Kozy Shack Founder Dies, Grub Street Mourns
Vinnie Gruppuso, the founder of Kozy Shack pudding, died today. It is a dark day on Grub Street, since Kozy Shack was not just our favorite pudding (a confection so potent it practically qualified as a controlled substance), but also a modern rarity: a New York–area manufacturing story without an unhappy ending. The Kozy Shack factory in Hicksville is no Wonka–like wonderland, but the sight of an entire eighteen-wheeler loaded with whole milk, the secret to the pudding’s mouth-filling fullness, gave us that kind of feeling. And Gruppuso’s story is a kind of ultimate foodie fantasy. He was a blue-collar guy, a bread deliveryman who happened to fall in love with the pudding made by a deli in Ridgefield. We’ve all had such crushes. But Gruppuso bought the recipe when the deli closed and essentially married it, investing everything in Kozy Shack and eventually building a pudding empire. Tonight we will have a toast for Vinnie Gruppuso with our favorite cordial: Kozy Shack chocolate pudding, straight from the tub, with a chaser of melancholy.
Vincent Gruppuso, 67, Seller of Pudding Snacks, Dies [NYT]
The Annotated Dish
Pamplona’s Supersoft Poached Salmon (and Ultracrispy Skin)Alex Ureña made his name as one of the city’s few modern Spanish cooks, but like most so-called “molecular gastronomists” he found little favor with the city’s tastemakers. His recently reconceived restaurant skews more populist, and a popular dish at Pamplona is this poached salmon with blood sausages. “With Spanish food,” Ureña says, “you sometimes have to think whether it’s going to work here or not.” This one does. As always, mouse over the different elements of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
Chris Cheung Swings in to Monkey Bar; Astoria’s Greek Restaurants ChallengingAstoria: The nabe’s Greek tapas offer a light respite from overstuffing on leftovers. [NYT] A & D Meat on 31st Street now sells organic beef. [Joey in Astoria]
Hell’s Kitchen: Not only does Bis.Co. Latte on 47th at Tenth Avenue make over 40 varieties of biscotti, but the bakery also offers seasonal soups and daily gelati. [Blog Chelsea]
Financial District: Flames Steakhouse is now an Italian restaurant called Giardino D’oro, though the chef hasn’t changed. [Restaurant Girl]
Midtown East: After dispensing with Patricia Yeo, the Monkey Bar has installed promising chef Chris Cheung, who so memorably left Almond Flower this past summer. [Eater]
Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Lime might not be open yet, but the bar is planning a fund-raiser for a nonprofit preschool. [Across the Park]
You Won’t Catch El Faro’s Miguel Hernandez Smelling Like Garlic After WorkMiguel Hernandez has been a fixture at El Faro since before he could legally drink (his uncle Jose was a bartender there for twenty years, and Hernandez would visit regularly from his native Spain). Five years ago, when he finally moved to New York, Hernandez took a job as a server. Now he splits his time between working the floor and serving margaritas and sangrias from behind his uncle’s old bar. He’s studying for a career in hospitality management; we thought we’d ask him what it’s like working in one of the city’s most timeless (and fragrant) restaurants before he graduates.
Back of the House
Boulud Versus Giant Rat; New York Versus Los AngelesIn praise of the braise: a long feature about the art of slow immersive cooking, pegged on Daniel Boulud’s and Claudia Roden’s new books. [NYS]
More on Boulud’s ongoing conflict with the Restaurant Opportunities Center and their giant inflatable rat. [NYT]
Related: We’ve been on this story for a while; this was Daniel Under Attack! (Again).
A tale of two cities: Leuzzi compares N.Y. and L.A. The latter is more casual, less cohesive, and doesn’t give a damn about French restaurants. [NYS]
The big restaurant in Lincoln Center to be reborn as Patina, sister to the big restaurant in LA; owners of Divine Bar open Funky Diner on the UES, Bret Thorn reports. [NYS]
Asian chefs love black chicken but have to admit “it’s a scary-looking creature.” Also: Four markets where you can buy the things, including a scary one in the Bronx. [NYT]
The gourmet burger business comes to Brooklyn in the form of Brooklyn Burger Bar (already in soft opening) and 67 Burger in Fort Greene. Also: Barça 18 gets its brief Times epitaph. [NYT]
Restaurant Week: Big-name places where you won’t be able to get a table. And good places where you might get a table. [NYP]
Profile of a smoked-fish factory in Greenpoint. [NYDN]