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The Lower East Side's Latest Sustainable Restaurant; Plus, Rayuela's New Takeaway Outlet

Clinton Hill: Don’t be fooled by Met Foods window painting claiming the supermarket has the “[l]argest fresh organic products in the area.” You’ll be “hard-pressed to find any (just the usual half-rotten produce they usually carry). It’s clearly a reaction to the threat of all the discerning customers shopping at Green Planet.” [Clinton Hill Blog] Greenwich Village: The Starbucks on 8th Street between Fifth and University is closing and has posted in its window a bizarre, farewell letter of sorts, which begins, "This thing we have together, it’s bigger than this place." And in a weird way, the epistle is spot-on. [Gothamist] Harlem: Where can a gal just get a beer and a burger in this gentrifying area? [Uptown Flavor] Lower East Side: Rayuela is expanding with a Latin takeout spot set to open at the end of March in the former LoSide space. [Eater] Lee Gross’s organic eatery Broadway East opens March 7, and like this week’s ecofriendly thirst quenchers, "filters and carbonates its own water." [Strong Buzz] Freemans will totally let you order artichoke dip before you place your entrée order; they changed their policy two years ago after Bruni’s "Satisfactory" review. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

Peter Hoffman Served a Rubber Band to His Mentor; Bloomberg to the Veggie Rescue in Harlem

Astoria: La Flor de Puebla on Astoria Boulevard between Steinway and 38th Street makes a mean carnitas taco. [Joey in Astoria] East Village: Peter Hoffman of Back Forty (and Savoy) reveals to Frank Bruni that he "once served a watercress salad to Richard Olney, my mentor and culinary hero, only to discover upon going to his table to see how he liked it that we had also served him a rubber band." [Diner's Journal/NYT] Harlem: Only 3 percent of bodegas in the nabe carry leafy green vegetables, so Mayor Bloomberg's coming to the rescue. No wonder Mizrahi loves him. [NYS via Uptown Flavor] Park Slope: The end of Donuts Coffee Shop on Fifth Avenue is near; Associated Supermarket is about to swallow up the landmark diner. [The Gowanus Lounge] West Village: It's a Q&A kind of day: Centro Vinoteca and newly anointed Gusto chef Anne Burrell says her trademark "cowgirl skirts are a good luck charm when we do Iron Chef … I figure if all the old ladies in Italy wear dresses in the kitchen, why can't I wear a skirt in NYC?" Though she may not have seen our kitchen fashions for the preening chef. [Restaurant Girl] Gusto is also hosting a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, which includes this recipe for zuppa di pesce. [Eat for Victory/VV]

Brooklyn's Top Bed-and-Breakfasts; Free Cupcakes in the Financial District Friday

Bedford-Stuyvesant: Akwaaba Mansion at 34 Macdonough Street made it to the top of this list of Brooklyn bed-and-breakfasts. [Gridskipper] Financial District: Crumbs has opened a bakery at 87 Beaver Street between Hanover Street and Wall Street, and to celebrate the shop will give away 1,000 cupcakes this Friday starting at 7 a.m. [Snack] Harlem: Among its other delicacies, Fairway sells flagels, which are “to the bagel what nuggets are to fried chicken. When toasted, they are delightfully crunchy, but the inside still has the chewiness a bagel should — “just less of it” — because they’re flattened, of course. [Eat for Victory/VV] Jackson Heights: The city's first Tibetan street-food cart is up and running near the 74th Street stop. [Gothamist] Lower East Side: Six Point Ales debuted a new flavor called 8 Days of Wheat at the Whole Foods Beer Room last night, and the first impression is that “it’s pretty darn good.” [Down by the Hipster] Upper West Side: Senor Swanky’s has put its space on Columbus Avenue between 84th and 85th up for rent. So line up, if you just happen to have a business plan that incorporates giant chile peppers and underage drinking. [Eater]

Lovescool's Bakery Open in Gramercy; Pupu Platters From the Fifties in Queens

Astoria: Chickenhead is playing at the beer garden this Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight. [Joey in Astoria] Clinton Hill: J & J Cafe on Fulton near Waverly is already closed, but don't hold your breath for the next newcomer. With all the construction in the area “there's little use opening anything in that space…it's almost completely invisible.” [Clinton Hill Blog] Fresh Meadows: Old-school Chinese-American restaurant Kim Yum has been serving Pupu Platters and strong drinks since the fifties. [Gothamist] Gramercy: Dessert blogger and Golden Scoop award winner Kelli Bernard has opened her bakery and tea house at 171 Third Avenue between 16th and 17th streets. [NewYorkology] Harlem: Harlem Tea Room tries to pull a fast one: “This may not be a sticking point if you haven’t grown up with scones, but they are not biscuits. They just aren’t. Biscuits are lovely things, but you cannot claim to sell homemade scones and serve biscuits.” [Uptown Flavor] West Village: Gusto chef Amanda Freitag puts oodles of autumn into her recipe for free-form pumpkin ravioli with apple-cider reduction. [Restaurant Girl]

Dom De Marco's Hands of Steel; Smith's Opens Tonight in the South Village

Astoria: The Sparrow’s pain perdu dessert is “basically a grilled chocolate croissant with homemade butterscotch syrup on it, with a dollop of real whipped cream on the side.” [Joey in Astoria] Harlem: Doug E.’s Fresh Chicken and Waffles still isn’t ready to open. [Uptown Flavor] Gramercy: Blue Smoke takes top honors in this roundup of the city’s best sweet-potato fries. [Gridskipper] Greenwich Village: Smith’s from this week’s Openings starts serving tonight. [Eater] Midwood: Yes, Dom De Marco’s pies at Di Fara’s are impressive, but what’s really cause for amazement is “his asbestos hands. That man can pull a square pie out of the oven, which must be about 800 degrees, with his bare hands.” [Eat for Victory/VV] Nolita: Public’s butternut-squash soup with spiced marshmallows, crispy chickpeas, and pumpkin-seed oil is just one example in this list of fall dishes showing up all over town. [Restaurant Girl] Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Meytex Lounge is now calling itself Meytex Cafe, but their tasty fried chicken hasn’t changed. [Across the Park]

Babbo and Le Bernardin Alums Take On the West Village; Grayz Serving Lunch

Chelsea: Cookbook author Judith Jones hosts a reading, book signing, and wine tasting tonight at Bottlerocket. [Bottlerocket] Harlem: Looks like a new café and bakery called La Perle Noir is coming to the corner of Lenox and West 131st Street. [Uptown Flavor] Long Island City: Tonight's free tasting at Vine Wine showcases wines of Spain. [Joey in Astoria] Midtown West: Grayz is now serving lunch. [NYS] Tribeca: Eric Ripert's A Return to Cooking includes lovely seasonal recipes but also pictures paintings from artist Valentino Cortazar, whose originals debut at the Hal Katzen Gallery at 459 Washington Street tomorrow. [Snack] West Village: Dell'Anima from former Le Bernardin chef Gabriel Thompson and onetime Babbo sommelier Joe Campanale opens today at 38 Eighth Avenue. [NYT]