"I was supposed to have lunch at Le Bernardin, but I had to cancel."Photo: Melissa Hom
As the editor of "Page Six," Richard Johnson knows that shock lurks everywhere, even in hors d’oeuvre: "Some of them are designed as if they’re booby-trapped to explode." Suspecting that the city’s most popular gossip columnist can’t survive on raw-bar caviar alone, we asked him what else he wrestled into his mouth between Saturday, October 7, and Thursday, October 12.
Editor, "Page Six"
I haven’t had anything to eat today [Thursday]. I was supposed to have lunch at Le Bernardin, but I had to cancel. Too busy. [For what Johnson wound up eating, right after our interview, see photo.]
Yesterday I had lunch at Esca with my old friend Bob Guccione Jr., who publishes Discover — I had blowfish tails to start. I used to eat them as a kid when I would catch them off Fire Island. But these had too much bone or cartilage; I had to pull it out of my teeth. Then for a main course, I had hand-cut spaghetti with crabmeat and sea urchin. For dinner, I had Chinese takeout — ginger beef and hot-and-sour soup.
Tuesday I stayed home for dinner and had some squid-ink lobster ravioli with pesto — the gourmet frozen stuff that comes in a box with a string around it.
For lunch on Monday, I was at Sapporo. I went solo to catch up on my reading — Variety or Women’s Wear Daily. It’s a little crowded, but they have great ramen noodles. I’ve probably ruined a few ties. I had a pork cutlet and curry over rice.
That night I went to the Hearst Tower inaugural gala. I had some oysters and shrimp from the raw bar. I generally hate eating standing up, but I love it when they pass around those tiny lamb chops that you eat in one bite. I’m fond of mini-hamburgers, pigs in a blanket, the foie gras. Don’t try to bite these things in half; pop the whole thing in your mouth and hope nobody talks to you for a few minutes. Some of them are designed as if they’re booby-trapped to explode.
After that I went to the "Man of the Year" party at Amarant, a sit-down dinner, and had a salad with artichoke, avocado, and Parmesan cheese. The five-cheese raviolis were very good. Robin Williams was there, and Laura Linney and Barry Levinson. I got to sit with Dave Zinczenko of Men’s Health, Dan Abrams of MSNBC, and Debbie Bancroft of Avenue. A lot of times, people get insulted [when they’re seated at the press table], but it’s usually the most fun place to sit.
Sunday I cooked at home and had shrimp sautéed in garlic and butter and steamed blue-claw crabs. We ate them outside, with a hammer and nutcrackers. They were incredibly messy; I took a shower afterwards.
Saturday we were out in Hampton Bays at our house. My wife [Sessa von Richthofen] is from Austria, and she made kaeserschmarrn, which means "emperor’s nonsense." It’s a pancake that’s shredded and then eaten with powdered sugar and apple sauce and raisins. That night we went to Lobster Inn in Southampton and had steamers and lobster. I went very heavy on shellfish this week — just a coincidence, I guess.
—As told to Daniel Maurer