Meet and Eat: Sam Levison, Serious Eats Summer Intern
Name: Sam Levison
Location: New York City / Providence, RI
Occupation: Student at Brown University
Guilty pleasures? Milkshakes. Despite public knowledge that there are few things on this earth more calorically dense or generally unhealthy. A Shake Shack Black and White is probably my favorite, but Mr. Softee works in a pinch. I have an obsession with Bacon, Egg and Cheese sandwiches, too. I often consider having a nice healthy bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, but the sweet smell of a greasy bacon egger quickly destroys that notion. Also disco...lots and lots of disco.
Describe your perfect meal. A large, well-seasoned roasted chicken, some sauteed asparagus, pizza bianca (why not?) and a few friends to join in the feast.
What food won't you eat? Gefilte fish. I am terrified of it.
Favorite food person? I'm gonna have to go with Eric Ripert. I've never eaten at Le Bernardin, but every time I see this guy on TV he really appears to be enjoying himself. Whether he's preparing a dish for some Food Network feature or working the line with Anthony Bourdain, he does it with a smile on his face and noticeable passion. It's inspiring.
When did you first realize you were a serious eater? When I was about six, my mother pointed out to me that it wasn't natural to anticipate every restaurant meal one to two weeks in advance or ask what's for dinner while still eating my lunch. I've retained both habits.
What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions? Apparently food (in some large, abstract sense) is the thing to do these days, so the obsession is not nearly as odd as it was when I was younger. As a child, I heard the phrase "Sam, it's just food" rather often.
Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours? My friend John from high school. He's always seeking out fun and new places to eat. If I'm not dining with him, he makes a point to text me a general reaction or dish that he really enjoyed.
What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it? I'm a diehard advocate for fourth meal (also known as every college student's frenemy). If the night is young, I try to make it to Sal and Carmine's. If the night is not so young, Super Tacos on 96th Street is my standby. In Providence, I'll usually go for a falafel wrap at East Side Pockets.
Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? I cook pretty frequently when I'm home from school, but I don't really have a best dish. A couple weeks ago I made spaghetti with sauteed ramps and grilled chicken that went over pretty well.