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Neighbors Aren’t Feeling Sting and Bowie’s Burlesque Club

In a bit of dog-bites-man news, it seems certain neighbors aren’t digging the idea of Forty Deuce, the burlesque club that’s due to replace Little Charlie’s Clam Bar at 19 Kenmare Street. Screams this flyer we found on Grand and Mott today: “OUR LITTLE ITALY / CHINATOWN / BOWERY / NOLITA COMMUNITY IS NOT GOING TO BE THE NEW ‘TIMES SQUARE’ FOR UPSCALE TRENDY LATE-NIGHT PARTY-GOERS.” Are these the same citizens-on-patrol who are trying to get the Box closed because it wasn’t the “cultural institution” it promised to be? We advise them to tune in here, because we hear something big — bigger even than Double Happiness’ upscale trendy makeover, maybe — is coming to the LitItChiBoNo neighborhood soon. Earlier: Bowie's Burlesque Club to Give the Box a Run for Its Money Double Happiness to Get $1 Million Makeover, Reopen to Privileged Few

How Badly Do You Want Milk and Honey’s New Number?

Milk and Honey reopens tonight after some aforementioned renovations and wouldn't you know it, we've clocked the new digits. We'll send them your way so long as you tell us why you want (no, need) them so very badly: Did you go on a first date with your current beau there and are itching to violate the (strictly enforced, let us tell you) one person per bathroom rule again? Simply wanting to celebrate autumn with fresh-pressed apple juice and bourbon ain't gonna cut it: Send your most impassioned plea to grubstreet@nymag.com and we'll choose a worthy imbiber in time for your next JDate. Earlier: Delete Milk and Honey’s Number From Your Phone; Prepare for New Petraske Project

Meatpacking Rent Party: Lotus and Pizza Bar for Sale

Last week "Page Six" reported that Tenjune owners Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum were eyeing Lotus and Pizza Bar. Sure, even Lotus’ waitress considers it a “tourist attraction” and the owners do have a lot on their hands (their new Mexican restaurant Los Dados is now up and running and Double Seven, previously slated for a mid-summer reopening is now scheduled to do business “in the next few months,” according to a rep), but is Lotus really for sale?

Anyone for Tennis? And Lobster Salad?

Patio Cafe
Damn! You’ve been so busy bragging about the tickets you snagged to tonight’s showdown between Federer and Roddick that you’ve forgotten to eat. Obviously, when you get to the Tennis Center, you’re going to want to know what’s what. According to our rundown of U.S. Open offerings, it looks like Aces is the best place to catch Newt Gingrich, Janet Jackson, Anna Wintour, Martha Stewart, or any of the other weird celebs that have been spotted courtside this year. Heineken’s Red Star Café? Not so much. U.S. Open Eats [NYM]

Mere Mortals Confront the Ultimate Ham

It’s the ultimate prize, the holy grail for pork-lovers: the famed jamón ibérico de bellota, the black-footed, acorn-fed Spanish ham. It’s illegal in this country, but one of our meat operatives managed to smuggle a bit across the border. We arranged a little taste test among some New York staffers to see what the ham — about which Casa Mono chef Andy Nusser says: “Once you taste ibérico, you can't compare it to anything else" — tastes like to non-foodies. Would the man in the street be as moved? We didn’t tell our panel the ham’s identity, or hint of its vast, cultlike fame. Their reactions?

What Will Scott Bryan Do at 10 Downing Street?

Scott Bryan
Is Scott Bryan taking a lesser role at 10 Downing Street? A couple of weeks ago, we reported (and confirmed with the restaurant's publicist) that Bryan would lead the kitchen at 10 Downing Street. Bryan himself discussed plans for the place with Food & Wine's blog, Mouthing Off. But now we hear that Bryan may just be a consulting chef there. Given how famous Bryan is for his kitchen leadership, this would be a loss for 10 Downing. But maybe it won't come to that! Negotiations between Bryan and the owners are ongoing; we'll let you know when we do. Earlier: Scott Bryan Will Cook at 10 Downing Street [Grub Street] Food and Wine interview [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]

LaFrieda Saves the Good Stuff for Restaurants

A sharp-eyed Eater reader wondered if our report about Pat LaFrieda breaking into the retail market was inaccurate: “I believe they already supply retail markets. The Jubilee market at Trump Place gets deliveries from there all the time.” The answer? The trucks carry commodity meat, of the kind commonly found in supermarkets, but never the high-end stuff LaFrieda sells to the likes of the little owl, the Spotted Pig, and so on. VP Mark Pastore confirms this, telling us, “We sell them regular commodity items. However Market Table will be the first place to carry our chopped beef, burgers, and heritage meats direct from us to the customer. We do not sell LaFrieda burgers or heritage products to anyone but restaurants at this time.” So there you have it. If you’re going to hijack that LaFrieda meat truck, make sure it’s the one bound for the Shake Shack. EaterWire: Trump Trumps LaFrieda, Petraske to LIC, More [Eater] Earlier: Shake Shack Hamburger and Little Owl Pork Chops Can Soon Be Yours [Grub Street]

