's a staple of the Berlin street food scene.

  • Team From Uncle Boons to Open Diner in NoLIta: The restaurant, Mr. Donahue’s, which they hope to open in early December on Mott Street, will be a diner-ish tribute to the meat-and-three restaurants that are commonly found throughout the South. Named after one of Mr. Danzer’s grandfathers (a New York cabdriver, a detective and “a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy,” according to Mr. Danzer), the sliver of a space will likely have fewer than 20 seats, but will have a strong focus on delivery.

  • Is Prosperity Dumpling Moving to Broome Street? All Signs Point to Yes.  Beloved New York cheap eats destination Prosperity Dumpling may live again — this time in a bigger, renovated space on Broome Street, sources say. The Department of Health shut down the popular dollar dumpling spot at 46 Eldridge St. in late August after a tipster sent Gothamist a photo of Prosperity's alley, where people can be seen making dumplings. The restaurant received 65 violation points — including four critical violations —and it's yet to reopen despite the owner's assurance that they would clean up shop.
  • Wo Hop's Chinatown survival secrets: Chop suey, cheap rent and a 21-hour day: Wo Hop, hidden below street level at 17 Mott Street, in the heart of Chinatown. Owned by the Huang family since 1938, the 77 year-old Wo Hop just keeps plugging along.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: FNYT in the News, NY States Best Breweries and Newest Pizza's

  • 7 SECRET SPOTS YOU’LL DISCOVER ON A NEW YORK CITY FOOD TOUR: You’ll find many options for New York food tours on Trip Advisor. In particular,  I’ve savoured all of the tours offered by Foods of New York Tours. Most of the tastings on their tours are in affordable, family run eateries – – places you might never find otherwise.  I’ve liked many of them so much, I’ve gone back a number of times.
  • 10 walking tours to try in NYC:  It's no secret that New York City is a force to be reckoned with in the culinary world. Treat yourself to delicious cuisine in the neighborhood of your choice on one of these tours offered by Foods of New York. 

  • Parsing the Newest Trends in New York Pizza: It’s not just about New York versus Neapolitan anymore. Here, an introduction to the city’s latest pizza styles.
  • NEW YORK STATE’S BEST BREWERIES, ACCORDING TO BEER EXPERTS: New York State may not have invented the phrase “go big or go home,” but we sure as hell own up to up it. That’s probably why a state with some of the most storied beer tradition is constantly exploding with new breweries (while continuing to support some long-time players). The list can be daunting, so we’ve asked 10 beer experts to rank their favorite Empire State breweries and explain why. Here are the results.
  • Peter Luger, Au Cheval Rank Among Best U.S. Burgers: Report.  Zagat, the Google-owned guidebook that ranks restaurants based on a scale of 0-30, published its nationwide burger survey today, and many of the usual suspects more or less came out on top. Peter Luger, America's most iconic steakhouse, won for Brooklyn; Bowery Meat Company, helmed by Burger Bash champion Josh Capon, won for Manhattan.

  • Whole Foods Shares Have Dropped Nearly 50 Percent: Whole Foods isn't feeling the love on Wall Street anymore: Despite the sales of organic food being through the roof, shares in the company are down almost 50 percent from their value nine months ago. The Times explains that investors are "almost uniformly negative on the company" because they don't see a bright future for Whole Paycheck in a world full of upscale Targets and where Costco sells more organic food at much lower prices.
  • AN ANIMATED HISTORY OF BEER IN AMERICA:  America loves it some beer. Tailgates, the Fourth of July, Super Bowl Sunday, and more holidays than we can name are celebrated with cans of Bud, games of beer pong, and bottles of craft brews. But has our country always been this beer-obsessed? 
  • The Story of Barbecue Chicken Pizza: That now-universal pizza began with one guy: Ed LaDou. LaDou was Wolfgang Puck’s first pizza chef in the vaunted kitchen of Spago when it opened in January 1982. In 1985, when attorneys Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfield co-founded California Pizza Kitchen, Ed created the menu.


  • Singapore Treats at Chomp Chomp in Greenwich Village: Singaporean food courts, better known as hawker centers, are lined with stalls whose proprietors make a small number of dishes, or just a single one, over and over. The appeal of Chomp Chomp, which the chef and owner, Simpson Wong, named after one of the country’s most magnetic hawker centers, is that you can eat your way from stall to stall without leaving your seat.

