10 Spring Wines and the Perfect Lipsticks to Wear While Sipping

Lipstick: We’ve discussed it before (namely, the best shades to last through a makeout sesh, and the colors you need to get through winter holiday drinks)…But with a new season, comes a new conversation. With the spring comes a new color palette…and as the temperatures rise, we’re celebrating with lighter, brighter lipstick shades. We’re not just looking for pretty pinks here — oh no — we made sure to pair wine with a host of the season’s best shades that also just happen to last through a glass or two. We consulted wine experts, and husband-and-wife team, Josh and Becca Shapiro, of Flatiron Wines, for their expert opinion on the wine side of things.

1. Sonia Kashuk Ultra Luxe Lip Gloss in Sparkling Sugar pairs nicely with prosecco. Keep things balanced: with sugar on your lips, stick with crisp, dry bubbles in your glass. Drink With: Sommariva Prosecco di Conegliano Brut, NV

sonia kashuk2. Sephora Collection Luster Matte Long-Wear Lip Color in Nude Pink pairs well with rosé. All day drinking requires all day lip wear! We recommend this classic french rosé, the perfect choice for sipping straight into sunset. Drink With: Commanderie de Peyrassol, Cotes de Provence Rose, 2014

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3. Marc Jacobs Beauty, Le Marc Lip Crème, Boy Gorgeous pairs well with rosé. A full-bodied, one-of-a-kind rosé is the perfect match for Marc Jacobs’s luxurious, ultra-hydrating and indulgent longlasting lip wear. Both are vibrant, dramatic, and opulent. Drink With: Chateau Simone, Palette Rose, 2013

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4. 100% Pure, Fruit Pigmented Pomegranate Oil Anti Aging Lipstick, Magnolia pairs with champagne. The purest form of sparkling wine–Champagne of course! This elegant and defined Grand Reserve will help any lady feel young. Drink With: NV Clouet Grand Reserve

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5. Nars Sheer Lipstick in Liguria pairs with prosecco. A bone-dry, Italian sparkling from a Ligurian producer pairs perfectly with this translucent and sophisticated lip color. Sheer, lightweight, and ultra-fresh. Drink With: Bisson, Vino Frizzante Trevigiana “Glera”, 2011

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6. Sephora Collection Luster Matte Long-Wear Lip Color, Lilac Pairs with Sauvignon Blanc. Bright, fresh, and ready for spring! This pop of color on the lip is perfect with this zippy white. Drink With: Shinn Estate Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc, “First Fruit”, 2014

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7. Gucci Lip Luxurious Moisture-Rich Lipstick, Exposure pairs with champagne. If you’re wearing Gucci on your lips, you better pair it with vintage Champagne. Expose your palate to an elegant wine with richness and elegance. Drink With: 2008 Andre Clouet

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8. TopShop Lips in Infrared pairs with a cool red. Chill those hot, infrared lips down with a cool red wine. Best served with a slight chill, this earthy wine with a hint of tobacco will keep you cool even when you’re looking smokin’ hot. Drink With: DeForville, Dolcetto d’Alba, 2013

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9. By Terry Hyaluronic Sheer Nude Hydra-Balm Lipstick – Flush Contour pairs with red. Even on a warm day you can stay chic in this deeply tinted, moisturizing balm while sipping on this complex cru Beaujolais. This red wine is best served at cellar temp–or 55 degrees. Drink with: Jean-Paul Thevenet, Morgon “Vieilles Vignes”, 2013

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10. Butter London, Teddy Boy Lippy Tinted Balm pairs with white. This bright color is perfect to throw on as you head out to meet friends for springtime brunch. Try it with this lightly effervescent white that has just enough sparkle to get your day started. Drink With: Ameztoi, Txakolina, 2013

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Bottle Service Lives On: Judge Blocks Bloomberg’s Large-Soda Ban

Judge Milton Tingling proved that you can fight City Hall when he overturned Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s ban on large containers of sugary sodas. Using words like "arbitrary" and "capricious," nightlife’s favorite judge stopped the insanity hours before the regulation went into effect. The rules would have banned carafes of mixers used in bottle service, forcing night spots to have containers of 16 ounces or less instead of the usual double that. What that means is tables designed to accommodate a bottle or two, ice buckets, napkins, glassware ,and mixers to name a few would be unable to handle that load, and alternative systems would be needed.

