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Astoria

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Ivy League Grad Will Rub Your Shoulders, Write Your Biography

Astoria: Councilman Vallone, if you thought you could just put that preconstructed, toxin-belching smokestack there on 37th Street and nobody would notice, you were sadly mistaken. Oh, and "you're slowly turning the area into a ghetto," too, by the way. [Queens Crap] Carroll Gardens: If you give this "Ivy-educated" author, psychologist, educator, and editor a free place to live, he (she?) will be your shrink and write your memoir. Yeah, we've heard that one before. [Pardon Me for Asking] Harlem: They're standing by original funk-soul brother Bill Clinton up here, especially with that Obama being "a nice white middle-class guy." Ouch! [NYT]

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No Ssäm at Ssäm Bar; Neighbors Oppose Carroll Gardens Restaurant

Astoria: Oleput reopened. But does it have a liquor license? [Joey in Astoria] Carroll Gardens: Residents are opposed to a bar and grill next to Black Mountain Wine House. [Brooklyn Paper] East Village: Is ssäm off the menu at Ssäm Bar? [Eater] Gowanus: Look for a new coffee-and-sandwich shop called the Crooked Tail Café coming soon to Third Avenue and President Street. [Brownstoner] Greenpoint: One patron at Greenpoint Coffeehouse wants his anti-brunch message heard. [New York Shitty] Midtown: Combine dinner with people-watching at the food court at Grand Central Station. [Weblicist of Manhattan] West Village: The panini at ’ino are salty and sweet. [Gothamist]

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Condos Eating Up Ethnic Restaurants; Eleven Madison Park Chef Bringing Some Bling to the UWS

Astoria: The café Oleput at 31-13 Ditmars has reopened, and they might have a liquor license. [Joey in Astoria] Clinton Hill: Krumbs (or whatever the bakery will soon be called) is now open at 154 Vanderbilt between Willoughby and Myrtle, and mini–carrot cakes seem like a hit. [Clinton Hill Blog] Flushing: The legendary Chinese food court at J & L mall may be closed for good after a brief shutter this summer. The condo curse strikes again. [Eat for Victory/VV] Hell's Kitchen: Kyotofu’s hosting a winter sake pairing Monday with the theme "An Evening at an Izakaya, a traditional Japanese Pub.” It includes real food like miso-grilled ten-grain yaki-onigiri rice balls and shiitake-and-pork-yuba dumplings. [Grub Street] Park Slope: A new reason to join the CSA: Find a tiny frog in your lettuce and get a hilarious feature in the Daily News. [Gothamist] Upper East Side: A San Francisco restaurant critic goes to Park Avenue Winter and other top-billed New York restaurants and admits being "struck by a trend that seems to be taking root [here]: Market-driven menus. Of course, this is common to the Bay Area." [Between Meals/San Francisco Chronicle] Upper West Side: Eleven Madison Park chef Kerry Heffernan has outfitted the old Cafe Botanica with mirrors and glass to prepare for the opening of South Gate, his new restaurant slated for a mid-February opening. [Restaurant Girl]

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10 Jay to Get Five More Stories

Astoria: If a park designated as a "sitting area" has nowhere to sit, is that kind of like if a tree fell in the forest in that park — if there were a forest there — and no one heard it? Is it really a sitting area at all? Or even a forest or a park? Think about it. [Queens Crap] Bushwick: Get your knives out, the Argentines are coming! Uh, your steak knives, that is, because they make great steaks. Get it? [BushwickBK] Dumbo: That landmark building at 10 Jay Street where the raves used to be held in the early aughts? Those aren't cabanas going on the roof — it's added five stories! Is it going residential? [DumboNYC]

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Cipriani Downtown Having a Bit of Work Done; Cupcake Glut Still Centered in the West Village

Astoria: La Guli Bakery at 29-15 Ditmars Boulevard serves gelato throughout the winter if you get an irrational craving in this blistery weather. [Joey in Astoria] East Village: La Palapa is offering Super Bowl catering packages if you decide to pass on the Tostitos and Chi-Chi’s salsa this year. [Grub Street] Forest Hills: Rouge Bistro has closed. [Grub Street] Hell’s Kitchen: Newish restaurants like Cooper’s Tavern and Go!Go! Curry mean you can finally find something to eat in the garment district. [NYT] Midtown East: "I could live — and dine out nightly — for more than 100 years, and I still don’t think I’d come to understand restaurants like Il Nido," says Bruni about the expensive, hit-or-miss Italian. But over 1,000 words later, he’s explained the survival of old-school inconsistent restaurants quite well. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Soho: Cipriani Downtown will be closed most of this week for renovations to the floor and bar area. [Eater] West Village: A cupcake bar called Sweet Revenge is opening this spring at 62 Carmine Street near Bedford Street, and the owner’s goal is to sex up the revered city sweets. [Crain’s NY via Eater]

