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The New York Diet

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Comedian Todd Barry Eschews Tomatoes, Eggs, and Mayo, But Not 33-Cent Cookies

On Late Night With Conan O’Brien recently, Conan called comedian Todd Barry “the quintessential New Yorker.” That doesn't mean he's at Balthazar every morning. “Every time I talk about Chipotle in conversation," he told Conan's audience, "Someone goes, ‘Oh, Chipotle is delicious. Can you believe they were started by McDonald’s?’ ‘Uh, McDonald’s is delicious, so yes, I can believe that. It’s not like Ben and Jerry’s opened up a lingerie shop. It’s the world’s greatest restaurant chain taking a stab at another kind of food and hitting it out of the park.’” Other than that, Barry eats at Café Orlin about five times a week. Since it was closed for renovations this week, he had to practice his tomato, mayo, and orange-juice pulp aversions elsewhere.

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Top Chef Hung Huynh Has the ‘Most Amazing Chinese Meal Ever’

Last season’s Top Chef winner Hung Huynh, who previously cooked at Per Se, Gilt, Manhattan Ocean Club, and others, is back from a year and a half at Guy Savoy in Las Vegas — this week he started as executive chef at Solo. The Mediterranean-Asian restaurant happens to be kosher, meaning Huynh can’t use his beloved fish sauce or sherry vinegar. “I’m pretty limited to proteins,” he tells us. “I have to be a little bit more creative with my flavor profiles.” If Padma and Tom paid a visit, he says, he’d probably serve them his sweetbreads glazed with truffles and served with lemon-honey carrots. But forget what he’s cooking; we’re more interested in what he ate this week.

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‘Good Day New York’ Anchor Ron Corning Eats Mahimahi Dinners at 4:30 A.M.

Ron Corning

Inside Weather Up.Photo: Melissa Hom

Good Day New York anchor Ron Corning is used to odd hours— when he worked the gravenight shift as co-anchor of ABC’s World News Now, he found it hard to keep track of his meals and gained “the overnight 15.” Since starting the early shift at Fox about a year and a half ago, he has lost six of those pounds, and to drop the rest he has started eating “dinner” at 4:30 a.m. and “breakfast” at 7 p.m. Corning still manages to eat out, but he says he has only once used his clout to score a table (a manager at Gramercy Tavern called to offer his services after Corning half-jokingly complained on the air about how hard it was to book a resy). We asked him how he navigated his “insane” eating schedule this week.

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Comic Patrice O'Neal Considers Himself a Big Buffet Dude

Patrice O’Neal became a comic after he decided he wasn’t really into football and has since gone on to host VH1’s Web Junk, as well as make appearances on HBO’s Def Jam Comedy Jam, Comedy Central, and The Office. If you catch his Valentine’s gig at Stand-Up NY tonight, you might hear him riff about his diabetes — “Why couldn’t the doctor tell me, 'Patrice, you can never eat Brussels sprouts again'?” — and, sure enough, he’s taking measures to control his weight: “When you get close to 40, you start to feel those years of ham hocks.” Nevertheless, his eating philosophy flies in the face of Mireille Guiliano’s. He tells us, “I don’t go to any sexy places to eat where they give you half a lamb chop and one bean. I like going, ‘Uhhh, I’m done’ when I eat.” And where can a man find that experience?

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How Mireille Guiliano Doesn't Get Fat: Breakfast at Balthazar

When Mireille Guiliano first came to America as an exchange student, she gained weight for the first time in her life. Many years later, after becoming a CEO of Veuve Clicquot, she penned the buzzy No. 1 best-seller French Women Don’t Get Fat, now out in paperback. After 25 years of splitting her time between New York and Paris, Guiliano is still amazed by the large portions here, and by the New Yorker’s tendency to eat on the go. “To eat your bagel and your muffin with coffee on the subway is gross,” she says. “How can you do it with the smell and the noise and the moving? I’d rather starve.” She’s also still shocked when she sees people eating on the street or standing up. “For French people, you’re supposed to eat at the table. Besides the bed, it’s the most important piece of furniture in the house.” So what’s she been eating at the table this week?

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TV Hostess Kelly Choi Likes Her Sandwiches With Mayo and Mustard

If you haven’t seen Kelly Choi sporting a trench coat on her show Secrets of New York, you’ve probably seen her donning skimpier attire as the host of New York Eats. She also just appeared as a judge on Iron Chef and will soon team with a liquor sponsor to publish The 25 Most Delicious Dishes in New York. What’s one of them? The moussaka at Pylos. “I’m crazy about Greek and Middle Eastern food,” Choi tells us. She doesn’t have the extravagant expense account you’d expect, and she isn’t often hungry for complimentary desserts — but still, the former Ford model managed to put away quite a bit this week.

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Novelist Joe Weisberg Unlocks the Mystery of ‘Ugli Fruit’ and Japanese Rice Triangles

Acclaimed author Joe Weisberg’s new novel, An Ordinary Spy, follows a CIA officer serving abroad in an undisclosed country. To preserve the anonymity of the country’s “very spicy” cuisine, the author redacted all references to specific ingredients in the text. Weisberg tells us that when he himself trained to be a CIA officer, he was taught to offer food — or “amenities” — to potential recruits and was graded on his ability to bring pastries to his instructor. Now that he no longer has access to Quantico’s all-you-can-eat buffet of ice creams and pies (he lives and writes in Park Slope and teaches in Jamaica Estates), we asked him how he satisfies his voracious appetite.

