Culturefix Closes; Bistango Expands

Bodega Negra Café now hosts Taco Tuesdays: buy one set of tacos, get the second set free all day and night. [Grub Street]

Culturefix on the Lower East Side closed last night. [Bedford + Bowery]

Bistango will open at a third location on August 6 at the Kimberly Hotel, at 145 East 50th Street. [Grub Street]

Bacchanal will begin offering Sunday dinner service starting this weekend, August 3. [Grub Street]

Cheeburger Cheeburger Shutters Its Only Brooklyn Location

Cheeburger no more.

A note taped to the front window indicates it's curtains for the lone Brooklyn outpost of Florida-based chain Cheeburger Cheeburger, which opened at Seventh Avenue and Third Street in Park Slope in the pre-Fulton Mall Shake Shack days of 2011, when it was generally thought the borough's neighborhoods could sustain a burger chain on pretty much every corner. More Cheeburger Cheeburgers were promised but never arrived, and, meanwhile, the restaurant "never really developed a following among locals," Here's Park Slope notes. [HPS, Related]

Red Lobster Will Try to Get Fancier by Plating the Same Menu in New Ways

See this? This is what the tilapia with broccoli and rice pilaf looks like at the old Red Lobster, which is ceasing to be as we know it, now that the chain has officially changed hands. Get ready for tilapia plated "more like you'd see at a fine-dining restaurant."

See what they did there? »

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Gordon Ramsay Forbids His Daughter to Swear on Her New Cooking Show

Tilly Ramsay.

Twelve-year-old Tilly Ramsay, the youngest of the Kitchen Nightmares chef's four progeny, will join the world of precocious grade-school chefs with a still-unnamed cooking show for CBBC. (That first C stands for Children's.) The newest Ramsay to wield a sauté pan is surely getting pointers from Dad, who seems to need a new hobby anyway, but one thing he absolutely won't teach her is how to craft perfect on-air profanities. He says, "I have told her that they are not clever words but sometimes they just slip out." Good news is the show isn't supposed to air for two more years, plenty of time for young Tilly to compile a master list of profanity-free ways to say "You f--king donkey." [Daily Mail UK]

The Cleveland’s Guest-Chef Dinners Only Cost $25

The chefs will join Max Sussman in the garden.

The Cleveland is making good use of its newly reopened garden by hosting a series of alfresco Sunday night guest-chef dinners. Each meal will cost just $25, which includes one plate of food and one beer or glass of wine — and the beer is a custom collaboration with Finback Brewery in Astoria. The roster includes Fritzl's Lunchbox's Dan Ross (August 3), Pok Pok's Alicia Parter (August 10), the Meat Hook's Brent Young (August 17), King Noodle's Nick Subic (August 24), and chef Max Sussman's brother, Eli, of Mile End (August 31). Even better: Tickets will be available at the door, as well as online, so you can be spontaneous.

This 71-Ingredient Cocktail Looks Fantastically Gross

But how does it taste?Photo: People Make Glasgow/Twitter

We're going to guess that the bright-pink drink you see in the coupe here, which is made with figs, eggplant, saffron, bitter cress, okra, potatoes, pumpkin seeds, coffee, sour cherries, lemongrass, and 61 other plant-world things, is probably the strongest-ever contender for a round of "Stump the Bartender." The Commonwealth Cocktail was designed to commemorate the XX Commonwealth Games, taking place right now in Glasgow, and its ingredient list encompasses just one thing carefully sourced from each of the 71 Commonwealth countries, meaning that it likely just edges out that eight-drink megacockatil at the NoMad in terms of labor-intensiveness. On the plus side, though, anyone who orders this monstrosity can claim they detect notes of wild Welsh cotoneaster or a slight Tongan avocado nose and be entirely correct.

Logan berry from Canada, star anise from Malta. »

Careless Johnny Rockets Employee Disses the Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, along with her entourage, was riding on the freeway that presumably goes by the Ontario side of Niagara Falls, when she asked the tour bus to pull over so she could get a Cherry Coke and a cheeseburger from Johnny Rockets. Apparently this is something the 72-year-old Queen of Soul does often, which is why she says she was all the more insulted when told she couldn't sit at a table to enjoy her meal because she hadn't been rung up as a dine-in customer, and was rudely instructed to wait "in the perimeter."