  • TOAST THE DAMES OF CHAMPAGNE AT RIDDLING WIDOW'S GLAM UNDERGROUND LOUNGE: The subterranean space, formerly Spanish restaurant Sol, also opened by DeRossi, makes more sense as an evening boîte than dinner spot. He’s outfitted the gritty, twenty-person room with red stools, a velvet couch, and palais black velvet wallpaper, creating an intimate space for drinking.

  • Chelsea Market's New Additions, Water's Edge Reopening, and More Intel:  Last month, Philadelphia-based hit-makers Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov signed a lease in Chelsea Market for a new restaurant. As suspected, this will be a location of the duo's hit hummus restaurant Dizengoff. Flo Fab reports that it's slated to open early next year in the old Ruthy's Bakery space.

  • Chef Mads Refslund Leaving ACME: Executive chef Mads Refslund is leaving the Scandinavian-inspired hotspot, ACME at the end of this year, according to a press statement. The chef, who has been at the helm for four years, was integral to the NoHo eatery's concept from the get-go, meaning that ACME's menu will likely change drastically.
    • Chef Mads Refslund to Leave Acme at the End of the Year: Danish chef Mads Refslund helped kick off the Nordic food craze in NYC with the opening of Acme in Noho back in 2012. His opening menu includes dishes like hay-roasted sunchokes, roasted carrots topped with lardo, and scallops & clams dressed with sea foam. And now, after almost four years in the kitchen, Refslund is leaving the restaurant to pursue other projects. 
  • Hooked on Cheese: Greecologies: A Very Urban Creamery.  What’s unique about Greecologies is that it’s a dairy as much as a coffee shop; they make their own yogurt and butter in the heart of lower Manhattan where Little Italy, Chinatown and SoHo converge.

  • Meet the Hong Kong Treat That's Taking New York by Storm: While a brick-and-mortar shop is currently under construction, Eggettes NY is due to open in Chinatown soon and will sell gai daan jai (otherwise known as eggettes), a traditional Hong Kong street treat similar to a Belgian waffle in texture, with a unique bubbled shape. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: Fresh Truffles Invade NYC, Your Visual Guide To Winter Squash and The Village Voice Best Of 2015

  • The Village Voice Best of Food & Drink 2015
  • Where to Find Fresh Truffles in New York: Forget apples, pumpkins and (as much as we love them) even concord grapes — because white truffle season has hit New York in full force!  Generally sourced from Alba, Italy, the gloriously perfumed, highly prized pale fungi are just waiting to be shaved over pastas, pizzas and more, at refined spots, like Midtown’s Gabriel Kreuther, Chevalier, and Tribeca steakhouse, American Cut…
  • Wolfgang Puck’s Cut Steakhouse Is Coming to New York: Cut For more than 30 years, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant empire has acquired a global footprint without so much as a pause in Manhattan. That is about to change. Next summer, he will open one of his Cut steakhouses near the World Trade Center. 
  • Philadelphia Chefs Find Opportunity in NYC: Three of Philadelphia's most important chefs were opening outposts in the Big Apple: Jose Garces' Amada, Eli Kulp's High Street and Michael Solomonov's Dizengoff. Interesting timing, considering we're in the midst of an ever-worsening real estate crisis that has plenty of chefs thinking about packing up and leaving. So why are all these chefs expanding to NYC right now? 
  • NYC’s Best Traditional & Untraditional Tacos: It’s tough for New York to truly challenge L.A. on the classic Mexican taco front, but when it comes to inventive, multi-cultural tortilla sandwiches, our game is especially strong.  Which is why we’ve rounded up a handful of the city’s very best tacos, both utterly traditional and decidedly non — from the gold standard carnitas at Tacos El Bronco in Brooklyn to the lamb-filled parathas at Goa Taco & the pan-Asian creations at Korilla BBQ!
  • THE SEARCH FOR NEW YORK CITY’S LAST REMAINING AUTHENTIC PIZZERIAS: After five years of research, the authors of The New York Pizza Project celebrate the pizza makers, eaters, and neighborhoods that support these institutions.

