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Friday, April 11, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: Chefs' Refrigerators, Village Stories, General Tso's Chicken

  • Foods of NY Tours, Press: The Day We Ate New York: Foods of New York Tours: "New York City may never sleep, but it sure knows how to eat. The big apple has an endless array of delicious food. We tried navigating solo, but New York's food scene can be overwhelming. With so much to taste and so little time, we turned to Foods of New York Tours for a crash course on the best eats in Chelsea." 

  • Character, and Characters, of the Village: Newly Published Books on New York: Walking through the Village is to brush against immortality,” Ms. Stonehill writes. Perhaps the neighborhood is not as “creative and raffish” as it once was, she avers, but the capsule essays she collected, by mostly contemporary residents, from directors to restaurateurs, reveal its unique character in personal accounts that are “exuberant, poignant, lyrical, eclectic and captivating, just like the Village itself.” The contributors are, indeed, eclectic. They include Graydon Carter, Linda Ellerbee, John Guare, Nat Hentoff, Tony Hiss, Donna Karan, Wynton Marsalis, Thomas Meehan, James Stewart Polshek, Mimi Sheraton and Sean Wilentz.
  • 9/11 Memorial Museum Faces the Latest Hurdle: Its Opening: Nothing about the National September 11 Memorial Museum has been easy. Its location, its financing and its exhibitions have all been the subject of rancorous controversy and relentless negotiations. Now, with just weeks to go before its formal opening on May 21, the museum, beneath the World Trade Center plaza, has another potential political and emotional minefield to cross: the opening ceremony.
  • Browse 11 Sweet Maps From NYPL's Newly Digitized Archive: Cartographers and map enthusiasts, read on! An exciting announcement from the New York Public Library today: 20,000 historical maps—many of the city between 1852 and 1922—have been put online in hi-res and made free to use and download via Creative Commons. The library's Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division's new website and Map Warper allows users access to maps depicting everything from Central Park prior to Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux's 1870s redesign to a 1916 redraft of the 1616 Castello Plan that gave lower Manhattan its shape, says Open Culture.
  • Manhattan apt. sales smash multiple records: The median price in the first quarter hit $972,428, up 14% from the previous three months as robust demand collided with low supply. Sales of high-end units, including a five-bedroom penthouse in Chelsea which $51 million, helped drive the market.
  • Tavern on the Green debut brunch sells out: New York landmark Tavern on the Green booked 600 reservations for its debut weekend brunch on Mother’s Day, May 11, almost immediately. The long-shuttered, iconic, 1934-built restaurant, which closed in 2009 and is reopening under new owners, Philadelphia restaurateurs Jim Caiola and David Salama, will hold a preview dinner April 24 and a grand opening gala May 12.
  • Test Your West Village IQ: Did You Know These Ten Little-Known Facts?: A Rescue, RuPaul, And A Rooftop Bar. (Set Sail for the Jane/A Safe Destination):Only in the West Village could you find a hotel that housed the survivors of the Titanic, where in the ‘80s and ‘90s RuPaul rented the turret-like penthouse, preserved and renovated—and reinvented it as one of the hippest and hottest and boutique hotels around. 

  • ‘You Probably Don’t Want to Look in the Crisper’": Inside the fridges of 11 top New York chefs. Many have Ronnybrook products!
  • A Woman’s Place Is Running the Kitchen: Barbara Lynch is one of the most accomplished chef-restaurateurs in America, but the fact that she remains largely a cipher outside Boston underscores a truth about the restaurant industry. Professional kitchens remain, as the San Francisco chef-owner Traci Des Jardins recently put it, one of “the last bastions of bad behavior” — and women don’t thrive in them. Earlier this month, Bloomberg News reported that it was less likely for a woman to be hired as a head chef than as a C.E.O.
  • April Fools' Day Pranks From Across the Food World: April Fools' Day is here and the internet is filled with jokes aplenty. The tricksters in the food and restaurant have been getting in on the action with grocery delivery service offering eagle-caught salmon and a Michelin-starred chef announcing a high end dining option for dogs. 


