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.

Industry Insiders: Mario Tolentino, Juliet’s New Man

Mario Tolentino swept into Juliet supperclub after the departure of mega chef Todd English, and took care of some housekeeping around the joint. Now known as Juliet Kitchen and Grill, Tolentino’s serving a finger-food heavy menu inspired by international street food, and based on clever things he learned while traveling the globe over the years. The San Francisco native was a season winner on The Food Network’s show, Chopped, and spent time in the kitchen at Aqua in San Francisco. More on the apple of Juliet’s eye after the jump.

On a typical day at Juliet: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays I go to the farmer’s market. I try to get as much as I can there. We’re not doing 300 covers a night, so I can really control what food I get. I go in to do my preparation. I buy all my meats whole and do my own butchering, which is one of my favorite things to do. Then we go into service.

On the new menu: The theme of the menu is based on modern, international, ethnically-styled street food. Everything is small and comes on a skewer. It’s easy for people to eat. I completely re-launched the concept and gave it a theme that was more suitable for the club atmosphere there. That was one of the first things I had to do when I got there. We have large groups of people that come there. This isn’t the type of place where it’s like, Me and my hubby are coming for an intimate dinner. The reality of it is that people are coming here to have a good time. I want the menu to be reflective of that. When I originally came up with the concept I thought it through from top to bottom. We have to take the linen off the tables, we have to change the uniforms for the waiters, we need to change how the people are eating. I put the chopsticks in and give them roll-ups and we took the formal wine glasses off the table. It’s basically platters of canapés, very easy to eat. They’re all exotic, drawing from Asian and Latin cultures—all these warm, temperate climate cultures where it’s hot and sexy. It reflects on the type of clients that we have. On Tuesdays, we just started this new world party where we are bringing in world music and we have live instruments played. It ties the international food with international clients and the flavor of Juliet.

On his travels: I’ve lived in Hawaii, Barcelona and everywhere in between. I was always a traveler at heart, but I was always able to combine that with my passion for cooking as well. I love to cook, and the thing that facilitated traveling was the fact that I wanted to work in as many restaurants as I could, learn as much as I could, and see all different types of cultures and cuisines. It’s just something I was always passionate about since I was a kid.

On the difference in working in a nightclub/restaurant: Most of my background comes from hardcore fine dining. I was a sous chef at a two-Michelin star restaurant and at a one-Michelin star restaurant. You’re talking about extremely structured environments where everything is precise. You’re tripping out on some crazy ingredient or you’re tripping out on some modern technique that no one’s been doing too much of. At the end of the day, how much of that food do you just want to sit down and just chomp away at? I really wanted to set myself apart, and to make this about me and my experiences.

What precipitated the move to New York? My girlfriend, Julie Babin, used to live in New York. She’s a designer. She was working on projects here when we were living in Hawaii. It just wasn’t realistic for us to be there anymore.

Go-to spots: I live in the East Village, so there’s a lot of places to choose from. I eat at Momofuku all the time. Also, the other place I love to eat at is Northern Spy. I love this place called Minca Noodle Factory. It’s on 5th between A and B. Amazing. All they serve is Ramen but it’s this luxurious pork broth like none that I’ve ever tasted before.

Guilty pleasure: Candy, without a doubt. I love sour gummy candies and anything with bacon in it. Bacon and doughnuts.

Where Celebs Go Out: Sarah Palin, Andy Samberg, Judd Apatow

Sarah Palin @ the Time100 gala: It would be Double Musky in Girdwood, Alaska! ● Andy Samberg: Momofuku. ● Harvey Weinstein: I like Nobu downtown. ● Suzy Orman: Carmine’s, either on 44th or on Broadway, uptown. My favorite dish is the chicken scarpariello, I love it! ● Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann: Katsuya!

