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Mexican

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Danny Meyer Might Fix Up Union Square Park; Welcome to ‘Mexhattan’

Danny Meyer and the Union Square Partnership are planning to renovate the north end of Union Square Park, including a transformation of the decaying pavilion into a windowless restaurant space. [NYO] Mia Dona, Donatella Arpaia and Michael Psilakis’s newest baby, will start serving up rustic Italian with Greek influences in midtown next month. Marc Forgione, most recently the corporate chef for the BLT Restaurant Group, is planning an American restaurant for a spring opening. [NYT] Forget about bringing your junior gastronomes to the finest restaurant Disney World has to offer: Victoria & Albert’s has banned all kids under the age of 10. [NYP]

Mexican Chef Returns to Queens in High(er) Style

A good chef thought long gone has (lucky for us) returned: Benita Areola is at a new Pan-Latino restaurant in Astoria called Luna de Juarez. Areola cooked at one of the better Mexican restaurants in Queens in recent years, the late Fiesta Mexicana, a no-frills BYOB favorite in Jackson Heights. (She also worked at a restaurant called Fiesta Mexicana in Mexico, where the name is less promising.) Her light and refined food is expected to surface again at Luna de Juarez, but look for a more ambitious menu, live music on weekends, and a liquor license. This venue sounds better and better. Luna de Juarez, 25-98 Steinway St., nr. 28th Ave.; 718-274-4350.

Gridiron Gluttony and Haute Barnyard Gastronomy in This Week’s Issue

We like football. We like seasonal vegetables, especially peas. We like Cuban sandwiches, and Italian food, and Mexican food, and new things to start the fall with. So we liked this week’s batch of food stories in the magazine, especially since it includes what passes for a glowing review by Adam Platt of BLT Market, despite his readiness to mock the Haute Barnyard movement and all that it stands for. Add in the intriguing Italian-Mexican hybrid Matilda, announced by Rob and Robin in openings, and a guide to football bars even Tom Coughlin would approve of, and it’s another first-class food issue of New York.

Toloache Experiments With Haute Tacos

Tacos
Mexican food hovers close to the ground in New York, but with the opening of Toloache and Rayuela, it’s beginning to take its place among the city’s great restaurant cuisines. Considering how vital Mexican line cooks are to the city’s restaurants, this respect is long overdue. At Toloache, Julian Medina’s menu is both huge and modern, highlighted by a dozen different tacos drawing on his youth in Mexico City. “I’m a taco fanatic,” the chef says. “Now is a perfect opportunity for me to put them on my menu and show what they can be.” As always, mouse over the different elements of the image to see them described in the chef’s own words.

City Council Might Tackle Labor Violations; Drunks Abound at High-End Restaurants

Customers get drunk, carry on, and throw up even at the finest restaurants. Especially at the finest restaurants: “More people throw up in the dining room of Per Se than your average college bar.” [NYT] The City Council is considering a law that would put labor violations on par with health violations, in an effort to protect vulnerable immigrant workers. [NPR] Mocktails are on the rise, thanks to “the whole rehab thing,” and nowhere more successfully than at Indochine. [NYP]

Mmmm, the Red Hook Ball Fields

Local asparagus, the Beard Awards, the shattered hopes of Knicks fans — there are a lot of unmistakable signs of spring in New York. But none trump the opening of the Red Hook Ball Fields, an explosion of ethnic home cooking and children’s soccer.

Café Largo Comes Back to Harlem, With Two Sisters In Tow

When Harlem’s Café Largo disappeared in 2003, a good restaurant closed in a neighborhood with too few of them. Three years later, it’s back — with two new places next door: Vinegar Hill, a gourmet store and brick-oven bakery, and Tres Pasos, a Mexican takeout place. All three storefronts are joined in the back by a common kitchen, and a fourth adjacent store, Bella Jo Jane’s Sandwich Box, is slated to open in two to three months. Why the long delay? “We closed for an expansion and renovation that took two years longer than we expected,” says co-owner Stacy Schoenfeld-Calcano. Let's hope Largo’s new menu, among other things, will make the wait worthwhile.

My Name Is Evelyn, and I’m a Chile Relleno Addict

Dear Grub Street,
I just got back from a glorious trip to San Diego, where I managed to develop a minor addiction to chile relleno burritos. Now, in a quest to get this food on the East Coast, I am finding that, well, I can’t find it anywhere! Am I going to have to book a flight back, freeze-wrap a few, and bring them home? Open up my own stand? Help!
Evelyn