  • New bakery brings cakes and cannoli from Bleecker Street to Fourth Avenue: Bay Ridge has always had a small-town flavor — now it’s getting a taste of the Village. Pasticceria Rocco — a 40-year institution in Manhattan’s East Village famed for its cakes, cookies, and cannoli — is due to open a second location on Fourth Avenue between 94th and 95th streets next month.
  • Martha Stewart: A Visit To The Caves Of Murray's Cheese Shop (Video): For centuries, caves - being cool in temperature and high and steady in humidity - have been the perfect aging location for cheese.  As the cheese business expanded, so did Murray's Cave Aged Program and in 2013, a new set of caves was built in nearby Long Island City.  I recently had the pleasure of visiting Rob Kaufelt in this state-of-the-art facility.  

  • New lawn, rope-play feature open in Washington Square: On Monday, without fanfare, the construction fences around the lawn and play area in Washington Square Park’s southwestern quadrant came down, finally reopening this part of the park to the public. According to the Parks Department, the new park building is also nearly complete and will be opened “very soon,” which will wrap up phase three of the park’s multi-year renovation project. A date for a dedication ceremony to mark the work’s completion has not been set yet.

  • New York City's Chelsea Market: Chelsea Market has everything you could want, to dine out or be creative and make your own picnic. 
  • Bubby's High Line Is Adding an Old School Soda Fountain: Bubby's High Line is opening an old-fashioned soda fountain in the restaurant's coffee bar and takeout area next week. The menu includes all the classics, from housemade coffee sodas and cherry-lime rickeys to malts, shakes, brown cows, purple cows, and ice cream. 

  • Little Italy is on the brink of extinction: Rising rents and changing demographics have driven Little Italy to the verge of extinction. Once a teeming neighborhood stretching 50 square blocks, it now barely covers three blocks of Mulberry Street — and even that strip is under threat. “You can’t rebuild Little Italy,” said Robert Ianniello Jr., owner of the famed Umbertos Clam House. “If we go away, it will never be here again. You can’t build an Olive Garden and say it’s Little Italy.” Ianniello is battling a rent increase from a new landlord who bought the building last month for $17.5 million. He recently got a rent bill for $34,000 a month — more than double what he used to pay.
  • Peels Space Is Slowly Metamorphosing Into Bar Primi: Soon, the old Peels space will emerge from its plywood cocoon as a beautiful butterfly by the name of Bar Primi. This is the new casual pasta house from Andrew Caremllini, Josh Pickard, and Luke Ostrom. The Peels sign came down last week, and today, a segment of bright red fabric appeared on the awning. Taavo Somer, the restaurateur/designer/spirit guide behind Peels and Isa, is helping with the transition. 

  • Watch a Trailer for The Search for General Tso: Here's a fun trailer for the Chinese-food documentary The Search for General Tso, which will make its world premiere next week at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film traces the now-ubiquitous dish's roots in China — where many Chinese citizens are unable to identify a photo of the bastardized American version — to how it ended up on every Chinese take-out menu in the United States.


Friday, March 28, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: NYC Grows, Restaurant Fines Diminish, Standing in Line for Money

  • 60 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About New York City: They'll make NYC feel like a whole new place!
  • Population Growth in New York City Is Reversing Decades-Old Trend, Estimates Show: Despite the challenges of city living, the city’s population is growing in ways not seen in decades. For the third consecutive year, New York City last year gained more people than it lost through migration, reversing a trend that stretched to the mid-20th century. For the year ending July 1, 2013, an influx of foreigners combined with a continuing decline in the loss of migrants to other states increased the population by more than 61,000, nudging it past 8.4 million for the first time, according to estimates to be released on Thursday by the United States Census Bureau.
  • Anthony Bourdain's Food Hall Will Have 40 to 50 Vendors: Author/TV star/former line cook Anthony Bourdain and business partner Stephen Werthen are currently working on a massive New York City food hall that will host a dream team of chefs and hawkers from around the world. Bourdain tells Departures a little bit more about this project: "We are not interested in the usual suspects...We want you to be able to enjoy expertly sliced Iberico ham and some Cava or Kuching-style laksa [soup], Chinese lamb noodles, Vietnamese pho or a decent barbecue brisket all in one place—and, most importantly, made by the very best people in each specialized area."
  • What It's Like to Be a Professional Line Sitter: New Yorkers will wait on line for just about anything—pastries, Supreme tee shirts, designer collaborations, iPads—but given the chance, a few would prefer to pay someone else to do it for them. Enter the world of professional line sitting—a gig that's now so legitimate there are Yelp reviews, Twitter accounts, and business cards for the services.
  • Carnegie Deli owner says her husband and his girlfriend stole $10 million over last decade: Marian Harper Levine slapped her husband, his girlfriend and her stepdaughter Friday with a new lawsuit claiming Sanford Levine started withdrawing funds in 2000 from her business and personal accounts.