David Chang: I just had amazing cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at Per Se. So if you’re [at the Time Warner Center], there’s no reason to go anywhere else. ● Neil Patrick Harris: Oh,I’m a big Batali fan. His are some of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever been to, in my life. ● Jack Dorsey: I really like the the Boom Boom Room. Minetta Tavern is my favorite restaurant. It’s in my neighborhood. Everything on the menu is amazing. I love it. They change it so frequently. ● Jamie-Lynn Sigler at the opening party for Prime KO restaurant: I’m not much of a partier anymore. It’s more [about] a place where I can hear the people that I’m with. I live in L.A. I go to friends’ houses for game nights. Dan Tana’s is one of my favorite restaurants. Recommended: chicken parm. Izakaya restaurant–it’s Katsuya, but it’s more low key. My favorite dish there is baked crab hand roll. ● Dann Florek: Ouest–I’m a big fan of Tom Valenti’s. His signature dish is a braised short rib. You can’t have it too often. His salad is the best I’ve had on the Upper West Side. The dressing is the best–I think it’s a red wine parmesan vinaigrette. I also like Bar Bao and Calle Ocho. ● Jason Binn, founder of Niche Media Holdings: We’re a big fan of Joey Allaham. We had a staycation in Manhattan. We stayed at the St. Regis and went to the Oak Room.

Industry Insiders: Michaelangelo L’Acqua, Global Warming

When Michaelangelo L’Acqua first entered the high stakes world of music-meets-high-fashion, he couldn’t have been more blissfully unaware. L’Acqua has spent a decade working with designers like Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, John Varvatos, Jil Sander, Chanel and Diane von Furstenberg on nearly 150 fashion shows and 200 commercials. L’Acqua is far from naïve about the industry, and as a seasoned vet in an ever-thinning circle, he’s diving into his new position as the W Hotels’ first ever Global Music Director with unbridled enthusiasm and bohemian sensibilities. L’Acqua has been busy producing the W’s 8th CD, crafting a digital mark for the brand and drumming up more than a few live performances. More on L’Acqua’s W plans, history in the industry and memories of the “velvet mafia” after the jump.

Fashion backstory: I used to play in funk and soul bands. Then, I wanted to be part of the bigger picture so I moved into production. After I’d been producing music for a while, I got invited to produce a Cynthia Rowley fashion show with my old partner who didn’t know anything about producing. We did a bunch of remixes for the show, and the next thing we know, a production company called Kevin Kline and Associates heard about the remixes and how people were just going nuts about them. They asked me to audition, and then, I was on a plane to meet this guy Tom Ford. I had no clue who he was. When I landed in Paris, I turned to my old partner and said, “How is he related to Ford trucks?”

On Tom Ford: When I met him, I was like, “Hey, Buddy! How you doing?” Everybody else was like, “We don’t look at him in the eye directly. You have to have a ten foot distance away from him at all times.” Working for Tom was one of the most intense moments of my entire life in the creative world. He’s a man who had such unbelievable vision in what he wanted to accomplish in fashion and in life. When I started, it was one of the largest moments in fashion. It was the passing of the torch. Yves Saint Laurent was just stepping down. Saint Laurent hated Tom Ford because he thought he was selling out to a person who wasn’t like Saint Laurent. He was such an epic character and Tom was more of a marketing genius. Tom acquires the most talented people in the world and orchestrates them to create his vision. For me not to have known anything about fashion and then thrust into that world was insane! I’d have to create a soundtrack like a score for a film and visualize it from the words that Tom would say. He’s the only other man that made me cry other than my father. He’d refuse the word “I can’t.” I used to say, “I can’t do this!” He’d just look at me and say, “That’s not part of my vocabulary. You’re gonna do it or you’re back to oblivion.” Every move you made could be your last, but if you did what he wanted, you were like a prized dog.

