The Locavore’s Guide to New York Will Keep You Green and Hungry
Everybody’s a locavore in a certain sense — as in, when your waiter says “these quinces are from a small farm in Yonkers” and you say, “Really! Well, they’re just delicious.” But the stricter sense, where you only eat things that are grown or raised within 300 miles of your house? A much harder proposition. That’s where the Locavore’s Guide to New York comes in handy. The Website gives the main suppliers for everything from soup to nuts, but after test-driving it, we noticed a couple of things right off the bat. First of all, you better like going to the Greenmarket if you plan on being a locavore, because by far the largest part of the suppliers are there and only there. Second, we don’t want to be a locavore! Reading about the milk, the apples, and so on, we realized how dismal our diet would become if we hewed to its Puritan ethos: no Scottish langoustines, no toro, no truffles, no San Marzano tomatoes … maybe we can just be breakfast locavores. Is that good enough?
The Locavore’s Guide to New York City [Local Fork]
No Plaza for Graydon; Mr. Rachael Ray Drops $35K for LunchboxGraydon Carter won’t be taking over the Plaza’s Oak Room, so you’ll still have to head downtown to the Waverly Inn for that truffled macaroni and cheese. [NYP]
Jean-Georges Vongerichten seeks the elusive fifth taste by serving “umami bombs” at his restaurants. [WSJ]
Related: Waiter, There’s a Fifth Element in My Soup
It’s possible that locally grown products have a comparable or even greater carbon footprint than food that travels long distances, so you can stop patting yourself on the back for being a greenmarket fanatic. [NYT]
Related: Local Schmocal [NYM]
Where You Might Eat One Day at Hudson Yards
Whether Hudson Yards is a windswept corporate outpost or a mash-up of West Chelsea and Herald Square, whoever lives and works there will need to eat. At a presentation before 1,000 architects, planners, and onlookers last night, design-team leaders described the commissary aspects of their proposals. Predictably, the Brookfield team, which reunites the High Line’s landscape architects, invoked a “café culture” with street-level seating under the trestle’s 30th Street entrance, shown above. We predict sustainable purveyors in the Alice Waters mode.
In the Magazine
It’s a Haute Barnyard Type of Week in New York
“The doctrine of seasonal correctness is as ingrained in the collective restaurant psyche, these day, as linen napkins, pre-dinner cocktails, and superfluous baskets of bread,” Adam Platt writes in his review of Park Avenue Autumn, and who are we to argue? The combined efforts of Platt, the Robs, and Gael Greene all point to the triumph of the seasonal aesthetic. But that’s not to say they aren’t fun. Platt gives two stars to Park Avenue Autumn, Gael seems fairly pleased with Irving Mill, and the Robs introduce three restaurants (Lunetta, Bacaro, and Smith’s) that are all about fresh ingredients, as well as a recipe for Bosc pears that is, of course, in season. Meanwhile, back at the Greenmarket, a long-overdue crusade against plastic bags is at work. And, though not an expression of the Haute Barnyard mystique, it’s very much a sign of the times: PDT has named a hot dog for David Chang — proof that the Original Soupman has made it to the big time at last.
In the Magazine
Where to Shop Like a Chef
The current issue of New York features a command performance by Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld. Their extensive guide to the new trend of food markets spun off from restaurants belongs on every New Yorker’s refrigerator door — these stores are “stocked with the precision and artistry of museum curators.” And in their guise as the Underground Gourmet, they introduce us to a former art-supply store now serving what the Robs say is some of the best Mexican food in Brooklyn. Something tells us Dumbo General Store is going to be packed this week.
Boerum Hill Gains Food Cred; Aureole ReopensAstoria: Spanking-new spot La Dolce Italia Bakery has, ironically, replaced the old Modern Italian Bakery. [Joey in Astoria]
Boerum Hill: Five recent openings have contributed to the neighborhood’s growing food cred. [NYT]
Union Square: The Greenmarket is selling teeny baby peaches that were too sweet and adorable to just get knocked-off their trees. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Upper East Side: Aureole reopens this Friday and will treat each diner on Friday and Saturday night to a glass of house wine. [Eater]
West Village: Joey Campanaro is hiring staff who will serve and sell Pat LaFrieda ground beef at Market Table. [Eat for Victory/VV] Day-O has been closed for months with no signs of progress on blamed “repairs.” [Blog Chelsea]
Gorge on BBQ in Chelsea This SundayChelsea: Hill Country, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Mara’s Homemade are all taking part in the Hudson River Park Trust’s Blues BBQ on Pier 54 this Sunday from 2 to 9 p.m. [TONY]
East Village: Monday’s Regional Dinner at Mercadito will highlight Mexico’s southern region with a menu featuring banana-leaf-wrapped pork and tres leches cake. [Grub Street]
Flatiron: Hill Country is hiring someone who can cut meat — must love high-energy restaurants. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Lower East Side: Wylie Dufresne switched up the bread at wd-50 from black to white sesame-seeded flatbread. [At the Sign of the Pink Pig]
Midtown West: Today is the last day of the Rockefeller Center greenmarket, but a farmer tells us there may be a deal to bring it back for fall. [Grub Street]
Soho: The developer behind the new glass hotel that will overlook 60 Thompson is Brack Capital Real Estate. [Down by the Hipster]
Times Square: Mickey D’s at 46th Street and Broadway is testing out a new Angus third-pounder that’s both thicker and juicier than their basic patty. [A Hamburger Today]
West Village: Jarnac has reopened with a new paint job, but in a week they’ll shut down again for summer vacation. [Eater]
At the Greenmarket
Watermelon Radishes Meet Their Namesake; Lima Beans Exceed ExpectationsA profusion of weighty, thick-skinned melons has rolled into town, coinciding with the sweetening of delicate heirloom tomatoes. To carry home the spoils unspoiled, we recommend heavy-duty totes for the former and a small bag or basket for the latter. Once home, make room in the fridge, since nothing beats the heat like a cool melon. But leave those heirlooms on the counter — a refrigerated tomato is never the same again.
