Big bewilderbeast sculpture, collab with Olga Karhu.
All HTTYD fanart in my shop:
Kuroko is a DJ apparently!
Feel cooped up listening to ani-song alone in your room? Then take the music to the street at Re:animation, Japan's premiere otaku block party. DJs spin anime themes, Vocaloid anthems and everything in between. The best part--it's totally free! Stop by if you're in Tokyo this November 23rd or tune into the live stream from the event homepage.
The AmiAmi Blog is leading up to the festivities with a backstage look at the people who turned private otaku gatherings into public raves. First up: organizer and idea man Masayuki Sugimoto. We met at Bar Zingaro, an art gallery with coffee as earthy as the decor, in the heart of four-story shopping center, Nakano Broadway.
How did the event start?
It grew out of Eureka Seven fan get-togethers. We had our first party three years ago and as more people joined, we figured, "Let's get some DJs in here!" Dance music is a big part of the anime, right? So we moved from bars to clubs.
And from there it spilled out into the streets. How did it become a city-wide event?
At first there was only about 100 of us but that grew to 800. And the club could only hold 500! We were bursting at the seams. So I took a cue from summer music festivals and tried to move it outdoors. But the city didn't want to deal with the noise. Lucky for me one of the fans was an event promoter and he got us a stage in Kabukicho, smack-dab in the middle of Shinjuku.
A party in Japan's red light district? That goes against every otaku stereotype in the book.
I was a big otaku in my grade school days but in college I dropped the hobby for rock and dance music. Then when I graduated I fell back into the otaku scene. My experience isn't uncommon. There's a lot of otaku who are passionate about music and vice-verse. Giving them a place to gather probably nurtured even more people who are into both anime and music.
What sort of people show up?
Most are in their early 30s, though the average age is getting younger. We're open to the public so all sorts of characters wander in. Old men with white hair, breakdancers, grannies covered in sequins. The disco generation comes to party.
How is the vibe different than a normal club night?
Re:animation focuses on ani-songs so it's one hot opening song after another. Tracks change fast--a TV-sized song is about 90 seconds--so as soon as you hear the opening bars to your favorite you run to the front. This keeps the crowd energetic and fluid. You see people in cosplay. It's its own culture.
So this style of party is unique to Japan?
Yes but we're spreading it abroad. This year our DJs were guests at Anime Festival Asia in Singapore, Anime Expo in LA and Japan Expo in France as well as an annual event in Hong Kong.
Ani-song bars aren't a new concept but ani-song clubs are. What kicked it off?
Big international DJ events such as Ultra Music Festival and Tomorrowland gained ground in Japan. They got people thinking, "Let's combine ani-song and club music!"
Ani-song DJs are all over social media. Look around Soundcloud for set samples or remixes.
How did you assemble this year's lineup?
They're all either Internet friends or old-school members. Kozue Takada has been with us from the beginning. She wrote and sings "Himitsu Kichi," the Season 1 Eureka Seven ending theme. DJ Ajurika is a former Namco composer who worked on Ridge Racer, Tekken and The Idolm@ster--he helped us get the voice actresses on stage at past events. He also produced songs for voice actress turned proletariat pop singer Sumire Uesaka so it gave us an in with her.
This year's Re:animation will be held in Nakano, which is just west of Shinjuku. Why change venues?
The area we were using became a construction site so we had to move. We shopped around to different municipalities and the Nakano Ward was the most on board.
What makes Nakano special?
Akihabara is focused on consumer culture but Nakano is trying to produce culture. For example, the city has a "Cool Nakano" program to create original content. Or the cafe we're in right now, Bar Zingaro, is managed by pop artist Takashi Murakami.
Nakano doesn't want to be another anime mecca. They're moving towards a comprehensive hobby city. There's record shops, vintage military goods, tin toys, second-hand Rolexes, you name it.
The event name, "Re:animation" makes you focus on the anime aspect, but it's more about the seamless mix of club culture and otaku culture. So Nakano is the perfect fit.
Who pays for everything?
In the beginning we were able to scrape by with donations but as the crowds got bigger the police warned us to tighten our management. So we turned to crowdfunding to cover the upfront costs with donations on the side.
When we relocated to Nakano we decided to make it totally free. The event is sustainable thanks to crowdfunding.
You blew past your 2,000,000 yen goal in three days.
Yeah, we were able to raise a total of 3,700,000 yen. We used the surplus to extend the event one hour, have DJ Ajurika as a guest and award donors voice samples by Donna Burke (Raising Heart in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha)--"are you readdddy!?", classic DJ stuff like that.
What does the future hold?
The Re:animation after this will be part of next March's Haneda International Anime Music Festival. The international terminal is celebrating the first anniversary of its 24-hour service policy and we'll be there to throw an all-night party.
I also want to spread abroad and do more with conventions such as Japan Expo and Anime Festival Asia. The west is the birthplace of DJ culture so I'm curious to see how our ani-song act will be received. But the reaction in Japan shows people are picking up what I'm throwing down, so I'm thankful for that.
-----Based on our Japanese blog-----
Hey there, Shizu Mecha here. Has it really been 15 years since Digimon aired…? *Shudders*
Following the cute and cool G.E.M. Series Tai and Matt are none other than...
Their siblings T.K. and Kari with their trusty Digimon, Patamon and Tailmon! Of all the DigiDestined these two were the most childish from the start and really grew up as the story progressed.
G.E.M Series - Digimon Adventure: Takeru "T.K." Takaishi & Patamon 1/10 Complete Figure (w/First Release Bonus: Digimon Card) [MegaHouse]
I'll fight too!
T.K. is the same scale as his big brother Matt, which places the littlest of the DigiDestined boys at around an adorable 105mm tall with Patamon on his head.
Patamon looks super cute from any angle--check out that plump little rump!
Oh no! DemiDevimon is here to spread lies with his evil whispers! Swap out T.K.'s face for the appropriate reaction. For being a sub-part a lot of attention went into bringing DemiDevimon to life!
G.E.M. Series - Digimon Adventure: Hikari “Kari” Yagami & Tailmon 1/10 Complete Figure (w/First Release Bonus: Digimon Card) [MegaHouse]
I'll use my light for good!
Next up is Tai's kid sister Kari and her holy beast partner Gatomon (Tailmon in Japan)! What they lack in size they make up for in spirit!
Kari's been perfected right down to the whistle and just look at Gatomon's paw pads! Spin him around and his holy ring is there too, just don't lose it if you want to unleash his true power! (Don't worry--it doesn't come off.)
Kari's interchangeable wink face is a great addition that brings even more fun to this pose!
Otouto and Imouto unite! Pose them together to double their cuteness or put them with their big brothers and reenact your favorite DigiDestined battles. If you get them fast you'll also get special DigiMon cards as the first release bonus. So what are you waiting for? Take a trip down DigiMemory lane and pick them up today!
G.E.M Series - Digimon Adventure: Takeru “T.K.” Takaishi & Patamon and Hikari “Kari” Yagami & Tailmon 1/10 Complete Figures (w/First Release Bonus: Digimon Card) [MegaHouse]
*Photos are of a prototype and the actual product may differ.
Dear Prudence, 11 November 2014:
Q. From Virgin to Stud: I am a guy well into my 20s. A year ago I was still a virgin, partly by choice and partly by circumstance. Then I consciously decided to become a “stud,” taking any and every opportunity that I saw (not including intoxication). Each sexual encounter gave me more confidence, which in turn made it easier to find new women. My “conquests” are now in the double digits. I love feeling so confident, but there are moments when I am horrified at myself. Previously, I had looked down on “man whores” (maybe because I was jealous?). Should I be proud or ashamed of my new lifestyle?
Dear From Virgin To Stud,
How should you feel about your sex life? Well, that’s a question only a total fucking stranger can answer for you. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place: the internet, where you will find no divergent opinions on what constitutes a desirable sexual lifestyle.