The regulations would not in any way stop the delivery of sugar-containing mixers, but it would just make that delivery more problematic and costly. Most clubs do not serve 100 percent pure fruit juices with their bottles, so orange and cranberry juice would also have to be poured from smaller vessels.

Clubs were scrambling to find smaller containers, and all sorts of other adjustments were going to be needed to comply. The size of tables needed to be rethought and possibly extra personnel hired to bring what patrons needed.

This law was silly. No one drinks out of a carafe, and it’s obvious that said container is meant for multiple patrons. I’m all for educating people about the harmful effects of sugar, and advising people to only drink diet or water. However, there is a great difference in keeping children away from large containers of sugary liquids, and it’s another thing to force adults to stop having what they want.

Where does this end? Surely the alcohol is as dangerous as the sugar. Surely the staying-up-late can be harmful, same with the noise and the possible unprotected sex. Passing laws that infringe on lifestyle is dead wrong. I agreed with the smoking ban because secondhand smoke hurts other patrons and workers, but secondhand sugar is not a reality. Kudos to Judge Tingling, and here’s hoping Mayor Mike’s threatened appeal is lost.

What on earth is happening down at Bow. Closed already, sources told me the place on the Bowery where Crash Mansion offered local and national bands is needing a rethink. Finale and The General are doing just fine, but Bow in the same building has Travis Bass bowing out.

The other day I wrote a story that things over at Butter Group were not exactly hunky dory. This got a response from the players there that my sources are wrong and that everything is actually hunky dory. Sources are sources, and I did write I was unsure of the validity of their remarks. I wish those guys a ton of success as I have only the greatest affection and respect for them. I look forward to a redone Butter, and the new programming I hear from all sides will happen at The Darby. When I went back and asked one of my sources about the story’s accuracy, they replied that they would stand by their statements, but that the normal state of things over there is confrontational – but somehow they always deliver a great product.

Photo Courtesy of Bon Appetit

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Catching Up With Catch

The thing about Monday nights at Catch, that  EMM Group staple in the Meatpacking District, is that you could cast your line anywhere in the joint and hook a gazillionaire or stooopid-hot hottie faster than you can say "I used to do this at Butter.” Last night I went to their Monday night shin-dig, the heir of the Butter Mondays that reliably entertained us for a decade. I know I’m a little late to the game but my Mondays are reserved for Bingo and bedroom. Armed with some well-heeled friends, we were treated to fine fare and conversation. Table-hopping is the norm. I noticed the cork and sound treatment on the low-ish ceilings, put there to keep the socializing bearable to those actually trying to eat. Every table was a scene to be seen. Celebrities dined with their posses while tycoons were tycooning. Tables of beautiful girls picked at the menu.

We had traveled in a chauffeured car from Bingo at Hotel Chantelle, and noticed how dead the streets were as Manhattan has already emptied out to the fantasy playgrounds of the last-gasping summer. The bon vivants at Catch were in no rush. They truly believe that the party always starts when they get there. Every table was a success story. Every table was offered food and drink suitable to worldly tastes. This crowd was in no hurry to get elsewhere as they all knew full well that they had already arrived.

We were whisked upstairs to the roof like we were Elvis by a staff who probably could handle even that. The place was crammed with the beautiful.  I shook a lot of hands and kissed a lot of cheeks. It was deja vu…all over again. The never-ending party of the party set. The endless supply of luxury bottles. The eternal flames of the sparklers. The plush banquette, the music, the girls du jour and the girls of yore mixing it up with the swells who were spending the GNP of small countries for these females’ affections – or maybe just a minute, or three, of their time. All this while hipsters are starving in Bushwick.

It’s always the little things that tell you that management has shown the staff the way to this naughty nirvana. Like, an hour in, when I thought I had lost my jacket and a nearby security guard immediately noticed and helped me with a flashlight. He found it at the table next to mine, moved by a model type who wanted to get up there and dance and didn’t want to soil it. He assured me that I could put it down again and that he would be watching it. I believed him. I noticed a few promoter types keeping it on the low to help maintain the illusion that this was happening organically.

As the bottles popped, we were surrounded by the smiles of the party girls, the b for beautiful, but not quite campaign models so I-can-be-out-this-late girls, and the genuine grade-A bonafide girls. Our table was a spending table and I assume the one next door was an "image" table put there to assure us that we were indeed at the end of the rainbow. The six-foot Russian blond, possibly looking for that proverbial pot of gold often found at ends of rainbows, was apologizing to me for something she didn’t do. Amanda laughed at my naiveté. That girl or someone just like her is always there. She was there before she was born.

