Monday, November 17

Eat up, suckers! Gourmet editrix Ruth Reichl (whose Condé Nast magazine should be doing just-fine-thank-you if everyone’s padding themselves for winter hibernation like we are!) welcomes Canadian bigwig chef Susur Lee to the Lower East Side, where he will preside over much-ballyhooed new restaurant Shang at Jason Pomeranc’s finally-open Thompson Hotel. (The forward march of sustenance stops for no recession!) The crowd of food-mafia types includes restaurateur Drew Nieporent; charming New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin; chef Dan Barber of that farm in Westchester that New Yorkers with cars can’t get enough of (Blue Hill at Stone Barns); and boy-wonder David Chang. Later, “24-Hour Plays” hits Broadway, a series of plays all written and memorized and performed—yep—in a mere 24 hours, by New Yorky actors like Cynthia Nixon, Rosie Perez, Julia Stiles, Meryl Streep spawn Mamie Gummer, Horatio Sanz and Liev Schreiber. “I’ve done it six or seven times,” said the hilarious Rachel Dratch, calling on the phone. “All the actors show up at 8 or 10 p.m. the night before, and we all sort of meet each other and everyone introduces themselves, and then the writers go off and they have till 8 the next morning to turn in their plays.” Sounds kind of like our job! “One year I played a woman who, we’d just had a baby, and we had another couple over and we served lasagna and at the end you find out we’d baked the placenta into the lasagna,” said Ms. Dratch. (Eek, don’t give the foodies any ideas!) “The year before last year, I was in this play, I had so many lines, I had to memorize these huge monologues; it was this kind of strange play about adoption. … I think I’d given up my baby for adoption. A lot of baby stuff.” Okaaaaay, let’s talk about President-elect Obama! “Omigod, I’m feeling elated!” cried Ms. Dratch. “It hasn’t worn off!”

[Gourmet party for Susur Lee, Thompson Lower East Side Hotel, 187 Orchard Street, 9 p.m., invite only; 24-Hour Plays on Broadway, a benefit for Urban Arts Partnership, sponsored by Montblanc, American Airlines Theatre, 227 West 42nd Street, 8 p.m., 212-868-4444]

mbryan@observer.com

Monday, November 17