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]
Graydon 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]
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.
“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.
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.
Astoria: 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]
Chelsea: 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]
A 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.
It'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.
Brooklyn 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]
The 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 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.