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Duck!

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We haven't yet been to Morandi, Keith McNally's new Italian spot in the West Village, but as lunchtime approaches — and as we learn about chef Jody Williams's duck sandwich — we must say we're tempted to head over. It's Muscovy duck breast on Balthazar Bakery bread, plus lots of other things. We'll let Williams explain, in this week's Annotated Dish at Grub Street. Morandi's Deceptively Simple Duck Sandwich [Grub Street]

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We All Scream for Lobster!

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If it were us, we might not have named the thing a Lobster-Roll Ice-Cream Sandwich, because it sounds, well, gross. But look at the picture and consider the ingredients: a buttered-and-griddled top-cut hot-dog bun, filled with chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream, and more chocolate sauce. And then remember that had Ed McFarland, of Ed's Lobster Bar, called it something else, it might not be this week's Sandwich of the Week. And then where would we be? That's Right: A Lobster-Roll-Inspired Ice-Cream Sandwich [Grub Street]

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Daniel Boulud Chefs Where He Eats

Daneil Boulud
So what does a chef actually eat? Grub Street dared to ask the question of Chef Daniel Boulud. Turns out he eats regularly at his own restaurant Daniel. But he also spares twenty minutes for sushi at Sushi Yasuda, samples new spice mixes, and previews his upcoming spring menu. Sunday means brunch at Balthazar and the occasional Citymeals-on-Wheels gala, where Boulud can sample hors d’oeuvre from the city's finest chefs. So work, eat, and raise $1.1 million. Not a bad gig. To find out who makes Chef's favorite tart flambé, check out Grub Street. Chef Daniel Boulud Eats Sushi at $10 Per Minute [Grub Street]

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Pols Come Out to Support Saigon Grill Workers; Delivery Service Still Suspended

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The battle of Saigon Grill rages on. Two weeks after the Vietnamese mini-chain locked out its delivery workers, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has filed a lawsuit on behalf of 36 of those workers — and today a gaggle of New York politicians joined the Chinese Staff and Workers Association's daily protests at the Upper West Side location. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer called conditions for delivery workers "a dirty secret that needs to get exposed." "Being paid $1.60 an hour, sometimes getting robbed and told to reimburse the employer … is unacceptable in today's society," he said. State Senator Eric Schneiderman, who spoke in both English and Mandarin, said he believed there was "strong evidence" that Saigon Grill's Chinese-Cambodian owner, Simon Nget, was trying to get the workers to sign "an illegal contract" before he locked them out. A state assemblywoman and a city councilwoman were there, too, and Congressmen Jerry Nadler and Charlie Rangel sent representatives. And while all of this is going on, there's also this bad news: There's still no delivery service. —Mary Reinholz Earlier: Labor Troubles at Saigon Grill Mean No Delivery for You

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Eating London: Please, Platt, We Want Some More

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From Scotland to England: New York's inimitable and indomitable Adam Platt spent five days eating his way through London for this week's magazine. He learned that now, finally, there's plenty worth eating alongside the Thames but that there's more density and variety — and less cost — next to the Hudson. But he also learned a whole lot more, which couldn't all fit into his allotted magazine space. Head, then, to Grub Street, where he provides the Gobbler's Ten Rules for Eating Well in London. (Hint: You'd better like lamb.) How to Eat in London [Grub Street]

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Candy Land

Vending Pix
For no good reason we can ascertain, four teams of New Yorkers gathered at a Tribeca bar last night to attempt to eat all the contents of a vending machine. It was the second annual LVHRD Master-Disaster Vending Machine Challenge, billed as "the world’s only competitive eating vending machine event." Each team had three members, and The Onion faced off against amNew York while MoMA took on Pocket Change. The inimitable Murray Hill hosted, amNew York and Pocket Change won, and Jaime Lynn-DiScala and Lance Bass were, for some reason, in attendance. Oh, and three people threw up. Fun!

