Posts for February 17, 2012

Shia LaBeouf Is an Awesome Tipper; Mayor Bloomberg Turns 70!

He's romantic and generous.Photo: Koki Nagahama/Getty Images

Valentine's Day! Mayor Bloomberg's birthday! Presidents' Day! With so many wonderful occasions in the month of February, it's no surprise celebrities took to the town this week. Shia LaBeouf took his lovely girlfriend out to dinner on Valentine's Day, but the best part wasn't his burly beard. No, the actor is apparently a wonderful tipper! Plus, Kris Humphries suffered through his first post-super-short-marriage Valentine's Day (if he can make it, we all can, right?). Also, our mayor turned 70 and celebrated by eating a bunch of salt. All of this, and more celebrity sightings, straight ahead.

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Hinsch’s Being Sold Again; Dinosaur BBQ Opens in 2013

Bay Ridge: Hinsch's, the famed old-school ice cream shop, reopened a mere month after its closing after 63 years in business, but now is on the market again. The owners are asking $195,000 for the to the $9,000 a month lease. [Eater NY]
East Village: Extend your Presidents' Day celebration to Tuesday, because on February 22, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Forcella on the Bowery will offer margherita pizzas for $2. [Grub Street]
Greenpoint: Red Star will once again host the third annual “BEST WINGS IN BROOKLYN COMPETITION" on Saturday, February 25. The event starts at 2 p.m. and is free to the public, including free wings all day long. [Grub Street]

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Taco Bell Will Unleash Their Doritos Tacos on America Next Month

Yum?

Everyone who follows such things probably already knew that Taco Bell's latest gimmick (besides trying to get everyone to call breakfast "first meal") was a taco that came in an oversize Doritos shell. It's either an abomination or a stroke of genius, depending on how you look at it, but whatever your opinion, you should know that it will be available to stoners around the country when the chain begins selling it nationwide on March 8.

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Tony’s Di Napoli Brings Its Huge, Touristy Portions to the UES

Stroll in and roll out.

Tony’s Di Napoli, the monstrous Italian restaurant that has pleased (and fattened) Times Square tourists for decades, is reopening on the UES. The new Tony’s Di Napoli, opening this Spring, will take over 9,000 square feet at 1081 3rd Avenue (between 63rd and 64th Street). And it actually wants to replicate the Time Square location.

How René Redzepi Throws a Dinner Party

How does the chef and owner of the world's best restaurant relax on his day off? Oh, you know, he invites Dave Chang over to his very attractive flat in Copenhagen, whips up some oyster-and-chanterelle toasts, steams some mussels that he plucked from a fjord — the usual. And not a single middle finger in sight! [Bon Appétit, Related]

Tables Available Within the Hour at Saxon + Parole; Red Rooster, Brushstroke Fully Booked

It's 4 p.m., and that means it's time to play Two for Eight. We just asked ten restaurants the best time they can squeeze in a couple for dinner; you need only make your chosen reservation. (As always, we make the calls but don't guarantee the results.)
Today: New & Buzzy

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Geisha Table, a Mini Geisha, Disrobes on UWS

A McGeisha comes to the UWS.

In the game of musical chairs between Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato's Geisha and Serafina, Diner's Journal confirms the Geisha-related opening we noted a while back, bringing news that Geisha Table, a tiny 23-seater outpost of the original Geisha, will open on Wednesday on the Upper West Side, next to the new Serafina. [NYT]

Queens-Made Junior’s Cheesecake Might Move to Jersey

Whether you actually like it or not, you still kind of have to love Junior's Cheesecake. And if such cheesecake were personified, it would definitely have a Queens accent. Which is why the news that GAD Bakeries, the wholesaler that distributes to the restaurant, might move to Jersey is churning mixed feelings. [Perishable News]

Yelp About to Go Public

Having put that pesky pay-to-play lawsuit behind them, Yelp began their IPO process late last year, and they're getting close. As Forbes reports, the S.F.-based citizen-review aggregator is set to go public shortly, and just yesterday they disclosed for the first time what they think they're worth: $840 million, or between $12 and $14 per share.

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Next El Bulli Auction Raises Over $200,000 ... So Far

Next's Dutch Auction page has raised $215,000 as of this morning.Photo: courtesy Next

The revolutionary nature of Next's business model and ticketing-reservations system (well analyzed here) continues to unfold. Now that it's succeeded in its first objective (the reasonably orderly upfront collection of thousands of dollars in return for hundreds of seats at Next all through 2012), it's moved on to what seemed, initially, a fairly minor side aspect of the latest iteration of the system — raising money for charity. Well, we're pretty sure that raising six figures in about a day never counts as minor in the world of charity.

