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Astor Wines And Spirits

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East Village Gets the Culinary Study Center It Desperately Needs

Astor Wine and Spirits isn’t content to just be the place where the rich denizens of the East Village buy their Priorat reds; now the store has spawned a state-of-the-art culinary facility, Astor Center, above its Lafayette Street shop. Lesley Townsend, the director, is quick to ward off comparisons to other recreational cooking programs around. “We’re not a cooking school. We’re not a wine school,” she says. “We’re going to be a host facility for events and symposia and conferences and panels.” Like Dale DeGroff’s Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) program, at which the King of Cocktails teaches five-day exhaustive master classes for aspiring mixologists.

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Midwood Facing a Second DiFara Crisis As Health Department Revisits

East Village: Plans for the Bowery Hotel’s subterranean Japanese restaurant get scrapped for a spa. [Down by the Hipster] Drown your sorrows (or pickup takeout sushi) and head to Astor Wines for over 50 varieties of shochu, the Japanese alcohol that “goes down easy.” [Gridskipper] Fort Greene: The first South African restaurant in the United States, Madiba, has just been closed by the Department of Health. [VV] Long Island City: Junior’s Cheesecake and Harry’s Water Taxi Beach are among the participants in tomorrow night’s Taste of LIC to support the Chocolate Factory’s arts programs. [The Chocolate Factory] Midtown West: Starwood’s new (opening in 2010) green hotel overlooking Bryant Park will feature restaurants by Stephen Hanson. [Gothamist] Midwood: DiFara closed by the Department of Health for the second time since March. Dom, please just wear the hat. [Eater]

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