Career highlights: One was the first season of Gucci where Tom was inspired by the movie Magnolia , and I did remixes of Aimee Mann songs for the show. The level of attention we received having no one know who we were at the moment was incredible. Then, the first season of Yves Saint Laurent when Yves Saint Laurent stepped down, everybody was waiting for that show. There were people who were expecting Tom to fail and people who were expecting Tom to be the next God. We were told, “If you fuck this up, not only will you never work in fashion again, but we’ll probably break you. We’re gonna get the velvet mafia on you and you’ll be in some ditch somewhere.” Other shows that stand out are John Varvatos when he won the CFDA Award for Men’s Designer of the Year. We did the show in Florence, and it was this America rock icon show inside of an abandoned church that had been burned out. We opened it up with Jimmy Hendrix playing “Star Spangled Banner.” Every single person in that room just had chills straight down to their toes.

On DJing: I grew up in a time when you had to be the baddest motherfucker on the block. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t get the job and you never got hired again. Now, it’s changed. A lot of it is about who looks good in a skinny tie and all this other shit. I watch DJs, and it’s not about the skill that they put into their craft. I still approach it like the years where I was an artist or a musician. I wish more kids put more time into their craft these days.

Favorite DJ’s: There’s this one guy, Lincoln Madley. He’s a slick little brother–plays everything and his knowledge of music is phenomenal. There are a couple guys I like in the city. One guy’s named Jesse Marco. He’s real good. There’s another guy named Ian Boyd who is really good. And, my old friend Jordy.

On being the Global Music Director for W Hotels: It’s the culmination, the convergence of all the things that I do and that I have done. From working with advertising agencies, in fashion and scoring commercials, producing records, behind the scenes executive producing to managing egos and talent in the corporate mindset. I find myself working with the W at a time when the industry’s completely falling apart. There are no rules anymore. Whatever worked three years ago, chances are, is not working now. I feel like an artist. I’m a creative person who can just throw some stuff up on the wall creatively. Then, pick the pieces that mechanically work well together. Present it with a partner like the W and say, “This is the direction we can go.” People are now being forced to be more creative and let go of the institution or they’ll sink with the institution. I feel I’ve never been more creative in my life than right now. Working with the W has given me the platform to really help them have a voice out there.

Current projects: We’ve just launched a new record, Symmetry, and I’m in motion to prepare for the next record. I think we’re gonna depart from your standard compilation. We’re taking it more into original content. Within that, it’s developing the relationships and identifying the right artists that could be a part of this record. That’s a day-to-day project even though it may be nine months out. Then, we have the Symmetry live events. We start the first one in Los Angeles with Janelle Monae. We might be doing something with Kelis in Miami for swim week. We’re developing our DJ series, as well. So, we’ll do record release parties and we’ll pull in maybe Golden Filter, maybe Aeroplane in six or seven different cities throughout the US. We’re working hard to develop our digital initiative so that we can come out in 2011 with a whole new interactive platform.

Go-to places: I love places like Bianca and Florio’s, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Barrio Chino, all these Lower East Side joints. La Esquina. There’s a bar called Ella on the Lower East Side that my friends own. I’m excited for the Downtown W, happening in the next few weeks.

Side gigs: I’m producing a festival in Southampton in August. We secured the rights to the land and it’ll be a 1000 to 1500 person festival. An all-day event with ten bands of epic proportion. Then, I’m producing a Mafia Opera that I’ve been writing. It’s a cross between Tony and Tina’s Wedding and Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s an homage to Martin Scorsese’s mafia films. I’m hoping to premiere in August at a place like The Box. The project’s called Tommy Shine Box and The Mirrors. Everybody sings.

Industry Insiders: Martial Vivot, Mane Man

Martial Vivot runs the sophisticated but unstuffy Martial Vivot Salon Pour Hommes next to the MoMA in midtown Manhattan. The gentleman’s-only salon boasts an intimate waiting room complete with a stocked bar and an outdoor terrace. French-born Vivot modeled his namesake business as a calm sanctuary for his clients to meet one-on-one with a stylist, improve their look and walk out feeling fulfilled. Men love it, including Vivot’s hush-hush celebrity clientele. More on the coiffure master after the jump.