  • New Restaurant Rules to Lower Fines: New York City officials released on Friday new restaurant grading rules designed to reduce fines by nearly 25%, a top priority of Mayor Bill de Blasio who pledged in the campaign to help small business who he said were pummeled with unfair tickets. Under the new rules, restaurants will be inspected more often but the fine levels will be returned to those in place before the city required the posting of letter grades in restaurant windows. Restaurant owners may also request a consultative inspection--penalty free--to receive advice from the Health Department on food safety laws.
  • Tales of the Blue Plate Special: Stories From New York's Short Order Cooks: All too often we don't get the chance to interact with one of the diner's most essential players: the short order cook who watches over the griddle, getting our eggs just right, crisping our hash browns and sizzling up our onion rings. Who are these cooks, and what stories do they have to tell? To find out, we stopped by four well-loved diners to hear tales from the other side of the counter.
  • Food & Drink Awards 2014: Time Out New York announces the year's best restaurants and bars in New York City—you voted for your favorites, we picked ours too!
  • The Iceman Cometh: Shake Shack’s Mark Rosati is taking over the world, one custard at a time: Mark Rosati, Shake Shack’s culinary director, has traveled to all the new international Shacks to develop special recipes. Dubai got a honey almond cake custard that he assured me will arrive stateside later this year. An Istanbul location got a special concrete (custard and treats whipped together) with baklava, banana and cinnamon caramel sauce, which sounds like pretty much the most delicious thing ever conceived. 
  • Slice King Phil Hartman on the Legacy of Two Boots: Over the last 26 years, Phil Hartman has built a mini-empire of neighborhood pizzerias serving quirky, but consistently tasty slices. The Two Boots pizzas have cornmeal crusts and Cajun/Italian topping combinations, and most of them are named after cult musicians or movie characters. The dining rooms are bigger and more comfortable than the ones at most slice joints, and all of them have original artwork and location specific specials. Eater recently sat down with Hartman at his Avenue A restaurant to talk about quality control, expansion, and how the New York pizza scene has changed over the last two and a half decades.


  • Amy's Bread Now Makes One of New York's Best Black and White Cookies: With three locations and a reputation for great American baked goods (see: carrot cake), Amy's Bread is just the breath of fresh air the black and white needed. Their take, $2.75 for a substantial cookie, does plenty justice to the tradition while making a few subtle upgrades.

  • Grinding Beans Long Before the Baristas Came: Porto Rico, a Venerable Old-Timer in Greenwich Village: Peter Longo was sitting in his office making a long story short, or at least he kept promising to. I figured that his sense of time was different from mine because his office, on the ground floor of 201 Bleecker Street, which houses his store, Porto Rico Importing Company, is downstairs from where he was born 62 years ago. I think if you grow up in the building where you were born and work there your whole life, you develop a sense of place the rest of us don’t have. You never have to hurry. You’re already home.

  • High Line commercial property to go residential: The new owner will convert the building, add 10,000 square feet on the roof, and voilá—a new luxury project is born. It stands on the block where the elevated park veers sharply westward and is a just one block south of Hudson Yards.
  • As Expected, Eataly Wine Store to Close for Six Months: Following charges from the SLA related to "interlocking interests," Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich will close the wine store at Eataly for six months, and they will pay the state $500,000 in fines. Crain's reports that the restaurateurs reached a settlement with the state today, and as a part of the deal, Lidia Bastianich will also be removed from the Eataly liquor license. 
  • Google grows Chelsea Market footprint, again: The Internet search giant has leased 75,000 square feet in the building, where it already has 320,000 square feet. It is across the street from the firm's New York headquarters at 111 Eighth Ave

  • 'What I Eat: Around The World In 80 Diets' Shows Stunning Portraits Of Daily Meals: Photojournalist Peter Menzel and writer Faith D'Aluisio have satiated our curiosity in a new way, breaking down what individuals from all over the world eat in one day. In "'What I Eat: Around The World In 80 Diets," Menzel and D'Aluisio document a stunning array of individuals' daily sustenance. The subjects of 'What I Eat' run the gamut from a coal miner and a call center operator to a sumo wrestler.


