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Calling All Web-Surfing Gourmands: Opinionated About Dining Now in the Book Business

We always wondered why Zagat has a monopoly on restaurant surveys. The same thought seems to have occurred to Steve Plotnicki, the man behind the blog Opinionated About Dining. Don't be fooled by OAD's resemblance to the rest of the blogger-with-a-digital-camera food sites. It hosts a very big and very vigorous private forum, whose members will be the backbone of a new book on the top 100 restaurants in America and Europe this March. The OAD members are deep-pocketed diners who eat all over the city, so the book’s core of opinions will be strong.

Dona Back and Cheaper Than Ever; Bowery Boys Spend Millions on West Village Hotel

Bensonhurst: L&B Spumoni Gardens wants to cater your Christmas pizza dinner. [Lost City] Dumbo: A liquor store is going in at 102 Jay Street next to Bridge Apothecary. [The Real Deal via Dumbo NYC] Meatpacking District: Pizza Bar has closed just as Pop Burger rises. [Eater] Midtown East: Dona returns at 206 East 58th Street … and it will be cheaper! [Restaurant Girl] West Village: Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson have reportedly purchased the Riverview Hotel for $33 million. [Hotel Chatter via Down by the Hipster]

A-Rod Hires Guy Oseary, in Order to Better Entertain Us

There's a new boss in the house of A-Rod, and sadly it's not Cynthia Rodriguez. The Yankee third-baseman, who famously just renegotiated a $275 million contract with the Steinbrenners without the help of his longtime agent Scott Boras, has hired talent manager Guy Oseary to help steer his career. "He's focusing on baseball and needs someone whose interests are aligned," Oseary told Variety, seeming to imply that he will be A-Rod's only management. "This is to help him have more control of his image and brand." Now, we watched 60 Minutes on Saturday and A-Rod definitely said that he would keep Scott Boras onboard (Boras is getting $15 million from the A-Rod's new contract, even though it was A-Rod's wife, Cynthia, who coached him through it). "There hasn't been a lot of talking back and forth" between Boras and A-Rod, the Yankee explained, but it seems like they're still working together. Which is confusing, considering that Variety says they're not. But it's not as confusing as the fact that A-Rod hired Oseary in the first place. Oseary, who co-founded Maverick Records in the eighties, only has entertainment clients like Madonna, Lenny Kravitz, David Blaine, and the show Last Call With Carson Daly. Which we can only guess means that television, music, or magic is somewhere in A-Rod's near future. We're hoping for all three. A-Rod Bats for Oseary's Team [Variety] Earlier: Scott Boras Out, Cynthia Rodriguez In?

Zak Pelaccio’s Chop Suey to Open Next Month

Zak Pelaccio has somehow found time to plan a new restaurant, in between taking over Borough Food and Drink from Jeffrey Chodorow, opening a new Fatty Crab uptown, and perfecting a haute Malaysian restaurant in London. Look for a big new Korean-themed restaurant in the Renaissance called Chop Suey to open (says Pelaccio with optimism) in late January. Last summer, the bearded wonder took a trip to Korea, where he fell in love with the marinated beef belly and other meaty delights he plans to implement in his new menu as consulting chef. At this pace, we predict Ditmas Park and Inwood will be only Pelaccio-free neighborhoods in New York. But if they're lucky, they'll get restaurants too. Related: Zak Pelaccio Taking Over Borough Food and Drink From Jeffrey Chodorow

Countdown to iPhone: In Brooklyn, Too

In this week's New York, Tom Samiljan listed five places in Manhattan to find a new iPhone — and analyzed your chances of actually being able to get one from each. But there are, after all, four other boroughs, and now the good people at mcbrooklyn offer up six spots in the Borough of Kings for you to buy a shiny new toy. Will they have more stock? Will they have shorter lines? Who knows. Good luck. (No, we have no joke or commentary here. An event this momentous deserves straight-ahead service, don't you think?) Where to Buy an iPhone in Brooklyn [mcbrooklyn] Related: How to Buy an iPhone [NYM]

