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Wild Edibles Gets Caught in the Net of the Law

In the latest labor-law fiasco, thirteen employees of Wild Edibles, which sells seafood to restaurants like Union Square Cafe and Pastis as well as the general public via its retail stores, have filed a lawsuit against the company for failure to pay overtime. According to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, David Rankin, and as is evident in copies of the complaint we’ve obtained, the individuals — most of them warehouse workers — worked in excess of 50 hours a week for flat wages varying from $450 to $550 (“right on the edge of minimum-wage violations,” Rankin says, though he decided not to pursue those charges). Rankin also says that four workers were unjustly fired after they requested overtime pay at the end of August, and that another worker was unfairly written up for stealing fish. A motion for a restraining order, which we’ve also obtained, will be heard in court tomorrow. Between the overfishing and underpaying, caviar is truly getting hard to swallow. Cesar A. Barturen, et al. vs. Wild Edibles [PDF] Memorandum in Support of Restraining Order [PDF]

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Jean-Georges Schools Chodorow in the Art of Blogging

Jean-Georges
So it’s not anywhere near as dishy as Chodorow’s site, but it seems Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s two-week-old blog is at least sticking to its promise to update us every Tuesday on “what I’ve been cooking, where I’ve been traveling, and what I’ve been thinking.” (It's a Blogger site with a pretty standard template — did Jean-Georges make this himself?) Even if he isn’t slamming Bruni and Platt, Vongo is at least confessing to cooking with a machine developed for Kentucky Fried Chicken (scandalous!) and getting his daughter’s birthday cake from a bakery instead of from his dessert man Johnny Iuzzini (c’est impossible!). Another shocker: “I love eating in New York. From the tacos and margaritas at Los Dados (where I often stop after a night of cooking at Spice Market).” Jean-Georges is still cooking at Spice Market? Jean-Georges Vongerichten [Blog]

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La Esquina Reopens, but Serge Becker's Spots Still Not in the Clear

La Esquina’s basement and the Box are open again, but Serge Becker’s woes may not be over. Alberto Armendarig, a reporter for Mexican newspaper La Reforma tells us that last Saturday at 205 (another joint Becker has his stamp on), he was choked by a bouncer and bodily ejected from the club in such a way that he tried to press assault charges (cops didn’t find any marks on him and told him to brush it off and call it a night). Sounds like any other Saturday to us, but Armendarig says he’s now on a quest to close the club down. As it turns out, he may not have to lift a finger. 205 to be Eighty-Sixed?

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Did Milk and Honey Change Its Number Because of a DOH Closing?

Milk & Honey
We were a bit surprised to find out that the place with the rules posted in the bathroom was flaunting the rules of the Department of Health — at least, according to inspectors who shut Milk and Honey down after it racked up 83 points in a July 31 inspection (the citywide average is 13 points; inspections of Milk and Honey in previous years yielded 17 and 4 points). The most scandalous thing about the violation report isn’t the “other live animal” that was present in the bar but that the inspection report printed the place’s coveted unlisted phone number! Is this why the number was changed? And was this the city’s revenge for all those calls a 311 operator told us the help line gets asking for the digits? Either way, rest assured that from now on those ginger roots will be shaved with gloves on. Related: Restaurant Inspection Information: Milk and Honey [NYC.gov]

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Sarah Jessica Parker Will Be Watching the Vendies

Sarah Jessica Parker
Last week we aired Chris Noth’s lament about the corporatization of the city. Turns out his Sex and the City co-star Sarah Jessica Parker is also looking out for the little man. During Ralph Lauren’s recent 40th-anniversary party, Parker told our reporter Amy Odell that she loved the magazine’s “Street Fare” feature. “I’ll eat anything if it’s off of a cart,” she confessed — her favorite being a Middle Eastern one on Sixth Avenue somewhere between 47th and 55th. So she’s not worried about hygiene? “I think they’re actually pretty vigilant about it,” she said. “They’ve got these business men standing in line for three hours to get their lunch … and you don’t hear a lot of reports about intestinal issues.” As for her favorite eatery that isn’t on wheels, she admits, “I don’t know how to pronounce it correctly. S-F-O?” Is this how one of the girls ended up at El Cantinero and not Il Cantinori in that episode? Related: Street Fare [NYM]

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Joe Bastianich Taps Adam Perry Lang for Vegas Meat Mecca

Joe Bastianich, having just opened B&B Ristorante in Las Vegas with Mario Batali, isn’t letting the sands under his feet settle. In December or January, he’ll open Carnevino at the Venetian. Bastianich is likely handling the wine (he’s out of the country and unavailable for comment), but Daisy May’s Adam Perry Lang will oversee every part of the meat program, from procurement to dry-aging.

