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Binghamton is a city located in the southern tier of upstate New York in the United States. It is the county seat of Broome County. The population of the City of Binghamton, according to the 2000 Census, is 47,380 (1990 Census: 53,008).
The City of Binghamton is nestled in the Southern Tier of New York, at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers. The city is at the crossroads of Interstates 81 and 88, as well as the future Interstate 86 (also known as New York State Highway 17, The Southern Tier Expressway).
-- Source: Wikipedia.com
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This building on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Caton Avenue made me stop in my tracks. The facade seemed needlessly ornate and rococo. It reminded me of the old, long, one-story buildings you see here and there in the city that used to be the homes of Child's restaurants. For a moment I thought that this address itself might have been a Child's at one point.
A little research proved that theory wrong. Just as it is today, this structure was originally chopped up into various assorted businesses. In 1944, there was a poultry and egg shop here, a florist and a place offering electrolysis. And a few offices on the second floor. But the main operation, occupying the corner space, was a store called Flora Mir.
Flora Mir sold homemade candy. It was established in 1928 in New york by two cousins, Florence and Miriam Berman. (Hence the fancy-sounding name.) It appears to have been a chain of some sort, with many stores, and had "executive offices and kitchens" in Bushwick. In 1953, Flora Mir had eight stores in Manhattan, Long Island, Staten Island and New Jersey. You could also buy Flora Mir candies at other stores. (See below for an examples of the nice tins the candies came in.) I get the idea that they were sort of the Russell Stover of their day, the kind of box of chocolates you could buy in a card shop or variety store. In the 1950s, comedian Henny Youngman was a paid spokesman for the company.
The corporation seems to have gone down in rather spectacular fashion in the late 1960s. Flora Mir went public, with shares traded, and acquired four other candy companies across the nation. However, those acquisitions apparently didn't go well. By year's end, Flora Mir was entangled in various nasty-sounding legal tangles, and went bankrupt.
Molinari is a lovely old Italian delicatessen in the North Beach section of San Francisco. It's not much different from the sort of old Italian delis you'll find in Brooklyn or some parts of lower Manhattan. You'll find much the same assortment of Italian imports. The facade and window displays are pulled off with more art, however.
It was founded in 1896 as P.G. Molinari. P.G. was an Italian immigrant who landed as a teenager in San Francisco in 1884. There he learned the trade of dried sausage making as a salume factory. The original store was at 433 Broadway, but the earthquake took care of that. The second store opened in 1913 at 373 Columbus Street and stayed there. The facilities where all the sausage are made are elsewhere in San Francisco at a big facility, but the storefront remains.
They're know for their sandwiches. One nice touch: when you order a sandwich, you have to go and pick out the loaf of bread for the sandwich yourself and hand it over to the deli man.
Here's a little ladies wear shop on Flatbush Avenue with an awful name and an awful garish awning. Not a place of great interest on the surface of it. Yet, the devil is in the details. Look up on the second floor of the small building and you find a curious stone ornament. The maritime-themed sculpture depicts two fierce-looking fish on either side of a seashell, their tails entwined around the sort of Triton that Neptune typically carried. I know from similar sculptures both here and in Europe, that those fish, despite their angry attitudes, are meant to dolphins.
So what fishy history lies in the past of 876 Flatbush Avenue?
A certificate of occupancy from the 1920s says this building had a store in the ground floor and a tea room on the second floor—where the fish insignia is. However, most City records treat this address as part of a large block that contained a variety of stores and restaurants, so it's hard to say what the specific history of the location is. I also cannot tell if this is an old building or a relatively new structure. Old photos from the 1940s show a small building with distinctive double-peaked facade—like a Swiss chalet or something—at this location. The building there today has a flat roof. It could be that he peaks were lopped off at some point, being considered to difficult to care for. Or maybe the entire older building was razed and this one put in its place.
And so, for now, the fish emblem remains a mystery. It could be, for all I know, an anonymous architectural flourish with no relation to the store within. Perhaps every other shop on Flatbush Avenue had a fighting fish. I don't know. It's these sort of things that keep one curious.
Stella Pastry and Cafe is located in the once-heavily Italian neighborhood of North Beach. It was founded in 1942. They brag they are the birthplace of the dessert Sacripantina: "a multilayered cake made with a vanilla sponge cake, zabaione (a delicate custard made with egg yolks, sweet butter, marsala and sherry wine) cream, and rum. We have a patent on the name and the unique dome shape and over the years it has become a San Francisco tradition."