The wholly indisputable truth, which no one ever would or could debate because there is absolutely, positively, one single correct answer to your inquiry, is that sex is a 100% numbers game that you, Stud, are winning! Literally the most important thing about sex is how much of it you’re having, and since you are having a bunch of it, you are doing everything right. Undoubtedly your “conquests” enjoy knowing that they have served their purpose of improving your confidence, the highest compliment a Stud can bestow on his filly.
In addition to the extremely important and impressive quantity of sex you are having, which everyone is deeply interested in and wants to hear a ton more about, you’re looking for outside validation to help you decide how you feel about the gobs and gobs of sex you’re having, which is the healthiest possible perspective on sex that a person can have.
The Smorgasburg veteran has a larger menu now with Japanese tacos, bento boxes, and burritos.
Takumi Taco, the Smorgasburg stand that specializes in Japanese-influenced tacos, opened two brick and mortar locations in the past month. First came a stand at the Starret-Lehigh building on the west side at 26th Street, and last weekend, another, larger space with seating just 10 blocks south in Chelsea Market. The menu at both locations is larger than what's offered at Smorg and boasts tacos with fillings like spicy tuna, miso chicken, and Japanese curry. There are also bento boxes and a create your own section with burritos and burrito bowls.
The culinary teams at Magic Kingdom Park have been decking their kitchens with festive treats for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Since Disney Parks Blog readers are all on Santa’s “nice list,” here’s a peek at some of the goodies that will be available at the party.
How lovely are the branches of the Christmas tree cupcake from Gaston’s Tavern? Spiced confetti cake is topped with decadent butter cream frosting and sugary sprinkled “ornaments.” Of course, no Christmas tree is complete without the glittery star on top.
If you’re looking for even more holiday decadence, try the cupcakes at Main Street Bakery. The adorable reindeer cupcake is a peanut butter delight. Vanilla cake with peanut butter is topped with mocha and peanut butter frosting, it’s almost too cute to eat! My favorite? The chocolate cupcake infused with peppermint and topped with a peppermint buttercream and sprinkles—it looks just like a candy cane!
I might get coal in my stocking for it, but I couldn’t resist a bite of a buttery sugar cookie from Main Street Bakery. You can also find the craveable cookies next door at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, where you can make a sweet sandwich with your favorite flavor of ice cream. While you’re there, check out this cool treat: scoops of vanilla and mint chocolate-chip ice cream served in a waffle bowl and topped with hot fudge, whipped cream and peppermint sprinkles.
If you prefer soft serve, try the waffle sundae from Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square. Infused with pumpkin, the waffle is dusted with cinnamon sugar, soft-serve ice cream and holiday sprinkles.
What Disney Parks treats are on your Christmas list?
‘Tis the Season for Very Merry Treats at Magic Kingdom Park by Rachel Brent: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog
If you've never tried ROYCE' chocolates before, a quick primer - these are some of the most unique chocolates in the world. Masterfully crafted using only the finest local ingredients, ROYCE' has been producing exquisite chocolate in Hokkaido (the northernmost island of Japan) known for its rich natural environment, for over 30 years. So what comes out of using only the highest quality, local ingredients? Perfect chocolate.
Some of the featured products include their signature Nama Chocolate, a delicate combination of selected chocolate and fresh Hokkaido cream, the Potatochip Chocolate, and a full line of Maccha (Green Tea) products, like Maccha Chocolate Wafers - delicious maccha cream sandwiched between delicate crispy wafers and coated with rich maccha chocolate. To top it off, all boxes are affordable luxuries priced under $20.
Visit ROYCE' for a complimentary tasting at any of their three NYC locations: 509 Madison Ave (at 53rd St), 32 W 40th St across from Bryant Park, and 253 Bleecker St in the West Village. For more information, visit ROYCECONFECTUSA.COM.
Twenty-five years ago, New York was a very different sort of food-shopping town. There was one Dean & DeLuca, one Fairway, one Balducci’s—each seemingly irreproducible, if you can imagine that. Today, those once-unique landmarks have either expanded exponentially or closed. But even as national chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have infiltrated the foodscape, a handful of historic mom-and-pops have not only endured but thrived: Russ & Daughters and Di Palo’s are equal parts museum and marketplace, temple of culinary worship and crux of daily neighborhood life. As the pendulum has swung back from one-stop-shopping megamart to more-focused specialty store, the current crop of food shop has modeled itself after these venerable forebears. This generation’s best new provisioners tend to be smaller and meticulously curated, with a distinct point of view and an often sustainable approach to sourcing. Many host classes (a necessity in this DIY age) and embrace digital commerce, aspiring to something fresher than FreshDirect. Here, a look at the new guard of food shops in New York—a cornucopia of nose-to-tail butchers, vegan bakers, rooftop gardeners, regional cheesemongers, ecofriendly fishmongers, and more.
Category I: Breads
Photo: Clockwise, from top left: Courtesy of the vendors (Black Seed Bagels, Maison Keyser); Mayumi Kasuga (Runner & Stone); Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine (Arcade Bakery); Squire Fox Photography (Sullivan St Bakery)
Black Seed Bagels
170 Elizabeth St., nr. Kenmare St.; 212-730-1950
These are bagels made the old-fashioned way: shaped by hand from stiff dough, kettle-boiled, and baked. They’re perfectly dense and chewy with just a hint of surface crispness. By comparison, the modern soft-dough bagel churned out by machine (the curse of the true bagel lover) and cooked in a steam-injection oven (another curse) seems sad and misguided, like the demon love child of the kaiser roll and the doughnut. Not everything about Black Seed, however, would be familiar to your bagel-maven grandfather. There’s the good Stumptown coffee, for one. And for another, a design that incorporates reclaimed sycamore, beveled walnut, and Carrara marble to pleasing effect. There’s even a late-night pizza-bagel operation from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday to Saturday.
Multiple locations; maison-kayser.com
It’s true, Eric Kayser’s original Paris bakery is a global juggernaut with three Manhattan branches and outposts from Tangier to Taipei. And the problem with global juggernauts, as everyone knows, is that they do not reliably produce world-class breads. Not so Maison Kayser. Its bafflingly good baguette Monge, named for the Parisian street where Kayser opened his first shop, is a perfect marriage of crisp crust to springy crumb with a depth of flavor that’s unusual for a baguette. What baffles even more: They chalk this witchcraft up to a technical innovation of their own invention called a Fermentolevain machine that sounds straight out of Dr. Seuss.
Runner & Stone
285 Third Ave., nr. Carroll St., Gowanus; 718-576-3360
It’s perfectly acceptable—inspired, even—to treat this friendly Brooklyn bistro as your local boulangerie. The back bar is stocked with the handiwork of partner Peter Endriss, a former Per Se head baker and fervent champion of alternative flours, many of them whole grain and local. So although his classic, long-fermented baguette is unimpeachable, you might try something a bit more offbeat—a beautifully textured brioche scented with orange-flower water, for instance; the nutty buckwheat baguette; a moist and airy rye ciabatta; or the Bolzano miche, a rye sourdough bolstered with spelt and seasoned with cumin, coriander, and fennel. It’s the size of a hubcap and sold by the quarter.
Sullivan St Bakery
How can we consider a 20-year-old bakery part of New York’s new guard? Easy: Owner Jim Lahey is an eternal innovator, the kind whose restless spirit and impeccable taste make his rustic, characteristically burnished loaves look and taste somehow new. He is the man, after all, who simplified home baking with the no-knead method, and who gave New York not only addictive square Roman-style pizza but superb Neapolitanesque round pies at Co. And there’s always something compelling at both locations of his retail bakery, be it a multigrain Pullman, oil-slicked batons Lahey calls strecci, the part-whole-wheat sourdough country loaf named truccione saré, or even, of late, a potato roll—Lahey’s artisanal answer to Martin’s, perhaps.
220 Church St., nr. Worth St.; 212-227-7895
Roger Gural has baked bread for David Bouley, Almondine’s Hervé Poussot, and Thomas Keller. Now he’s making a name for himself in this brilliantly retrofitted lobby of a downtown office building. Classic French loaves are Gural’s passion, but his viennoiserie (not to mention his pizza) are equally impressive. The key to his success is a strategy to keep production low and turnover high so that customers never suffer the indignity of being served a croissant or signature pear-vanilla baguette that is less than exceedingly fresh.
