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Red Hook Vendors

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Red Hook Vendors: Safe for Six Years, But in What Form?

The forces of good have triumphed! The Parks Department has issued a permit to the Red Hook food vendors, ensuring deliciousness at the Red Hook ball fields for at least another six years. But the vendors aren't out of the woods yet. "Two hours ago I got a call from Parks saying we won the bid," Carlos Fuentes, the vendors' leader, tells us. "This has been an uphill battle. It's by no means an end. It's a big victory though. Now the biggest challenge is DOH compliance. In winning the bid we understood that we need to comply with health regulations. It might change the character of the affair — the ethnic, rustic, mercado style. We may have to turn into a more generic type of activity. We need to look at options in hopes of trying to find a way to preserve what we already had."

Red Hook Vendors Face Mystery Opponents; Pies-N-Thighs Scores New Location

The Red Hook ball field vendors are in a bidding war with two anonymous groups for control of the weekend food market. [Brooklyn Paper] Dylan Lauren, founder and CEO of Dylan’s Candy Bar, used to have a diet consisting of “almost entirely of candy, frozen yogurt and vegetables,” but these days she’s paying hundreds of dollars per hour for personal training sessions that keep her slim. [WSJ] You only have until the end of the month to snag yourself an invite to the secret makeshift nightclub operating in a boutique on Sullivan Street. [Villager]

Red Hook Vendors Aren’t Out of It Yet

Red Hook
Eat for Victory’s Nina Lalli spoke to Red Hook vendors rep Cesar Fuentes yesterday and posted an admirably easy-to-understand summary of the current bureaucratic boondoggle that is currently holding the vendors’ fate in limbo. To sum up the summary: All isn’t lost, but the future doesn’t look rosy, either. We’ll let Nina explain. The State of the Ball-Field Vendors, Plus a Ceviche Exclusive [Eat for Victory/VV] Related: Red Hook Vendors Bid for Ball Fields Earlier: Grub Street's Complete Coverage of the Red Hook Ball Fields

Huckabee Skips Sushi; Super Bowl Snacks Abound

Finally, the presidential candidates “respond” to the sushi crisis. Mike Huckabee’s stance? “Nowhere does the Bible mention sushi in the Garden of Eden.” [NYT] If you’ve ever dreamed of being a Michelin Guide inspector, consider first that in a year “each inspector evaluates 240 restaurants, spends 130 nights in hotels, carries out 800 inspections, writes 1,100 reports and drives 18,000 miles.” [Guardian] The international conservation group Oceana has issued a report saying that it found mercury levels in tuna sushi throughout the United States to be just as high as in New York’s supply. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

New Café Boulud Chef a Young Buck

Boerum Hill: Lazy artists have nothing better to do with their time than wait in line for the unopened Trader Joe’s. [A Brooklyn Life] Chelsea: Next Tuesday Del Posto will host a Wine. Dine. Donate. dinner with Epicurious to benefit America’s Second Harvest. [Gothamist] Meatpacking District: The Inn Lw12 has a new fall menu. [Grub Street] Upper East Side: Café Boulud’s replacement for Betrand Chemel is 28-year-old Food & Wine Best New Chef for 2007 Gavin Kaysen who’s riding into town all the way from Rancho Bernardo. [San Diego Tribune via Eater] From now through Sunday, the Garden Court Café at the Asia Society will feature a special Indian-French menu from Vikram Garg, executive chef of D.C.’s Indebleu. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]

Red Hook Spokesman Strikes Back, Puts Down Coup

Ivan Kane
The Times reported dissension among the Red Hook vendors, and we were surprised. But not as surprised as Cesar Fuentes, who was furious when we talked with him over the weekend. “This wasn’t really dissension,” Fuentes says. “It was more of a coup d’état.” Seriously? What's going on in Red Hook?

