DBGB • A WIENER IN DISGUISE is still a wiener

DBGB dog 11.09DBGB299 Bowery, New York City, 212 933 5300

“So I copied-and-pasted the generic online dating profile from AskMen.com and used it as my own,” said Chris. I looked at my old Boston University friend and scanned his face for a blink, an apologetic wince, a “Just kidding!” But Chris was just being himself, which meant he was vying for dates by not being himself.

• • •

Every now and then I crave hot dogs. This usually occurs during the summer, somewhere in Central Park downwind from a strategically placed food cart.

I didn’t crave the DBGB hot dog yesterday, but I ordered it anyway; I was curious to see how Daniel Boulud would dress up a wiener.

The dish did not disappoint. For $7, you get a homemade beef frankfurter on a toasted bun topped with sauteed onions, a tangle of greens drizzled in mustard and their signature “299” relish.

It was a satisfying 3PM snack, as was the hazelnut chocolate cake that Chris and I ordered afterward. I asked for coffee too, but the request was forgotten in light of the hour – or as the bartender explained, “It’s staff meal right now. Sometimes orders fall through the cracks.” Really?

So I listened to Chris, who confirmed he didn’t read the AskMen profile in its entirety before passing it off as his own. One of his dates asked, “How was your trip to Annapolis?” before he realized his profile mentioned a recent weekend in Annapolis.

• • •

I watched as the bartender diligently juiced a lemon half with a squeezer – the guy was clearly within earshot of my titillating conversation with Chris. He must think I’m a weirdo for associating with online dating profile thieves, I thought. Then I realized, no, the bartender won’t judge me for my taste in friends, but he probably thinks I’m a loser blogger for prodding my hot dog with a camera lens.

amy • november 20, 2009

November 20, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . East Village, French, Manhattan. 6 comments.

Amy Blogs Chow takes over @ZAGATBUZZ

Picture 1Picture 19Z1Z2z3z4z5z6z7z8z9z10z11z12z13z14I ATTENDED THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION of the French Culinary Institute on behalf of ZAGAT this Monday. Initially, I was just attending a panel discussion and after-party, but when I asked my editor if I could tweet about the evening among French folk and amuse-bouche, he suggested that I beam the event to the foodie masses from the company twitter account. It was cool beans.

By the end of the evening, I made a new friend, Chichi, who writes for the fun, recipe-centric site Serious Eats. (Read her take on the evening.)

The event coordinators gave out baguettes and chocolate as departing gifts, so I wandered up Broadway with a major breadstick protruding from my bag. In the end, I re-gifted the baguette to a doo-wop duo singing for change on the 6 train.

I’m quite lucky to do what I do and it only makes sense to pay it forward, even if it’s something as simple as sharing a baguette, an invitation, banana shake instructions. Time. After all, sharing is caring! At left, see the twitter feed from the event. As always, thanks for following.

November 11, 2009. Tags: , , , , . event, French, SoHo, ZAGAT SURVEY. Leave a comment.

ELEVEN MADISON PARK : dinner with a side of rent

Hawaiian Prawns Appetizerinterior

The Macaroon Stands AloneEleven Madison ParkAS A FREELANCE RESTAURANT WRITER I’m often asked one of two questions: “How do you stay so tiny?” and “Does restaurant writing pay the bills?”

While my compact size gives me a competitive edge on the 6 train during rush hour, it also means I’m smaller than the average woman (which renders the clothes-buying process a task I generally avoid). More important than bone structure, however, is my zeal for spinning and yoga. I exercise as if I’m preparing for a photo shoot with Megan Fox or about to meet an ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. Irrational, perhaps, but awfully motivating.

I get squeamish when it comes to money-related questions. Still, I answer truthfully (usually), which backfires more often than you’d think. Generally, strangers assume I’m hoarding an expense account and are pretty disappointed when I say I don’t. Some see me as a walking meal ticket while others think I’m their way into the Wine & Food Festival or at least dessert on the house. After all, why do it if not for free food?

The trick is: I don’t pay rent, which lets me squander a negligible income on…not rent. Bananas, mostly. There are perks to restaurant and travel writing, sure, but you can’t live on comped meals and free hotel rooms alone. The secret of many young rent-paying New York writers are rent-paying parents. And those who don’t have that luxury find other ways, like a “real job”, to keep overhead low.

In the past, I paved my way into different homes with rainbows, unicorns and sunshine. Charm doesn’t always work but, while it does, I substantiate the intangible by treating my rent-paying boyfriend to dinner.

I invited Jason to Eleven Madison Park last night. Dinner was French and unpretentious – as the French often are when they’re not making you feel inferior for not being French. Bruni gave it four stars and, as his review and my photos show, it was a seamless, tastefully done two-hour experience from the pão de queijo (cheesy buns) to the table-side duck-cutting demo (for those who order the duck entree) and, finally, the after-dessert dessert: macaroons. I love macaroons.

I’d never been more pleased to pick up the tab. Yes, it was expensive for the times in which we live, but not for the place in which I stay. Besides, I’m about to paint his walls bright orange for my upcoming non-cooking web series. Get excited.

September 3, 2009. French, Madison Square Park, Manhattan, reservation required. 3 comments.