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Prefall

  1. The Annotated Dish
    Toloache Experiments With Haute TacosMexican 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.
  2. NewsFeed
    Meatpacking Rent Party: Lotus and Pizza Bar for Sale Last week “Page Six” reported that Tenjune owners Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum were eyeing Lotus and Pizza Bar. Sure, even Lotus’ waitress considers it a “tourist attraction” and the owners do have a lot on their hands (their new Mexican restaurant Los Dados is now up and running and Double Seven, previously slated for a mid-summer reopening is now scheduled to do business “in the next few months,” according to a rep), but is Lotus really for sale?
  3. Ask a Waiter
    Chris Stein at Smith and Mills Is Proud to Be a Luddite Chris Stein was a server at La Esquina before he started work at the equally atmospheric — if much smaller — Smith and Mills, where he’s the only man on the floor. Does he miss working at a larger spot? “Other jobs there have been managers saying the same shit to you over and over, and trying to get you to sell certain things,” he says. “Here, there aren’t any of the gross vibes. A lot of the times the owner is having a drink also, or we’re all having a drink.” Sadly we weren’t having a drink when we chatted with Stein, but that didn’t make our conversation any less spirited.
  4. NewsFeed
    Anyone for Tennis? And Lobster Salad? Damn! You’ve been so busy bragging about the tickets you snagged to tonight’s showdown between Federer and Roddick that you’ve forgotten to eat. Obviously, when you get to the Tennis Center, you’re going to want to know what’s what. According to our rundown of U.S. Open offerings, it looks like Aces is the best place to catch Newt Gingrich, Janet Jackson, Anna Wintour, Martha Stewart, or any of the other weird celebs that have been spotted courtside this year. Heineken’s Red Star Café? Not so much. U.S. Open Eats [NYM]
  5. The In-box
    A Restaurant World ‘Howl’ A reader sent us this Ginsbergian screed earlier this week, which struck us as a perfect snapshot of the restaurant world, circa summer 2007. We leave you now for the holiday weekend. Enjoy! DanYelle as a restaurant critic? Anne Burell shticking it up in the kitchen with a skirt with horsies on it? David Chang morphing from shy nice smiley ramen guy to F-bomb dropping Esquire spread noodle mob boss? Johnny Iuzzini in a meringue body stocking? Tattoos as the new talent. Top Chef as the new Michelin. Glorified fryers, grass fed peaches, 1,000 day meat. I mean, it’s as if we are all now Cracker Jacks ripping open the next prize every time we open a menu. It’s always going to be a disposable toy. Or wash-off ink. It’s a 3 onion ring circus, this industry. We have our freaks and our clowns and our daredevils and our bearded ladies. It’s “I invented the lobster roll and that white wicker chair to sit on while you eat it.” Huh? It’s sellouts: Bertoli, Starbucks, Target, FreshDirect, Appleby’s. It’s all hypocritical: Eat fresh … and then buy my frozen dinner meals. Hitchcock would have tapped into a whole new genre with the horror of the food world. —An Appalled Spectator
  6. User's Guide
    The New Cold War: Fro-Yo Standoff in FlushingThe Frozen-Yogurt Wars have intensified in Flushing. We spotted two new stores going up a mere 85 feet from each other on Roosevelt Avenue. Does Pinkberry have the advantage, being so close to the heavily trafficked Main Street stop on the 7 train? Or will the discriminating dessert aficionado bypass the throngs (by walking about 40 steps) to Red Mango? Too soon to tell, but we fear New York’s post-apocalyptic future where the only structures standing are bank branches and frozen-yogurt stores. Oh, and the Arepa Lady. —Aileen Gallagher Earlier: Our coverage of the frozen-yogurt invasion