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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: Best Soups in NYC, Ode to Prime Rib and Food Trends for 2015


  • Why Some Chefs Just Can't Quit Serving Bluefin Tuna: In November, the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List moved Pacific bluefin tuna from "least concern" to "vulnerable," which means that the fish is now threatened with extinction. It joins the southern bluefin, which is "critically endangered" — the third, and most threatened IUCN designation — and the Atlantic bluefin, which is "endangered," the second level. In all cases, overfishing is making it nearly impossible for the spawning stock to rebuild the population.
  • Food Trends to Watch for in 2015: When predicting the dining trends that would take over New York’s restaurant scene in 2014, we have to say, we proved uncannily accurate — cauliflower and ancient grains where simply everywhere last year! So let’s see if we can successfully spot the burgeoning trends of 2015, from the rise of Spanish cuisine to the hottest new condiment; harissa!
  • We've Got the Beef: Since the 1970s, when we first started raising it, American Wagyu has been shunned as an inferior version of the Japanese original. But a new crop of quality-obsessed American Wagyu farmers are out to change all that.
  • In Her New Book, Ex-NYT Critic Mimi Sheraton Reveals the Ultimate Food To-Do List: Despite her 2006 memoir Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life, former New York Times restaurant critic Mimi Sheraton calls her latest book 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover's Life List her actual autobiography.


  • GANSEVOORT MARKET GUIDE: 6 VENDORS YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT.  Just a few blocks over from Chelsea Market and The High Line you will find Gansevoort Market, an amazing 8,000 square foot hub made up of food vendors of all styles. Inside you’ll encounter a wide range of eats, spanning from sushi, crêpes, lobsters rolls– basically, whatever your little heart desires.
  • THE 8 BEST UNDER-THE-RADAR RAMEN SPOTS IN NYC: Deep inside Chelsea Market you'll discover this gem of a ramen ya run by Chef Esther, who infuses her Korean roots into amazing (and decidedly unique) bowls of ramen, including her kimchi ramen, which's based off of a popular Korean stew called jjigae. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: Cronut free Ansel Bakery, High Prices = Zero Stars and Major Food Group Closes Torrisi...Opens Santina

  • EXPLORING NYC WITH FOODS OF NY TOURS: One of the most incredible aspects of living in NYC is having access to so many unique and varied food choices.  However, with there being so many restaurants and cultural neighborhoods it can be challenging to see and experience everything! Enter, Foods Of NY, an interactive and fun tour experience that started in 1999 by Todd Lefkovic whose goal was to introduce locals and visitors to the ultimate, off-the-beaten-path, food and cultural experiences.


  • How the Restaurant Game Is Played: Mastering the rules of a famously punishing industry in an exceptionally expensive city.
  • Ferran Adrià Feeds the Hungry Mind: The Former El Bulli Chef Is Now Serving Up Creative Inquiry.
  • Foie Gras Is Once Again Legal in California: The ban on the sale and trade of foie gras, the luxury product made from duck livers enlarged by a process of force-feeding, has just been overturned in federal court. The details of the legal development will no doubt flummox animal-rights and welfare groups everywhere, but dozens of chefs have been euphorically tweeting the news. A lobbying group involved with the case says that U.S. District Court for California's Central District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled that the ban "went too far and encroached upon the domain of federal law.”
  • City flipped on foam ban, industry official charges: The administration's decision means that as of July 1, food-service establishments, stores and mobile food commissaries can’t use single-service foam products. Some restaurant owners fear this will increase their costs. The ban also extends to the sale of polystyrene loose-fill packaging, better known as packing peanuts, in the city.


  • Dominique Ansel Won’t Serve Cronuts at His New Bakery: Stop the laminated dough presses: In addition to debuting a Tokyo bakery later this year, it turns out that Dominique Ansel will also open in the West Village, at 137 Seventh Avenue South in the short-lived Landbrot space. Notably, when it opens this spring, he tells the Times, there will be no Cronuts.

