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Friday, October 11, 2013

The Weekly Roundup: Weeds in the Kitchen, MacDougal-Sullivan Gardens, Thanksgivukkah

Sullivan Gardens, seen on our Central Village/ Soho Tour

  • New Legislation Makes Health Inspections Less Brutal: Yesterday the City Council passed a legislation package that will make the notoriously tough health inspection process a little easier on restaurants. Council Speaker Christine Quinn proposed the package back in July, and since then has already managed to come to an agreement with the Department of Health to reduce many of the most brutal fines. Those fine reductions were included in this package, plus more legislation to help restaurateurs before the DOH even shows up.
  • Manhattan rents ease for first time in 2 years: Slight retreat comes as more renters in the borough decide to buy, a response to recent increases in purchase levels. In Brooklyn, residential sales rose 20% year-over-year in the third quarter.
  • Rare East Village office building lands first tenant: Online auctioneer 1stdibs signs on for a full, 42,000-square-foot floor at the just completed 51 Astor Place. Pricey lease marks a bold new high for rents in the area.

  • Gobble tov! Hanukkah meets Thanksgiving: An extremely rare convergence this year of Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah has created a frenzy of Talmudic proportions. The last time it happened was 1888, or at least the last time since Thanksgiving was declared a federal holiday by President Abraham Lincoln, and the next time may have Jews lighting their candles from spaceships 79,043 years from now, by one calculation.
  • The Government Shutdown Is Taking a Toll on Restaurants: As the country heads into its second week of the government shutdown, restaurants are increasingly feeling the burden. Whether in reduced customer attendance or, in some cases, actually be forced to shutter, the shutdown has certainly taken its toll on the restaurant community in DC and beyond. Here's how.
  • New Ingredients Sprout From the Cracks: Ms. Hezel, 61, runs Prairie Birthday Farm, a 15-acre, pesticide-free homestead about 20 miles from downtown Kansas City where she forages for — and even cultivates — nuisance weed species like bedstraw, chickweed, henbit, dandelion, wild bergamot, red clover, dead nettle, lambs-quarters, wood sorrel, purslane and plantain (the leafy variety, not the banana) for restaurants.


  • Perla's Michael Toscano Wants You to Eat Whole Animals and Off-Cuts: Chef Michael Toscano grew up in Texas eating tripe and cow's head, but it wasn't until Mario Batali's Babbo cookbook came out that he realized he was fascinated by the mechanics of breaking down a whole animal and using all its parts in various ways. Toscano went to work with Batali first at Babbo, and then move on to create the menu for Manzo at Eataly.
  • Steakcraft: A Visit to Florence Prime Meats, Home of the Newport Steak: Florence Meat Market was opened on March 6, 1936 by the legendary butcher Jack Ubaldi. Ubaldi was a naturalized American citizen who was born in Umbria, Italy and emigrated through Ellis Island in 1917 when he was seven years old. He would go on to run the store until 1975 when he sold it to long-time employee Tony Pelligrino, who owned it for twenty years before selling it current owner Benny Pizzuco.
  • Plain or Painted? In Any Case, Unfaded: But original can turn around and bite you, as shown in the perplexing case of 90 Macdougal Street, a house in the Macdougal-Sullivan Gardens complex, between Houston and Bleecker Streets. The row of once-identical four-story brick houses is a crazy circus of gray, pink, white, tan and yellow, but despite our love for original, it is going to stay that way. And get ready for the purple.

  • Lucy's Whey Opens on Upper East Side: We're thrilled to announce that our specialty food shop and cafe on Manhattan's Upper East Side is open! Located on Lexington Avenue just south of 93rd Street, Lucy's Whey Carnegie Hill features artisanal cheese and charcuterie; the finest coffee and espresso; handmade sandwiches, salads, and prepared foods; fresh-baked breads and pastries; and much more. Also coming soon: craft beers!
  • Ten years later: The Meatpacking District would have been minced meat without landmarking: Ten years ago this September, the Gansevoort Market Historic District was designated, granting landmark protections to about two-thirds of the Meatpacking District. The neighborhood has gone through an incredible amount of change during the past decade, but the type of change might have been completely different had it not been for landmark designation.
  • Old Long Island City warehouse will be reborn as a Chelsea Market clone : A former warehouse in Long Island City that’s owned by the developers of the Chelsea Market will be transformed into Queens version of the celebrated foodie paradise, the Daily News has learned. Jamestown Properties is already bringing in artisanal food makers to occupy the ground floor of the Falchi Building on 47th Ave. near LaGuardia Community College.

  • In the Kitchen with The Smile's Chef Melia Marden: A lot of buzz surrounds Melia Marden, which is no surprise considering her art world pedigree and austere beauty. But the chef of The Smile, the downtown restaurant populated by the requisite group of New York fashion and art cool kids, seems not to notice. From her understated, colorful style (tangerine nails to match her suede flats) to her unconventional career path (a stint at Maya’s in St. Barts and time spent under the tutelage of Jennifer Rubell) it quickly became clear that she is a new kind of chef, who isn’t taking cues from anyone.

  • Is Chinatown shrinking?: The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund released a 50-page report analyzing the changes in New York's, Boston's, and Philly's Chinatowns since 1990, which—to no one's surprise—chronicled the gentrification of those areas, which are no more the sole domain of immigrants. This morning the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund released a 50-page report analyzing the changes in New York's, Boston's, and Philly's Chinatowns since 1990, which—to no one's surprise—chronicled the gentrification of those areas, which are no more the sole domain of immigrants.


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