White House Chef Confirms Bush Is Crackers“The Loneliest President,” the cover story in this week’s magazine, keeps resonating with us. Earlier, we wondered aloud whether Bush’s near-delusional state had something to do with the departures of his two pastry chefs. Now we discover that a new memoir, White House Chef , from former head cook Walter Scheib, who was fired by the Bushes in early 2005, supports John Heilemann’s suggestion that W. is an emotionally stunted, narcissistic personality incapable of empathy or growth.
Gramercy Park Room Service: “This Next One Is a Nobu Cover”Craving Balthazar at 5 a.m.? Come spring, all that will be required to get your late-night Cobb on is a room at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Once the beleaguered Park Chinois restaurant is up and running (in April or May, we’re told; Alan Yau’s still on board), a new 24-hour room-service menu will feature renditions of signature dishes from celebrated NYC restaurants and chefs.
The Other Critics
It’s Final: Ramsay’s Dull; March Gets RomanticBruni goes to Gordon Ramsay and finds common ground with everyone else, saying it’s well executed, flawless even — and totally uninspiring. Even the paint is dull! (Two stars.) [NYT]
In keeping with his recent interest in the international, Meehan visits a Romanian restaurant with garlicky spreads in Sunnyside. Still, despite the Sphinx, the place still doesn’t sound all that interesting. [NYT]
March reborn as Nish: It’s more romantic, thanks to more intimate seating, exotic ingredients, and dishes that “broadly evoked the cuisine of chef Gray Kunz: international spices used with local ingredients and French technique.” Who isn’t doing that these days? [Bloomberg]
For Todd Oldham, Brunch Is a PrisonName: Todd Oldham
Job: Designer and host of Bravo’s Top Design, premiering tonight.
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
So many. Susan Sarandon, Stuart Davis, Andy Warhol …
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
Any one of my trips to Lupe’s. Best Mexican food in New York.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I design and make things all day.
Back of the House
Ilan May Not Be Top Chef Tonight; Coca Leaf CuisineYesterday’s Ilan Hall winner profile? Just one of two we had ready, says Food & Wine. Read Marcel’s. [Food & Wine]
Related: ‘Top Chef’ Winner Revealed — For Real! [Grub Street]
Bruni weighs in on Top Chef, giving the cooking elements of the show a surprising amount of respect. [NYT]
Sara Dickerman looks at the new wave of cooking shows and finds them all totally ridiculous — but entertaining. [Slate]
They Like the Nightlife
At Monday night’s Nightlife Awards, honoring cabaret, jazz, and comedy, performers dished about life on the boards. And about gift bags.
Swag bags, pro or con?
“I never take them. Every gift bag I’ve ever gotten has gotten three kinds of hand cream, a CD of Aida, and a copy of In Style magazine. Give me free Botox or free hair transplants, or a $2,000 gift certificate to Armani for some underwear. Although nowadays, a flu shot would be good too, and harder to come by than Botox.” —Charles Busch, playwright and drag queen
What’s in your fantasy swag bag?
“A kazoo, a can of SpaghettiOs, and a forty of Colt 45.” —Daniel Reichard, Jersey Boys actor
the morning line
Steamrolling in Our Time
• Ladies and gentlemen, your new catchphrase for the day: “I am a fucking steamroller.” If we are to believe the Post exclusive, this gem was uttered by none other than Governor Spitzer — in response to a GOP assemblyman who complained about being shut out of the legislative process. [NYP]
• Albany Democrats, who apparently didn’t get the above memo, are, in the delicate Times phrasing, “leaning toward reneging” on their deal with Spitzer that lets him hand-pick the Hevesi replacement. [NYT]
• The White House has approved $25 million in aid to combat lung diseases and others in 9/11 first responders. And to think all it took was five and a half years, and the Dems pretty much parading a dead cop around the State of the Union address. [NYDN]
• Guess who’s about to sign a lease for $50,000 square feet at Lincoln Center vacated by the dear old Tower Records? T. J. Maxx, that’s who. And so, suburbia encroaches one step closer. [Crain’s]
• And the Landmarks Preservation Commission has bestowed its blessing on three heretofore unprotected sites, thus saving them from, you guessed it, a fucking steamroller: two Harlem churches — one built by the architect of St. Patrick’s — and the awesomely named Horn & Hardart Automat-Cafeteria Building. (Now, sadly, a drugstore). [amNY]
Exhaustion Sets In at ‘Gotham’ Gala• Gotham Magazine Gala. Capitale, 130 Broadway, nr. Grand St., 7 p.m. Truly an overflowing cornucopia of party fruits and sponsorship vegetables, this event is billed as Gotham’s “Seventh Annual Gala” and a retirement party for Tiki Barber; it’s sponsored by Cadillac, the luxury Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet, and a London hotel called the Rushmore; entertainment will be provided by D.J. Cassidy, the “Chez-Zam Entertainment Group,” and the “Fifty-Person Rhythm & Rhyme Marching Band.” Scheduled to be exhausted by all of the above are Spike Lee, Ice T, Jon Bon Jovi, Nina Sky, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.