How Urban Development Shaped the Way 19th-century New Yorkers Ate

“New York City is famous for its food culture, whether it’s a $500 tasting menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant or a bodega bacon, egg, and cheese. It’s possible to find food from every corner of the world, no matter how obscure. Restaurants make, and sometimes unmake, entire neighborhoods.

This is a city that eats out. But that wasn’t always the case. Rewind just over 200 years, when New York was caught between being a Dutch colony and a city, and dining out was a rarity. As the city urbanized, how its residents ate profoundly changed.

An oyster cart, circa 1885

“Food serves as a nice medium to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of New York City history,” says Victoria Flexner, the founder of Edible History, a supper club that creates dinners themed around specific historical moments. Recently Flexner and chef Jay Reifel hosted a meal at the James Beard House that told the story of New York City’s urban development in the 19th century through how its residents dined out.

As the city became rapidly industrialized in the 19th century, a new system emerged to feed these workers: the mobile food cart.

While politicians, businessmen, and other white-collar workers went to oyster cellars and restaurants for their midday meals, lunch came to the working class. Vendors would park outside of factories and docks and, for a few pennies, would sell items like gingerbread, yams, oysters, and corn.”

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Restaurant Menu Trends: What to Expect to See on More Menus in 2019

2019 restaurant menu trends

1. CBD (Cannabidiol) — up 99%!

It was only a matter of time before cannabidiol—or CBD—made its way into the restaurant industry. The non-psychoactive derivative from the cannabis plant has helped consumers looking for relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, spasms, and other conditions without the negative side effects of some pharmaceutical drugs.

According to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) What’s Hot Culinary Survey, a barometer of U.S. food and beverage trends, 650 professional chefs—all members of the American Culinary Federation—said infusing food and drink with cannabis and CBD could create unique cuisine opportunities and potential new markets for experiential dining occasions. Of the survey’s respondents, 77 percent identified cannabis/CBD-infused drinks as the number one trend in the restaurant industry right now, and 76 percent tapped cannabis/CBD-infused food as the second most popular trend.

Data from Upserve customers revealeda 99 percent increase in CBD menu items in 2018, setting up 2019 as the year of CBD. From baked goods to CBD-infused beverages, restaurants across the country are responding to a consumer demand to chill out.

“There has been growing popularity and support around CBD, and if it makes people happier and less stressed, then why not give the public what they want?” says Nick Duckworth, owner of cafe Banter NYC. They currently only sell Dirty Lemon CBD, a packaged, CBD-infused drink, but will be expanding their CBD offerings in 2019, allowing customers “to add CBD drops to most beverages.”

View all 2019 Menu trends here.

One of West Africa’s Most Accomplished Chefs Opens an NYC Restaurant Soon

“Former Le Grand Dakar chef Pierre Thiam — who strives to be an ambassador of Africa’s culinary history — will open a Pan-African restaurant in Harlem’s Africa Center next month, where he’ll showcase his native cuisine in fast-casual format.

Teranga, which translates roughly to “hospitality” in Wolof, a language spoken in Senegal, will focus on Senegalese cuisine, as well as foods from Nigeria, Mali, the Ivory Coast, and Guinea in bowl-like formats.

The menu is molded by West African ingredients like sorghum and millet paired with dried fruits for breakfast, as well as fonio, a grain that’ll be served within salads and bowls during lunch and dinner, Thiam told the Times in August.

Vegetable and protein bowls like grilled chicken and caramelized onions over Liberian red rice will also be available, plus other vegetarian options like a sweet potato and black-eyed pea stew. Drinks range from hot and cold African coffees, teas, and juices. The menu is gluten-free; see it in full below.

The location of Thiam’s new restaurant within the cultural center makes sense, as he is a vocal advocate for Africa’s culinary history and even appeared in a 2016 episode of the late Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown in his native Senegal. The restaurant will take up a 2,000-square-foot space in the center, overlooking Central Park.”

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New NYC restaurants: Danish bakery Ole & Steen’s stateside debut, and more

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“Ole & Steen

“NYC’s Nordic offerings continue to grow beyond destinations such as the Great Northern Food Hall with the stateside debut of this 28-year-old Danish bakery. Find Danish rye breads, pastries and tarts, as well as sweet or savory porridges, open-faced sandwiches, salads and more on the all-day menu. Now open Mon.-Fri. from 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun. from 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; 873 Broadway, 929-209-1020”

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Bangladeshi Food Is a Rarity Around New York

““I love feeding people,” said Nur-E Gulshan, who began cooking as a 16-year-old newlywed in the Bangladeshi city of Bogra. “Since my kids’ friends come over, they always said: ‘Auntie, why don’t you open a restaurant? Your food is so good!’ Always, I thought they are just telling me as courtesy. Then they grew up, and they’re still telling me to do the same.”

“There is a long, often-unexplored history of Bangladeshi immigrants’ owning nominally Indian restaurants in the United States. But the food isn’t Bangladeshi, nor does it reflect the varied regional cuisines of India, one of the largest and most populous countries in the world.

Nur-E Farhana is steadfast in distinguishing her mother’s Bangladeshi food from the Indian food typically encountered in restaurants in America: “Chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, paneer,” she said with a sigh.”

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Benno, Proudly Out of Step With the Age

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“Dated was the word one friend used after going to Benno, and if you’ve eaten there, too, you’ll know why. It’s as if the past 15 years in food never happened. The menu seems to be stuck in some time between 1994, when Thomas Keller bought the French Laundry, and 2004, when he opened Per Se with a young Jonathan Benno leading the kitchen.

The restaurant will probably be a tough sell to those diners who expect all restaurants to fall on a continuum between Noma and the Salt Bae place. But I prefer it to any number of newer, self-consciously modern restaurants, some of which are so determined to be of the moment that they might as well have a time stamp. Benno is not trying to be contemporary. It’s trying to be delicious. And it is, from start to finish, almost without exception.”

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New York City Restaurants That Are Open on Christmas Day

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“Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you may be in the market for a festive meal on December 25. While plenty of kitchens will be closed so employees can take well-deserved breaks, many restaurants across New York City will be running service. From festive brunch and prix-fixe dinners to good ol’ à la carte dining, you can find the Christmas Day meal that suits your needs.

DaDong

Beijing import famous for its roast duck open for Christmas lunch and dinner with its à la carte menu, as well as three prix-fixe menus for groups of two to six guests. All three menus feature Champagne-glazed vine tomatoes and DaDong’s “SuBuNi” roast duck served with sugar, pancakes, crispy sesame buns, and special sauce.”

Read more here.