Partying for a Good Reason at the Spotted Pig
For the last 11 months, my boss, Dana Cowin, has been a rock star as she battled breast cancer. She came to work almost every day, kept everyone at Food & Wine posted on her progress and let us vote on our favorite wigs (we were unanimous in our dislike of the Anna Wintour bob). So, after she finished all her treatments and became officially cancer-free, she did what every good rock star does—she had a party at the Spotted Pig. (She also wrote an article in October's O magazine about the parties she hosted as she dealt with her treatment.) And, like the very best rock stars (I’m thinking of Chris Martin here), she took over most of the Pig to do it. To list all the highlights would be impossible; what follows are a few of my favorite moments, divided between early in the evening and much too late.
* David Chang confirming that a producer for Charlie Rose, having spent a day with Chang in a Momofuku kitchen shooting B-roll, had to remind him multiple times that he couldn’t curse on-air (if you watch the clip you'll see—no cursing).
* Danny Meyer claiming that his time in St. Paul catering the CNN Grill for the Republican convention had made him rethink his political affiliation. (In fact, Meyer, who calls himself a “hospitalitarian,” is on the host committee for Artists for Obama.) Specialties of the Grill included burgers (Union Square’s, not Shake Shack’s) and milk shakes (Blue Smoke’s, not Shake Shack’s). The person Meyer was most excited to meet in St. Paul—Google’s Eric Schmidt.
* Daniel Boulud insisting that he would make burgers for the 2012 conventions (DB burgers, sans foie gras).
* Mario Batali, who has lost about 100 pounds and looks awesome, crediting D. Chang with inventing the wheel and domesticating the pig. (In the midst of some negotiation for Ko reservations, Chang then confessed he’d created the Internet-only reservation system “out of sheer laziness.”)
* Candy Crowley recounting her highlights from the campaign trail and her advice to the candidates. When she left, saying she had to go back to work, no one believed her; a few hours later, Crowley was indeed on CNN reporting that she’d just been talking about the election.
* Jay-Z rolling in, dressed up and happy (yeah, I’m not sure Jay was actually there for Dana’s party, but he was awesome).
* Chang, who’d briefly left to attend Esquire’s 75th-anniversary-issue party, rolling back in with his drinking buddy Charlie Rose, who has a strong handshake and works the room very, very well (they left Bill Clinton back at the Esquire party).
* Jay-Z, who’d briefly left to attend the LeBron James Family Foundation benefit, rolling back in with a crowd, still dressed up and happy in his Tom Ford sunglasses (here's how good he looked).
* Tom Colicchio promising that I could join his band if I learned to play the ukulele. (I’d have to learn fast—Tom’s band will make a rare musical appearance at next month’s New York Wine & Food Festival.)
* Chang outlasting everyone—Dana, Charlie Rose, Jay, and even New York Times dining editor Pete Wells—to win the coveted Partier of the Night award.