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Friday, November 15, 2013

The Weekly Roundup: Olive Oil Cocktails, Whiskey Barrels in Restaurants, New Show at Cherry Lane

  • Subway fares to rise less than forecast: New York's subway and bus commuters will see fares rise slower than projected over the next few years, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said. A year after Hurricane Sandy caused about $5 billion in damage to its system, the agency said increased cost cutting, lower expenses, and higher operating revenue should allow officials to raise fares and tolls by 4% instead of the projected 7.5% in 2015 and 2017.
  • One World Trade Center Is Ruled Tallest Building in U.S.: For the first time in nearly 40 years, America’s largest city is home to America’s tallest building. One World Trade Center, at 1,776 feet, is indeed taller than the Willis Tower in Chicago, which measures 1,450 feet. That judgment was delivered on Tuesday by the official arbiter of structural stature, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
  • Restaurants in New York are adding the fruity and spicy taste of olive oil to mixed drinks: Olive oil can add a fruity and peppery taste, as well as change the texture of drinks. “These drinks have an element of adventure,” says Eben Freeman, head of bar operations and innovations for the Altamarea restaurant group, which includes the Butterfly in Tribeca and Marea in Midtown West. “People are trying all sorts of things they wouldn’t have tried before. Drinks that shocked people a few years ago are almost expected now.”

  • That Pinch of Pumpkin: Sales of last year’s pumpkin offerings climbed nearly 20 percent to more than $290 million, Nielsen reports, and people in the flavor business say the trend has a powerful demographic wind at its back: strong popularity among millennials. I visited a supplier to food manufacturers, Flavor & Fragrance Specialties in Mahwah, N.J., where Dianne Sansone, the director of technical services, showed me through the laboratory, whipped up some concoctions to taste and pulled back the curtain on what is arguably one of the most mysterious, and misunderstood, flavors in processed foods.
  • Make It Whiskey in a Barrel, Neat: Make It Whiskey in a Barrel, Neat Coktails bars are buying entire barrels of whiskey — 120 bottles’ worth of whiskey — choosing the cask from among several samples sent to them. It This thirst for proprietary whiskey, a product that a bar can call its own, is spreading. Heaven Hill and other bourbon makers — including Buffalo Trace, Four Roses and Brown-Forman — are selling barrels to bars from San Francisco to Boston
  • Christina Tosi's Flavor Grid: The founder and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, Christina Tosi, opened up a new class space recently and last night held a small event showcasing some new recipes she's crafted with Häagen-Dazs. On the wall of the classroom is this flavor grid, which shows a flavor breakdown for 14 of Milk Bar's cakes as well as the cake truffles.


  • Candy shops make West Village the sweet spot: Thanks to a recent influx of upscale candy stores, the West Village is fast turning into a real-life Willy Wonka Land. During the past two years, the neighborhood has been booming with bonbons. In the past seven months alone, more than three sugar-centric shops—among them designer Cynthia Rowley's CuRious Candy, and Sugar and Plumm—have opened on Bleecker Street near Seventh Avenue, with even more expected in the neighborhood next year. Leonidas, La Maison du Chocolat and Neuhaus are also looking for space in the area.
  • Rattlestick Playwrights Theater's One Night, Starring Rutina Wesley, Begins Performances at Cherry Lane Theatre: The Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and Cherry Lane Theatre's co-production of Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Fuller's One Night begins performances on November 6. Directed by Clinton Turner Davis, the drama will play through December 15 at off-Broadway's Cherry Lane Theatre, with an official opening night set for November 20. Grantham Coleman (Choir Boy), K.K. Moggie ("Gossip Girl"), Matthew Montelongo (A View from the Bridge), Cortez Nance Jr. (A Soldier's Story), Rutina Wesley ("True Blood").

  • Coen Brothers Take On Folk Scene in ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’: The Coen Brothers’ latest film, set amid the acoustic folk movement in Greenwich Village in 1961, is about a musical era perched on a precipice. The movie takes place right before Bob Dylan emerged on the scene and completely transformed it. During that fleeting musical moment, “there’s this apocalyptic feeling, a sense that this thing is coming, and it is almost like the end of days,” says Oscar Isaac, 33, who plays Llewyn Davis. “The rapture is Bob Dylan.” In the context of the film, the notion isn’t as overblown as it sounds.

  • High Line To Get Bowl-Shaped Garden In Newest Section: A circular garden filled with trees and plants is coming to the newest section of the High Line. New designs for the much-anticipated third section of the elevated park feature a large, bowl-shaped space covered in greenery on the Spur, a section of the High Line sticking out over West 30th Street and 10th Avenue.
  • Sohha Savory Yogurt Announces First Retail Location in Famed Chelsea Market in Manhattan’s Gansevoort Meat Packing District: Sohha Savory Yogurt will carry a café style menu with selections for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Customers will find pre-packaged goods including yogurt, hummus, and baba ghanouj and order yogurt combinations with a variety of savory toppings, such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seasonings, and vegetables. For a healthier dessert, Sohha makes an amazing cheesecake from its strained yogurt and has an espresso and dark chocolate topping for yogurt. Finally, there will be drinks made from whey and yogurt.
  • How Num Pang Became New York’s Quietest Restaurant Empire: That changed when Ratha Chaupoly and Ben Daitz opened the first Num Pang in 2009, a stylish shop that took the basic ingredients of the bánh mì and gave them an elevated Cambodian twist. Earlier this month, to little fanfare, they opened a Num Pang outpost in Times Square — their third new location this year, and their fifth total in New York. In fact, Chaupoly and Daitz have been quietly building a thriving mini-chain, and it sounds like they're ready to break into the big time.



  • Xi'an Famous Foods Expands to the Upper West Side: Next month, Jason Wang will open a location of his wildly popular Chinese restaurant Xi'an Famous Foods at 2675 Broadway, between West 102nd and West 101st streets. Wang hinted at an Upper West Side Expansion last summer, and now he announces on the restaurant's website that the grand opening will be on December 7.
  • Parfaits Not Perverts: Inside NYC's First 'Maid Cafe': "She just took my empty glass and skipped away. She skipped away. That's too cute. I can't handle it," one customer of New York's first Maid Cafe gushed over a very regal parfait. As he turned around, the waitress caught his sidelong glance and, smiling shyly, giggled at him, sending him into a fit of smiles. "Welcome home, master!" the maids cooed to customers walking in.


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