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]
Bar Carrera Happy to Be NYPD Mouthpiece>Bar Carrera exudes impeccable elegance in everything from its prominently displayed ham legs to its napkin dispensers — a touchstone of tapas-bar authenticity. But last night we were dismayed to see these notes from the NYPD dotting the bar and counters. We wouldn’t expect to see such tacky reminders on the outdoor tables of tapas bars in Spain, where street urchins regularly approach tables. Anyone bold enough to, um, pocket these silly things?
In the Magazine
It’s August, and the Eating’s Easy
It’s August, cheap-eats time, when you should be gobbling down raw artichokes, Cuban sandwiches, tapas, and pasta. It’s time to chill out, in other words. And that’s the idea behind this week’s food coverage.
The Annotated Dish
Boqueria’s Renowned Rectangle of Rich Suckling PigAlmost since the day it opened, tapas restaurant Boqueria has had the beau monde flocking to its rather nondescript block on 19th Street. Young Spanish-trained chef Seamus Mullen’s star dish is his suckling pig, a crisp, irresistible brick of concentrated pork goodness. As ever, mouse over the arrows for details from the cook himself.
Back of the House
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.
Central Kitchen Is the Restaurant to End All RestaurantsCentral Kitchen, a new restaurant from the creators of (itself brand-new) Tasca, opens up alongside the latter place on Seventh Avenue South this coming Monday. The thought seems to be that, if you don’t enjoy eating tapas at Tasca, you can get anything else you can think of at Central Kitchen. The vast menu includes everything from bánh mì to octopus pizzette to chicken-fried steak, and there’s a raw bar and floor-to-ceiling wine library — not to mention a planned 120 outside seats. The place will be open every day, and until 2 a.m. on weekends (they’ll close at 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday). What more can you ask for?
Central Kitchen, 134 Seventh Ave. S., nr. W. 10th St.; 212-352-2230.
DiFara Closed By DOH; Kosher Coke Is the Real ThingThe Department of Health closes beloved DiFara (temporarily!) because pizza maestro Dom DeMarco wasn’t using gloves or wearing a hat. [Serious Eats]
And the much more tragic story for the family continues to develop: The De Marco’s shooter saw himself, as so many trigger-happy madmen do, as slow to anger. [NYT]
So much food is being imported into America that the FDA can’t possibly inspect it all. [USA Today]
Space for Even Your Butt in Williamsburg This WeekendHarlem: Eat at Dinosaur, get bowling discount. [UPTOWN flavor]
Lower East Side: Holes suspected in Schiller’s rubber glove story. That’s right, holes. [Gridskipper]
Soho: Babouche, the Moroccan restaurant and lounge brought to us by the people behind Barbes, now serves brochettes at brunch. [PDF: Babouche NYC]
Tribeca: Former Abboccato sous chef Greg Johnson is the new chef de cuisine at Dani. Sun amuses self calling the cook Dani Boy. [NYS]
Union Square: 15 East now serving lunch. But why didn’t the Eater boys “live-blog” the event? [NYS]
West Village: Blind Tiger will open at 4 p.m. today with beer on tap after an exasperating tug-of-war with the SLA. [Grub Street]
Williamsburg: Mystery Japanese restaurant on North 6th thought to open tonight. [A Test of Will] But you probably won’t get in until this weekend. [i’m not saying, I’m just saying] Thankfully new tapas joint Nita Nita has room enough for wide asses. [Bad Advice]
Back of the House
Restaurant Sues Critic and Wins; A Study of Pizza for PesosGood news for Jeffrey Chodorow: A restaurant owner in Ireland has successfully sued a critic’s publication for giving him a bad review. [BBC]
A Texas pizzeria riled anti-immigration types with a pesos-for-pizza stunt. This subsequent essay is part marketing communications, part sociology. [NYT]
Fun interview with Drew Nieporent. Question: Is his favorite low-end restaurant really the random Benito’s II in Little Italy? [NYT]
Ask a Waiter
Boqueria’s Jeff Deisel Refuses to Take Reservations for Howard SternJeff Deisel was working as a bartender at nightclubs and then at Lower East Side Pan-Latino restaurant Suba before the owners of the latter invited him to be part of the opening team at their new joint Boqueria. He brought with him Suba’s (in)famous beer sangria but found that working at a straight-up tapas bar had a flavor all its own. We asked the bartender and server how local diners, including Ed Koch, are responding to the no-reservations rule, befuddling portions, and that elusive suckling pig.
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?
Ask a Waiter
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.