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Oak Room

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Sour Economy Continues to Inspire Food Journalists

One tries to bargain down the price of a slice, another suggests knockoff restaurants, and Flo Fab tells us, again, how restaurants are dealing with the these troubled times.

By Daniel Maurer

Charlie Trotter Details Emerge; Frank Bruni's Cross-Country Trip

The first details on Charlie Trotter’s still-unnamed restaurant on Madison Square Park emerge: It will have 80 seats as well as a bar and lounge. [NYT] Merkato 55 may be turning New Yorkers on to African cuisine, but there have been plenty of excellent, albeit under-the-radar, restaurants offering the continent’s cuisine for years. [TONY] Related: Merkato 55’s Most Popular Dish: Doro Wat The Modern’s new wine director, Belinda Chang, is the kind of sommelier we want to be someday: “I’m definitely obsessed with magnums. They’re so fun to pour!” [NYS]

Batali's Celebrity Cookbook; Gisele Offends Football Fans With Cabernet

For the second year in a row, Barilla has released a downloadable cookbook featuring Mario Batali’s recipes for cooking for celebs like Natalie Portman and Stanley Tucci. You may have to fill out a stupid survey to access it, but for every download Barilla is donating $1 to America’s Second Harvest. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine] Food Network chef Robert Irvine, whose bulging muscles put together meals on Dinner: Impossible, turns out to be huge liar, having fabricated a past that involves being a knight in England and being a full-fledged White House chef. [St. Petersburg Times via Gawker] Irritable chef Gordon Ramsay likes to relax with a Sunday supper of roast beef, over which he likes to emphasize manners and social skills with his children. [WSJ]

Oak Room Gets New Operators; Illegal Fish Trade Grows

Night Sky Holdings, which formerly operated Windows on the World at the World Trade Center as well as the Rainbow Room, has signed a contract to run the Oak Room and the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel. Also, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s former sous-chef Didier Virot will be helming the kitchen at the hotel’s other eatery, the Palm Court. [NYP] Sushi chef Hiroshi Nakahara has left New York’s BondSt to run the kitchen at a new outpost in Beverly Hills. [PR Newswire] Chipotle will be serving 200 million meals using naturally raised meat this year, a 40 percent increase from 2007. [The Grinder/Chow]

Amy Sacco Is Single Again

Sacco
Paula Froelich sticks up for close friend Amy Sacco in "Page Six" by making Sacco's ex-fiancé Luigi Di Carolis look like a dink. Parker Posey's dog peed on the floor of the Kiehl's shop in the East Village twice, and Kiehl's liked it Posey didn't clean it up. Anderson Cooper has a huge photographic portrait of mother Gloria Vanderbilt hanging in the guest room of his Manhattan loft. Graydon Carter and his partners are no longer interested in having to interact with tourists at the Oak Room in the Plaza Hotel. (Nello Balan has also passed.) A female Barnard student who wants to become a man has moved off-campus because her dorm was "just so girly."

No Plaza for Graydon; Mr. Rachael Ray Drops $35K for Lunchbox

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]