Bottle after bottle with their 4th of July-esque flares sizzled by. They moved through the crowds like Olympic torch bearers bringing expensive wheat juice to players who long ago earned their gold.  Jeroboams of champagne and their beautiful, happy, delivery systems passed by every few minutes, The sparklers lit up the ceiling, a signal for one rich suit to show off to the next and buy yet another bottle for their table of worshippers. DJ Politick was taking us all to that mindless frenzy we need to justify the love. I was told he was a DJ AM protégé. I was told he’s a big deal in LA. He was a big deal last night in NYC. I don’t usually enjoy the style of music offered by mixed-format types, but he was real smooth,and his mixes of stuff I don’t like into stuff that I love made me enjoy it all. This guy is…superior.

Catch Mondays is killing it and it couldn’t happen to nicer guys .I chatted up owners Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum who are living proof that nice guys can indeed finish first.

Rumor Has It: Butter Group Is Splitting Up

I guess it’s official, as Frankie Sharp – that promoter/host with the most fabulous following – lands on the cover of the Village Voice. It was 430am this morning and I was walking the puppies and grabbing bagels with the gal, when I saw Frankie’s fierce puss staring up from a stack of papers. We have been banging Frankie’s drum loudly here forever. He is the new, while almost everyone else is… experienced. Frankie has blown everyone away. His boyfriend is David Davis, my assistant/co-worker/partner in design.

The Voice tends to use terms like "savior of nightlife" and stuff like that and say there was little going on when Frankie burst on the scene, without recognizing the great divide in nightclub culture. While the rest of the world is getting closer to embracing gays as full-blown members of our society…(shoot, even Dirty Harry himself – conservative stalwart Clint Eastwood – is supporting gay marriage) clubdom has become even dumber. The gays and the straights rarely mingle in the same room as once was.

Frankie’s party is mostly gay and, of course, we love that, but there is another side of the coin as well. There are two parallel universes co-existing with one, not recognizing the existence of the other. Clubs, once so forward and influential, are more divided in lifestyle and music and ways of doing business than ever before. Congrats to Frankie for the well-deserved recognition.

On that straight front, there is rumor and innuendo on the top-tier places. I was asked by a realtor-type why I hadn’t talked about the imminent takeover of the Shadow space on 28th street. I told him I did chat with Mike Satsky of Provocateur about all that a while back, but have left it until now. Wanted to let them cross all the T’s and dot all the i’s. The realtor says its a 99 percent-done deal. In club life, when someone says it’s 99 percent done, I think there is bound to be trouble ahead. If someone says it’s 50/50 I think it might happen. 

With that in mind, my same source says there is trouble percolating at Butter Group. It’s always been brewing, but my realtor dude says that Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano are on the outs, with various scenarios being talked about. Dividing up of properties is being chatted about. In the "I can’t believe it’s not Butter" category, my first design gig Butter on Lafayette is being renovated by my ex-partner Mark Dizon. Scott seems to be gearing up to run this show and maybe the new 1OAK LA, while Richie is on The Darby and 1OAK NYC all the way. My source says 1OAK Vegas isn’t worth fighting over. How much of this is real or not, I just don’t know, but a call that I am bound to get later today should fill in the blanks.

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Confronting My Past, Present, and the Article in ‘Crain’s’

So a friend (who prefers to remain nameless) and great publicist from R.Couri Hay Creative Public Relations, handles Stash, a club I recently completed, and Elsinor, which I am finishing up. I’ve known her forever and she is the tiger you want in your tank when you need some ink … press (if you need the other ink ,a tattoo, then Three Kings or Graceland serve me… well but I digress) She pitched and placed an article about me which talks about her clients in Crain’s, and that’s a big deal. I had mixed feelings about the piece which, while blowing me up as this design hero, brought up my checkered past, including my conviction for being part of an Ecstasy sales ring while I was director of the Tunnel, Club, USA, Limelight, Palladium. It also mentions my year in prison. Some people thought this was an unfair attack, or old news, or unnecessary for the story. A debate raged on Facebook, on my phone, and in emails and among friends about the value of the article and whether it was actually a positive thing. I called her up and she gave me this spin: "Your past has helped shape who you are today, and it’s a testament to the quality of your work that you’ve remained a player in the design industry for as long as you have. Clearly, there’s no end in sight." I’m buying into that.