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Goldfarb Pooh-Poohs Doubts of Picnick’s Success

How has the opening of Picnick been going? Some Goldfarbian skeptics might say not so well. Writers to Eater have detailed their disappointments in graphic terms (“There was a bone in my pork. Ow.”), and now one of our correspondents writes in to ask, “What's with Picnick? It was open for Labor Day and a couple days after, but now it seems to always be closed? Is there an official date for a re-opening?”

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Why Have One David Burke Restaurant When You Can Have Three?

At the Foxwoods Food and Wine Festival this weekend, we learned that David Burke (one of the event’s headline chefs) is in talks to do not one, not two, but three restaurants for the planned MGM Grand casino. The mulleted superchef, known for his showbizzy creativity, is far along in negotiations to do a David Burke Prime steakhouse, similar in spirit to his place in Chicago; a Burke in a Box fast-food place, twin to the one at Bloomingdale's; and an as-yet-unnamed seafood restaurant, which is the most intriguing of the three. (Despite being a member of the Refined Meathead Hall of Fame, Burke’s most famous creations are his angry lobster and his pastrami salmon.)

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Exclusive: Feast Your Eyes on Bar Boulud, Coming in November

Bar Boulud
Daniel Boulud’s burger bar is in the prelim stages — the lease was just signed, and it’s still without a name — but lucky for those who crave visual stimulation, his uptown wine bar and bistro Bar Boulud, opening in November at 1900 Broadway (at 64th Street), is a little further along. Thomas Schlesser has already designed the wine cellar’s barrel-vaulted ceiling and doughnut-shaped tasting table and is preparing to line the walls with vineyardlike gravel. And that’s just the start of it. We’ve acquired an exclusive PDF of Bar Boulud’s design scheme, featuring renderings of the main room, floor plans, even upholstery samples. We look forward to pocketing the glass holders. Bar Boulud Renderings [PDF] Earlier: Daniel Boulud's Downtown Burger Finally Signs the Lease

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Giant Dessert Spectacular Ushers in New York Wine & Food Festival

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival was such a big hit that a New York spinoff was probably inevitable — and it will be thus! The local incarnation will begin with Sweet on November 16. And what's Sweet, you may ask? Oh, just a "late-night dessert party" for 1,500 guests on the waterfront, featuring all the city’s top pastry chefs: Grub Street buddy Johnny Zs of Jean Georges, Michael Laiskonis of Le Bernardin, Karen DeMasco of Craft, and Nicole Kaplan of Del Posto. More pastry gods and goddesses will be added to the list in coming months. But there's more, as Sweet is just a warm-up for the New York City Wine & Food Festival (their site just went live). It’ll be held next fall, and we’re predicting that it will be huge, even more of a hedonistic binge and bacchanal than the Miami original. In the meantime, Sweet should be a pretty good dry run. New York City Wine and Food Festival [Official Site]

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Bourdain Gets Skewered in the Latest Roman à Chef

PBJ
Another day, another pissed-off restaurant worker writing an Internet roman à clef. This one, penned with panache by a one Peanut Butter Jesus, isn’t quite as delicious as Sympathy for the Restaurant Industry, maybe because it’s not quite as obvious who the players are. At least one person’s identity is unmistakable:
People he played that game with now fly around the world and tell TV Chefs their broccolini blows. They have three assistants you have to get through just to say “fuck you, meet me at Siberia in twenty minutes”. That game is gone, now filled with cookbooks and TV spots on Today, filled with front of house managers sitting on their ass in their offices during service.
Alright, so that takes care of the man with no reservations. But who are the other characters and venues based on? Here's what we're dealing with:

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Daniel Boulud's Downtown Burger Place Finally Signs the Lease

Breaking news on the as-yet-unnamed Daniel Boulud burger restaurant (the “DBGB” moniker is gone): The lease has been signed and the restaurant is officially a go, according to Boulud's spokeswoman Georgette Farkas. The much-ballyhooed burger place at 299 Bowery will be opening in the summer of 2008, and will be designed by Thomas Schlesser, the same intelligence behind the look of this fall’s DB entry, Bar Boulud. “The DBGB name isn’t happening,” Farkas tells us. “So in-house we’re calling it TBDB.”

