At their Chelsea Hotel digs, the weekly Whole Foods picnic before Susanne works it at Happy Valley.Photo: Melissa Hom
"David is a great person to feed," nightlife doyenne and anti-housewife Susanne Bartsch says of her husband, gym owner David Barton. That’s because Barton will eat anything, or so he claims: "Eating is a means to an end. I don’t care what it tastes like. If you gave it to me in a pill, I’d be fine." Really? When the pair recalled their meals over the last week, fetishes like tuna imported by the caseload and corn-on-the-cob gelato were revealed.
Thursday, October 19
David: I always have breakfast at my desk, usually a poached egg. And a powdered drink, the Ultimate Meal; it’s green (kind of looks like mud), and you blend it with banana and an apple and water. It’s like eating dried cut grass. Yesterday I had lunch at my desk. I found this Spanish tuna called Ortiz Ventresca in the South of France years ago. I get five cases at a time; several times a day, I crack open a couple of cans and have them with balsamic vinegar and sesame oil.
Susanne: I had lunch with someone at the London Times; the "Style" section is doing a piece on me. We had Il Bottino: tomato and bread soup. And a salad. In the evening, I had a meeting at Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. They had a buffet of smoked salmon.
David: [My 13-year-old son, Bailey, and I] went to the ball game. We were eating hot dogs.
Susanne: I’d never go near those. I’m Swiss, and it’s the land of sausage. I like organic food; I could not eat at McDonald’s if you paid me.
David: We got back and had late-night pasta that Susanne cooked. It was peas
and organic turkey sausage.
Wednesday, October 18
Susanne: David and I had lunch at Barneys. I had a soup and a salad.
David: I had some kind of salad with chicken.
Susanne: For dinner, I taught the babysitter how to make a chicken dish — it’s chicken legs, tomatoes, chiles, garlic, and basil, and you bake it in the oven with rice.
David: I took some of my managers out for a late-night dinner at Employees Only. I had a baked salmon, one of my favorite things.
Tuesday, October 17
David: I had lunch with my friend Morty Slater; we’re working on a program for fitness in schools. We ate at Cafeteria by my office, and I had a tuna salad.
Susanne: On Tuesdays, I sleep until noon because it’s my night at Happy Valley. It’s my Susanne day. I don’t deal with these boys of mine. For lunch, I have a couple yogurts. I eat light because I want to wear my tight outfits! In the evening, we have a Whole Foods buffet and put food out. Everyone takes it, even the guy who does my hair and the makeup guy. We had shrimp with cocktail sauce, sushi, salmon, a Boston roll, chips. I like this thing called papadum. David doesn’t like it.
David: They’re these nasty potato chips with no potatoes in them …
Susanne: After the party, I’m usually starving. I ate a shepherd’s pie from Whole Foods at 4 a.m.
Monday, October 16
Susanne: I had a lunch with [my wardrobe consultant] Zaldy at the Chelsea Hotel. We had Whole Foods takeout sushi. We discussed my Halloween outfit. Then I met the new owners of Avalon to work on the Halloween party I’m throwing. We went to the Cast Iron Café. I had a nice small plain pizza and Perrier.
David: I went to Pastis. They have the best salmon in the world. Then we had dinner at my parents’ and got takeout from Bar Pitti. I had chicken pounded very thin [with endive and tomato on top].
Susanne: You didn’t mention the ice cream, David Barton.
David: What ice cream, babe? [Laughs.] We had ice cream at Cones on Bleecker Street. My favorite is the almond cream.
Susanne: And the corn-on-the-cob ice cream.
David: It sounds so nasty; it’s really good, though. My vices are ice cream, hot dogs, and buffalo wings. Susanne says I can fall asleep with a chocolate bar in my mouth and not get cavities. I have a very resilient structural integrity of the body.
Sunday, October 15
Susanne: Sunday [at our country house in Milford, Pennsylvania], we had a dish that David makes: a Spanish omelette with onion and potatoes. And we had an Iron Chef cook-off. David makes a great tuna sauce. His won, of course.
David: I’m good at pulling out anything in the fridge and making whatever. I have a short attention span. Once I took out some tuna and made a sauce out of it. You cook the tuna down with onions till it doesn’t taste like tuna anymore. It breaks down and gets sweet.
Saturday, October 14
Susanne: We had a barbecue. David had his hot dogs, and I had my organic chicken sausage, and burgers, which David makes very rare.
David: Very rare meat is my favorite thing in the world. While I’m eating it, I can hear a voice from deep within myself making growling noises. It reminds me of my carnivorous ancestry. [Laughs.]
Susanne: David is very entertaining when he eats. When David is eating, you’re not going to hear another sound out of him.
David: Susanne’s very domestic. She makes Swiss things like mueslix, which is really this kind of oats-and-fruit dish that’s really great.
Susanne: You soak the oats in a little milk, lemon … There’s more fruit than oats. You must always use grated apple. That’s key. Then you go with the seasoning strawberry, or in winter you use bananas.
David: I married her for her mueslix.
—As told to Daniel Maurer
Happy Days [NYM]