While on a recent visit to The Bronx, I noticed this string of adorable, colorful, little cottages. Given their diminutive size, and that they sit on the edge of Port Morris, a former center of industry, I'm assuming they were build as workman's cottages. They reminded me of similar housing on Dennet Place in Carroll Gardens and Verandah Place in Cobble Hill.
These homes are on E. 137th Street. On one side there is an empty lot, on the other an old factory. The buildings have an interesting feature in that they all have staircases leading down to a square yards of considerable dimension. When I was there, some were filled with snow and ice. Others were filled the junk. I'm guessing the bad old days of The Bronx, back in the 1970s, these sunken cement days could have save havens for all sorts of nefarious activities.
This building at 866 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn is conducting a double life. On the bottom half, it is Golden Shoes, a going concern. The top half, though, obscured by the windows, is a reminder of the address' former life as Opera Bridal, which had "everything for the"....something. The upper sign is far more charming than the lower.
128 Montague Street is presently occupied by Vegetarian Ginger. It's one of those lovely upstair joints peculiar to this street, in which you walk up a demi-staircase to get to the restaurant, which is a half-story above the sidewalk.
But one upon a time, this corner building (at Henry Street) was the home of Chuan Yuan, which served "authentic Szechuan cuisine." Just your local Chinese restaurant, as many neighborhoods had back in the day. There was a cheese store on the lower level. Norman Mailer used to eat here when he lived in Brooklyn Heights. (A picture of the building back in the day is below, courtesy of Brooklyn Heights Blog.)
Chuan Yuan closed—along with a lot of other small businesses—in the mid-80s, when genius Montague landlords decided to jack up rents.
Welcome to The Hot Dish, a behind the scenes look at the making of the dishes of the moment.
[All photos by Nick Solares]
"When I was a kid we had a house in Sag Harbor and we would always go clamming," reminisces The Nomad Hotel's executive chef James Kent. The recent opening of provided him an "opportunity to showcase" a flavor profile he has known all his life. The Manila clams he uses are sourced from Peconic Bay, Long Island, the same waters he waded in as a child. While oysters are the de rigueur menu item at most upscale bars these days, Kent is intent on providing a "focal point" for the clam, and prepares them in three different ways: raw, baked, and in broth. The latter also provides him an opportunity to showcase the season with the use of fresh corn and heirloom tomatoes.
The foundation of the dish begins with Kent cutting what he calls "perfect corn." This requires cutting the cob one row at a time, leaving the kernels completely intact. The corn is both pickled for use as a garnish and also pureed and infused with shallots, lemongrass, clam juice and clarified tomato stock — called tomato water — to make the soup base of the dish. At service, clams are steamed in a mussel pot with the corn soup and more tomato water. The cooking vessel also becomes the serving dish as the finished clams are garnished with pickled corn, bacon, heirloom tomatoes, and toast.
Watch Kent cut perfect corn, steam clams, and garnish the dish:
BOERUM HILL —Asian-American sandwich shop Red Star opens at 176 Smith Street today. The menu sports some creative takes on classics like a miso BLT made with miso marinated slab bacon, a korean fried chicken sandwich with twice fried chicken, spicy gochujang and pickled daikon, and a roast pork sandwich with a cabbage and apple slaw and fried egg. [Eaterwire]
WILLIAMSBURG — Next Wednesday The Brooklyn Kitchen will host the New York State of Meat, a discussion about sourcing meat, with Eleven Madison Park's Daniel Humm, The Meat Hook's Tom Mylan and others. After the talk, there will be light bites from the panel participants and beer from the Brooklyn Brewery. Tickets are $20. [Eaterwire]
NEW JERSEY —Gourmet test kitchen vet Lillian Chou is hosting a 16-course "forbidden" Chinese feast for 20 people at Ian Knauer's Farm Cooking School in New Jersey on August 15. Chou will use ingredients she's picked up traveling throughout China and brought with her in a suitcase. Tickets are $150 and include tea pairings throughout, though wine is BYOB. [Eaterwire]
RESY WIRE — Nick Kokonas's reservations and ticketing system, where diners pay for their meal, or a portion of it, up front is growing. San Francisco's Coi is the newest user, and by September five of the San Pelligrino World's 50 Best Restaurants will be using the system. But, is it good for restaurants or diners? Ryan Sutton breaks it down. [~EN~] [Photo]
[Kat O'dell] 1) Alphabet City:Nick Morgenstern'stransformation of Goat Town into GG's is underway at 511 E. 5th St. The revamped space is slated to open in September with Bobby Hellen, formerly of Resto and The Cannibal helming the kitchen and Emily Schumacher of Jack's Wife Freda running service. Here's a view from the garden out back. [PLYWOOD]