Uh-oh. »

Black Seed Rolls Out Breakfast Bagels

Oh, hello.Photo: Courtesy of Black Seed

A few exciting additions to Black Seed's menu that will surely help your hangover: Starting today, the bagel shop will sell sandwiches with a wood-fired baked egg (over medium), Cheddar, and Mile End bacon. Other new options include house-smoked turkey with honey mustard, pickled-belly-lox spread, and a tuna melt with Swiss cheese. Each is available on your choice of a bagel — check out the full menu here.

Some McDonald’s in China Now Only Sell Fries and Soda

No thank you.

Fast-food meat, like the kind that didn't go rotten a year ago, is a hot commodity at Chinese McDonald's right now, apparently enough that stores in Shanghai, Beijing, and at least four other cities have now resorted to serving entirely meatless menus consisting of just fries and drinks. "We are so sorry that we only have these choices for you," one Beijing location said in a posted message, while some others are burning through their Filet-o-Fish reserves until new supplies arrive from OSI Group, the Illinois-based owner of Husi Food Co. Ltd. that McDonald's has opted sworn to stand by while it finishes up overhaul its food-safety protocols.

Total recall. »

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Picholine Closes for Repairs and Vacation

Swanky.

Terrance Brennan's fine-dining restaurant Picholine on the Upper West Side is closed until September 4, according to a sign posted in its front window. "Building repairs" and summer vacation are the reasons given for Picholine's most recent temporary shutter, echoing a similar turn of events in 2012, when Brennan took the opportunity to renovate the 20-year-old restaurant's dining room. A subsequent change in partners and a filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection delayed the opening at the time, but Picholine ultimately bounced back. The restaurant is already accepting OpenTable reservations for September this time out, so that's a good sign. [Eater, Related]

Mission Cantina Rolls Out Free Neighborhood Delivery

A spread from Mission Cantina.Photo: Mission Cantina NYC/Instagram

It's been a few months since Mission Cantina began to offer delivery through Caviar, which certainly helped Danny Bowien spread the message of his nouveau super-burritos, and the restaurant is now offering delivery to the east side, Noho, the East Village, and other local neighborhoods for free, meaning there's no $10 surcharge. The delivery zone is bounded by 14th Street to the north, Avenue D to the east, Canal Street and East Broadway at its more downtown reaches, and Broadway on the west. The menu includes nine kinds of tacos, six burritos, a full roster of sides, and starters like the restaurant's creamed masa with lamb chorizo and sea urchin. There's a $20 minimum; more details here. [Official site, Related]

07/27/14

Exploring the Convergence of New York’s Culinary Past and Present in Ridgewood

If in recent years fugitives from Bushwick have sought refuge and lower rents across the Queens border in neighboring Ridgewood, it wouldn’t be the first time. A century ago, German-immigrant brewery workers made the same migration, occupying the then newly built yellow-brick rowhouses that survive, many with landmark status, to this day. Somehow, after waves of immigration and despite its adjacency to bar-glutted Bushwick, working-class Ridgewood has managed to retain its frozen-in-time Central and Southeast European charm, represented by the stage-set vintage façades of its German pork stores, its Italian bakeries, its Polish delis, its burek shops and red-sauce temples, and even its slightly forbidding quasi-private ethnic social clubs. Little by little, though, the culinary scene is changing, with newcomers like Vietnamese hot spot Bunker and a wood-fired pizza joint, Houdini Kitchen Laboratory, colonizing far-flung fringes of the neighborhood. Still, the Ridgewood foodscape shines brightest in the seemingly peaceful coexistence of old and new: the spicy-bacon sandwich at Norma’s, showcasing cayenne-crusted pork belly from Morscher’s butcher shop down the street; the fledgling Ridgewood Market, a craft-and-food fair held periodically at the German bar and banquet space Gottscheer Hall. And monitoring all the activity is dedicated food blog Ridgefood, to which locals turn for answers to such pressing gastronomic questions as “Where’s the nearest Greenmarket?” (the Saturday Youthmarket at Cypress and Myrtle) and “Which branch of Catania Bakery sells superior sfogliatelle?” (the one on Fresh Pond Road). Here, a look at some of the newest and oldest flavors in a part of town that relishes them both.