No Rest for the Red Hook Vendors; Bourdain Considers 'Top Chef' Episode a Waste

Can the Red Hook Vendors never rest? Now Cesar Fuentes is causing concern for resigning and threatening to sue the same people he represented. [NYT] Bourdain considers Wednesday’s Top Chef a waste, as the producers snagged Eric Ripert only to “shoehorn him into a Scout jamboree” when “it would have been nice, given the all-too-rare presence of a distinguished specialist, to see what the kids could REALLY do with fish.” And why won't Hung cook Vietnamese? [Bourdain’s Blog/Bravo] Discrimination lawyer Marc Rapaport is surprised by his own defense of O’Reilly in a Times op-ed about the Sylvia’s incident, saying “it is apparent from [his comments’] context that O’Reilly was actually attempting to dispel racial stereotypes regarding African-Americans.” [PR Web]

Picholine Lures Café Boulud Alum to Upper West; Fiesta de Red Hook Vendors!

Astoria: Soleil Coffee Shop and a 7-Eleven are opening soon. [Joey in Astoria] Clinton Hill: Heineken is filming a commercial today at 313 Clinton Avenue. [Clinton Hill Blog] Corona: Enjoy a pirated DVD with your dinner on Roosevelt Avenue. [NYT] East Village: Support Willie’s cause while getting buzzed this Saturday at Counter’s organic beer tasting. [Grub Street] Lower East Side: The beer room at Whole Foods even sells PBR with a pitch to keep hipster interest alive. [East Village Idiot] Midtown West: Daniel and Oceana alum Scott Ekstrom has been tapped to run the kitchen at Brasserie Forty Four, the restaurant destined for the redesigned Royalton hotel. [Eater] Randall’s Island: The concessions at Farm Aid were stocked with local, organic, or family-farm-raised fare, but nothing really tasted that great. [Diner’s Journal/ NYT] Red Hook: The vendors are celebrating their season’s extension with a “livelier than usual weekend event — more soccer games, piñatas, music, and a two-day art exhibit featuring photographs taken by the food vendors.” [Eat for Victory/VV] Upper West Side: Terrence Brennen has overhauled his culinary team at Picholine appointing Scott Quis formerly of Café Boulud as Chef de Cuisine and Jason Hua from Jean Georges as executive sous-chef. [Grub Street]

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

U.S. Open Stadium Eats; Red Hook Vendors' Bread and Butter in Jeopardy

Astoria: Get your feet rubbed while eating ice cream at Freeze Peach this Saturday — or maybe just stick to sampling the variety of flavors at this $9 tasting event that will also feature reflexology and tarot-card reading. [Joey in Astoria] Flushing: New reasons not to fill up before a match: Five serious restaurants including a steakhouse, seafood restaurant, and Cuban café flank the U.S. Open stadium, all under the supervision of Charlie Palmer–trained chef Michael Lockard. [NYDN] Hell’s Kitchen: Mitchel London Pizza from the owners of Burgers & Cupcakes has been open for a couple of weeks, but they’re still working on good char. [Slice] Lower East Side: Whole Foods’ beer room, which stocks over 200 international, domestic, and local beers, opened this morning. [Gridskipper] Meatpacking District: Los Dados from Sueños chef Sue Torres opens Monday. [Eater] Red Hook: Department of Health inspectors are now turning a critical eye to restaurants associated with the ball-field vendors. Honduras Maya is already closed. [Brooklyn Eagle]

Is This the Last Saturday for the Red Hook Vendors?

Things have looked dire for the Red Hook vendors for much of the summer, with first the Parks Department and then the Department of Health threatening their future. As Porkchop Express reported last week, the DOH popped in for a surprise inspection and was shocked — shocked! — to find no running water there. So will the situation be remedied by this weekend, when inspectors are rumored to show up again? Doubtful, says vendor representative Cesar Fuentes. “They want us to have hot and cold running water, a refrigerated truck to store food in, all the food prepared either in a restaurant or in a DOH-approved preparation facility, and a lot of other things.”