The reporter, Ali Elkin, was very upfront about her desire and obligation to tell it like it is. I told her it was quite alright because it is a huge part of what drives me and defines me and I have never hid from that past. She noted in the article my take on things: "Currently living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, he denies any wrongdoing."
 
The responses and Facebook posts ranged from "Shoot the messenger," to "It’s fabulous." I responded that "I yam what I yam," quoting that great poet, Popeye. I would tell you my side of that story in details, but so many have done so already, including Frank Owen in his Clubland book, which tells a story pretty close to the real. There was a little bit in there that I objected to, and my old friend Frank and I almost came to blows, and that spat resulted in a few articles here and there. We’re friends again. There is also the Limelight documentary by Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman which is coming out any day now on DVD; it really does a great job in summarizing that circus. I’m all up in that and advise you to check it out if you want more insight into that era and the circumstances of my conviction. I didn’t participate in any Ecstacy ring. I didn’t need that to fill clubs. I and the people assembled to run those clubs were the best in the business. The creativity and results of our efforts were rewarded with tens of thousands of satisfied customers who enjoyed one of the best nightlife eras.
 
The running of clubs, the wars fought , the million smiles, the million nights, the trial, the prison stint all define me as well as my relations, friends, and my little dog too. My creative abilities, as meager as they often are, come from creative freedoms earned on a hard but rewarding road. When someone hires me to design their joint, I understand the price of succeess and failure. I bring all my experience to the table. I have made a great deal of omelettes and have had to break a great many eggs as well, but it all seems worth it when I walk into The Darby, Stash, Butter, the WeSC store, or Aspen Social Club and see them occupied by people enjoying my work. It’s been almost 10 years since my first design gig. Butter was the first place I designed for people other than myself. For many years I designed the places I was going to operate, but Butter was for others. In prison, having completed Butter, I decided to design and write when I hit the streets.
 
I practiced and studied and used the time I was given to learn how to redefine myself when I got out. Now, after a decade of doing it, I am clearly happy with the Crains article, which celebrates my attempt to get up and stand up. It’s harder than I thought to live with a felony conviction. Many things you take for granted are very difficult for me, but I have no regrets. I may have lost this or that, but I earned a lot and learned a great deal about what it takes to survive. My friends have always been there. The greatest gift has been the clarity I have when I look in the mirror at the beginning or end of every day. Many have said I should have done this or done that or said this about them or that.  A thousand "whatevers, what ifs, and why nots" have been analyzed and debated till my stomach was knotted and then un-knotted with the satisfaction of doing the right thing … I wouldn’t want to change a thing. Nothing in my life, or that wonderful Crain’s article.
 
Oh, if you are going out tonight, visit me at Hotel Chantelle, or head over to Bowery Electric for Frankie Inglese’s Beahver party. This party dominated Thursdays in NYC forever before Frankie moved to LA. I cannot recall a better party. I guess any party better leave me unconscious and without memory.

From Avenue to Bantam to the Diner: The Never-Ending Night

I try not to write too much about what you already know. Everyone knows the bottle clubs, the scene clubs, the celebrity, the jet-set joints where money is no object – but then again, it is the object. These places are often considered commonplace by the common man who dwells in hipster havens and dive bars. That perception is wrong. There is validity to what these operators offer, although they aren’t all things to all people. Most people can’t afford to party there or they lack the looks or connections to pass through their velvet ropes. Once inside there is always action. Although the bottom line is the bottom line, as it is in most businesses (including the nightclub business), these clubs deliver a quality good time to their often well-know audiences. The DJs often play a set that contains crowd-pleasing, familiar tracks, but the DJs themselves are great DJs and giving the people what they want makes it fun -and what in the name of God is wrong with pleasing a crowd?

Last night I whisked myself to Avenue for club mogul Noah Tepperberg’s birthday. He co-owns a lot of places. Off the top of my head, he has pieces of Marquee (NYC, Vegas, Australia), Lavo (NYC, Vegas), Tao (NYC, Vegas), Marble Lane, Ph-D Rooftop, the aforementioned Avenue, Artichoke Pizza. There are all sorts of pool entities and spin-offs of these places now. He has many reasons to be cheerful, despite being half the man he used to be. Well, not exactly half, but he has lost a lot of weight by watching what he eats and drinks, and working out with a new trainer who Noah introduced to me last night. Avenue was packed with the beautiful, the rich, and the famous last night. The energy was through the roof. I’m not going to mention the celebrities that I saw, as that comes with the no price for admission. Avenue is a gossip-free zone and those that go know that.

