The ‘Top Chef’–‘Project Runway’ Mash-up We’ve Been
How did such a coupling take so long? Top Chef’s Dale Levitski (who was NOT invited back for this week’s holiday special) and Project Runway’s Jack Mackenroth are dating! Here’s the dirt: “We randomly met over MySpace,” says Dale. “I like keeping it incestuous. Keep it in the Bravo family,” says Jack.
Other pairings we’d like to see:
Sam Talbot and Uli Herzner
Mike Midgley and Wendy Pepper
Elia Aboumrad and Michael Knight
Have any suggestions for hot Project Runway–Top Chef crossovers? Play matchmaker in the comments.
Real Reality Couple: Jack Mackenroth and Dale Levitski Dating [BreakOUT News via Towleroad]
Fresh-Killed Turkeys Coming to Union Square; Last Chance for Dumbo PiesAstoria: A new Venezuelan spot called the Arepas Cafe has opened at 33-07 36th Avenue. [Joey in Astoria]
Boerum Hill: Canteen, a new deli-café aspiring to unite cappuccino with pastrami, opens today on Fourth Avenue and Bergen Street. [Brownstoner]
Chelsea: The name Potluck may conjure “the image of weird recipes like lentils with nutmeg or noodles drenched in canned soup served up in a covered dish” for some, but this new eatery on West 26th Street between Seventh and Eighth is actually an Asian restaurant with Japanese and Thai influences. [Blog Chelsea]
Dumbo: Today is the deadline for ordering pies from Jacques Torres’s Almondine and Bubby’s. [Dumbo NYC]
East Village: Starting this Sunday, Una Pizza Napoletana will start serving pies at noon on weekends. [Slice]
Union Square: DiPaola Turkey Farms will bring extra birds to the Greenmarket Wednesday, but if you don’t want to abandon Thanksgiving’s main course to chance, you may still be able to order a size in advance. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Frozen-Yogurt Wars: We Have Not Yet Begun to Flurt
Last week, Grub Street compiled a comparison chart of different frozen yogurts (and one gelato) found in New York City. We asked readers for thoughts and you responded with frozen gusto. The most popular response was “You missed Flurt!” Indeed we did; the chain (now with two locations) opened in July. So here’s what you need to know:
Country of Origin: New York City
Social Aesthetic: Tundralike minimalism.
Product Pitch: We’re cheaper than Pinkberry!
NYC Locations: Two: Gramercy and Battery Park City.
Critical Reception: Unofficial just yet, but commenters on Chowhound offered a “better than Pinkberry” consensus. One reader concurred: “Flurt is a takeoff of Pinkberry, but the yogurt has much better texture. Plus, they offer smoothies and Greek yogurt parfait.”
Cheap Wine and BYOB Restaurants: A Marriage Made in HeavenWine stores and BYOB restaurants may be the most perfect pairing in the food world – as inseparable as Sauternes and foie gras, as complementary as Thai stick and Funyuns. As the number of affordable wines from every region continues to explode, the marriage is only getting better. Hence this week’s Bar Buzz identifies six wine stores and six BYOB restaurants, all so close together that only a monk could fail to see the logic connecting them. From the pleasures of Two Buck Chuck at Angelica Kitchen, to Moscato d’Asti at Falai Panetteria, let us lead you by the hand to places where the wine markup is exactly zero.
Bar Buzz: Cheap Wine: Where to Buy It, Where to Bring It
Tinkling at Tasca, the Latest Tapas BarWhen we heard that new West Village tapas bar Tasca professed to have an interior design worthy of Gaudi (or, er, Gaudy, as the press release has it), we knew we had to feast our eyes on colorful floor tiles, the teardrop lights over the tile bar, and most importantly, those handsome barrels of sangria. It turned out to be a worthy backdrop for seducing a date with stories of a recent trip to Barcelona, but it’s not exactly the Sagrada Familia. So, did the restrooms, at least, live up to the master?
Chodorow Repudiates Celebrity Chefs, Opens Fish RestaurantIt wasn’t hard to see, after Jeffrey Chodorow’s infamous dustup with Rocco DiSpirito three years ago, that he had about had it with celebrity chefs. Except, apparently, he hadn’t: Chodorow hired Todd English a year later, in hopes, futile, that he’d redeem Tuscan, successor to Tuscan Steak. Earlier this week it was revealed that English Is Italian, the third restaurant to fill that space, will also bite the dust. Finally, Chodorow’s group is determined to avoid celebrity chefs. English Is Italian closes March 17. Wild Salmon, a seafood restaurant with a Pacific Northwest vibe, is slated to open in its place the first week of April.
The New York Diet
Sam Talbot (Formerly) of ‘Top Chef’ Splurges at NobuAround the time he helmed the kitchen at Williamsburgh Café, before becoming an executive chef at Punch and then a contestant on Top Chef, Forbes named Sam Talbot one of the city’s up-and-coming chefs and Zink declared him one of its sexiest: “He is like a girl when it comes to shopping and grooming himself,” his Bravo bio reads. Unfortunately this didn’t cut it with the judges, and Sam was kicked to the curb on this week’s penultimate episode. Admirers will be happy to hear, however, that he’s still zipping around on his Vespa and consulting with the owners of Fat Baby on their two new Lower East Side restaurants. We asked him what he ate this week and learned that he likes his food cheap but solid — aside from his monthly splurge at Nobu.
Liberated Plutocrats Free to Swill Cheap WineThe rich keep getting richer: Word from one of our cognac-swilling, ascot-wearing friends is that caviar capital Petrossian, among the city’s most opulent spots, is waiving its corkage fees. This is actually quite a concession; most restaurants make their money from wine and liquor, of course, and a lot of top tables don’t let you bring your own wine in at all. “We don’t accept that, no,” a reservationist at Cru tells us helpfully, adding, “We do have an excellent wine selection.” Per Se, meanwhile, allows diners to bring their own — if they’re willing to shell out $90 a bottle to have it uncorked. In honor of their tax-breaks-for-the-rich generosity, we raise a glass to Petrossian — a glass of two-buck chuck, poured directly from a Trader Joe’s bag.
Chef Plans to Build a Better PigCesare Casella has always been a hands-on kind of guy. The Maremma chef, a leading light of Tuscan cookery in America, imports his own beans and makes his own sausages. It only follows, then, that sooner or later he’d invent his own pig. Casella is breeding the Large Black, the tastiest breed of swine we’ve ever eaten, with a Yorkshire-Duroc crossbreed, the most durable and healthy. Their offspring are being mated with Large Blacks, creating a pig that grows fast, lives long, causes little trouble, and tastes better than you can imagine — or at least, that’s the idea. The pigs will appear first at Maremma — after the current generation, which is still young, begins producing offspring at the end of this year or in early ‘07 — and later at other restaurants around town.
Lots of chefs create new pork dishes, but how many create new pigs? (It’s almost like Pygmalion. Except Higgins never ate Eliza.)