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Friday, May 2, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: New Waffogatos, Old Picassos, Current Burgers and Tacos

  • Legal Battle Over Picasso at The Four Seasons Drags On: Aby Rosen, the landlord of The Four Seasons, is still fighting to take down Picasso mural Le Tricorne in order to repair the wall behind it. The Landmarks Conservancy, which owns the painting, is suing the restaurant in order to prevent Rosen from taking it down, a move that might damage the work.
  • After Years of Controversy, The Pavilion Opens Tonight: The Pavilion, the long-in-the-works restaurant in the embattled Union Square Pavilion, opens for dinner tonight. Restaurateur Simon Oren of the 5 Napkin Burger chain signed on to the project back in 2011, when the Parks Department was already deeply entrenched in a fight over its right to operate a private restaurant in the space. 
  • A Complete Guide to New York City Hamburger Styles: The hamburger developed somewhat differently in NYC. Because the city was largely unaffected by the interstate highway system, the drive-in was far less pertinent. And NYC already had its own established portable street foods in the form of pizza and hot dogs. White Castle opened 12 locations in the NYC metro area in 1930, but McDonald's, which emerged as the largest burger chain in the post-war era, didn't open in NYC until 1973, almost 20 years after it started franchising.
  • We Tried 472 Tacos in New York City. Here's What We Learned: When you eat 472 tacos, you learn a thing or two. When we embarked on our journey, we knew we'd come away with a list of the city's best tacos and a breakdown of what you should order in every Mexican restaurant in town. We also walked away with some other key taco truths. 
  • A Hilarious NYC Survival Guide I Wish Every Tourist Would Read: In a city with over 8 million people – you’re bound to take a wrong turn and get in someone’s way. That’s why author and artist Nathan Pyle decided to explain the basics of living in New York City. Having experienced the pains and inconveniences of being “new to the city,” Pyle created an illustrated handbook for the uninitiated, aptly named NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette, which was just released a few days ago for the eager reading pleasure of New Yorkers everywhere.

  • EMP, Daniel, Per Se, and Le Bern Land on 50 Best List: Tthe prestigious, increasingly popular World's 50 Best Restaurants List from San Pellegrino was announced in London. The same four New York restaurants from last year's list made the cut this time, but their rankings changed: Eleven Madison Park is the highest ranking American restaurant at number four, Per Se, Le Bernardin, and Daniel also made the list. Joining the 50-100 list are Momofuku Ssäm Bar, The Nomad, Momofuku Ko, Marea, and Jean-Georges. 
  • Bitter Winter Limits the Offerings of Spring: It’s supposed to feel like spring. But the soil has been too cold to plant sweet corn in the Midwest. New Jersey asparagus is getting frostbit. Michigan’s sweet cherries are in trouble. Even the South is suffering. Strawberry farmers in North Carolina, which produces the nation’s fourth-largest crop, fought back an Easter freeze. The psychological impact of winter has made the Pavlovian need for spring more intense. But there is less to offer.
  • How I Shoot: Capturing Cocktails with @danielkrieger: For Daniel Krieger (@danielkrieger), a photographer in New York City, the recipe for an enticing cocktail photo includes “beautiful composition, atmosphere and the best possible light.” Though he also regularly documents dishes at restaurants such as Estela (@estelanyc) and Maison Premiere (@maisonpremiere), Daniel said that cocktails have something special going for them that most dishes don’t: their ability to transmit light. Captured correctly, “that glass just pops and creates an instant focus for the viewer.”
  • A Gust of Sesame and Saffron: Today many chefs, with and without roots in the Middle East and North Africa, who are pulling those regions’ rich and ancient culinary traditions into the limelight. And though there is still some hesitation — political as well as practical — to label the food Middle Eastern, it is becoming a key component in New York’s busy palette of cuisines. Long available as cheap street food, it now has a secure foothold in fine dining.


  • The nine most expensive sushi restaurants in the USA: Sushi Nakazawa, at $150 a meal, is the cheapest of the bunch: Ryan Sutton rounds up the nine most expensive sushi restaurants in the country, with a detailed chart of exactly how much you'll spend at each. Masa comes in at number one with a $450 omakase ($600 with a kobe supplement), while Sushi Nakazawa is the cheapest of the bunch, at a relatively reasonable $150 for a meal.
  • Decoy: Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng are finally opening their long-planned shrine to Peking duck in a converted laundromat beneath their West Village Chinese restaurant, RedFarm. Mr. Schoenfeld, a connoisseur of Chinese food for decades, has strong ideas when it comes to Peking duck. 

  • Dominique Ansel's Newest Creation: The Waffogato: Cronut inventor/pastry wizard Dominque Ansel is at it again: The pastry chef revealed his latest creation, the Waffogato, via Instagram. A rep for his New York City bakery explains the dessert features vanilla ice cream with tapioca balls and "bits of Belgian waffle mixed inside" shaped as a waffle topped with a pinch of salt. A maple syrup espresso is poured on top just like a traditional affogato. 

  • FYI Channel Orders a Whole Bunch of New Food Shows: The FYI channel announced today a new series with ex-cheftestapant and DC-based chef Spike Mendelsohn called Midnight Feast. A brief run (six one-hour episodes), the show will be a "late-night culinary showdown" inside NYC's Chelsea Market in which the winner "gets cash and the losers pay the bill."
  • The Best of the Meatpacking at OPEN MARKET, May 12: On Monday, May 12, join co-chairs Diane von Furstenberg, Andrew Rosen and André Balazs at OPEN MARKET, a fundraiser for the Meatpacking District Improvement Association. For one night only Highline Stages will be transformed into an interactive dining, shopping and music event, featuring the participation of virtually all of the businesses in the district.

  • Cafe El Presidente, Tacombi's All Day Mexican Market: Here's a look around Tacombi owner Dario Wolos's massive all-day Mexican restaurant and marketplace Cafe El Presidente, which opens today. Since that last early peek, the team has made all the finishing touches, finalized the taco menu, and started cranking out fresh tortillas. 
  • Adam Platt: 'Gato Isn't Your Standard Flay Restaurant’: Although he's not a fan of the noisy dining room, Adam Platt is pleasantly surprised by the Mediterranean fare that's coming out of Bobby Flay's kitchen at Gato. The critic writes that this "isn't your standard Bobby Flay restaurant," and he notes that the dishes are executed with a "surprisingly delicate touch." 

  • Even Panda Express Is Serving Kale Now: Chinese fast-food chain Panda Express is joining the trendy kale bandwagon with a new healthy menu item that stir-fries kale with shiitake mushrooms and chicken breast. The "WokSmart" Shiitake Kale Chicken Breast clocks in at 170 calories and is part of a "yin-and-yang" tandem of new dishes.
  • Wilson Tang’s Take on the “Myth of Chinatown Restaurants”: This article was written by Wilson Tang, who owns the Nom Wah Tea Parlor, Chinatown’s oldest dim sum restaurant, and Fung Tu, a new spot on Orchard Street: A couple of weeks ago, New York Magazine restaurant critic Adam Platt took on the “Great Chinatown Myth,” arguing that the old neighborhood’s “dining scene has been stuck in neutral for years.”  Those are fighting words for a guy like me, who now owns two restaurants in the Chinatown/Lower East Side area and has been eating in loc


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