  • Not Enough Cooks in the Restaurant Kitchen: At conferences, over beers and on social media, chefs and restaurateurs are openly worrying (not to say complaining) about a crisis-level shortage of cooks. In scores of interviews via phone and email, chefs and restaurateurs confirmed that the shortage has affected their hiring.
  • Inside The Life Of An Apple Picker: It's fall. Time to pick apples. For some of us, that's casual recreation, a leisurely stroll through picturesque orchards.  For tens of thousands of people, though, it's a paycheck. They drive hundreds of miles for the apple harvest in central Washington, western Michigan, the shores of Lake Ontario in upstate New York, and Adams County, Pa.
  • Where have all the diners gone?  Rising costs, changing tastes and a reluctant next generation of owners spell trouble for a classic corner of New York's food culture.
  • The End of Craft Beer: Once, the beer wars were about Bud versus Coors. But now both brands — or, rather, the giant companies that brew these kinds of mass-audience beers — are mostly battling for market share against craft brewers, the independent, fiercely committed group of people who preach a message of quality and care that comes from small-scale brewing.
  • A VISUAL GUIDE TO WINTER SQUASH: Get to know 12 delicious varieties, from pumpkin and butternut to acorn and spaghetti—recipes included.


  • Murray’s Cheese, Bi-Rite Share Success Stories at the 75-Year Mark: Europe has its fair share of generations-old food companies, but the U.S. seems to have a much thinner history of such enterprises. So, when two American food businesses—one East Coast cheese company and one West Coast gourmet food store—hit their 75-year anniversaries, it was a pretty big deal.  This summer, both Murray’s Cheese and Bi-Rite reached that milestone with a legacy of major successes worth bragging about. 
  • Fall Wine: 20 Under $20.  Shinn Estate North Fork of Long Island Mojo Cabernet Franc 2014 $17.99
  • "We're Dreading It": West Village Locals Futilely Fight Chumley's Reopening: At a full board meeting of Manhattan's CB2 last night, local residents locked horns over whether to approve famous dive bar Chumley's application for a liquor license. The debate came after the board's SLA Licensing Committee unanimously supported granting the license with stipulations at an October 15th meeting. But after considerable hand-wringing from some neighbors, the full board endorsed Chumley's liquor license application in a 23-8 vote.
  • Village Halloween Parade Now a Branding Opportunity for Dos Equis: A fake beer spokesperson known as “the Most Interesting Man in the World” was just named grand marshal for this year’s 42nd annual Greenwich Village Halloween parade.  That’s right, the spokesperson for Dos Equis Lager Especial will lead hundreds of puppets, dancers, musicians, and costumed New Yorkers along Sixth Avenue. Why? Because he’s the most interesting man in the world, of course!
  • Empire Szechuan Is Closing After 30 Years in the West Village: Neighborhood mainstay Empire Szechuan Village is closing its doors after 30 years in the West Village due to a 500 percent rent hike — but the closing is largely harmonious, owner Oscar King said. King, 63, opened the Chinese restaurant in the landmarked building at the corner of Perry Street and Seventh Avenue South in 1985 and signed a long-term lease, an agreement that meant he was paying just $5,000-per-month for the property.
  • Ranking the Tacos at the Village’s New Tacombi on Bleecker Street: Engagingly, the menu emphasizes food from the Yucatan, the region that spawned the Tacombi concept in the first place. Principally, this is done via taco fillings and with two types of panucho: a peninsular specialty of fried corn tortillas smeared with refried beans and topped with shredded cabbage before the main fillings are deposited.
  • No Topping Left Unturned At The Inventive New Doughnut Project: The newest of NYC's outside-the-box doughnut shops has been stealthily slinging their yeasty wares in the West Village's Morton Street for two weeks. But starting Thursday, Doughnut Project is blowing the lid on their as-til-yet under-the-radar operation, throwing an opening party on Thursday featuring free doughnuts.

  • The Best Veggie Burger In NYC Is At By Chloe On Bleecker: The Guac Burger might be the best thing here, and is definitely the best veggie/vegan burger I've ever had. The patty is made from black beans, quinoa, and sweet potato, and, in addition to tasting really good, has a real density and texture to it.
  • The New Caribbean Food Movement: And then there is the success of the two Miss Lily’s restaurants in Manhattan, the second of which opened last year on one of the busiest corners in the East Village. Co-founded by the nightclub guru Serge Becker, the diner-style restaurant has its own line of sauces and a late-night menu featuring $5 rice and peas, sweet plantains and the cornmeal fritters Jamaicans call festival.
  • What Happens When Australian Restaurateurs Take Over a New York Institution?  This summer, Caffe Dante the 100-year-old Italian institution situated on the quaint end of Greenwich Village’s MacDougal Street reopened as Dante under the direction of Linden Pride (an ex-AvroKo exec). To reopen Dante, Pride assembled his dream team consisting mainly of fellow Australians who had worked together in the last decade at some of Sydney’s finest dining establishments including Neil Perry’s Rockpool and Tetsuya Wakuda’s eponymous Tetsuya’s.
  • Perla: Since its opening in 2012, Perla has sat close to the top of pretty much every “Perfect For” category on The Infatuation. If that high rating is what led you to to read this review, we have some good news: you picked a winner.
  • FRANCOIS PAYARD SHARES HIS FAVORITE COOKIE RECIPES IN A NEW BOOK: Packed with Payard’s signature "Paris-meets–Upper East Side" recipes, the book includes some of the bakery’s most popular creations, including financiers, shortbreads, biscotti, and, of course, the much-lauded macarons, “all the things I most love to grab when I’m passing through the kitchen,” Payard confesses.

