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Florence Fabricant

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Hearth Spawns a Wine Bar in the East Village

East Village: It looks like Hearth may spawn a wine bar. [Eater] A date with Momofuku’s David Chang is only worth $1000 at auction (Jean-Georges Vongerichten brought in $6100) but that’s not too bad for a night at a dive bar. [Snack] Greenwich Village: NYU is hosting a panel on Building a Food Professional Pedigree from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. this Thursday, with speakers including Michael Lomanaco and Florence Fabricant. [NYU] Long Island City: The Food Film Festival at Water Taxi Beach kicks off tomorrow. [The Food Section] Midtown West: Brasserie 8 1/2 will join the dessert-bar fray starting tonight by repackaging its lounge as After 8.5, and serving desserts after 8:30 p.m. — get it? [NYT] Times Square: Insieme is starting weekday lunch service between noon and 2 p.m. [NYS] Tribeca: Fresh Pie has been taken over by Ruben’s Empanadas at 149 Church Street. [Grub Street]

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Pelaccio Opens in London; Hotel Gansevoort Boycotted

Zak Pelaccio’s new London restaurant (first announced here) finally opens and issues a press release with a menu. [Snack] In a recent post, we called Michael Ruhlman a mandarin and critiqued his hauteur. Count us wrong on both counts: This response, titled “Grub Street Wankers,” and the vitriol that follows in the comment section, isn’t exactly high-minded. [Ruhlman] Related: In Defense of Rachael Ray and the Food Network [Grub Street] The big billboards erected on Hudson Street by the Hotel Gansevoort are so ugly that Pastis’ Keith McNally and 5 Ninth’s Joel Michel are refusing to take hotel reservations in protest. [NYP]

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City Council Stands Up for Fast-Food Chains; Unlaid Eggs in Vogue

Some City Council members, apparently swayed — purely on principle! — by the plight of the big fast-food chains, oppose Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed law to make them post calorie information. [NYP] The latest fad among Haute Barnyard types, like Dan Barber of Blue Hill? Unlaid eggs. [NYT] Related: The Haute Barnyard Hall of Fame [Grub Street] Bad news for cheesesteak lovers: The New York outpost of Tony Luke’s has severed its ties with its legendary Philadelphia headquarters and is now called Shorty’s. Also, Ollie’s Brasserie has closed, leaving the city with just one Chinese brasserie. [NYT] Related: City's Chinese Brasseries Double [Grub Street]

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Wall Street Loves Agribiz; Did the ‘Times’ Dig for Dirt on a Hapless Brit Chef?

Did the Times send a private eye after a chef sued them for having suggested he was a druggie? [NYP] Restaurant Week is the “Woodstock of the culinary world,” a wondrous opportunity that no one should let slip by. So says Drew Nieporent’s brother, anyway. [NYDN] Wall Street investors are stampeding each other to invest in agribusiness commodities. And that is making some corn and cattle producers very, very nervous. [NYT]

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After a Grub-Drubbing, FreshDirect Rejiggers Recipe

It was with a warm glow of satisfaction that we read the Times' review of Terrance Brennan's new FreshDirect line of microwave dinners; not to toot our own horns, but we were on that days ago (toot). We were surprised, though, to see Florence Fabricant praising the paella rice in the shrimp romesco, a dish we singled out as especially vile — and not because of the shrimp. ("The paella rice in another shrimp dish was excellent, but the shrimp were rubbery and medicinal," she wrote.) But there's another facet to this gem of a story, and it has nothing to do with Fabricant. After we smacked down the concoction, chef Brennan actually took it back to the drawing board (toot, toot). "It's like opening a restaurant," Brennan told us. "You have to work out all the dishes as you get feedback. The rice was overcooking." Thanks, Chef.

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