Archives: April 2009

2009 James Beard Foundation Awards

2009 James Beard Foundation Awards

The James Beard Foundation Awards shine a spotlight on the best and brightest talent in the food and beverage industry. Covering all aspects of the industry—from chefs and restaurateurs to cookbook authors and food journalists to restaurant designers and architects and more—the James Beard Foundation Awards are the highest honors for food and beverage professionals working in America. The awards are presented each spring at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Nominees and winners are fêted at a weekend of gala events in New York City that has become the social and gastronomic highlight of the year.

No where has the power and influence of women in the food industry been more recognized than at the James Beard Foundation, where more than 350 medallions have been awarded to women during the 19-year history of the Awards. There are more talented and successful women than ever before in all aspects of the food and hospitality world, from chefs to farmers, pastry chefs to bread bakers, winemakers to cheese makers, and more. At this year’s Awards, the James Beard Foundation will be celebrating these women who serve as role models for future generations and who help make our world more delicious every day. At the Media Awards Dinner and Gala Reception celebrations, women from various areas of the culinary industry and from across the country will be represented.

2009 James Beard Foundation Awards

Hosts for this year's event will be Iron Chef, Cat Cora, JBF Award Winner, Emeril Lagasse, and Award-Winning Actor, Stanley Tucci. The Awards Ceremony at Avery Fisher Hall will be immediately followed by a Gala Reception that will feature dishes created by America’s greatest female chefs, many of whom will highlight products grown and made by women producers. This walk-around tasting event on the Promenade and Lobby levels of Avery Fischer Hall will showcase female chefs, winemakers, mixologists, and sommeliers—all of whom represent the depth and breadth of America’s culinary landscape.

Expected guests include Martha Stewart, Mario Batali, Lorraine Bracco, Katie Lee Joel, Joe Bastianich, David Chang, Drew Nieporent, Grant Achatz, José Andrés, Danny Meyer, Todd English, Donatella Arpaia, Carey Lowell, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Michelle Bernstein, Ming Tsai, Traci Des Jardins and many more.

    2009 James Beard Foundation Awards
  • Date: Monday, May 4, 2009

  • Time: Awards Ceremony begins at 6:00 P.M.

  • Venue: Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center

  •                 10 Lincoln Center Plaza
                    (Columbus Avenue and 65th Street)
                    New York, NY

  • Dress: Black Tie

  • Tickets: From $450.00
                      To purchase, call 212.925.0054 or email

  • Website:

Start Spreading The News! Liza Minnelli Kicks Off Memorial Day Weekend at Guild Hall

Photo: Liza Minnelli To Re-Open Guild Hall
Following two long years of extensive renovations, Guild Hall is officially re-opening The John Drew Theater this Memorial Day Weekend. An event this anticipated, in a theater this historic, requires a legendary performance to usher in a new era for this beloved venue. That performance will come from none other than the iconic, incomparable...

Liza Minnelli!

Fresh from her sold-out Broadway show, Liza will re-open the John Drew Theater with a live performance on Saturday, May 23rd. The always amazing, renowned pianist and musical director, Billy Strich, will be joining Liza in this not-to-missed event. Following the performance, Guild Hall will be welcoming Gala ticket holders to an intimate dinner on the Gardiner’s James Lane property.

Guild Hall will be celebrating their Grand Re-Opening all weekend with A-List hosts and guests. The celebrations will officially kick off Friday evening, May 22nd, with Alec Baldwin hosting the inauguration of the first-ever Guild Hall summer series of films for the Hamptons International Film Festival.

On Sunday, May 24th, the community is invited to attend the official Grand Re-Opening Ceremony, which will offer guests an entire day of free family-friendly events including a marathon of live bands, admission to the Artist Members Exhibition, children's art workshops, as well as light refreshments in the gardens.

Countdown to Surf Lodge: Only 15 Days To Go

Photo: Back Tables, The Surf Lodge, Montauk

No need to wait until Memorial Day if you're looking forward to returning to the breezy deck of The Surf Lodge in Montauk.

The Surf Lodge, the 32-room hotel, restaurant and bar that took the east-end by storm last summer, will be re-opening on Friday, May 15th. We look forward to posting Surf Lodge's plans for opening night, as well as their Memorial Day weekend highlights, in the coming days.

