Posts for May 31, 2012

The Jets Host a Food Fête Tonight; Build-Your-Own Benedict on Pounds & Ounces’ New Brunch Menu

• Coffee shop Ninth Street Espresso on East 10th Street is trying to go alcoholic. A liquor license is pending so that the East Village outpost can serve beer, and owner Ken Nye hopes to eventually have his own brand. [DNAinfo]

• The New Orleans–inspired 40-seat garden at Maison Premiere is open, serving special cocktails like the Carondelet and Arnaud's French 75 and twelve absinthe varieties, all alongside a full raw bar. The garden is open Monday through Thursday 4 to 10 p.m., Friday 4 to midnight, Saturday noon to midnight, and Sunday noon to 10. [Grub Street]

• Chelsea's Pounds & Ounces debuts its seriously luxe brunch this Sunday. Red velvet pancakes come with orange mascarpone cream and Grand Marnier syrup. And Eggs Benedict comes à la carte (read: build your own), where you can choose a bottom like a chorizo waffle or potato pancake, layer on an in-between like bacon or cured sandwich meat, and top it all with red-eye gravy, tomato chile, or good old Hollandaise. [Grub Street]

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Famous Teenybopper Twitter-Bashes Times Square Trattoria

But which one is he?

In a moment of sensitive reflection, a member of the universe-conquering, prefabricated boy band One Direction tweeted about the bad service he received at Times Square restaurant Trattoria Trecolori. Twenty-year-old Louis Tomlinson tweeted "Just had the worst customer service at @trecolori47. :( Only went to take my grandad out for dinner :(" Sunday night to his, um, 3.5 million followers. Young Tomlinson's girlfriend expounded on the mess, tweeting "we were told to 'shut up and listen' before deciding what we wanted to eat," adding "we already knew what we wanted." That's so messed up. Anyway, the restaurant has been busy apologizing, again via Twitter, to random creepy accounts, and that's what makes it beautiful. [Metro UK]

Flay Says Mesa Grill Might Not Be Moving After All

Earlier today the eagle eyes at Zagat noticed a real estate listing Bobby Flay's Flatiron Mesa Grill space. Flay just called us to clarify the situation: "We're renegoiating the lease," Flay says. "We've been there for 21 years and had a bunch of leases ... We hope to stay there." He says the listing is just the landlord testing the market: "It's their prerogative." As for the rumors that a move to midtown is in the cards, Flay says "it's possible, but we don't have a space." Whatever happens, he says, Mesa Grill will live on in New York in one form or another.

Earlier: Is Bobby Flay’s NYC Mesa Grill Moving?

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Why Heinz Never Goes Bad

"Usually the triplication of a genome would be a considerable handicap, saddling a plant with three times as much DNA as it needs. But this event occurred around the time of the catastrophe in which the dinosaurs perished, and the extra genetic versatility may have been a lifesaver." —Tomatoes apparently survived the extinction event that killed off all the dinosaurs. Raptors ain't got shit on ketchup. [NYT]

Roberta’s, Crif Dogs, and Baohaus Headed to Bonnaroo

Grub hears that teams from Roberta's, Baohaus, and Crif Dogs are headed to Bonnaroo in a couple of weeks to feed festivalgoers. It's year two for the Tennessee happening's Food Truck Oasis, and what with sister fest the Great GoogaMooga's foodie focus, the NYC connection makes sense. We're already jealous of the epic after-parties that are sure to ensue when this gang hits the farm.

Pop the Champagne — Pink Elephant Opens Tonight

The Infinity Room.

After a bar-dominated few years, NYC might soon be clubland again, what with Bungalow 8 making a return (even if it's "Bungalow"-less and supposedly Sacco-less these days), and Pink Elephant, the sequel, opening its doors tonight at 40 West 8th Street. Whether the nightspots can conjure up the ebullience of the pre-crash era remains to be seen. However, this one's sure gonna try, by means of an LED-lighted Infinity Room and a nod to our brave new age in the form of a "mixology bar." There's also a stage that'll host regular "torch song" performances, and the rest of the decor consists of lots of silver and black, with mirrors and other dazzling touches. Get out the shiny, short cocktail dresses, ladies; and gentlemen, open those collars by another button — It's time to party like it's 2004.