  • Num Pang Celebrates 7th Outpost With $5 Sandwiches: Ben Daitz and Ratha Chaupoly, owners of the delectable Num Pang sandwich empire, have managed an impressive feat: opening seven (and soon to be eight) locations since first debuting in 2009. The duo are expanding their downtown presence with two new Financial District locations, the first of which is opening at 75 Broad Street at South William. Perhaps this will help thin the herd at the nearby Chipotle.
  • Sushi Dojo and its Spinoff Closed by the Health Department: Earlier this year, the city introduced new regulations that require restaurants to freeze many types of fish for 15 hours before serving to kill off bacteria. When asked about how this would affect operations at Sushi Dojo, Bouhadana noted: "We already have freezers, but no one has that many freezers to all of a sudden start freezing their entire inventory.
    • City to Sushi Chefs: If Brain Surgeons Can Wear Gloves, So Can You: The DOH shut down Sushi Dojo and Sushi Dojo Express last week for repeated violations, and Bouhadana argues that the closures only happened because his chefs don't wear gloves — a method that violates the traditional sushi making process. But Bouhadana is not the only sushi chef who dislikes the rule. The city's top sushi restaurants have a history of bucking the rules in favor of craft.
    • Anthony Bourdain Slams the DOH Glove Rule: 'It's the Destruction of Sushi as We Know It’: You cannot make sushi through plastic surgical gloves. You can't. This is monstrous, monstrous, monstrous. It's the destruction of sushi as we know it. Body temperature fuels everything, the sensitivity to pick up the rice.
  • Village Residents Angered by 'Generic' Gansevoort St. Revamp: Last night, roughly 100 Greenwich Village and Meatpacking District residents with "Save Gansevoort Street!" stickers showed up to protest development plans for a stretch of Gansevoort Street between Ninth Avenue and Washington Street at the Community Board 2 landmarks committee hearing. Because the stretch is within the Gansevoort Market Historic District, the proposal—which includes high-end retail and commercial space—has to go through CB2 and then the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
  • SUGAR FACTORY: Whatever preconceived ideas you have about the Kardashian infused and Meatpacking hot spot, Sugar Factory, I command you to throw them out the window now. This sugar mecca might have candy cocktails, massive desserts, and a private room with your very own walls made out of candy bins, but the savory food is surprisingly delicious!
  • Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook Sign a Lease Inside Chelsea Market: Philadelphia superstars Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook have finally found a space for their first New York restaurant. An eagle-eyed tipster spotted a sign on the window of a Chelsea Market kiosk indicating a business license application for "DZGF2, D/B/A Dizengoff LLC." A rep for Solomonov and Cook confirms that they have signed the lease on a space inside the market. Steve Cook recently remarked that they were scoping out spaces and "trying to figure out how people pay rent here."

  • Where To Have A Thanksgiving Meal That Won’t Suck: Dreading an awkward meal trapped at a table with family members you haven’t seen in a while or your future in-laws that you just met? Your solution may be Il Buco Alimentari, where you’ll be seated at a communal table with lots of other strangers you can talk to instead. Besides the forced contact with strangers, you’ll also be treated to a family-style feast, which is a pretty fantastic way to experience the food (some of the best in the city).

