Posts for April 20, 2012

Tao Launches Dim Sum Brunch; Alison Eighteen Launches Reading Series

• Ernest Hemingway's family plans to open a chain of hotels in locations that have a relationship to the writer, and they'll guide their guests to his favorite bars, describing them as the "ultimate gathering places to enjoy Hemingway's favorite libations." [NYDN]

Tao launches a dim sum brunch on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. that will feature all sorts of fun dishes and live music by D.J. Billy Steele. [Grub Street]

• The fine folks at City Foundry just launched a new venture, Industry City Distillery. Their first product is a beet-sugar vodka called No. 2 ($20 for 375 ml). [Grub Street]

Alison Eighteen kicks off its literary program with a live-streamed reading by Augusten Burroughs (Running With Scissors) on Saturday evening. For ticket information, call 212-366-1818. [Grub Street]

• 5-Boro PicNYC takes place over Memorial Day weekend on Governors Island from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., featuring Sixpoint craft brews, grilling, family-friendly events, live music, and more. Tickets go on sale April 27 at [Grub Street]

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Riverpark Adds Tuscan-like Outdoor Seating

A farm table for the lucky few.Photo: Courtesy Riverpark Farm at Alexandria Center

The ultra-earthy yet avant-garde Riverpark at the Alexandria Center has been a pioneer in successful urban farming since last year. Now they've added another charming, if extremely upscale, touch: a long farmer's table out in the farm, where up to twelve guests can eat lunch and dinner. The Times reports, "Hors d’oeuvres and a raw bar are followed by three courses, each consisting of three to five platters of food served family style, with wine." With daily menu changes and Colicchio-Ortúzar magic, Riverpark sounds river-wonderful. [NYT]

The Week We Learned Mitt Romney Is a Crappy Picnic Guest

Throughout his presidential campaign the very wealthy Mitt Romney has struggled to present himself as an ordinary guy, joking about his wife's Cadillacs (plural!) or his buddies who are NASCAR team-owners. Earlier this week we learned he's also a terrible picnic guest, because he'll come to your outdoor gathering — probably without even bringing a bottle of wine or a salad to pass, or even one of those little brie wheels they sell at the corner bodega — and insult your town's famous cookies just because they're not "homemade."

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Oh Man, Doritos Tacos Are a Big Hit

The taco that saved Taco Bell.

When news broke that Taco Bell would roll out a taco in an oversized Doritos shell, Grub wondered whether it was an abomination or a stroke of genius. Well, the verdict’s in, and it looks like it is indeed genius. The AP reports that since introducing the bright-orange junk-food mashup, the chain has seen sales soar, putting it back in the black for the first time since questions about the authenticity of its beef fillings first surfaced. Parent company Yum Brands Inc.’s CFO Rick Carucci says that recent double-digit sales growth can be directly attributed to the Doritos taco. Which means: Get ready for Cheetos-stuffed burritos any day now. [AP via Action News Philly; Earlier]

Murray’s Might Open a Wine-and-Cheese Bar

Safe to say that New Yorkers willed this to happen: Rumors are churning that Murray's Cheese could open a wine-and-cheese bar (uh-oh) somewhere in the Village, and that it could open as soon as next month. Brie'ng it on. [Eater NY]

What to Eat at ‘Industrial Brasserie’ Ken & Cook, Opening Tonight

Those Jean-Georges-ers we mentioned last month are opening Ken & Cook today in the old Travertine space, whose look a rep described to us as an "industrial brasserie." There is indeed a French-y feel to the place, but with a downtown New York spin in the form of tin ceilings, exposed brick, that sort of thing. Managing partner Artan Gjoni and chef Richard Diamonte are both veterans of Mercer Kitchen; the latter's menu (served from 6 to midnight nightly) leans luxe American: a raw bar, steak tartare, oysters Rockefeller, pork belly with ramps, and a Wagyu burger. As of now, plans for the downstairs space, which we'd heard previously would be called L'il Charlie's, are still T.B.D. See the full lineup for yourself below and scope photos straight ahead.