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BarFry’s Naughty Valentine’s Day Does Not Include Oil; Irving Mill Expanding in Flatiron

Astoria: Named for the spongy Latin cheese bread, Pao de Queijo has opened at 31-90 30th Street, between Broadway and 31st Avenue, and is serving a Brazilian mix of snacks and batidos. [Time Out] Flatiron: Irving Mill might be Gramercy Tavern lite, but the owners are ready to expand with an Italian wine bar. Who will be the next nearby inspiration? Bar Stuzzichini? [Eater] Tribeca: Brandy Library is hosting a New York whiskey tasting on Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Upper West Side: Magnolia Bakery North officially opens on Monday, but eager cupcake fiends might want to try stopping by Saturday to see if there's a soft opening. [Cupcakes Take the Cake] West Village: Josh DeChellis will make you a "naughty doggie-bag" of after-dinner treats from BarFry for Valentine's Day, but, don't worry, no fried hot dogs, just good old-fashioned strawberries and squirt-bottle chocolate. [Eat for Victory/VV]

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Beware the Castle Astoria

Astoria: People who live in this building get their very own Rapunzel balcony in their very own profoundly ugly castle. Call this style Middle Ages middlebrow. [OuterB via Curbed] Bushwick: This cancer survivor who runs the music joint Goodbye Blue Monday is a cool dude. But when he says you could toss a cat in any direction around here and hit a building owned by his landlord, we hope he doesn't mean that cute kitty he's holding in the photo. [amNY] Harlem: Guess which Manhattan neighborhood didn't make it onto this (clever but not quite accurate, given gentrification) "White Folks' Map of the NYC Subway System"? [Gothamist]

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Gavin Kaysen Tests His Menu at Café Boulud; Williamsburg's Pampa Still a Mystery

Astoria: Time Café is said to serve a solid brunch. The fries look a bit pale, but after a few "terrific" mimosas, they'll probably hit the spot anyway. [Joey in Astoria] East Village: The culinary study center the area desperately needs opens today. [Restaurant Girl] Flatiron: On Monday, January 28, 4-Foodies is hosting an Italian Favorites tasting at Lunetta. [4foodies] Upper East Side: Bar Boulud's success hasn't hurt Café Boulud, where chef Gavin Kaysen is currently testing his new menu; the latter DB spot still attracts eye candy like former Giants star Tiki Barber. [Mouthing Off/Food&Wine] Williamsburg: A sleek new building on Graham Avenue will soon be home to a restaurant called Pampa, but no one really knows what the place will be like. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]

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Free Dewar's (and Debate) on the LES Tonight; Bar Boulud Answers Bruni's Calls

Astoria: Angelo & Son’s Bakery gets a modern renovation: green and red backlighting for their sign. [Joey in Astoria] Brooklyn Heights: The co-founder of La Bouillabaisse on Atlantic Avenue in the nineties has opened a wine bar on the corner of Henry and Cranberry streets. Food like oysters and mini Kobe burgers will also be on the menu. [Brooklyn Eagle via Brooklyn Heights Blog] Lower East Side: Rayuela serves an interesting cocktail called Rye which combines "guava, lemon, agave nectar, mint leaves, Michter’s Straight Rye, Becherovka," and it’s not even one of Junior Merino’s signature cocktails. [Down by the Hipster] Tonight at the Slipper Room, there’s a free yuppie-versus-hippie debate featuring Max Silvestri and Lang Fisher, and it’s sponsored by Dewar’s. [Brooklyn Vegan] Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Brooklyn & Slim bar has transformed into Step Too Cafe, but it doesn’t look like much has changed. [Across the Park] Union Square Park: Luna Park has been demolished in preparation for the area’s overhaul. [Eater] Upper East Side: Bruni calls Bar Boulud and reaches a human! It sounds like DB put some backup personnel on the lines. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

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A Chabad Blogs

Astoria: Hm, if we get on the list now, can we make it into this de-gorgeous affordable housing complex for the elder set by the time we're 65? If our income stays where it is now, we know we'll qualify. [OuterB] Crown Heights: The Chabad Orthodox sect here has a totally pimped-out ride memorializing the late, great Rebbe Schneerson. And did you know they also have their own blog? They're so now! [Curbed] Harlem: At P.S. 161 on Convent Ave., the teachers park on the sidewalks! Do they think they can get away with this just because they make subsistence wages? We think not. [Streetsblog]

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Barbuto Saved by a Chicken; Fiamma Comes Up Short