First Signs of Partying at #8 Include Illicit Amy Sacco Sighting

Despite Community Board 4's requirement that the new owners of the forthcoming Bungalow 8 spinoff at 357 West 16th agree to not use the name "Bungalow 8" or "Bungalow" in conjunction with the endeavor, or even so much as exchange emoticons with Amy Sacco, the first preopening report suggests the lady is very much in the house. Writing "Sacco quietly returned to NYC’s nightlife scene on Tuesday night" like it was the first line of a storybook, the Daily News cites a "spy" who saw Sacco on the scene. She "cracked open the doors," and was even subsequently tweeted thank-yous from gracious (and partied-out) bigwigs! There's a book here, maybe a kid detective novel. "Amy Sacco and the Mystery of the Secret Bungalow," anyone? [NYDN, Earlier]

Backyard Chickens and Farming Blamed for Sickening Hundreds With Salmonella

Live chickens are essentailly raw chickens, and should be treated as such.

Backyard farming may be a means of survival for some, and a neighborhood status symbol for others, but now the trendy practice is being blamed for sickening hundreds with salmonella. Washington Post reports that the Center for Disease Control has determined that more than 80 percent of salmonella cases reported can be traced back to hatcheries that sell chicks directly to consumers for their kids' Easter baskets and/or their experiments in suburban coop-keeping.

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Todd English on Returning to Boston and Reopening His Flagship

Todd English, pausing to reflect.Photo: 451

Todd English has gotten a drubbing in the national press, and, yes, Grub Street has happily chronicled the fallout. The lawsuits! The rent woes! That wacky Groupon deal! Back home in Boston, he was derided for failing to quickly refurbish Olives after a fire shuttered his 23-year-old flagship two years ago. But Teflon Todd is back, people: Olives is open once more, with a bigger bar and more small plates. And English is in the kitchen, promising to make it a priority. Grub Street caught him in a fleeting quiet moment, primed for a comeback and happy to chat.

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Is Bobby Flay’s NYC Mesa Grill Moving?

Moving out?

It seems so! The Flatiron location of Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill may be closing or relocating in the near future. Zagat reports that the 4,000-square-foot ground floor of 102 Fifth Avenue is currently listed with Prudential Douglas Elliman. Other than the listing, no other details, such as the fate of the 21-year-old restaurant, are known at this time. "Through the soaring kitchen window, you can watch Flay and team in full frenzy," wrote Gael Greene for New York, of the big-bangish early days that inspired a gazillion copycat ancho chile sauces, "sprinkling confetti of red pepper and bright green chive, scattering matchsticks of jicama." We reached out to Flay's reps and will let you know when we hear more. [Zagat]

Update: Flay says they're renegotiating the lease.

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There’s a Frozen Greek Yogurt Cart on the Streets

The happening.

Last night was Manhattanhenge, a celebrated day of synchronicity between the city grid and setting sun, so it's only fitting this morning brings the introduction of two more powerfully aligned forces of nature: Greek yogurt and food carts. Frozen Greek yogurt will now be available on the street. New York Street Food reports Pägσ is the offshoot of Uncle Gussy's and will sell sorbet and gelato in addition to plain frozen Greek yogurt; toppings will likely follow. The "self-sustainable cart" is currently stationed at 51st and Park, apparently the same corner where the original Uncle Gussy was selling hot dogs way back in 1971. That's the enduring power of nature for you. [New York Street Food, Related]

Drive-Thru Dining: Eleven Videos of Cars Crashing Into Restaurants

This week, an Ohio man used his truck as a battering ram after a Taco Bell forgot one of his 99-cent tacos. Not long before that, an Indiana Chipotle took a major hit from a collision between two cars. Which got us thinking: This kind of thing happens a lot, right? Cars seem to always be slamming into fast-food restaurants, coffee shops, and diners. While it's hard to explain exactly why they make such a vulnerable targets for errant autos, we recommend everyone stay on their toes, no matter how much attention that burger requires. Need proof? Here now, eleven glass-shattering, metal-twisting car crashes caught on video at restaurants through the years.

