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Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: Your NYC Memorial Day Food Guide, Olive Oil Problems and Ansel Kitchen's Tasting Menu

  • Where to Spend Memorial Day 2015: Spring may seem like it just started, but the unofficial start of summer is just around the corner.  That would be Memorial Day this Monday 25th, which — in addition to being a time to commemorate those who died in the armed forces — is equally known as a day for picnics, barbecues, and general out-of-doors merriment.  So here’s where to spend those precious extra hours off work, from a beachside jaunt to Coney Island Smorgasburg, to a crawfish boil at Narcissa, and a joyful Hawaiian luau at The Dutch
  • New York Senate Votes for Bill Allowing Dogs in Outdoor Dining Areas: Until now, New York State health law has sought to spare restaurant-goers such minor indignities, which are regarded by many dog lovers as the pleasures of life among fellow devotees.  But as the weather turns warm and people begin choosing outdoor tables, the State Legislature is considering expanding the rights of dog owners, whom lawmakers describe as among their most vocal constituencies.
  • Thousands of DOH Letter Grades Improved Through Appeal System: For restaurant owners, a B or C letter grade can cost thousands of dollars in lost business and fines. But, more and more, owners are appealing those bad grades with good results. Between January 2013 and April 2014, more than 13,000 grade inspections were appealed and around 7,000 resulted in a better grade.
  • Shake Shack Makes Its Long-Awaited Return to Madison Square Park on Wednesday: Finally, after seven long, burger-less months, Madison Square Park gets its Shake Shack back. The original 10-year-old outpost of Danny Meyer's cult burger stand reopens this Wednesday, having been rebuilt from the ground up so that it can, as the Shack folks put it, "last for many years to come." 
    • Shake Shack Might Be Close to Releasing a Chicken Sandwich: While New Yorkers are off celebrating the original Shake Shack's grand reopening, there's actually another bit of fabulous news: Using a less-conspicuous subsidiary called SSE IP, Shake Shack applied to trademark the words "Chicken Shack" last month. The filing, CNBC explains, points to chicken sandwiches.

  • It’s time to panic. Olives are in big trouble: It’s a hard time to be an olive. After a rash of terrible weather in 2014 and an actual plague of fruit flies, the latest blight to hit the iconic, enigmatic fruit is an actual blight.
  • The Easiest Way to Tell When Your Steak is Done: There are more than a couple ways to check if your steak is done. Many people will tell you to stick an instant-read thermometer into your steak to see if it's done. But sometimes, you just can't find your thermometer—or you don't have one.
  • WHY BACON IS SUCH A BIG MONEYMAKER FOR RESTAURANTS: People are willing to pay a bacon premium, even when restaurants are getting it cheaper than ever.
  • Our perfected take on classic beer-can chicken: It's impossible for us not to smile when we see a beer-can chicken kicking it on the grill. Not only does it makes a pretty ridiculous tableau: a bird propped upright by a beer shoved where the sun don't shine, looking like it's just hanging out, watching the game—we're also certain it's going to taste pretty perfect.


  • Here's the Menu for Dominique Ansel's Tasting Menu at U.P.: Mark your calendars. Dominique Ansel's tasting table U.P. will begin taking reservations on Monday, May 25 at noon for its inaugural weekend (July 17-19). For his return to plated fine-dining service, the Daniel alum will fittingly run with the theme of "Firsts," working through an eight-course progression ($75) inspired by everything from a first kiss (raspberry, fresh mint, vanilla ice cream) to a first job (coffee, cardamom, nougat and malt).
  • Business of the Month: Greenwich Locksmiths.  Whether you know Philip Mortillaro because he’s been making your keys since Greenwich Locksmiths opened in 1980, or because of his metal artwork, or just because he’s a fixture in this neck of the West Village – you don’t have to worry about his distinctive home base disappearing any time soon.
  • Bantam Bagels Go ‘Beyond the Tank': In Season 6, Nick Oleksak and his wife, Elyse, entered the Shark Tank to pitch their mini bagel balls filled with cream cheese. The couple, who met as undergrads at Columbia University, got a deal with Lori for their New York-based creations.
  • Murray’s cheese bar, West Village: So, yes, this place knows its dairy. And while the actual cheese shop has a bake-it-yourself variety, I recommend moseying down a few storefronts to try the hot and bubbly mac and cheeses at Murray’s Cheese Bar, their full-service restaurant. 