  • The evolution of Little Italy: From thriving migrant community to tourist trap.  The area, which once stretched to about 50 square blocks, now only covers a six blocks-long expanse that runs along Mulberry Street from Canal to Spring Streets. Much of what was traditionally Little Italy has since been reclaimed by the city’s growing Chinese population, which also has outer borough outposts in Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: Zagat Top 50 NYC Restaurants, Danny Meyer Eliminates Tipping and Tacombi Opens In The West Village

  • A Quest for New York’s Perfect Biscuit: A number of New York City chefs and bakers have decided in the last few years to devote themselves to the biscuit’s tricky art. Takeout shops and restaurants revolving around biscuits have opened in the East Village; Williamsburg, Brooklyn; and Astoria, Queens. Small-batch biscuits can be ordered online from independent bakers who may show up on your doorstep or send their husbands to deliver them.
  • Danny Meyer is eliminating all tipping at his restaurants and significantly raising prices to make up the difference, a move that will raise wages, save the hospitality industry, and forever change how diners dine.
  • New York City's Top Cocktail Bars: There are countless bars in this city that can make you a proper cocktail. But these 25 establishments go the extra distance, and many of them started trends that rippled across the country. Here's a guide to New York's top cocktail bars, with notes on what to order and what to expect beyond the liquid in the glass.
  • The 50 Best Restaurants in NYC: In New York City, we’re lucky enough to have tens of thousands of restaurants at our doorsteps, many of which turn out stunning dishes that range from rustic to ultra-refined. A few, though, rise to the very top when it comes to the food they serve. Presenting the very best restaurants in New York City for food.
    • These Are NYC's 50 Best Restaurants According To Zagat: It's a big month for the release of lists of restaurants at which you likely cannot afford to eat! First, Michelin bestowed their stars upon the city's elite dining experiences and now Zagat has released their annual ranking of the 50 best restaurants in New York City. Unsurprisingly, Le Bernardin tops the list yet again, setting a record seven years in the number one spot. David Bouley's eponymous Tribeca restaurant earns the second place distinction, with Daniel Boulud's namesake Daniel in the number three slot.

  • The Ocean Contains Half the Fish It Had 50 Years Ago: There are half as many fish in the sea today as there were in 1970, according to the World Wildlife Fund's "Living Blue Planet Report." Altogether, the study tracked 5,829 populations of 1,234 marine species, but the researchers behind it were especially concerned about the plummeting numbers of both mackerel and blue and yellowfin tuna, a fish prized by sushi lovers. 
  • Seasonal Eats: Concord Grapes.  Do you only associate Concord Grapes with communion wine and Smuckers jelly?  Well that’s a shame, because the giant, purple-black grapes (one of only three fruits native to North America!) are one of the fall season’s greatest edible delights and one of our very favorites. 
  • U.S. probes allegations AB InBev seeking to curb craft beer distribution: The U.S. Justice Department is probing allegations that Anheuser-Busch InBev is seeking to curb competition in the beer market by buying distributors, making it harder for fast-growing craft brewers to get their products on store shelves, according to three people familiar with the matter.  In the past few months, the world's largest brewer has rattled the craft beer world by striking deals for five distributors in three states. Many states require brewers to use distributors to sell their product, and once AB InBev buys a distributor, craft companies say they find that they can't distribute their beer as easily and sales growth stalls.
  • All Rise for the Soufflé:  There’s much to ponder in a soufflé’s rise without involving science. The gastronomic pleasure we take in risen foods — yeasted bread, a buttery biscuit, a high-risen soufflé — seems to derive less from the half that’s there than from the half that isn’t, from the airy absence that makes presence more keenly felt.


  • Artist Reluctantly Removes His Murals From Closed Commerce St. Restaurant:  The artist who painted murals for Commerce Restaurant removed his works from the shuttered eatery Tuesday morning, signaling to some residents the final nail in the beloved restaurant's coffin.  David Joel's paintings were made to adorn the walls of 50 Commerce St., and became such a part of the restaurant's identity that pieces of the works were printed on its coasters and matchbooks and sold as postcards.
  • Noodles, Quinoa, and Bone Marrow: Notes from Travelling Dinner Parties.  Next, our journey brought us to the West Village, where Simpson Wong is preparing noodles that nod to China, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. His restaurant, Chomp Chomp, is an homage to Singaporean food halls that feature vendors hawking hybrid specialties like oyster omelettes and a dish called “carrot cake” that contains neither carrots nor cake.
  • Long-Shuttered West Village Speakeasy Chumley's Makes One More Push To Reopen: Nearly nine years after a wall collapse shuttered legendary West Village "speakeasy" Chumley's, the Bedford Street bar appears to have one last shot at rebirth. On Thursday evening, the bar (and its advocates) will appear before Community Board Two SLA Committee to plead their case for the approval of an application for a liquor license. "Frankly, no liquor license means no Chumley's," the group says. "And this is the last chance of the monied real estate interests and AstroTurf NIMBYs to block Chumley's return."
  • Tacombi Opens Fifth Taco Spot On Bleecker Street In The West Village: The taco enthusiasts at Tacombi are opening their fifth Mexican eatery in New York tomorrow, this time with an airy offering on Bleecker Street in the West Village. In style, it is most similar to their Flatiron outpost, boasting loads of white tile, whitewashed brick, and a boat load of pineapples. If it's anything like the scene at their Nolita restaurant, it's going to be quite lively on Friday and Saturday nights.