Friday, March 21, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: NYC Pizza 101, Starbucks Adds Alcohol, Goodbye White House Pastry Chef

The Definitive NYC Pizza Guide:
  • A Complete Guide to New York City Pizza Styles: Although New York City has long had a clearly defined and ubiquitous style of pizza, the city's appetite for the dish knows no bounds. While New Yorkers can certainly be parochial and protective of their home slice, they can also be open and accepting of different pizza points of view. Here is a look at the predominant forms of pizza found in New York City with information about how they developed over the years, and a glimpse at some of the more eclectic and disparate variations on the theme.
  • New York City's 25 Most Iconic Pizzerias: These are the establishments that have shaped our collective understanding of New York City pizza. Top hits include Joe's Pizza and Artichoke Basille's Pizza.  
  • The Secrets Behind Joe's Pizza in Greenwich Village: At 77, Pino "Joe" Pozzuoli is still a major part of the Joe's Pizza team. The founder of the iconic Greenwich Village pizzeria comes into the restaurant almost every day, and he always samples a slice for quality control. His grandson, Sal Vitale, oversees both the original location and the new East Village outpost. Hit play on this original video from Eater Moving Pictures to learn about the rich history of this New York pizzeria and the family that runs it. 
  • The Story of the Calzone: Did the calzone, like the pizza, originate in Naples? And why the hell would you want to order a calzone rather than a slice? According to Waverly Root, in his exhaustive Foods of Italy (1971), calzoni, like pizza, originated in Naples. Translated "pants legs," it represented a sort of "walk-around" form of pizza that could be carried out and eaten without utensils, while the damp-in-the-middle pies made in the same pizzerias had to be eaten on the premises with a knife and fork. 
  • Pizza at its Most Extreme: The parameters of pizza are well established: dough, sauce, cheese, plus maybe some other stuff. But within that simple formula, wide variation is possible, with pizzaioli sometimes given to pushing the doughy envelope. Here are a dozen slices, pies, and pizzerias that are, for better or worse, poised on the frontiers of pizza-making.
  • Sietsema's List of Pizza Surrogates: Ever since modern pizza was invented on the Lower East Side — big, communal pies heaped with a wide variety of ingredients, often delivered by small car — flatbreads originating in other places have groomed themselves to be like pizza for commercial purposes, proving that the appeal of pizza is undeniable — and international. Here's a selection of pizza surrogates from other nations found in the New York area.

  • Starbucks to Sell Alcohol in Thousands of Stores: Since 2010, Starbucks has been testing something called "Starbucks Evenings" — modified units meant to serve beer, wine, and tapas-like plates after dark — in select regions across the country. Today, on the heels of the announcement of their partnership with Oprah, the green giant confirms that it will be rolling out Starbucks Evenings in cities across the country effective immediately. Starbucks will expand its evening alcohol and light bites menu, which includes bacon-wrapped dates and Malbec wine, to thousands of stores. The rollout, which can help boost sales, will take several years.
  • Pastry Chef to Obamas Hanging Up His Whisk: White House executive pastry chef, Bill Yosses, is leaving. He is now headed to New York with an aim to teach children and adults about eating better. Mr. Yosses’ successor has not been chosen.
  • Here Are the NYC Finalists for the James Beard Awards: The James Beard Foundation announced the final nominees for the 2014 James Beard Awards. The awards will take place at a gala event on Monday, May 5 at Lincoln Center here in New York City. Here are the categories where New York chefs, restaurants, restaurateurs, and spirits professionals are nominated.
    • By the Numbers: The James Beard Awards Finalists and Women: The James Beard Awards Finalists for 2014 were announced yesterday, and, as with the Semifinalists announcement, Eater took a long, hard look at the gender breakdown within the chef categories. There is very good news: Women chefs make up 28% of the 2014 Finalists. This is the highest percentage of women Finalists since 2009; the next highest was in 2012 when women made up 25% of Finalists.
  • Health Food for Foodie: Chefs and doctors are teaming up to create healthy dishes you might actually crave. Dr. Eisenberg co-founded the program as "a place where nutrition scientists could teach medical providers what they need to know about which foods we should eat more of, or less of, and why," he said. 
  • Ferran Adrià on Closing elBulli, Starting a Foundation, and 'Decoding' Creativity: As part of his whirlwind book tour, legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià spoke at the 92nd Street Y about closing elBulli, his work with the elBulliFoundation, and, of course, his brand new seven volume Phaidon opusBelow, the top 10 quotes from Adrià's lecture.