The wildly uneven Barbuto earns a single star from Frank Bruni, almost entirely on the strength of a well-roasted Bell & Evans chicken. To quote Winston Churchill, “Some chicken!” [NYT] Alan Richman was appalled by how small the portions were at Grayz, how much they cost, and how shady most of them were, except for the magnificent, world-beating short rib: “In complexity and satisfaction, this dish reminded me most of the Gray Kunz of Lespinasse, the chef we miss so much.” [Bloomberg] Randall Lane gets that Fiamma’s Fabio Trachocchi is cooking in a grand, Continental style and doesn’t hold that against him, but the food is too rich and the service too sloppy to give him the five or six stars the place would have liked And so they have to settle for four. [TONY]

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A Cappella, Applebee's Change the Face of Astoria

Astoria: This blogger doesn't know which new arrival to the neighborhood is worse: the Broadway chorus-boy gays or the Applebee's. [Manhattan Offender] Bay Ridge: They're gonna move the ugly-ass Gowanus Expressway onto a sleek cable suspension roadway and fill in the old area with emerald parkland! Well, wouldn't it be pretty to think so. [NYDN Cobble Hill: A developer wants to build townhouses on the empty land surrounding the pretty old Lamm Building on Amity Street, but locals object because the new houses wouldn't face the street and leave room for backyards like all the other houses. Tense. [Brownstoner]

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Fort Greene Restaurant Scene's Crescendo; De Niro Hotel So Close You Can Book It

Astoria: The Southwest restaurant that's been under construction near the Ditmars stop on 31st Street is named Mojave and opens tonight. [Joey in Astoria via Astorians] East Village: The Mermaid Inn reopens tomorrow after a one-week renovation, which may have been inspired by Time Out‘s mouse sightings. [Eater] Fort Greene: New restaurants the Smoke Joint and 67 Burger have joined older favorites like iCi and Thomas Beisl to build a thriving restaurant scene near the Brooklyn Academy of Music. [NYT] Tribeca: De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel is now taking reservations for the spring. [NewYorkology via Eater]

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Caviar and Vodka Warming Hearts in Midtown; Danal Not Down for Long in the East Village

Astoria: The guacamole at Luna de Juarez is prepared tableside. [Joey in Astoria] Central Park: Someone may take over the Tavern on the Green someday, but they won't be calling it Tavern on the Green. That name belongs to owner Jennifer LeRoy. [Insatiable Critic] East Village: From a tipster comment on yesterday’s nabe watch: Danal is reopening on January 10 in a new Fifth Avenue space just south of 13th Street. [Grub Street] Lincoln Center: Bruni gives Rosa Mexicano thumbs up for its kid-friendly service and adult-friendly fare. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Lower East Side: Móle might make some of the tastiest tamales in town. [Gothamist] Midtown East: Reservations are required for Gastronomica editor, Russian professor, and cookbook author Darra Goldstein’s sustainable-caviar and vodka tasting next Wednesday in the Williams Club at 24 East 39th Street. [Williams Club] Nolita: Ceci-Cela on Spring Street will bake you a buttery galette des rois with only one day's notice … [Snack] Tribeca: … while Ceci-Cela on Chambers has officially closed after rising rents compelled the bakery to give up its lease. [Grub Street] Upper East Side: Rome expat Enrico Proietti (Baraonda, Per Lei, and Bella Blue) is opening a fourth Italian restaurant, which he’s named Ciaobella in commemoration of his first, long-closed, New York venture. [NYS] Upper West Side: Not only does DB source great charcuterie for Bar Boulud, the chef also knows how to throw a party. [Eater]

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Mexican Chef Returns to Queens in High(er) Style

A good chef thought long gone has (lucky for us) returned: Benita Areola is at a new Pan-Latino restaurant in Astoria called Luna de Juarez. Areola cooked at one of the better Mexican restaurants in Queens in recent years, the late Fiesta Mexicana, a no-frills BYOB favorite in Jackson Heights. (She also worked at a restaurant called Fiesta Mexicana in Mexico, where the name is less promising.) Her light and refined food is expected to surface again at Luna de Juarez, but look for a more ambitious menu, live music on weekends, and a liquor license. This venue sounds better and better. Luna de Juarez, 25-98 Steinway St., nr. 28th Ave.; 718-274-4350.

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Ride the Kosher Subway in Midwood; Drink at Bed-Stuy's Rustik

Astoria: What happened here food-wise in 2007? Wine bars and the bloggers’ favorite new restaurant, Il Bambino. [Joey in Astoria]
Bedford-Stuyvesant: The Rustik Tavern opens on DeKalb this afternoon; look for a full menu soon. Points for quoting Hemingway on the menu. [BedStuy Blog]
Fort Greene: The proposed food co-op starts a blog. One step closer to reality! [Brownstoner]
Midwood: Shawarma has come, at long last, to America's first kosher Subway. [Grub Street]
Upper East Side: There are over 200 restaurants here, so don’t dine in the same place more than once. [Upper East Side Informer]
West Village: Josh DeChellis is doing a late-breaking party at BarFry with composed Japanese dishes and an open bar from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. for $75. Call the restaurant to reserve. [Grub Street]
Williamsburg: Long Island’s Bridge Vineyards to open a tasting room and wine bar on Broadway. [11211side]