120 Smith St., nr. Dean St., Boerum Hill; 718-852-0200
Zachary Golper’s trademark loaves are unashamedly dark and crusty—his three-year-old bakery’s name, after all, means “well-done.” Inspired by France and molded by artisanal baking traditions of the west coast, where he learned his craft, Golper has devised several signature breads that have already become New York classics. Foremost among them is his miche, as much an ordeal as a recipe. It involves an intricate blend of wheat and rye flours, a wild yeast starter, and a nearly three-day-long fermentation period. (Extended fermentation and elaborate flour mixtures are kind of Golper’s thing.) Sample the complexly-flavored results in his rye sunflower, his raisin-walnut campagne, his rustic potato-studded Pugliese, and even his standard baguette, equally famous for its taste and texture as for its unusually long shelf life.
433 Halsey St., nr. Lewis Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant; 718-574-5500
Aficionados already know Edoardo Mantelli, who runs the terrific Saraghina in Bed-Stuy, as a pizza obsessive whose Neapolitanesque pies rank among Brooklyn’s best. Now, Mantelli has taken on bread baking with an equal passion, the result of which is a rustic retail shop adjacent to the restaurant. His naturally leavened breads, as you’d expect from someone who grew up in Milan, are classic Italian, and made with organic flours. Of particluar note are a toasty, chewy ciabatta, and a springy, open-crumbed focaccia. The standout pane, though, is Mantelli’s micca. It’s baked extra dark with a creamy crumb, and it’s loaded with nutty, sour, complex flavors that linger on your palate.
Category II: Seafood
Photo: Top row, left to right: Vicky Wasik (Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.); Courtesy of Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (Iliamna Fish Company); Ximena Escovar-Fadul (Gabe the Fish Babe). Bottom row: Courtesy of the vendor (Shelsky’s of Brooklyn); Valery Rizzo (Mermaid’s Garden); Dennis Trifonov (Gourmanoff)
Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.
114 Nassau Ave., at Eckford St., Greenpoint; 718-349-0400
Adam Geringer-Dunn and fishmonger Vinny Milburn’s Brooklyn venue has an attached raw bar and restaurant, but you may find yourself so mesmerized by the ultra-fresh wild squid from Point Judith, Rhode Island, in one of the expertly stocked iced-down displays up front that you ditch your lobster-roll plans altogether. The focus is on underrated fish caught mostly in the waters between Long Island and the coast of Maine, like sustainable redfish, but there are also anchovies from Monterrey, Cape Hatteras Spanish mackerel steaks and fillets, and even off-cuts like sockeye collar.
Iliamna Fish Company
Subscribers to this community-supported fishery tend to sound like fanatics when discussing its lone offering: sashimi-grade, wild, omega-3-loaded salmon from the Kvichak district of Bristol Bay, Alaska. The sockeyes are caught by set net in early June through the end of July and are immediately bled, chilled, eviscerated, filleted, vacuum-packed, and finally chilled to minus-40 Fahrenheit. The frozen belly-on sides are shipped by steamship to a barge to a truck to a Volvo, and finally make it to New York in August. Sign-up starts at the end of April, and Iliamna typically has a longish wait list by mid-May. The cost is $198 for 12 pounds of fillets; the traditional drop for shares is the Brooklyn Kitchen, and fisherman Christopher Nicolson is planning a Manhattan pickup location for 2015.
Gabe the Fish Babe
There’s a reason why all the seafood sourced by Point Judith-based fishmonger Gabrielle Stommel have become so prized by chefs and restaurateurs like Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg, who roast Gabe’s orata on the wood-fired grill at Marco’s. Stommel buys directly from fishermen on the dock, and the company’s $99 “fish club” lands customers six pounds of fillets that are cleaned and frozen at the source. Sample drops include striper, bluefish, cod, hake, scup, monkfish, and fluke. Unlike other fish subscriptions, Gabe allows for shellfish add-ons like clams, scallops, mussels, and lobster. There are three pickup locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but the three-year-old company offers home delivery on Wednesdays for $15 and has plans to expand the convenience in 2015.
Shelsky’s of Brooklyn
141 Court St., nr. Pacific St., Cobble Hill; 718-855-8817
Peter Shelsky’s namesake shop moved from a closet-size Smith Street space to larger, airier, subway-tiled digs on Court Street this year. Now located across from the perpetually frenetic Trader Joe’s, the salmon emporium is an oasis of paper-thin kung pao and dill-cured versions. The basics—salty belly lox, hot-smoked lake sturgeon, pickled herring—are well represented; smoked or peppered Rhode Island bluefish and wild Bering cisco (a frigid-water cousin to whitefish) are available in season. In a departure from the appetizing canon, Shelsky’s also sells lobster salad.
644 Vanderbilt Ave., nr. Park Pl., Prospect Heights; 718-638-1910
Sustainable-seafood acolytes Bianca Piccillo and Mark Usewicz source a panoply of mostly East Coast fish and shellfish. In addition to live lobster by the pound, there are half-pints of lump crabmeat, sweet Woodbury littlenecks, South Carolina head-on shrimp, and wild striped bass caught off Montauk. Before you get to the pristine line-caught swordfish steaks, however, check out the refrigerated case stocked with chowder and packs of hot-smoked rainbow trout from North Carolina’s Sunburst Trout Farms. Other provisions and pantry items include flaky sea salt dried in Wellfleet, jumbo cans of wild Alaskan salmon, and tiny Louisiana dried shrimp, made by a third-generation drier based in Grand Isle.
1029 Brighton Beach Ave., nr. Oceana Ter., Brighton Beach; 718-517-2297
Past the organic leeks and curved glass cases of Technicolor macarons is probably the single most impressive assortment of caviar in the city outside of strongholds Petrossian and Caviar Russe. This includes 500-gram jars of “malossol” salmon roe, plenty of American paddlefish caviar, mini-kegs of osetra, and diminutive jars of kaluga. Elsewhere at the market are frozen Long Island sea clams, fresh rope-cultured mussels, lake trout by the chunk, vacuum-packed sushi-grade smoked eel, and a variety of hot-smoked fish, much of it sold by the slice.
Category III: Meats
Photo: Matthew Dale (Marlow & Daughters, top row, third photo); Liz Barclay (The Meat Hook, top right); Courtesy of the vendors (remaining)
Hudson & Charles
524 Hudson St., nr. 10th St.; 212-675-7075
This attractive shop’s not yet a year old, but the owners have endeared themselves to the neighborhood by embracing today’s holy trinity of butcher tenets (ethical, sustainable, grass-fed). Knowledgeable meat cutters man the counter to carve Delmonicos and vend lamb sausages alongside jars of whipped lardo and a handful of cheeses. Plus: There’s delivery, and growlers to fill with Two Roads’ Double IPA or Naked Flock Cider, among other brews.
319 E. 9th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-388-0762
Don’t venture in looking for pork: While Honest Chops embraces local sourcing, like most of its new-guard peers, it’s a halal establishment, one of the few sources in Manhattan for such meat. (Inside is a chalkboard with an “honest-to-God guarantee” promising to follow halal guidelines, and that there are no growth hormones.) In another welcome departure, the shop offers affordable prepped food, like $3 short-rib-brisket burger patties, along with chickens and bone-in New York strips.
Marlow & Daughters
95 Broadway, nr. Berry St., Williamsburg; 718-388-5700
Andrew Tarlow’s butcher shop offers the works, with more of a grocer focus than most of the other butchers on this list. You can pick up fresh greens, eggs, honey, spices, and prepped cold salads (i.e., pretty much everything you’d need for a dinner party) while you’re waiting for the butcher; if you can’t wait, grab a sandwich on Tarlow-company bakery She Wolf’s bread.
