“I had a two-pound bag of almonds and ate them on the subway.”Photo: Melissa Hom
For the past month, Franz Ferdinand front man Alex Kapranos has been spending long hours in a Chelsea studio producing a record by tourmates the Cribs; staying at the Greenpoint apartment of his girlfriend of four years Eleanor Friedberger, lead singer of the Fiery Furnaces; and celebrating the publication of Sound Bites: Eating on Tour With Franz Ferdinand, in which the culinary adventurer and former chef recounts everything from buffets in Singapore to bull’s testicles in Argentina. Before he returns to Glasgow next week to start work on a new record (and to tuck into his favorite curry), we thought we’d ask him where he’s been finding nourishment in his adopted city.
Thursday, February 1
For breakfast I generally have a tub of yogurt with granola and maple syrup. When I came back from Vancouver, I brought a couple tubs of Canadian maple syrup and it got confiscated. Since December I’ve been obsessed with the idea of eating maple syrup.
On my way to the studio, I passed Shaffer City Oyster Bar. I had a dozen oysters, but I was still hungry. I could’ve kept on eating them, but they cost a bloody fortune. So I had a bowl of mussels and frites.
Wednesday, January 31
For breakfast I had some aged Gruyère and whole meal of rolls from this great supermarket in Greenpoint called the Garden.
I went up to the offices of Epic, our label, in the Sony Building. They have a private restaurant up at the top with leather banquettes, silver cutlery, and the most astonishing views of Manhattan. Apparently someone is selling records! You can look down into David Copperfield’s penthouse apartment from the restaurant. I had lentil soup to start with, then seared scallops, and there were petits fours and espresso to finish.
After a long day in the studio, we found SushiSamba. Their gimmick is they play samba music slightly too loudly. I had yellowfin tuna with scallions (a roll), shrimp sushi, some octopus, a salmon roll, and a spicy tuna roll.
Tuesday, January 30
A couple doors down from me in Greenpoint, there’s an Italian restaurant called the Casanova. They do pizzas. They’re generally okay apart from one called the grandma special, which was one of the greatest slices I’ve ever had. I was kind of late coming out of the house so it didn’t feel bad that I had it for breakfast.
That night we had a launch party for the book. There was food there, but I didn’t get to eat very much because I was trying to figure out how the D.J. turntables worked. My girlfriend was back in town, so we went to Diner. The waiter writes the specials down on the paper tablecloth. Usually while the waiter is telling me the specials, I forget them as the words come out of his mouth. We had a pork-shoulder stew with chorizo and potatoes — it tasted like it had been cooked overnight.
Monday, January 29
I had a big two-pound bag of almonds and ate them on the subway. They have a popcorn machine [in the studio], so I fill myself up on this endless supply of popcorn.
Later I went out to Georgio’s around the corner. I had Indian spiced lentil soup and scallops. I had a Chilean sea bass as well, which was rather good.
Sunday, January 28
Because we’re close to Union Square, I went to Whole Foods and picked up a selection of their vegetarian curries. That was my brunch. In the evening we went down to the Spotted Pig. It feels a bit like a pub in London, but it’s still incredibly New York. I had braised lamb shank with crusted celery root, oysters, and these goat-cheese gnocchi. It was still really, really crowded.
Saturday, January 27
We ordered sushi from Go Sushi while we were mixing.
We went out for a curry again that evening at Tamarind. I was with my friend Diane Martel who directed the “Do You Want To” video. When I eat Indian, I prefer to eat vegetarian because it’s quite heavy and can wipe you out a bit for the night.
A lot of these nights we’d end up at Local 138. The music isn’t obnoxious. I hate to go to pubs where you can’t talk to people.
Friday, January 26
Breakfast was something along the lines of the granola and maple syrup.
Lunch was sushi again.
I got away from the studio early and bought some Italian sausage and some linguine and mustard leaves. It was a treat to be able to cook for myself. I also went down to the farmer’s market in Union Square and got a French stick. When you buy one of those, it’s impossible to get it home without eating it. I ate the whole thing on the subway; the V train takes a long time! —As told to Daniel Maurer