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Friday, April 25, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: NYC Bagels, Cat Cafes, Tavern on the Green Dinners


  • At Tavern on the Green, dinner is served: The famed Central Park eatery that was shuttered four years ago for a $30 million renovation is open for business once again, and will feed 550 guests on Thursday evening.
  • Brooklyn Couple Is Using Old Brewery Tunnel to Age Cheese: A Brooklyn couple has found a unique place to pair beer and cheese: a warren of barrel-vaulted chambers under Bergen Street. By the end of May, Crown Finish Caves will receive its first shipment of cheese, 1,000 pounds of Gorgonzola, Parmesan and pasta filata, among other varieties. It marks the city's latest entry into the cheese-aging business, a relatively recent phenomenon in the U.S.
  • Cat Café pop-up in the Bowery is a place for New Yorkers to 'paws' and relax from the daily grind: A pop-up Cat Cafe, open in New York's Bowery district from Thursday to Sunday, is welcoming cat and coffee lovers who need a 'paws' from the daily grind. Even better: all of the cats can be adopted, and the Cat'achinos are complimentary.
  • Balloon Lets Builders Check Out Future Towers’ Views: A big white balloon appeared in New York this week. First on the Lower East Side, then uptown, where 57th Street meets the East River. The balloon, it turns out, frequently visits the city on business: Its job is to photograph potential views for architects and real estate developers. The balloons became popular after Sept. 11, as new laws were enacted that placed more restrictions on urban airspace. 
  • Long-Awaited Floating Pool Moves Into Filtration Testing Phase: Hop on in to the Hudson River — the water's fine. A team of designers creating a massive floating pool intended to let New Yorkers swim in the East or Hudson rivers has created a filtration system to filter the river’s water and let people swim without the fear of toxic chemicals. The group is currently testing it out in hopes of having it ready for a Spring 2016 launch date.

  • NYC bagels are back as local bakers return to classic style: Over-puffed, machine-made bagels run rampant in NYC, but authentic iterations have been hard to find — until now. The Big Apple’s best-known baked good is making a comeback: In the coming months, some of the city’s top chefs and restaurateurs are set to open a bevy of new shops and cafes selling hand-rolled bagels schmeared with fresh, homemade cream cheese.
  • Food Pornographers' Obnoxious New Toy: #dinnercam: In case flash photography in restaurants wasn't intrusive enough, a South African company has designed what it's calling the #dinnercam (hashtag included), which functions as a portable lighting studio for those who want to take their "social media shots to the next level." The device — which offers several lighting options, from very bright to purple — resides in Cape Town restaurant El Burro, and is made available to interested diners upon request.
  • As Wine Culture Gets Older, the Sommeliers Get Younger: Several years ago I slipped quietly into the back row of a professional wine tasting, took a seat, and began to wonder if drinking wine contributes to hair loss. Every head in front of mine was balding. Seemingly everyone else in the room was 50 years old or older. It is hard to imagine this scenario happening today, but back then the average age of wine buyers was much higher. 
  • Häagen-Dazs Japan Launches Veggie-Flavored Ice Cream: The ice cream makers at Häagen-Dazs will soon unleash two vegetable ice cream flavors: "Tomato cherry" (which will combine the sweetness of tomatoes with the "acidity and fruity aroma of cherry") and "Carrot Orange" (which highlights the "refreshing sweetness of carrot"). The Spoon Vege line contains fruit juice and just 8.5 percent milk fat — roughly half than that of Häagen-Dazs flavors — making it arguably healthy.
  • 4 Mouth Watering Events For This Year's Burger Week: As it is with pizza and bagels, every day is burger day in NYC, from the lowbrow bar versions to the over the top creations we'll only dream about. To celebrate the humble meat patty meal we have Burger Week, an annual tribute to the staple of backyard bbqs and fast food joints everywhere. There's a new event each night during the May 1st through 7th fete; here's what we'll be chowing down on.


  • NYC Parks Smoking Ban Barely Enforced: Bad news for fans of one of Michael Bloomberg's signature nanny-state initiatives: Gotham Gazette's FOIL request for data on the enforcement of the ban against smoking in parks shows that since it went into effect in 2011, only 440 tickets have been issued. Ninety percent (or 397) were issued in Manhattan, 17 in Brooklyn, 15 in Staten Island, eight in the Bronx, and only one in Queens. Overall, the ban has brought in only $22,000 in ticket revenue. For example, in Washington Square Park, 57 tickets—or 13% of all the tickets given out in New York City for the past three years—were written last October. In the other months of 2013, not a single ticket was written there.

  • Bread-Making Classes, Small Bagels, Bread Knives and More: Several bakeries offer hands-on bread-making classes that are often less intensive than those offered by the big cooking schools. Le Pain Quotidien has a full calendar of classes in its NoHo store; at Breads Bakery near Union Square, Uri Scheft, the chef and an owner, conducts a class every month or so; and Amy’s Bread in the Chelsea Market has just started offering bread-baking instruction. 

  • Nolita Increasingly Becomes a Name of Its Own: Area North of Little Italy Has Separate Character With Many Independent Stores. Business owners say people seek out the neighborhood expressly for its mom-and-pop retail.
  • Black Seed, Nolita's New Wood-Fired Bagel Shop: Here's an early look at Black Seed, the new wood-fired bagel shop from Noah Bernamoff of Mile End and Matt Kliegman of The Smile. The little shop turns out hand-rolled, hand-boiled bagels that are a cross between Montreal style bagels and classic New York ones. Toppings include house-made cream cheese, Tobiko caviar spread, whitefish salad, and beet-cured lox, and the menu includes salad toppings and the option of a bacon, egg, and cheese. The shop opens on Wednesday.

  • Ivan Orkin’s Ramen Restaurant to Open on the Lower East Side: Occasionally a chef will do a pop-up in a borrowed kitchen to preview a new restaurant. But Ivan Orkin, the first American chef to open his own ramen shop in Tokyo, has had months of trial runs with his more casual Slurp Shop in the Gotham West Market. 


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