Until then, we'll be counting down the days along with you until we're back to watching sunsets and sipping Red Stripe as the sound of the steel drums wash over the beach.

(Oh, how I've missed Sundays!)

Photo: Entrance, The Surf Lodge, Montauk

Open Casting Call: Southampton

From Grant Wilfley Casting:
Grant Wilfley Casting is seeking Hampton locals to appear as extras on the new USA Network television show “Royal Pains.”

Seeking upscale Hampton types of all ages and ethnicities.

An open casting call will be held on Sunday, May 3, 2009 from noon to 4pm at Southampton High School Auditorium, 70 Leland Lane, Southampton, NY 11968.

No experience necessary. Be prepared to have a digital photo taken.

AFTRA members are welcome to attend.

Related Posts:
Casting Call: Royal Pains Looking For Extras
Oheka Castle Has Royal Pains
Watch USA's promo for Royal Pains!

Welcome Back, Jay!

Emeril Lagasse: Grillin' & Greetin'

Photo: Emeril LaGasse releases Emeril at Grill: A Cookbook For All Sesons.
BAM-tastic Chef Emeril Lagasse will be releasing his new cookbook today, Emeril at the Grill: A Cookbook for All Seasons (HarperCollins/April 2009). This marks the 13th cookbook for the celebrity chef and restaurateur, and the first in a new series of ten paperback cookbooks.

Emeril at the Grill offers more than 150 recipes to take to your barbeque this summer, many of which are inspired by a "wide variety of cuisines," like his Sambal Shrimp and Jerk Chicken with Gingered BBQ Drizzle.

In addition to his big-flavored, mouth watering grillables, Emeril also includes recipes for deserts and drinks -- including Mango-Basil Freeze Pops, Melon & Pineapple Agua Fresca and a Summery Citrus, Ginger & Raspberry Punch.

Emeril will be kicking off his book signing tour here in New York on May 6th & 11th, but first, he'll join Cat Cora and Stanley Tucci as host of the 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on May 4th.

For more info on the all-star awards gala, and for book signing dates outside of New York, click on over to And while you're there, be sure to check out his recipe for Watermelon Granita. It's a refreshing, sweet treat that begs to enjoyed on sultry summer day!

Emeril Lagasse Book Signing Dates: Barnes & Noble, Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove, New York and Borders on Broadway, NYC

Celebrity Tweet of the Day

Joan & Melissa: Meltdown After The Boardroom

Photo: Melissa Rivers - The Celebrity Apprentice - NBC

"You're fired!"

That's all it took to make Melissa Rivers loose it on last night's The Celebrity Apprentice.

And by loose, we me looooooose it!

After The Donald fired Melissa -- from a charity based reality show might I add -- Melissa and mother Joan both made their grand exit. But not the kind of exit you'd expect from a showbiz veteran like Joan Rivers, or even from her old-enough-to-know-better daughter.

"Whore pit vipers" were among the few choice parting words Melissa had for Annie Duke and Brande Roderick, the remaining Celebrity Apprentice team mates whom Melissa feels maligned her and "set up a cabal" to get her fired. Joan concurred and pointed out the dastardly duo were also "Nazi's" and "white trash."

Ah, nothing like leaving with a little dignity and your head held high.

Fans Trade The Beach For The Iron Chef

Photo: Bobby Flay poses with fans at his book signing at Bobby's Burger Palace.When yesterday's temp hit an unbelievable 90 degrees, we expected to see a smaller-than-usual crowd gathered outside of Bobby's Burger Palace, where Food Network star Bobby Flay was signing copies of his new book. With summer-like weather finally taking the chill out of the air, we just knew folks would be trading books for beaches. But boy, were we wrong.

To our surprise, the crowds were endless! Fans began arriving at Barnes & Noble's at the Smith Haven Mall as early as 9:30 AM for Bobby Flay's 1:00 PM book signing across the way at his restaurant. To Barnes & Noble's credit, they anticipated the long lines and relentless heat and had a timed system ready to go. People were issued numbers, in groups, so rather than standing in line for 4 hours, you could simply come back at your assigned group time. It was a system much appreciated by the folks we spoke with.