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Butter’s Alex Guarnaschelli Is Her Baby’s Personal Chef

The children of chefs eat famously well. In the case of little Ava Guarnaschelli, that privilege extends to infancy: The two-and-half-month-old daughter of Butter chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli has her mother on baby-food duty in the kitchen. And why not, says the new mother. “I’m constantly in the Greenmarket, and it seems silly for me not to cook for the person that means the most in the world to me.”

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Famous Pastafarian Turns His Attention to Tacos

There’s a soft spot in our heart for artists who play with their food (remember Jason Wishnow’s Oedipus starring vegetables?), but what to make of the most recent work of Bob Henderson, founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? In his spiel about why he borrowed a $1,200 lens to shoot 59-cent tacos in black-and-white, Henderson writes, “I have an interest in #133; niche marketing, memes, photography, and tacos. I invented pretentious fine art taco photography.” If you don’t want to spend $34 on a print, don’t worry — Henderson says he’s aiming to bring the project to New York. Expect a table of Gordita Supremes at the opening. Fine Art Taco Photography [Handerob.com] Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster [Venganza.org]

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A Voce Sequels to Appear Soon in a City Near You?

Andrew Carmellini
We hear from multiple sources that plans are under way to re-create A Voce in other cities. At least two are in the works, we hear, but chef Andrew Carmellini warns us that no leases are signed yet. “You can have meetings every day, but it’s all bullshit until you sign on the dotted line.” We couldn’t agree more!

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Time to Start Thinking About A Taste of New York

Anyone involved with the madness that was A Taste of New York last year won’t need much convincing to go back. (We gave a hint of the proceedings the next morning.) This year, 40 major restaurants will serve their best, champagne will flow like Red Bull during finals, and everyone will dress well. (No promises for Bill Telepan.) The 2007 Taste of New York will be held November 5 at the Puck Building. General admission is $145; the VIP Preview preceding the event is $200. Tickets are on sale now. 2007 Taste of New York Related: More Than Just a Taste of New York

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The Phantom IHOP of Midtown West

IHOP
The coverage of the IHOP that may be coming to Times Square and is definitely coming to Brooklyn neglects to mention a great mystery. Search for IHOP in the Yahoo white pages (and on Citysearch and various other sites) and along with the one in Harlem you’ll find a listing on 240 W. 35th Street. We know this because we tried to go there once and instead of being greeted by a Rooty Tooty Fresh ’N Fruity we found, of all things, the International Food House and Buffet, an all-you-can-eat Latin spot where there’s salsa dancing at night.

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Beard Papa Returning Downtown, May Hit the Slope

Beard Papa
We promised to launch an official investigation into the mysterious closing of Beard Papa’s East and West Village locations, and, although a disconnected signal at the latter didn’t bode well, an email from COO Craig Takiguchi is more than reassuring. “We are meeting with folks in Park Slope and Bronxville,” says Takiguchi. “I suspect we will find a good location in either of those two areas sometime this year.” As for the closed stores:

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Dani Is Done With Dinner Service Forever

Contrary to recent reports, Dani is not in danger of closing, but when the restaurant reopens on September 17, there will be a major shift: Owner Don Pintabona tells us there will no longer be any dinner service. “It’s going to be all events, corporate dinners, and parties,” he says. “I already have a bunch of weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other stuff lined up.”

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AvroKO's New Restaurant Poised to Hit Bond Street

Adam Farmerie
AvroKO, the architectural and restaurant team behind Public, is planning to open a new eatery at 26-28 Bond Street, not far from Ian Schrager’s forthcoming condos at 40 and 48 Bond. Unlike Forty Deuce, they received the go-ahead (albeit in a split decision, after much debate) from CB2’s business committee last night. AvroKO’s Adam Farmerie filled us in on his plan for the 100-seat restaurant, under the working name Superior.

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