We weren’t surprised to read in "Page Six" today that Anna Wintour dined with LeBron James at the Waverly Inn. We passed their table on Tuesday, and when the ceilings are that low, it’s impossible to miss a six-foot-eight baller extracting himself from the center of a corner booth. James was patiently sitting next to the bathroom when we emerged, causing our waiter to remark, “You made LeBron James wait!” We couldn’t tell whether he was chastising us or congratulating us for no doubt costing the man a Benjamin of his time, but either way we felt a sense of accomplishment unknown since Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand queued up behind us at the Spotted Pig. The rest of this week’s sightings are heavy on the PDA.
Earlier today, we pointed to our fashion blog’s outrage that Orlando Bloom was seen with Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr at Max Brenner, of all places. However, our combing of this week’s celebrity sightings reveals it may have been a momentary lapse, since Bloom was also spotted at the much more respectable Bobo. Phew. But what’s this — Bobby Flay filming outside of Chipotle? Is he a spokesman now? Who knows — if Rachael Ray can endorse Dunkin’ Donuts
We’ve always dreamed of scoring one of the très elegant jackets that Balthazar waiters wear (hint, hint, guys), but on a recent Martha Stewart Show, Balth chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr modeled an even more stylish item — Balthazar bathrobes! (“We were going to wear teddies, but it would not have been good for ratings,” a handlebar-mustached Lee Hanson quips.) If you want to make your V-Day date a pretty mean breakfast in bed tomorrow, check out the clip in which the boys demonstrate “the French take on breakfast burritos.” Just pretend not to notice the amount of butter that goes into this dish.
When Mireille Guiliano first came to America as an exchange student, she gained weight for the first time in her life. Many years later, after becoming a CEO of Veuve Clicquot, she penned the buzzy No. 1 best-seller French Women Don’t Get Fat, now out in paperback. After 25 years of splitting her time between New York and Paris, Guiliano is still amazed by the large portions here, and by the New Yorker’s tendency to eat on the go. “To eat your bagel and your muffin with coffee on the subway is gross,” she says. “How can you do it with the smell and the noise and the moving? I’d rather starve.” She’s also still shocked when she sees people eating on the street or standing up. “For French people, you’re supposed to eat at the table. Besides the bed, it’s the most important piece of furniture in the house.” So what’s she been eating at the table this week?
In addition to slowing its expansion (finally), Starbucks will halt “sales of hot breakfast sandwiches because their smell interferes with the aroma of coffee.” [WSJ]
If Padma Lakshmi could eat anywhere right now, she’d head to a little taco stand in Mexico for some fish tacos on the beach. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Chelsea hot spot Stereo, which was closed by police earlier this month, will not be reopening at its current location because the landlord bought out the lease. [NYP]
According to a new class-action suit being brought against Keith McNally, servers at Pastis and Balthazar were forced to foot the bill for customers who walked out on their checks, in addition to being denied minimum wage. [NYP]
Frank Bruni, like many other critics, believes a restaurant’s chicken dishes speak volumes about its overall quality. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
E-mails sent by Starbucks Corp. managers reveal their efforts to prevent unionizing among their employees, although labor experts say the activity is not illegal. [WSJ]
With Batali and Emeril out of her way, “homegrown star” Rachael Ray has just inked a two-year deal for a new prime-time series on the Food Network. [Eater]
It’s nothing he hasn’t said before, but the wordiness of some menus gets on the Bruni’s nerves. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Forget turducken: British chef Phillip Corrick has created a monster that involves at least 48 birds of a dozen different species and feeds 125 people. [Daily Mail]
Every Friday a notable New Yorker tells us where they’ve been eating, but where are the rest of them chowing down? Starting this week we’ll sort through the gossip columns à la Ils Vont (RIP) to tell you who’s been seen where (casual sightings only — boring galas, vodka launches, and pluggy appearances don’t count). We’ll eventually compile a ranking of restaurants most often visited by celebs. Not that you care about that sort of thing! Oh, but if you do, won’t you please leave your own sightings in the comments?