  • Bar Bolonat to Open March 25 in the West Village: Einat Admony never set out to become an ambassador of Israeli cuisine. After spending her first decade in New York cooking in high-profile kitchens like Bolo, Danube, and Patria, she finally embraced her heritage by opening Taïm, the falafel joint that made her famous. Next came Balaboosta, where the Middle East met the fellow Mediterranean cuisines of Italy, France, and Spain. Now, at Bar Bolonat, her most ambitious restaurant yet, Admony plans to introduce New Yorkers to her personal take on modern Israeli cuisine.

  • The Quirky Passion of a 6-Year-Old Chess Prodigy: Lucas Foerster-Yalamas is not just any 6-year-old. He’s probably the best 6-year-old chess player in the United States. HIs coach, Pandolfini recently became a coach with Chess NYC, a company trying to introduce chess to children as more of a mainstream sport, rather than a secluded activity of a few.

  • Cooking Classes at Del Posto: Del Posto is launching a series of Italian cooking classes next month. The series of 10 "Passport to Italian Cuisine" classes will take place on Saturday afternoons and cover topics like mozzarella, olive oil, and wine. Chef Matt Abdoo, pastry chef Brooks Headley, wine director Jeff Porter, and wine writer Ray Isle will lead the classes, and participants can sign up for just one or for all 10. The first class takes place on March 29 and tickets can be purchased online. 
  • IACP Announces 2014 Food Writing Award Winners: Saturday night in Chicago the International Association of Culinary Professionals held its annual awards, honoring the best in food writing, photography, design, and journalism over the last year. Winners include "The Chelsea Market Cookbook: 100 Recipes from New York's Premier Indoor Food Hall." And over on the journalism side, Publication of the Year went to Food & Wine, and Saveur and Food52 tied for Best Culinary Website. 

  • The Red Sauce Juggernaut: “This is the year of Major Food,” said Jeff Zalaznick, flanked by his partners, the chefs Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi. “This is an explosive year. All the things that we’ve been working toward are coming to fruition.” Plenty of restaurateurs are building empires, many of them spanning the globe. But so far these men, all in their early 30s, are confining their colossus-creation to the city that dazzled them when they were children — and they are doing so with distinctively New York style (a fondness for red sauce and raw oysters) and swagger.

  • 26 Must-Eat Dumplings in NYC: Jiaozi, pierogi, ravioli. Nearly every culture offers up its own take on the dumpling. Luckily, here in New York City, it's possible to try as many globe-trotting variations as your heart desires. To that end, we've made a list 26 different dumplings worth seeking out. The best part is that you can enjoy them all by traversing boroughs, not international borders.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Foods of NY Tours Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Meet the guide: Marie

Meet Marie, tour guide on our Original Greenwich Village Tour. Take a trip with her down NYC memory lane and follow her lead for the perfect New York City day.

How did you get started with Foods of New York Tours?

I call it a “happy accident”; years ago my friend begged me to go to a party, and I did not like the person who was throwing it, but I said I would go for an hour. While I was at the party I met a woman named Zora, who worked part time for Foods of New York at the time. We struck up a conversation and each had a lot of stories about New York, both being long time New Yorkers, and she said “a friend of mine needs tour guides and I think you would be really good.” The rest is history. I used to live in the neighborhood so you could call it kismet.