  • What to Eat at Santina, Major Food Group’s New Spot, Opening Monday at the High Line: When Major Food Group won the bid to operate a restaurant attached to the High Line’s new headquarters, partners Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick took culinary cues from their surroundings. Before the area became the meatpacking district, it was a farmers’ market, and before landfill expansion, the plot had been coastline. And so Santina, named after Carbone’s Sicilian-immigrant grandmother, focuses on coastal-Italian food, primarily fish and vegetables.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: Our Guides Share Their Faves, NY Sparkling Wines and Salumi Tour of Italy

  • Six Professional Food Guides Share Their Favorite Restaurant Experiences: Foods of New York tours shares their favorite food experiences with The Daily Meal from their unique “insider” perspective.
  • Foods of New York Tours: I had a super tourist moment, food tour in downtown Manhattan. My brother in law proposed this activity for my sister's birthday outing. If you know me, I love anything that involves New York and culture so I was all for it. However, I was initally skeptical because although I've taken a BYOB painting class as well as cooking class, the thought of eating and touring, especially in the dead of the winter, seemed improbable.
  • Foods of NY Tour: Chinatown! Food Tours are a fabulous way to explore a borough or section of a large city. When it comes to the big apple, the array of cuisines and restaurants can be overwhelming even to a New Yorker like myself. I stumbled upon Foods of NY Tours: a walking food tour company filled with tons of delectable options. 


  • Tacos Al Pastor's Story Of Origin May Surprise You: Thanks to Empellón Al Pastor, a new restaurant catching everyone's attention in New York City, we recently rediscovered the glory of tacos al pastor. You know what happened next. We started reading up on this Mexican pork dish, and we were delighted to discover the surprising origin of tacos al pastor.


  • Sietsema's Five Best Burgers, Soups, Pizzas, and Tacos of 2014: Plain Cheese Slice at Joe’s — Yeah, Joe cloned himself last year up on 14th Street, and the plain cheese slice remains a paragon of its type at both places — of the humble neighborhood variety, with a nice sauce slightly on the sweet side, good cheese, and most important of all a perfect crust. 
  • The Elk Channels Pacific Northwest Cafe Culture in the West Village: The Elk's full name is "The Elk: A Specialty Coffee Shop & General Store." But the "general store" area is really just a wall of well-curated artisanal products, like Prospector Co. beard oil  and Bees Knees Spicy Honey. 

  • The Bars That Made America Great: With the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Bill Cosby peddling their wares on the legendary stage of Cafe Wha?, it’s no surprise the Greenwich Village bar has taken on a reputation of legendary proportions.

  • Sietsema Pays One Last Visit to the Old El Quijote in the Chelsea Hotel: Last June news surfaced that the real estate group that now owns the Chelsea Hotel also acquired El Quijote, the ancient Spanish restaurant situated on the ground floor. And early in December the announcement came that chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr would helm the restaurant — the pair formerly worked at Balthazar, Pastis, Schiller's Liquor Bar, and Minetta Tavern. Even though the new owners claimed the menu and feel of the place would remain intact, cynics had their doubts.
  • EMM Group to Fill Ill-Fated La Cenita Space Once Again, This Time With a Tony's Di Napoli: The EMM Group's most troubled restaurant space, last home to Akhtar Nawab's La Cenita and its short-lived, Nawab-less remake, La Cenita Steak, and before that, Abe & Arthur's, finally has a new tenant. This time around, EMM has teamed up with Tony's Di Napoli, so that the Midtown Italian restaurant can bring its heaping platters of red sauce to the Meatpacking District.

  • A Salumi Lover's Tour of Italy: Chef Christopher Lee, who helmed the kitchen at Chez Panisse between 1987 and 2003 and helped put Alice Waters’s locavore haven on the map, first immersed himself in Italian salumi-making in 1988.Today, he oversees the in-house salumi program at New York City’s il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, the only restaurant in the city permitted to cure its own meats on-site.

  • 4 Modern Spins On General Tso's Chicken: New Yorkers probably have their go-to spots for General Tso's Chicken, and while the sticky-sweet dish is a familiar sight in just about every Chinese restaurant, its origins are murky: who was General Tso and what did the guy know about fried poultry?

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: A Few Best Of 2014 Lists, History of Bleecker Street and Monthly Music in Chelsea Market

  • Ryan Sutton's 18 Best Dishes of 2014: Choosing the best new restaurants of the year is a somewhat philosophical endeavor. The critic wonders: What are the culinary establishments that best represent where we're going, or where we should be going, as gastronomic community? But picking out the top new (or relatively new) dishes is easier: These are the items we crave. 

