Oh, to have been in New York City these past few days, where the culinary world has gathered for the annual James Beard Awards. I was there at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center last year for the glitzy festivities–complete with red carpet interviews and celebrity sightings. But couldn’t swing the trip this year.

Instead, I followed last night’s gala proceedings by way of Twitter updates, rather than sitting in the audience. But at least the Twitter moment-to-moment updates of winners and quotable quotes was more fun that simply reading the static list of winners this morning. Check out this link to the Beard blog for some video clips from this year’s red carpet, include one with Seattle’s favorite chef, Tom Douglas and his wife Jackie. Quite a whirlwind trip of restaurant visits they’d been on.

Rebekah Denn, late of the Seattle P-I, now sharing her insights and investigations at www.eatallaboutit.com, won a journalism award for her P-I feature “High on the Hairy Hog: Super Succulent Imports are Everything U.S. Pork Isn’t.” Her win came in the category of Newspaper Feature Writing with Recipes. Interestingly, delectable pork was also the topic of the winner for Newspaper Feature Writing without Recipes: “The Pope of Pork” for the Riverfront Times in St. Louis. Need any further proof that pig is big??

Thrilled, thrilled, thrilled that my pal Jennifer McLagan–whose kinda edgy cookbook Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes came out last year–won not only in her single-subject category but also garnered the Cookbook of the Year award! This follows her also-award-winning Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore from 2005. The big question is what will follow to make this a delicious, inspiring trilogy?!

On the restaurant front, we can be very proud of Best Chef Northwest winner, Maria Hines from Tilth. She was a busy lady last night, not only on hand for the award presentation but also invited to be among the chefs who prepared food for the after-party. Alas, as I suggested last year, and must again this year, it’s “maybe next year” for Tom Douglas’ honor as Outstanding Restaurateur, which he lost this year to Drew Nieporant. But at least it should mean another invitation to New York for Tom next year, and another chance to troll all those great restaurants the city has to serve up.