  • West 4th Street Basketball Courts Getting Facelift, Knicks Ribbon-Cutting: Greenwich Village ballers are getting brand new rims, backboards, fencing and resurfaced courts at the popular West Fourth Street "Cage" — and all of it will be unveiled by the New York Knicks.  The city's Parks Department is in the process of upgrading the much-used West Fourth Street courts, where passersby regularly line up three rows deep outside the chain-link fence to watch some of the city's best amateur hoops.

  • Food halls to chow down in: Serious food lovers and casual television viewers alike rejoiced after celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain announced his plan to open a food hall on Pier 57. Opening in 2017, Bourdain’s food will be home to 100 vendors including butchers, Bourdain’s favorite tostada stand from Mexico and a full service restaurant. Even though the 155,000 square foot gourmet food court will not open for two years, there are still are plenty of great New York City food halls to enjoy in the meantime.
  • Creamline Brings American Classics To Chelsea Market: Chelsea Creamline, a bright and wholesome-looking lunch counter which opened last week in the former Ronnybrook Farms spot in the Chelsea Market, serves a half-dozen or so self-described "American Classics," plus a handful of sides, for both lunch and dinner.

  • Chinatown and East Village Buildings Up for Landmarking After Long Delay: The property at 2 Oliver St. was first heard in 1966, according to an LPC fact sheet. The building, which was designed by Robert Dodge in 1821, was one of 13 Federal-style homes the GVSHP and New York Landmarks Conservancy recommended for landmark status in 2003.  The building’s design and features are representative of other residences in that time period, according to the GVSHP. It is also notable for housing James O’Donnell, one of the first trained architects in the country, who designed the Fulton Street Market while living at 2 Oliver St., the group said.
  • Asian Spicy Curry Pops Up in Chinatown: Since April, this transformation has taken place almost nightly under a somewhat ungainly name, Asian Spicy Curry. The name is vague where the food is distinct: The curries draw from Malay, Indian and Chinese traditions, and are spicy only in the most literal sense, brimming over with spices rather than packing heat.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: Southern Dishes Take Over NYC, Stumptown Coffee Sells Out and The Best Late Night Food in NYC

  • Restaurants Follow Consultants’ Advice to the Letter for an A Grade: The lecture focused on following best kitchen practices, said Leon Lubarsky, a founder of the company Letter Grade Consulting. It charges $250 to $400 a month to inspect restaurants and point out potential problems that could rack up violation notices on a real inspection and lead to a B in the window, or even a C — and fines.
  • Where to Eat the Best Late-Night Food in NYC: It's a fact: Some food is just better after midnight. New York City has a surplus of places that serve long into the night, but as high-level chefs continue to open more and more casual places, the quality of late-night food has only improved. Here are the best spots…
  • A Look At Michelin’s 10 New Honorees for 2016: The 2016 Michelin guide for New York is officially out, and while it was mostly business as usual (ritzy spots like Le Bernardin and Per Se remained at the top with three stars, Aquavit and Momofuku Ko held strong at two, and Babbo, The Spotted Pig and Picholine — despite being currently closed — retained one), there were some surprising new additions.  Ten of them, in fact!
  • 10 Southern Dishes Trending in NYC Right Now: Fried chicken is the coolest thing in New York City dining right now, due in no small part to the wave of fried chicken sandwiches at both David Chang's Fuku, Shake Shack and the opening of Southern chain Chick-fil-A this past weekend (arguably the OG). In a bucket or on a potato roll, fried chicken's popularity points to another dining trend: Southern food, which is blowing up in a number of ways all over the city. Here are 10 Southern dishes trending in NYC right now.

