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James Beard Awards 2012 Hangover Observations

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[All Photos: Daniel Krieger (unless otherwise noted)]

Last night the iluminati of the restaurant world and all their hangers on descended on Lincoln Center to kiss each other on the cheek, give each other awards, pose for pictures, drink champagne and eat small grilled cheese sandwiches at the Oscars of the food world, the James Beard Awards. Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park won big (Outstanding Chef), as did Next (Best New Restaurant), Christina Tosi (Rising Star Chef), Tom Douglas (Outstanding Restaurateur), and Boulevard (Outstanding Restaurant), Mindy Segal (Outstanding Pastry Chef). It was the Susan Lucci year, many said, because so many people who had waited so long to win (save Teams EMP and Momofuku) finally got their recognition.

Of course, the real fun of the Beards begins when the final award is announced and tarted up food world personalities are unleashed into the gala room and the streets of Manhattan for the post awards party circuit. There is where our Hangover Observations begin.

1) Best thing overheard in the press room: "Are you live tweeting this?" "No we're live Instagraming it."

2) Culinary wunderkind Greg Grossman generated a lot of buzz around Avery Fisher Hall. Some people thought he was a movie star, but really, he's just a 16 year old that likes to cook.

3) Strangely enough, the longest line for food in the gala room was for a Dungeness crab reuben grilled cheese sandwich from Portland chef Vitaly Paley. The most delicious bite of the night though went to Husk's heirloom beans with ramps, cracklin' cornbread, and tomato gravy.

4) Time Serious Eats founder Ed Levine removed his shoes and discarded them under Jonathan Waxman's table: 9 PM.

5) Big shot Drew Nieporent had one trick up his sleeve last night: a printed out copy of Eater's post about the food critic that Anthony Bourdain called a "Vicious, Abusive, Misogynistic, Back-Biting Piece of Shit." He was determined to find out who it was.

6) Yes, there was a Momofuku Party bus. And on it they served Miller High Life, rose, and Belvedere ("because it was free"). Said bus stopped at the Gramercy Tavern afterparty before descending on the exclusive Momofuku/Mission Chinese soiree.

7) A writer for the New Yorker was asking anyone and everyone for their take on the success of Eleven Madison Park. Expect a feature sometime in the next few months.

8) There were rumors of an afterparty at The Nomad, but we hear they were afraid of ruining their new, custom built furniture. The now annual keg party went down at Eleven Madison Park instead, and as usual there were: buckets of beer, DJs, girls dancing on tables, champagne spraying.

9) Thus the afterparty circuit: Boulud Sud/Bar Boulud, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Hearth, Terroir, Mission Chinese party, The Jane Hotel.

10) Danny Meyer was spotted at the GT afterparty—which featured an ample supply of fist-sized cookies, sandwiches, and booze—as late as 1:30 a.m.

11) At that party, Paul Qui was overheard saying, "This isn't going to work. Let's go drink downstairs."

13) The secret Momo/MC afterparty somehow avoided becoming a total shitshow. Inside, Chang hung for awhile, while Christina Tosi, woman of the evening, quietly slipped out before it got too late.

14) Also at Mission Chinese: Karaoke and Kate Krader.

15) Finally, notable afterparty attire: David Bouley in a dark velvet suit, Paul Grieco in a Canada Dry coat, Will Guidara rocking a tuxedo jacket and t-shirt.

· All James Beard Awards Coverage on Eater [-E-]