The Meat Hook
100 Frost St., nr. Leonard St., Williamsburg; 718-349-5033
If butcher shops were high-school kids, the Meat Hook would certainly be most likely to have given you your first beer (and it probably would have been a good one, but they wouldn’t have told you all about it). The cool-kid philosophy is prevalent here, but just because it’s not in-your-face with the butchery philosophy doesn’t mean the lamb and chicken aren’t conscientiously sourced—and delicious. Try the “trashy sausages,” like the buffalo chicken, with Frank’s hot sauce and blue cheese.
2141 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nr. 116th St.; 646-476-4650
Harlem Shambles was opened by two brothers in late 2011, when the ethical-butcher drill was already firmly in place downtown and in Brooklyn but hadn’t quite crossed 110th Street. The neighborhood has since come to love the quaint, spacious shop with its weathered-wood floors; long displays showcasing $21-a-pound rib eye (from Autumn’s Harvest Farm in Romulus, New York) and chorizo (made on-site with pork from upstate’s Meili Farms); and grocer goods like Evan’s Harvest milk. Swing by at lunch for takeout to try the pint containers of prepared chili or the made-daily Cornish pasties.
Heritage Meat Shop
120 Essex St., nr. Rivington St.; 212-539-1111
Heritage USA founder Patrick Martins (who was the first president of Slow Food USA and wrote a book this year called The Carnivore’s Manifesto) opened this little Essex Street Market stall in 2011. All of its meats—pork, beef, and sometimes goat or other rarely seen animals—are, yes, heritage. That means the pork will be labeled with breed names that might be familiar to those who frequent the city’s farm-to-table restaurants: Duroc and Red Wattle, for example. Also of note—Benton’s bacon and to-order turkeys for Thanksgiving.
75 Ninth Ave., nr. 16th St.; 212-242-2630
Like most of the city’s butchers of the food-world future, five-year-old Dickson’s is a whole-animal (i.e., use every part of the beast) shop that proudly advertises the organic farms from which it sources, like upstate’s Wrighteous Organics, which supplies naturally raised beef. As one way to separate itself from the grass-fed pack, the Chelsea Market shop offers classes with titles like “Linked In: Sausage Making 101” and “In Depth Tour of the Steer”; at the one-day tutorials, instructors will usually give you wine and beer and enough knowledge to impress friends later at dinner.
192 Fifth Ave., nr. Berkeley Pl., Park Slope; 718-398-6666
Fleisher’s—originally founded by an erstwhile vegan-and-vegetarian couple—is a relative geezer on this list, and today its whole-animal practices (it often sells, alongside ground beef and steaks, items like tallow-made soap) may be commonplace. But when its first location opened in Kingston, New York, a decade ago, there was precious little competition. Perhaps its greatest contribution to the burgeoning field was its butcher-training course—a three-month full-time apprenticeship program (Tom Mylan of the Meat Hook is among its graduates).
Category IV: Pastry
Breads Bakery Photo: Black Paw Photo
Four & Twenty Blackbirds
439 Third Ave., at 8th St., Gowanus; 718-499-2917
Sisters Melissa and Emily Elsen were born into a pie-making clan in Hecla, South Dakota, and their salted caramel-apple number is the clear inheritor of the throne once occupied by the Little Pie Company’s sour-cream apple-walnut. In a town obsessed with all things pastry, the homey shop and its wares (salty honey pie, black-bottom-oat pie, rhubarb crumble come spring) have earned the ladies a passionate following, outposts at the Brooklyn Public Library and out in bucolic Orient, wholesale clients like Danny Meyer and Whole Foods, and lines that wrap around the block Thanksgiving week. (For whole-pie orders, call ahead.)
Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring St., nr. Thompson St.; 212-219-2773
It would be easy for Monsieur Ansel to rest on his Cronut-inventing laurels. But no: This former Daniel pastry chef never stops innovating. There’s his ice-cream s’more, speared on a willow branch and blow-torched à la minute; his piped-to-order madeleines; and his ingenious chocolate-chip-cookie shot, which molds an edible milk “glass” out of cookie batter. Even without his pastry that spawned a thousand copyCronuts, you’ll always have another reason to come back. Our eternal favorite is a menu mainstay—the DKA, or Dominique’s Kouign Amann, his take on a classic Breton sweet. It’s like a denser, caramelized muffin-shaped croissant, sublime in its simplicity.
Photo: Clockwise, from top left: Gentl & Hyers/Courtesy of Four & Twenty Blackbirds (Four & Twenty Blackbirds); Thomas Schauer (Dominique Ansel Bakery); Brian Kennedy (Breads Bakery Babka); Courtesy of the vendors (remaining)
18 E. 16th St., nr. Union Sq.; 212-633-2253
As terrific as Danish-Israeli baker Uri Scheft’s challah, baguettes, and 100 percent-rye loaves are, it’s his chocolate babka, a.k.a. krantz cake, we can’t resist. In just the year and a half since the bakery opened, this infernally good concoction larded with cultured butter, dark chocolate, and Nutella, has risen from neighborhood favorite to New York culinary icon. To his credit, Scheft runs Breads like an old-fashioned mom-and-pop shop, limiting his wholesale business so as to ensure freshness and quality control. And although he’s got his hugely popular Lehamim Bakery to look after in Tel Aviv, he’s seemingly omnipresent at his New York headquarters, as if he slept on a cot next to the oven.
Momofuku Milk Bar
Cereal Milk. Crack Pie. Compost Cookie. These words were not part of the pastry-world lexicon before Christina Tosi translated her sugar lust into trademarked creations that are now shipped around the world. To say that a cult has grown up around the brand and its unabashedly childhood-inspired treats would not be an overstatement. But behind the corn cookies, the Thanksgiving-turkey croissants, and the wildly inventive soft-serve, there’s a pop palate honed by serious training, both classic and modernist. And the wedding cakes are worth marrying for.
248 Broome St., nr. Orchard St.; 855-462-2292
Long before the current gluten-free craze, Erin McKenna taught herself how to bake as a way to reconcile her own dietary restrictions and insatiable craving for sweets. Her food sensitivities proved to be New York’s gain: In 2005, McKenna opened a cozily retro Lower East Side bakery that took vegan, gluten-free desserts out of the musty health-food aisle. It’s no cinch to turn ingredients like garbanzo-bean flour, fava-bean flour, and potato starch into moist, satisfying, not overly sweet cupcakes, fudgy brownies, and some of the best cake doughnuts around—whether vegan and gluten-free or not.
Category V: Cheese
Photo: C. Bay Milin (Saxelby Cheesemongers, middle photo); Courtesy of the vendors (remaining)
Bedford Cheese Shop
Bedford co-owner-monger Charlotte Kamin champions producers both renowned (Wisconsin’s Upland Cheese, Co.) and not-so (a father-and-son team who make mozzarella in their Brooklyn garage). Which is not to say that Kamin doesn’t carry everything in between, from Montgomery’s Cheddar to an artisanal Limburger. The swanky new Irving Place shop (spun off from the Williamsburg branch) holds regular classes and “meet the maker” events. But you can learn a lot just by browsing the 15-foot display case and having one of the well-versed staffers ply you with exquisitely pungent samples.
120 Essex St., at Delancey St.; 212-228-8204
Just as the American farmstead cheese movement was taking off, Anne Saxelby became its foremost spokeswoman, dedicating all 120 square feet of her Essex Street Market stall to primarily northeastern wheels, wedges, and tommes, many of which began appearing on local restaurants’ cheese plates soon thereafter. Besides being well-tended and perfectly ripe, Saxelby’s cheeses come with compelling backstories, most collected on the monger’s many field trips to the farms. And if there’s an exciting new American cheese in town—from the pioneering Cabot clothbound Cheddar, matured at Jasper Hill Farm, to Parish Hill Creamery’s Asiago-style Vermont Herdsman, aged in the erstwhile lagering tunnels at Crown Heights’s Crown Finish Caves—you’re likely to find it here first, along with excellent butter, milk, and yogurt.
