The New York Diet

Writer Julie Klausner Knows the Secret to Exceptional Fried Rice

Julie Klausner has a cup of tea at home.
Julie Klausner has a cup of tea at home. Photo: Melissa Hom

“In the editing process, I remember going back and thinking, ‘I’m worried I have too many food metaphors in here,’” says Julie Klausner of her book I Don’t Care About Your Band, a comic look back at her myriad failed relationships. One in particular stands out: “When you first find out a guy who’s really good looking isn’t a nice person, you get really confused. It’s like when you’re a kid and you find out candy isn’t good for you. You’re like, how can it be? It’s so sweet!” The author’s been with her boyfriend Jack for eighteen months, and the only candy problem in her life is literal. “He always has to hide candy from me,” she says. “I can’t know where it is without eating it.” Find out if she finds any in this week’s installment of the New York Diet.

Friday, March 19
I had an English muffin with egg, dill, and cheese, and half an apple. Usually, I make my own breakfast. If I’m up early, I’ll try to make an egg, and if not, I’ll grab a yogurt. That day I was up early.

For lunch, I got a salad from Burritoville. I acted out of nostalgia: There used to be a Burritoville on 9th Street and 2nd Avenue which helped me get fat in college. It was disappointing. The people behind the counter were kind of surprised that there was a customer. The salad was just spinach, beans, and guacamole, no cheese or sour cream.

For dinner, I went to Hundred Acres. They have a really good bread basket — I hit that bread basket pretty hard. And then I had a lot to drink: two glasses of prosecco and some white wine. I had the pork shank; it was a piece of pork with a bone in it, Fred Flintstone style. My boyfriend proceeded to suck the marrow out of it. Well, he didn’t suck it with his mouth, he stuck his knife in and put it on bread. I was like, “Oh, that’s creative.”

Later, I had half a chocolate-chip cookie from Jacques Torres, which I split with my boyfriend. The cookie is basically like a chocolate bar with a little dough drizzled on top, and then sea salt — that’s the key ingredient. Whereas City Bakery has great cookies, but they’re all butter, here you just have chocolate and salt, and you’re like, “This is what God intended.” Those cookies are so good.

Saturday, March 20
I had a toasted English muffin and a peach yogurt — one of those Greek yogurts with peach on the bottom — and half an orange.

Saturday was a beautiful day, so we were just walking around the city. I got a salmon onigiri, those little rice balls that are wrapped up, triangular shape, from Ennju. Later, at the house, I had some snacks: hummus and baby carrots, a diet peach Snapple, and we had some cold cuts from Fresh Direct, which we ate straight from the bag because we’re classy. We put some mustard on them.

That night I went to the theater with my parents. Afterward, we had dinner at Anthos, which was really disappointing — it’s more of a lunch place, for the midtown lunch crowd, so if you go for post-theater dinner you get that deer-in-the-headlights look from the host. I had a Greek salad, but it was a nontraditional take, you’re just like, “Bitch, gimme some feta cheese.” I got a chicken dish that was all white meat, and on the side is dark-meat sausage. It was very nineties; the plates were square. The dessert was homemade ice cream in little square dishes — there was fresh mint, which was actually really good, and then date and fig, which are basically the same flavor, so that was a little redundant.

Sunday, March 21
Sunday we went to Pulino’s, and it was like “I can see clearly now.” I had just a ridiculously, ridiculously good meal. We went Sunday morning — not brunch time, but 9:30 or so. We split two breakfast pizzas; they were crazy and wonderful. One was egg, bacon, and sausage, and the other one had ricotta, blueberry jam, and bacon, and it was absurd. It was so good. I basically died. It was just fantastic. We got two small plates to share: the smoked sable plate, which was good, and a chestnut pancake with pear baked into it with syrup. At one point, I was like, “Oh no! I got syrup on my bacon pizza!” and it was just pornographic. That place was unbelievable. And cheap, too! You can’t be pretentious about pizza the way you are about a burger. You can charge $40 for a burger, and be like, “Ha-ha, it’s Minetta,” but you can’t do that with pizza. I was so happy after that meal.

Then I didn’t have lunch, because that was such a big breakfast. I had an iced coffee, some more carrots and hummus, and half an apple.

For dinner, I had some steamed spinach with feta cheese on top of it in a tortilla. My boyfriend made it for me. Then I had a peach yogurt and a hot cocoa. After all that food, it wasn’t a punishing, shame-spiral dinner — you know, just broth. I’ve had meals like that, but this wasn’t punitive.

Monday, March 22
I had a hard-boiled egg that I bought from a deli, and a smoothie that I got across the street. I had an apple.

I brought a salad to work, which is kind of depressing, but it was not a bad salad. Fresh Direct has a salad that’s turkey, cranberry, and Jarlsberg on mixed greens, a little honey-mustard dressing — it’s fine. I had a coffee.

I came home, and I was starving after work, and I had a snack-slash-dinner. I had spinach from the night before, which I mixed with chickpeas from the can, and I microwaved that, and put feta cheese and salad dressing on it. Then Jack and I went to the movies, and I had movie popcorn and Diet Coke.

Tuesday, March 23
I had an appointment to do this talk show with Rachel Sklar and Tovah Feldshuh — the great Tovah Feldshuh! — for the Jewish Network about feminism and Passover. I was like check, and check! I had a hearty breakfast at home before going in to the shoot: two scrambled eggs with some cheese and onions and dill, an English muffin, half an apple, and English breakfast tea.

I met up with a friend who works at and I had chai tea because I didn’t want my breath to stink for her. I’m very polite. After that I went to Cosi and got a sandwich to eat back at my desk — the turkey lite, with baby carrots on the side.

I met a friend-slash-writing colleague at Tom & Jerry’s to go over some stuff, and I had two glasses of white wine. I came home, and Jack had already ordered sushi that he picked up from Hasaki. They have a sushi for two for $50 that’s actually a lot of food, and it’s really good. The rolls are smaller, the rice is more vinegary in that more traditional way. I had a Cadbury Creme Egg for dessert; he bought those from Duane Reade and hid them in the apartment.

Wednesday, March 24
I had instant oatmeal in the morning and half an apple.

Then I went to the dentist, and that was horrible. I was in pain for the rest of the day, so it was all comfort food, because I was very unhappy. I had Greek yogurt; I had a banana; and I had a grilled cheese.

For dinner, I snacked on some cold tortellini from the fridge. Then I had pork-fried rice with no soy sauce, which is the only way to eat fried rice. Here’s the thing: I’ve never been a fried-rice person. It’s the one starch where I’m like, “Meh.” But I started getting it without soy sauce, and it turns out that’s the thing that makes it “meh”! So pork fried rice without soy sauce is the most wonderful thing — the egg, the onion, the peas, the pork, the fatty white rice, and I’m just like, “What tooth pain?”

Then I had a little chocolate lollipop from Jacques Torres: It was my “I did a good job” sticker after the dentist. It’s from their basket of Easter and Passover candy, but the Passover candy is still the Hanukkah candy — it says “Happy Hanukkah,” and I was like, “close enough.” I had one in the shape of a menorah, and I got Jack one in the shape of a smiling egg, but white chocolate. He doesn’t like chocolate because he’s psychotic. And then I had lots of Xanax and Tylenol.

Writer Julie Klausner Knows the Secret to Exceptional Fried Rice