The Bodega Classic: Genteel Versus GrittyWhen we wrote about the Bodega Challenge last week, our imaginations went wild with thoughts of the kind of monstrosity that would win. The idea was to create a dish from ingredients strictly available at a bodega, costing no more than $20, with extra credit given for being especially “bodegic.” The winner entry, announced recently on the Brooklyn Kitchen blog, came from one aptly named Sarah Gentile. Her “Pumpkin Gobble Gobble.” was composed of apples, canned pumpkin, marshmallows, and pistachios — and though surely delish, the whole “fresh apples and other foods found in nature” seems kind of antithetical to the spirit of the bodega. But we’d still eat it.
Win Brooklyn Kitchen’s Bodega Challenge, and Be the Pride of WilliamsburgWhen we think of bodegas, we think of our favorite shady treats: quarter waters, off-brand cheese puffs, and big cans of Broadcast corned beef hash (for later). But the Brooklyn Kitchen, a Williamsburg cookware store, is now asking for customers to think outside the Nilla Wafer box with the Bodega Challenge. It’s sort of like the South Williamsburg version of the Pillsbury Bake-Off, but less healthy.
Mermaid Inn UWS to Open Late Fall; Garifunan Cuisine Has Arrived … in theChelsea: Candy Camp confectionary classes for kids start Saturday at Sapa. [Cakehead]
Clinton Hill: A confused source says the former Bodegas space will become Clinton Hill Bistro, but that’s what Bodegas had painted on its windows when it was open. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Harlem: Doug E. Fresh talks chicken and waffles and the late-night feel of his second restaurant: “Hot Pot, the Caribbean spot I’m opening in December … Harlem’s always been known for its late-night style.” [Uptown Flavor]
Long Island City: Big Easy landmark Jacques-Imo’s New York branch has lost its uptown lease and will take refuge in Queens. [Joey in Astoria via Eater]
South Bronx: If you’ve been craving Garifunan food (the cuisine of “Coastal Caribbeans of African and Native American descent”), head to newly opened and possibly only-one-of-its-kind Garifuna Star at 640 Prospect Avenue for “curry-esque soup and a fufu-esque plantain dish.” [Eat for Victory/VV]
Upper West Side: Danny Abrams plans to open his second Mermaid Inn by the end of the fall. [Eater]
Beard’s Finances Questioned; Restaurants Manipulate ZagatThe Beard Foundation, in the spotlight as Monday’s awards approach, is still on shaky ground financially, and questions still linger about the way it spends its money. [NYT]
Restaurants are lobbying customers to vote for them in the Zagat survey, a trend nobody likes, but which few in the business can stop or resist. [NYP]
The days of the fat chef seem to have been passed, leaving mostly whippet-slim cooks to inherit the world’s kitchens. [Waitrose via Serious Eats]
Texas Barbecue Coming to Tribeca in Limited ReleaseClinton Hill: Former Bodegas spot now in the hands of Fort Greene’s Pequeña posse. [Brooklyn Record]
Little Italy: The great-grandson of the founder of the San Gennaro Festival plans to add an Italian-American history museum to the nabe as well as high-end retailers like Armani and Gucci (a step up from those “I Heart BJs” shirts). [MetroNY]
Lower East Side: Park Slope’s Cocoa Bar set to open on Clinton Street by the end of May. [Cocoa Bar]
Tribeca: Smokin’ Joe’s True-Blue Texas Barbecue will serve lunch (sandwiches, platters, and all the fixins) at the Tribeca Tavern on Fridays and Saturdays during the Tribeca Film Festival and, let’s hope, longer. [NYT] Mai House’s late-night $10 menu kicks off tonight. [Myriad Restaurant Group]
West Village: Chumley’s will be under construction for the next few months, at least. [Eater]
in other news
Dominicans Like the Island Manhattan, Smoke on Your Pipe and Put That In
There may be a minor revolution under way in our city’s Latin American population, according to new census data reported in the News. For the first time ever, the Dominican Republic is poised to overtake Puerto Rico as the No. 1 provenance of New York Latinos. (Overall, Latinos account for 28 percent of the NYC population and are the dominant ethnicity in the Bronx). The new figures show the number of “Nuyoricans” dropping from 2004 to 2005, while the Dominican stats are on the rise. An auxiliary article describes the first front already ceded by the Puerto Ricans — the city’s 13,000 Hispanic bodegas, which are now almost entirely Dominican-owned.
Whither Puerto Ricans? It seems they’re following the arc of any other immigrant group that’s stayed in the city for a while: disappearing into the middle class and moving out, be it to the Long Island suburbs, upstate, New Jersey, or back to Puerto Rico. At least, though, this revolution appears to be a peaceful one, with no hard feelings between the two Latino groups. For instance, when Puerto Rican candidate Fernando Ferrer ran for mayor, he drew more support from the city’s Dominicans than from his compatriots. Of course, he still lost.
Latinos on the Rise in the City [NYDN]
Dominican Dominance at Bustlin’ Bodegas [NYDN]
Carroll Gardeners Fight the Good FightCarroll Gardens: Volunteers MoveOn into vacant Carroll Gardens apartment, using it to call voters round the country. [Brooklyn Papers]
Kensington: City drags its feet in building playground, kids sad. [NYDN]
Lower East Side: Cronkite Pizzeria and Wine Bar helps hipsters indulge their inner child and their repressed adult by serving up cotton candy and affordable wine. [Gothamist]
Park Slope: Sharing is caring, and drivers and bikers will soon be splitting Fifth Avenue. [Streets Blog]
Prospect Heights: From ghetto to glorious: New bodega management patches hole in wall and actually stocks what its customers want, which is beer and cigarettes. [Daily Heights]
West Village: Ye Waverly Inn reopens, with better lighting and a new mural but sadly, when these photos were taken, no Graydon. [Eater]
Williamsburg: Breast-feeding has come to the ‘Burg, and the nabe’s okay with it. But not quite as okay as lactating moms would like. [Brooklyn Record]