On early inspiration: When I was 13 and in school, I took a girl’s ponytail that sat in the front row and sliced it off! I’m not kidding, that was my first haircut.

American v.s. French salons: I stopped going to traditional school when I was 15 years old to study being a stylist. The whole process is much different in France than in America. To cut hair in a French salon, first you have to get the first license it takes you three years of work and school, then you need two more years to be a salon owner and one more year to be able to teach. In America the program is one year and you can even get a license in six months from what I understand.

On his mentor: I’m from a very small town, like 1,500 people. I didn’t know at the time but the gentleman I worked with, Alain Chevalier of the Coifferies de Ver- sailles salon, was doing very well in Paris and got tired of the city and moved to the countryside. So, when I decided to be an apprentice I actually came to his door, and I was lucky to be in a small town working for someone with such great knowledge of our work. He was the one who prepared me for all the contests and taught me the basics. We have an apprentice contest in France, and in maybe 1987, I won for the whole east of France.

On finding the ideal space: Sometimes when you’re apartment hunting or looking for a space you’ll find one, and it’s not the biggest, its not the smallest, but you get in and its just like, “Hmmm, this feels good.” This is what happened here. There are three elements in the salon, which are stone, wood and metal. When those three elements are around you, you feel better, the balance is better and your spirits are better.

The all-male clientele concept: I felt like the men were a left on the side in that whole beauty/hair environment. There used to be only two ways for a man to get a haircut: go to a unisex salon or go to a barbershop. The barbershop is really as good as it gets. Not too much styling, it’s more like a simple cleanup. I wanted to keep the barbershop feeling because that’s what we are. In America when you do men’s, you’re a barber, but we provide the services that you’d normally have to go to the unisex salons to get done — like coloring and relaxers. I love to do women’s hair but, there are a lot of women’s stylists already in town and a lot of them are doing a really good job.

The worst part about opening your own business: Let’s face it, what is it that I like to do most? Cutting hair. When you open a business, your mind is so busy with all of the other aspects of the business. It takes so much to make sure everybody is in place and the harmony is in tune. Once everybody is in tune and it works well, then you can go back to what you like to do.

On finding time for field work: I’m definitely more of a salon person. But of course, when the opportunity to work on a photo shoot comes to me, I’ll take it. We like to style hair so when on top of it you can get published, it’s better for us. Even for editorial, I only do men. Always.

On keeping the celebs coming in: We do have some big celebrity clientele, but I don’t like to use them as a go getter. I think it’s very tacky. If you really want a celebrity to come back to your place, you don’t speak about them. If they want to speak about us, I’m more than happy for that.

On finding inspiration: I find it on the street. I love the subway, surprisingly. It’s a very good place for me to look at clothing and hair.

Go-to places in New York: When it comes to dining, I’m pretty fancy. I love food and I love lots of it. From the basic Blue Ribbon to Daniel. I love L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the Four Seasons, Corton and Momofuku. Of course, I prefer French chefs because I’m very much in love with French food.

Industry Insiders: David Chang, Chef Afire

A few years ago, a little restaurant called Momofuku Noodle Bar tucked itself into an East Village storefront. There was buzz over noodles, pork buns, a consistent gaggle of wait-listed patrons out front, and an of-the-minute, Pitchfork-grade music selection. The proprietor? This David Chang guy, this chef who couldn’t complete an interview without being self-depreciating to a fault, or throwing in an expletive or nine. Cut to present: Chang’s interview style hasn’t changed. His business has.

He conquered the East Village via a Ssäm Bar, a Milk Bar, and Ko—one of the hottest reservations in town, moved to the old Noodle Bar space—with his next mission being midtown, he’s gone from chef to full-on restaurateur. He recently took part in the “Four Fucking Dinners,” hosting some of the world’s most acclaimed chefs in his kitchens. He’s got a cookbook coming out, co-written by former New York Times $25 and Under critic Peter Meehan. And he’s participating in French food movement/magazine Le Fooding’s takeover of New York next week. We caught him for a few minutes to wax poetic on Le Fooding, fried chicken, the cookbook, cooking critics, and how Chang’s holding up between it all.

