Last month, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Maiysha’s first single, “Wanna Be,” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. Her producer called her with the good news while she was at home in Park Slope watching Top Chef, but she’ll have to DVR her shows the night of the February 8 ceremony. For this week’s New York Diet, we caught up with Maiysha — whose hit is about career frustration — as she transitions from the “free pass” of holiday eating into good fighting shape for her trip to Los Angeles.
Saturday, January 3
Saturday was a funny day, because as far as I was concerned, that was the last free day of the holidays. I was running around and I had a slice of pizza for breakfast. I was on First Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets in the East Village and just popped into the spot because it was probably 1:30 and I was like, “I’m going to pass out.”
Later that evening I was still in splurge mode, so I went to the Water Street Café on Water and Main in Dumbo and I had the Water Main Burger, which was amazing. There was cheese, bacon, and fries. That was my lunch/dinner moment [along with] a glass of Shiraz.
Sunday, January 4
Sunday morning, I slept in again. I was little more back on the wagon. I looked at the calendar and saw we have five weeks until the Grammys and thought I better get it together. I’m really bad with breakfast. I either completely go overboard and cook the whole kitchen or I don’t eat it at all. So I often have a meal-replacement shake since it kind of gets it out of the way. I got up and had a vanilla Metagenics whey-based protein shake. That was at about 1 or 2 p.m. I was really trying to get my sleep in over the weekend.
Around 7 p.m., I just grilled a chicken breast and sautéed some Brussels sprouts and roasted green beans. I was searching all over Park Slope for Celestial Seasonings Bengal spice, and I found it over the weekend, so I remember having an overload that day. It’s my favorite tea because you don’t need to sweeten it.
Monday, January 5
Monday morning I got up really early at 6 a.m. and had a shake, and then I went back to sleep, and got up again at like 10 a.m. and had another one. Ran to the gym, came back and had a salad: baby arugula with some lemon and olive oil, some leftover Brussels sprouts with that. And one of my best friends turned me onto hard-boiled eggs dipped into Dijon mustard — I like Maille.
That night, I did stir-fry. I stir-fried some chicken breast with some fresh vegetables and threw some really good teriyaki sauce on it, Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki. No rice. I was kind of dehydrated, so I’ve been drinking a lot of water. Over the break it was lots of parties and dining out and wine, so I’ve been trying to get in the water. But I might have had a glass of Pinot Grigio that night.
Tuesday, January 6
Tuesday I knew I was going to EN [Japanese Brasserie], which is one of my favorite places, so I was really pacing myself. I got up, had a shake, ran to the gym, came back, had another shake, vanilla … I’m so bad, I’m just boring. But it was because I knew what was in store for me at EN. I had some GT’s ginger kombucha at some point. [But] this is where it gets fun.
I go to EN once a week, essentially. I have a standing date with my best friend — we’ve been doing this for three or four years now, pretty much since it’s opened, and it’s owned by friends. I tend to like to hang out in the bar — I’m a bar girl — and get smaller plates. I ordered the Temomi Salad: lettuce, and some miso and soy involved, [and] grape tomatoes. Then I ordered some of their yuba — they make their own tofu and it’s the tofu skin, it’s really divine — with a healthy dose of wasabi. Although I’m prepping and making sure I look good on the red carpet, I cannot go to EN without having fried chicken. They do — and I say this as black woman with southern grandparents — some of the best fried chicken in New York: boneless chicken thigh fried in a batter that’s so savory, and it’s so juicy and delicious. They serve it on a pedestal — it deserves to be on a pedestal — with a lemon wedge. I shared that with my friend, and we shared their miso black cod. To drink, I had the house-infused ginger shochu, which is pretty sweet, but I love ginger on the whole so I always at least have one glass. We stayed there for a while and I won’t admit how many [I had]. We had some friends come, so we were all there with our chopsticks, picking. At some point, some shiso fried rice arrived. They ordered the A to Z Pinot Gris and I think that might have been it; I think that was plenty. We respectfully declined dessert.
Wednesday, January 7
Wednesday morning, I got up and I had a shake — gotta have some kind of consistency — ran to the gym. Grabbed a ginger kombucha. Then I had to meet with my stylist, Helen, to go over Grammy clothes, so we went to lunch at Market Cafe in Hell’s Kitchen around 1:30. I had a grilled chicken salad and we also had hummus and pita to start — the pitas are divine. And water. They have cucumber-infused water.
I went back to her apartment, which she shares with one of my close friends, Blair. In addition to being a wonderful music engineer and producer, he’s one of the best home chefs I know. He started us off with a seared scallop atop a slice of apple on top of an apple gelée, and the whole thing was covered with a bacon crumble. For the main course … I’m blocking out everything except for the amazing mashed potatoes, but I believe we had a salad. And some filet mignon, and we had some Sancerre.That was dinner. We kept dessert pretty simple; I just had a few squares of Perugina dark chocolate. We ate probably at six. I had to go to play at eight, Puppet Lab at St. Anne’s Warehouse. After that we found ourselves back at Water Street Café for post-show drinks with the cast of all the shows who ended up there. At that point, I was into ginger ale since I had been drinking Sancerre at six.