We bolted into the night and popped by 1OAK, which was just getting started. A late-night rush comes from sister space The Darby Downstairs which closes early by NYC standards. The Butter Group operators, which own these properties and Butter, understand that after a while, crowds want to hop, skip, and jump elsewhere, so they engineer that hop-over to another one of their spaces. Thus, 1OAK gets a big late boost. We chatted up a looking-real-good Richie Romero and said hello to all the familiar faces of the vibrant staff as we headed into the night. We strolled to No. 8, where Amanda danced with Amy Sacco who was simply being wonderful. I hadn’t been before, as I rarely get over to this hood during the week. Currently, they aren’t open on Saturdays, but will be when the summer spins away. I loved No. 8. The music was amazing. Amy, one of the best operators in this business, was an active part of the action. At 8, I saw countless familiar faces. The crowd was mixed and adult and I loved it.

Still, the night had me moving, and we headed to The Electric Room, where Angelo made sure we were happy. Nur Kahn is in Italy with The Kills. In the past, when Nur traveled, The Electric Room often lacked…electricity. He and I talked about that a couple months ago. Last night, the place was pumping. Amanda said, and I quote, "The thing about this place is that it never compromises. When you walk in the door, you always hear great music and find yourself amongst a cool crowd.” She isn’t taking over this column, but she is spot-on about this spot. The Electric Room was fabulous.

Outside we ran into pal Dean Winters who was out causing mayhem but not as seen on TV. We chatted him up in front of the Dream Hotel, where we also ran into Limelight producer Jen Gatien. Jen, me, and mine spent an hour trading war stories and catching up. I told her she gave me yet another 15 minutes of fame as Limelight is now On Demand on Showtime. I am getting stoppedeverywhere. Someone asked me who I wanted to play me in the sure-to-come epic movie about my life, and as I looked at this silly person, I reached into my bag of stock answers for occasions like this and deadpanned the answer: “… Denzel.”

After the very brief chuckles, we headed to The Darby. I just wanted to see it in action. I occasionally pop in to see how it’s wearing and tearing. Designers do revisit their babies just to see how the fabric is holding up. Design is theoretical until a place opens. I like to see what I could have done better and what is working just fine. Dean Winters joined us at the bar and we toasted to something important to that moment. I stopped by Bantam as I headed to the Bridge. It was a classic 3am crowd of revelers enjoying the moment and the sticky liqueurs. Bantam is great for that first stop or that last stop, and not bad if you’re caught in between.

After we left and had our late-night meal at a diner, we arrived home just as the sun was coming up. We got the leash on Lulu and went to stock up on diet sodas and popcorn and such. As usual, my head hit the pillow at 6am and here I am at 10am talking to you. Someone told me yesterday that not needing sleep is the sign of a genius. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that, but if it is true I suspect that he’s a very tired genius.

Dual Groupe Split Up – Day & Night Goes On

I hear it all the time. Nightlife people say, “It’s all about relationships,” almost as often as they say, “It’s all about service.” But “relationships” is a broad term. It’s relationships with customers, staff, celebrities, P.R. firms, promotional entities, cops, robbers and relationships with lots of broads, models and other beauties. In an era where night life spaces—faced with increasing overhead— are open on more nights, and often days, it is important to have partners you can depend on. The modern nightlife entity must expand or franchise it’s brand elsewhere, like another space or city or even country. It is increasingly important to partner with like minded individuals. The successful groups like Tao, Strategic, Butter, The OneGroup, and Emm have multiple players with a common purpose.

A minute back I congratulated Dual Groupe partners Daniel and Derek Koch for their continued success and the seasonal opening of Day & Night. But I got a note from them saying they were no longer involved with Day & Night or Dual Group—they are working on something new. But as they say in showbiz “the show must go on,” and so it does. For me, the brand Dual Groupe referred to Daniel and Derek, the twin brothers, the two or duo. I got confused and I got in touch with Michael Weinstein, a Dual Groupe partner, to find out how this happened and what will happen now. Lawyers are way deep in this, so answers were expectedly guarded.

I myself was confused by the “tiff.” I assumed that Dual Groupe referred to the two, the duo that are the Koch twins. Has the public been confused? Does the public care?  
Dual Groupe started as a collaboration with Derek & Daniel, but the Day & Night brand has continued to grow without their input. The public is only interested in a quality experience, they know that they will continue to enjoy the best brunch party out there. We not only have an amazing venue in Highline Ballroom, but continue to present the biggest DJ’s and the highest energy team.

