Main Courses

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, Wilton Place, London SW1

Yes, all right, I DO know there's a recession on. But this isn't just any old restaurant review. It's that special once-a-year occasion when I get to blow the Independent's budget on a spectacular dinner with the winning bidders in our annual charity auction, raising money for aid projects around the world. This year's highest bidder was Roger Hambury, who secretly bid for the lot as a Christmas present for his wife Fleur, knowing she had long harboured fantasies of becoming an undercover food critic.

The Partridge Inn, 32 St Mary's Street, Wallingford, Oxfordshire

The ratings system used on this page doesn't really reflect the whole picture. One crucial aspect of the dining experience goes unrated – my behaviour as a customer. And thank God, because this week, I would have to award myself and my guests just one star. We arrived late. We were eight, when we'd booked for seven. We had four rain-soaked children in tow, one of whom ran amok and removed items of clothing. And, unforgiveably, we asked for things. Things that apparently couldn't be produced.

Zeitgeist's guide to love, sex, cars, war and lobster thermidor

The world is big, complicated, and frequently confusing - so it's not surprising that we all need a bit of guidance from time to time. But where can we turn for the essential information to steer us through? The American satirist Evan Eisenberg believe he has the solution: a guide to the important stuff that's as easy to follow as a restaurant review. Read it, and you'll be dining out on his advice in no time...