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Week of February 25, 2002

Breakfast Club
Here's a tip for any parent who's ever been the recipient of a Mother's or Father's Day breakfast-in-bed consisting of Pop-Tarts and Lucky Charms: Send your young Iron Chef off to The Minnow for one of Aaron Bashy's "Little Buddy" Saturday breakfast-cooking classes. Beginning March 2, chef Bashy (pictured, with daughter, Chloe, and son, Maxwell) will familiarize your little Gilligans (ages 4 to 8, and accompanied by Mom or Dad) with bacon-and-egg basics and teach them how to make a streusel-topped coffee cake. The three-part series ($125, or $50 for each individual class) gets more ambitious the following two weekends, tackling everything from huevos rancheros to matzo brei. You might say one thing lacking in Bashy's breakfast primer is instruction on how to mix a proper Bloody Mary or make a mimosa, but you wouldn't want Junior to turn out like that bad boy Anthony Bourdain, would you?
The Minnow
442 9th Street, Brooklyn

best of the week
Great Sommeliers and Chefs de Cuisine
Reserve in advance for this five-course gala dinner and auction, brought to you by the American Institute of Wine & Food. Chefs from the likes of Tribeca Grill, Craft, and Picholine are in charge of the food; top sommeliers will auction their favorite wines. Eat, drink, and don't plan anything really challenging for the next morning. (March 4; for reservations, call 212-447-0456.)


So Happy Together
After working together at Chelsea Bistro & Bar, onetime general manager Karim El Sherif and chef Philippe Roussel (pictured) both went off in pursuit of their own fine-dining destinies. Now they've reunited as partners at Montparnasse, El Sherif's cozy Turtle Bay bistro, where Roussel has reinvigorated the classic French kitchen and added his trademark flair to dishes like "smoked to order" salmon steak with horseradish vinaigrette, duck two ways (roasted and confit), and wine-braised chicken casserole.
230 East 51st Street

Ask Gael
Aren't you sometimes swept away by design?
Guilty. Mexico Magico instantly dazzled me with its huge carved Technicolor calendar on one wall, colorful serapes draping the tables, and faux-stone paving walls and ceiling. All in a storefront not much bigger than a postcard. This is a family affair. Walter Certas — three-quarters Mexican, one-quarter Syrian — charms the customers. Wife Lucelia struggles to keep the grub coming. And son Daniel dashes out for groceries or runs off to deliver. They designed the dishes, too. So maybe the food is uneven: watery black-bean soup, fabulous cactus salad, decent guacamole, crunchy flautas. Remarkable mole-wondrously rich and bitter-cloaks a chicken paillard. Prices are gentle, and combo plates are colossal. We loved the vegetarian No. 2: chile relleno, guacamole tostada, and enchilada with the obligatory rice, beans, and iceberg. I doubt we'd make a long trek just for that mole, but I do love shopping the East 9th boutiques.
Mexico Magico
438 East 9th Street

Bites & Buzz Archive

Week of February 18
The lowly radish gets a makeover; Two Little Red Hens take Manhattan; a breadmaker's best friend; Gael racks 'em up at Slate
Week of February 11
Hadom scores; Rockefeller Center gets a Pulse; Mardi Gras at Café Boulud; NoLIta's sweetest couple; Chef Tom Valenti's cookbook; Gael discovers a new talent in Yorkville
Week of February 4
Savoia's dream team; Bid on Valentine's Day; Dim Sum Go Go celebrates the Year of the Horse ; City Bakery's "Love Potion"; Brian McNally opts for simplicity

and more ...

Photos: From top to bottom- Carina Salvi (2); Patrik Rytikangas

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