Michelle Obama dines at Cafe Altro Paradiso
Michelle Obama apparently dined at the stylish Cafe Altro Paradiso in Soho this week, a post on chef Ignacio Mattos’ Instagram shows. Mattos snapped a photo of her order ticket, in which the “Obama” last name is typed across the bottom, and diners were posting about the former First Lady on their Instagram stories. The Obamas must be fans of Mattos’ cooking because in 2014, Barack and Michelle were seen dining at Mattos’ Nolita restaurant Estela. Michelle is speaking tonight in Brooklyn for her U.S. book tour. It’s a more positive win for Matter House; earlier this year, the group made news after co-owner Thomas Carter stepped away following allegations that he created a “culture of fear.” He remains an owner.
Peek into an influential Chelsea restaurant’s final days
The Times sent a photographer to the Red Cat, open since 1999, to capture the iconic Chelsea restaurant’s final days. After nearly two decades in the neighborhood and helping pioneer dining in that area, the restaurant will close on Dec. 23 — a decision owner Jimmy Bradley made simply because “it’s time for something new,” he tells the Times. The photos capture the restaurant’s tavern-like space as well as some employees, like Valentin Garcia-Luna, who’s worked at there since its very first day of business. “I’m going to find him a job,” Bradley says about Garcia-Luna. “I’m going to place everyone who works here.”
A Midtown hot dog cart caught on fire last night
A hot dog cart caught on fire in Midtown on Tuesday, injuring one person, the NY Post reports. The cart at Sixth Avenue near 45th Street erupted in flames at 7 p.m. and firefighters were able to distinguish the fire shortly after. The injured person suffered minor burns.
How Chinatown food vendors adapt around a changing neighborhood
While NYC’s Chinese population continues to grow, many Chinese residents are trading Chinatown for other neighborhoods. Chinatown’s Chinese population has dropped by 30 percent since 2000, the Times reports. A reporter speaks with food vendors there about how they view the gentrification happening in the neighborhood — which is making its way into the community in subtle ways, like the wider selection of non-Asian yogurts and cold cuts now available at Hong Kong Supermarket. “Like dinosaurs, if you don’t change with the environment, you won’t be here,” market owner Lewis Wu says.
These are 2018’s worst dining trends, according to Post critic
Pricey kaiseki and omakase restaurants are among NYC’s worst food trends of the year, writes Steve Cuozzo of the Post. So are restaurants that keep their lights so dim it’s tough to read the menu, as are speakeasies — there are too many, and some “merely fake it,” he writes. Cuozzo also wants chefs to stop talking about their travels because their “ceaseless blabbing about it makes our more limited knowledge seem contemptible to us.”