What is your favorite NYC neighborhood?

That’s a hard one because after being here for about 30 years now, so many different areas represent different parts of my lifetime here, a lot of nostalgia, a lot of bittersweet memories too. But, I might say Little Italy, I have dear friends who live on the Lower East Side which is just a hop skip and a jump from there and another good friend of mine who lives on Mott Street. I am often at FiatCafé for breakfast and a lot of the locals from that neighborhood are there. Also one of my favorite movies is Pope of Greenwich Village and the closing shot is done right on Spring Street and that is the New York that I remember.

What's one place that everyone, New Yorker and tourist alike, has to go to?

For me a perfect New York day is spent with my friend Ben visiting different art galleries. Sometimes we’re in Chelsea to see what the new artists are coming up with, and other days we pick a museum and a lot of the museums are near Central Park. Ben is a long time New Yorker like me and sometimes when you feel like “Ugh, I can’t take it anymore” you need to reconnect with what makes New York so amazing. One day we went to The Met and then to The Boathouse for lunch where so many classic films have been filmed. Inside is a café where you can get soups and salads for under $10, we ate there then took a walk in the park and the splendor of being right in the middle of it, you see a bit of the Dakota which is a famous building peeking over the trees and we just stood there in the middle of this big field and we were like “we live in the most beautiful city in the world!” It’s things like that, to me that’s classic.

Are you a savory person or a sweet person?

I like both! I like food, period. I have gotten off of sweets. I had to train myself, they sit on the hips. But look at these pastries next to us (gestures at Rocco’s pastry case) I want to eat every single one of them. But, I think I’m more of a savory person.

Do you cook? Or are you a consumer of food?

(Laughs…) that’s an embarrassing question, especially for a culinary tour guide, I hate cooking… I’m too impatient. I tell people in order to be a good cook you need not only the passion, but also patience, artistry and chemistry, which I don’t when it comes to cooking. So no, I’m not a cook. My mother was, she came from the south and her specialty was French Southern because that was our lineage. We entertained a lot when I was growing up and my mother would take three days to prepare and sometimes I helped her, but I was lazy. I was more concerned with playing. When you’re here in New York you have so much at your disposal to eat. I have learned how to eat since becoming a food tour guide. I’ve actually lost about 40 pounds since starting this job. When you learn the finest in what you’re eating it’s no longer Kraft macaroni and cheese. Although I must confess I still sometimes like the Kraft macaroni and cheese.

What's something that your tour guests might not know about you?

Oh dear…there are some adventures I couldn’t share, but they may make a good movie.

What do you think differentiates Foods of New York Tours from other tours?

The people who take our tours love us. It’s about connection and being genuine and making people feel like they are a part of our experience. By the time we say goodbye, you feel like you’re fulfilled. Anybody can go out there and go "there’s this and that" and "here, eat this," but they don’t do it with the same finesse. Eddie Faicco (of Faicco's Italian Specialtiesonce said to me about Todd (owner of Foods of New York Tours) that when Todd first started this company he sat down and asked about his family, about who he was, about the shop’s history. He really cared. Eddie said nobody else does that. There is a genuine quality that goes a long way.


Friday, February 21, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: James Beard, Healthy Food Porn, The Bitter End

