When chef Marc Murphy swings by his Ditch Plains concession stand at Brooklyn Bridge park, it’s just like going home. "I lived there for four years, literally right across the street," he says. "It was really different — it was the Port Authority Warehouse. But you know, they were talking about building the park even then." The Brooklyn spot isn’t just Murphy’s first foray outside of Manhattan, it’s his first outside the West Side. "All my other restaurants are on the 1 train," he says, and he’s got no plans to change that. "Why would I open a place on the East Side?" he scoffs. "I’d have to take a different train!" Find out what he had to eat this week in our latest New York Diet.
Friday, August 13
I was with my little guy that morning, my son, out on the Island. He’s a very big Frosted Mini-Wheats fan, and he likes me to have the same breakfast he does. He gets me up nice and early because he doesn’t see daddy that often throughout the week, because I’m working, so we get to eat Frosted Mini-Wheats together. I actually like them. I had a cup of tea — I only drink Lipton. I’m a weird one. People are like, "You’re a chef and you only drink Lipton tea?" But I don’t drink coffee. I grew up mostly in Europe, and my parents were always complaining about how bad the coffee is in America, so I was just like, Why would I ever start liking this stuff? I also sort of thought if you drink coffee you become an adult, and I don’t want to become an adult.
I made a sandwich for lunch — ciabatta, taleggio, mortadella, arugula, a little olive oil. We have a house right near the beach [in the Hamptons], so you can run back to the house and make a sandwich, and then go back to the beach. I drank a Stella Artois.
I just got these really cool stainless steel paella pans, so I had to do paella for dinner. It was chorizo, chicken, clams, mussels, shrimp — pretty classic. I’ve got this big grill out here, so I can do stuff like grill paella. We had a couple of friends over; we had some white wine. For dessert, we usually have those Tate’s cookies lying around — they’re my favorite. I like the chocolate chip, I like the oatmeal raisin, the ones with almond. They’re from out here in Long Island, but they sell ‘em in the city too.
Saturday, August 14
I had leftover Sullivan St. Bakery pizza for breakfast — the thin tomato one. It’s so good if it’s just left over in the fridge for a few days, and I fried an egg and threw it on top — fantastic. I had more tea. I have about ten pints a day.
I made a cucumber, feta, and grilled chicken salad with oregano dressing for lunch. I usually bloom the oregano in some red-wine vinegar a little bit. How very Greek of me, right? And everything’s better with feta.
That night I was cooking dinner at the home of someone who won me in a City Harvest auction — they auctioned off a dinner of me cooking for sixteen people. So I was already out in the Hamptons, some of my cooks came out. We prep everything at work, send it out in the catering van, get a couple of waiters out, and we cook away. The actual amount of cooking is pretty minimal and you chat with the guests. We went back to my house and crashed afterward, and I probably had a martini when we got home. Ketel One, if you must know.
Sunday, August 16
I had Life cereal with my son, and some of these mini cinnamon muffins they sell at Citarella. Lunch was some leftover couscous salad that had shrimps and chorizo in it, tomato, nicoise olives. I sautéed that up with a little escarole from the fridge.
My wife and my kids and I went out to Gosman’s for dinner. It was fun; it’s a good spot. My little guy, who’s only 3, had chicken fingers and fried calamari, and we had a clam pizza. They have these buffalo shrimp that are fantastic as well. I had a lobster and was drinking Stella. We got some soft-serve from the stand.
Monday, August 17
I had Greek yogurt with granola and honey. It’s one of my breakfast variations.
I was at Landmarc having lunch with one of my new managers. I bounce around between all three restaurants through the day. I had the Caesar salad with grilled salmon. I try not to eat too much at lunch.
I went to visit my friend’s photography studio in Dumbo that night, and we went to Rebar for a burger and a beer. I don’t know what kind of beer I had, because my friend was like, "I’ll get it" and headed off to the bar. But you know, I was kind of glad, because when you go to those bars with a hundred beers, it’s like, Man, I don’t know what I want. The burger was just classic: medium rare, American cheese, pickles.
Tuesday, August 18
I had a frittata sandwich from Grandaisy Bakery. I love that — it’s got onions, asparagus, and manchego cheese. The place is like a block from our office, so I swing by and pick that up and eat it with my big pint of Lipton tea.
We’re changing the menu at Landmarc soon, so we plated all the new menu items and did a tasting: pork chop, skate, tuna with braised fennel and shell fish. I think this polenta thing is going to be awesome. It’s just a soft polenta topped with sautéed wild mushrooms and shaved Parmesan. It’s very simple but very good.
That night I was cooking in the Legends area at Yankee Stadium. They invite chefs up to do that for a lot of the games. You get to see some people. One of the guys who bought the City Harvest dinner was at the game, he was like, "Hey, how you doing?" It’s their fancy-pants area. We did mini lobster rolls. Afterward I went to my wine director’s house — his mom had given us some tomato sauce with meatballs and pigs’ knuckles, and he was like "I’m making cavatelli! Come over!" So I went home, took a shower, went to his place. It was delicious! And then since he’s the wine director he was like, "We have to taste these four wines." I couldn’t tell you what they were, but they were great.
Wednesday, August 19
The morning after all that wine tasting, I had a pastrami and egg on a roll from the deli near my house — three bucks, they make it quick, and I don’t dirty anything in my kitchen.
I was at Ditch Plains meeting with the manager around lunchtime and I got a chicken burger. I like to get feedback from my managers before we change the menu — what we want to do is get the opening menu for the 82nd Street Ditch Plains running downtown for a few months, so when we hire the cooks we can send them downtown to train. We’ll open uptown hopefully in three months. We’re pushing hard, but that’s how construction goes. There’s always something.
I drove back out to the beach that night, and sadly enough I had leftover Chinese food for dinner. There was cold sesame noodles, and chicken and broccoli that I guess my kids must have eaten while I wasn’t there. But I’m trying to be out there more. There isn’t much of the summer left.