Mexican food hovers close to the ground in New York, but with the opening of Toloache and Rayuela, it’s beginning to take its place among the city’s great restaurant cuisines. Considering how vital Mexican line cooks are to the city’s restaurants, this respect is long overdue. At Toloache, Julian Medina’s menu is both huge and modern, highlighted by a dozen different tacos drawing on his youth in Mexico City. “I’m a taco fanatic,” the chef says. “Now is a perfect opportunity for me to put them on my menu and show what they can be.” As always, mouse over the different elements of the image to see them described in the chef’s own words.
OMG! Brad Pitt and his magical face went to see the Yankees play last night! And they totally won! Pitt and his son Maddox, 5, sat in Mayor Bloomberg's box. At one point, Derek Jeter came over and actually gave Maddox a bat and a ball. "He loved it," the normally reserved Pitt told the press happily about his son. But then, as usual, the Post had to make it personal — asking where Angelina Jolie was that night. "Hey, we got three other kids!" Pitt shot back. Wait, really? We had no idea
Pitt 'Pops' up in Bronx [NYP]
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?
As the end of the day nears, it's time we assessed the people's reaction to New York's biggest news of the holiday weekend, the breakup of Brooklyn Über-couple Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams. We have our own opinions on the matter (read a couple that never, ever looks happy might actually not be), but on this we'll turn to the experts – the commenters on the Us Weekly blog, which broke the news. Their words of wisdom after the jump, God bless 'em.
Chris Stein was a server at La Esquina before he started work at the equally atmospheric if much smaller Smith and Mills, where he’s the only man on the floor. Does he miss working at a larger spot? “Other jobs there have been managers saying the same shit to you over and over, and trying to get you to sell certain things,” he says. “Here, there aren’t any of the gross vibes. A lot of the times the owner is having a drink also, or we’re all having a drink.” Sadly we weren’t having a drink when we chatted with Stein, but that didn’t make our conversation any less spirited.
• Glamour Fashion Gives Back. Aglow Studios, 421 Broome St., nr. Crosby St., 8 p.m. Scheduled guests include Amanda Peet, Emily Mortimer, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Catalina Sandino Moreno. Quite a collection of actressing talent… you could probably get a one-hour family drama picked up on a major network based entirely on footage of conversations that take place tonight in the women’s bathroom.
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]
Last night’s episode of The Closer delivered not only an engrossing, hard-to-solve case involving the poolside murder of an in-demand Orange County divorce lawyer (police procedural gold!) but also a hefty dose of Brenda Johnson’s Personal Life, resulting in a satisfying double-whammy that will undoubtedly get legions of viewers back in front of the tube next week for the second half of the episode.
Brendan Canning, one of the two founding members of Canadian supergroup Broken Social Scene, cracked several tired jokes about people swimming in the waterless pool, before changing tacks and heckling a fan who was talking on his cell phone. Kevin Drew, Canning’s more focused half, had to cut him off several times so they could move on with the set.
Billionaire Ron Burkle's gotta be regretting buying Sky Studios, the spectacular Village penthouse that was formerly a glamorous event space. A judge just ruled that brides-to-be who had previously reserved it for weddings can still use the multi-tiered apartment (which has a rooftop pool) for their nuptials — even though Burkle now owns the space and is presumably itching to move in (or make it nice and sell it). The Post reported that he plans to make it a residential palace. But we're thinking that Burkle will have other reasons to regret the purchase. Last time Daily Intel was there, managers told us that the reason it was turned into an event space instead of a private home was that leakage, heating, and structural problems (not to mention unfabulous service-elevator access) made it virtually unlivable. Though, frankly, for our own rooftop pool in the summer, we'd live in a yurt for the rest of the year.
Wedded Diss to Bliss [NYP]
We've seen two waves of model nationalism in the last five years: first, the Brazilian glamazons, led by Gisele, and then alien-eyed waifs from the Eastern Bloc, led by Sasha Pivovarova. But the runways this Fashion Week are going to look less like the U.N. and more like high school.
The Frozen-Yogurt Wars have intensified in Flushing. We spotted two new stores going up a mere 85 feet from each other on Roosevelt Avenue. Does Pinkberry have the advantage, being so close to the heavily trafficked Main Street stop on the 7 train? Or will the discriminating dessert aficionado bypass the throngs (by walking about 40 steps) to Red Mango? Too soon to tell, but we fear New York’s post-apocalyptic future where the only structures standing are bank branches and frozen-yogurt stores. Oh, and the Arepa Lady. Aileen GallagherEarlier:Our coverage of the frozen-yogurt invasion