  • Indoor Food Market Planned for Midtown: Don’t drag out the shopping cart just yet, but a spacious new food market is planned for Midtown Manhattan. Urban Space, the company that runs the pop-up markets at Union Square Park, Madison Square Park, Columbus Circle and elsewhere, has rented 12,000 square feet in the Helmsley Building, the grand Beaux-Arts tower that straddles Park Avenue at 46th Street.
  • Data Proves De Blasio Right: It Takes A Lot Of Snow To Close NYC Schools: A detailed analysis of data from the Department of Education and National Weather Service shows that despite dozens of storms since 1978, there have only been 11 snow days in NYC since the department started In fact, we're just a storm or two away from the worst winter on record since 1869.
  • New plan for Tavern on the Green: Better food, hold the glitz: Imagine that, New York: a Tavern on the Green where food comes first and the setting is tasteful, not gaudy. Two Philadelphia restaurateurs — with the help of the “It” girl of New York cuisine from the 1990s — say that’s the goal when they bring back one of the city’s most storied (and sullied) restaurants this spring.
  • Controversial Restaurant In Union Square Is Good To Go, Appeals Court Rules: The seemingly never-ending saga over plans to open a restaurant in the Union Square Pavilion may finally be over. (But let's face it, probably not.) The New York State Court of Appeals ruled today that the Parks Department is within its legal bounds to allow a seasonal restaurant to operate in the 85-year-old pavilion, Capital New York reports.
  • Dining Outside in Little Italy: ‘I’m Starting to Miss My Mouth’: Even in the dead of winter, Mulberry Street in Little Italy does its best to look festive. The lights glow. Open-armed hosts in restaurant doorways greet prospective diners. And all up and down the street, tables and chairs, set up outside the restaurant just like on a warm, sausage-scented evening in June, beckon invitingly. It is a gimmick, right, intended to draw diners inside? But what if someone called the restaurants’ bluff and chose — indeed, demanded — to be served outside, on the sidewalk, without a heat lamp in sight, on a bitter cold night in February?
  • Denny's Approved to Serve Liquor, Just Not at 8 a.m.: New York's first-ever Denny's got its liquor license approved at the Community Board 1 meeting last night, although not quite the one it was hoping for. The Denny's team had proposed to start serving alcohol at 10 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on Saturdays, but residents were concerned about attracting "the kind of person who wants to have a drink before noon." So CB1 pushed the hours of alcohol service back to 11 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends, and voted unanimously to approve the license.
  • Photos: The Terrifying Footpaths Of The Early 1900s Manhattan Bridge: Construction for the Manhattan Bridge started in 1901, and the structure officially opened to traffic on December 31st, 1909... but between the beginning and the end it was necessary for workers to reach certain areas and heights. Enter: these terrifying footpaths. 

  • James Beard Awards 2014 Restaurant & Chef Semifinalists: The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists in the 2014 Restaurant and Chef Awards via livestream. Do note that this is the "long list" of semifinalists before it gets winnowed down. The finalists will be announced on Tuesday, March 18, 2014; the winners will then be announced at the James Beard Foundation Awards on Monday, May 5, 2014 at Lincoln Center in New York City.
  • By the Numbers: The James Beard Awards Semifinalists and Women: Did the James Beard Awards include more women chefs in the 2014 semifinalists list than in previous years? Eh, yes and no. There have been some improvements but also some setbacks, and in sum it seems that the JBFAs have pretty much stayed the same.
  • Promoting Health With Enticing Photos of Fruits and Vegetables: Pity the poor beet. While pizza, ice cream and that flavor of the moment, bacon, soar on the Internet via hashtags, Instagram photos or other social media mentions, the richly red, healthy tuber just doesn’t get much love on the web. Bolthouse Farms, which produces juices, smoothies and other items, has developed an exceptionally playful website,, that calls attention to such food inequities. 
  • Chicago-style pizza ‘shouldn’t be called pizza,’ Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s ruling is in: Chicago-style pizza isn’t real pizza. “It’s very tasty, but it’s not pizza,” Scalia, who was raised in Queens, said of the type of pie commonly known as “deep-dish” pizza. “(It) shouldn’t be called pizza,” he added, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Scalia, who grew up in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens, made the comments during a Friday night speech at the Union League Club of Chicago’s 126th annual celebration of George Washington’s birthday.
  • Back of the House: What Does a Food Stylist Do?: Lisa Homa, a New York-based food stylist whose work can be seen everywhere from Bon Appetit to Cracker Jack packaging, says her career wouldn't have been possible without a full culinary education. "It's really the only way of learning this trade," she told me over burgers recently.
  • Behind Bars: The Secret Vocabulary of New York's Finest Drinking Establishments 