Shake Shack Hamburger and Little Owl Pork Chops Can Soon Be Yours

The famous ground-beef mixture from Pat LaFrieda has been the talk of burger circles the last few years — a dizzying time in which the Spotted Pig, Shake Shack, Stand, and half a dozen other contenders have taken the previously humble sandwich to the proverbial next level. The source of all that burger greatness, as Men’s Vogue recently wrote, is LaFrieda, the city’s top source for high-end wholesale meats. Scratch the wholesale part! Soon, and for the first time ever, the burger that launched a thousand blog posts will be available at the retail counter at Market Table, Joey Campanero and Mike Price’s new restaurant in the West Village.

Delete Milk and Honey’s Number From Your Phone; Prepare for New Petraske Project

A while back we did the unspeakable by releasing Milk and Honey’s number to the masses (sort of). Yesterday a reader wrote in to let us know that the number had been disconnected. Seems the bar is closed while it turns its basement (where it makes its precious ice) into the offices of Cuff and Buttons, the catering service run by former bartenders Christy Pope and Chad Solomon. The good news: A new number is being released today (even more exciting than a new edition of Harry Potter!), and the bar should reopen sometime next week.

‘Culinary Conductor’ and ‘Love Chef’ Woo Rocco Online

Rocco DiSpirito
You probably don’t care that Rocco DiSpirito will be hosting a cooking show on Bertolli’s website, but the people who are auditioning to be his co-host sure do! As you might guess, there are a few oddballs in the bunch: In one video, Jernard “The Love Chef” and Rocco’s self-described No. 1 fan promises to “spread love all over the kitchen,” only to bark out his cooking demo like a drill instructor. Then there’s Nicole Navarro, a retired Vegas showgirl “inspired by culinary” who, as if to make up for her use of “culinary” as a noun, ends her demo with a high leg kick.

Mercadito Establishes Fund for Deliverymen

After a tragic drunk-driving accident on Sunday that killed one produce deliveryman and injured two others, Mercadito has established a fund for the victims and their families and asked us to help spread the word. Information about the fund is after the jump.

Is Our Mystery Roman à Clef Writer the $2.45 Million Boston Bartender?

After we brought to your attention the dishy fictionalization of Sam Mason, Keith McNally, Graydon Carter, et al that we’ve grown totally obsessed over, Fishbowl New York picked up on the story and got Abbe Diaz to deny that she was the author, as we initially considered. So who is the author? We’re now almost certain it’s Gwen Butler. You may or may not remember her as the Boston bartender who tried (and failed) to open a restaurant using the $2.45 million that one of her customers gave her on a whim, then started a blog called the Full Comp only to shut it down after posting an item described by the Boston Herald as “an XXX-rated diatribe” against her ex-boss, Garrett Harker of Beantown’s Eastern Standard Kitchen.

Senator Schumer Springs to the Red Hook Vendors’ Defense Again

Another weekend went by without incident for the Red Hook food vendors, and don’t think we’re not happy about it. We’re grateful, too, because there’s reason to believe that the intervention of Senator Chuck Schumer halted the bulldozers of the Department of Health, much as he did the incipient threat from the Parks Department some weeks ago. Vendor representative Cesar Fuentes tells us that Schumer wrote Dr. Thomas Frieden, the department’s commissioner, thanking them for consideration and leniency. Fuentes, though, doesn’t feel that the vendors are out of the woods and not just because of the DOH: “As the deadline for our current TUA permit looms near, NYC Parks Dept. has not -as of yet- issued an extension for our operation to continue beyond Sept 8th and until the expected end of our season on Oct. 28th. As we are still hopeful this permit extension will be granted, we trust the Parks Dept. earlier decision to extend such permit is still in place -that it has not backed out of its decision, but just delayed it for unknown reasons...” The Parks Department to the left of them, the DOH to the right, on rode the food vendors. Senator Schumer's letter to the Department of Health [pdf] Earlier: Red Hook Vendors Make It Official: Their Fingers Are Crossed

