Eat Some Pork Buns, Help Your Neighbors With Momofuku

As much of New York City still waits for the lights to come back on and the subway to be fully functional, more and more people are finding new ways to help their fellow city-dwellers and plenty of opportunities to join them going into the weekend. A group of running enthusiasts who were planning on running the NYC Marathon this weekend have decided to opt out of the race and go volunteer on Staten Island (where the starting line is, along with heavy devastation and fewer resources than some of the other boroughs), and more groups are encouraging runners to boycott the marathon and get their workout in by helping people instead.

If running is not your thing though, and say, drinking cocktails and eating delicious pork bao are your things, then there’s a way for you to help, too. Momofuku and Café Boulud are teaming up for a number of eat-in and dine-out events to raise money for the Red Cross, beginning right about… now. Momofuku’s downtown locations are still not quite up and running yet with the hurricane, but all proceeds from lunch and dinner at Ma Pêche in Midtown tonight will go to the Red Cross, and starting at 5 p.m., Booker and Dax’s Dave Arnold and Tristan Willey will be serving up some cocktails. And starting at noon, Milk Bar Williamsburg (with help from Noodle Bar) will feature a pop-up bar of Momofuku’s tasty, tasty buns at 2 for $10, also for the Red Cross. Maybe you can save them and eat them while watching the All-Star Celebrity Telethon happening tonight. 

And, tonight, if you’ve got $495 laying around and are quick to make a reservation, the efforts will culminate at Café Boulud at the Surrey Hotel with a special Boulud + Momofuku dinner, featuring beverages and cocktails from John Debarry and six courses, featuring dishes from Café Boulud’s Gavin Kaysen, Momofuku Ssäm Bar’s Matt Rudofker and Momofuku Ko’s Sean Gray. More information can be found on the Momofuku Tumblr

David Chang to Join Toronto’s Hotel Shangri-La

The Shangri-La Toronto is slowly starting to flex its muscles as a major downtown attraction—and it’s still only skeletons and scaffolding. The 5-star, 66 story hotel and residence tower, which straddles the Financial and Entertainment districts, it’s already causing a stir amongst locals. Anticipation has been building on Urban Toronto‘s forum, where construction progress and rumormongering have been laboriously detailed by users. The latest to come out of the construction site (and perpetuated on Twitter): David Chang has plans to open a restaurant in the hotel, joining the property for its 2012 scheduled opening.

Chang is an incredibly busy dude: ruler of the Momofuku empire (which includes Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Má Pêche, Momofuku Milk Bar and the Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko), celebrated cookbook author, culinary bad boy (a title earned after telling Anthony Bourdain that Cali chefs “don’t manipulate food, they just put figs on a plate”), and most recently, an iPad app publisher. While Chang has not made an official confirmation, he did cryptically Tweet something rather leading:

@DavidChang: hello southern ontario . . . late late 2012ish?

To which the Urban Torontoans exclaimed:

David Chang? Seriously? That’s a massive score. I’d had my fingers crossed for a Nobu, but I’ll take a Momofuku anyday.

Hopefully they don’t build up too much buzz about it, so that I’ll actually be able to get the odd reservation here and there. Major pain in the ass to get in to some of his NYC locations.

I think the other hotels are dead to me now. This is the one I’m waiting for.

This Toronto-based project would be the chef’s first restaurant outside of New York City—a major coup for Shangri-La. His restaurant is rumored to be three full levels, in construction next to the hotel’s pools on the northeast end side of the hotel.

The Dish: Má Pêche’s Bánh Mì Maison

What: Bánh Mì Maison, a three terrine sandwich, with daikon and cilantro. Where: Má Pêche. David Chang’s Momofuku Midtown outpost in the Chambers Hotel is French-Vietnamese at its best. Ideal meal: On-the-go amidst the midtown rat race, barside after work paired with a Dark and Stormy, mid-day snack just ’cause you can. Only available at the Balcony Bar (11:30 am through 11 pm). Because: Chef Tien Ho has been on board with Chang since ’06, when he jumped in as Chef de Cuisine at Ssäm Bar. Although the transition from lunch to limited dinner menu at Má Pêche has taken some time, the bar menu is accessible and, without argument, incredible. Tastes like: Pate and pork roll literally melting on your tongue, coupled with a crisp-around-the-edges, moist-in-the middle baguette. The pate is just fatty enough to make your taste buds swoon, but not greasy—and definitely memorable. Bottom line: $10. Not exorbitant, and it’s a filling sammie. Even more reasonable when you realize that most Midtowners will spend the same amount on a soggy deli roll sandwich or a meal deal at chain restaurants.