Dave Lieberman is taking off next month to run around the country, PBS camera crew in tow. He’s filming a new series, America’s Heartland, in which he’ll “visit farmers doing really interesting things in interesting places,” he explains. “Growing things out in the Arizona desert, elevation farming in the Utah mountains, these teenagers in Chicago who are making a business out of farming.” But this weekend Lieberman is closer to home. Lieberman and Ten Things You Need to Eat co-author Anahad O’Connor are official Taste Masters for this weekend’s Queens, a Taste of the World. “I don’t eat there often,” he says of the borough. “I’ve been to Sripraphai; it was okay.” See where else he ventures during this week’s New York Diet.
Friday, May 7
I had breakfast at I Tre Merli in the West Village: smoked salmon eggs Benedict, fried potatoes, bread and olive oil, and cappuccino.
Lunch was two slices of cold pizza — onion and mushroom. I was shooting a portrait of my friend at his office, he had some leftover pizza there, and at the end of the shoot I had a couple slices. He keeps a well-stocked fridge of Vitaminwater. I think I had the orange kind.
I was at the Westside Diner for dinner. I go there probably once a week. I had a Greek salad with grilled salmon and a glass of white wine. It wasn’t good wine, but at least it was something.
Saturday, May 8
For breakfast I had some whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and jam, and tea. I’ve been drinking this mix of chai and Lapsang Souchong; I’m really liking that combination.
I went out to Rye, New York, with a friend. It’s out on Long Island Sound and there are these country clubs out there that are really nice. We were at a club, and we had oysters on the beach with some Pinot Grigio. We sat outside. It was a beautiful day.
I was tired from my day, so I was home for dinner. I had some grilled chicken with steamed sweet potatoes and this great local red wine from Millbrook, New York. It’s just called Millbrook Vineyards. I really love that wine. That night it was a Cabernet Franc.
Sunday, May 9
I had Greek yogurt, bananas, granola, and coffee at home. It was Fage yogurt, which I love. For lunch I had a ham-and-cheese sandwich made with Jambon de Paris, also at home. I had a Pilsner.
For dinner I went to China Fun with a few people. We had some pork dumplings, chow fun noodles, spare ribs, shrimp shu mai — stuff like that. I had a gin martini, Bombay. It was okay — there were olives; it was fine. You can’t really go wrong with cold Bombay and olives. Later that night I saw Iron Man 2, which I thought was terrible. My brother got popcorn and I had a little bit of that.
Monday, May 10
Just the usual breakfast: whole-wheat toast, peanut butter, strawberry jam, that tea that I make.
I’m thinking about partnering a restaurant in New Milford, Connecticut, so I went up there during the day. Some friends of friends have this space, and I’m talking about becoming a partner in it — maybe design the menu, do a wine program, education, cooking classes, stuff like that. It would be very local-oriented, not that that’s groundbreaking or anything these days. We’re still kind of in negotiation; it’s not 100 percent. For lunch, I had a balsamic salad with chicken and a grapefruit soda from a little sandwich shop in the middle of town. It was a fun little trip. It’s a cute town.
I came back to the city, went out to Brooklyn, and had Grimaldi’s: half pepperoni and half mushroom. I should’ve just gotten them mixed together — when it’s just one topping they’re spread too far apart. I had a bottle of Valpolicella, which was terrible. It was just a cheap bottle of wine and just wasn’t that good.
Tuesday, May 11
I didn’t have breakfast. For lunch, I bought a tuna sandwich on whole wheat and a can of Coke from this place called Gigi Café. The sandwich was frozen, and I was really annoyed — the tomato was frozen, the tuna was frozen. I was running to catch a train and I couldn’t eat it.
In the afternoon I had some chocolate wafers and coffee, some Manchego and crackers, some carrots.
For dinner I went to Lansky’s. I had stuffed cabbage, pierogies with fried onions, and a couple glasses of Montepulciano de Abruzzo. Also not a good wine. I really shouldn’t be getting the wine at these places, but I’d rather have some wine than not, I guess. Still, definitely not the best idea. The stuffed cabbage there is variable; some days it’s better than others. This was kind of an off day. It was a little too dense — usually they add more rice and it’s a little fluffier; this was like a block of meatloaf more than anything.
Wednesday, May 12
I didn’t have breakfast, but I had brunch. I went to this new little Italian place, Mercato, and it was lovely. When you order lunch, they give you a bowl of stewed lentils, served cold so it’s like a condiment, and bread, and it’s very delicious. I had a caprese salad, octopus carpaccio, and a cappuccino.
For dinner I went to my friend’s birthday party at his studio in DUMBO. I thought there’d be more food there, but there wasn’t. I had some pepper-jack cheese, crackers, and carrot sticks. I filled up on Chateauneuf du Pape in place of food. By the time I got back home I was too tired to eat anything else. I’d had my fill of red wine, and I was ready for bed.