  • Taking The Heat: Is Foodie Culture Making Room For Female Chefs?  Women have historically been told their place is in the kitchen — but not as chefs: According to statistics from the U.S. Labor Department, to this day, only about 20 percent of chefs are women.
  • The Book That Took Mimi Sheraton 10 Years to Write: The venerable food writer’s thoughts on regional American food, why some New York restaurants stand the test of time and her favorite Austin BBQ.
  • Peet’s Buys Stumptown Coffee Roasters: Peet’s Coffee & Tea gave the coffeescenti something to buzz about with the announcement on Tuesday that it was buying Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a high-end specialty coffee company that has developed a cult following.  The two companies were careful to say that Stumptown coffee would not be sold in Peet’s cafes or vice versa, and that consumers would most likely see very little sign of their alliance.
  • The enigma behind America’s freak, 20-year lobster boom: Unlike almost anything else that gets eaten on a bun, Maine lobster is wild-caught—which typically makes seafood pricier. So how has lobster gone from luxury eat to food-truck treat?


  • How to Make Your Cheesemonger Happy: Buying and trying specialty cheese can seem pretty intimidating, especially if you aren’t used to shopping at a cheese counter. Behind every counter you’ll typically find cheesemongers bustling back and forth as they cut, wrap, break down giant wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano and—most importantly—help customers. These gatekeepers are the key to expanding your cheese knowledge, through information and sampling.
  • 17 Places To “Grab A Drink” That Actually Serve Good Food: A cocktail bar first and restaurant second, The Happiest Hour is where you go when you need an A+ burger and an A+ cocktail. This place has a fun, party-time vibe – don’t bring anyone who might inhibit you from partaking in tiki drinks and getting down with a meat sandwich.
    • THREE NYC TIKI BARS TO TRY: 1) The Happiest Hour: This Greenwich Village bar and restaurant is an ode to vintage tiki bars past. Taking décor and menu inspiration from the feel of old school soda fountains and country clubs, it has a relaxed vibe with palm tree wallpaper.

  • Closed West Village Eatery Reopening in Greenwich Village Three Years Later: Indian restaurant Surya is making a comeback after almost three years since closing its West Village location, Commercial Observer has learned.  The eatery has signed a 2,277-square-foot lease for space at a residential condo and commercial building at 154 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village near New York University. Surya is expected to open in the Broad Street Development-owned retail space between Thompson Street and LaGuardia Place in December. 
  • A Membership-Based Coffee Shop in Greenwich Village: First, the bad news: Fair Folks & a Goat offers coffee, but no pumpkin spice. Then, the much better news: $25 a month gets you unlimited coffees, teas, lattes, espressos and lemonades.  This unusual membership-based coffee shop, which also sells art, clothes, home design pieces, and beer and wine, opened in an English basement on Houston Street in Greenwich Village in fall 2012. 
  • Bathe In Bubbly At New Underground Champagne Bar Riddling Widow: A new bar focusing on the delightful effervescence of sparkling wines opens this evening in a small subterranean space on MacDougal Street. Ravi DeRossi, the restaurateur who's been opening places left and right, takes on bubbly at Riddling Widow, which is offering an ever-changing list of wines plus some nibbles to accompany them.
  • New Video Takes Us Inside Anderson Cooper’s Converted Village Firehouse: At first you may wonder what this video featuring David Beckham and Kevin Hart advertising H&M’s new menswear collection has to do with Anderson Cooper….but the backdrop for the film is actually Cooper’s home, the firehouse at 84 West 3rd Street that the news anchor purchased for $4.3 million in 2010. 
  • BY CHLOE: by CHLOE is quite possibly the most popular restaurant for millennial females to sit, eat, and stay for a while in the West Village right now. Boys on the other hand will only be seen popping in for pick-up and then immediately evacuating the sorority house like scene. Why on earth are all of these ladies rushing to a new vegan restaurant and why is every fashion blogger going to make this the new Jack’s Wife Freda?

  • How Tower Records Forever Changed Downtown NYC, Via Colin Hanks’s All Things Must Pass: Tower Records undoubtedly changed the record-store game, but the California-born chain also had an impact on New York City's lower stretch of Broadway in the mid-'80s. Located at East 4th Street and Broadway, Tower's first Manhattan store broke hearts when it closed in 2006, and is now the site of something called MLB Fan Cave and an open-air market where tourists can buy some of Noho's cheapest souvenirs.
  • Art on the Plate: New York's Hottest New Nordic Chefs.  Not since Ikea entered foreign markets in the 1980s has a movement from Scandinavia influenced the world quite like the “new Nordic” food movement.  It started about a decade ago with the chef René Redzepi at Noma in Denmark, whose philosophy of foraging, pickling, cooking and plating not only earned it the title of best restaurant in the world from 2010 to 2014, but also quickly influenced kitchens from Copenhagen to New York.In New York, this has meant the white-hot popularity of Acme, in NoHo, with Mads Refslund, a co-founder of Noma, at the helm.
  • FAVORITE DISHES #9: PEASANT'S RISOTTO.  Frank DeCarlo built his kitchen with his bare hands, and his wood-fired ovens brick-by-brick. At Peasant, his rustic Nolita restaurant going 15 years strong, the seasoned chef and a small crew cook a lineup of traditional — and, in many cases, ancient — Italian recipes learned through his time spent cooking throughout the country. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: 2016 Michelin Star NYC Winners Intel, PYT Doughnut Burgers Land In Nolita And Anthony Bourdain Market Update