How’d you get involved with Le Fooding? I heard about Le Fooding through my friend Mauro Colagreco, who is a chef at Mirazur in France. He’d done some events with them and they approached me in New York last summer. I was pretty amazed that [Le Fooding’s] Alexander Cammas had moved his entire family here to make sure that it would take off.

How will this food festival will differ from others in New York? It’s a different spin. I hate doing events where you basically just serve something, and then people get drunk. They’re almost all the same. This one’s a collaboration of artists, musicians. It has a lot going on for it. Food’s the afterthought, but not really. It’s more of an event to get together and do something cool. On our end, it’s been organized very well.

What will you prepare? We’re trying to keep it simple. We’ll probably do a pulled pork, put it on some lettuce, and figure it out from there. Some type of variation of a Bo Ssäm. There needs to be some ease to what we do, but it still has to be delicious.

Tell us about the Four Fucking Dinners. In French, it translated to something like, ‘to eat fucking dinner.’ That was how it happened. It was a literal translation. It was all set up by Omnivore. We just figured out where was best to put who. Wylie has the beautiful kitchen, so at wd-50, they’re getting the Godfather, Michel Bras. We thought Ko is small, so it was perfect for Pascal Barbot. It really wasn’t that hard for us to decide. It’s exciting to have these chefs; I just hope we don’t fuck up their food.

How would that happen? Anytime you’re cooking in someone else’s kitchen, it’s tough on both parties. We’ve never worked together and I think everyone’s bringing their sous chefs, which is a challenge, logistically. Everyone wants to serve the best product possible. You have five chefs coming, that all have incredibly high standards, so we’re going to try to be of assistance to them and not a hindrance.

Are you surprised at the way the fried chicken dinners took off? Very much.

Locanda Verde now has a fried chicken dinner, did you ignite a trend? No, I know that they were all doing it independently. I had no idea that Andrew Carmellini was going to do it. I didn’t think that the other chicken we wanted would be an Old Bay spiced chicken. I knew that it would draw inevitable comparisons to Andrew’s chicken that he cooked at Café, which was amazing.

You told Alan Richman, GQ Food Critic, to ‘open up his own fucking restaurant’. Do you think he could? No, it was more just to be like, “I love you, Alan, but shut the fuck up.”

How did you get set up with Peter Meehan for your cookbook? Pete and I became friends over the years. I never knew who he was when he started coming into the restaurant, until Mark Bittman accidentally told me. Then I was like: “You’re the motherfucker who reviews restaurants.” He’d always come in for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. He looked familiar, but I never knew that he was the Peter Meehan. I don’t know if we’d actually be friends if it weren’t for Mark Bittman, but we might have bumped into each other at a concert because we have similar musical taste. That’s how I met Peter Meehan, or at least figured out who the hell he was. Most things I do get a lot of attention, the less I do, the better it turns out. Pete really took charge (with the cookbook). Everyone helped, and Pete had a tremendous amount of work and he put it all together. If it’s a great book, it’s all Peter. If it’s a dud, it’s all my fault.

What’s up with Momofuku Midtown? We’re trying to get it ready and still trying to find a name. It’ll open late-Fall or early-Winter.

Are you over-extended? I do feel over-extended. We have a great staff, I’m not working the line every night. The midtown show is really Tien Ho’s project. I’m just going to be there in a supporting role for whatever he needs. I’m not necessarily bored, I’m just constantly trying something new with the rest of the restaurants. This year’s particularly trying in terms of events and scheduling, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. I don’t plan on having this hectic of a schedule again. Ideally, I’d like to not do so many events. But this might be how it is for the rest of the time, no one’s told me how things are supposed to be. I don’t know if it’s over-extended, but we want success, and I didn’t realize the baggage that came with that. It’s certainly surreal and weird.