254 Bleecker St., at Cornelia St.; 212-243-3289
Yes, Murray’s has been around for a while. In fact, it might have been Murray himself who poured milk into a carrying pouch made from a sheep’s stomach and accidentally discovered cheese. But Rob Kaufelt, who’s owned the Greenwich Village shop since the ’90s, has done more than function as the headmaster of a finishing school for smart young cheesemongers—many of whom, Anne Saxelby among them, have gone on to open their own shops. Besides continually expanding his premises and building aging facilities under the shop and in Queens, Kaufelt has gone from monger to affineur. His collaborations with producers like Vermont Creamery (the doughnut-shaped Torus wheels) and Jasper Hill Farm (the oozy, cider-washed Greensward) have become some of his best selections. With his series of classes, his “Murray’s Melts” grilled cheese sandwiches, and his cheese bar up the block, Kaufelt might be New York’s reigning dairy king.
Multiple locations, lucyswhey.com
Lucy Kazickas, home entertainer turned cheesemonger, opened her first shop in East Hampton, but has since expanded to two Manhattan locations, each with its own distinct personality. The Chelsea Market cubbyhole has a strong domestic bent and famous grilled cheese sandwiches. Uptown, the selection is wider, if just as smartly curated, with European classics at the peak of ripeness displayed among the Wisconsin Goudas and Iowa Cheddars. There’s also plenty of cured meats, specialty foods, and a space next door that morphs from morning café to evening wine bar, serving cheese plates, mac-and-cheese, and more.
Category VI: Produce
Photo: Left to right: Diana Liao (Just Food); courtesy of the vendor; Roxanne Behr/New York Magazine (Brooklyn Grange Farm);
Locations at justfood.org
Twenty years ago, in the early days of community-supported agriculture (CSA), members who bought “shares” in a farm would need to travel great distances—or at least crosstown—to collect their weekly harvest box. Nowadays, nearly every neighborhood has its own pickup spot, and growers like Norwich Meadows Farm and Sang Lee Farms supply several. If you’re besotted with a particular farm, you can seek out its CSA. But in general, convenience trumps all. Find a program near you at justfood.org, which links eaters to farms.
Locations at grownyc.org
It’s a given, by now, that Greenmarket is New York’s preeminent source of local, seasonal produce. We’ll also posit that Union Square is the citywide network’s premier location and Wednesday the best day to visit. Besides having an all-star farm lineup similar to Saturday’s (Mountain Sweet Berry, Keith’s, Eckerton Hill, Berried Treasures, Windfall, Cherry Lane, Paffenroth Gardens), it’s got additional heavy hitters like Bodhitree and Blue Moon Fish—and half the crowd.
There is something subversive about urban agriculture, as if nature were creeping in through cracks in the concrete, greening the perpetual gray. This is especially true of rooftops farms like Greenpoint’s Eagle Street Rooftop Farm and Brooklyn Grange, with locations in Long Island City and at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. They sell most of their harvest to city restaurants, but welcome the public, too, at weekly farmstands during the growing season. It’s hard to get more locavore than that.
Category VII: Generalists
Photo: Cassandra Rose Tannenbaum/New York Magazine (Court Street Grocers, top left); Courtesy of the vendors (remaining)
Court Street Grocers
485 Court St., nr. Nelson St., Carroll Gardens; 718-722-7229
Just crossing the threshold of Matt Ross and Eric Finkelstein’s Carroll Gardens shop can lift a nostalgist’s spirits. Is that an entire shelf devoted to Quisp cereal over there? And who knew you could get (Cleveland) Stadium Mustard outside of Cleveland? Or Micucci Grocery puttanesca sauce outside of Portland, Maine? In short, you won’t find a better collection of oddball regional-American and certified-gourmet pantry items anywhere. Still, this isn’t quirk for quirk’s sake. Finkelstein and Ross have finely honed palates, and nothing we’ve ever purchased here, from Grandma Utz’s lard-fried kettle chips to Baker Mills’ Kodiak Cakes, has disappointed. Another feather in their caps: They always seem to get the best new stuff first. A recent browse turned up Dogfish Head clam chowder, Mother in Law’s Kimchi’s new line of gochuajang, and Sun Ramen’s new quasi-instant fresh-ramen kits.
602 Vanderbilt Ave., nr. St. Marks Ave., Prospect Heights; 347-915-1196
Ilene Rosen, chef-partner at the neighboring 606 R&D, imbues this general-store offshoot with a personalized sense of whimsy that’s often lacking in today’s pickle-and-jerky emporiums. Rosen has a soft spot for Brooklyn old and new, hence the juxtaposition of Gold’s horseradish shares shelf space with Brooklyn Delhi’s Indian pickle, but beyond condiments (the bread and butter of the new Brooklyn market), there’s penny candy and fresh cake doughnuts, Iowa-made speck and Rancho Gordo beans. Prepared foods excel, too, as you’d expect from the former force behind City Bakery’s stellar salad bar.
200 Fifth Ave., at 23rd St.; 212-229-2560
Eataly picks up where the late, great Balducci’s left off. Shopping here is shockingly fun. Where else, after all, can you roam the aisles with a glass of Barbera in hand? Every one of its departments (meat, fish, cheese, bread, produce, etc.) is better than it needs to be and could easily make it in the retail-foods world as its own shop. And the ancillary stuff—the dairy and pantry items, especially the fresh pastas and the dried ones from the Campanian town of Gragnano—is top-notch. That the wait for a table at the on-premise restaurants is usually longer than the checkout line is a testament to the fact that they’re terrific, too.
The Brooklyn Kitchen
100 Frost St., at Meeker Ave., Williamsburg; 718-389-2982
What began as a modest kitchenware store has become a destination for all the necessities of 21st-century culinary life: seasonal produce, DIY kimchee kits, non-GMO citric acid. The classes, events, and competitions foster a kind of festive, small-town community vibe. Thanks to the ever-popular knife-skills tutorial alone, we’d wager that New York’s amateur cooks are among the most confident and successful in the nation. Or at least they chop, dice, and mince vegetables more uniformly than anywhere else.
228 Flatbush Ave., nr. Bergen St., Park Slope; 718-783-1250
Outside of its chief attractions (impeccable cheeses; destination sandwiches and prepared foods), the gourmet-grocery little sister of Franny’s and Marco’s casts a wide if discriminating net for its pantry staples. Good oil and vinegar are a given, but cocktail-hour-ready fried fava nuts? Dried pastas are well represented, but not to the exclusion of grits from a Georgia grist mill. There’s Brooklyn-rooftop honey, fancy Danish licorice, and real buffalo mozzarella. New to the roster: Bark relishes, made by the upscale-hot-dog joint around the corner.
Good Eggs is a web retailer that combines the convenience of online shopping with the local and seasonal charms of the Greenmarket. To simplify life further, it culls its inventory directly from farms and some of the city’s best bakers, butchers, fishmongers, and coffee roasters. What this means is that you can point-and-click your way to irreproachable regional produce, sourced largely between Pennsylvania and Vermont, plus miscellanea like Bushwick switchel, Hudson Valley leaf lard, and dog food from Dickson’s Farmstand Meats. For now, though, Brooklyn’s the only borough where the service offers delivery and has pickup locations.
Category VIII: Super-Specialists
La Boîte's Lior Sercarz Photo: Thomas Schauer
Olive Oil: O Live
60 Broadway, nr. Wythe Ave., Williamsburg; 718-384-0304
Olive oil can seem like an impenetrable food: How to know what’s good? What’s worth spending money on? What’s the best budget brand? If it feels that way to you, sign up for a short Olive Oil 101 class at O Live. You’ll go home with a bottle, having tasted several other oils, and you’ll have learned a little about the business. In the shop, fill bottles with oils like the super-aggressive Chilean Koroneiki from spigoted fusti ($35 for a 750-ml. bottle). There are also balsamic vinegars and the Spice Lab’s salts and peppers.
Salt: The Meadow
523 Hudson St., nr. 10th St. 212-645-4633
This narrow outpost of a Portland favorite opened in 2010—before that, where did one get lemon-flake sea salt of this quality? There are plenty of varieties to try at the store—from El Salvador, Italy, and Japan, plus Himalayan salt blocks—and shop clerks who can teach you to use them. In the back is the city’s best selection of cocktail bitters (including hard-to-finds like Miracle Mile Toasted Pecan bitters); the chocolate choices aren’t bad either.