Mormon Church Pissed Over Five Wives Vodka

The Mormon church is steamed up over a brand of vodka dubbed Five Wives, so much so that they've gotten it banned in Idaho State liquor stores. As everyone knows, Mormons don't drink, and they certainly don't practice polygamy anymore, the church has been quick to point out (uh, what about Big Love?). Polygamy Porter beer is still for sale in Idaho, so Five Wives' maker, Ogden's Own Distillery, finds the snub unfair; they've launched a "Free the Five Wives" campaign in revolt. Anyway, free publicity, right? If you're curious, there's video about the vodka below. [NYDN]

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Around the World in 80 Plates Recap: David Rees Is the Only Person Watching This Show

Can you name even one of these contestants?Photo: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo

In solidarity with the spirit of adventure that drives Around the World in 80 Plates, I’m recapping this week’s episode from my friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, one of the most famous boroughs in all of New York. I'm a long way from home! And at the risk of blowing your mind even wider open: By the time you read this recap, I will be on an airplane flying to yet ANOTHER distant city — the city of Los Angeles, currently located all the way over there on the other side of the continent in the sun-dappled, doomed social experiment known as California. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a bit of a jet-setter. My only home is the open road; my only love is the smell of airplanes in flight; my only allegiance is to the next vista on my horizon. Basically, what I’m saying is: I might literally be the only person in America who appreciates what our friends are going through as they compete on Around the World in 80 Plates. As far as I can tell, I am definitely the only person in America who is watching the show.

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Whole Foods: Next Stop, Harlem?

The Williamsburg and Gowanus Whole Foods may be taking their naturally sweet time, but DNAinfo has it that the megagrocer's next nabe is likely to be Harlem. The news comes out of the mouth of co-CEO John Mackey himself, who let news slip that the chain is searching for locations uptown and basically wouldn't shut up about it. Hey, anything to make those Union Square checkout lines a bit shorter. [DNAinfo]

Haru on Park Avenue Will Close

The midtown east location of the Benihana–owned sushi chainlet Haru will close in late August to accommodate large-scale renovations taking place within the building, reports Crain's. The owners of 280 Park Avenue are renovating to recapitalize; it is unclear if Haru, which employs 77 people, will return to the building post-makeover. In the meantime, reps say they're looking around for new digs. We know of a good spot that just hit the market! [Crain's]

Pressing Matters: Are Juice Bars Putting the Squeeze on Customers?

Photo: Danny Kim for New York Magazine/Food styling: Suzette Kaminski

Anyone who has walked by a juice bar over the last couple of years — in other words, almost everyone — has noticed the strikingly high prices, often $9 or $10 per nutrient-laden beverage. How can this be? Have juice-bar owners figured out a way to swindle the kale-enraptured masses?

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Do We Really Need to Ban Soda?

These are all okay ... for now.

This is what it's come to, people. We couldn't keep our weight in check, so Mayor Bloomberg is going to ban large-size sodas and sugary drinks. The ban still needs approval from the Board of Health, but that approval is "considered likely because the members are all appointed by [Bloomberg]," according to the Times. In other words, this is a forgone conclusion.

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Joël Robuchon Says Au Revoir to New York, L’Atelier Closes June 30

It's been real.Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

Just as we predicted a couple of weeks ago, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon will close its doors at The Four Seasons hotel next month. (A rep for the hotel told us at the time that news of the closing was "only a rumor" — guess not!) The official shutter date is June 30, and there's no word on who, or what, will take the space after Robuchon's restaurant closes its doors. Based on what we heard, the hotel is looking for a big name to fill the vacancy, but we'd guess lots of people will view Robuchon's departure as a sign that a big name doesn't necessarily guarantee success in the space. [Diner's Journal/NYT, Earlier]

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