It was only a matter of time before the Department of Health shuttered the doors of Di Fara. I noted the disgusting conditions a few weeks ago when I had the unfortunate opportunity of seeing what goes on behind the counter. If you’re unfamiliar with Di Fara, it’s often hailed as having the city’s best pizza, and made by the legendary Dom DeMarco.
For similar reasons (inadequate personal cleanliness, evidence of mice, filth flies, dirty kitchen, etc.) they were also closed in 2007. Di Fara responded on Facebook by stating that the closure was due to “personal matters” and there was a glitch in the “paperwork bureaucracy” of the DOH’s grading system. It’s incredibly entertaining to see how devoted and willfully ignorant the fans are.
And yes, I told you so.
Di Fara (site) ★★★☆☆
1424 Ave J
Brooklyn, NY 11230
The McRib is a sandwich that’s released almost every other year, and is available at McDonalds for a short period of time. In addition to a cult-like following, it has 70 ingredients (34 in just the bread), contains no rib meat, and made of a chemical used in yoga mats and shoe soles. Yum.
I just discovered that a co-worker is behind the very entertaining McRib Twitter account. I’ll start using my own twitter once I figure out how it works…
Not too long ago, I came across a new app for the iPhone and for Android devices that would bring small businesses and consumers a little closer. If you’ve ever carried a loyalty card in your wallet, keep on reading. Perka plans to eliminate the need for stuffing your wallet with easily-lost punch cards by replacing that system with a simple app. Merchants can give virtual stamps to customers for purchases, and loyal customers are rewarded for collecting enough stamps. It’s a neat concept that’s a win-win for consumers and small business owners. Loyal customers won’t go unrecognized (free items are always a plus), and local businesses can attract repeat-customers who are influenced by game mechanics. This Portland-based start-up has been quite slow to roll out, but are adding partners based on suggestions every day. Their first NYC partner was Dora Cafe, owned by a friend of mine. I’ve already downloaded the app, which is free and am hoping to eventually toss out all of these cards…
The New York Times’ blog reports that Ray’s Pizza, will be closing for good this weekend. I don’t mean the chain pizzeria that falsely brands itself as the Original Ray’s (I wish they would close instead). This Ray’s on 27 Prince Street, right in the heart of Little Italy, is the actual original pizzeria. Of course, authenticity means nothing unless the pizza is good. I reviewed them a few weeks ago and had a fantastic slice. The Times sat down with Helen Mistretta, the 79-year old owner and cousin of founder Ralph Cuomo, who cited high rent as a reason for being unable to continue running the business. It’s a shame since their pizza is so much better than the imposter’s. This will most likely be your last opportunity to try a slice of the real Ray’s Pizza, so be sure to grab a slice before it’s gone forever this weekend. There are usually no lines, but I suspect that loyal fans like myself will be there to say goodbye.
Ray’s Pizza ★★★★★
27 Prince St (between Elizabeth St & Mott St) map
New York, NY 10012
Neighborhood: Little Italy
Grub Street, the food news branch of NY Magazine, sponsored the Hester Street Fair on October 23rd. Usually the fair (which I frequent on weekends) is limited in size to about 10 vendors. Grub Street took it a step further and had well over 50 restaurants, trucks, and food stands set up. I met up with Andy to try as much food as I could handle. Here’s a list of what I managed.
Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale
Wechsler’s Currywurst Bratwurst
The Shaved Ice Shop
Sam Sifton, pictured on the right with some doodles, left his position as The New York Times’ food critic after two years to accept a promotion at the Times’ national desk. In his last article, “The Reviewing Life,” he discusses the highs and lows of the job. Sifton is infamous for his thoughtful and witty style of writing. He was the authority on quality, dining at the city’s finest and most popular restaurants in anonymity (or so he tried). As an amateur food reviewer, I have my own collection of stories ranging from the food to the service of a restaurant. As a professional, Sifton seems to have seen it all. He briefly talks about his favorite meals etched into his memory (one was at Masa, the most expensive restaurant in NYC). He also mentions his worst experience, at Hotel Griffou, where the “chorizo-stuffed squid…tasted of rubber and sawdust, as if it had been fashioned at a sex-toy factory.” Continue reading
For a long time, BaoHaus was on my list of places to go. This tiny hole-in-the-wall in the Lower East Side serves up Taiwanese street food, and is particularly well-known for their steamed buns. I had to take Eddie Huang‘s business off my list because he recently boarded up. This isn’t a complete loss though. Eater reports that Portland’s Andy Ricker (who won the Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest 2011) will bring his famous Vietnamese fish-sauce chicken wings to New York.