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Junior Merino

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Free Dewar's (and Debate) on the LES Tonight; Bar Boulud Answers Bruni's Calls

Astoria: Angelo & Son’s Bakery gets a modern renovation: green and red backlighting for their sign. [Joey in Astoria] Brooklyn Heights: The co-founder of La Bouillabaisse on Atlantic Avenue in the nineties has opened a wine bar on the corner of Henry and Cranberry streets. Food like oysters and mini Kobe burgers will also be on the menu. [Brooklyn Eagle via Brooklyn Heights Blog] Lower East Side: Rayuela serves an interesting cocktail called Rye which combines "guava, lemon, agave nectar, mint leaves, Michter’s Straight Rye, Becherovka," and it’s not even one of Junior Merino’s signature cocktails. [Down by the Hipster] Tonight at the Slipper Room, there’s a free yuppie-versus-hippie debate featuring Max Silvestri and Lang Fisher, and it’s sponsored by Dewar’s. [Brooklyn Vegan] Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Brooklyn & Slim bar has transformed into Step Too Cafe, but it doesn’t look like much has changed. [Across the Park] Union Square Park: Luna Park has been demolished in preparation for the area’s overhaul. [Eater] Upper East Side: Bruni calls Bar Boulud and reaches a human! It sounds like DB put some backup personnel on the lines. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

Rayuela Mixologist Junior Merino to Uncork His Latino Cocktail Program on Friday

Junior Merino, the young mixologist who drew national attention at the Modern, enjoyed the praise but had his eyes trained on something bigger all along: New York’s first major Latin cocktail lounge. And he plans on launching it at Rayuela, the big new Pan-Latino restaurant opening on the Lower East Side on Friday. Most discussion about the restaurant has centered on Maximo Tejada, its Nuevo Latino chef who has run some of the city’s top Latin kitchens, including Patria and Lucy. But given that the entire ground floor of the place is devoted to bar and lounge space, it will likely be Merino’s drink menu that the place fails or succeeds on, especially since it's in the lounge-happy Lower East Side. “Since I’m Latino, I grew up with a lot of different fruits and flowers that people wouldn’t think of eating, and that’s where my knowledge of ingredients is larger than most people’s,” Merino says.