Food Diaries: The Eating (and Drinking) Habits of 5 Notable Brooklynites



Jen Doll

Writer, Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest

When I wake up in the morning, my first food is coffee. I know I’m supposed to eat breakfast, but breakfast just doesn’t appeal to me until I’m awake a few hours, and then it’s lunchtime. So, from 8 to 11 (or 12 or 1 or 2), I usually just drink coffee I make at home —and water, until I get hungry and realize I really need to eat something.

On Tuesday I bought an Evolution Fresh Protein Power drink, because I knew that on Wednesday I had to go to my publisher’s office to do a podcast and wouldn’t have a lot of time to eat.
After the podcast, I’m hungry (despite consuming 28 grams of protein!) and stop by Westville Hudson and have a turkey burger with American cheese. I exercise discipline and order salad instead of fries, and I eat the salad diligently. I also drink a white wine because the bartender asks if I like Pinot Grigio and gives it to me, and how can I say no to that? Afterward, I have an iced coffee with skim milk and Splenda.

I stick around Manhattan running errands until I meet a friend for drinks at 6:30 at The House, which is a lovely, quiet wine bar on Irving Place. There I have two quartinos of Grüner Veltliner before I return to Brooklyn, making a stop at Dick & Jane’s in Fort Greene, where I drink some rosé and talk to the bartender, Tina, who is wonderful. (This food diary reminds me of my doctor asking me how many drinks I average a week and the temptation to divide that number by half before giving her the answer. I am not dividing by half.)

I sleep in today (the past few days have been a bit of a whirlwind following my book release on May 1) and don’t get out of bed until the decadent hour of 11. I make coffee, pour myself a fresh water, and sit down to work.

Around 2 pm I make myself a sandwich with these Portuguese sandwich muffins I buy at Provisions in Fort Greene. They’re called a “3-meal muffin” presumably because they would be good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They are tasty, though I don’t know about all three meals of them.

Now is the time I confess my penchant for fake meats. I love soy nuggets and Boca Burgers and have them on hand regularly. (I’m not a vegetarian, but I used to be one, and I don’t cook a ton of meat at home.) For lunch, I warm up a Boca Burger I’d defrosted at the end of last week but hadn’t eaten (this might be unadvisable, but I figured, why waste it?), and put it on the muffin with cheddar cheese (Grafton 1-year aged, from Provisions) and some mayo and tomato and gherkins, which make any sandwich more delicious. I eat some baby carrots, too, because I am trying to be more actively accepting of vegetables in my life.

That night, I have a reading at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, and there is free wine, so I have two glasses of white wine and afterward go to Dino for dinner with a friend. I have a liver pâté crostini and the tagliatelle and mushrooms with truffle oil, some of her polpettine (veal meatballs), and a few bites of her peach salad. And another glass of white wine.

I start the day with my usual coffee. I try to go to yoga at noon but it’s canceled, and when I get home I’m hungry. I’ve been trying to be good about taking home leftovers, which I managed to do last night, and actually eating them instead of leaving them to turn into something yucky in my fridge. So I heat up the leftover pasta and meatballs (my friend had donated to the cause) and eat that, all together, and it is really good. I also eat some carrots.

Later that night, I have dinner with a friend. We try to go to Walter (I like the spinach and artichoke dip) but there is a 30-40 minute wait so we go back to Dino, where we split the kale panzanella salad, which I’d wanted the night before but they didn’t have, so that was lovely. It’s tomatoes and kale and croutons and garlic and olive oil and I think Parmesan all mixed up and it’s great. I have the black linguine with calamari in spicy tomato sauce, and it’s delicious (my friend has the spaghetti lemone), and we both have white wine. We take home leftovers and go back to my house for more wine.

I find I’m out of Splenda and must use back-up Equal, which just doesn’t taste quite the same. I’m going to yoga later and having my stomach growl in a quiet moment in yoga is embarrassing, so I heat up one of those 3-meal muffins with cheddar cheese on top of it in the oven, and snack on almonds while I wait for it. (Meltation is not a word but should be.) I would also put tomatoes on it but my cherry tomatoes are mushy and gross—I am desperate for the good-tomato part of the summer—so I throw them away and go with just the cheese and bread.

After yoga I get an iced coffee with soy milk and agave at Smooch, and then one of those cold-pressed green juices (this one has watermelon and pineapple along with kale and whatever so it isn’t too grassy) at Elly’s. I drink the juice at a nail salon because it is Saturday and I am a total cliché.

Later I snack on carrots, and a flour tortilla and swiss cheese, and some almonds, before going to a bar in my neighborhood and having more glasses of white wine than I care to number.

I start the day with coffee, but because I didn’t eat a proper dinner the night before, I’m hungry. I heat up the leftover linguine and add some Parmesan to it, and also eat some cheese melted on a 3-meal muffin.

I get another coffee (iced) after yoga (I am on a yoga roll, counteracting my wine roll), and for dinner I make myself a plate with carrots, almonds, cheddar and swiss cheese, and artichoke dip I bought from the bodega. It’s not as good as Walter’s, but it will do. I eat a bunch of pita chips, too, while doing some editing that’s due Monday, and on this particular Sunday, I don’t drink any wine, because sometimes it’s good to take a day off.

Odds & Ends

What five things do you always have in your refrigerator?
Sriracha, several kinds of pickles (just counted, I have 6 jars right now), at least some sort of cheese (usually several sorts), a box of Triscuits or crackers (which I refrigerate upon opening for fear of vermin; I realize this is weird to people), my Brita filter.

What’s your go-to midnight snack?
Usually some bready substance (flour tortillas or Pepperidge Farm white bread are my faves to have on hand) and cheese, and maybe tomato. The combination of bread-cheese-tomato is my spirit food.

What’s the weirdest food combination you’ve ever tried?
Recently, I ate pickles and folllowed it up with soy chocolate pudding. I was not pregnant. It was not bad.

What’s your usual order at a bar?
If they offer deviled eggs, I will be ordering the deviled eggs. Drink-wise, usually I’ll go with a Gruner Veltliner or other dry, crisp white wine, or possibly red (if I’m feeling adventurous and worldly) or rosé (if I’m feeling springy and cheerful).

What’s your favorite restaurant in Brooklyn?
I think it’s gotta be Dino. Their kale panzanella salad is my favorite thing, and all of their pastas are wonderful, as is the chicken parm, which they deliver to my house frequently. Roman’s is excellent, too.

What’s your favorite bar in Brooklyn?
Dick and Jane’s in Fort Greene, because the bartenders are wonderful and they have good wine and interesting cocktails and the most interesting conversations with friends and strangers alike take place there.

What’s your irrational food aversion (if any)?
I hate yogurt so, so much, the mouth-feel and the taste. I frequently buy it thinking, “This is good for me and easy and will keep my stomach from growling in the middle of the day in humiliating ways,” but when I spoon it into my mouth I just want to retch. I have probably spent hundreds of dollars on uneaten yogurt. This is shameful.

Are you pro- or anti-brunch?
I am agnostic. I would rather get together with people for dinner, but if I must brunch, I will brunch.



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