  • Spreading The Joy Of Peanut Butter: He also began dreaming of owning a store that would sell those creations, and one day in 1998 in Greenwich Village came upon a boarded-up shop with a For Sale sign on it.  Next day, still in his mid-20s, he walked into the publishing house where he worked and resigned on the spot, went to the real estate office and put a deposit on the boarded-up shop in Greenwich Village, and then went to the bank and wrangled a $150,000 loan.

  • Rebelle Review:  Rebelle a sister restaurant of Pearl & Ash is a completely different experience and vibe but with of course the same great wine program by their very own Patrick Capiello. The charcoal and deep gray tones of the booths and floor make the space feel a little more serious and upscale than next door, but in reality it’s not. 

  • The Best Egg Roll in Chinatown: Opened in 1920, Nom Wah Tea Parlor is the oldest dim sum restaurant in New York City. What makes them unique is that they prepare their dim sum to order, instead of making the dishes in advance and serving them on rolling carts around the dining room. Their egg rolls are made the traditional way... actually using egg crepes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Not All Olive Oil Is Created the Food Network

Olive Oil 101

If you have ever been on our Original Greenwich Village Food and Cultural Tour you know a thing or two about olive oil after stopping into Olivers & Company's Greenwich Village shop to taste some basil olive oil, truffled popcorn and 8 year old balsamic vinegar.  If you haven't tried our tour YET, here is a great article from our friends at the Food Network giving you the lowdown on what makes a great olive oil, why extra virgin is so important and the reason higher quality oils are worth their weight.

Not All Olive Oil Is Created Equal Article

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: Anthony Bourdain Market Finds a Home, Wegmans Blesses Brooklyn and NYC Food Carts Go Green

  • 500 Solar-Powered Food Carts to Roll Onto NYC's Streets This Summer: This summer, hundreds of new-age food carts equipped with solar panels, rechargeable batteries, and technology adapted from hybrid cars, will roll out on to the streets of New York City.
  • Wegmans to Open at Brooklyn Navy Yard: Wegmans, the family-owned, Rochester-based chain of 85 stores concentrated in the Great Lakes region and the Washington Beltway, has that kind of following, inspiring fan websites, hashtags, T-shirts, even a high school musical about a couple who finds love in the aisles. The company is poised to open its first New York City store, and it has selected one of the most ripe locations: the derelict Admiral’s Row at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
  • Meet New York's Next Generation of Amazing Eclairs: Today's haute eclairs, though, are a different sub-species from the versions in your supermarket freezer aisle. They're freshly made with bold, bright, unexpected flavors, and a keen eye toward aesthetics. You can even call them exciting.

  • THE BIRTHPLACES OF MORE THAN 30 FAMOUS COCKTAILS MAP: We love cocktails, a lot. And although the reemergence of cocktail culture means there are hundreds of great cocktail bars across the world whipping up new cocktails every night of the week, we still love the classics. But when a cocktail attains classic status, it’s often hard to remember how and where it originated in the first place. 
  • The Differences Between Northern & Southern Indian Food: Chitra Agrawal teaches us about the differences between North and South Indian cuisine by way of two variations on a traditional Indian side: South Indian-influenced Radish Yogurt Raita and North Indian-influenced Kale Yogurt Raita.
  • Fear of Ruin as Disease Takes Hold of Italy’s Olive Trees: Across the stony heel of Italy, a peninsula ringed by the blue-green waters of the Mediterranean, olive trees have existed for centuries, shaping the landscape and producing some of the nation’s finest olive oils. Except now, many of the trees are dying.


