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De Blasio Lunches Outdoors at Arepa Lady in Latest Show of Support for NYC Restaurants

Plus, Harlem Chocolate Factory is making bars inspired by the neighborhood’s brownstones — and more intel

A man and a woman smile at the camera and hold up white plates containing one large arepa each
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Jessica Ramos eating outdoors at Arepa Lady
Javier Castaño/Queens Latino

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NYC restaurant visits continue

In his latest outing to an NYC restaurant, Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a beloved Queens restaurant, Arepa Lady, for lunch on Wednesday. The mayor was accompanied by State Sen. Jessica Ramos, who represents parts of various neighborhoods in Queens including Jackson Heights, where the restaurant is located. De Blasio ordered the arepa de choclo with shredded chicken — among other menu items — and he reportedly left a good tip, based on comments on Arepa Lady’s Instagram posts about the mayor’s visit.

The mayor has visited a number of restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic to throw his support behind the beleaguered restaurant industry. Most recently, he took a shot of sake at Moonrise Izakaya on the Upper West Side after signing an executive order to promote mediation between restaurant owners and landlords over rent. Earlier that same week he lunched indoors at legendary Manhattan Chinatown restaurant Hwa Yuan, following up on a pledge that he would eat indoors to demonstrate that he felt it was safe to do so in NYC. Previously, he’s made visits to Upper East Side’s Felice 83 and Harlem’s Melba’s, though a visit to Chinatown last summer got him in trouble for seemingly ignoring a plea for help from the manager of 46 Mott bakery.

Food and eating out at restaurants is an intrinsic part of political theater in NYC — and across the U.S. — and a host of candidates now vying to become the next mayor of the city after de Blasio’s term ends have been visiting various restaurants across the city as part of their campaigns. De Blasio was infamously mocked for eating a pizza with a fork and a knife at a Staten Island establishment just days after the start of his first mayoral term in 2014.

In other news

— Harlem Chocolate Factory is making bars inspired by the neighborhood’s historic brownstones.

— East Village’s Taste Wine Co. was burgled on January 8 and the perpetrator(s) made off with all of the wine shop’s inventory — about 2,000 bottles valued at $300,000.

— Cobble Hill’s ramen diner Karazishi Botan from ramen master Fumihiro Kanegae is doing a savory take on tiramisu to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the restaurant. The Tira-Miso ramen will be available at the restaurant starting February 26 and includes a miso-almond milk broth, a hint of coffee oil, creamy tofu, and a sprinkling of chocolate powder on top.

— Two delis, one in Greenwich Village and another in Williamsburg, are offering up free bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches, and a coffee for customers who show them proof of a Bumble account.

— New York-based kombucha company Seek North recently launched a new flavor that’s now available in stores across New York City and upstate New York. Seek Vitality, as the new flavor is called, features holy basil, blue spirulina, fresh-pressed ginger, and a hint of white grape juice.

— Greenwich Village’s Bao Tea House has collaborated with the Market Line’s Southeast Asian dessert shop Moon Man on a new bao stuffed with pandan kaya jam. The bao will be available at the tea house starting February 26.

— George Mendes — the chef perhaps best known for his now-shuttered Portuguese restaurant Aldea in the Flatiron District — is hosting a Zoom class this Saturday with whiskey brand Dewar’s and its master blender Stephanie Macleod. The class celebrates the launch of the company’s new Portuguese Smooth blended whisky, and will feature Mendes making some Portuguese dishes and cocktails along with Macleod.

— Always here for more pie:

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