Barbara Moore, who drove in all the way from Staten Island to see her "favorite chef," said she loved the opportunity to spend her "wait time" shopping in the mall. Barbara arrived at Barnes & Noble shortly after 11:00 AM and received a number in the 3:15 group. She spent that time shopping with her two daughters for "summer clothes and sandals" and was whisked right into Bobby's Burger Palace when she returned at her assigned time. Barbara's kids enjoyed meeting the burger master almost as much as she did, asking him more than once if he was "really that cooker on TV."

We had so much fun meeting Barbara and her girls, who became too camera shy to pose for pictures, we decided to check in with a few locals and see what they thought of Bobby Flay and the hottest burger joint in town.

Remembering The Great Bea Arthur

Photo: Bea Arthur Remembered

Bea Arthur: May 13, 1922 – April 25, 2009

With the sad news of Bea Arthur's passing this weekend, we wanted to show our love for the iconic actress who began delighting audiences back in the late 40's at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. We could think of no better to pay tribute to this amazing woman than to share with you some of our favorite Bea Arthur moments -- including scenes from episodes of Maude, candid interviews and some Golden Girls highlights.

The Borrowed Blog: Weekly Roundup

Photo: Joy Behar and Joy Behar (aka Fred Armisen) on The View.It's been a crazy week around here, so we have a lot to catch up on!

Let's kick things off with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie shopping for groceries...

It's hard to believe something so mundane is headline grabbing news, but apparently seeing Brangelina in frozen foods is enough to cause a four cart pile-up.

Earlier this week the power couple played the role of "normal" and graced a Long Island Stop & Shop with two of their six children. But no worries for our male readers -- Angie isn't taking life as a suburban housewife to the extreme. There were no pony tails and yoga pants for this starlet.

Nightclub impresarios Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss are expanding their empire. The two have teamed up with Danny A to open "Avenue" on 10th in Chelsea. Page Six reports the new club will feature "lots of seating, no dancing" and a 275 person capacity, raising its exclusivity to a level where it won't even need signage.

The newly picked up USA Network series, Royal Pains, is back on Long Island for a summer of filming. They kicked things off with a multi-day, rainy as hell, shoot at Old Westbury Gardens earlier in the week, where we cut our way through the fog to visit them on set. Cast and crew must surely be enjoying the break in the weather, as today they begin filming scenes on Jones Beach.

Speaking of weather, this weekend's high temps meant an early influx of seasonal inhabitants in the Hamptons. Beaches and restaurants got such an early rush, even daytime talk show darling Joy Behar twittered she had to --gasp-- wait for a table. If you listen carefully, you can hear Fred Armisen saying, "So what, who cares."

Bethenny Frankel, who's still riding high from the best-seller success of her first book, Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself From a Lifetime of Dieting (Fireside/ March 2009), has spent the past week begging fans of her hit show, The Real Housewives of New York City, to vote for her on Bravo's online A-List Fashion Show Awards. But her motives are much more altruistic than they sound. Frankel is desperately seeking a first place win so the $10,000 award can go to her favorite charity, The Children's Tumor Foundation. You can vote for Bethenny, who is currently in first place, by visiting BravoTV.

And finally, Liz Smith, the self-proclaimed “2000-year-old gossip columnist,” has blogged a rundown of “what’s what and where to go in the Big Apple this spring,” over at

Have a favorite item of your own this week? Share it with our readers and tell us all about it in your comments. We'll be tweeting the best item from our readers a little later in week!

Bobby Flay: Burgers & Book Signings

Photo: Bobby Flay On Long Island To Sign Copies of His Latest Book.Chef Bobby Flay will be on Long Island this week to sign copies of his latest book, Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes. The Food Network star will be appearing at the Barnes & Noble at Smith Haven Mall -- which is conveniently located right across from the chef's new "fast casual burger concept," Bobby's Burger Palace.

Stop by and meet Bobby Flay, then stroll across the parking lot and treat yourself to the some of the best burgers and malts you've ever had!