2) East Village: Yonekichi, a restaurant serving exclusively rice burgers, will take over the hole in the wall space at 236 E. 9th St. as old resident Otafuku moves a few storefronts west. Both places are owned by Japanese food ambassador Bon Yagi who also operates Soba-Ya, Robataya, and Cha-An. Yonekichi is expected to open sometime next month, says EV Grieve. [EV Grieve]
3) West Village: Prime 135 will fill the long vacant Tanti Baci space on the corner 7th Ave South and West 10th St. The 40-seat restaurant is currently looking for staff and plans to open mid-August. A representative tells Eater that the food will be "Italian American fusion" with some Spanish influences showing up on a weekend brunch menu. [PLYWOOD]
4) Chelsea: According to a sign posted on the building's 20th St. side, it looks like Steve Martinek's new clubstaurant in the Chateau Cherbuliez space will be called The Prescott. The name comes from an Anglo-Saxon word that means priest's cottage. Expect it to open behind the doors of a confessional in the fall. [PLYWOOD]
5) East Village: Red and Gold Crab Shack signage is up at the former Japadog space at 30 Saint Marks Pl., reports EV Grieve. So far, there are no more details available. [EV Grieve]
7) Upper East Side: Neighborhood Italian mainstay Petaluma is being re-launched with a new menu by The Line Group, which also operates Sons of Essex, and The Raven. The space will have seating for 33 in its outdoor café and a 70 person private dining room. [PLYWOOD]
8) Bed Stuy: A French bistro is coming to the corner of Malcolm X Blvd. and Hancock St. The restaurant is slated to open in two months, reports Brownstoner. [Brownstoner]
Take a look around Ilan Hall's homage to hipsterdom, The Gorbals, which opened Tuesday in Urban Outfitters' new Williamsburg concept store Space Ninety 8. The restaurant, which is just above the menswear department, is lit with a large skylight; the floors are lined with weathered wood, and the tables appear to be made from finished plywood. The open concept kitchen has a large wood-burning oven and a multicolored tile finish that adds a pop of color to the room.
The menu is divided into field, coop, stream, and barn categories that include Hall's much touted bacon-wrapped matzo balls, along with the long promised schnitzel with talons, and Banh mi poutine made with "thrice-cooked" French fries. Hall has also added the humorously named "Jewish lunchbox" of fried barley, poached egg, gefilte fish cake, and dill kimchi to the menu. For dessert there are brownies served with candied onion, and warm cherries with fennel seed ricotta and olive oil. The restaurant will also be operating a rooftop bar, which sports intimate tents and wooden stump stools.
Master sommelier and restaurateur Laura Maniec's newest outpost of Corkbuzz opens tonight on the 15th st. side of Chelsea Market. The warm, modern space is lined with wood, hand painted tiles and exposed brick, and is meant to evoke a European plaza. Seating in the narrow space is available on a set of large wooden stairs dotted with small cushions, which will also double as a place for lectures on wine led by Maniec. The menu is a collaboration with Maniec's friend chef Missy Robbins, who left A Voce this spring. The acclaimed chef is temporarily helping out with Corkbuzz, before she begins work on her own project.
Dishes include stellar gougères, plus marinated white anchovies served with buttered rolls; veal tartare with lardo, caraway seeds and mustard; and cannoli filled eclairs for dessert. There will also be snacks and sandwiches to go for those who want to wander along The Highline. Maniec's wine menu is 150 bottles deep and she will bring her Champagne Campaign (half off bottles of champagne from 4-5 p.m. and after 10 p.m.) over to the new location. She's also gotten some top sommeliers to recommend their favorite wines — the picks are marked on the menu with their initials.
After a two week revamp, Gabe Stulman's Chez Sardine is reopening today as Bar Sardine. Besides the name and address, the two places don't have all that much in common. Chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly has ditched the unconventional Japanese Izakaya menu for something more like a "neighborhood bar." Instead of breakfast pancakes with fish tartare, now the menu includes bar snacks like smoked bird rillettes, deviled eggs with soy and black garlic, burrata with radishes and boquerones, and arctic char tartare served with everything pretzels. There's also a house burger topped with smoked cheddar and raw oysters on offer.
The space has been changed to offer more seating at the bar, where Stulman's bar guru Brian Bartels has crafted a menu of drinks with names like "Parrothead Old Fashioned" (Coconut Barralito, rum, coffee-citrus bitters) and the "Save Big Money" (peanut pine liqueur, lemon, strawberry syrup and egg white). The bar will open at 6 p.m. today and will open at noon starting on Monday.