Red Hook Vendors on the Run Again; Bourdain on ‘Top Chef’

With the Parks Department temporarily off their back, the Red Hook food vendors now have a new enemy: the ever-mischievous Department of Health. [Serious Eats] Related: The Threat to Red Hook’s Street-Food Paradise Unites New York Foodies Anthony Bourdain doesn’t have any sympathy for last night’s Top Chef loser, Sara: “I've worked with women cooks who could crank out a hundred fifty meals off a very busy grill station in freakin’ stilettos and still have the energy to give Howie the beating of his life — so that don't cut it as an excuse.” Bonus: Bourdain on Rocco’s career arc. [Bravo] Related: Joey, Latest ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner, on Why Rocco Is a Douche Bag The hidden food treasures of the Bronx range from an ancient candy store where you can get a classic egg cream to a Chino-Latino place with great shrimp mofungo. [NYP]

LeNell’s Felled by Red Hook Development?

Red Hook residents have had plenty to fret over in the past few years: the loss of Lillie’s, the arrival of Ikea, the possible close of Barge, whatever's happening with 360 (currently closed with no sign of reopening), and of course the ball-field vendors and their permit issues. And now we’re told by employee Amanda Womack that LeNell's, the city’s most eccentric liquor store (and arguably its bourbon mecca), is getting the boot from its landlord and looking for another location. “We have a year, but we’re looking now. We can move as soon as we find a place.” The question, then, is whether they're intent on staying in the neighborhood. Apparently not: “We want to stay in Red Hook,” Womack tells us, “and we’ll stay if we can. But there’s not much available right now.” Red Hook locals, we advise you to start stocking up on bourbon now. Related: Best Liquor Store: LeNell’s Is This the Last Summer of the Red Hook Park Vendors?

Doug E. Fresh Bringing Boxes of Chicken and Waffles to Harlem

Harlem: Doug E. Fresh's chicken-and-waffles restaurant is opening on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard at 132nd Street. [Uptown Flavor] Long Island City: It was an orgy of animal fats at Saturday’s burger bash at Water Taxi Beach, as this slideshow dramatically demonstrates. [Off the Broiler] Park Slope: Hotel Le Bleu (and its rooftop restaurant, Vue) has pushed back its opening to August 13. [NewYorkology] Upper West Side: Grom has been stealing Beard Papa’s thunder, but the latter’s mango ice shower is just as refreshing as any gelato. And cheaper. [Ed Levine Eats] West Village: Jody Williams’s new wine bar, Gottino, is coming along nicely on Greenwich Avenue. [Eater] Williamsburg: The grubby Chinese place on Bedford Avenue by North 7th Street is turning Japanese. [Lost City]

Red Hook Food Vendors' Meeting With the City Postponed Until Tomorrow

Bridgehampton: Almond restaurant has just added more local labels to its wine list. [Hamptons] East Village: New vegan restaurant Health Conscious Express, on First Avenue and 3rd Street, impresses with its wide range of patties, but the Rasta vibes are totally intense. [Super Vegan] Red Hook: A meeting between the representative for ball fields’ food vendors and the Parks Department has been postponed until tomorrow afternoon. [The Gowanus Lounge] West Village: Only a couple seats left for Murray’s class on local cheeses, tonight at 6:30 p.m. [Murray’s Cheese] Williamsburg: Brick Oven Gallery has reopened after its Department of Health–enforced hiatus. [Eater]

Spotted Pig and Freemans Owners Getting Cozy in the West Village

Astoria: Sparrow bar at 24-01 29th Street has outdoor seating. [Joey in Astoria] And Fresh Start health-food store finally opens its back patio — only to jack it up with distastefully painted bricks. [Joey in Astoria] Dumbo: Paella’s the main event at Rice today from noon to 11 p.m. [Dumbo NYC] Red Hook: A new blog, Save Soccer Tacos, tries to get the little guys as involved in saving Red Hook Park’s vendors as the food-world celebrities who’ve recently united. [The Gowanus Lounge] Prospect Park: The park is one of the few in the city that actually encourage public barbecues, with seven designated areas and three permanent grills. [Gridskipper] West Village: Freemans owners to pair with the Spotted Pig’s Ken Friedman to redo the former West space — that, or to open a chain restaurant banking on little people serving drinks in pig costumes. [Eater]