  • Sunday, April 26, 2009
  • 1:00 PM
  • Barnes & Noble Smith Haven Mall
        600 Smith Haven Mall
        Lake Grove, NY 11755

Celebrity Tweet of the Day

CharityBuzz: Billy Joel Offers Up Baby Grand

Billy Joel donates baby grand to raise money for East Harlem music students.

Photo: Lisa Wagner/

Over the course of his 30+ year career, Billy Joel's charitable contributions have been immeasurable. From his educational initiatives and musical scholarships to his tireless support of Long Island's Baymen and Homes For Our Troops, Billy Joel has been the preeminent role model for giving.

Now Joel, who who'll turn 60-years-young this May, is once again donating big - this time to support the aspiring musicians of East Harlem's Mount Carmel-Holy Rosary School.

By donating a signed Steinway & Sons Baby Grand Piano, valued at $60,000, Joel will help raise money for Ten O'Clock Classics, a nonprofit organization that provides instruments and free music lessons to Catholic-school children. Ten O'Clock Classics currently offers the music students of Mount Carmel-Holy Rosary three hours of music study each Saturday. Now, by auctioning Joel's personalized piano on, Ten O'Clock Classics will be able to add more hours to the school's classes that will include music theory, ear training and individual lessons.

Joel, who serves on the board of Ten O'Clock Classics, was once quoted as saying that music is an "explosive expression of humanity." His musical expression has won him six Grammy Awards, countless musical honors, humanitarian awards, and of course, an induction into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall Of Fame. Though one could only assume that none of these accolades could possibly have the same personal satisfaction as seeing the light in a child's eye when you've given them the tools to reach for their dreams.

Next month, those dreams will take the students of Mount Carmel-Holy Rosary to the Music Advancement Program where they'll audition for the esteemed Juilliard School at Lincoln Center.

The Auction

The auction for the baby grand is currently open at and it's worth noting that it will be will be personalized "to the buyer's desire" by the Piano Man himself.

The auction will remain open until noon on Wednesday, May 6, 2009.

So dig deep, bid high, and help support these remarkable children!

Casting Call: Royal Pains Looking For Extras

Mark Feuerstein Stars In Royal Pains

Photo: Lisa Wagner/

Are you a "young, beautiful, upscale Hamptons-type?"

Do you have a "high-end car" or look like a "Swiss banker?"

If so, Grant Wilfley Casting is seeking background work for the USA series, Royal Pains.

It was just last summer that Royal Pains pulled talent from Long Island, when they filmed their pilot at various locations around the Hamptons, Huntington and Brooklyn. Now that USA has picked up the show and ordered 11 hour-long episodes, the cast and crew will be returning to the Hamptons on April 22nd to continue filming the series.

Royal Pains, which stars Mark Feuerstein as an on-call doctor to the Hamptons elite, will debut its two-hour pilot on USA Network June 4th at 10 p.m. It will be helped along with limited commercial interruption and Burn Notice, which returns for its third season in a new 9 p.m. time slot, as its lead-in.

Grant Wilfley Casting is seeking the following for background work on the USA series ROYAL PAINS (AFTRA contract):

  • Young, beautiful, upscale Hamptons-type people, 18-25 year old women and men.

  • Late 40s to early 60s Swiss Banker types.

  • African American and Hispanic secret service types with valid driver’s license.

  • African American, Hispanic, Indian or Asian man or woman to play MRI Tech.

  • People with upscale, high-end cars (e.g. Lexus, Porsche, Bentley, BMW, etc…)

  • Hispanic and Asian gardener types.

Email photo & contact info to, with “AFTRA” in the subject line, or snail mail to...

Grant Wilfley Casting
123 W. 18th St., 8th fl.
NYC NY 10011
Attn: Royal Pains/AFTRA.

Deadline 4/22/09
AFTRA Pay provided.


Grant Wilfley Casting will be holding and Open Casting Call in Southampton on Sunday, May 3rd. No experienced need -- all ages, all types!

Click here for more info.

Related Posts:
Oheka Castle Has Royal Pains
Watch USA's promo for Royal Pains!

Madonna On The Mend & On The Beach

Photo: NY Daily News Cover: Madonna says she's doing better.Let's hope Madonna doesn't have plans on launching a new line of beach wear anytime soon.