Photo: Thomas Schauer (La Boîte, top right); Courtesy of the vendors (remaining)
Spices: La Boîte
724 11th Ave., at 51st St.; 212-247-4407
Pricey it may be, but the quality of the spice blends (from chef Lior Lev Sercarz) is unparalleled. The packaging is gorgeous and detailed—not the plastic bags of Kalustyan’s and Dual Specialty—so the numbered spice jars make great gifts for home cooks and come in blends like No. 28, the Vadouvan ($15 for two ounces), with fenugreek, cumin, and onion, and O.M.G., with onion, mustard, and garlic. Also for sale are artist-designed tins of French biscuits.
Pickles: Brooklyn Brine
574 President St., nr. Fourth Ave., Gowanus; 347-223-4345
The brown-label pickle jars produced here could almost be called ubiquitous at the finer food shops in the city—though at Whole Foods or Murray’s you’ll typically find only one or two varieties, like the Whiskey Sour pickles (in a brine that uses Finger Lakes Distilling’s McKenzie rye). The brinery offers a chance to try out the less frequently seen jars: Herbed Cauliflower, for example, or Spicy Maple Bourbon Bread & Butter.
145 Orchard St., nr. Rivington St.; 212-253-0895
Philhellenes will be overwhelmed by the selection of imported mastiha (or mastic) products on offer here. Mastiha is resin from the mastic tree with a barklike flavor. It’s frequently used in gum that you’ll find all over Astoria
but is also believed to have medicinal qualities. In addition to gum and raw resin, the shop sells mastiha waters, olive oil with mastiha, and mastiha-sour-cherry taffy.
Additional reporting by Concepcion de Leon, Katy Schneider, and Cassandra Rose Tannenbaum.
*This article appears in the November 10, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.
Filed Under: new york cooking, arcade bakery, babycakes, baked goods, bedford cheese shop, bien cuit, bklyn larder, black seed bagels, breads, breads bakery, brooklyn brine, cheese, court street grocers, csas, dicksons farmstand, dominique ansel bakery, eataly, fleishers, food specialists, four and twenty blackbirds, gabe the fish babe, good eggs, gourmanoff, greenmarket, greenpoint fish and lobster co, grocers, harlem shambles, heritage meat shop, honest chops, hudson and charles, iliamna fish company, la boite, lucys whey, maison kayser, marlow and daughters, mastihashop, meats, mermaids garden, momofuku milk bar, murrays cheese, o live, pastry, produce, randd foods, rooftop farms, runner and stone, saraghina bakery, saxelby cheesemongers, seafood, shelskys of brooklyn, sullivan st bakery, the brooklyn kitchen, the meadow, the meat hook
Last week, Umami Burger (432 Sixth Avenue) unveiled one of the most vile-sounding seasonal specials we've encountered in this business. That would be the "Pumpkin Spice Latte Burger": a beef patty...Continue reading "Is Umami Burger's 'Pumpkin Spice Latte Burger' as Vile as It Sounds?" >
While other food-industry suckers out there keep paring menus down dozens of items by dozens of items, Pizza Hut is churning full-speed ahead in the complete opposite direction. Today the chain unveiled an "unprecedented" plan for a total revamp at all 6,300 locations that includes, as this might suggest, new stuff, and particularly a lot more of it.
Beginning November 19, you can order 16 new artisan-ish pizzas (here's the full list). These dream pizzas will feature a variety of ten new crusts that include honey sriracha, a "skinny" line, and a Little Caesar's pretzel copycat. There are six sauces, including honey sriracha; five new toppings that are mostly peppers and meats that are Italian in origin; and there are also four finishing drizzles, with — you guessed it — honey sriracha.
If this weren't enough, the chain is also jettisoning the roof logo for one that's a circular sauce swirl, relaxing the look of its company uniforms, and dressing up old toppings with silver-dollar adjectives like "Mediterranean black olives," "fresh red onion," "slow-cooked ham," and "Peruvian cherry peppers," even though, as the Associated Press points out, the ingredients themselves "are the same." If you add these to older menu item carryovers and do the math like chief marketing officer Carrie Walsh did, this comes to a mind-numbing "over 2 billion combinations of pizzas that [customers will] be able to access." Let's just hope that the extravagant age of honey sriracha, barbecue sauce, and balsamic sauce drizzles doesn't come at the expense of a plain cheese pie.
Read more posts by Clint Rainey
Gaming Heads' last statue of Loftwing Link was a little lacking in the face department, but at least with their new Mass Effect 3 Tali piece, that won't be an issue. The newest 1/4-scale statue in Gaming Heads' series features the Quarian we all know and love (for some, that was literally the case in their playthroughs) in a full 19 inches of polystone, with a pistol in hand. She's also available in an exclusive version that swaps the Arc Pistol for a Scorpion Pistol.
Exhibitors at Comic Arts Brooklyn this weekend were kind enough to send me listings of their books—as usual there is something for everyone. I received so many listing I’m dividing this into two parts. Many thanks to the creators who took the time to send me news of their work. It looks to be a very exciting show. Enjoy!
Ley Lines: “Unholy Shapes”
by Matt Seneca
DEATH COMIX presents three new horror stories by Matt Seneca, plus a scattering of choice extras. On these pages the color-seared seances of psychedelic horror movie maestros Mario Bava and Dario Argento meet the disturbing banality of modern “torture porn” flicks and the fantastic visions of extremity chased down by manga master Suehiro Maruo. Through a storm of nuclear fallout both physical and psychological, readers are given three different views into an apocalyptic world where serial murder, domestic violence, and the abuse of power are not just constant, but the only things left happening at all. And if you squint, you can discern the real horror: that the world of this comic bears more than a few similarities to our own. 56 pages | Full color | $7
SEEDS #1-5 Collected Print Set
The Understanding Monster – Book Two
Continuing where Book One left off, The Understanding Monster – Book Two follows Pharoah Tellitome, Inspector Gimble, Turtletree, Master Sponko and Minnow on their collective quest to awaken Izadore and re-establish his identity and memory. Constructed with the same lush, intricate visuals as the first volume, the story returns readers to the world of time crystals, “home bodies,” afterlife quests, thought projection resurrection and the ever-majestic Toy Mountain. The Understanding Monster – Book Two delves even deeper into the nature of creativity and imagination, and the tenuous relationship between reality and the subconscious.
Harris Smith (editor) Adria Mercuri (cover) Laura Callaghan, Pete Toms, Victor Kerlow, Paul Arscott, Laurie Pina, Amy Searles, Josh Burggraf, Anthony Meloro, Zach Mason, Jason Murphy, G.W. Duncanson, Ken Johnson, Gregory Kirkorian (artists/writers)
Jeans is a yearly anthology showcasing new narrative visions from up-and-coming graphic storytellers. Previous issues have included works by Benjamin Marra, Lale Westvind, Alex Degen, Leah Wishnia, Alabaster and other rising stars of the indie/art comics scene. Issue 3 is the first to be printed entirely in color and features exciting and innovative comics by artists from the US and UK.
Wendy is a sardonic look at the art world and its attendant creatives and creeps.
Wendy is trendy, and has dreams of art stardom — but our young urban protagonist is perpetually derailed by the temptations of punk music, drugs, alcohol, parties, and boys. Hegemonies and hearts are broken in this droll and iconoclastic look at the worlds of art and twentysomethings.
6.5 x 9 inches, 216 pages, b&w interior, colour softcover
Photos by Jes Fortner
Now and Here #3, Trial One
A man discovers the diabolical plans of a race of reptilian monsters. Handmade comic with 5-color silkscreen wraparound cover, signed & numbered edition of 20, $20. Table D9
Printed by Eyeball Comix for CAB 2014!
28 pages of risograph monsters and evil deities by Pete Sharp, Anna Haifisch, Barry Cook, Sam Bell, Russell Taysom, Takayo Akiyama, Paul Arscott, Robscenity, James Turek, Tim Ryan, Andrew Walter, Brigid Deacon, Aidan Cook, Joey Fourr and Vincent Fritz.