  • Behold, the 15 Oldest Houses For Sale in NYC Right Now: New York City may have nothing on Europe when it comes to historic architecture, but compared to the rest of the country, things here can be pretty darn old. The age between one building and the next on a New York City block can span a century, and to prove it, we've picked through the 15 oldest houses for sale in New York City right now with the help of StreetEasy. 

  • New York's Carbone heads west to open its first restaurant in Las Vegas: Aria swaps out one Italian restaurant for another when Carbone opens at the resort in October. The New York City Italian-American restaurant plans to showcase its table-side service prepped by captains, old school vibe and of course dishes such as chicken scarpariello, veal Parmesan and octopus pizzaiolo in the former Sirio Ristorante space on the second-floor promenade.

  • 10 Great Old-Fashioned Brooklyn Neighborhood Pizzerias: On my travels around Brooklyn, I make a point of pausing for a slice whenever one of these old places looms into view. Here are 10 of my favorite old-fashioned neighborhood pizzerias, still turning out an excellent product despite the passage of time.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: The James Beard Awards, Madison Sq. Eats Returns and Your NYC Mother's Day Brunch Guide

  • Mad. Sq. Eats Returns for the Season: The Mad. Sq. Eats pop-up food market has reopened in the Flatiron District, and it'll stay through May 28. This year's new vendors include Paella Shack by Barraca, Uma Temakeria, and Bombay Sandwich Co., and veterans such as Red Hook Lobster Pound, Roberta's, and Momofuku Milk Bar will return. It's open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • LETTER GRADES FOR NYC’S FOOD TRUCKS MAY SOON BE ON THE MENU: A bill to bring Department of Health letter grades to street food vendors made it through the NY Senate Cities Committee last week, but has yet to make it out of committee in the Assembly. If it comes through, NYC food trucks and carts will be required to display letter grades and pay fines for violations.
  • YOU CAN NOW GET MOMOFUKU SSÄM SAUCE SHIPPED TO YOUR DOOR: The Ssäm Sauce combines the traditional, umami-rich, hot pepper seasoning called gochujang with miso, sake, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. We plan to put it on mac and cheese, pizza, chicken wings, burgers, and more.

  • The 2015 James Beard Award Winners!
    • Bâtard Tops James Beard Award Winners: On Monday night, for the first time, the annual James Beard Foundation gala — widely regarded as the Oscars ceremony of the food world — was held in Chicago rather than New York, recognizing Chicago’s dynamic and often cutting-edge food scene.  But as has often been the case, New York took home most of the gold.
  • Josh Ozersky Has Passed Away: Josh Ozersky, the celebrated food writer, Esquire contributor, and a founding editor of this site, died this past weekend in Chicago. As Pete Wells first reported on Twitter, Ozersky had been in town for the James Beard Foundation's annual chef and restaurant awards.
  • Why Good Cheese Doesn't Come Cheap: The Sneaky Multipliers of Cheesemaking: While thinking about cheese pricing in terms of real cost helps lessen sticker shock, it doesn't get to the heart of question. It also doesn't address that our cheese (and the milk used to make it) may actually be too cheap. How is that the case? It all comes down to multiplication.


  • Tea Culture Blossoms in New York: One recent morning, he set out the elements of a Chinese style of tea service known as gong fu cha: a slatted wooden tea tray to catch excess water and tea, a lidded dish called a gaiwan for steeping, a pitcher to hold the steeped tea, and a few small porcelain teacups. As he deftly poured, steeped, discarded and resteeped, he provided a guided tour of tea, describing how it is grown, picked, processed and tasted.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Di Fara Pizza Trip with the Pizza Boys!!!

The Pizza Boys Take a Trip!

On a cold and dreary Wednesday in January Tour guides Mason and Raheem took a pilgrimage out to the legendary Pizza spot Di Fara for what has been referred to as NYC’s greatest pizza, now in it’s 51st year.  This pizza store is as much lore as it is legend with owner and sole pizza maker Dom Demarco blessing each pie with his golden “touch”, or crust depending on how you look at it.