On Sunday afternoon fellow photog Steven Barcelo, who we're now calling Houdini, managed to find Madonna chillin' on a park bench at Atlantic Ave. Beach in Amagansett.

Now, finding her is one thing, but actually getting her to pose for him less than 24 hours after she claims another photog caused her to be thrown from her horse -- that my friends, borders on a miracle.

Making his magic trick all the better was the final image; Madonna, donned in baggy turquoise sweatpants, combat boots, a Chanel jacket and a fedora. It's enough to make you smile like a school girl. The fact that the 50-year-old icon was also sans make-up is just gravy!

But we have to save some kudos for the Material Girl herself. Much respect for being so cool.

We reached out to Barcelo this morning, after we found his cover-stealing photo taunting us from today's Daily News, and extended our professional congrats. He told us that Madonna, who was accompanied on her park bench by Steven Klein and "a huge Great Dane," was "very pleasant" as she let him photograph her in her beach clothes. She told him she was doing "better" after being treated for minor injuries and bruises on Saturday and visibly showed no signs of her fall.

While the impromptu photo shoot lasted only 3 minutes, it was still 3 minutes we'll admittedly envy all week. So, we tip our hat to ya Barcelo, but just know's ON!

As The Who once sang, "We won't get fooled scooped again!"

Madonna Falls From Horse at Steven Klein's Bridgehampton Farm: Paparazzi Blamed

Steven Klein's Photo of Madonna for her W Magazine SpreadMadonna was taken by ambulance to Southampton Hospital this afternoon after taking a fall off a horse at Steven Klein's West Kill Farm in Bridgehampton.

Madonna's publicist, Liz Rosenberg, is saying that her horse was spooked when photographers popped out of the bushes to get a shot of the material girl riding.

Boyfriend Jesus Luz and famed photographer Steven Klein were among a small group of friends who witnessed Madonna's fall and waited with her for the ambulance to arrive. Both Luz & Klein also accompanied her to the hospital.

Luckily, Madonna sustained only minor injuries and bruising and was wearing a helmet when she fell. She was able to walk out of Southampton Hospital on her own and is said to be staying with close friend, Gwyneth Paltrow, in Amagansett.

Madonna and her posse had chartered a helicopter and flew into East Hampton Airport Saturday afternoon for what should have been a weekend retreat with friends - complete with the best weather we've seen all spring. Her publicist says she'll now spend the rest of the weekend under her doctor's observation. There are also plenty of rumors & rumblings coming out of the Hamptons tonight as to who the photographer was and what media outlet sent him there. We won't report speculation this early, but this is one story we have not heard the last of.

Best wishes to Madonna for a speedy recovery!

Related Posts:
Madonna On The Mend & On The Beach

Celebrity Tweet of the Day

Lindsay Lohan's eHarmony Profile: Best Gig Yet

I have to give her credit. At least she can laugh at it all.
Another gem from . . .

Lindsay Lohan's eHarmony Profile from Lindsay Lohan

Gotta Love The Post

When it comes to headlines, you just can't beat the New York Post!

Photo: When it comes to headlines, no one beats the Post!

The Count's Ethiopian Mistress Is Revealed

Real Housewives of New York City's Countess Luann de Lesseps Was Traded For a Real Life about a royal upgrade. has revealed that Count Alexandre de Lesseps left his Countess for a real life Princess -- Princess Kemeria Abajobir Abajifar to be exact. She is the granddaughter of King Abajifar, the last King from the Gibe Kingdom of Jimmaa.

The website, citing an anonymous source close to the Count, says the Princess and the Count wanted her name to be released so that she will no longer be referred to as ‘the Ethiopian woman’ and instead addressed by her proper, royal title. OK, Princess it is!

The Count, who is currently married to Real Housewives of New York City star, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, told his wife of his relationship with the Princess in an email. The Count and his new Princess are said be kanoodling their way through Geneva.

LuAnn, whose book "Class with the Countess" is due out next week, recently told People magazine that she separated from her husband of 16 years over three months ago. As to her reaction on being dumped via email, LuAnn has said, "I just think some people aren't good at confrontation."

The philandering Count is 56, LuAnn is 43. Together they have two children: Noel, 12, and Victoria, 14. No word yet on the Princess' age.