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Peter Hoffman Served a Rubber Band to His Mentor; Bloomberg to the Veggie Rescue in Harlem

Astoria: La Flor de Puebla on Astoria Boulevard between Steinway and 38th Street makes a mean carnitas taco. [Joey in Astoria] East Village: Peter Hoffman of Back Forty (and Savoy) reveals to Frank Bruni that he "once served a watercress salad to Richard Olney, my mentor and culinary hero, only to discover upon going to his table to see how he liked it that we had also served him a rubber band." [Diner's Journal/NYT] Harlem: Only 3 percent of bodegas in the nabe carry leafy green vegetables, so Mayor Bloomberg's coming to the rescue. No wonder Mizrahi loves him. [NYS via Uptown Flavor] Park Slope: The end of Donuts Coffee Shop on Fifth Avenue is near; Associated Supermarket is about to swallow up the landmark diner. [The Gowanus Lounge] West Village: It's a Q&A kind of day: Centro Vinoteca and newly anointed Gusto chef Anne Burrell says her trademark "cowgirl skirts are a good luck charm when we do Iron Chef … I figure if all the old ladies in Italy wear dresses in the kitchen, why can't I wear a skirt in NYC?" Though she may not have seen our kitchen fashions for the preening chef. [Restaurant Girl] Gusto is also hosting a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, which includes this recipe for zuppa di pesce. [Eat for Victory/VV]

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Bradley and Freitag Planning a ‘Lusty’ Menu for the Harrison; Hot Chestnut Pancakes in Midtown West

Astoria: Bar 36 at 36-05 30th Avenue hosts Martini Thursdays, where it’s "$2 off every martini on their menu (or create your own). Can’t beat the free snacks, too!" [Joey in Astoria] East Village: You’d be hard-pressed find a better, more satisfying "fantastic when it was hot but … made for a mean late night snack as well" deal than bär-bo-ne’s nightly five-course fresh pasta tasting menu. [Gluttoness] Flatiron: Eisenberg’s has been serving tater tots as latkes, but "the owner talked about getting in some big latkes soon. Let’s hope so … A place like Eisenberg’s deserves to have the best latkes." [Lost City] Midtown West: Norma’s has added new breakfast items to its menu, including hot chestnut pancakes and a chocolate waffle with peanut-butter-toffee-crunch filling, but don’t expect to get in and try them until the tourist exodus in January. [Eater] Tribeca: With chef Amanda Freitag at the helm, Jimmy Bradley plans to strive "for a bold, lusty, soulful menu at the Harrison." Saucy! [Restaurant Girl] Upper East Side: On weekdays through December, Zoë Townhouse at 135 East 62nd Street is offering a 15 percent discount off bottles of wine from noon to 7 p.m. [Grub Street] Williamsburg: From these pictures, the opening of the Peter Luger annex, which would significantly expand the restaurant, seems imminent. [Eater]

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Le Bernardin Pastry Chef a Fan of Mason; Tour East Village Dumpling Master's Lair

Astoria: A new wine bar on 35th Avenue at 30th Street called Rest-au-Rant features about 30 wines and beers — from Germany, New Zealand, Hawaii, Belgium, and France. [Joey in Astoria] Dumbo: Waterstreet Restaurant and Lounge hosts carolers and expects dancing till late tonight as part of a holiday shopping promotion throughout the nabe. [Dumbo NYC] East Village: A photo tour of the magical workshop of "Sun Le, the dumpling master who makes TKettle’s juicy little masterpieces." [Eat for Victory/VV] Lower East Side: Le Bernardin pastry chef Michael Laiskonis just had a great meal at Tailor and has "always been a fan of Sam Mason’s food." [Restaurant Girl] West Village: The Bowery Hotel’s Eric Goode and Sean McPherson are rumored to have closed a deal on another boutique hotel, at an unknown location. [Down by the Hipster]

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It’s All Topsy-Turvy in This Week’s Magazine

The magazine’s content this week, which is copious, compelling, and diverse, is also curious. How in the world did Adam Platt give Primehouse New York the two stars we thought it deserves? Is it possible that the big man is softening? Likewise, we expected Gael Greene to be skeptical about Shelly’s La Tradizionale, a Shelly Fireman restaurant that was Shelly’s New York just a few short months ago — but instead she’s agog over the Italian seafood. Rob and Robin devise a guide to group dinners in the city, an antidote to the annual stress of holiday gatherings. For Hanukkah, they consulted with Julian Medina of Toloache for a Mexican take on latkes. Plus, there’s plenty of news in the openings department: Philoxenia makes a welcome return to Astoria, and Rheon Café brings high-tech Japanese restaurant equipment to New York.

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