Why This Monday Rocks: Tonight’s Top Events

So it’s the first day of the work week and there are four more days to go. I get it. But why ruminate when you can start to make Mondays the best night of the week? This weekly column is devoted to finding the best events across NYC hosted by individuals and places that are doing amazing, crazy, wild, sexy things on Monday nights. And I am here to honor them. From Tony Award-winning shows to chocolate desserts, here are tonight’s top events.

Watch dogs show off their stuff:
Shampooed, manicured dogs and their owners get competitive tonight and tomorrow at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, where 3,000 dogs of 187 breeds stroll across the carpeting as they’re judged across seven divisions, such as toy, terrier, hound, and sporting. Expect lots of owners in pencil skirts and bowties, and nonstop canine cuteness. Airing live from Madison Square Garden tonight, 8pm, CNBC & Tuesday, 8pm, USA. All info here.

See the reunion concert of a Tony Award-winning Broadway show:
In the Heights – the exuberant 2008 musical about three days in the life of Washington Heights residents – returns to New York for a one-night-only concert performance featuring nearly all of the original cast. Written and starring renaissance man Lin-Manuel Miranda (our interview here), this is one of Broadway’s most ebullient shows. A must for not only theatre-lovers, but simply anyone who loves this city. Tonight, 8pm, United Palace Theatre, 4140 Broadway. Tickets & info here.

Eat tons of rarely available chocolate:
Chocolate Week 2013 continues on until Wednesday the 13th, just before V-Day. Participating restaurants and chocolatiers –  such as French spots A.O.C. in the West Village and Bar Tabac in Cobble Hill – are offering special, rarely available desserts like chocolate lava cake and chocolate creme petit pot. Couple this with Valentine’s and there is absolutely no hope for a diet. And that’s just fine. From now until Wednesday the 13th. All details here

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Go French! A Bastille Day to Celebrate

America had its birthday, now it’s the French expats’ turn to celebrate the storming of the Bastille, which took place on July 14, 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution.Whether or not you like the French lifestyle, French food, or the French people in general, it’s a good excuse to continue the summer party and get your escargot quota in for the year with a week of French-themed events.

First up, get classic and classy with Michael Arenella & His Hot Eight band playing July 12 from 2 to 6pm in front of owner Georges Forgeois’ Cercle Rouge Brasserie in Tribeca. They will be offering games of petanque (which involves circles and balls), can-can dancing by The Love Show, and pommes frittes galore. Forgeois’ other bistro, Bar Tabac in Brooklyn, will also be celebrating on Sunday, July 15 starting at 11am with Pastis-laden drinks and croque monsieur. Of course, that’s not all for Cobble Hill, the whole block by Bar Tabac will be celebrating with music and the nation’s largest live petanque tournament.

Naturally, Beaumarchais in the Meatpacking will also be reveling in French independence on Saturday, July 14 by playing petanque to the beats of DJ Marco Peruzzi. For a mellower Saturday celebration on the Upper East Side, Brasserie Julien features dinner and jazz with Myriam Phiro from 7pm to 12am. Also on Saturday, Hotel Americano hosts a Bastille Day dinner by chef Thomas Boullault, which features his Presse de Homard appetizer, organic chicken with chanterelles, and his stripped bass dish, Bar de Ligne–all paired all paired with various bubbles by Billecart.

Of course, you can hit up the annual Bastille Day on 60th Street on Sunday, July 15 from 12 to 5pm. There not only will French goods being peddled, but you can fill up on crepes from Yorkville Creperie and other nibbles by Brasserie Cognac, Bel Ami Café, Rouge Tomate, and many others. Finally, if settling down for a French celebration on your own time is more your speed, make merry by heading to Astor Wines and Spirits and pick up a bottle of sparkling Cremant d’Alsace ($17.99) or change things up and try the Armagnac from Tariquet ($28.99). Grab some creamy Camembert or blue du Bocage and a baguette at Murray’s Cheese, it’s what the French would do.