Related Posts:
The Countess Will Retain Courtesy Title
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The Hamptons Are Already Buzzing

Follow Blog Hamptons on Twitter!

American Idol Calls Paramedics For Frankie Avalon

Photo: Frankie Avalon Surprise Guest on American IdolThere was some dancing-with-the-stars-worthy drama backstage at American Idol tonight.

After the broadcast, Ryan Seacrest, tweeting from his Blackberry, told his followers that Frankie Avalon had a bit of a medical scare right before his live appearance on tonight's American Idol elimination show. Paramedics were called when Avalon, a surprise musical guest, suffered from an allergic reaction -- to what is still unknown.

All must have ended well as the unbelievably well preserved 69-year-old eventually took the stage to open the show and sing his 1959 hit, Venus.

And, in the funny-you-should-mention-Frankie-Avalon category, Avalon will be performing at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on June 28, 2009. (See Calendar of Events)

Ryan Seacrest Twitters About Frankie Avalon's Medical Scare
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Life and Lyme on Long Island in 1979

This weekend's must see is Derick Martini's "Lymelife," which describes as "Ordinary People meets Little Miss Sunshine." The setting is Long Island, circa 1979 -- where Lyme disease, infidelity and general dysfunction threaten to destroy the cookie-cutter suburban plan.

Lymelife Opens on Long IslandNearly a decade after impressing audiences at the 1999 Toronto International Film Festival with their engaging coming-of-age story Goat on Fire & Smiling Fish, filmmakers Derick and Steven Martini return to deliver this period drama following two families whose lives are profoundly affected by complex relationships, real estate woes, and Lyme disease. Set on Long Island in the late '70s, Lymelife opens to find a suburban community swept up in fear after local resident Charlie Bragg (Timothy Hutton) is diagnosed with Lyme disease. Charlie's tightly wound neighbor Brenda Bartlett (Jill Hennessy) is determined not to let her gentle 15-year-old son, Scott (Rory Culkin), suffer a similar fate, and has taken to duct-taping his cuffs to ensure that he remains Lyme disease-free. Meanwhile, as Charlie convalesces, his wife, Melissa (Cynthia Nixon), goes to work for Brenda's philandering husband, Mickey (Alec Baldwin), a respected real estate developer. All the while, Melissa remains clueless to the fact that she was hired more out of lust than as a friendly favor to a neighbor in need. For years, Scott has pined after Charlie and Brenda's daughter, Adrianna (Emma Roberts), and strangely enough, it seems that she's finally starting to return his affections. Tensions are running particularly high in the neighborhood lately, and when Scott's older brother, Jimmy (Kieran Culkin), arrives home on leave from the army, his confrontations with his tempestuous father, Mickey, threaten to trigger repercussions that will affect the lives of everyone involved.

~ Jason Buchanan -

Lymelife is currently showing at:

Clearview Manhasset
430 Plandome Road
Manhasset, NY 11030

Landmark Sunshine
143 East Houston Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 330-8182

City Cinemas 1, 2, 3
1001 Third Ave.
New York, NY 10022
(212) 753-6022

The Hamptons Are Already Buzzing

Ed 'Jean Luc' KleefieldIt's only April and already the top two stories on Page Six come from the Hamptons.

Today's first gossipy nugget was about Countess LuAnn de Lesseps -- the recently separated "real housewife" who hit up Almond in Bridgehampton to sing away the blues with a little karaoke. A Page Six spy said the Countess was seen singing "Suzy Q" and "locking lips" with Almond owner Eric Lemonides. Sure enough, there was singing, and kissing, but openly gay Lemonides assured the Post that he's still gay, so there were no torrid tales to tell.

Don't worry folks...the spy's get better as weather gets warmer.

Page Six then cruised over to Southampton where the truth turned out to be stranger than fiction.

Ed "Jean Luc" Kleefield, who we absolutely adore, was arrested this past Friday after he turned himself into Village of Southampton Police on charges that he issued nearly $300,000 in bad checks.

