The Tap Project Needs Your Restaurant
The Tap Project, a UNICEF charity we’ve supported in the past, has a simple and elegant premise: If people paid one dollar for tap water in restaurants for a week, it would pay for a lot of clean drinking water in Third World countries. You can’t complain about the price — in New York, our tap water tastes better than a lot of brands that cost more. But UNICEF is looking for more participants to join the effort during World Water Week, March 16 to March 22. If you own or operate a restaurant, contact the Tap Project. You’ll be in good company: Participating establishments include Esca, Le Bernardin, and Gramercy Tavern.
Sea Salt Is Closed; Orhan Yegen Blames the NeighborsOrhan Yegen has decided to close Sea Salt, the Turkish seafood restaurant he opened in the East Village last July. “I sold the place to an American,” the chef tells us. “He’s going to make it into a bar.” Yegen blamed the close on neighborhood demographics. “The age of those people, they don’t want to come to my restaurant. The people didn’t like me,” he explains. “They spit on my window. Then the neighbors, they don’t want to give me a license upgrade from beer and wine to full liquor. So now they get a bar.” He’s got another project in mind but declined to discuss the details now. In the meantime, Yegen will keep things running at Sip Sak.
Related: ‘Dog Food!’ ‘Idiots!’ and Other Sweet Nothings From Orhan Yegen
Starbucks Closes for Training, Dunkin’ Hopes to Benefit; Late-Night Eating NotEvery Starbucks location in the country will be closed from 5:30 to 8:30 this evening, and Dunkin’ Donuts is sure to reap the benefits by offering small espresso drinks for 99 cents. [Snack]
Though restaurants seem to be recession-proof, consumers’ budgets and diets are not. Soaring food prices — milk costs 36 percent more now than it did a year ago — have some New Yorkers changing their grocery habits and eating out less. [NYDN]
Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced a proposal yesterday to give 1,000 new licenses to street vendors who will sell produce items in neighborhoods with high rates of obesity and heart disease. [Metro NY]
Global Grub Abounds at ‘Voice’ Choice Eats
There’s a lot to recommend the Voice’s Choice Eats dinner, coming up on March 11 and taking rezzies now. For one thing, it’s cheap: These kind of events are usually a small fortune, whereas this one costs $25 in advance, and $35 at the door. But more important, the restaurants represented are all ones searched out by the paper’s xenophilic critic, Robert Sietsema. Sietsema’s various West African stew houses and Uzbek kebab palaces tend to be more read about than visited and are spread far throughout the five boroughs. The event — a chance to eat at 30 of them at the same time (including Albert’s Mofongo House, Yeti of Hieizan, and Peppa’s Jerk Chicken) — amounts to a global-cheap-eats summit. No self-respecting New York gastronaut should consider doing anything else that night. You can buy tickets here.
The Puck Building, 295 Lafayette St., nr. Houston St.; Mar. 11, 6:30–11:30 p.m.
Back of the House
Global Warming Endangers Black Truffles; Gourmands Despair at God’sWe had a good bit of sport over the astronomical prices paid this past summer for white truffles in New York restaurants. But what if their black cousins, long the déclassé branch of the family, became even more expensive? Or disappeared entirely? That wouldn’t be so funny. And it wouldn’t be good for the price of white truffles, which, like Beluga caviar and shark-fin soup, could become a purely plutocratic pleasure sooner than we expected. (Not that truffles are evil in the way of Beluga caviar and shark-fin soup; we’re just thinking of endangered luxury foods, you understand.) An article in USA Today suggests that the global warming is currently bringing the hammer down on black-truffle production and that (gasp) “France’s black truffle will one day be just a memory.” It’s a similar story around the world, as fish stocks are depleted, ecosystems are knocked out of whack, and global demand for things like toro and truffles move beyond a small cluster of ascot-wearing bons vivants.
Serafina Goes to South Beach; Pepsi Goes RawSerafina, which has six Manhattan locations, will open an outpost in Miami’s W South Beach Hotel in mid-2009. [NYP]
In a move that surprises no one, the beef industry is trying to convince the FDA to scale back the largest recall in history. [WSJ]
Speaking of that bad beef, the federal government bought 50 million pounds of it, 20 million of which has already been consumed in various federal nutrition programs. [NYT]
The New York Diet
‘Good Day New York’ Anchor Ron Corning Eats Mahimahi Dinners at 4:30Inside Weather Up.Photo: Melissa Hom
Good Day New York anchor Ron Corning is used to odd hours— when he worked the gravenight shift as co-anchor of ABC’s World News Now, he found it hard to keep track of his meals and gained “the overnight 15.” Since starting the early shift at Fox about a year and a half ago, he has lost six of those pounds, and to drop the rest he has started eating “dinner” at 4:30 a.m. and “breakfast” at 7 p.m. Corning still manages to eat out, but he says he has only once used his clout to score a table (a manager at Gramercy Tavern called to offer his services after Corning half-jokingly complained on the air about how hard it was to book a resy). We asked him how he navigated his “insane” eating schedule this week.
Danny Meyer Appoints Female Sommelier at the Modern; Pichet Ong Will Show YouBrighton Beach: Brooklyn firefighter Jeffrey Scotto won the sixth-annual World Cares Center Iron Skillet Cook Off this week with this recipe for boneless rib-eye braciola and escarole salad. [NYDN]
Chinatown: Zagat might recommend the soup dumplings at Goodies, but you’re in for a treat if you opt for something the staff is eating like “winter melon soup and a plate of stir-fried pork liver and stomach.” [VV]
Midtown West: Danny Meyer has appointed a new executive sommelier, Belinda Chang, to oversee the wine program at the Modern and his restaurants in the Met. [NYS]
Tribeca: Apparently Craig Béro has opened a Tribeca Time Machine called the Cosmopolitan Cafe around the corner from his other restaurant, the Soda Shop. [NYT]
Union Square: From Quattro’s Game Farm’s stand at the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturdays, “you can place an order, leave a deposit, and pick up your fresh bird on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.” [NYS]
Upper West Side: Danny Abrams’s second outlet of the East Village’s Mermaid Inn has opened on 568 Amsterdam Avenue near 88th Street, and you get a free cup of puddin’ with dinner. [NYT]
West Village: Pichet Ong will give a demonstration at the next 4foodies, tasting on November 19. [4foodies]