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Babbo

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Smoothies at Starbucks; Searching for New Sandwiches

Starbucks will introduce "smoothie-like" drinks this summer, the 'Times' sets out to find the next great New York sandwich, and a former Frank Sinatra hangout will reopen in Hell's Kitchen come June.

Babbo Tops Zagat Italian List, Followed by Relics

Babbo
We’re not surprised that Babbo is the city’s top Italian restaurant, according to Zagat's new America's 1,000 Top Italian Restaurants book — its popularity alone is enough, in Zagat-land, to ensure yearly dominance. And in fact, Babbo is a wonderful restaurant, four stars by our lights, and justly beloved. But if you had any doubt how unreliable the Zagat surveyors are, just check out number two: Village relic Il Mulino! Now, don’t get us wrong: Il Mulino is a fine restaurant and uses very expensive ingredients to good effect. The tuxedoed wait staff are as servile as ever. But it should be the second-most-popular Italian restaurant of 1958. Haven’t the matrons of Secaucus ever heard of A Voce? Or L’Impero? Or for that matter Del Posto? Don’t look for any of those at number three: The winner there is another beloved mummy, Roberto in the Bronx. Zagat names Babbo New York's No. 1 Italian restaurant [NYDN]

Produce Carts Approved for Low-Income Areas; Calling a Clone a Clone

The City Council passed a watered-down version of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to place produce carts in low-income neighborhoods. The new plan cuts the total number down to 1,000 from 1,500 and reduces the number of targeted precincts from 43 to 34. [NYP] The Post hit two midtown Starbucks yesterday and found that, while Tuesday night’s three-hour training session for baristas may not have instilled the ability to make perfect drinks, they will remake it as many times as you force them to. [NYP] A City Council member introduced legislation yesterday that would require meat from cloned animals to be labeled as such. [Metro NY]

A Dovetail Spy Scandal; Gordo Ruins New Jersey Valentine's Day

A Food & Wine contributing editor has been working as a hostess at Dovetail, the new three-star restaurant, for the past two months. Part of her arrangement with chef John Fraser? To spot food writers and alert the kitchen, but apparently she was no help in pointing out Frank Bruni. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine] Shake Shack and Burger Joint will face off tonight at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival for the title of champion in the “Burger Bash.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Landmarc at the Time Warner Center is throwing an Oscar party of sorts this Sunday, featuring a five-course tasting menu and two flat-screen TVs in the dining room. [Zagat]

Batali Calls Out Bloggers, Gordon Ramsay

Gawker unearths a choice quote from Guardian critic Jay Rayner’s forthcoming book The Man Who Ate the World. Excoriating bloggers, Mario Batali tells Rayner:
“It’s just people who hate things. But you know what? If they don’t like my beef cheek ravioli and the rock-and-roll we play on the sound system at Babbo, they can suck my dick. I don’t care.”
Except for the fellatio part, this pretty much jives with what he has told us in the past. Upon reading the book, we found it even more interesting that Batali, immediately before criticizing blogger/haters, decided to call out Gordon Ramsay.