Go on an NYC Food Marathon!
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468 # 3 THE NYC FOOD MARATHON: —ANTHONY BOURDAIN 26.2 DISHES IN 26 LOCATIONS IN 24 HOURS “The body’s not a temple. It’s an amusement park.” In my favorite food memoir, Heat, I highlighted close to 100 passages. Most were related to topics for further exploration, questions I needed answers to. Six months later, only two passages remained mysteries. Both related to professional chefs who had gone on “food tours,” eating at 15–30 restaurants in single days. One had done it for pleasure while in Italy, the other for research prior to opening his own joint in NYC. I couldn’t figure out the logistics. How is it possible to hit that many places? How could anyone eat that much food? Was it remotely plausible, or a literary exaggeration? I asked JZ to help me test-drive it. I proposed an “NYC Food Marathon”: 26.2 dishes, all at different places, in 24 hours. It was a nod to the 26.2 miles in a normal marathon, and we would walk the whole thing. But which 26.2 dishes? To narrow it down, JZ asked more than 40 NYC chefs and foodie friends: “If it were your last day to live, what would you eat in NYC?” That created the starter list, which JZ honed down to items unique to (or iconic in) NYC. Needless to say, all of them had to be amazing. The locations also had to be close enough together that we could hit them by foot in a single day. For this reason, we focused on Manhattan. On December 20, 2011, less than 24 hours after I’d tackled the 14,000+ calorie Vermonster, we did it. Like all first-time marathons, it was brutal. Without a doubt, it was also totally worthwhile. We ended up eating 20+ New York Times stars from 9 a.m. to 3:23 a.m. In a footrace, that’d be slower than the bag lady pushing the broken grocery cart, but in a food marathon, 18 hours is an MVP hustle. The morning we started, JZ’s partner and chef-owner at Riverpark, Sisha Ortuzar, texted: “I want reports every hour.” He expected us to lose our lunch before lunch. We didn’t. A meticulous plan, a minute-by-minute blueprint, was our savior. It’s included in the next spread, with adjustments and notes in parentheses. Seem like a lot of food? It wasn’t. It was a freaking Godzilla-killing buttload of food. To replicate our NYC Food Marathon (or a food marathon in your own city), which I totally encourage you to try, a few guidelines are mission critical. It’s all worth saving up for. Think of the stories for the grandkids! Now the golden rules: • Do this with a friend. It’s 100 times more fun. • Split everything (food quantities and cost). Our marathon cost about $550 total, but your mileage may vary. Excerpted from The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss 468 469 NYC FOOD MARATHON • If you don’t want to finish something, don’t force yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Challenging? Of course. Nauseainducing for days? No. JZ and I left quite a few bits unfinished, even though we tried to polish off anything that wasn’t a complete gluten bomb. Pierogies were tough. • Have backup plans in case of rain, which could be as simple as umbrellas, a tighter cluster of restaurants, or the budget for cab fare between 26 places. • In all seriousness: Do not expect to get anything productive done in the subsequent 24 hours. It ain’t gonna happen. Remember Lance Armstrong (freakin’ Lance Armstrong) walking sideways downstairs after his first marathon? That’s how your brain will feel. Biochemical insurance: PAGG, Cissus, and friends. Excerpted from The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss 469 E 34TH ST W 33RD ST E 32ND ST MADISON AVE E 30TH ST W 29TH ST 6TH AVE 9TH AVE 8TH AVE 5TH AVE 7TH AVE LEXINGTON AVE 19 PARK AVE 2ND AVE 3RD AVE AVE W 25TH ST W 24TH ST W 23RD ST W 22TH ST W 21ST ST W 20TH ST W 19TH ST W 18TH W 17TH ST 9TH AVE 5TH AVE W 16TH ST W 15TH ST W 14TH ST 13 12 11 21 20 4TH