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Everybody's Friends at Nolita Thai Joint Lovely Day

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Eve Dunlop has been a waitress at Nolita's neighborhood Thai joint, Lovely Day, for two years, and she tries to give the place a "hangout" kind of vibe. "We're trying to make a friendly environment," she says. "Anyone's welcome to join in our conversation." So might the locals who come by to hang out and converse — some of whom have been known to get naked ("we're all friends here," Dunlop says) — be the sort you'd call hipsters? Not at all, she says. "They're neighborhood people, young working professionals who are into music and art." Of course. Totally different. Eve's got much more to say at Grub Street; she's this week's Ask a Waiter. Eve Dunlop of Lovely Day Insists Her Customers Aren't Hipsters [Grub Street]

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Manhattan's Bargain Is Brooklyn's Splurge

Los Pollitos II
Moroccan in Bay Ridge? Turkish in Gravesend? Sign us up. Grub Street has prepared a quick, opinionated guide to the more offbeat pleasures of Brooklyn Restaurant Week. At some places, the three-courses-for-$21.12 model actually sounds like a markup (how much chicken do you need to put away at Los Pollitos II to even hit that total?), but hell, that's part of the charm. Take the Cab to Deepest Brooklyn for Restaurant Week [Grub Street]

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If You Have 1.7 Million Friends, Do You Really Need to Eat?

Tila Nguyen
Tila "Tequila" Nguyen is the queen of MySpace (or the "Madonna of MySpace," if you read Time), with about 1.7 million virtual friends. She flies back and forth from Los Angeles to New York for photo shoots (here) and celebrity appearances (there). And when she's in town, Tila likes to sample the room service at the W Hotel and the vegan faux-meat goodness at Red Bamboo. Sound pricey? Don't fret. Tila's allergic to alcohol. "I'm still a cheap date," she assures Grub Street. ‘MySpace Queen’ Tila Tequila Drinks Sprite with her Fugu, Likes her Omelets with Ketchup [Grub Street]

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The Gobbler's Guide to Eating Like a Frenchman

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Where, o where, in this city of hiply casual dress codes and hautely fusioned cuisine options and Danny Meyerly chatty service can one find a good, old-fashioned, exorbitantly expensive, extravagantly presented, high French meal? That's what the Gobbler's globe-trotting friend Maurice wanted to know. And the Gobbler, as is his wont, came up with the answers. His list of New York's top 10 outposts of continental opulence is at Grub Street. Where to Send Your French Friend Maurice for Continental Opulence [Grub Street]

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There's a Sucker Born Every Minute, and Some of Them Must Like Pizza

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A further sign — as if more were needed — that New York is today a bastion of late-Roman decadence: One city slice shop now serves a $1,000 pizza. The pricey pie comes laden not with gold but with caviar, and Grub Street had the chance to taste it yesterday. So what does caviar'd pizza taste like? Bagels and lox, apparently. In which case we humbly remind you that the Zabar's premade bagel-and-nova sandwich costs something like four bucks. We're just saying. We Try a $1,000 Pizza, Maintain That We Aren't Publicity Tools [Grub Street]

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The Oyster Bar's Got Soft-Shells — in March!

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And they keep making it sound like rising global temperatures are a bad thing. Feh! How else would we be lucky enough to have soft-shell crabs in March? Yup, that's right, rising ocean temperatures have tricked the clueless crustaceans into shedding their skins early, making the summertime treat available before you've even filed your taxes. Where can you find 'em? Only at Grand Central's Oyster Bar, which claims to have cornered the market on the currently available supply of the critters. What else does global warming mean for the fate of crabkind? Find out on Grub Street. Don't Tell Al Gore: Soft-Shell Crabs Already Here [Grub Street]

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Fancy French Dip: Mmm, Jus-y

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The things we did not know about the humble French-dip sandwich are, it is now clear, legion. We did not know that it was invented in Los Angeles. We did not know two restaurants dispute which of them came up with it first. And we did not know that Flatbush Farm, in Park Slope, serves what is quite possibly the best one in New York, an Haute Barnyard combination of heritage meat, melted Gruyère, and a horseradish sauce, served on name-brand bread. It's Grub Street's Sandwich of the Week, and we now know we'll be disappointed by whatever we end up scrounging for lunch. Haute Barnyard Take on a Classic SoCal Sandwich [Grub Street]

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Some Models, Apparently, Eat As Much As You Do

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Think models don't eat? If Missy Rayder — currently featured in Gap's khakis campaign — is any indication, that's hardly the case. Missy runs down her week of noshes in the new New York Diet, and we count mentions of "really greasy" French fries, lobster rolls, "the best brisket ever," and Heath bar ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. That's not all. Find out what else she scarfed down this week on Grub Street. Model Missy Rayder Drinks Garlic and Eats 'Dragon Bowls' [Grub Street]

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New Yorkers Know Best

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New York's annual "Best of New York" issue came out this week, and, this being New York, everyone's got an opinion on it. Of the hundred-plus honors distributed — this still being New York — most of the discussion was about food, with readers dissecting everything from — literally — dollars to doughnuts. After the jump, a sample of blogland's ongoing, subjective debates.