Located in Midwood Brooklyn since 1964, this old school pizza shop has been on every top ten pizza list from NYC to around the world, and it rarely disappoints.  As long as you know what you are in for before you go…long lines, long waits and pricy pies.  But for us food loving guides at Foods of NY Tours this is a walk in the park for some delicious pizza holiness!

Mason and Raheem plan their trip like professionals arriving 15 minutes before the noon opening time, and on a weekday (they are closed Mondays and Tuesday) to avoid a longer than normal wait of 45 minutes to 2 hours.

Raheem with Pizza on the mind.
Mason can't contain his excitement.

After a 20 minute delayed opening they are 5th in line and place their standard order of a plain pie, cost a mere $30, but well worth it when they hear that it will only be around 15 minutes for their cheesy reward.
Order is in!

Like it only took seconds, we hear music to our ears, “Raheem pizza up”.  We take our trophy to our lightly secured table, a few pics for the blog, then BAM, pizza nirvana!

Plain Pie

Side View

You will always remember that first bite of Di Fara pizza like your first kiss.  That complex blend of cheeses, including three different types of mozzarella and hand grated Parmigiano Reggiano imported from italy, creates a cacophony of flavors in your mouth which harmonize perfectly.  The finishing touches of drizzled extra virgin olive oil and hand cut basil directly on the pizza immediately transports your taste buds to a piazza in Italy.

With pizza as good as this it is no wonder that three slices apiece aren’t enough. For some more information on Di Fara Pizza and tips on how to make the most of your visit check out this great article from

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: Dominique Ansel Opens in West Village, Washington Square Park Guide and NYC Gets Two Food Delivery Apps

  • Announcing Eater's Young Guns Semifinalists for 2015: After months of poring over hundreds of nominations, interviewing chefs, grilling local Eater editors, and examining supporting material, the shortlist for the 2015 class of Eater Young Guns is complete and ready for its debut.
  • Uber Launches Its Super-Fast Food-Delivery Service in New York: Right on the heels of the launch of David Chang-backed Maple, Uber has expanded its own food-delivery service to New York. It works exactly like requesting a car on demand: Enter an address, tap "view menu," place an order (just lunch, for now), and wait mere minutes until the food arrives curbside.
    • DAVID CHANG'S NEW FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE JUST LAUNCHED: Maple, or the highly-anticipated food delivery service that's backed by Momofuku's David Chang, launched in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, promising three daily-rotating lunches and dinners by professional chefs delivered in 30 minutes or less. The service comes amid an increasingly crowded -- like everything else in New York -- delivery space with the recent launches of two other on-demand food services, UberEATS and Arcade.
  • THIS ARTIST PHOTOGRAPHED OVER 1,900 BODEGAS IN MANHATTAN: As New Yorkers, we have the privilege and luxury of being able to get our morning coffee at like a dozen different places in our neighborhood in large part thanks to one of the city's most beloved, gritty, and prevailing institutions, bodegas. They're everywhere, and many of them are beautiful symbols of NYC, past and present, which is a lot of what photographer Gail Victoria Braddock Quagliata said inspired her to set out on a quest to photograph every bodega she could find in Manhattan, ultimately totaling over 1,900.

  • Chipotle to Stop Serving Genetically Altered Food: In a first for a major restaurant chain, Chipotle Mexican Grill on Monday will begin preparing only food that is free of genetically engineered ingredients.  In 2013, Chipotle was the first restaurant chain to indicate which items contained genetically modified organisms, and a small but growing number of restaurants, largely in fine dining, also now label their menus.
  • 7 Myths About Cooking Pasta That Need to Go Away!  There are many myths about cooking pasta that simply aren't correct and yet they persist. Read on for a few that we would like to see disappear!
  • On Food Labels, Calorie Miscounts: The method most commonly used to assess the number of calories in foods is flawed, overestimating the energy provided to the body by proteins, nuts and foods high in fiber by as much as 25 percent, some nutrition experts say.