  • What The Hell Is Umami, Anyway? Most of us were taught as children that there are four kinds of tastes: sweet (which we love), sour, salty and bitter. But there has been a gaping hole in all of our educations. One of the most important and most glorious flavors we experience daily -- the one that makes brothy soups so heart-warming, seared meats so satisfying and aged cheeses so delightful -- has long been ignored. That flavor is what we now refer to as umami.


  • Best bakeries in America: With three François Payard Bakery locations throughout New York City, New Yorkers know this is the place to go when they’re craving a delicate and perfected French macaron.
  • Artichoke Basille Pizza Is Coming to Astoria: Pizza cousins Francis Garcia and Sal Basille will bring the seventh outpost of their wildly popular chain Artichoke Basille Pizza to 31 Street in January 2015. They will take over the space formerly that housed 50-year-old institution Frankie’s Pizza, which shuttered back in October.

  • Downtown NYC Smackdown, SoHo vs. Nolita: Each week, Yahoo Travel pits rival destinations against each other to determine once and for all which place is the best. This week it’s SoHo vs. NoLiTa, in a New York neighborhood showdown.
  • The 10 Best New Restaurants of 2014: Keith McNally says he builds the kind of restaurants where he’d like to eat. Anyone seeing how well Cherche Midi has turned out will wonder why all other restaurateurs don’t do the same. 

  • A Chef Regains His Focus: For a chef with busy restaurants on both coasts, motionless moments are rare. But this was October 2013, and Mr. Bowien had just received word that Mission Chinese Food, the Lower East Side palace of psychedelic-Sichuan cuisine that had hurled him into the international spotlight, had been shut down by New York City’s health department for an array of sanitary violations, including the presence of mice.
  • Off the Beaten Path, and Well Worth a Visit: Taste of Northern China, The Manhattan Bridge heaves above this shallow storefront, which is around the corner from 88 East Broadway on Forsyth Street but takes the two lucky 8s as its address. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: Onion Soup Rings, The World's Largest White Truffle and NYC Holiday Guides

  • Wylie Dufresne Introduces His First Burger, With Side Of French Onion Soup Rings: Chef Wylie Dufresne has created myriad inventive and sometimes kooky dishes in his career, but surprisingly has never offered a burger on the menu of any of his restaurants. That changes starting now, with the chef debuting his first ever burger at his fun neighborhood eatery Alder.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Eating in NYC, All in One Place: Whether you've lived in New York all your life or you're just in town to see Rockefeller Center and the Christmas Tree, our goal at Serious Eats is to point you towards something delicious. That's why we've compiled the best of our New York stories into a comprehensive guide to eating out all across the city.
  • Inside The Tenement Museum, A "No Photo" Zone: The Tenement Museum has a strict "no photo" policy, as they believe it takes away from the visitor experience—"We are trying to facilitate an interactive experience with our visitors. It really is what makes us unique," the Museum's Jon Pace told us. "All the tours we offer are led by an educator." 
  • 16 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE NYC SUBWAY: If you take the subway every day in NYC, you probably know the basics: put $19.05 on your MetroCard, don't block the left side of the escalator, let everyone off the train before you barge in, and never -- under any circumstances -- get on the empty subway car during rush hour. Still though, there are probably a few things you don't know, like, say, which historic buildings have secret subway entrances...



  • Visiting Caffe Reggio, A Timeless Classic In A Changing Greenwich Village: Bleecker Street, MacDougal Street, and Greenwich Village as a whole certainly isn't what it used to be, back when bohemians ruled the roosts and Dylan was strumming his guitar at Cafe Wha?. These days, in place of the Village Gate you'll find a CVS, and over where The Bleecker Street Cinema was? A Duane Reade. The area does still have its charms, however, and a few businesses have survived the times-a-changin'. Caffe Reggio, which opened its doors at 119 MacDougal Street in 1927, is one of them.
  • HANUKKAH FRIED CHICKEN LATKA FINGERS ARE FOR EVERYONE: Available now through Dec 24th, both of NYC's Sticky’s Finger Joint locations -- the city's first gourmet chicken finger restaurant chain -- will be doling out the world's first Hanukkah-inspired chicken finger, the Latka Finger, because honestly, regular latkes just aren't cutting it anymore.

