Tasty restaurant gossip

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Sure, we stuffed ourselves on Thanksgiving — who didn’t? — but with the Nov. 27 opening of Marco Polo Takeout (345 Court St. at Union Street in Carroll Gardens), the new takeout arm of Joe Chirico’s famous Italian restaurant, watching what we eat over the holidays just got harder. Now ordering Chef Francesco Insingo’s gnocchi with mushrooms and sausage is just as easy as getting a deli sandwich. (Fire-grilled pizzas, salads and snacks are available, too.)

We might miss the warm weather already, but apparently even the heat of the Southwest couldn’t keep Williamsburg’s Santa Fe open. Chef Marc Cohen told GO Brooklyn that he ditched the New Mexican menu and has reopened the restaurant as Elote (366 Union Ave. at Grand Avenue in Williamsburg).

“We decided to go authentic Mexican; this is Oaxacan food,” Cohen said. “The most exciting dishes are the mole dishes. The green mole is made from toasted pumpkin seeds, cilantro and herbs. It’s served with chicken and mashed sweet potatoes, and it’s really great. I also do a roasted green chile cheesecake, which sounds weird, but it goes really well.”

Speaking of sweets, we hear that Provence en Boite (263 Smith St. at Degraw Street in Carroll Gardens) unveiled its new fall menu recently, which features cheese and chocolate fondue (not together of course!). They’ve also stocked up on holiday treats like nougats, candies, macaroons, cookies, marzipan, homemade chocolate and, of course, pies. Plus, owners Jean-Jacques and Leslie Bernat just got back from Provence, and they’ve brought back some new items to spice up the decor.

It isn’t just the French who are spiffing up their dining spots, though. This week, Mike Jaramillo will open Vinas (109 S. Sixth St. at Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg), a Latin fusion spot, which will be furnished with salvaged wood and will feature a hearty menu courtesy of chef Henry Lopez Jr.

In other news, Fort Greene native Rick Field took his pickle company Rick’s Picks to the 10th Annual “Rosendale International Pickle Festival” on Nov. 18, and sure enough, Rick got picked. His “Mean Beans,” a spicy, cayenne-pepper-brined bean, took second place.

“We saw a lot of old friends and got people excited about giving the gift of pickles this holiday season,” said Field. To order a gift pack, visit

And congratulations to Melissa Murphy, owner of Sweet Melissa Patisserie (276 Court St. at Douglass Street in Cobble Hill and 175 Seventh Ave. at Second Street in Park Slope) who was a contestant on “The Food Network Challenge: Edible Ornaments” last week — and won! Murphy took home bragging rights and a cool $10,000. If you missed it the first time, check out additional showings on the Food Network on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 6 pm, 10 pm and 1 am, and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3 pm and 8 pm.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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