  • This Map Lists Every Tree in Washington Square Park: Next time you're lounging around in Greenwich Village, pull up this new map of Washington Square Park. The map was created by "community and urban forester" Georgia Silvera Seamans (along with the good people at Washington Square Park Blog), and is part of WSP Eco Projects (a neighborhood group that "celebrates the wild things of the park").
  • Historic Photos of George Washington Monuments Throughout the U.S. and Abroad: People walk and ride carriages near the Washington Square Arch, covered in papier-mache wreaths, garlands of flowers, and American flags, in New York City's Washington Square Park during the celebration of the centennial of George Washington's inauguration on April 30, 1889.

  • 10 Things You Should Know About the New Whitney Museum: The new Whitney Museum of American Art has been four years in the making, with more than a bit of pomp surrounding its opening on May 1. You might have already read about its creator, Pritzker Prize–winning architect Renzo Piano, who also designed the New York Times building, the London Shard, and an expansion for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; its expanded gallery space and collection of 21,000 works; or its $422 million-dollar digs at the southern base of the High Line, in the natty Meatpacking District.
    • Danny Meyer Moves In to New Whitney Museum: UNTITLED Danny Meyer’s restaurant in the new downtown home of the Whitney Museum of American Art puts the visitor on display, through floor-to-ceiling glass walls anchored with industrial cables, all designed by Renzo Piano. Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern’s executive chef, and his chef de cuisine, Suzanne Cupps, deliver a seasonal menu — spring onion and bacon tart; smoked clams with cucumbers and yogurt — that strives for lightness.

  • Il Buco Review: Show me another restaurant in this town that was originally an antique store, has a 200 year old wine cellar that Edgar Allen Poe used to chill in, and is so romantic that you’re pretty much guaranteed to see people trying to Fergie each other at the table if you hang around later than 10pm. 
  • Uncle Boons Continues to Wow Nolita With Spicy, Affordable Thai Fare: The restaurant's best dish, a coconut milk-brushed half-chicken, still comes with a generous pile of green mango salad, and it still costs just $22, the same price as on opening night. It is a one plate meal in our small plates world.

  • Danny Bowien’s Mission: That Mr. Bowien is a whirligig creative genius is by now a platitude, as true and unexamined as doctor’s warnings on cigarette boxes: Quitting Bowien Now Greatly Reduces Serious Kicks To Your Mouth. I’m as tired of hearing about him as I’m sure he is hearing about himself. What interested me most about the 32-year-old chef was how, and if, he could preserve that spark of creativity in the wind tunnel of hype.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: San Fran's Tartine NYC Bound, Peek Inside The New Whitney and The Perfect Poached Egg

  • Beloved San Franciso Bakery Tartine Is Coming To NYC Next Year: Beautiful Bay Area bread will be coming to NYC next year as beloved San Francisco bakery Tartine will be expanding its lauded operation with outposts here, as well as Los Angeles and Tokyo. The bakery has become one with Blue Bottle Coffee, the Oakland-based company purveyor that's one of the big names in artisanal roasting, according to the Times. The New York City outpost is slated to open sometime in 2016.
  • Inside The Colossal New Whitney Museum: The new Whitney Museum is quite big, displays the art reasonably well, and has many windows and doorways and balconies to view the city in all four directions. It seems thoughtfully designed and fits in well with the new Meatpacking District. You will enjoy spending a few hours there on your next visit to the High Line.
  • Inside The Subterranean Passageway That Once Linked Grand Central To The Roosevelt Hotel: Over the weekend, while having dinner at The Roosevelt Hotel, someone told me, "There's a secret train tunnel under the hotel that Roosevelt used to use." This is not exactly true, I soon discovered, but it turns out there is a tunnel under the hotel, which was used by the public as a passageway that connected to Grand Central Terminal. 
  • April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Greens: Not a Love Song to Vegetables. In A Girl and Her Greens, vegetables are some of the many colors in our cooking crayon box. And as a result, they get to go on pretty exciting adventures—with meat, yes, but also with cream and adjectives besides “crisp” and “fresh.” April devotes a whole chapter to pairing veg and cream.

