These are the kinds of stories that we can't help but think of when we're about to pop open a bottle of bubly. Watch this macho dude try to hold back the tears as a cork is shot unexpectedly at his face.
Tonight, have your "soberest" pal try this trick out on your finest bottle of Andre Cold Duck.
In these dreary times of belt-tightening and austerity, you'd be forgiven for not keeping track of which ridiculously expensive champagne is currently de rigueur among rappers and jet setters. But it is our solemn duty to report that since Jay-Z's famous boycott of Cristal—which was triggered by the company's dismay over the hip hop community's association with the brand and led to a decline in sales—the bubbly that seems to have taken its place, Armand de Brignac, is doing better than ever.
• Michelle Obama started digging up part of the South Lawn of the White House today to plant a vegetable garden. In case you ever have to prepare a salad for the president, be advised that Barack is not down beets. [NYT]
• It's official: Per Se is introducing an à la carte menu on Wednesday. [NYT]
• Pichet Ong is closing P'ong and Batch in the West Village. [Eater, GS]
• Trends Frank Bruni has noticed: trotters, little fried birds, cheap wine. [NYT]
• One trend Grub Street has seen all over the place: bone marrow. [GS]
• A few tips on how to handle a really bad waiter. [Bon Appétit]
• The world's oldest bottle of champagne was opened this week. [TimesUK]
• The Journal has a peek inside JGV's weekend home in Westchester. [WSJ]
• Good news: Antonio Banderas is now producing wine. [Decanter]
• A list of spots where you can save on stress and dine out on Christmas. [NYM]
• Tips on how to avoid food poisoning at Grandma's house this year. [NYDN]
• Frank Bruni checks in on Tom Colicchio's Tuesday Dinner and Brian Bistrong's Braeburn in today's Times. [NYT, NYT]
• Is champagne too ostentatious given current events? Try punch. [NYT, NYT]
• Just in case you feel like skipping ahead to New Year's Eve, here's a complete rundown of events planned for the big night. [Citysearch]
Not that we're suggesting you'd even pay attention to the cost of a crate of Krug, but apparently the retail price of champagne has increased much faster than inflation. To blame? The high global demand for bubbly in recent years and the finite number of grapes available from the specific region of France permitted to label its sparkling wine champagne. Now with the economic crisis, winemakers are worried about a likely disconnect between what consumers are willing to pay and the high price of grapes. The CEO of LVMH, which owns Veuve Cliquot, Dom Perignon, and Moët Chandon, must be losing sleep! Oh, except probably not as he's the richest man in France.