Lucky Rice Festival Founder Danielle Chang Mixes Gin and Penicillin, Is ‘Addicted’ to Sichuan Peppercorns
This is a busy month for Lucky Rice founder Danielle Chang. The Asian food festival, now in its third year, runs May 1 through 6, with events like a Chiang Mai dinner with Pok Pok's Andy Ricker and the Grand Feast tasting at the Mandarin Oriental. The past week found her running around — to L.A. and Vegas to talk festival expansion — and to walk-throughs and photo shoots here in New York. Yet the mom to two daughters ages 6 and 8 still found time for meals with her family. And though she tells us, "I usually save Sundays for my kids," the day's routine was sidetracked by an epic Chinese feast. Chang was recovering from strep throat, and she informed us that it's okay to mix cocktails and penicillin. "I think it’s a myth that you can’t drink on antibiotics. I got the kind of off-the-record story from my doctor." Good to know! Read about the rest of her drinking and eating in this week's New York Diet.
Friday, March 30
I had an early morning flight that day to LAX. So my breakfast was a turkey and gouda sandwich at JFK. I had that in flight. I had lunch with the chef Sang Yoon at Wolfgang Puck. I had a Chinese-chicken salad. Then I was in Vegas in time for dinner. I checked into the Cosmopolitan and had to have a Bombay Sapphire Negroni at the Vesper bar. I had dinner at Blue Ribbon Sushi. I had the Hamachi kama (the Yellowtail collar), a couple of pieces of the amazingly fresh uni from Santa Barbara. And a chawanmushi, which I always have to have anytime I go anywhere Japanese — it’s the egg custard.
Saturday, March 31
I headed to the pool and had a smoked salmon over potato hash and a Bombay Sapphire bloody mary — because I was in Vegas; you have to. I had a lunch meeting at José Andrés Chino Poblano. I had the dan dan mian with hot-and-sour soup. I’m literally addicted to Sichuan peppercorns. And some amazing poured tea with that. I had to catch the afternoon Jet Blue flight back to JFK so I just munched on some of their blue chips. When I got home, I was too exhausted to eat, so I went straight to bed.
Sunday, April 1
Sunday morning, my husband made these pancake crepes that I had for breakfast with my kids. They’re a thin hybrid of a crepe and a pancake. Then I went to friends-and-family brunch at Hakkasan. Susur Lee was in town — he’s doing a Chinese wedding banquet for Lucky Rice. But he was late, so I ended up having a Bombay Sapphire French 75 at the bar. Then we had the longest lunch — it was about three-and-a-half hours. We had everything on the menu. We started with the steamed dim-sum platter with scallop shu mai and har gow, and then we had about eight other dishes. One of my favorites was this chicken clay pot with Thai sweet basil. For dessert, the yuzu parfait with caramelized chocolate definitely stood out too.
I usually save Sundays for my kids. But because I had a three-and-a-half hour lunch, it was already dinnertime when I got home, and I was sad that I didn’t get to cook Sunday supper for my kids. We ended up doing the lazy-mom thing and ordering a pizza from L’Asso, which is my favorite in the neighborhood, and then having a fennel, green olive, and orange salad.
Monday, April 2
I had a walk-through at the Mandarin Oriental that day because we’re bringing the Grand Feast back there this year. I grabbed an almond croissant and green tea at Starbucks. Then I had to meet with an editor at Oprah, so I had lunch in the Hearst cafeteria, which is amazing. They have a great sushi bar; I had this negi maki roll. And I cannot resist buffets, so I ended up taking a little of everything. I had creamed spinach next to butter lettuce and the combination didn’t really work.
We had an afternoon shoot for Bombay Sapphire [a Lucky Rice sponsor]. We wanted to re-create a bar scene in Vietnam, so we ended up shooting at An Choi. By the time we wrapped, I was craving some pho. Todd English met me there for some, because he’s going to be participating in the festival. We get to bring in chefs that aren’t typically involved in Asian stuff, so that’s fun. Then I went home.
Tuesday, April 3
I usually spend my Sundays getting situated for the week: making a big family dinner and doing the grocery shopping. But because I was playing, I didn’t have anything in the fridge for breakfast with the kids. We went to Ceci-Cela and ended up having Danishes. Then back to the office; I had lunch at my desk. There’s the place in the West Village called Surya — I always get chicken tikka masala with the vegetables of the day. It’s on my desk in ten minutes and it costs $6.99.
I left early to go to the Gansevoort, because we’re doing an event there. I stayed for the sunset and had a Bombay club soda with my brother, who was visiting from China. Then my brother came over for dinner with the family. We had some chicken soup I had made and a steamed fish and some rice.
Wednesday, April 4
I had brunch at my desk: On my way into the office I picked up a platter at Olive's. I’ve been eating there since grad school, when I used to work in galleries in Soho. That was my go-to, and it’s amazing that it’s still there and it’s exactly the same. I had this platter with a little bit of mozzarella, some red and yellow tomatoes, a fusilli pesto, some mixed greens, and a Parmesan crostini. I had that with some balsamic shallot vinaigrette. I had that really early.
That afternoon, I had one of their cowboy peanut-butter cookies. Then I met my two best girlfriends from college at Odeon. I love their burgers there and the fries, of course.