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Friday, April 18, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: Holiday Foods, Horseless eCarriages, New Neighborhood Restaurants

  • FNYT Volunteers--Foods of NY Tours spent Tuesday, April 15th, volunteering at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, which serves up to 1,200 people every day. Check out our group in aprons and read the recent WSJ article on the organization, which has served New York's hungry since 1982: Filling the Hungry Souls

  • Tavern on the Green Sparkles Again: Tavern on the Green reopens April 24 after two years of work inside and out on the historic, nearly 150-year-old structure designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould. The interior has its own grandeur, but is now a polished jewel, not an Oscar-night tiara. 
  • 'Horseless eCarriage' unveiled at Auto Show: Commissioned by an anti-carriage horse group, the 20th-century prototype seats eight people and will sell for up to $175,000. The electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City. The "Horseless eCarriage" prototype was unveiled Thursday at the New York International Auto Show. It was commissioned by NYCLASS, a group advocating for a ban on carriage horses, saying it's inhumane to have them toiling in an urban environment.
  • How One Family Dominated Fin-de-Siècle NYC Architecture: Guastavino. It may not ring a bell, but pretty much every New Yorker has seen the work of Rafael Guastavino, Sr. (1842-1908), and his son Rafael Guastavino, Jr. (1872-1950). Their ascent to acclaim typifies the American dream, and it's one that still has missing pieces—but more on that later. According to the Museum of the City of New York, which is hosting an ongoing exhibition on them called "Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile," there are 300 Guastavino-annointed spaces in the five boroughs alone, and over 1,000 of them across the country.
  • Can All of New York Go Out to Eat on the Same Day?: I would guesstimate that the average capacity of a New York restaurant is about 20 people, factoring in that there are more hole-in-the-wall places. As long as diners keep meals to an average of 40 minutes or less, all of New York could eat out in a single day.

  • Gefilte Fish Is Scarce This Passover. Taste Buds Are Ambivalent: Why is this year unlike all other years? Because of the 11th plague — the polar vortex — which created a shortage of gefilte fish, the appetizer equally loathed and loved by generations of Jews. In Yiddish, gefilte means stuffed or filled. Gefilte fish originated among German Jewry in the Middle Ages as a way to stretch food and to have a meal on the Sabbath, when no cooking is allowed. 
  • See How Cadbury Hatches 350 Million Goo-Filled Eggs a Year: Candy company Mondelēz International only sells Cadbury Créme Eggs from January through Easter, but its factories fill chocolate shells with gooey cream 364 days a year. Easter shift manager (his actual title) Charles McDonald shows us how the Cadbury factory in Birmingham, England, achieves candy magic, ova and ova.
  • Top Food Films at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival: The 13th Tribeca Film Festival kicks off Wednesday night, and features plenty of big name screenings - including a quartet of intriguing food-related films. Read on for a preview of TIFF's culinary-themed screenings - for times and tickets head here. 


  • Baker & Co., the New Italian Spot from the Emporio Team: This week Elena Fabiani, the owner of Aurora and Emporio, opened Baker & Co. in the space that long housed Zito's Bakery, and more recently Pizza Roma. The seasonal Italian menu from chef Ricardo Buitoni includes dishes like pappardelle with veal cheek ragu, smoked eggplant ravioli, and rabbit meatballs, as well as a cheeseburger with fries. There's an enclosed garden in the back, and the restaurant has plans to add lunch and brunch service soon.
  • Starbucks Will Open in Original Bleecker Street Records Location: A recent real-estate industry notice indicates the lease on the 1,500-square-foot space was signed earlier this month, and the storefront at 239 Bleecker Street that was home to Bleecker Street Records will next become a Starbucks. The vinyl store thrived for more than two decades in its West Village home, but was forced to move to 188 West 4th Street after the landlord reportedly increased the rent to $27,000. 
  • 'Ultra Low Fat Gourmet Doughnut Shop’ Opening in the West Village: No doubt in response to the collective full-fat awesomeness represented by America's greatest doughnut shops, a decade-old online company called Holey Donuts! will open its first brick-and-mortar store on May 4 at 101 Seventh Avenue South. Owner Frank Dilullo refuses talk about his patented 22-step process in detail, except to say that his 26 doughnut varieties, which contain a mere 3 to 5 grams of fat each and will retail for $3.85 a pop.

  • Dominique Ansel to Hand Out Free Cronuts Today: Master of surprise and whimsy Dominique Ansel will be handing out Cronuts and Cookie Shots at secret locations throughout the city today to celebrate the unveiling of his cookbook's cover. So, there's a chance that you might be able to get a Cronut without waiting in an insane line, however the giveaway will probably be a mob scene/shitshow because people are cuckoo for Cronuts.

  • The Meatpacking District Puts On a White Collar: Gritty Neighborhood Is Turning Glassy With Office Towers: When it was home to about 250 slaughterhouses and packing plants—more than a century ago—the Meatpacking District was aptly named. Today, though, the neighborhood on Manhattan's West Side is quickly turning into the new hip workplace. The area—its boundaries are roughly from Gansevoort Street to West 14th Street and from the Hudson River to Hudson Street—has five new mixed-use office/retail buildings that are going up or in the planning stages, bringing in thousands of daytime workers and shoppers over the next few years.

  • A Preview of Tacombi's Mexi-Market, Cafe El Presidente: Here's an early peek at Cafe El Presidente, the giant all-day cafe/tortilleria/market/taqueria from the Tacombi team, which opens later this month in the Flatiron District. Up front there's a fresh juice bar, a coffee bar (which turns into a regular bar), cafe seating, and a small selection of ingredients for sale. The back of the space has more seating, a tortilla press cranking out fresh tortillas, and Tacos Madison, a taqueria where former Peels chef Jason DeBriere will serve a range of classic tacos. 

  • Debunking the Myth of Chinatown Restaurants: But with apologies to Wilson Tang, whose relaunched Nom Wah Tea Parlor serves a decent facsimile of “classic” dim sum, and whose new restaurant, Fung Tu, up on Orchard Street, I enjoyed, the Chinatown dining scene has been stuck in neutral for years now. Talented chefs may come through the neighborhood now and then, but they rarely stay for more than a few months.


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