Meet and Eat: Zoe Bain, Serious Eats Intern

Editor's note: Please say hello to another one of our magnificent fall interns, Zoe!


Name: Zoe Bain
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: Student at Barnard College

Guilty pleasures? Green tea ice cream and sticky buns from Amy's Bread in New York. I've tried many times to walk through Chelsea Market without buying a sticky bun and I have yet to succeed.

Describe your perfect meal. There are two different versions. One involves an Italian grandmother, recipes that have been handed down for generations, and homemade pasta of many kinds. The other would have to be a tasting menu with wine pairings at Jean Georges, Le Bernadin, or Daniel.

What food won't you eat? Tripe. I spent my last semester in Italy and every guidebook had recommendations for the best tripe sandwiches, but I could never bring myself to try one. Something about the texture makes me shiver! I'm also not a huge fan of raw tomatoes, but I'm constantly trying them because they always look so appetizing!


What would you like to try but haven't yet? I am dying to go to Japan and try authentic ramen. After reading David Chang's first issue of Lucky Peach, I find myself daydreaming about giant bowls of soup.

Favorite food person? Ruth Reichl, although Frank Bruni is a close second. The way they write about food always makes me feel like I'm enjoying those four-star meals right along with them.

When did you first realize you were a serious eater? There's a picture of me when I was about eighteen months old with a huge plate of spaghetti (most of it on my face) that is pretty telling. I also tend to start baking when I'm stressed and I've always thought that cooking a nice dinner is one of the best methods of procrastination when I have a paper due or an upcoming exam.

What do your family and friends think of your food obsessions? They are all very supportive and more than willing to come with me on eating adventures. And they always let me pick the restaurants!

Favorite food sites or blogs (besides Serious Eats of course)? The Kitchn and David Lebovitz's blog.

Who's your go-to person to call for restaurant recommendations? It depends on the city, but when I'm home in Los Angeles it's my mom! She always knows a great place that just opened.

And what's the best recommendation she's ever given you? She recently took me to Playa in Los Angeles. The maize cakes and small platos are delicious, not to mention the blue cornmeal cookie sundae.

What is your favorite meal of the day and where do you get it? Brunch. Whoever came up with the idea that restaurants should serve breakfast food all day on the weekends is a genius! My favorite brunch place in New York is Kitchenette. There's one right by Columbia and I'm currently obsessed with the turkey sausage omelette with grits and a biscuit slathered with strawberry butter and blueberry jam.

Do you ever cook? What's the best dish you make? I'm more of a baker, although my semester in Bologna, Italy helped me develop my cooking skills. I'm known for my tiramisu (thanks to one of my Italian professors!), but the dish I'm most proud of is a tangerine sorbet that I made with the first crop of tangerines from my family's tree. It was so exciting to make something delicious that came right from my own backyard.