The New York Diet

Comedian Todd Barry Eschews Tomatoes, Eggs, and Mayo, But Not 33-Cent Cookies

“Second midday snack: some 33-cent Drake’s oatmeal cookies.”

On Late Night With Conan O’Brien recently, Conan called comedian Todd Barry “the quintessential New Yorker.” That doesn’t mean he’s at Balthazar every morning. “Every time I talk about Chipotle in conversation,” he told Conan’s audience, “Someone goes, ‘Oh, Chipotle is delicious. Can you believe they were started by McDonald’s?’ ‘Uh, McDonald’s is delicious, so yes, I can believe that. It’s not like Ben and Jerry’s opened up a lingerie shop. It’s the world’s greatest restaurant chain taking a stab at another kind of food and hitting it out of the park.’” Other than that, Barry eats at Café Orlin about five times a week. Since it was closed for renovations this week, he had to practice his tomato, mayo, and orange-juice pulp aversions elsewhere.

Friday, March 7
I had two radio interviews to promote my new CD, From Heaven. Before the first interview, I ate about three-quarters of a slice of pizza from some place near Times Square. I would’ve eaten the whole thing, but I knew I had time to kill between the interviews and I’d want to eat again. After the first interview I had a design-your-own salad at a place called Mendy’s. I watched some guy eating a sandwich that had some sort of white dressing on it. He defiantly refused to wipe the dressing off his face, while sitting uncomfortably close to a stranger in the mostly empty restaurant.

For a midday snack I had Trader Joe’s almonds. Second midday snack: some 33 cent Drake’s oatmeal cookies and coffee from the deli near my apartment.

That night, I had two shows at Comix. Comedy clubs aren’t known for their food, but this place is an exception. I had a preshow Caesar salad, then a between-shows dinner of pan-roasted chicken with mashed potatoes, green beans, and carrots.

Saturday, March 8
I went with a friend to Westville East, but a construction crew was doing some jackhammering right next to it, and that’s about the worst sound in the world to me. That, and the sound of a fire-truck horn.

We walked a bit and stopped at Life Café, which I hadn’t been to in a while. We were seated at a table that had me pressed up against the people behind me, and my friend pressed up against a radiator. I usually don’t walk out of restaurants once I’m seated, but I thought we could do better, so we walked to a place called Rue B. They were serving their brunch menu. I don’t like brunch food, so I just ordered some sides: roasted potatoes, bacon, toast. Yes, I realize that’s brunch food. I should’ve said I don’t like eggs.

I had to do another two shows at Comix. My preshow meal was a chopped salad, which I ordered without tomatoes, even though tomatoes weren’t listed as an ingredient. Tomatoes make me squirm. I had the pan-roasted chicken again for my between-shows dinner.

Late Saturday night, I went to the grocery store to buy a light snack. Unfortunately I discovered a new flavor of Doritos: Spicy Sweet Chili. Since this was Doritos’ first nod to Asian culture, I felt compelled to buy a small bag and eat it within minutes of entering my apartment. I drank some orange juice, too. Tropicana. No pulp. I don’t like pulp for the same reasons I don’t like tomatoes.

Sunday, March 9
My late lunch was a burger, butter-lettuce salad, and cappuccino at Noho Star. I like the place; it’s very airy.

Early evening, hot-cinnamon-spice iced tea (the cinnamon was hot, not the tea) at Sympathy for the Kettle on St. Marks Place.

Later I went back to Westville East. There were no jackhammers, so I ate grilled lemon-pepper chicken, Brussels sprouts with Dijon sauce, pesto mashed potatoes. I only started eating Brussels sprouts maybe five years ago. I can’t believe how much I like them. No one can.

Monday, March 10
For breakfast I got a small coffee from Porto Rico Trading on St. Mark’s Place.

Lunch: crispy chicken tacos from Chipotle. I really like this place. I even talk about them on my new CD.

I go to Veselka quite a bit, usually late. This time I really overate: Sloppy Joe, sweet-potato fries, and a salad.

Tuesday, March 11
I got coffee from a place called Atlas Café, then another coffee from Panya on Stuyvesant Street.

I had a late lunch at Cafe Mogador. Chicken-kebab sandwich (no tomatoes) and a mesclun salad. Really good. After I was done, the friendly waitress brought over a complimentary almond croissant. I asked her why she did that. She said because I was “smiley.” I’ve been called various things, but “smiley” isn’t one of them. Maybe she was being sarcastic.

For dinner I had smoked chicken wings, ginger scallion noodles, soft-serve ice cream at Momofuku

Wednesday, March 12
I left for Austin. Had a few almonds, some deli coffee before I left, then an Asiago-cheese bagel and a bottle of water at Au Bon Pain at La Guardia airport.

I flew Continental, which is one of the few airlines that still gives you food on domestic flights. I had a breaded chicken sandwich and a salad. I didn’t add the little packet of mayonnaise to the sandwich for the same reason I don’t like tomatoes or orange-juice pulp.

My first meal in Austin wasn’t what I expected — a free sample of a Zone nutrition bar that they were giving out near the registration tables at the South by Southwest convention.

Later I had the other Zone bar that I discovered in the swag bag I got when I registered.

Very late dinner: a really good jalapeño sausage from the Hot Dog King truck.

Apartments are probably cheaper in Austin, but a regular slice of pizza costs $3.75.

Comedian Todd Barry Eschews Tomatoes, Eggs, and Mayo, But Not 33-Cent Cookies