NY's Hot Raw Bars

New Yorkers are used to being pretty fresh. And even if we're miles from the ocean, we're still rolling pretty deep in quality seafood. These are our Top 5 picks for the choicest seafood you'll find without a snorkel.

The John Dory Oyster Bar- April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman (The Spotted Pig) are the brains and bellies behind this seemingly old-school seafood spot. Decked in black tile, you can shuck to your heart's content (the restaurant serves until 4am) or grab a glass of one of the wines on tap. Located inside the Ace Hotel, you might want to relax in the lobby or grab a cup of just-next-door Stumptown Coffee on your way out. If you're really feeling a seafood feast, book the basement-located Chef's Tasting Table for a party of 12. 1196 Broadway (29th Street) 212. 792.9000.

Disgusting Starbucks News

Well here's the most disgusting news we've heard all day: a man calling himself Mr. PeePee is challenging himself to masturbate in Starbucks bathrooms throughout New York City. How many Manhattan-area wi-fi accessible coffee joints is this guy aiming to hit? Every. Single. One.

It gets worse. Apparently this self-lovestruck dude is a regular on The Glory Hole podcast as well as a frequent tweeter @MrPeePee. He will be documenting his quest on both sites and also commenting on outstanding factors like bathroom cleanliness and barista attractiveness.

VOLT Ink Dropped

If you haven't eaten at ink., the new restaurant from former Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio, don't feel too bad. Since opening the doors to his new L.A. locale, the spot has been solidly booked for the next coming months.

However, if you seriously jonesing for a taste of the easy-on-the-eyes tattooed chef/boy wonder, you might want to consider Amazon. Yesterday, Voltaggio, along with his brother (and other Top Chef finalist) Bryan, released their new cookbook, VOLT ink. This 336 page tome features forwards but other serious top toques, and the brothers' Voltaggio respective mentors, Jose Andres and Charlie Palmer. Also, rather than being divided sectionally like most books of its kind (in breakfast/lunch/dinner form), VOLT ink. breaks recipes down by ingredient family in a subtle (but still pretty cute) nod to the fact that they are from the same one.

New Years Eve Parties Will End at 4am

It's official; this New Years Eve, you will not be partying like it's 1999. This year, on December 31, all New York New Years Eve parties will be forced to stop selling alcohol at 4 am. So you can go ahead and drink that old 4 Loko this weekend.

Why is this New Years Eve different from all others? Here's the deal: the State Liquor Authority of New York requires that businesses obtain permits that extend their ability to sell alcohol into the wee hours of the morning. Usually individuals file for these privileges right around now. However, proprietors face a problem this year in that NYE falls on a Sunday, a day that is already encased in a law that requires liquor to stop being sold from 4am until noon the next day. Alas, at 4am on NYE you won't have to go home but you can't stay there. We like the way Steve Lewis put it best, "With this early limitation, New Years Eve should be a normal-ish night, but maybe that isn't such a bad thing." It might also be a good time to stop debating whether or not it's an evening for amateurs.

On the upside, we have a feeling that you might actually make it to that January 1st brunch.

C. Wonder Opens in NYC!

In what is quite possibly the most anticipated store opening of the year, C. Wonder is officially open. The seriously bright and cheerful spot, developed by Chris Burch (Tory's ex-husband), is offering up the cutest home goods, house wares, clothes and accessories for surprisingly reasonable prices.

And while we haven't been inside yet, this Joonbug reporter happens to exercise right above the store and as literally been monitoring their Spring Street facelift for weeks. From the glimpse through their skylight, we know for certain that C. Wonder is already on top of our list for a shopping trip this weekend and many others to come.

Restaurant Roundup

Welcome to the First Course Restaurant Roundup where we'll share our Top 5 new places to dine out right now. This list is ever changing so be sure to look back for our latest insights. In the meantime, check out these new locales that promise to be worth their pricetag.

Occupying Danny Meyer Restaurants

Wall Street protesters occupied a new section of the city last night, namely the Danny Meyer restaurants Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe. The ambush was an effort to show the group's disapproval of Sothebys Auction House and the fact the Meyer sits on their Board of Directors.

According to a statement made by OWS activists, a "commotion" was created during the dinner rush at both restaurants last night. Protestors blew fog horns and handed out flyers to shocked diners that stated "What's gross at Gramercy (or Union Cafe) and Other Danny Meyer Restaurants? Diners for good jobs and clean kitchens." And according to an Eater post on the same topic, one OWS supporter stated, "We are here to make sure Danny Meyer is uncomfortable and anyone who supports him is uncomfortable...His restaurants will not be peaceful."

Starbucks Rolls Out Lighter Coffee

Starbucks announced yesterday that they will release a lighter roast coffee in January 2012. The new "Blonde" variety will be even weaker than the company's 2008 "Pike Place" version and will be available in whole bean, roast, ground, K-cup Portion Packs and Ready Brew forms.

Why the introduction of this new brew? According to a Starbucks National press release (that we glanced at first via Eater), people are really jonesing for a punier drink. "We recognized the unmet consumer need for a super-premium light roast coffee," said Cliff Burrows, Starbucks President of the Americas. The statement went on to describe that "over 40 percent of US coffee drinkers- or approximately 54 million consumers" are craving this easier to swallow beverage. We're not totally convinced but we can pretty much guarantee that this news makes ironically-bearded baristas around the country fog up their plastic frames with a few tears (also shed ironically, of course).

NYC Beer-a-Thon

Planning on running the NYC Marathon on November 5? That's cool. Neither are we.

Why not instead pay homage to the track-shoe bound by celebrating at New York's 5th Annual Beer-a-Thon on November 19. The marathon-inspired event will be hosted by 26 downtown bars who promise to keep their doors open for 26 hours. Each participating locale will offer a hand-picked brew to its marathon drinkers. Got it? 26 bars, 26 beers, 26 hours. Huzzah!

Oh, and in case you don't already feel like this behemoth bacchanal is a great idea, take solace in the knowledge that a portion of the proceeds from the day's events will go to support Team Fox, Michael J.'s Parkinson's research organization. So, really, all of that beer is going to a good cause.

Food and Wine All-Star Weekend

From Friday, October 21 through Sunday, October 23, Las Vegas will welcome superstars from the food and wine community to show what they've got at the annual Food and Wine All-Star Weekend. Events will take place at Aria and Bellagio, so expect rolled-out red carpet service over the course of the three-day party.

Beginning on Friday night, Gail Simmons (Top Chef) will headline the First Course (yes, we DO like the name!) party with Anthony Giglio. The evening will feature a host of celebrity chefs offering samples of their favorite eats as well as wine pairings, beer and a cocktail menu.