The New York Diet

Comic Patrice O’Neal Considers Himself a Big Buffet Dude

“It’s like what Caligula used to live like.” Photo: Melissa Hom

Patrice O’Neal became a comic after he decided he wasn’t really into football and has since gone on to host VH1’s Web Junk, as well as make appearances on HBO’s Def Jam Comedy Jam, Comedy Central, and The Office. If you catch his Valentine’s gig at Stand-Up NY tonight, you might hear him riff about his diabetes — “Why couldn’t the doctor tell me, ‘Patrice, you can never eat Brussels sprouts again’?” — and, sure enough, he’s taking measures to control his weight: “When you get close to 40, you start to feel those years of ham hocks.” Nevertheless, his eating philosophy flies in the face of Mireille Guiliano’s. He tells us, “I don’t go to any sexy places to eat where they give you half a lamb chop and one bean. I like going, ‘Uhhh, I’m done’ when I eat.” And where can a man find that experience?

Saturday, February 9
I’m a comic, so on a weekend I’m out till 5 a.m. On Sunday, I sleep till about 4 p.m., so I don’t do breakfast.

For lunch I went over to Cafeteria. I had the macaroni and cheese and the fried chicken, which is delicious. Pretty people go there to watch the girls and eat whatever they’re eating. I chilled out till 7:30 p.m., and then went back to my spot.

The next place I ate was La Caridad 78. It’s a half-Spanish, half-Chinese joint. It has the best rice and beans you will ever have. Check this order out: I ordered rice and red beans, wonton soup, and [laughing] chicken and bean sprouts. I never had a wonton soup as good as that place — I ain’t bullshitting. They put two nice pieces of pork in there, the broth is delicious, and it’s $2.50. At goofy Carnegie Deli, it would cost $8 for a soup that good. It’s the best meal I had in a long time. I don’t like eating at a place that don’t take credit cards — that’s strange — but you gotta fuck with it because it’s delicious. Then I did my show.

The shows end at about eleven or twelve at night. After that, I’m eating pizza from Ben’s in between shows and eating some chicken fingers. At the end of the night, I head downtown to get late-night buffalo wings from the Olive Tree at the Comedy Cellar. It has the best buffalo wings in the city — has to be. The sauce is some stupid shit — I don’t know what they put in it. It’s dripping — it’s hot, but it’s sweet.

Sunday, February 10
IHOP is what I fuck with on a Sunday. I love the way IHOP refolds their omelettes. I order an omelette and cheese with corned-beef hash and a couple of pancakes. You go before the church crowd, you know what I’m saying?

In the afternoon, I go to this fish-and-chips place that’s actually owned by an English guy, A Salt & Battery.

My favorite place where I eat dinner three times a week is Plataforma — it is where I eat. I get a scallop potato, sushi, salad. They bring out all these little fried bananas, broccoli, cheese bread, and stuff, but I don’t fill up on that. These dudes walk around and cut meat on your plate — it’s like what Caligula used to live like. They come with dead animals on a stick and just feed you. I’ll have a sausage, a piece of chicken, a slice of garlic steak… You gotta fight to get some lamb chops, but it.’s always worth it. I’m a big buffet dude, or I’m a big cheap-food-and-order-more-when-I-need-it dude.

Monday, February 11
I made thigh-meat gumbo with some kielbasa. For some reason, when the recipe calls for chicken breast, I use thigh. I’m a thigh-meat dude. Thigh is just the best meat — I don’t get chicken breast. I think it’s a publicity stunt that we’ve convinced people it’s delicious. Chicken is legs and thighs — they’re juicy.

I got a nice large oxtail from Golden Krust to take home. Some people might go to Sylvia’s, but I have no class. I like to see them scoop the oxtails and the gravy right in my face; I don’t like sitting down at the soul-food places. A big place I really like is Empire Szechuan on Greenwich Ave. — they’re a Japanese-Asian place, and they serve great sushi. I love their sushi. I eat where they know me. I like Empire-Szechuan — they’re the only Asians I get along with. They have a half-price special — you have to eat in, though. People took me to Nobu, and people took me to these super sushi places, but this place is very quaint, very easy going, very simple.

Tuesday, February 12
I went to Katz’s Delicatessen and had a pastrami Reuben. It really is the best pastrami. It is tremendous meat over there. When you’re younger, you don’t know how to eat — I know how to eat, and I know when to eat. If you’re not hungry, it’s not good to eat at Katz’s. That’s a place to eat when you’re hungry. I had a nice Reuben with extra sauerkraut and an extra side of coleslaw. Delicious. Nutritious.

I actually cooked some of my own oxtail that night. I get mad sometimes, because the people at Golden Krust can get a little nasty. If you go into a pizza place and the pizza guy curses you out, it’s like, Fuck you, I’ll make my own pizza. I’m not rich, but I can afford to buy oxtails. I don’t mind experimenting with fucking up oxtails, but quite frankly I didn’t fuck it up. Pretty damn good. I’m a decent cook, and I will try to cook anything. My only weakness is that I don’t know servings — I only know how to make a lot.

Wednesday, February 13
I had a big thing of watermelon. Kenny, the guy we call Club Soda from Opie and Anthony got it for me — you just tell him, “Club Soda, I need a large watermelon,” and he comes back with it. Black people would be so disappointed if they saw the amount of watermelon I ate.

Comic Patrice O’Neal Considers Himself a Big Buffet Dude