Restaurant Vets Take Refuge in Chill New East Side Eatery

When Nish went under earlier this week, partner Joe Scalice didn’t have to look far for his next home: He simply walked two blocks over and took up residence as general manager at Solace, a one-week-old “American seasonal” restaurant created by David Regueiro of Aureole, Metrazur, and most recently the Water Club. (Given what Salice just went through at the late Nish, and Regueiro’s years under famously demanding taskmasters like Charlie Palmer and Michael “Buzzy” O’Keefe, Solace would seem to be just what the two men are seeking.) “We wanted to create a space where people would feel comfortable, with food they could understand,” the chef says. We can certainly see standards like salt cod and gnocchi ragout, butter braised lobster, and eggplant, goat cheese, and tomato terrine hitting the spot on a quiet night in the garden (open till 11 p.m.), with our own bottle in tow (Solace is still waiting on its liquor license). Solace, 406 E. 64th St., at First Ave.; 212-750-0434. Solace menu Earlier: Nish, Felled by Its Own Best Efforts

Mike Bloomberg's Declaration of Independence

This press release just in, and we no longer have any doubt that the dude is running for president:

June 19, 2007
No. 205
www.nyc.gov STATEMENT BY MAYOR BLOOMBERG ON PARTY AFFILIATION “I have filed papers with the New York City Board of Elections to change my status as a voter and register as unaffiliated with any political party. Although my plans for the future haven’t changed, I believe this brings my affiliation into alignment with how I have led and will continue to lead our City.

Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Public Theater gala performance of Romeo & Juliet. Delacorte Theater, nr. Central Park W. and 81st St., 6 p.m. Expected guests at tonight’s show (which stars Oscar Isaac and Lauren Ambrose) include Tony Kushner, Mike Nichols, Eric Bogosian, and a bajillion famous actors. In other words, the Romeo & Juliet cast are performing what may be the most famous roles in Western history to a private audience of the world’s most accomplished theater professionals. It's like distributing loaves and fishes to Jesus.

Beard Diners Get No Graydon But Several Waverly-Reservation Tips

Graydon Carter skipped the dinner his Waverly Inn chef John DeLucie cooked at the James Beard House last night, but that doesn't mean Beard members won't get a chance to rub elbows with the Falstaffian editor. After attendees were served seven wines and a five-course dinner that included the restaurant's luscious Dover sole, Chef DeLucie informed them that they're all now worthy of a hard-to-come-by tables at Graydon's clubby Bank Street spot, just a few blocks west of where they were eating; they should simply stop by a day or two in advance to reserve. "Just say 'James Beard dinner,'" advised sommelier Sammy Kebob, whose name may or may not be spelled that way, as the restaurant answered neither its public nor private phones when we called to check. "Don't use my name," he warned the crowd. "It won't work." Neither, we suspect, will the "Beard dinner" trick for much longer. —Alexandra Peers

Yes, You Are Too Old, and I Don’t Want You in My Kitchen

We recently got a letter from Keith, a 45-year-old reader who hated his job and asked us, “Am I just too old” to become a chef? A number of letters have come in, encouraging the guy in his dream: “On my 62nd birthday,” wrote one, “I retired from a long-time corporate career in risk management to follow my daydream of becoming a cook … and now, three years later, work as a prep cook at Amalia.” But lest Keith get the idea that the cooking world as a whole is filled with love and understanding, here’s a wake-up call from chef Dawn Fornear of Vessel restaurant in Seattle. Fornear writes:

New York’s Restaurant Jungle Grows a Little Lusher

When spring comes, branches and leaves appear in the most unexpected places. This week’s food coverage is like that: There are no huge openings, analogous to maples or firs springing up overnight, but rather a rich carpet of new sprouts and saplings. Rob and Robin glory in the pig-out that is Resto, the new Belgian restaurant on Park Avenue South; Gael Greene stops in to enjoy the immense, spanking-new Landmarc in the Time Warner Center; David Chang knows just what to do with the long-awaited, precious ramps in In Season; and other unexpected treats, from a waterside barbecue in one of the Short Lists to a slew of spring Openings fill out the foliage.