Suvir Saran Plans to Open New Restaurant This Spring

Suvir Saran
It didn’t take long for Suvir Saran to get wind of our post earlier today, and we received a letter from the always media-savvy, and admittedly charming, food personality. Mostly, the “saran rap” — if you will — conjured up images of bucolic bliss: “I am at my farm, tending to our chickens and tasting recipes…” it began. But midway through the lengthy epistle, we came across this little tidbit: “Hemant and I will open a new restaurant in NYC sometime spring of 2008.” (Hemant, of course, is Hemant Mathur, the brilliant but bashful chef who actually did the cooking in Dévi.) We speculated earlier today that Saran’s outside projects may have led to Dévi’s demise; given how long it takes to find a space, make a deal, and create a place, one would have to assume that the new place wasn’t conceived yesterday. Saran also confirms the existence of American Masala, although he didn’t, of course, describe it to us as an Indian Olive Garden. But who can blame him for that? Earlier: Debriefing Dévi: Suvir Saran’s Suspected Side Projects

Amateur Gourmet: Real Book, Virtual Tour

Amateur Gourmet
Adam Roberts, the self-styled “Amateur Gourmet,” has been getting so much play lately that he may have to get a new sobriquet. First came his elevation into the Serious Eats family, then an appearance in the New York Times, and his book, The Amateur Gourmet, drops today. Like his counterpart Danyelle Freeman, Roberts is riding the blog gravy train straight to the top. But unlike Freeman, whose new gig at the Daily News is strictly old media, Roberts is promoting his new book with a “virtual book tour” that will bring him to practically every food blog you can think of, and not a few that you can’t think of. “I’m doing a Q&A with Ruhlman, and visiting Orangette, David Leibovitz, Gluten Free Girl, and The Girl Who Ate Everything over the next few weeks,” he tells us. Gluten Free Girl? There will be one real-world reading, at the Park Slope Barnes & Noble on September 24. For the rest of the tour, Roberts is dancing with the one that brung him. We can’t say we would argue with that plan. Amateur Gourmet [Official Site]

Debriefing Dévi: Suvir Saran’s Suspected Side Projects

Suvir Saran
The sudden closing of Dévi has raised a lot of questions, few of which were answered by photogenic front man Suvir Saran’s gnomic utterances to Eater, who broke the story yesterday. But we have some intelligence that might help shed some light on the restaurant’s closing. Part of what Saran told Eater is surely true: The curtain dropped as a result of “operational differences between the restaurant’s owner and our staff.” What follows is some informed speculation on the causes of those differences, brought to us by sources close to Saran.

The Most Iced-Out Cone You've Ever Seen

$1MM Cone
What you see here is a replica of a cone of Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, made with eighteen-karat white and yellow gold and over 600 Lazare diamonds. After it goes on a national tour, it can be yours for $1 million (plus however much you end up spending on gold caps when you get high one day and try to bite into it). One has to wonder, is this ridiculous blingfest the ice-cream industry’s last-ditch effort to keep it crispy in the face of fro-yo mania? (Willie Nelson’s ice cream sure didn’t work.) And how long before Pinkberry counters with some ice of its own? Considering Pinkberry got the Lady Tigra for their bumpin' jingle, they could probably bring Jacob the Jeweler out of retirement for a pimp cone.

Philadelphia’s Chief Critic Unmasked; Area Restaurants Say, ‘Who Cares?'

Craig Laban
As a rule, every trend that begins in New York ends up in Philadelphia eventually, from punk rock to New American dining. Now, according to the September issue of Philadelphia magazine, the city has inherited our most inane and pointless debate, one which continues to fester here. Craig LaBan, Philadelphia’s chief restaurant critic, is being sued by the owner of Chops Steakhouse over a review he wrote some months ago. And in the process, he’s threatened with losing his anonymity. But as the critic of record in essentially a one-paper town (with due respect to the Philadelphia Daily News), LaBan is about as mysterious to Philadelphia as cheesesteaks or Legionnaires’s disease.

Gavin Portsmouth Promoted at Sapa

Brian Matzkow
This just in from Brian Matzkow, owner of Sapa:
Owner Brian Matzkow of SAPA Restaurant is excited to announce that the menu will be taking on a new direction under the guidance of newly appointed Executive Chef Gavin Portsmouth. Chef Portsmouth was the previous executive chef of Zax in Los Angeles and the current Chef de Cuisine at SAPA. Former Executive Chef Patricia Yeo has graciously parted ways to pursue other ventures.
For God's sake, just don't change the four-star bathrooms!

‘New Yorker’ Food Issue: Plenty to Digest

The New Yorker
This week’s special food issue of The New Yorker would be worth reading without any specifically New York–oriented content. But fans of the locavore movement will probably want to flock to Adam Gopnik’s long piece on eating the fruits of the five boroughs (if you consider live poultry from the Bronx fruit, that is). Friend of Grub Street Gary Shteyngart has a moving little memoir about his boyhood love of McDonald’s that got us right in the kishkas. (Similar essays are by Anthony Lane, David Sedaris, and Nell Freudenberger.) But most enjoyable of all was Calvin Trillin’s essay about Singapore street food.