Tales To Behold 6
The Worst of Eerie Publications
by Mike Howell
The Eerie Publications line of horror comics pushed the envelope like no other! Publisher Myron Fass and Editor Carl Burgos (creator of The Human Torch) gleefully stole the pocket change from kids in the 60s and 70s with these over the top monstrosities. The 21 tales within The Worst of Eerie Publications are designed to trouble you, to unnerve you and they just very well might make you queasy.
Shunned by “serious” collectors for years, these low brow terrors have generated much interest in recent years. Comic fans have come to realize that despite the cheap, pulpy paper that they were printed on, the Eerie Pubs contained work by many wonderful artists with many different styles and visions.
With stories pilfered from the banned Pre-Code horror comics of the 50s, these magazines were a treasure trove of alluring artwork by talented draftsmen like Dick Ayers and Chic Stone who never got their due. The stories chosen for this deluxe edition have been meticulously remastered for your appreciation or should we say disgust?
Each contributor is given 6 to 9 pages to work with. Anthologies—in my view—suffer from short unfocused contributions. A 50 page anthology full of one page strips often never rises above being a sampler. Our format allows for the reader to enter any artist’s world and stay there for a solid amount of time. As with issue #1, this anthology features 3 artists with radically different approaches—the reader is allowed to move from one aesthetic to another, with just enough time in each to feel and think.
by Marlene Frontera
Published by Sonatina Comics
Available at DOMINO BOOKS
Saint Francis of Assisi is one of the most celebrated religious figures in history. Known for his endless compassion toward animals and the environment, our man is an icon of divine benevolence. But all fame aside, I bet you’ve never caught him on a beach day.
Santo Shoes is a collection of over 50 images that bring new energy to the legacy of Saint Francis. From the hills of Umbria to the shores of Puerto Rico, Marlene Frontera’s imagery pulses with the same gentle spirit that the saint so graciously strove for in life.
Various artists, Alexander Rothman and Paul K. Tunis, editors
In a Succulent Universe
A riso printed zine combining succulents and space!
Molly Colleen O’Connell / poety unlimited
by A. Degen
A comic book inquiry into ‘The Philosopher’, a mysterious and possibly malevolent entity who appears at pivotal moments in human history. A narrative in two chapters: the first known appearance of the Philosopher in prehistory and the most recent first person account by Professor M.E. Rayonant.
It is the future. Civilization has crumbled from the ravages of human exploitation and war. Earth is a radioactive wasteland populated by vicious punks, insane mutants, bloodthirsty cults and corporate mercenaries. The Zone Tripper must navigate this terrain on his courier mission to The Hills, the last bastion of civilization in a brutal post-apocalyptic world.
It's getting increasingly difficult to tell real Oreos from the fake ones these days. Sherbet and candy cane are genuine; red velvet and fried chicken, not so much. There's an active Oreo fan community that loves making mock-up packaging for unreal Oreos, and compounding the problem of sussing out the truth is Mondelez International's habit of changing the conversation to its miniatures line, or just issuing blanket denials, like how Tom Cruise's spy bosses in Mission Impossible disavow any knowledge of his existence whenever he blows up the wrong people. Anyhow, all of that is to say that soft Oreo churros are real.
J&J Snack Foods, makers of everything from food-service funnel cakes to giant lumps of sugar-free cookie dough. The Oreo churro, produced with the blessings of the famous cookie's corporate honchos, is actually three churros — regular, "double twisted," and bite-size. Shipments are already headed out, apparently, anywhere your standard jalapeño-ranch-topped soft pretzels are served, meaning, stadiums, fast-casual restaurants, and other institutional settings, such as particularly festive DMV offices. Best of all, the manufacturer notes they can be served with a "cookie creme dip," conveniently made by the same folks. Here are some spotted in the wild:
Oreo Churros. Available now. pic.twitter.com/BJ4mqWxm3h— Karl Kuehling (@karlk_jjsnack) November 5, 2014
The Oreo churro is a lot smaller than regular churros. Taste wise it's okay, nothing spectacular. pic.twitter.com/AZFV4Nw1NO— Inside Universal (@insideuniversal) October 18, 2014
Churro/cookie people: Send any reports our way.
Read more posts by Hugh Merwin
The Batman-themed burger swooped dramatically into McDonald's Hong Kong locations a few months back, and now the chain has a Superman sandwich. In the Man of Steel's tribute meal, you'll find a Honey Mustard Chicken sandwich, which proudly touts its "slice of processed cheese," as well as bacon and a double dousing of sauce. Instead of fries, there's side of potato croquettes. A bright blue Bubblegum McFloat with whip rounds it all out.
Up, up, and away. Photo: McDonald's
Two boxes bring the Man of Steel to life with either his debonair spit curl or a foldout chest shield:
While Bats and Superman work out their differences through trans-fats and calorie counts, just remember that Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern are also getting their own meals soon, too, in the upcoming months.
Read more posts by Clint Rainey
Most postelection coverage has focused on how Republicans drubbed Democrats in the battle for Congress, but there was another resounding victory on Tuesday worth noting, and it wasn't a partisan one. Universal background checks for gun buyers became law in Washington state, the first such measure to be passed by popular vote in any state in recent memory.
And popular it was, supported by 60 percent of voters. They agreed that buying weapons at gun shows or on the internet should no longer be possible without basic regulations. "Our goal has never been about finding a single solution that will end gun violence once and for all," said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray after Initiative 594 passed. "Instead, our goal has been to enact a sound system of commonsense rules that can, by working in concert, make an enormous difference." Murray noted that states with expanded background checks—now 18 of them, plus Washington, DC—have fewer women killed in domestic-violence situations, fewer law enforcement officers shot, and fewer suicides with firearms. The editors of the Seattle Times said the wide margin of victory showed that "voters feel the grim, relentless toll of gun violence."
It was fresh on their minds. Public gun rampages—which tend to draw outsized media attention—have been on the rise the last several years, with the latest taking place at a Seattle-area high school on October 24. Three victims died, two others were gravely injured, and the perpetrator shot himself to death, as so many of them do. Local polling right at that time appeared to show an increase in support (which had already been strong) for I-594. The last time a similar measure was passed by popular vote was in Colorado in 2000, in the wake of the Columbine mass shooting. (It's worth noting that the hardcore gun lobby's opposition in Colorado back then included the same strain of Nazi rhetoric that was trotted out in Washington state this time.)
Washington state's vote was the clearest electoral test yet beyond Congress for the gun reform movement that rose out of the devastation at Sandy Hook Elementary School two years ago. Everytown for Gun Safety, backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, and Americans for Responsible Solutions, founded by former congresswoman and mass shooting survivor Gabrielle Giffords, both devoted major funds and other strategic assets to the fight. The primary stated goal of these groups is to function as a formidable counterweight to the National Rifle Association and its political influence; if the passage of I-594 (as well as the defeat of a counter initiative) is any indication, they've gained some serious momentum in their less than 24 months of existence. Everytown now has 2.5 million supporters, according to the organization's former executive director Mark Glaze. "The movement now has plenty of money and plenty of talent, and that's a big difference from just a few years ago," Glaze told me on Wednesday. "As the NRA will tell you, intensity trumps money much of the time. In this case they lost on both counts."
The NRA and its allies also spent millions on the fight—and feared the outcome they now face. "We are very concerned that [Bloomberg's group] will replicate this and we will have ballot initiatives like this one across the country," a NRA spokesperson told the Olympian just prior to the vote.
The gun lobby has long tapped allies in statehouses to block firearms regulations, but the Washington experience may have just revealed a potent threat to that modus operandi. Next up? Glaze says Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Maine are strong prospects. Ballot initiatives tend to be expensive (and aren't allowed in all states), but expanded background checks look to be a solid bet, consistently drawing overwhelming support in national polls. Circumventing state legislators may not be the easiest route, notes Glaze, "but when a majority of people want something badly enough, they can still get it."
