“The bodega’s a staple of life. This is how you survive in the Bronx!” So say Dallas Penn and Rafi Kam, the stars and creators of Bodega, an online video that premiered this week on the Daily Reel. If you’re looking for searing commentary on the travails of the inner-city eating, you won’t find it here — not explicitly, anyhow. These guys have nothing but semi-ironic affection for the ultracheap junk-food grocery, and they catalogue all the major food groups: snack cakes, pork rinds, quarter-waters (the little blue and red drinks that resemble hand grenades), and, of course, 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor. The Bronx, the video tells us, is the poorest urban county in the U.S. We should be thankful, then, that it is so rich in trans fats.
See the actual pyramid after the jump.
Bodega [Daily Reel]
Courtesy of the tireless researchers at the magazine, enjoy this comprehensive New Year’s Eve (and Day) guide. And enjoy our best wishes as well, even if that’s all we can give you — Grub Street will be holding steady until January 2, when we resume publication. Until then, we hope you have a world-class holiday.
New York Magazine's Definitive New Year's Eve Guide
For an entire year, this thread on Mouthfuls has been tracking the best of the Upper West Side. It's all wrapped up in this year-end post. [Mouthfuls]
A quick roundup of new West Chelsea eateries. [NYT]
Hankering for a meal by a roaring fireplace? [NYP]
Related: Have Dinner With an Old Flame
If you do wind up sitting by a fire, you're going to want some eggnog. [NYDN]
New cookbooks that make fine gifts. [NYDN]
Related: New Cookbooks You Might Actually Open
Even in Long Island, people like to eat Christmas dinner out. [Newsday]
Lugging a dining guide around is so last millennium — these days it's about Grub Street on your Treo — but there's a certain usefulness to the Dining Deck, a pack of cards that blurbs 52 different restaurants, as well as providing $10 coupons for each one. This holiday season brings a new Downtown Diner's version, featuring restaurants like the Tasting Room and Veselka (and, d'oh, the now-kaput Blue Mill). There's also a Bar & Lounge deck for East Village pub crawling, which suggests a creative use: Since the box resembles a pack of cigarettes when pocketed, it could make a fine icebreaker: "Actually, I don't smoke — but can I treat you to a Cosmo?" Daniel MaurerPurchase online or visit City Shuffle's booth at the Union Square Holiday Market.
It's prime oyster-eating season (or so we've told you); this illustrated guide on opening the bivalves comes at exactly the right time. [Chow]
The Times throws readers a handful of Flushing restaurant picks, solid as far as it goes. (Rob and Robin's guide to Flushing's Prince Street went further.) [NYT]
A debate on the relative merits of Queens and Brooklyn bagels. [Chowhound]
One of the pleasures of cruising the Chowhound boards is the vicarious thrill of discovery: There's always somebody who just found out about DiFara or Sripraphai or Kebab Cafe. Last week, apropos of nothing, user Brian S. posted a guide to Manhattan Chinatown that includes a basic overview of various regional cookeries. An added bonus is the long, link-rich thread, centering on Chinese bakeries, which follows the post. (We recently essayed the same topic.) If only the Chinatowns in Brooklyn and Queens were given the same treatment.
Eating in Chinatown — a beginner's guide [Chowhound]
We're fans of heritage breeds of turkey, those long-established birds that taste much like the ones our great-grandparents ate. Last year's comprehensive turkey guide handily sketches out the basics about these guys, but the more in-depth writing we've seen on them usually descends into slow-food sanctimony — how evil factory farms are and the rest. That's where Regina Schrambling, of Gastropoda, comes in. The acerbic critic offers a relaxed but no-B.S. guide to heritage turkeys, which we recommend to anyone thinking he might dump the Butterball this year. "An American Bronze turkey," she tells us, "could not be more unlike the bloated birds hoisted out of so many ovens in November."
Meanwhile, for a takedown of the entire turkey tradition, read what this crank had to say in Slashfood.
Talkin' Turkey [Gastropoda]
Two big, intense features recently stopped us in our tracks: a Slate piece going into great detail about contemporary steak, with a taste test comparing grass-fed, grain-fed, dry-aged, and wet-aged steaks; and On the Broiler's photo-essay about the cutting of a 400-pound tuna in a Japanese shopping center in New Jersey. The tuna pics are just plain cool — in fact, our photographer happened to shoot a few of her own, which we're featuring here — but the Slate article is a must-read for anyone who plans on passing within a few yards of a New York steakhouse, particularly the new breed of restaurants, like Craftsteak and STK, that specify the feed and provenance of their meat. And the upshot of the comparison test? The clear winner was grass-fed beef from Alderspring Ranch in Idaho. Grain-fed, non-aged beef from Niman Ranch came in second.