Parks Commish’s Dad Founds Greenmarket, Wins Award, Scolds SonIt’s no accident Parks commissioner Adrian Benepe grew up to be a leaf lover. His father, Barry Benepe, 79, co-founded the city’s greenmarket network more than 30 years ago, filling parks like Union Square with farmers’ goods at a time when they were better known for yielding dirty needles than heirloom tomatoes. (There are now 30-odd markets citywide.) Benepe père then helped found Transportation Alternatives, and for all this urban do-gooderism, the Rockefeller Foundation just awarded him one of its first Jane Jacobs medals, which come with a nice $100,000 prize. The now-retired Daddy Benepe (who lives, appropriately, on Jane Street in the Village with his wife, Judith) talked to New York about the greenmarkets’ gritty early days — and picked a few bones with his son.
Old Frenchmen Pass Facial Inspection at GoldBar in Little ItalyBrooklyn Heights: “Closed by the Commissioner of Health” clearly taken lightly at Heights Cafe where diners have been spotted munching the mediocre fare. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Chelsea: Richard Ruben, author of The Farmer’s Market Cookbook, will host classes at the Institute of Culinary Education starting June 1 that begin with an ingredient hunt at Union Square’s Greenmarket. [Blog Chelsea]
East Hampton: Restaurants open seven days starting this weekend, including Nick & Toni’s and Harbor Bistro. [Hamptons.com]
Fort Greene: Locals search for answers to the fate of the space at Lafayette and Cumberland Avenues, have high hopes for Thai but as yet no answers. [Brooklyn Record]
Little Italy: A two-way mirror intensifies the door policy at GoldBar, but if you have a face like an old Frenchman, you shouldn’t have a problem. [Down by the Hipster]
Prospect Heights: Flatbush Farm hosting another barbecue this weekend. [Eater]
Tom Carvel’s Mysterious Death; Tom Valenti’s Awesome Uptown DigsThe old technique of force-feeding geese with a metal tube was the evil secret behind foie gras. Now there’s a new, gentler method: force-feeding them with a rubber tube. [NYT]
Tom Carvel’s niece is convinced that her uncle, the late custard king, was murdered, and she wants his body exhumed. [The Journal News]
Ouest chef Tom Valenti shows his museumlike 157th Street apartment to the world. [NYP]
In the Magazine
Nature Bursts From the Pages of This Week’s Issue
In this week’s issue, as befits spring, nature is bursting out of our food coverage. Snails and sea urchins take supporting roles in Adam Platt’s review of the highly rarefied Anthos; Gael Greene flutters into a restaurant called Tree; Rob and Robin talk tomatoes, spring almonds, and even more snails; and, in the spirit of growth, our food editors lay out two Short Lists of places where you can introduce young, growing gourmands to their future lifetime pursuit. Plus, four new restaurant bloom in the April sunshine, all in New York this week.
Bowery Whole Foods: An Effing Steamroller?Will a splashy new Whole Foods on the Bowery leave a trail of wilted organic markets in its wake? The vegetarian, all-organic, and entirely volunteer-run 4th Street Food Co-op and a handful of other nearby stores now have to compete with the city’s biggest location: The Bowery outpost, which opened last week, clocks in at 71,000 square feet. The Union Square emporium? 51,000. With stores set to open in Brooklyn, Tribeca, and Harlem in the next two years, the Whole Foods backlash is in full swing.
‘Local’ Actor Makes Good (Coffee)Struggling actors used to wait tables to pay the bills. These days, they open coffee shops. First came Jack’s Stir-Brew, the homespun, four-table nook where Jack Mazzola fends off ever-encroaching Starbucks with Fair Trade beans, organic apples, and a conspicuously neighborhood-friendly vibe. And then late last month, Craig Walker, an avowed Jack’s fan, followed suit with Local, an equally pint-size nook with a similarly enlightened approach to sourcing beans and fostering community.
At the Greenmarket
Union Square Bursts Into BloomFarmers are just now planting seed; if storage potatoes and onions don’t scratch your spring foraging itch, greenhouse greens and a profusion of flowering plants, budding fruit-tree branches, cut flowers, and potted herbs should do it. We’ll be keeping tabs on seasonal foods at the gourmet markets until local produce is going strong.
Everything Good Is Bad for You
• A massive, almost Gangs of New York–style group fight in the unlikeliest of settings — Union Square’s Greenmarket — left one teenager dead. The two bands of high-school rivals, numbering around 50, wielded “canes, belts, fists and more.” Another teen is in serious condition at St. Vincent’s with multiple stab wounds. [WNBC]
• Vegetables are bad for you, part two: Two more Taco Bells closed, both on Long Island, amid region-wide E. coli poisonings (99 to date and counting). The infection has been traced, surprisingly, to the scallions the company sprinkles atop its ground mystery meat. [amNY]
• Reading is bad for you: P.S. 150 in Queens is pulling a young-adult book about coming out, a poetry collection that uses naughty words, and other titles. [NYDN]
• Tishman Speyer, taking a break from its historic buying spree, casually set another record by selling 666 Fifth Avenue — which the company bought six years ago for about $500 million — to the Kushner family for $1.8 billion, the largest sum ever paid for a single building. [NYT]
• And the Times runs a thoughtful piece about the perils of taking the little ones to Broadway shows. In a case of unfortunate placement, however, the article is rendered unbelievably gross by its proximity to another report: “Broadway Actor Denies Sex Charge.” Yet another peril. [NYT]