  • The Best Way to Store Fresh Herbs: What's the best way to store fresh herbs if you want them to stay fresh? I tested out every method I could think of, isolating every variable—light, air, moisture, and temperature—and pushing my herbs to the limit to figure it out.
  • 10 Brutal Restaurant Breakups: Dan Holzman and Michael Chernow were high-school buddies before they founded the NYC mini-chain Meatball Shop. But their solid friendship didn’t prevent the problems that arose due to their business partnership. In order to work out their differences they went to couples therapy, and that serves as the basis for an upcoming CBS sitcom based on the duo.
  • Julia Child's Simple Trick for Perfect Poached Eggs Every Time: We have a trick from Julia Child that will completely change the way you poach eggs. And by "change," I mean be prepared to make flawless poached eggs for the rest of your life. No exaggeration!


  • Commerce Chef Harold Moore to Open NYC's First Meat and Three in the Tommie Hotel: Burger master and Commerce owner Harold Moore is planning to unleash the first meat and three concept on NYC this fall with a restaurant called Harold’s Meat + 3 in the upcoming Tommie Hotel in Hudson Square.
  • Top 10 Brunch Spots in the West Village: Whether you woke up late or your favorite meal is actually brunch, head over to the West Village, where well-known restaurants as well as low-key ones offer their best take on brunch options! Meals can range from light to heavy and simple to diverse. Try a new place every weekend and enjoy a morning full of great plates.
  • Q & A with Cafe Clover’s David Standridge: David Standridge, the former chef at the West Village’s Market Table, might not have been the obvious choice to head up the kitchen at the new, health and wellness-focused Café Clover, which features dishes like Ivory Lentil Risotto, Cauliflower “Steak” Romesco, and Quinoa Tagliatelle with beet greens.  “At Market Table, I was bringing in 300-pound pigs a week,” he laughs.

  • Bark Brings Hot Dogs and Dry Aged Burgers to Greenwich Village on Friday: Bark, the Park Slope-based hot dog specialist, opens its first Manhattan outpost on Bleecker Street this Friday. The new place is much bigger than the Brooklyn original, around 50 seats total, and equipped with a "condiment center," at which diners can load up their sausages with free relishes (sweet pepper, cucumber, or onion), ketchup (fancy Sir Kensington's or Heinz), and mustard.

  • Restaurant Review: Santina in the Meatpacking District.  Santina’s new glass-box building sits under the High Line like an unwisely located greenhouse, but oranges grew on the branches of a little tree, potted palms sat in the corners, heliconia and other tropical flowers gushed from glazed urns above the bar. Servers wore jelly-bean-colored polo shirts and slim-waisted chinos, like Dean Martin reaching for his 9-iron at Pebble Beach.
  • Danny Meyer's Untitled Opening at the New Whitney Museum: Gearing up to open next Friday May 1, Untitled at the new Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking will be helmed by Gramercy Tavern's Michael Anthony and chef de cuisine Suzanne Cupps. We got a sneak peek at what to expect at the new restaurant, which formerly resided at the Whitney uptown, and the top-floor eatery, Studio Cafe, also run by Anthony's team. 
  • Gansevoort Market Owners Say They Won't Be Kicked Out by McNally Icon Pastis: The hearts of Pastis fans everywhere skipped a beat late last month when rumors surfaced that Gotham's bistro king Keith McNally was eyeing the new and rather roomy Gansevoort Market space for Pastis' resurrection. 
  • Take a bite of the Big Apple’s food markets: New York is not short of tacos bars but research suggested that some of the best in town were to be found at Chelsea Market.  At Sarabeth’s — a renowned bakery chain in the city — we bagged the last of the pumpkin muffins. 

  • Try The Fried Green Tomato Sandwich At Genuine Superette: The Genuine Superette menu is filled with appealing choices—Chef Brad Farmerie is Michelin-starred—some of which will be familiar to Gotham West and Roadside frequenters.  The best thing I had on two visits here on opening weekend was probably the Super Duper Stack Burger, a deliciously messy delight with double juicy patties, gooey melted American, sweet pickles, a "house sauce" with some bite, and optional/required bacon.

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