Designer Cynthia Rowley Indulges in Super-Cheesy ‘Afternoon Delights’


"My hubby and I go to Tartine. I call it my afternoon delight."Photo: Courtesy of Cynthia Rowley


Cynthia Rowley may be one of the most recognizable names in fashion (this week she returned to Design Star as a judge, and next month she’ll launch Avon’s first designer colors line), but that doesn’t stop her from surreptitiously approaching restaurant diners when she spots them wearing her clothes. “It’s exciting,” she says. “I tell them, ‘Wow, that dress looks great on you.’” So what does she eat when she’s out on the town? And during hectic preparations for Fashion Week, how hard does she try to live up to her childhood nickname, Slim (the title of her recently published “fantasy memoir”)? We were relieved to discover she’s actually a voracious eater.

Thursday, July 26
It was a total multitasking eating day since we’re shooting an ad tomorrow. I had breakfast around 8:15 a.m. during a meeting. We have food for meetings. I start eating so that people feel comfortable, but they never join in. I had a croissant and a muffin from Amy’s Bread, and OJ, coffee, and water.

During a lunch meeting with a retailer, I ate two sandwiches from Bonsignour. They were so good, I had to try two different kinds: a ham with Brie on a multigrain bread and a turkey and what seemed like a chutney and a white cheese on dark bread. And iced tea and chips.

I had a snack with the hairstylist we’re working with for the runway show— a delicious, nutritious chocolate cupcake. It had turquoise blue frosting with hot pink jimmies on it. It was the brightest cupcake I’ve ever seen. When we’re in lockdown mode for the runway show, we start to order in from the same three delivery places at night. There’s a lot of pretzels and very unhealthy snacking.

Wednesday, July 25
For breakfast I had two Nature’s Valley granola bars while I was at an event in Herald Square for Design Star. I always have those with me for emergencies, whether it’s for me or my kids, Gigi and Kit.

Sometimes my hubby will come and steal me away to make sure I eat a good lunch. I call it my afternoon delight. We go to Tartine. We have a twenty-minute lunch, fastest lunch of all time. I always have the goat-cheese salad and the side of fries, and iced tea, and maybe a couple bites of his croque monsieur.

Dinner was at Gemma at the Bowery Hotel. We surf and water-ski with Sean Macpherson in Montauk. We try to support his places. I had the stuffed fried zucchini flower, a little salmon, and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a frozen lemon custard. The food is not as high-minded as the Waverly with their truffle fries, which I love, but I thought it was great.

And I had a few Twizzlers around midnight.

Tuesday, July 24
I took my daughter to camp, and on the way to work. I stopped at a street vendor and got a bunch of healthy stuff. At work I made a banana, strawberry, and blueberry smoothie with vanilla protein powder.

Lunch was chicken Caesar salad turned into a sandwich wrap at Panino Giusto. Someone gave me some chocolate-covered strawberries. I restrained myself and only had two. They were sick. I eventually polished them off.

Tuesday night is family night. We went to Morandi — we almost call it our kitchen because it’s twenty feet away from us. We usually sit outside and order a bunch of stuff and share it family style. We start with the stuffed olives, pasta Bolognese, and broccoli for the kids. They’re always really nice at Morandi, and they don’t throw us out when the kids break glasses.

Monday, July 23
Doma is my favorite breakfast place. I like to go with Gigi, who’s 2. We share French toast with fruit on it and an egg on the side.

When I was really busy, I used to not eat or I’d forget to eat, but now I have all these flavors of peanut butter and jelly in the kitchen. I have this Tabasco-chile-powder peanut butter, which makes it more grown-up and interesting. I can eat that while running around, and maybe some pretzels and fruit.

Monday night is girls’ night with my two daughters. We had cheeseburgers, corn on the cob, and a little spinach salad for me, because they won’t touch that. We always end the night with cookies.

Sunday, July 22
We were in Montauk. Breakfast was egg, bacon, and cheese on a roll.

We had a family-style lunch on the beach: grilled cheese sandwiches from the shack on the beach, chips, chicken salad, lemon ices, and Diet Coke.

We had dinner at this place Lunch, because it’s on the way home. They have delicious lobster rolls. We had that and French fries and Diet Coke.

Saturday, July 21
We had breakfast at this place Joni’s: a bacon, egg, and avocado wrap, whole-wheat waffles with fresh fruit, and coffee, and a delicious homemade peach muffin.

After surfing and a beach snack, I always make guacamole, and we have that and chips. Dinner was grilled tuna and a salad and corn on the cob, and then we go this place called John’s for ice-cream sundaes. I like mine with a little caramel and chopped nuts. I end up eating what the kids don’t eat. That’s my midwestern mentality — to eat everything on the plate.