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Rats

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Laurent Tourondel's Recipes Feed South Pole Residents; Greek Diner Ownership Declines

• Laurent Tourondel may not be working on a restaurant in Trump Soho, but he keeps himself busy with tasks like advising cooks at the South Pole on how to replicate his recipes. [WSJ] • Saturday’s East Side crane accident leveled Irish tavern Fubar, which fortunately was not open at the time. [NYP] • The owner of Stage Deli, which was shut down for health violations including “a severe vermin infestation,” claims the problems are limited only to the basement level, but last time we checked, rats aren’t really afraid of infesting restaurants at street level. [NYT]

A New Food Blog From the ‘Times’; Can Dining Alone Get You a Date?

The Times has launched a new food blog called Bitten that’s being written by "Minimalist"-column writer Mark Bittman. What’s in store for readers? "We’re going to look at great food made with everyday ingredients and readily achievable techniques — as The Minimalist has been doing for a decade — not food as something to be admired from afar, but as a part of daily life." [Bitten/NYT] Monkey Bar chef Chris Cheung thinks he deserves a little credit for making black miso cod so popular at Nobu. [Gothamist] Several changes in their dining culture have led the Vietnamese to embark on a “rodent-eating bonanza.” [WSJ]

Rat-Infested Taco Bell to Become T-Mobile Store

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And here’s the Taco Bell on Sixth Avenue that spurred the Department of Health to strap on its boots and go to war. When we peeked in this morning, it looked rodent-free; according to construction workers, it will soon be a T-Mobile store. Meanwhile, down the block, the Beard Papa store, which was supposed to reopen in mid-October, is still closed for renovations. We have a call in to Papa himself to see what’s up, though his side project, Santa Claus, might be keeping him a little busy these days. Related: Beard Papa Returning Downtown, May Hit the Slope

New ‘Times’ Tower: ‘It's Like the Dark Ages’

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The soaring new New York Times tower — already known for its weird toilets (when flushed, they apparently sound like a kitten being strangled), its weirder elevators (no buttons, and no indication of what floor they're on), a leak problem (editor Bill Keller's office got soggy in a recent rainstorm), and a mouse problem (reported by Gawker) — still has a few more surprises between the floorboards: maggots. "It's hard to put out a newspaper when you're worried about what might fall on your head," one Times staffer told us this week. "One of the photo editors was sitting at her desk and maggots started falling from the ceiling tile on to her head."

Metropolitan Diary Exclusive: ‘In the Heights’ Theatergoers Terrified By Ethnic Hair

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The Times' crosstown-bus-riding Metropolitan Diary is a frequently mocked fount of quaintness, and this week, as they say, was no exception. What comical confusion befell women of a certain age? A terrifying one! It seems that during a recent performance of In the Heights, the entire front row "let out a shriek": They thought they saw a filthy, furry rat scurry across the stage. But it wasn't! It was merely the "bobbing black curls of the orchestra conductor at his subterranean podium." Oh, dastardly non-blonde, non-straight hair. Next week in delightful urban misunderstandings: Fantasia briefly mistaken for a "giant panther" on the set of The Color Purple. Metropolitan Diary [NYT]

Scott Conant Soon to Be Very Busy; the New Shake Shack

Scott Conant has lots to keep him busy until his next major restaurant project, including a book, a Home Shopping Network deal, and a pilot for a cooking show. [The Strong Buzz] Earlier: Scott Conant Takes Leave of Alto, L’Impero [Grub Street] A customer sues Zen Palate for serving her jagged little pieces of metal along with her meal. [NYP] The lines at Grom have grown even beyond Shake Shack proportions, stretching a whole city block. [Serious Eats] Related: Grom’s Gelato Conquers New York for Italy [Grub Street]

To Catch a Rodent

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In a disturbing twist on the current wave of the rats-in-restaurants panic, television and city agencies now almost seem to be working in concert. The Health Department rushed to close the East 86th Street Papaya King the very day after Inside Edition gave the joint the familiar critter-footage treatment. There's something equally unseemly about the department's scramble to prove its worth and TV acting as if it had just invented a new genre, so it occurred to us that perhaps the two should take a cue from another bizarre intersection of entertainment and enforcement. Why not just join forces and let camera crews trail inspectors? Quick, someone call Chris Hansen. Rats Shut Down Fabled 'Dog Joint [NYP]

Openings for Dieterle, Pelaccio; Strange Beard Bylaws

Zak Pelaccio and Top Chef’s Harold Dieterle open new restaurants. [NYT] Related: Harold Dieterle’s Perilla to Open ... on Jones Street! [Grub Street] And Jeffrey Chodorow’s new Malaysian restaurant, for which Pelaccio was consulting chef, opens in London. [This Is London] Related: Has the Food Over There Really Become Edible? [NYM] The rat expert who instructed the Department of Health says the city is a rodent’s paradise. [WP]

Cops Plead, Naomi Cleans

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• The three cops indicted in the 50-shot shooting of Sean Bell pleaded not guilty yesterday. They have quite a bit to deny, too: The charges could get two of them 25 years in prison. [NYT] • Yesterday's antiwar rally in the financial district brought a whopping 44 arrests for disorderly conduct. Considering the event involved a total of 70 people — in organizers' estimation! — that's quite a percentage. [amNY] • Naomi Campbell started her community-service sentence yesterday, in a ritual that, once we've seen Boy George wield a broom, has become a kind of routine (if bizarre) photo op. The News lists the details of her work attire for the curious. [NYDN] • Coming soon to NYU: the treasure trove of the Communist Party of America. Marvel at Joe Hill's rhyming will, Lenin buttons, and "smuggled directives from Moscow"! [NYT] • And the Health Department is still on its rat-fueled, restaurant-shuttering rampage; the latest victim of the new zeal is Brasserie LCB on 55th Street, where the French owner says the inspectors "acted like the Gestapo." So he didn't mind closing, then? [NYP]

De Marco’s Maniac Caught On Tape; NYC Denied Shamrock Shakes

The NYPD releases a surveillance video of the De Marco’s gun battle. It’s difficult to make out, but very graphic and not a little disturbing. [WNBC] Brace yourselves: McDonald’s has decreed that there will be no more Shamrock Shakes in NYC, although they’re still widely available elsewhere. What’s up with that? [NYDN] The Smith and Wollensky Restaurant Group is enjoying a sudden bidding war for its acquisition, after having already accepted a good offer. [Crain’s]

More Bad News for Time Inc.

The cafeteria at Time Inc. has a rodent and plumbing problem. Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering running for Senate. Nobu partner Drew Nieporent just opened Mai House, a Vietnamese eatery on Franklin Street, says Cindy Adams. (Actually, Cindy, he opened it a few months ago.) Some snobby Columbia students were disappointed that alum Matthew Fox was chosen to speak at graduation. Howard Stern filmed a naked basketball segment with porn stars for his TV show. Martha Stewart is not fond of the courtroom sketch artist who drew her.