Le menu. »

Woman Dies From Alleged Coca-Cola Addiction

Over at the Billfold, excessive Coke and Diet Coke habits have been swirling around for days, and now there's news that a New Zealander's eight-liter-a-day Coca-Cola habit — peppered with a lifetime love affair with cigarettes — probably killed her. [The Billfold]

More People-Stuffed Empanadas in Brazil

They're made of people!

The gruesome news of the insane Brazilian pastry-makers who stuffed people into empanadas just got worse. Now Brazilian police are saying the Sweeney Todd-goes-samba trio may have killed five people in the northeast of the country, presumably disposing of their flesh in the same stomach-turning manner. That means a bunch of northern Brazilians are also likely cannibals, which is no doubt prompting the entire country to upchuck at this very moment. Incidentally, the horrific tale made the top Google searches over the past week, beating out even Pizza Hut's hot-dog-stuffed crust. Not that we're trying to give the chain any further ideas — sorry, now we have to go barf. [HuffPo, NYDN, Earlier]

Nouveau-Kosher Jezebel to Open With Bradford Thompson

Chef goes Kosh.

This June, Jezebel will be joining the ranks of the nouveau Jewish restaurants opening around the city like Kutsher's, Jack's Wife Freda, and La Vara. Menachem Senderowicz and Henry Stimler will open their "Modern American Kosher'' spot at 323 W. Broadway in Soho, with Cafe Boulud alum and former Food & Wine Best New Chef Bradford Thompson as culinary director.

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Gabrielle Union’s Big Pimpin’ White House Dinner

Gabrielle Union visited the set of Chelsea Lately last night to promote her new film, Think Like A Man, and the talk turned to her dinner at the White House. She had purposely eaten ahead of the dinner party to avoid the "super-fancy" but unsatisfying stuff like pâté. But she was in for a surprise: The POTUS and FLOTUS had laid out a spread of potato salad and baked beans and had Jay-Z blasting in the background. Needless to say, Union ate again. Watch her interview straight ahead.

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Will & Grace Dine in Real Life at A Voce Columbus; Chelsea Clinton Goes to Alison Eighteen

Messing: Looking Smashing.Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Will & Grace may have ended years ago, but a real-life version happened this week. Eric McCormick and Smash star Debra Messing dined at A Voce Columbus, which is definitely a place Will and Grace would've dined, right? Plus, Jason Segel and Michelle Williams — who are absolutely adorable and totally in love right now — apparently found themselves snuggling at the Five-Year Engagement after-party at MoMA. And Chelsea Clinton and husband Marc Mevinsky checked out recently Platt-reviewed Alison Eighteen. It'll be hard to top these perfect dates, but we'll try. See more of our weekly celebrity-dining roundup straight ahead.

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Crock Pot Cannabis

Everyone's heard that pot is fat-soluble, but did you know that coconut oil and olive oil are good options? The former is especially good for baking, wink wink. Just in time for 4/20, HuffPo checks in with the author of the recently released High Times Cannabis Cookbook, and comes away with some pretty good cooking tips. The book contains recipes for weed-infused pumpkin pie, "Ganja Granny's Smoked [heh] Mac n' Cheese," and Rasta Pasta, but you can stick to the basics, too. To make "cannabutter," simmer it "slow and low," like in a Crock Pot. Just imagine what the house will smell like after a long day at work. [HuffPo]

Author David Rakoff Calms Himself by Keeping a Full Pantry

Rakoff, at home in his kitchen.Photo: Melissa Hom

David Rakoff is known for his pessimistic outlook — he wrote a book called Half Empty, after all — but he sounds almost overjoyed as he talks about his kitchen, a bright Tudor City space he's made comfortable with a much-loved SodaStream ("I've bought one for every member of my family") and long-coveted Julia Child–style pegboard, which he credits with bringing order to an anarchic life. His methodical mother taught him to cook at a young age, and he feels for his stove-averse friends: "Nothing is a greater tool and life lesson than not being scared of cooking for oneself," he says. However, when he's not in the kitchen, he's working on a new novel that's due in August, as well as finishing up a story for the May 10 "This American Life" Live Show, which will be broadcast to movie theaters around the country. In the meantime, check out this week's New York Diet to see what else brings joy to Rakoff's own life.

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