ONLY IN NYC
Weekend Picks: Club-Hop, Move to the Groove and Wine & Dine

Club-Hop:

This Friday, The Fancy Cats will be headlining at Lilium, with a special performance by SBND. And, on Saturday, Dimitry Mak will be spearheading the spin tables at the Red Room at Gansevoort Park. Get your disco pants and dancing shoes on. Also on Saturday catch TheFatRat headlining at Electric Beach at Santos Party House! The German native, now based in LA, will be bringing his infectious, funky approach to electro house to the popular weekly series.

For more information & to snag table resis e-mail Brittany@joonbug.com.

FOOD + DRINK
You're Invited to Celebrate

A birthday is always a reason to celebrate. Most of us will have a special meal, some cake and candles and a gathering with friends and family. When you're a restaurant, however, this type of celebration is elevated to a whole new level. At Toro Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette are celebrating with Chef Seamus Mullen, one of The Next Iron Chef finalists (from The Food Network) and a special birthday menu. On Monday, December 13th the whole Toro team invites you to come for the party! The celebratory a la carte menu is just available Monday night alongside the regular menu. After dinner, from 10 p.m. on, there will be an afterhours party for one and all. The Toro team will be there to celebrate with music, dancing and, of course, more tapas and sparkling wine.

ENTERTAINING ISH
Andaz 5th Avenue Hosts Fashion's Night Out Party

Clusters of parched mouths and grumbling bellies huddled around the stainless-steel, communal kitchen on Friday September 10th in the center of the 6,500 square foot event space on the second floor of the Andaz 5th Avenue hotel, swirling glasses of wine, clinking glasses of local liquor, grabbing at canapes and mini-sandwiches and talking of Fashion Week's firm hold on all of New York City.

Hosted by Andaz, Vogue culinary editor Jeffrey Steingarten and Momofuku's celebrity chef David Chang, the event packed over 1,000 people into the brand new mid-town hotel's acclaimed event space, serving up endlessly delicious hor d'ourves: braised pork ribs dripping in a carmelized sweet and sour sauce and fried red onion flakes; pork belly squares folded into fluffly, steamed buns; Benton's smoky mountain ham on thick and crunchy crackers; kimchi apple salad; and mini-cups of frothy, whipped tofu with heirloom tomatoes.

AFTERNOON TEA & ASIAN DESSERT PAIRING
Lucky Rice, Lucky Us

Over the past couple years, New York City has enjoyed and enveloped itself within the revitalization of Asian culture and cuisine. In commemoration of the Asian awakening, LUCKYRICE.com hosts a festival of Asian significance, joined by culinary superstars. An aggregate of culinary heavyweights-Daniel Boulud, Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, David Cheng, Masaharu Morimoto, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and others-preside over The Lucky Rice Festival, a weekend long celebration of Asian eats.

Hosted by Kelly Choi, the festival's kick-off event comprises an evening filled with Asian-inspired cocktails and snacks, all to benefit City Harvest and the Asian American Federation. Apothéke's Albert Trummer is the mixologist mastermind behind the evening's lip-smacking cocktails. Drinks and snacks are supplied by such watering-holes and culinary establishments as Momofuku, Daniel, Prime Meats, Apothéke, Fatty Crab, wd-50, and many well-known others.

BALI
Blue Bottle Coffee Expands to the 'Burg

You wake up...too much fun last night, and desperately in need of a caffeine fix. You want instant gratification, but DD just ain't gonna cut it anymore.

Head over to the newly opened Blue Bottle coffee in Williamsburg. Momofuku design team DCR resurrected this beautiful simplistic space in what used to be an old glass-blowing factory. Two weeks in, and already word of mouth has put this San Francisco gem of an import on the map. Originally started in Oakland, CA by someone sick of the same old coffee, the name comes from Franz Kolshitsky's first coffee house in Vienna "The Blue Bottle" which revolutionized the industry.

DBGB
It's a Culinary Yearbook

Grubstreet has presented the Grub Report ‘09, in which critics have weighed in on the summers top chefs, worst trends and culinary capitals.

Three most important chefs in the U.S. today:
1. David Chang (Momofuku)
2. Mario Batali (the Spotted Pig, John Dory)
3. Grant Achatz (Alinea located in Chicago)

Kate Krader of Food & Wine Magazine: “Dave Chang is to most chefs in America as excellent heroin is to Capri Sun juice boxes.”

Most important restaurant city in the country right now:
New York

Bret Thorn of the Nation's Restaurant News explains, “New York is still the center of the culinary universe, although I wish New Yorkers would remember that it’s not the only place in the universe, and I don’t understand why it’s so hard to find a good biscuit here.”

Most overrated chef cooking today:
David Chang (though the nicer reviewers declined to answer this question)

Adam Platt, NYMag restaurant critic (and not one of the nicer reviewers) states, “You'd have to say Chang, and I think he'd agree. His food is great, but there are all sorts of chefs around who are technically superior.”

Regina Schrambling of Gastropedia: “I hate to pick on Mario Batali, but it seems as if he's where Emeril was ten years ago: The shtick has overtaken what kitchen brilliance he had.”

Current trend that is least deserving of the hype:
Among the top offenders were chalkboard menus and the recent burger craze, while cupcakes, beer pairings, and those annoying restaurants with no phone numbers for reservations got honorable mentions.

The last restaurant to which you voluntarily returned:
Adam Platt: “Num Pang Sandwich Shop, on 12th Street between University Place and Fifth, for the lunchtime five-spice glazed-pork-belly special (garnished with crunchy pickled rhubarb).”
*some good news for readers who just got a craving for pork belly- Num Pang Sandwich Shop’s entire menu is under $10.

The fine dining rebound:
…may not occur, according to Tony Bourdain. “They don't need the bullshit anymore. So why complicate their lives? I mean ... who likes dealing with expensive linens and crystal?”

Adam Platt: “As the money comes back, this snooty, pared-down, back-to-nature style will continue to flourish, dominate, and then, like everything else under the sun, it will crash under its own weight.”

The next big ethnic food:
Indian and authentic regional Mexican

And perhaps the most useful part of this article for all you broke college students, the best thing you've eaten this year for less than $10:

DAVID CHANG
Cooking School

Ever wanted to know how your fave chefs craft their coveted culinary concoctions? Serious Eats compiled a list of food classes lead by some of Manhattan’s most notable chefs and nutritionists. Save money and fill your tummy with these informative sessions!

Join the Italian Wine Merchants at 108 16th Street on Saturday, January 10th from 1-3 p.m. to learn about wines from the regions of Northern Italy. Red and white wines from the Valle d'Aosta, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Alto-Adige, and Veneto regions will be examined. Call (212) 473-2323 or visit them online for reservations. $85 per person.

DAVID CHANG
Openings: Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar

Soft serve snickerdoodle ice cream is always appetizing regardless of the weather or time of day. Now you can have it any time you please at the new Momofuku Milk Bar. Another addition to the David Chang empire, this bar specializes in milkshakes, floats and baked goods. Even though he’s opted to show us his sweeter side, Chang couldn’t help but include his classic pork buns on the menu as well. Christina Tosi is the chef in charge at this Second Avenue addition.