Kleefield, who owns Grappa and JLX Bistro in Sag Harbor, Prime 103 in East Hampton and Madame Tong's in Southampton, told Page Six he had borrowed money from someone who turned out to be "a concrete cement contractor with a criminal record" to keep his restaurants in business. Kleefield said he paid the contractor, who was asking for keys to his restaurants as payment, with checks, though he didn't have sufficient funds to cover them.

Speaking with Page Six, Kleefield (pictured above) explained, "In the current economy where banks are sitting on the money provided to them via the TARP arrangements, small business owners like me needed to find alternative sources of financing. I became involved with a provider of finance to support my business who I unfortunately realized later was a modern-day loan shark."

After being on released on $1,000 bond, Kleefield was scheduled to appear in a Southampton court on April 27th. (Full Story at NYPost)

Luckily for all of us, his restaurants will still be in business this season. JLX will open in two weeks, and Madame Tong's and Prime 103 will open on Memorial Day. Grappa of course was open all winter.

In his statement to Page Six, Kleefield added, "I have always worked endless hours on behalf of my partners whose continued support I cherish dearly . . . I make no apologies in being loyal to those investors and supporters, and eagerly anticipate servicing the East End community . . . with a strong summer season in our restaurants."

And we eagerly anticipate being back, Jean Luc!

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Celebrity Tweet of the Day

ANTM: Top Model Search Returns To NYC

America's Next Top Model Auditions Return to New York

After a near riot broke out during their last casting call in NYC, America's Next Top Model is returning to the Big Apple for a do-over. This time, security and organization will be the theme of the day.

America's Next Top Model will hold auditions on Saturday, April 11 for Cycle 13. As previously announced, females age 18 to 27, of diverse backgrounds, shapes, sizes and with a height requirement of 5'7" and under are eligible to audition. Producers will post the exact location of the auditions later this week on the CW's website:

Audition Rules and Guidelines:

1. No lining up overnight and no lining up prior to 6:00am. Registration will begin at 7:00am. These times may be amended at Producer's discretion.

2. Proof of age is required to enter the line. Acceptable identification must include picture and birth date.

3. Colors of wristbands indicate when your scheduled audition time will be. If your scheduled audition time is several hours or more from the time that you receive your wristband, then we encourage you to leave and come back.

4. Only women applying should stand in line. If someone is just short of being 18, she can have one guardian with her. Please note that you must turn 18 by April 15, 2009 to audition.

5. Please make sure that you have everything you need to audition before you get into any line (for wristbands, etc.). You will only be allowed one bag that can fit comfortably on your lap inside the venue. This will be enforced by security.

6. No jumping in line or holding places in advance for others but it's okay if you're going to the restroom or getting food and water. You're not guaranteed to be allowed back in line. Be courteous to others around you.

7. Casting staff will give special instructions for the disabled.

8. Once in the venue, no ins and outs.

9. Only one audition per open call - do not try again if you've been cut.

10. Casting staff wearing official ANTM gear outside the venue may ask you for information in advance but be careful who you talk to and avoid anyone trying to charge you anything to participate.

11. We reserve the right to change or add to these rules as needed.

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Eliot Spitzer: "There are no excuses"

New York's disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer sat down with the Today show's Matt Lauer this morning and touched on the "800-pound gorilla in the room" with understatements like "there are no excuses" and "I have a spectacular wife."

Spitzer, or "Client 9" as he's known to the feds, told Lauer his hotel trysts with Ashley Dupre were infrequent and "not long in the grand context of my life." Spitzer added, "It was an egregious violation of my behavior that I fell into for many reasons, but none of them are an excuse or justifiable."

It was the public revelation of Spitzer's propensity for prostitutes that forced him to resign from office on March 17, 2008.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

The Borrowed Blog: Weekly Roundup

Gisele Bundchen Speaks Out On Brady's Son to Vanity FairOur week in review starts off with two items courtesy of Vanity Fair...

The first no doubt sent a chill down Bridget Moynahan’s spine when Gisele Bundchen, in an article that accompanied her nearly-nude photo spread, told VF that she feels Moynahan’s son with Tom Brady is 100 percent hers. That had to sting!

The second piece surely sent a chill down the spines of trophy wives everywhere – at least those who suddenly find themselves sans servants.
Spring Cleaning for Recessionistas? It’s a Hot List of must haves for those who can no longer afford a housekeeper but can still shell out $400 on a vacuum.