Which Steak Tastes the Best? [Slate]
The Mitsuwa Tuna Cut [Off the Broiler]
The new contender for the city's most audacious cocktail (the sort of thing Marie Antoinette and her harpies would drink) isn't quite as pricey as the $1,500 Duvet Platinum Passion, nor does it contain 23-karat gold like the World Bar's signature cocktail. Still, it makes us wonder whether this whole truffle craze may have gone a bit far. At Tini Ristorante, a white-tablecloth Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side, owner Enzo Lentini is shaving Piedemonte white truffles into a martini served in a three-foot tall, 74-ounce glass (to put this in perspective, that's the equivalent of four Texas-size drinks at Dallas BBQ). The rarefied buzz will run you $165.
Numerous options for "soupies." [amNY]
East 5th Street, home to the East Village's rarefied restaurants. [NYT]
White-truffle madness, including Sea Grill's $1,000 tasting menu. (Dessert: white-truffle beignets and white-truffle ice cream.) [TONY]
Another white-truffle menu for good measure, and it's a bargain at $385. [MUG]
A heaping helping of Thanksgiving options, from a six-courser at Bouley to thyme- and sage-rubbed takeout bird at Dean & DeLuca. [Citysearch]
Room Service and other places diners can get a room. [NYP]
Related: Inside Room Service's VIPee
Steak that doesn't break the bank. [Chowhound]
Heavenly kitchens in Hell's Kitchen. [Chowhound]
Booze isn't the only thing the Lower Eastpacking District is good for: There are sweets, too. [Gridskipper]
Whether you're hungry at six in the p.m. or five in the a.m., this week's serving of service journalism has you covered.
• Cheapo champ Meehan's late-night dining findings. [NYT]
• Time Out does brunch. [TONY]
• Hungry-man happy hours. [Thrillist]
• Sietsema's best-of picks: Fried backbone, reindeer sausage, and "weird wobbly yellow stuff." [VV]
• Greek grub in Astoria. [NYT]
• "Definitive pizzameister" DJ Bubbles' top-ten list. [Slice]
Whether you're ragin' for Asian or perfectly fine with pizza and meatballs, this week's weekly roundup of roundups delivers.
Continuing its quest to find the mother of all bánh mìs, Porkchop Express breaks bread at Pho Sàigòn and A Chau Deli. [Porkchop Express]
Five K-towners that go beyond grill-it-yourself. [NYT]
Some dim sum. Okay, a lot of dim sum. [amNY]
Artichoke renditions, from the dip everyone gets at Freemans to the slice everyone gets at DiFara's. [NYDN]
Ed Levine: My (top five meatball) heroes. [Ed Levine Eats]
Tien Mao wolfs 25 slices in search of Strong Island's best. [Gothamist]
This week in read-it-and-eat news, stomach-filling walks through midtown and the UWS; where to find the best wieners; and smoky drinks.
• Ed Levine sniffs out a couple dozen reasonably priced keeper restaurants on the UWS. [Ed Levine Eats]
• An eatery-focused stroll down East 58th Street. [NYT]
• The city's most savory hot dogs, including a prodigious Brooklyn pup. [NYS]
• Salted caramel: no longer just for French tots. [NYT]
• Smoky the Beer? Drafts, wines, and spirits with hints of smoke. [TONY]
• Manhattan User's Guide serves cheese and bread primers. [MUG]
This week in the news you can use, you'll find guides to everything from sports grub to beets, plus an argument for why size matters.
• On the heels of Planet Thailand's move to Chelsea, a roundup of chili-deploying joints in Hell's Kitchen. [NYT]
• Ravioli and pierogies with beets sexify the "sturdiest of root vegetables." [NYDN]
• Swear off Peter Luger after Alan Richman's thrashing? Check out the new "tenderloin district" around Penn Station. [AMNY]
• Grub for sports fans, including all-you-can-eat wings at Blondies. That's right — they went there. [AMNY]
• Size does matter: gems like the Little Owl versus trendy juggernauts (hello, Hawaiian Tropic Zone). [MUG]
• We're also psyched about Ruby Tuesday: Chains like Japan's grill-it-yourself-joint Gyu-Kaku and tofu-cheesecake purveyor Kyotofu to take Manhattan. [TONY]
Every Monday, Click and Save surveys food service journalism from the previous week. Today, shaking the trees for plums, we came up with a collection that ranges from Sunnyside to Seoul, with special attention paid to beer and chicken.