Note: It's time to introduce you to one of our new summer interns. Kayla's already helped us organize the peanut butter tasting, and introduced us to some cool drinks (blackberry and papaya batidos) in Astoria. Get to know her better, and say hello! —The Mgmt.
1. Guilty pleasures? Skinny Cow ice cream. I try to keep processed foods to a minimum but can't resist their ice cream sandwiches! Though I found out that Jeffrey Steingarten was also once a closeted Skinny Cow lover, so I'm in good company.
2. Describe your perfect meal. Any variety of tapas! A little something salty, a little something sweet, and definitely something fried. I feel so limited ordering just one dish at a restaurant, so even when I'm not at a tapas bar I end up ordering several appetizers to share with my table. To me, the best part of a meal is sharing it with the people you care about most.
3. What food won't you eat? It's not really a food, but a spice. I can't stand cumin. If it's just a hint, that's bearable, but I can't stomach a whole marinade or rub with it. Belch!
4. What would you like to try but haven't yet? There are tons of things, but what first comes to mind are blood sausage and tripe. They don't sound very appetizing, but if it's prepared really well, I'm sure I'd like them. My parents instilled the two-bite rule growing up: you have to take two bites of something before you can say you don't like it because the first bite is an automatic "ew." I will take two solid bites before I definitively claim I don't like blood sausage or tripe.
5. Favorite food person? It's a tie between Danny Meyer and Frank Bruni. I really love Danny Meyer's "hospitality is a hug" philosophy because eating isn't just about the food, it's the way you feel when you're eating it. I've been to a few of his restaurants and have always been blown away by the food, and the service. (At Eleven Madison Park the waitress overheard that I loved the pate de fruts so much that they brought me another tray!) Frank Bruni is just delightful. I read Born Round about a year ago after obsessively following his New York Times reviews. He associates food with family which, coming from a family with the same view, I can totally agree with.
6. When did you first realize you were a serious eater? When I was seven my mom took me to Tabla (when I first learned about Danny Meyer) and it was love at first bite. There was this incredible Indian spiced crab cake—crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside with lime zest. I knew then that I wanted to eat food like this more often.
7. What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions? My mom calls it inevitable. I had a ferocious appetite as a kid and insatiable curiosity. There was a time where my parents could not eat something in front of me without me asking for a bite.
8. Favorite food sites or blogs, besides SE of course? Amy Blogs Chow is great, especially her Stupidly Simple Snacks videos! I also love Lunch Studio. They have fantastic pictures. I'm almost always hungry after I read one of their posts, even if I just ate.
9. Who's your go-to person for restaurant recommendations? My mom! She has the sharpest palate I know. I'm never disappointed.
10. And what's the best recommendation she's ever given you? Torrisi. I'm obsessed with their roasted turkey sandwich, and now that SEHQ is a few blocks away, it's a frequent lunch spot.
11. What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it? I don't really discriminate between meals. My favorite meal is usually based on my favorite recent dish. Right now it's dessert, I guess. I can't get over the chocolate Pop Rocks from The Bazaar in Los Angeles. Chocolate and a minor explosion in your mouth, woah.
12. Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? My mom's the cook in the family, but I do bake. I made these dreamy pumpkin whoopee pies for Thanksgiving.