Starbucks will restore its eggnog drink to its rightful place in the holiday menu after nixing it a month ago and having customers freak out. Gingerbread and pumpkin spice lattes may hog all the press these days, but the nutmeg-y, eggy version has been around 28 years and apparently fans weren't ready to let it go. "The eggnog latte was the only thing keeping me from beating people during the holidays. Please bring it back," one wrote on Twitter. Another reported she was "seriously heartbroken" over the demise of the festive latte. "You just lost a lost of customers," posted yet another. A petition angling for the drink's return went on to garner more than 2,500 signatures and plenty of Facebook animosity, including a bunch of threats and predictions that the chain's new chestnut praline latte will never "take off like eggnog."
Apparently, not all.@Starbucks are getting the eggnog latte this year. That plan better change ASAP.— MoreThanMindless (@morethnmindless) October 9, 2014
@Starbucks The eggnog latte was the only thing keeping me from beating people during the holidays. Please bring it back.— Roni Hotka (@RoniHotka) November 5, 2014
@Starbucks no eggnog latte in California this season??? You just lost a lot of customers.— Allan Smith (@_allansmith_) November 5, 2014
Would kill for a chai eggnog latte right now 😛👌— Ri (@RheeaDufault) November 5, 2014
Because of the strong stances like the ones above, the chain now says it is "very sorry" for what it did and is now apologizing for its "mistake." It'll be back everywhere by November 17, the chain says, just five days after the chestnut drink goes wide. Hopefully, America has room for both.
Read more posts by Hugh Merwin
YAY IT IS OPEN!
The Red Hook favorite is adding some new menu items at this location, including house-baked bread. Plus everything's at a discount right now.
The popular Red Hook bakery Baked is soft opening its first Manhattan outpost today in Tribeca. The space features a cake pole (think stripper pole, but with cakes attached to it) that's a nod to the space's history as a burlesque club. All of Baked's classics, like the salty brownies, cupcakes, and pies will be available at this location, plus some new store specific items like a savory menu of sandwiches on house-made bread and toasts topped with a choice of spreads like zucchini butter, nut butters, or ricotta. Whole loaves of bread will also be available for sale once the shop settles in. Everything's 25 percent off today during the "test drive."
For the first time in probably forever, Katz's Delicatessen will sell a limited-edition sandwich, and it's a doozy: The Roast Beast is made with roast beef, turkey breast, and the Lower East Side institution's famous soft salami, as well as some house coleslaw and plenty of Russian dressing. It's on rye, or course, and will be sold from November 17 to December 28. The sandwich is slightly more mammoth in real life, and if the picture doesn't make it clear, it's got a real Seussian thing going on.
Katz's, of course, does not normally serve sandwiches piled with meat. Its hardworking slicers do not dabble in the precarious mountains of cold cuts spaced out with slices of rye as they were served at the lamented Stage Deli. This one happens to be a festive tie-in with Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, which is playing the at Theater at Madison Square Garden from December 5 to December 28. It costs $22 plus tax, and no holiday cheer at all is needed to enjoy it.
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This will be a mashup of the two existing ChikaLicious shops, selling cupcakes, imitation Cronuts, and fancy dessert tasting menus.
The newest sugar-dusted outpost of Dessert Club by ChikaLicious, from baker and owner Chika Tillman, will open next Saturday in the old Cafe Henri space in the West Village. The bakery is a mashup of Chika and husband Don's two East Village sweet shops, Dessert Bar and Dessert Club: part dessert tasting counter and part to-go shop. At the 12 seat counter, guests can order a la carte or a three dessert tasting menu. There are some new sweets to choose from including which chocolate mousse on kiwi marinated in lavender with poppy seed puff and steamed pudding cake with shredded apple and vanilla. Towards the back, there will be a takeout counter with ChikaLicious classics like cupcakes, the cookie eclaire, and the imitation Cronuts known as Dough'Ssants, plus newcomers like the Chika chan, a custard with apple sorbet and frosted pecans. The location is intended to be the model for the company's U.S. expansion plans. Dessert Club by Chikalicious, 27 Bedford Street, West Village
Now that Dunkin' Donuts has gone wide with its fake Cronuts — "Come back at 2 a.m. when we get ten delivered," we were told earlier this week at a Brooklyn store — at $2.49 a pop, Red Robin has seized the moment and introduced its own version, which come in the form of eight pastry things pre-threaded on a metal spoke, which also holds a cup of fudge and some berry dipping sauce.
How convenient. Photo: Red Robin
"Doh! Why didn't we think of it before?" they write, and if it all seems a little precarious, it is. Like Dunkin' and Jack in the Box before them, the chain goes out of its way to not give their hybrid fried pastry a portmanteau name that might end up in a lawsuit. Maybe they shouldn't have gone with a "Doh!" though: We all know Homer Simpson loves doughnuts, and owner 20th Century Fox sued a brewer over Duff beer, after all.
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While other chains are bending over backwards to make their fake Cronuts stand out in a marketplace saturated with knockoffs, Baskin-Robbins has done a real bang-up job with its new, splotchy ice cream. The real innovation is that the different colors in the scoops are separate flavors, namely chocolate, "cake," and salted caramel.
Granted, that may not be as cool as the ice cream that changes color when you lick it, and your cone will certainly be difficult to find if you're out hunting and you drop it in the forest, but still: Even the waffle cones have gotten the camo treatment, and the chain is donating a dime to the U.S.O. for each scoop sold on Veterans Day, November 11.
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While an effort to tax sugary beverages like cola and energy drinks failed for two cents per ounce at the polls yesterday in San Francisco, Berkeley residents approved their city's penny-per-ounce tax with 75 percent of the vote, effectively making it the country's first soda "sin" tax. A majority of San Francisco voters were in favor of Proposition E, which required 66.7 percent of the vote to pass but got only 54.5. Berkeley's Measure D, on the other hand, which officials had referred to as their "Waterloo," will now go into effect January 1; everything from sweet teas to jumbo energy drinks to pumpkin-spice-syrup-flavored lattes will rise in cost as much as 10 percent.
Obviously, groups representing the interests of soda manufacturers are not happy about this. It's been estimated that American Beverage Association spent $2.4 million in Berkeley and $9.1 million in San Francisco to defeat the legislation. In recent months, the cities became something of a municipal battle ground, with "Berkeley vs. Big Soda" yard signs and pro-soda billboards going up all over the place. Authorities in San Francisco estimated that the proposed law would have generated up to $54 million a year and decreased consumption by up to 31 percent. As such, the anti-obesity measure would profoundly affect the bottom line of soda makers. Because the vote was technically a majority, it's a sure bet that San Francisco officials will be watching what happens at their neighbor's bodegas and grocery stores closely.
“Berkeley doesn’t look like mainstream America,” said Chris Gindlesperger, a spokesperson for the group representing Big Soda. “If politicians want to stake their political reputation on this, they do so at their own risk," he added, presumably before twirling his cape and evaporating into a fine trail of Sierra Mist.
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Tokyo's fans of pervasive cuteness will soon be able to coo at the feline-ness of every dish on the menu at a Parco department store pop-up called, quite logically, Hello Kitty Cafe. Marking a monthlong tribute to the character's 40th anniversary, the spot will use the character's (honestly) very convenient visage — more or less a circle with three dots and some swipes for whiskers — for crustless sandwiches, bento boxes, mousses, the obligatory latte art, even a pie with raspberries functioning pretty well for the hair bow.
There are turkey sandwiches with a boot of something pink:
Even the damn carrots. Photo: Parco
A roster of espresso drinks:
And various cake pops:
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Turkey, cranberry sauce, and gravy, all wrapped up in a neat package of celery salt croissant dough.
Momofuku Milk Bar's most genius hybrid pastry ever, the Thanksgiving croissant, is cooling on bakery counters right this very minute. The flakey celery salt dough wrapped around dark and light meat, cranberry sauce and gravy typically debuts on November 1, so this is like Christmas come early in the world of holiday-themed foods. It's here just in time for that cold snap we're about to get, so grab one, or two, or three if you're already stretching your stomach for Thanksgiving dinner, and say a word of thanks. The pastries will disappear at the end of November.