  • Anita Lo on Annisa's Third Star and Cherry Bombe Jubilee: Earlier this month, New York Times critic Pete Wells bestowed a third star upon Anita Lo's 14-year-old restaurant Annisa. In the following interview, Lo discusses the importance of earning that third star, even after having given up on getting it after Sifton's review. She also talks about why she's participating in Cherry Bombe magazine's inaugural Jubilee conference on women in food.
  • Jiro sushi student helping to run NYC’s hottest eatery: At first glance, Alessandro Borgognone and Daisuke Nakazawa would seem to have nothing in common, save for their bald heads.
  • Borgognone, 33, is a fast-talking Italian guy from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, who has spent the past two decades manning his family’s red-sauce restaurant in The Bronx. Nakazawa, 35, is a soft-spoken, kindeyed chef from the suburbs of Tokyo who spent more than a decade diligently apprenticing under one of Japan’s most tyrannical sushi masters, regularly breaking into tears when his work didn’t meet his boss’ expectations.
  • Happy 160th anniversary McSorley's: Hey, the bar on East Seventh Street is celebrating its 160th (or 152st!) anniversary… (There are some doubters about when McSorley's actually opened. Per New York: "Though McSorley’s claims it opened its doors in 1854, NYC historian Richard McDermott used public records to prove it really opened in 1862." Which means Lincoln never set foot in the place.)

  • Paul Colby, Whose Club Helped Fuel Greenwich Village’s Rise, Dies at 96: Paul Colby, the owner since 1974 of the Bitter End, a celebrated coffeehouse-cum-nightclub that helped make Greenwich Village a legendary place by showcasing young performers like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Billy Crystal and countless others, died on Feb. 13 at his home in Montclair, N.J. He was 96.
  • A Timelessness for Seven Blocks: The seven-block stretch of Fifth Avenue between 14th Street and Washington Square Park in downtown Manhattan: This well-kept neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood, whose residents tend to cite the avenue as their address rather than the encompassing Greenwich Village, looks very similar to the way it did in the early-20th century — if one squints away modern cars and traffic lights.

  • Chelsea Complex Divided Over Rare Indoor Amenity: It is an indoor swimming pool, something of a rarity in Manhattan: The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says there are only 150 in the borough. And now it has become the object of a dispute that threatens to divide the city within a city that is the venerable London Terrace apartment complex in western Chelsea — the four taller buildings on the corners, known as London Terrace Towers, and the 10 smaller buildings in between, known as London Terrace Gardens.
  • Pastis Is Going on Hiatus at the End of the Month: Although Pastis has waited longer than originally planned to go on hiatus, the reprieve turns out to be shorter than first reported. A call to the restaurant today confirms that the last day of service will in fact be Friday, February 28. After that, the restaurant will be closed for at least a year while the landlord renovates the whole building. But once that's done, a manager tells Eater that McNally still "definitely" plans to reopen. 

  • Carbone and Dover Land on Alan Richman's 'Best of' List: In the March issue of GQ, Alan Richman lists his "12 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2014," including a handful of celebrated New York restaurants. Austin's Qui gets the top honor, but Carbone is not too far behind in the number four slot. Richman writes that the new one from Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi "might be the best Italian-American restaurant of all time."

  • Noodle Watch: Xi'an Famous Foods Has D.C. Plans: Look out — cult New York noodle favorite Xi'an Famous Foods has (eventual) D.C. plans. An article on DNAinfo New York says CEO Jason Wang, who has opened several locations of the restaurant in New York, wants to hit up Boston and D.C. next.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Chocolate Croissants: A Quick and Easy Valentine's Day Recipe

It's almost Valentine's Day; time to make something sweet for your sweetie.

We'd like to think outside the candy box and suggest something a little different for the holiday: chocolate croissants. Warm, crispy, and oozing with chocolate, they're cure to be a crowd-pleaser for the entire family!

Our friends at Royce Chocolates--artisans of high-quality chocolate since 1983--recently opened a new location on Bleecker Street. Here's their 5-step recipe that's no fuss, no mess, and perfect to make with the kids.

Enjoy, and let us know how they turn out!

  • 1 box of Royce Nama Chocolate (any variety)
  • 8 oz can of Pillsbury Original Crescent (or equivalent croissant dough)
  • greased cookie sheet
  • oven

STEP 1: PREHEAT oven to 375 Degrees

STEP 2: UNROLL the dough and lay them on a greased cookie sheet

STEP 3: PLACE two Nama pieces on the large end of the dough

STEP 4: ROLL individual dough loosely

STEP 5: BAKE in the oven for 10-12, minutes until golden

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