What’s the key to keeping the dynasty afloat? I think that we need to hold ourselves to a high accountability, don’t believe the press, and we’re only as good as our last dish. We just need to keep pushing to get better everyday, and stay as humble.

What’s your fall drink? When fall and winter come around, I hit the brown stuff. Bourbon, usually Pappy Van Winkle‘s. 15 year and if I’m lucky, 20 year.

Where are you going out? I go to bars less and less these days. I always try to keep up to date with what Wylie is doing at wd. 15 East is great for sushi. I’d go to Sushi Yasuda all the time if it wasn’t in midtown, and Oriental Garden.

Industry Insiders: The Six Six Sick Girls

Tiffany Gong and Christina Rodriguez are fashion freelancers and jewelry designers for their line, Triskaidekaphobia (which means fear of the number 13) by day and the Six Six Sick girls by night. After hosting a Tuesday night party at New York’s Happy Ending bar, the girls started a following full of fashion panache and eccentric party-goers. Their current gigs include heading up private events and weekly parties at the Tribeca Grand and Webster Hall, BEast . They’ll be throwing a Chictopia fashion week event at BEast this evening, and will have a night at Butter starting Friday, September 25th.

What are your dayjobs? Tiffany Gong: For day jobs right now, we’re both working on our jewelry line, Triskaidekaphobia. Christina Rodriguez: And we freelance anything in the fashion industry; across the board.

How did you meet? TG: We both interned at Anna Sui right after Christina moved here. CR: I moved here for that internship so she was the very first person I met in New York. TG: It was my first job in the fashion industry—four or five years ago. The best thing about that job was meeting Christina.

How did you go from having an internship in fashion to acquiring a fashion-forward entourage as party promoters? TG: It was pretty gradual. Both of us used to go out a lot. We still party a lot, obviously. CR: It was part of my dream: going wild in the city. We had to. TG: We’d been going out for a couple of years when we finally decided, “Why don’t we just throw our own party?” Somebody was giving up their party at Happy Endings on Tuesdays and we ended up taking over because went to that party all the time and didn’t want it to end. From there it just grew and we started promoting other parties. CR: We wanted to do something different and we used it as an excuse to make crazy costumes and wear crazy things and experiment. I always wanted to make an outfit out of disposable gloves, so we were like, “Okay, let’s just do it.”

The best part of your fashion-forward parties? TG: It’s been our forum for expressing ourselves in a non-commercial way. As designers, you think about your customer and designing for the other person, but this has always been for ourselves. Whatever we wanted. We don’t care what other people think about us, we don’t care about how ridiculous we look, it’s just about enjoying. Not only wearing these outfits out, but also the process of making it with your best friends and collaborating on ideas together which has been a big part of it. I think after working on those outfits, we’ve been able to take that energy and direct it towards an edgier line because we knew we could work so well together.We’ve gotten away with wearing a lot of really crazy, absurd things.

Where is the name Six Six Sick girls from? CR: It’s from an album that I use to listen to all the time called Six Six Six: Sick Sick Sick (by Current 93). At first, there were three of us and we always used to use the word ‘sick’ as an adjective for everything.

What happened to the third member, Feng Feng? TG: She left over a year-and-a-half ago. It’s really difficult to do it so much with a day job. CR: She just started to get burned out. TG: Which is easy to do, I actually quit my day job because I was doing so much in nightlife. Honestly, I realized I was making more from doing my parties and hosting than my day job—which is kind of sad. To be able to do what we do three to four nights a week is difficult to do with a day job without getting completely burnt out after awhile.

How did you establish a loyal following? TG: We have a core group of people who will always come out for us. On one hand, people think it’s easy to be a promoter, because you just go out all the time. But our job is to make sure the right kind of people are coming in and having a good time. Some nights, they expect 20 people and some nights, it’s 50 people. To be able to get that numerous nights a week is actually quite difficult.