Two people not experiencing recession pains are Sir Paul McCartney and girlfriend Nancy Shevell. The Post’s Selim Algar reported that Sir Paul and Shevell toured his Amagansett compound last weekend to check on construction of a new three-bedroom guest house he’s having built on the grounds.

And speaking of real estate, we were thrilled with the announcement that Jennifer Gould Keil -- widow of The Post's beloved Braden Keil -- will take over his "Gimme Shelter" column starting next week.

Team Bethenny or Team Kelly? The Real Housewives of NYC were in full catfight mode this week. After Bethenny & Kelly's "we're not friends" meeting at the Brass Monkey, they each hit various media outlets to plead their cases in the court of public opinion.
So what do you think, peanut gallery?

In more entertainment news, "ER" ended it's 15-year run on NBC, Boston hates Jay Leno and Rod Blagojevich celebrated his indictment at Disney World.

The New York Times reviewed “The Forbidden Apple: A Century of Sex and Sin in New York City,” by Kat Long -- an unbounded overview of New York’s sexual evolution from the Gilded Age through the Guiliani Years.

Ah yes, Guiliani...
Gawker hates him even more than Boston hates Leno.
(For the record, we've spoken with and photographed Rudy Guiliani on many occassions, and never once did we fear for the welfare of our kitten. We're just sayin'.)

And last but not least… "Thank you, Katie Lee, and right back at ya!"

Katie Lee Joel: Scenes From Her Own Restaurant?

Katie Lee Joel To Open Restaurant in ManhattanIt may have a bottle of red, and perhaps a bottle of white, but you won't find an Italian Restaurant in Katie Lee Joel's business plans. Instead, the writer, chef and drop-dead gorgeous wife of Long Island's own Piano Man has her sights set on a burger joint, of sorts.

The rumor mill has been buzzing all week that Katie Lee, who is in the process of finishing her second cookbook, is looking to open a restaurant of her own in NYC - one that may feature, and be named after, her sinfully delicious Logan County Burger. A burger so good it's even started to craft its own resume.

Last year, Katie's Logan County Burger beat out the likes of Chefs Adam Perry Lang, Tom Colicchio, and Art Smith at Rachel Ray's Burger Bash during the NYC Wine & Food Festival. Her cheesy, beefy tribute to West Virginia even stole the title from the reigning champs at the Shake Shack - which, burger purists will tell you, is really saying something.

Word is that Katie's restaurant will adhere to her three C's - casual and comfortable with a couture finish. So while comfort food and her Grandma Dora's recipes may be the root of her inspiration, we have no doubt that Katie will put an emphasis on the couture. She preaches the importance of buying locally, thrives on organic vegetables, and a quick look at her Twitter page reveals her taste for mussels with daikon kimchi, yellowtail sashimi, and fries with saffron aioli. This isn't going to be some burger barn with a combo meal.

As far as I'm concerned, no matter where or when she opens her restaurant, all I ask for is a small comfort table in the back on opening night.

Personal Post Script: After all, Katie, I was among the few who shouted from the rooftops that it was indeed a BURGER! ;)

A Message From Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman wants you!

OK, so maybe it's your hometown he's really after, but's a start ladies.

Hugh took to YouTube on Tuesday to announce a contest in which the lucky winner will be an entire town. In promotion of his latest mutant flick, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," Jackman called for entries in the contest for a chance to have the world premiere of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" right in your home town. The town that has the most entries wins.

Who knows, maybe the world premiere could be held in Huntington. Maybe Massapequa?
So how about it Long Island? A vote for your town is only a click away!

To vote for your hometown, go to The contest ends
on April 17th and the winning town will be announced on Monday, April 20th.

The Colbert Report: The 10.31 Project

Google's April Fool's Joke On Autopilot

Google Launches Gmail Autopilot

As geeky as sounds, every year I look forward to seeing what equally geeky prank Google will pull on April Fool's Day.

As always, they didn't let me down. They even switched things up and snuck this year's little nugget onto my Gmail homepage. I give you Google's latest innovation...Gmail Autopilot!

Let us know what April Fool's Day pranks you come across today.

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