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Labor Troubles at Saigon Grill Mean No Delivery for You

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It's cold enough this week to make you reconsider going out for dinner. But if you're craving Vietnamese, you might have a problem. The popular Saigon Grill mini-chain, with locations on the Upper West Side and in the East Village (and a third, closed for renovation, on the Upper East Side), hasn't been offering delivery since it locked out 22 deliverymen Friday night. "I told them to leave because they tried to extort," owner Simon Nget, a Chinese Cambodian refugee, said last night. At an 11:30 meeting Friday, he asked the workers to sign a form he'd prepared, stipulating that they received adequate wages and would not sue him. A representative of the workers, he said, mentioned a $700,000 settlement paid to nine employees, which he said made him feel "threatened."

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None Is the Lonesomest Number

It's a classic story: A brash outsider, fizzing with ambition, comes to the big city and gets a thoroughly educational thrashing. And yet now that Lonesome Dove, the Manhattan outpost of Tim Love's Texas steakhouse, has shuttered, the blogs are pouring a little moonshine on the ground for the departing joint. Sure, some of the dishes were ridiculous, as was that cowhide on the sidewalk, but there was also a little Manhattan snobbery — and, dare we say, a touch of misplaced blue-state rage — in the collective drubbing administered to Love. Grub Street has put together a collection of links in tribute. Lonesome Dove Flies Away [Grub Street] Bonus: Adam Platt's original evisceration [NYM]

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Daniel Pinchbeck Hates Processed Food, Likes Coffee

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Daniel Pinchbeck, the mind-expanded author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey Into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, realized the first time he took mushrooms — back in college — just how much he didn't like processed food, and he's been trying to eat on a higher plane ever since. How does he do that? With a lot of coffee, it seems, and occasional stops for raw food. Find out his latest noshes in this week's New York Diet, at Grub Street. Psychedelic Writer Daniel Pinchbeck Likes His Chocolate With ‘Special Properties’ [Grub Street]

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The Starrett Sale Is Dead!

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• That $1.3 billion Starrett City deal? Yeah, not gonna happen. The Housing and Urban Development secretary is blocking the sale of the subsidized enclave to Clipper Equity. The deal's vocal opponents included Bloomberg, Cuomo, Spitzer, Schumer, Clinton, and, apparently, God. [NYDN] • Meanwhile, the demolition at the future Atlantic Yards site begins in earnest, with Ratner aiming the wrecking ball at twelve buildings on Pacific, Flatbush, Vanderbilt, and Dean — all within next week. Is it good-bye, weird Guyanese JRG Fashion Cafe? [NYP] • The dancing-rat drama is far from over. In fact, it's amping up: After its initial gaffe, the Health Department came down like a hammer on three more joints (this time, for variety's sake, Pizza Huts) owned by the same franchisee; the parent company, Yum Brands, then voluntarily closed ten more. [NYT] • And dentist Lawrence Rosenthal is suing Cory Lidle's estate for $7 million dollars, because the Yankee's fiery death had inconvenienced him. This, mind you, is the same Rosenthal of the BadDentist.com infamy. Litigious, much? [amNY]

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But How Does He Feel About Trans Fats?

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• In the no-brainer firing of the year, the Health Department has divested itself of the inspector who gave a passing grade to the famously ratty KFC–Taco Bell. The shuttered place, meanwhile, became a locus for some fun public art. [NYT] • Underreported amid the possible culprits of yesterday's Wall Street carnage — China, Cheney — were horrendously timed technical glitches at the NYSE: At some point, trades were done via paper tickets. [NYP] • Add a federal investigation to the list of JetBlue's headaches: The U.S. Transportation Secretary is calling for an official look-see into the recent snowstorm stranding of passengers on the JFK tarmac. American Airlines will get its own probe for a similar incident in Austin. [amNY] • The Thurmond-Sharpton Roots-on-acid miniseries continues to play out: The senator's biracial daughter, Essie Mae Washington Williams, is reprimanding the reverend for "overreacting," saying "[my father] did many wonderful things for black people." [NYDN] • And meet Gerard Mortier, new director of the New York City Opera, whose farewell production on his previous job was a staging of Die Fledermaus with cocaine, incest, suicide, and Nazis. Welcome!!! [CBS News]

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