  • A New Yorker's guide to Chinese food for Christmas: It's an unofficial Jewish (and therefore New York) tradition to eat Chinese food on Christmas. Perhaps it's a cultural love of a good egg roll, or perhaps the custom roots from Chinese restaurants around the country staying open on Dec. 24-25 when almost everything else in America seems to be closed.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: FNYT in the News, A Sneak Peek at F&W Chef's Club and EVOO Takes a Hit


  • Per Se to Join Restaurants Charging in Advance: The system, called Tock, has been used since 2012 at the Chicago destinations Alinea and Next, where the co-owner, Nick Kokonas, devised the proprietary software. Diners at those restaurants reserve tables and pay online, in full, weeks or months in advance for nonrefundable tickets. Service charges are included, leaving only liquor charges to be added at the end of the meal.
    • Once an Icon, Per Se Is Showing its Age: Per Se, Keller's East Coast analogue to the (marginally cheaper) French Laundry, helped set the bar dramatically higher for how much money and time New Yorkers were willing to spend in dining rooms. Per Se's nine-course, three-hour feasts helped usher in our American era of extended tasting menus, paving the way for Blanca, Brooklyn Fare, Atera, Momofuku Ko, and other venues serving 16-30 courses for hundreds of dollars or more.
  • Amid Bugs, Hail, Floods and Bacteria, Italian Olives Take a Beating: The devastation has already translated into rising prices in Italy for a family staple, and will soon be felt by consumers worldwide. The commodity price for Italian extra virgin olive oil has doubled since last year, and the outlook is also very bad for Spain, the world’s biggest olive oil producer.


  • The 13 Best Sandwiches In NYC: The sandwich is the greatest culinary invention of all time. Sandwich chain Num Pang knows what it's doing when it comes to cooking up tender, melt-in-your mouth, fatty pork.
  • The Everything Guide to Last-Chance New York: Here, we offer a spotlight on the places that belong to a dying breed of shop (or mobile knife sharpener, or roller rink), which are in many cases the very last of their kind. Get to these glove-makers, fleabag hotels, Chino-Cuban eateries, dirt roads, and seltzer men while you still can.
  • Martha Stewart to open a café in Chelsea:  Martha Stewart Cafe will open in the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, where the domestic maven's company headquarters are located. Cafe managers now are hiring baristas.

Foods Of NY Tours and ACE Partner Up To Keep It Clean

We are now smack dab in the middle of the “season of giving”,  so we wanted to share with you how Food of NY Tours is giving back to the community. 

As a small company that pounds the pavement with our customers every single day, we're in a unique position to receive feedback from visitors to the neighborhood. In the past 15 years, we've toured thousands of hungry tourists and New Yorkers through the picturesque and historic Greenwich Village.

We officially began the Keep the Neighborhood Clean Campaign in 2012, and we are committed to keep this initiative going by partnering with ACE clean up crews, to whom Foods of NY Tours donated $1,500.  Other local establishment contributors included Faicco's Pork Shop, The Blind Tiger, and Rocco's.

Director of Operations Amy Bandolik gets hands on.

Our Keep the Neighborhood Clean campaign includes the following:
  • We've asked all local shops and restaurants to clean up in front of their establishments by 10:15am (picking up garbage, sweeping, hosing down the sidewalk).
  • Some shops are not open every day or not always able to spare someone to clean up outside, in which case the staff of Foods of NY Tours will be there to lend a hand.
  • If a shop is having trouble accommodating our requests, we're going to work with them to come up with a solution that will work for everyone.
  • We'll also be working in conjunction with the ACE clean up crews.

Tour guide Heather and Amy work together to pick up trash.

We realize that keeping streets clean that accommodate thousands of visitors a day is no small task, especially for the smaller businesses that have only one or two people working at a time. But with our direct help and the entire neighborhood working together in this concerted effort, we know that keeping Greenwich Village beautiful will have a direct positive impact for all involved. Additionally, we'll be reducing the amount of waste that ends up in the sewage system and our waterways as a result of runoff when it rains.

It's not a glamorous effort that will have any kind of fancy one-time payout, but it's one that we find well worth our time. Many of the businesses in the neighborhood are already great stewards of the space outside their storefronts, so it is our hope that we'll do an even better job when we are all working together to keep the streets clean.

It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!

If you've been a part of a successful cleanup campaign in the past, please contact us and let us know how it went! We're happy to hear any suggestions, tips, or comments you might have.

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