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Wednesday
Aug152012

A Century of Wit and Wonder

Julia Child was born 100 years ago today.  Her contributions to America's foodscape are plentiful and undeniable.  This video has invaded the internet in honor of America's cook and we thought we'd share it with you here as well, to celebrate the dialogue that lives on between food and family that Julia is largely responsible for starting.  Her truly unique personality warmed hearts and kitchens during her lifetime devotion to cuisine and craft.  Happy Birthday Julia.  Bring on the roasted potatoes...

Wednesday
Aug152012

Biang Biang (You Shot Me Down)

Wells takes his palate to Flushing this week and files on Biang!, an extension of David Shi and Jason Wang's Xi'an Famous Food stalls.  "Biang! is essentially a cleaner, brighter, more modern sit-down version of Mr. Shi’s food stall inside the Golden Shopping Mall."  The restaurant opened in May this year and serves food similar in both flavor and price to its Xi'an brethren.  The word biang comes from a local dialect spoken in Xi'an, China and refers to the sound noodles make when they're whacked on a table as they're being formed.

"Before they arrive in the dining room, the biang biang noodles, a specialty of the house and its namesake, are punished in ways that might have unnerved the Spanish Inquisition. They are repeatedly swung up and down through the air, slapped on a table, ripped right down the center and then dropped in boiling water."

Biang! is the first restaurant in the Xi'an family with table service.  It's a work in progress.  "The servers’ notions of what it means to clear a table may not coincide with your own."  Wells has hesitations about the decor as well, but nothing on the menu is more than $10 and his handful of recommended dishes suggest the trip to Flushing is worth it.

Tuesday
Aug142012

Interview with Rick Lopez and Tom Hyland of Gowanus Wine Merchants

Neighborhoods often develop on the merits of a single street. Brooklyn is no exception. Carroll Gardens has Smith Street, Park Slope has Fifth Avenue, and Gowanus, the transitioning neighborhood in between, has Third Avenue. Rick Lopez and Tom Hyland share a love of wine and a passion for Gowanus, a neighborhood they believe is quickly stepping out from the shadows. Their love has been built into a brick and mortar storefront at 493 Third Ave at the corner of 11th Street. They’ve decided to call it Gowanus Wine Merchants. Digest NY dropped by to chat with the guys about their new store, what they expect when Whole Foods opens seven blocks away, and why people are making so much noise about uncommon grape varieties showing up in the wine world.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug142012

Subterranean Restaurant News

When Atera opened in Tribeca in March, Grub Street told us chef Matt Lightner and co were planning to open a bar in the space under the restaurant.  Originally going to be called "The Office," it turns out the name is to be determined.

Plans for the new bar space include a separate kitchen with its own private dining room.  It will provide a place for diners to have coffee and reflect on all the foraged food a multi-course meal at the 17-seat chef's counter puts in their stomachs.

In the West Village, the laundromat space Ed Schoenfeld took over under RedFarm is closer to opening.  In an interview with Paper Mag back in April, Schoenfeld said he'd be taking over the laundromat June 1st.  "It's going to take us a few months to do it over. So by September 1st, middle of August, we'll have that space."

Monday
Aug132012

When Wine Gets Weird

Steve Cuozzo's "Sour Grapes" article from a few weeks ago continues to harvest opinions from members of the wine world.  In an article published today called "Wine & Cheesed," he responds to all the flack he's been catching for his opinion about obscure/natural wines.  In it, he mentions Digest NY for a post we did last week called "Steve Cuozzo is Corked."  We may have used the word lunatic.  No hard feelings, Steve!  Flattered by the mention.  Would love to get together over one of Frank Cornelissen's wines, a Hilberg beauty from Langhe, or a Ridge Zin; all all-natural favorites of ours.

Friday
Aug102012

Donde Dinner?

Donde Dinner? wants to make your next dining experience an adventure.  So, we'll pick a restaurant and post its address for you every Friday.  The catch is, that's all the information you get.  No name, no type of cuisine, and no Googling! Starting this week we'll be doing things a little differently.  From now on, we're going to reveal the name of the restaurant featured in the previous week's post.

Last week's address:

30 East 13th Street (btwn University and 5th) = Taboonnette

As for tonight, we got a spot for you.  In typical Donde Dinner? fashion, price, quality, and accessibility have all been taken into account.  You won't be waiting at the bar for two hours with $15 cocktails, and since we're not fancy folk, you never have to worry about a dress code.  Put that rumbling belly to rest.  Hop on the train, or your feet, or your bike, and head to one of two locations this restaurant has:

23 East 23rd Street (btwn Madison and Park) OR

620 8th Ave (btwn 40th and 41st)

Thursday
Aug092012

Danny Bowien's Food Knows How to Work the Camera

If you haven't been to Danny Bowien's San Fran import yet, or seen our First Bite, here's another way to see what's going down at 154 Orchard Street.

Mission Chinese Food has only been on the East Coast for two and a half months, but Bowien's creative vision fuels a constantly evolving menu.  The original 23-item-menu from the early days at the end of May now has 28 options.  You can't get those Lamb Cheek Dumplings in Red Oil or the Tea Smoked Eel anymore, but you can get Red Braised Pigs Tails ($10) and "Married Couple's" Beef ($9). 

The large dishes have seen the most changes, though in typical generous Bowien fashion, nothing exceeds $15.  Kung Pao Pastrami ($11) is not likely to disappear anytime soon.  New additions are Sizzlin Cumin Lamb Breast ($13) and Catfish a la Sichuan ($13).

Don't worry, that free keg of beer is still on offer for those waiting for a table which, in our opinion, is always worth the inevitable wait.

Wednesday
Aug082012

Steve Cuozzo is Corked

Steve Cuozzo wrote an article for The New York Post two weeks ago called "Sour Grapes." He makes three things clear in the article: 1) He has no patience for the lesser-known varietals showing up on wine lists in the city, 2) He hates anything that's not Bordeaux, and 3) He sounds like a lunatic trying to explain why he hates anything that's not Bordeaux. In a single sentence, the schizophrenic rant covers Greek restaurants, iTunes, and Willamette Valley pinot noir.

Cuozzo likes Bordeaux. And despite its rich, full-bodied and tannic profile, he likes to drink it in the middle of summer. Schiava is a perfectly sound, northern Italian grape that would be an exceptional pairing for his "chicken and summer vegetables" craving, but the arrangement of letters in Schiava sends shivers down his spine. Bordeaux is Cuozzo's pacifier and he needs it to put his uninformed nerves down for a nap.

Time's wine critic Eric Asimov responded to Cuozzo's article in today's Dining Section. He poses the question, "Are restaurants obliged to offer something for everybody? Or do they have the right to stay uncompromisingly true to a vision that may strike some as arcane?"

Here's a hypothetical: You need to build a deck. You decide go to Lowe's, or Home Depot. When you get there you find yourself standing in front of a daunting array of lumber choices. You don't cower from the task and go home to write a 600-word, pride-fueled article about the fact that there are too many trees in the world. You stay at Lowe's, or Home Depot, swallow your pride, and talk to the person whose job it is to know the subtleties between Knotty Pine, Tiger Maple, and Red Oak.

Asimov clearly knows how to build a deck. He hits the nail on the head. "The world is dominated by the ordinary and the mass-market. Most restaurants, even in New York City, conform to a mainstream vision of food and wine. For that reason alone we should celebrate the departures, not feel threatened by them." "The enemy isn’t obscure wines or challenging lists," he writes. "It’s fear of wine."