Read more »

07/25/14

The Cleveland’s Garden Reopens; Brunch at Pasar Malam

The Cleveland has reopened the lovely garden portion of its restaurant and will soon host weekly chef dinners. [Grub Street]

Ichimura at Brushstroke just completed a renovation, and it's now sectioned off from the rest of the restaurant. [Grub Street]

• Williamsburg's new Malaysian-night-market-inspired eatery, Pasar Malam, launches brunch this weekend, with an oyster omelette and egg-wrapped burger. [Grub Street]

The Brooklyn Kitchen and Victorinox Swiss Army are hosting an event called the State of Meat in New York from 7 to 9 p.m. on July 30. The panel includes Daniel Humm and Tom Mylan; tickets cost $20. [Grub Street]

Read more »

Extremely Rare Japanese Dessert Coming to Kajitsu for Four Days Only

Just remember, Kajitsu is closed on Mondays.Photo: Kajitsu

As we’ve already mentioned, this is the height of cold-noodle season, and connoisseurs might want to stick around town this steamy weekend to experience perhaps the rarest variety: kuzukiri, the chilled noodle dessert made from kudzu and water and served with black sugar syrup. The arguably most famous version can be found at Kagizen, a nearly three-centuries-old confectionery shop in Kyoto. For the first time, the venerable shop will be preparing it off-site, at Kajitsu in Murray Hill, from Saturday, July 26, through Wednesday, July 30 (closed Monday), from 1 to 4:30 p.m. This is very big news for the expat community and all lovers of esoteric Asian desserts. More details here. [Official site, Related]

Williamsburg’s Next Starbucks Will Serve Beer and Wine

Coming to 154 North 7th Street.

Back in March, Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz outlined plans to bring goat cheese flatbread and chardonnay to "thousands of stores" in the form of Starbucks Evenings, the coffee chain's attempt to almost double its market value to $100 billion by proving its mettle in truffled macaroni and cheese and various other small plates. It looks like Williamsburg's decidedly humdrum first Starbucks will soon be joined by another, at 154 North 7th Street, but that one will benefit from the added pizzazz of beer, wine, and most likely more savory food. The chain will appear next month at a community board meeting to explain its plans in full — the CB1 Brooklyn agenda confirms Starbucks by name —  which hopefully include parmesan chicken skewers, because Williamsburg doesn't have enough of those. [DNAinfo, Related]

This Weekend Is Your Last Chance to Go to Rodeo Bar

R.I.P.

After 27 years in business, Rodeo Bar must close because of a steep increase in rent. This Sunday will actually be the last night for honkey-tonk: At 9 p.m., the Dirty Water Dogs and "many special guests" will pour one out for the New York institution. [Earlier, EV Grieve]

Cupcake Truck Accused of Anti-Semitism Might Want to Go Back to Tweeting About Frosting

According the one tweet, the truck went out of business in April of 2013.Photo: Cupcake Crew/Facebook

Someone who's been put in charge of the official account of Cupcake Crew, a one-time Vendy Award finalist that proclaims it "bakes with love daily" and may or may not be a defunct business, seemingly has an itchy Twitter finger and lots of hateful opinions. At least since January, the business has been firing off rantlike messages fairly regularly, and this week it delved right into the Israel-Palestine conflict, instead of sticking to topics like, say, red velvet or buttercream. "Ironically what the Zionist pigs are doing to Palestinian Arabs today is exactly what Hitler and the Nazi's did to them #FreePalestine," read one tweet, since deleted, but there are more.

"You people nuts. No hate against anyone ever." »

Shake Shack May Next Be Headed to Williamsburg

Shake Shack is opening on Flatbush Avenue next month.Photo: Jed Egan

Outposts of Parm and Umami Burger are already opening at North 4th Street and Bedford Avenue, and this morning, word started to spread that Danny Meyer's Shake Shack had signed for a space at North 4th Street and Berry, a residential building that will have at least three commercial tenants on the ground floor. (Starbucks opened nearby this week, chain-wise, but no one seems at all excited about that.) Specifically, the "head construction guy" at the site told Free Williamsburg that Shake Shack was moving in.

"We're huge fans of Williamsburg ... " »

Russia Declares War on McDonald’s Burgers, Filet-O-Fish, and Pretty Much Everything Else on the Menu

Better stick to Rusburger.

Russia's McDonald's outlets (424 total) will be serving Vlad-knows-what if Rospotrebnadzor, the government's consumer protection agency, gets its way. The authority has essentially asked the court to declare the fast-food chain's salads, cheeseburgers, "Royal" burgers, Chickenburgers, Filet-O-Fish, milkshakes, and ice-cream desserts with fruit toppings illegal because of "inappropriate physical-chemical and microbiological parameters." (In a surprise move, however, the watchdog group has determined that Big Macs are okay.)

Russians say they want the chain out altogether. »

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