Last week I was on the Today show. FUN! Here are the highlights:
I revisited some of my fave NYC haunts while shooting the taped package they ran right before my live segment with one of their correspondents. Jenna Wolfe and I went to Carnegie Deli, Jewel Bako, Bowery Congee, and several other hot spots that I adore. They did a nice job with the taped piece, but they played the “fear factor” card a bit too much, I thought. The day of the show, we arrived nice and early and hung in the green room with Chris Matthews and his entourage of brainy politicos. Matthews is a baseball nut, and we chatted about the Yanks, Twins, and the AL. Twinkle (Jenna Bush) arrived amidst a hailstorm of security. The First Family’s personal security detail is an awesome thing to see in action, especially up close. Originally I was going to be on the couch with Matt, but since Jenna did three segments inside with Anne, the producers thought I should be outside on the plaza with all four hosts. It was a difficult thing to pull off. Four minutes, five egos, ten plates of food . . . . I would have preferred to spend the time talking to one host about sharing food and experiencing other cultures, but I’ll have to wait until next time. Meredith and Matt are very kind and sincere people, very welcoming. Roker is a goofball. Curry is phenomenal. She is the most calm and inclusive host on the set.
My wife and I were staying at the Ritz, just a block away as the venerable Plaza Hotel turned a hundred years old. Matthew Broderick cut the cake. We ran downtown before the scene got too hectic and had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Da Silvano. This restaurant has been open since I was a young man, and it’s nothing fancy—a small little trattoria—but the food is great and the people-watching even better. We had thin buttery slices of prosciutto that come served on a sheet of thick butcher paper, a large bowl of steamed mussels, sautéed calf's liver with sage and brown butter, and some spaghetti puttanesca . . . but the stars of the night were the twelve truffle courses. The fresh white truffles of Alba are just now in markets, and the owner of the restaurant showered us with a few dishes that are part of their fall truffle menu. First we tried the creamy white polenta, topped with a quartet of perfectly fried quail eggs crowned with a small snowdrift of shaved white truffle. Next up was a small softball of milky and warm burrata with shaved bottarga and white truffle. Oh my lord, are white truffles good.
Plaza birthday cake.
Below: Tongue and brisket at the Carnegie; polenta with quail eggs and truffles.
Below: Yoshi at Jewel Bako sharpening his knives; shinso flowers; octopus sashimi with green tea salt, pickled cucumber, and shiso flowers at Jewel Bako.
And finally, everybody loves durian . . . !