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SoBe’s ‘Burger Bash 2012’ Menu Revealed!

Turn up the heat!

Around this time next week, a slew of sun-kissed chefs, burger-lovers, and food fanatics will be heading down to Miami for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. At the heart of the long weekend sizzles the 6th Annual Burger Bash Hosted by Rachael Ray, with tickets at $225. The high-intensity cook-off gives a juicy platform to almost every chef on the map, from Guy Fieri and Andrew Carmellini to Husk's Sean Brock. This year's massive menu looks fierce, featuring the dominating Bash Burger (with which Chris Santos just posed), a steak-frites burger, a "porky burger," a Hangover 2 burger, and a whole mess more. Good luck, grillers!!

SoBe Burger Bash 2012 Menu [PDF]

Watch Out, Château Margaux, Skinnygirl Wine Is Here

So freaking rich.

Not sure how it will hold up next to the Marc Forgione label, let alone the Ramona Singer Pinot, but Bethenny Frankel has just launched her own Skinnygirl wines — in "red, blush and white" — to keep us thin and tipsy at all times, no matter how questionable the marketing or compromised the taste. She writes on her blog, "I’m not a wine connoisseur, but I do love a refreshing, great tasting glass of wine and that’s what I’ve created ... each serving is only 100 calories — 15% lower that most other brands." No doubt it's got legs.

Jeremy Lin Eats Dover Sole, Sips Bud Light

Considering he couldn't get that 8 p.m. reservation at EMP, even if he tried, Jeremy Lin had dinner with his family at Valbella, where he ate Dover sole, drank water and ordered a lot of desserts. Later on, he nursed a Bud Light at a party at Avenue, which it sounds like he pretty much hated. [Page Six/NYP]

Michael Toscano to Head the Kitchen At Gabriel Stulman’s Perla

Straight from Eataly's Manzo, Michael Toscana is the next chef and partner at Gabriel Stulman's Perla, confirms Eater. Perla, which was originally called Scopa, is the restaurant in the old Bellavitae space at 24 Minetta Lane that is not even attempting to compete with Minetta Tavern. Also joining the upscale Italian power-team are Jen Sgobbo, the current Assistant Beverage Director at Gramercy Tavern; Brian Bartels, current GM/Partner at Fedora; and Matt Kebbekus, Co-GM at Joseph Leonard and Jeffrey's Grocery. [Eater]

Timothy Hollingsworth on Per Se Stint and Molecular Gastronomy ‘Fad’

He misses the garden.

In a long, in-depth interview with Toqueland, Hollingsworth, who is midway though the "exchange program" we told you about at Per Se, speaks about the cross-pollination within the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, an insider a-ha moment revolving around "green tape," and why he's so disenchanted with chefs who cling exclusively to molecular gastronomy, characterizing their thought process as, "I can cook a piece of beef to medium-rare in a bag and sear it and serve it to you and you’re going to think it’s great. But can I go to a barbecue down the street in the park and barbecue a steak? Can I really cook?" [Toqueland]

Obama’s Shark-Fin Faux Pas; Talking Cheese With Alain Ducasse

• Oops! Barack Obama apparently stopped by a San Francisco Chinese restaurant that is among the handful of places in the U.S. still serving shark-fin soup. (For the record, the president ordered dumplings and steamed buns.) [SF Chronicle]

• Quelle fromage! Bruce Palling heads to London and buys cheese with Alain Ducasse. [WSJ]

• Gordon Ramsay is "disappointed" that the owner of Laurier Gordon Ramsay restaurant in Montreal is going to remove Gordo's name from the restaurant. Ramsay had served as a consultant. [Daily Mail UK]

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Beauty & Essex’s Chris Santos Dines at 4 A.M., Watches Boogie Nights With Cookies

Santos, at Burger & Barrel, "I'm fairly allergic to shellfish. If I want to be food-poisoned, I will eat a healthy amount."Photo: Melissa Hom

Chris Santos, chef and partner of Beauty & Essex and Stanton Social, and a judge on Food Network's No. 1 ranked show Chopped, is the first to admit that he doesn't lead the healthiest lifestyle. Yet considering his late nights out, love of taco stands, and general aversion to sleep and breakfast, the 40-year-old chef leads an exceptionally successful life. Read about his fun times, favorite drinks, and fairly intense food allergy in this week's New York Diet.

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