In her single “Nolita Fairytale,” Vanessa Carlton sings about her love of “Ruby's in the afternoon”— a reference to her favorite neighborhood hang. “It’s the best people-watching,” she says of Ruby’s. “Everyone looks like they’re out of an editorial shoot for some hip magazine. But it’s not posey.” Other favorites near the “Nolita flat on rent control” she famously exalts? La Esquina (“I love to get takeout or to just sit at the front taco bar”), Freemans (“I think it wins the devils-on-horseback competition with the Spotted Pig”), and N (“the best chorizo I’ve ever had”). We asked her whether this week found her at any of the above.
We’ve heard plenty about bars being shot down by the community when they try to open, but what about when they’re trying to close? Lindsey Caldwell sent us a desperate e-mail on behalf of her husband Myles Tipley, a co-owner of the artsy Williamsburg hip-hop bar Triple Crown, saying that “the community board refuses to allow [the owners] to sell the place.” The bar has been closed for eight months (with events here and there) after the burden of addressing noise complaints proved too much. But in the meantime, rent and bills have cost the owners $135,000, plus an average of about $7,000 per week in lost revenue, Caldwell says.
Keith McNally can appreciate the effectiveness of a good rally you’ll recall he personally protested the billboard that’s going up atop the Gansevoort Hotel. So when workers rallied outside of Pastis over the restaurant’s use of provisions from Wild Edibles (which has been sued over allegations of unpaid overtime), you can bet McNally listened. Brandworkers International announced today that Balthazar, Schiller’s, Morandi, Pravda, and Lucky Strike will no longer use products from the company until the dispute is resolved. Comrade McNally, we’re heading to Pravda right now to toast you with a horseradish-and-poached-egg martini.
Earlier:Wild Edibles Gets Caught in the Net of the Law
The view of New York from Dubuque and Ho-Ho-Kus is a laughable one, but we could never understand the reason why. Don’t the editors of Forbes Traveler, author of this ridiculous “America’s Best Brunches” feature live in New York? It’s as if Vogue were to get its New York fashion sense from watching Sex and the City. The four brunches called out Balthazar, Prune, Cookshop, and Norma’s are places nobody we know would touch if they were giving away bottomless mimosas. Not because they aren't good. But they’re all wildly crowded, and in neighborhoods where no one would ever want to be on a hung-over weekend day. (Despite Forbes’ assurance that West Chelsea is “the trendiest of neighborhoods.”)
Clinton Hill: Bittersweet has tasty coffee and Balthazar pastries, but there’s no guarantee you’ll pass Keri Russell while you’re there. [Clinton Hill Blog]
East Village: Gemma to diners: no I.D., no liquor. [Down by the Hipster]
Flushing: Aramark denies that Shake Shack is in the works for Citi Field. [Food Writer’s Diary] We stand by our story.
Upper East Side: Greek diner Gardenia Cafe has been open since 1977, but the lure of real-estate cash-money has finally led its owners to close. [NYT]
West Village: Crispy Pig’s Ears! Blueberry & Banana French Toast with Crème Fraîche! We have Spotted Pig’s new menus. [Grub Street]
Williamsburg: Kitchen Delight on North 8th Street offers the standard burgers and fries alongside a questionable menu item: “Lap Dances.” [Newyorkshitty]
East Village: Pose with your favorite dumpling! The Rickshaw Dumpling Bar opening on East 8th Street will feature a black-and-white photo booth. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Hell’s Kitchen: Burgers and Cupcakes has opened Mitchel London Pizza next door. [Eater]
Lower East Side: Sam Mason may have plans to serve brown-butter whiskey at Tailor. [Down by the Hipster]
Soho: Yes, that is a yo-yo in the pocket of Balthazar executive chef Riad Nasr, and he plays with it between platings. [Downtown Express]
West Village: Pinkberry accused of seeking world domination for plans to open not just a new location on Sixth Avenue, but two others in the city in addition its four already thriving stores. [Gothamist]
As the go-to party spinner for the likes of Jay-Z, Diddy, and Russell Simmons, DJ Cassidy, who recently cut tracks with J-Lo and Jessica Simpson, has seen some lavish food spreads in his 25 years. For instance, the time he was flown to Naomi Campbell’s birthday bash in Dubai. “It was in the middle of the Arabian dessert,” he remembers. “It was a never-ending buffet with the most amazing stations — every kind of meat being carved for you, every dessert you could think of, every kind of seafood at the raw bar. I don’t like to work with a heavy stomach, but I couldn’t resist. I stuffed my face.” We asked him what he caved into this week.