How do you deliver? TG: We have a really good, large core group of friends who rotate. A lot of them come out on multiple nights. We’re lucky in that, even before we started getting paid to promote, we had a big group.

What are some of your favorite spots? CR: I love BEast. TG: We hang out there all the time even when we’re not working. That’s where all our friends are. I love Momofuku. We like to go to White Slab a lot.

What would you like to change about New York nightlife? CR: We recently did a party where a dance troupe, Dangerkat, performed. That made me really excited to go out again. I want more people to go crazy and do weird, creative things like that. Their costumes were amazing. TG: So many of my friends who come from different places and my husband—who is Swedish—complain that, “New York isn’t like Berlin where everyone goes crazy, and that doesn’t happen in New York.” I don’t think that’s true. It’s happening, but you need to know where it is.

Where do your fashion ideas come from? TG: A lot of them are based on runway pieces that we’re obsessed with. High fashion isn’t necessarily accessible for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t create something that’s dually expressive. We like Margiela, Commes des Garcons, Alexander McQueen. CR: We specifically go for the show pieces that they don’t put into production, that are way too crazy for anyone to wear.

Anyone who doesn’t appreciate your fashion choices? CR: Not really. Most of the time, we’re like, “Do you think that I don’t know that I look crazy? I know.” TG: The thing we wore that got the most response were these PVC beret hats from Opening Ceremony. CR: They looked like a Hershey’s Kiss and everywhere we went wearing them—people were touching them, trying them on. We also made an outfit out of Twister board. It was a Tutu out of Twister board material and the top was a bra with two colored dots. We thought of it as disposable clothing. You wear it once, look great and get rid of it.

What is it about New York that provides a forum for creative fashion? TG: What makes New York different is that it’s so large and there’s a place for everybody. If you go to a smaller city, it’s more cliquey, more insulated. No matter how freaky you are, or crazy you are, in New York, you’ll find friends and you’ll find a place for yourself. People here are so open and willing and enjoy making new friends. CR: I didn’t know anyone when I moved here and I feel like I fit in here better than I did in my hometown. This will always be home base for me.

What are your favorite stores? CR: Opening Ceremony, Barneys, Screaming Mimi’s, About Glamour in Brooklyn. TG: Project No. 8, Pixie Market on the Lower East Side, Assembly.

Photo: Jeffrey Kilmer

New York: Top 10 Frozen Cocktails

Macondo (Lower East Side) – Hero to gourmand alkies everywhere, Junior Merino has gone and done it again. His Aguacate and Mescal at Rayuela’s younger, cheaper, funner sis is probably the greatest thing to ever muck up a blender. Creamy fresh avocado, sweet agave nectar, and Scorpion mescal by the frosty, puke-green pitcher. ● Momofuku Noodle Bar (East Village) – The porky ramen bar takes 7-Eleven to school, son, with its watermelon lemonade Soju Slushie. Big gulp a couple and marvel at how all the blond wood is like getting smashed inside somebody’s cool balsa architecture project. Brain freeze! ● Rusty Knot (West Village) – Named after the most disgusting sex act ever, the eponymous frozen mojito is also a kitschy tiki classic. Spotted Pig via Key West is the perfect camped-out cruise — supplement your plastic cup of rum-n-sugar with a pig in a blanket and sunset over the West Side Highway. Only thing missing is Gavin MacLeod.