E 23RD ST R FD 1ST AVE DR ST PARK AVE 3RD AVE 1ST AVE E 14TH ST E 12TH ST ST W 13TH ST W 12TH ST 2ND AVE VE HA 16 24 ON DS 4T HU LY ER ST W 10TH ST 7 15 3 25 9 2 14 1 E 10TH ST E 9TH ST E 7TH ST E 5TH ST 10 AV W W 8TH ST 6 ST MARK’S PL 17 18 ERY DSO NS 25B BOW T E 10 1ST AVE TH BROADWAY ST 7TH AVE 26 E 3RD ST TS HU 5 W HOUS TON ST T S WE AVE 6TH SULLIVAN ST ALLEN S ESSEX ST T W HOUSTON ST 23 BROOME ST DEL ANC RY BOWE EY ST 8 WILLIAM SBURG B RIDGE 4 GRAND ST CAN AL S T ST CHURCH ST HU BROADWAY ST WE DSO NS T M WORTH ST 22 AN H AT TA N BR ID GE Excerpted from The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss 470 NYC FOOD MARATHON ARRIVAL EAT DEPART RESTAURANT DISH Cortado and egg sandwich with pickled beets, and olive cookies They were out of egg sandwiches, so we had cortado and bought olive cookies to save for our last 0.2 meal of the 26.2. 9:00 AM 9:17 AM 9:45 AM 10:20 AM 10:45 AM 9:05 9:27 9:53 10:25 10:53 9:15 9:42 9:59 10:30 11:04 1. ABRAÇO 86 East 7th Street 2. CAFÉ MOGADOR 101 Saint Marks Place Haloumi and shakshuka Almond croissant Coconut cream and carrot cake doughnuts Belly lox on an everything bagel with capers, tomatoes, and onions The bagel with lox truly saved us. We couldn’t have done another sweet dish, and the salty wonder of the cream cheese with salmon offered the taste-bud contrast we needed to continue. 3. TARALLUCCI E VINO 163 1st Avenue 4. DOUGHNUT PLANT 379 Grand Street 5. RUSS & DAUGHTERS 179 East Houston Street 11:14 AM 11:24 11:34 6. ’WICHCRAFT 60 East 8th Street Beer-braised beef brisket with pickled vegetables and cheddar on ciabatta We took the top slice of bread off of our sandwiches to treat them like tartines, open-faced French sandwiches. I wanted to minimize gluten-loading too early in the game. 11:44 AM 12:09 PM 12:44 PM 11:49 12:14 12:49 11:54 12:29 1:04 7. LIQUITERIA 170 2nd Avenue All Greens smoothie This provided both ginger for digestion/force-feeding and a small amount of fructose to help prevent enormous blood sugar swings. I drank half and saved the rest for later. 8. COCORON 61 Delancey Street Pork kimchi soba and green tea Pork buns 9. MOMOFUKU 171 1st Avenue This is where I said to JZ, “I think I burned my mouth at the last soba place,” to which he rightly responded, “That’s like getting a hangnail at mile four.” He was right. Taking stock of the rest of my body, I noticed another problem: “Uh-oh. I dropped two of my pills.” I had brought nine capsules of anti-obesity cissus quadrangularis (CQ) and 6 g L-lysine (an immune system hedge), all to be taken in three divided doses during our race. 1:11 PM 1:46 PM 1:16 1:56 1:26 2:06 10. TAIM 222 Waverly Place Sabich sandwich Kabocha squash toast, chicken liver toast, cheeseburger with fries, and roasted Jerusalem artichokes One of the biggest challenges of doing a food marathon with JZ was that most of the chefs and managers know him, so free dishes came out. This happened at ABC, one of my favorite spots (chef Dan Kluger trained JZ in his first job). I felt a second wind and sprinted through two bread dishes—“Ah, feeling light!” I said, smirking at JZ—and then I dove headfirst into the shallow end. This was my first sensation of “bonking.” In real marathons, this hitting the wall is associated with running out of stored glycogen, a carbohydrate. In food marathons, “bonking” is the opposite, something like insulin intoxication: stuffing too many carbohydrates in your maw. 11. ABC KITCHEN 35 East 18th Street 2:26 PM 3:04 PM 2:36 3:09 3:01 3:14 12. CRAFTBAR 900 Broadway Veal ricotta meatballs and two glasses of wine Pretzel croissant A Dolcetto d’Alba 2009 and an Elena Walch Lagrein 2009. 