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Chef Eric Ripert Starts the Day With Chocolate, Ends It With Chorizo and Tequila

Eric Ripert
There’s a reason Le Bernardin was ranked No. 1 (one of just two five-star restaurants) in the Platt 101. During lunch and dinner every day, chef-owner Eric Ripert samples a half-spoon of each of the twenty-odd sauces his chefs prepare, tests most of the mise en place (everything from string beans to mashed potatoes to polenta to guacamole), and then takes bites from dishes before they go out to the dining room. “Every day I have ten different fishes — a piece of tuna, snapper, monk, cod, himachi … It’s about 60 or 80 things I try.” To make up for this, he tries to eat light and takes 45-minute walks to (and sometimes back) from work through Central Park. But that doesn’t mean he won’t indulge in his daily breakfast chocolate.

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Santogold Indulges in a Cookie (or Two or Three) While in the Studio

It’s been a happy New Year for Rolling Stone “Artist to Watch” Santogold (née Santi White), who just returned from a British tour with M.I.A. to see herself on the cover of this month’s Fader. What sort of challenges might 2008 bring? “I do these detoxes where for 20 or 30 days I can only eat organic fruits or vegetables,” she says. “It makes you not even really be able to eat greasy food — you can, but it feels disgusting. By the end of the year [after not doing the detox for a while], I tend to crave fried food and chocolate all the time.” That doesn’t mean you’ll find her eating cheesesteaks like she did growing up in Philly (she now lives in Bed Stuy and has been a pescatarian for twelve years), but this week she did hit the vending machine at the Soho studio where she’s recording her debut self-titled album, out in April.

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Designer Steven Alan Hungers for Cowboy Cookies After Jellied Squash

Steven Alan
Yes, Steven Alan, the man who New York says “reinvented the button-down for artfully ruffled hipsters,” conducted his phone interview with us over brown rice at M Café in Los Angeles (he’s there to sort out the details of his upcoming Hollywood store, while scouting out a location for another store in Venice, where he went to high school). But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a New York eater at heart. He grew up here and lives in Chinatown, where he indulges in Malaysian noodle breakfasts and Shanghai dumplings. We asked him what he ate around town during a frenetic week of preparing his men’s and women’s lines for his first ever Fashion Week presentation.

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Jonathan Lethem Fuels His Writing With ‘White Trash’ Sandwiches

Lethem
Boerum Hill resident and author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude Jonathan Lethem is at work on a still untitled novel that’s set on the Upper East Side and features a character that’s always seen eating either an H&H bagel or a burger deluxe from Jackson Hole. The author also happens to be a bagel lover and tends to wolf them down with egg and cheese during writing breaks, something he describes as an “abject New York style of white-trash eating.” Of course, he’d never indulge in that for breakfast. “My tendency,” he says, “is to go from purity to decadence, like I’m reliving the fall of a great empire.” Here he recounts the rise and fall of his diet this week.

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Anthony Martignetti Plots a New Restaurant Over Croissants at Pastis

Bar Martignetti
Anthony Martignetti may have gone to boarding school and then to Trinity, and his year-old restaurant Bar Martignetti may enjoy a reputation as a clubhouse for the dashingly well to-do — however he insists that “anyone who sees me doesn’t think of me as extremely preppy at all. They usually tell me to dress up a bit.” Maybe he’s being modest: While it’s true he often sports a sweatshirt and dirty white jeans, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know his way around Blue Point oysters and Italian digestifs. We asked him what he’s been eating during a week that culminated in a private party for John and Patrick McEnroe.

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Singer-Songwriter Vanessa Carlton Indeed Loves Ruby's in the Afternoon

Vanessa Carlton
In her single “Nolita Fairytale,” Vanessa Carlton sings about her love of “Ruby's in the afternoon”— a reference to her favorite neighborhood hang. “It’s the best people-watching,” she says of Ruby’s. “Everyone looks like they’re out of an editorial shoot for some hip magazine. But it’s not posey.” Other favorites near the “Nolita flat on rent control” she famously exalts? La Esquina (“I love to get takeout or to just sit at the front taco bar”), Freemans (“I think it wins the devils-on-horseback competition with the Spotted Pig”), and N (“the best chorizo I’ve ever had”). We asked her whether this week found her at any of the above.

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Comedian Aziz Ansari Won't Stand for Gourmet Chicken and Waffles

Since being named Rolling Stone’s “hot stand-up,” Aziz Ansari has risen to still more prominence as — quite memorably — the racist fruit vendor on Flight of the Conchords and a star of MTV’s Human Giant (now filming its second season). One of the latter show’s memorable skits has Aziz taking a blood oath with his co-stars Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel to visit the fictional BBQ joint KC Rib Tickler’s (having grown up in South Carolina, Aziz is indeed a barbecue fan). Though they have yet to actually shed blood over it in reality, Aziz and his co-stars are passionate about checking out newly opened spots (using Adam Platt’s reviews as a pointer, we’re happy to hear!). We asked him where he’s been this week.

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