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Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: Cheesy FDA laws, The High Line is 5 and NYC's top Taco's

  • Restaurants Offer Discounts, Special Menus to Attract 5:30 Reservations:  Restaurateurs are trying to fill the pesky 5:30 dinner hour with a combination of sophisticated early menus and online booking specials. And fine restaurants are fine-tuning their service approach to make early diners feel they are getting more than the "early bird special."
  • On Tap: NYC Craft Beer Festival Summer International: This year, the NYC Craft Beer Festival returns to New York on June 20th and 21st, at the Lexington Avenue Armory (68 Lexington Ave). After sifting through surveys following recent events, this year's festival will showcase international beers, as people consistently highlight the fact that the craft beer explosion is happening worldwide, not just in in the United States. It's also representative of the fact the New York City has become a city where beers from all around the world have become readily available.
  • Wylie Dufresne Says He Is Forced to Close WD-50: WD-50, a Lower East Side landmark for modernist cooking and one of the most influential restaurants in the world, will close at the end of November.  But don’t cry, he’s just moving.

  • F.D.A. Rule May Alter Cheese-Aging Process: A decision by the Food and Drug Administration to question the use of wooden planks to age some cheeses has produced a stink that rivals Limburger, prompting an uproar among the artisanal cheese makers and consumers who fear they might lose access to products like obscure blue cheeses from Vermont and imported Parmigiano-Reggiano.
    • FDA Bans Wood Aging Boards for Cheese: Aaron Foster from Murray's Cheese in New York stated that "'cheesemakers have used rigorous environmental testing to show that [wood is] really very safe ...  It's certainly less expensive than stainless steel or plastic,' which are so sterile they can actually draw pathogens."
    • FDA Issues Clarification on Wood Aging of Cheese: Yesterday culture reported on the surprising decision by the FDA to crackdown on cheesemakers who use wooden boards to age their cheeses. We also covered the American Cheese Society's response to this crackdown, and we discussed possible interpretations of the federal regulation cited by the FDA spokesperson. Yesterday, we got a further update directly from the FDA.
  • Resy's Ben Leventhal and Gary Vaynerchuk on Their New Reservations App: The reservations war is heating up: OpenTable has launched last minute table alerts, Yelp has created its own reservation system, and more companies seem to join the space every day. Entering the fray next month is Resy, an app that, according to CEO (and Eater co-founder) Ben Leventhal, is all about "flipping the model" of existing reservation systems. 


  • Murray's Cheese is better than ever post-makeover: In just two weeks, this Bleecker Street staple has transformed. Gone is that loud red and yellow awning in favor of a more modern one. Inside, the once claustrophobic aisles and islands are clear and glossy. It's spacious, organized and alluring.

  • You can eat some of America's best burgers in New York: Americans love their burgers, and New York seems to know how to make them. Three of the top 10 best burgers in America and 15 of the 101 best are in New York, according to The Daily Meal.
  • First Look: Negril Village, Midtown: A few months back, Negril Village took over the historic firehouse building on North Avenue that was once home to Engine 11 Tavern. Since then, the classy Caribbean spinoff of the Greenwich Village spot of the same name has been flying under the radar, making due without a working website of its own, and only a handful of reviews on Yelp.

  • NYC's High Line park celebrates 5th anniversary: The High Line is marking its fifth anniversary of providing one of New York City's more unusual public spaces: a park in a former freight rail line above Manhattan's streets.
  • New Whitney Ready To Take On MoMA: Is the Whitney set to supplant MoMA as New York’s go-to modern art museum? The institution will begin moving into its new Renzo Piano building later this year, with the Meatpacking District location opening to the public about one year from now. 

  • Sweetgreen Plans a Fourth NYC Outpost in Nolita: Sweetgreen, the only gourmet salad chain cool enough to collaborate with Momofuku is now planning a fourth outpost in Nolita. The DC-based chain already has locations in Nomad and Tribeca, plus one in the works on North 4th Street in Williamsburg, which should open by the fall.
  • Taco the Town; Tasting Table’s top 10 tacos in NYC: Is there anything more varied and beautiful in the world of culinary math than this formula: fresh tortilla + toppings = delicious? No, my friend, there is not. From pig's head to spicy goat meat to chorizo and pineapple salsa, here are the ten tacos in town doing it for us right now.
  • Russ & Rye: [Re]Building the Jewish Bakery Tradition: For the last four decades, the narrative of Jewish bakeries in America hasn't been a positive one. It consists mainly of bakers retiring, stores closing, and the link between Eastern Europe's great bread-baking traditions and us eroding each day.

  • Restaurants That Dump Leaky Garbage Bags Should Be Fined, Councilwoman Says: Clean up your leaky garbage — or pay up.  That’s the message City Councilwoman Margaret Chin is sending to restaurants with a new bill that would fine them if their trash is found oozing oil or other liquids onto the street.  “If you walk around a lot of neighborhoods, places like Chinatown, you can see this grease buildup on the sidewalk,” said Chin, whose district includes Chinatown as well as TriBeCa and the Financial District.

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