Bits & Morsels

The LuckyRice Festival begins with the Epicurean Cocktail Feast on Tuesday May 1.

by Erin Frankel

Eat. Drink. Socialize. These are a few of my favorite things. After attending City Harvest's18th annual An Evening of Practical Magic this past Tuesday night at Cipriani, the excitement around the next best foodie events was palpable.

I've had the privilege of attending some of New York's best events, but now it's time to share the love. First, a little bit more about City Harvest's remarkable affair.

The Practical Magic ball applauses the achievements of organizations and individuals who have gone above and beyond in their commitment in the fight against hunger. This year, City Harvest honored the chefs and staff of Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group.
When I spoke to Jee Won Park of Union Square Hospitality Group after the event, she felt truly honored to be able to help City Harvest provide food to those who need it, stating "Every New Yorker should have access to fresh food."

The evening started with cocktails and a silent auction, highlighting outstanding auction items such as the All-Star Meal, the USHG prize with chefs Cardoz, Anthony, Romano, Quagliata, and Olson preparing a 5-course meal, which raised $32,000. And if that wasn't enough, USHG generously increased the dinner from 10 guests to 20! $32,000 will help feed 108 families for a whole year!
Chef Danny Meyer speaks at City Harvest's 18th Annual An Evening of Practical Magic at Cipriani 42nd Street. (Photos by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for City Harvest).
City Harvest Executive Director Jilly Stephens.
The auction.
The auction also included Surf's Up, surfing lesson with Marc Murphy and dinner for 20 in your Hamptons home, which raised $30,000. Marc doubled the prize offering it to two bidders ... so City Harvest ended up raising $60,000! And, last but not least, a French Feast for 12 prepared by Eric Ripert in your home. Eric increased the number of guests from 12 to 20, raising an astounding $200,000!

This, combined with the fact that 100% of the ticket prices for the evening of Practical Magic directly support the efforts of City Harvest, resulted in a new City Harvest record raise of over $2 million!
Elisa Strauss, Ron Ben-Israel, and Gail Simmons.
The exciting auction was then followed by a beautiful sit-down dinner that was attended by City Harvest Board members, corporate leaders and celebrities including Miss Universe, Miss USA, Leila Lopes, Alyssa Campanella, Kelly Rutherford, Gail Simmons, Matthew Settle, Ariane Daguin, Tracy Nieporent, and Dr. Joy Brown and, of course, some of my favorite celebrity chefs including David Burke, Kerry Heffernan, Eric Ripert, Ron Ben-Israel, Ben Pollinger, Terrance Brennan, Michael Anthony, Donatella Arpaia, Floyd Cardoz, and the honoree of the evening, Danny Meyer.

As the evening's sponsor, Manhattan Lincoln escorted all of the celebrities and chefs to and from the event in the luxurious Lincoln MKZ.

Quite a beautiful evening and one that will have lasting success: The $2 million raised will ultimately allow City Harvest to rescue and deliver 7.4 million pounds of food for New York City's most hungry.
The City Harvest drivers at An Evening Of Practical Magic.
Upcoming Events in NYC:

Share our Strength's Taste of the Nation Event
On Monday April 30th, Share our Strength will host the nation's inaugural culinary benefit featuring New York City's top chefs and mixologists who coalesce to one evening to donate their time, culinary talents and passions to help end childhood hunger in America. This year, the event will be held at 82 Mercer. Looking forward to tasting the savory signature dishes and cocktails next Monday. Click here to join me!

Epicurean Cocktail Feast at The Bowery Hotel.
The LuckyRice Festival of 2012
Each year, the week-long LuckyRice Festival brings the diversity of the Asian culinary world right to the globally-conscious and sophisticated palettes of New Yorkers.

This year, the LuckyRice Festival, presented by Bombay Sapphire Gin and Conde Nast Traveler, its third annual festival from May 1-6 with a spectacular assortment of events that highlight the subtle and exotic flavors of Asia New York City has to offer. And, all proceeds will again benefit City Harvest.

Here's a rundown of the events I'm looking forward to attending (and sharing sights, tastes, and sounds):

Tuesday, May 1: Epicurean Cocktail Feast
Hosted by Dave Arnold and momofuku
The Bowery Hotel | 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. (VIP 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.)
$54 / $95 VIP

An elegant culinary + cocktail feast hosted by Dave Arnold and momofuku, where each chef-mixologist pairing exhibits the role of cocktail culture in fine dining today. With nearly 20 different cocktails and food pairings, this is a perfect start to the festival!
Friday, May 4: The Grand Feast
Mandarin Oriental | 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. (VIP 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.)
$160 / $272 VIP

After a week filled with delicious dinners at Bar Basque, Pok Pok in Brooklyn, the James Beard House, and Shun Lee Palace, all celebrating a diversity of talented Asian chefs, flavors, techniques, and subtleties, the the grand finale, often called the "belle" of the LUCKYRICE Festival, features an uber-luxe walk-around tasting and celebrity-chef studded event (with star chefs from Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) that pays tribute to Asian cuisine.
Saturday, May 5: Night Market: Asian Street Food
Archway Under the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn | 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
$54 includes all food and drink

Each year this has been known to be the most popular event as the festival reinvents the assorted flavors and senses of the Asian street food experience from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei right under the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo.
Stay tuned for a more detailed roundup of the events in a couple of weeks!
For more information on ticket sales visit www.luckyrice.com.
On May 16th, 18th, and 19th, the annual Taste of the Upper West Side is returning for its fifth consecutive year, with a new host of celebrity chefs and impressively-themed dinners.

Honoree Gael Greene.
The star-spangled festivities begin May 16th with an all vegetarian dinner, Vegetables at Dovetail. This new chic five-course tasting menu is prepared by an all-star group of chefs, led by John Fraser of Dovetail with Missy Robbins of A Voce; Bill Telepan of Telepan; Ed Brown of Ed's Chowder House; Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar and a new addition, Harold Dieterle of Perilla and Kin Shop.

Over the weekend, you can attend Comfort Classics, a dynamic event featuring over 30 chefs from local restaurants exhibiting inspiring and inventive takes of classic dishes.

This year, the event is hosted by Travel Channel's Adam Richman and Andrew Zimmern.

Concluding the festivities is the Best of the West Gala honoring Gael Greene, where you will have the privilege of indulging in exceptional wine and spectacular bites with over 40 celebrity chefs from the Upper West Side.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Columbus Avenue BID, the Greenhouse Classroom Project and Citymeals-On-Wheels.

Click here to learn more ... and to buy tickets!