The Highline Ballroom brunch is a hit. People are going, spending money, having fun but eventually, Derek and Daniel will start a rival brunch. How will this affect you?  
We aren’t concerned. We just celebrated our 5th anniversary and the crowds consistently prove to be non-plussed by any outside noise. They are only interested in the product, not by drama. Our task is to provide that experience. Our partners at the Highline Ballroom have really turned up the offering with an amazing new sound and light system. There is nothing like it in the city. We are also looking forward to taking the show on the road; we have some exciting plans for Art Basel Miami Beach at the Ritz Carlton, St Barths for the holidays, and the Sundance Film Festival.

I’m sure that Derek and Daniel will come up with something creative, it just won’t be Day & Night.

Can you talk to the reasons why the Groupe broke up? 
Without getting into specifics because of pending litigation, I will say that there were differences of opinions as to the direction of what we do. It’s no different than any business arrangement. Sometimes people don’t agree, but how they react that makes all the difference. Sometimes things are said and done that change relationships irrevocably.

How has brunch changed nightlife?   
We truly have created a new category that many have tried to duplicate throughout the country. Restaurants from NYC to Miami to LA all offer an alternative to what we do, but none come close to what we offer. We are the archetype for this category.

Who are the faces now of Dual Groupe and what are their backgrounds?  
We have a great team. My partner Andreas Huber and I have partnered with Tsion Bensusan at Highline Ballroom. Our hosts for the brunch are Phillipe Bondon and Olivier Lubrano, both of whom have a wealth of hospitality experience. They couldn’t be more debonair or charming.

Pork, Pork, Women, and Pork at Cochon 555

The only thing that makes pork better is when you can get a sustainably raised, heritage bred pig, which is exactly what Brady Lowe, founder of Cochon 555, thinks. “Buying into heritage pork is synonymous with putting your money directly into the farmer’s pocket and creating a diversified landscape of flavor for the future, and that feels good to me,” he said. “The best part, heritage pork is not super expensive, it just takes time to find a local farmer, butcher shop or restaurant buying from these farms.”

Cochon 555 takes place on February 10th at Chelsea Piers, and there, you can see chefs showing off their skills at taking down a whole pig, and preparing a menu of pork-centric dishes for the audience. This is the fifth year they are doing it, but this time, the butcher block is made entirely of women, including Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter, Elizabeth Falkner from Krescendo, Leah Cohen of Pig and Khao, Shanna Pacifico of Back Forty West, and A Voce’s Missy Robbins.

“Five years ago it was hard to find five chefs taking in whole animals, or would stand behind their teams while they prepare a whole pig in competition for their peers,” said Lowe. “Now, look how far we’ve come, in one of the best culinary food cities in the world, an all-female cast can stand behind family farms, with their teams and turn out 36 amazing dishes of heritage pig for a good cause.”

Lowe dubbed the event 555 for, five chefs, five pigs, and five winemakers, which this year showcases Scholium Project, Elk Cove Vineyards, Greg Linn Wines, Turley Wine Cellars, and Buty Winery. Also, in honor of their fifth year anniversary, they are adding five bourbons to the list including Templeton Rye, Breckenridge Bourbon, High West, Four Roses, and my favorite, Buffalo Trace. In between sips, watch a butchering demonstration by Sara Bigelow from the Meat Hook, sample artisan cheese at the cheese bar, or root for your favorite bartender at their inaugural Punch Kings competition.

Of course, the focus is the pig, and bringing awareness the heritage breeds, of which there are about 30 (Lowe’s favorite is the Large Black), and this is just one of the 10 cities Lowe brings his snout-to-tail event to. “My goal is to provide choices to chefs and to diversify the pig landscape so life is more interesting for those of us who care,” said Lowe. “It’s important to let family farms know that we care about the choice to buy a better, more flavorful product, even if cost is higher.”

Jennifer Garner Battles Olivia Wilde in All-American Pursuit of Butter Carving

Butter, y’all! Ain’t nothin’ more American, except maybe patriotism and competition. And strippers. And Kristen Schaal (this is my America, dammit). Butter has all that and more, with an all-star cast including Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Ty Burrell, Alicia Silverstone, and Olivia Wilde. And butter carving! It’s great to see the artistic sensibility of the Midwest finally breaking into the mainstream. (Next up: deep-fried Oreos!)