El Quinto Pino (Chelsea) – Who needs tables when you’ve got frozen basil gin lemonade? The tall, sallow, and icy Pomada manages to complement both the crack-esque sea urchin panini and the cracked-out crazy of the sardined crowd. Throwing drug dealer etiquette to the wind, the first one, unfortunately, is not on the house. ● Brooklyn Bowl (Williamsburg) – Bowling just screams margaritas, doesn’t it, hipsters? New Billyburg pin spot’s Prophet’s Margarita is un-disgusting machine slush with optional fresh strawberry topping. Sixteen lanes for rolling, flatscreens above the alleys, food from Blue Ribbon, swank settees, all distract from frozen ‘rita gutterballs. ● Matsuri at the Maritime Hotel (Chelsea) – Gorgeous, modelicious mega-room throws some bling in the blender. Asti and Riesling class up oxymoronic frozen bubbly known as the Golden Pavilion, served in a flute and floating with gold leaf. Akin to $500 jeans and grilling grass-fed bison. You fancy. ● Rosa Mexicano (Union Square) – Satisfy your equally contradictory posh-Mexican cravings with a Frozen Pomegranate Margarita. Vague Chili’s undercurrent, but like the Big Pepper, doesn’t skimp on el diablo (tequila). Get sloppy enough to be totally, totally okay with $19 chicken tacos. ● Habana Outpost (Fort Greene) – Enviro chic spin-off New Faces Soho café, save a buck on your frozen margarita by bicycling the blender yourself. Flaunt your street cred — shun plain Jane mango and strawberry for vaguely exotic guava. Best recycled-wood picnic table, solar-powered, parking lot drunk ever. ● Daddy’s (Williamsburg) – Who’s yours now? asks the ingenious Margerveza—beer frothed with margarita slush. Goes down dreamy on the small outdoor patio of this little pocket of cool near the borough-slicing BQE. Just don’t get so biquored you lay in the dirt-filled bathtub, nastypants. ● Dos Caminos Soho (Soho) – Join the pretties in the caged patio slurping Prickly Pear Margaritas. Practice looking bored, and later, sober. Try not to dribble on your best after-dark costume. Will require your strongest Pedialite/crushed aspirin hangover cure come manana.

Gramercy Park Hotel: Most Overpriced Drink in New York?

As someone with a roommate who tends bar at Dutch Kills, and another who works door at its West Village cousin Little Branch, I’ve been privileged to sample a lot of carefully concocted cocktails lately, filled with as much blood and sweat as they are with gin and orange bitters. These are precise, creative libations worth every penny of the $12 ($9 at Dutch Kills people!) you dole out. That’s why, when a bartender at the Roof Club of the Gramercy Park Hotel charged me $20 for a vodka soda , I wanted to spit up the beverage all over my nice clean boat shoes.

It was the other night, at Nick Cohen’s promotional thingamajig for his Upper Echelon Shoes collection — and it wasn’t $20, it was actually $19, but it stung like hell (especially because I ordered thinking the bar was open). My girlfriend ordered one too, bringing our total to $38. With our own eyes, we watched the bartender toss in some ice, pour an ounce or two of Grey Goose, and finish it off with a splash of soda and a wedge of lemon. When we found out the price, my girlfriend sheepishly asked if we could return them. We couldn’t. I understand it is my privilege to be amongst the beautiful set at the admittedly magical salon-like terrace, but dropping a twenty on a yawn of a cocktail is nothing but buzz murder. Rose Bar creative director Nur Khan was nearby when it went down, and I know he’s not (fully) responsible for this blasphemy, but I felt like going up to him, collapsing into his arms, and sobbing like a lost toddler at the mall. I ask of you, is this the most overpriced drink in the city? Here are some New York treats that are cheaper than the vodka soda at the Roof Club, and way more worth it.

The Queens Park Swizzle, Dutch Kills ($9). ● Cheeseburger, at The Spotted Pig ($17). ● Ramen, Momofuku Noodle Bar ($16). ● The Woody Allen sandwich, Carnegie Deli ($17.95). ● A pitcher of Blanche de Bruxelles Witbier, Radegast Hall & Biergarten ($18). ● Oaxaca Old-Fashioned, Death & Co ($13). ● Porchetta sandwich, Porchetta ($9). ● Kobe Beef Sashimi, Scarpetta ($16).