  • New York City’s Best Food Tours: A three-hour tour here with Foods of NY will take you through some of the hottest spots for noshing and celebrity-spotting. Check out the homes of former Vice President Aaron Burr and Pulitzer-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay on your way to a 75-year-old pizzeria and an Italian specialty shop that serves fantastic rice balls.

  • Anthony Bourdain’s Food Market Takes Shape: For more than a year, New York’s culinary grapevine has been buzzing over Mr. Bourdain’s broadly stated intention of opening a major food market somewhere in the city, but details have been scant. Now he has confirmed that he and his partners have subleased the main concourse and mezzanine of Pier 57, at 15th Street, one of the largest shipping piers on the Hudson.
  • New York City's Michelin-Starred Restaurants: Today, the Michelin Guide revealed its 2016 star ratings for New York City. Here's a rundown of all of the restaurants on the list, in map form — now, it's easier to see how the choices are distributed across the city and which starred restaurants are in your neighborhood.
    • Danny Meyer's The Modern Is The Big NYC Michelin Winner for 2016: Michelin, arguably the world's most recognized restaurant guide, unveiled its 2016 star ratings for New York restaurants today, and the big winner was Danny Meyer's The Modern, was elevated to two stars under chef Abram Bissell. 
    • Which New York Restaurants Actually Deserve Michelin Stars? For the 11th year running, Michelin awarded stars to some of New York's best restaurants, and for the 11th year in a row, the list is somewhat confounding. The tire manufacturer is well known for driving chefs mad with its opaque critical process — Michelin inspectors are, of course, famously anonymous, and there are no set criteria for what will or won't earn stars for a restaurant — and every list, obviously, inspires at least some debate.



  • Caffé Bene Sets Its Sights on Greenwich Village Site: Commercial Observer has learned that the South Korean coffee house has inked a 1,175-square-foot deal for a two-level retail space at 33 Barrow Street in Greenwich Village. Caffé Bene, which also sells waffles, macaroons and other baked goods, will be in 375 square feet on the ground floor and 800 square feet on the second level, according to brokers in the deal.
  • Stonewall Inn Officially Landmarked: Following the Landmark Preservation Committee's unanimous June vote designating landmark status, it's now, thanks to the City Council, official: The Stonewall Inn, the Greenwich Village bar "Where Pride Began" is a designated landmark, the first and only landmark to honor the gay-rights' movement in the city.
  • HOUSEMAN ON GREENWICH STREET SERVES 'EVERYDAY FOOD' YOU MAY WANT TO EAT EVERY DAY: Early this summer Ned Baldwin opened Houseman, an intimate spot with exposed-brick walls and a compact zinc bar, on a calm, mostly residential street in the Hudson Square neighborhood. Bounded by West Houston on the north and Canal Street to the south, the area once was home to the city's printing district. Now it's a mix of 200-year-old residences, nineteenth-century warehouses, and spanking-new condo buildings.

  • Five Things to Know About the Future of the Meatpacking District: The Meatpacking District post–Whitney Museum opening looks a lot different than the one that existed even a few years prior. And in the future, the changes will be even more dramatic.
  • 10 Must-Try Juice Bars in New York City: With juice bars popping up at every corner in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, it’s important to know what juiceries are truly using fresh ingredients and making headlines in the plant-based eating world. Here are 10 must-try juice bars in New York City that you ought to give a try.

  • Chef Lu YaMing Of Shanghai's Lubolang Restaurant Brings Savory Pork Mooncakes To NYC: The Dine Around Downtown food festival returned to lower Manhattan yesterday outside 28 Liberty Plaza, drawing hungry diners despite wind and rain that threatened to extinguish cooking flames at the vendors' outdoor tents. Before the festival's 11 a.m. kickoff, chef Lu YaMing and his team from Shanghai's famed Lubolang restaurant were hard at work in a kitchen sixty floors above, preparing 600 mooncakes that would sell for $3 a piece. 

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