13. CITY BAKERY 3 West 18th Street Right on the tail of the Vermonster, there was no way I could even taste chocolate and peanut butter ice cream without puking, so we scratched our original plan to get ice cream at Sundaes & Cones. Then we took a 20-minute nap at JZ’s apartment and did GLUT-4 exercises. Sadly, 10 minutes after entering comatose bliss, a dog walker came banging through the door and started yelling, “Abbey, sit! Abbey, sit! Abbey, sit!” at JZ’s pit bull/dachshund mix. The dog defiantly freaked out instead, and nap time was concluded. With a sigh, I finished our brief time-out with 40 airsquats and 40 wall presses, both designed to increase recruitment of GLUT-4 receptors in muscle tissue. Excerpted from The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss 471 NYC FOOD MARATHON ( CONTINUED) ARRIVAL EAT DEPART RESTAURANT DISH Porchetta plate with white beans and sautéed kale 3:29 PM 3:56 PM 4:26 PM 3:39 4:06 4:36 3:49 4:21 4:51 14. PORCHETTA 110 East 7th Street 15. GRAFFITI 224 East 10th Street Hummus-and-zucchini pizza Ribollita, autumn vegetable salad with whipped ricotta, cotechino with lentils, braised rabbit with olives, and a glass of Colli Orientali del Friuli Marco, a good friend of JZ’s whom I love to death, decided to pull a Tanya Harding here. He’s a mischievous one. “Oh, so you want a tasting?” Out came four dishes for each of us. “And you can’t leave without trying. . . . Just a little bit. Hold on. . . .” It was incredible, and he knew we’d eat it all. This little side-gorge was like stopping in the middle of a real marathon to do 100-meter sprints for 10 minutes before continuing. Fried pierogis with sautéed onions Cupcake and a chocolate-chip cookie At this point, JZ did not feel well and couldn’t finish his cookie. I’m proud to report that I ate all of the cookies. Avocado-and-hamachi salad and Chilean bitters (for digestion) I finished off the second half of the Liquiteria ginger greens at this point. Chemex coffee, venison loin with brussels sprouts, and a glass of Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Braised short ribs, butternut squash puree, and a glass of Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60 All delicious, in part because of the decadent sauces. I nicknamed the butternut squash “butter, not squash.” Your choice cocktail, sencha, and chawan-mushi (steamed egg custard) Brushstroke treated me to the best chawan-mushi I’ve ever had. The booklined walls of the far-right bar are incredible, and the food and drink are even better. The sencha, a strong green tea, was consumed first for inhibition of fat-storage and better recruitment of GLUT-4 receptors in muscle cells. Then, we went for the house-made ginger ale with shochu. Bone marrow with oxtail ragout, half-dozen oysters, and a Brooklyn lager Anything tastes amazing if you’re drunk and hungry. It’s quite another thing if you’ve had 24 meals sober and something tastes incredible. That was this dish. Truth be told, JZ and I expected it to be the final nail in the coffin. Pork blade steak with arugula salad and a glass of 2009 Solane Santi Valpolicella Slice of pepperoni pizza (alternate location 25B: Joe’s Pizza) Cocktails, including two Ginger Smashes With one of the coolest logos and bartenders I’d ever met (Bratislav from Serbia), this was the perfect place to cross the finish line. Leftover olive cookie from Abraço 16. HEARTH 403 East 12th Street 5:16 PM 5:43 PM 6:18 PM 7:08 PM 7:58 PM 5:21 5:48 6:28 7:23 8:08 5:36 6:09 6:48 7:53 9:08 17. STAGE 128 Second Avenue 18. PODUNK 231 East 5th Street 19. RIVERPARK 450 East 29th Street 20. ELEVEN MADISON PARK 11 Madison Avenue 21. CRAFT 43 East 19th Street 9:25 PM 9:35 9:55 22. BRUSHSTROKE 30 Hudson Street 10:15 PM 10:30 10:50 23. BLUE RIBBON 97 Sullivan Street 11:00 PM 12:30 AM 1:00 AM 11:10 12:35 1:15 12:00 AM 12:45 3:20 24. TERROIR 413 East 12th Street 25. SOUTH BROOKLYN PIZZA 122 1st Avenue 26. EMPLOYEES ONLY and 26.2. 510 Hudson Street Excerpted from The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss 472 Crossing the finish line and polishing off the last 0.2 miles. Excerpted from The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss 473