The New York Diet

Fashion Designer Tracy Reese Previews Red Rooster, Pairs Cabernet With Potato Chips

Reese sips a mug of tea in her studio.
Reese sips a mug of tea in her studio. Photo: Melissa Hom

Designer Tracy Reese spent the past week showing her pre-spring collections, which means ordering in a lot of delivery lunches. Dinners are another matter — especially when it’s a dinner prepared by Marcus Samuelsson to preview menu items for his forthcoming Harlem restaurant, Red Rooster. “That was the second [Red Rooster] event I’ve been to,” she says, and she’s a fan: “By the time it opens, we’re all going to be camped out outside.” See what else Reese ate in this week’s New York Diet.

Friday, June 18
I had a glass of water and a cup of coffee. I like El Pico coffee; it’s one of those Spanish espresso coffees that’s well-priced and always flavorful. I have a little Krups thing at home and I get busy and steam my Coffee-Mate. It’s more of a latte. I had a bowl of Fiber One cereal with skim milk.

For lunch, I ordered from Hale & Hearty, as I do every day. I had a small vegetable soup, and a spinach salad with carrots, red onions, and craisins — I just love them. And there were walnuts and Cajun chicken, with vinaigrette on the side. I had a glass of water. It’s hard for me to remember to drink water during the day, so I have to have a regimen.

I went to dinner with Thelma Golden, from the Studio Museum. She invited me to cocktails at her condo building, where a friend of hers has an amazing penthouse with views of Manhattan. We were up there as the sun set, and we had some lemonade-spiked cocktails. We went on to dinner right on St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem, to a restaurant called Mojo. I had a really great salad, and then some sea bass that was on a bed of beautiful vegetables. Thelma had some homemade doughnuts for dessert — petite people can do these things — but I just watched. I had a glass of Chardonnay.

Saturday, June 19
I flew to Detroit first thing in the morning, so I had Starbucks at the airport: a quad grande soy latte. When I landed, I went to my Grandmother’s house and had a vegetable omelette, some fresh fruit, and turkey bacon — my uncle prepared breakfast for us. He always makes great breakfasts.

For dinner, I had a Greek salad, and then I ate the toppings off of some pizza that we ordered up at my sister’s house. Detroit has a really famous Greektown; there are lots of great restaurants and it’s a great place to have a good Greek salad.

Sunday, June 20
Sunday was a bad food day. I had a biscuit for breakfast with butter and syrup, so we started bad. I had a cup of coffee.

For lunch, we stopped at a place where I got a really great chicken soup and a nice salad, which I didn’t get to eat because we were running late for my niece’s dance recital, so it kind of melted in the car. Luckily they were selling chewy Lemonheads at the concert, so I had those.

I had a plane to catch, so for dinner I had potato chips and Cabernet — a real Weight Watchers gold star. Back in New York, I had a glass of water and pile of vitamins and went to bed.

Monday, June 20
I had a glass of cold water and my special coffee and my bowl of Fiber One. I had the exact same spinach salad for lunch and the vegetable soup.

For dinner, I was invited to a tasting with Marcus Samuelsson of things that will be on the menu at Red Rooster, at the loft of one of his business partners in Soho. Marcus prepared and talked us through the whole meal, which was amazing. We started with a watermelon salad that had fresh mint and vegetables — so good, the perfect summer salad. Then we had a grilled-shrimp appetizer that was sort of barbecued, and was on a bed of couscous or a similar grain. He made fried chicken and collard greens, which was great. He uses some kind of panko instead of bread crumbs, so it was really light, but it was spicy too. Dessert was a fruit tart–like crumble thing, and he roasted some Ethiopian coffee beans right there in front of our faces and made coffee; that was really cool. He was such a gracious host.

Tuesday, June 21
Water, coffee, and Fiber One for breakfast, and then my famous lunch. It serves me well.

For dinner, I went to Momoya for sushi. I had a field-greens salad, and we split the warm mushroom salad which is one of my all-time favorite things there. It’s a mixture of wild mushrooms and they sautée them with a hint of butter, and then lay them on a bed of greens with some citrus. It’s really delish. I had yellowtail sashimi and king salmon sashimi, and an eel and avocado roll with brown rice. I had a glass of Sancerre — they recommended that wine to me the first time I was there, and it’s a perfect match. And then I had a piece of gum because I had sushi breath.

Wednesday, June 22
Another classic morning and afternoon, with breakfast and lunch exactly the same. I try to stick to a regimen on weekdays, but things go all to hell on the weekend — you’re thinking, Well, corn chips and hummus would be really good, and then all of a sudden that’s lunch. Or dinner. Or sometimes breakfast.

We went to see Fela! on Broadway, and wanted to eat close to the theater. My sister-in-law recommended Capital Grille; I had a green salad and then some lobster and crab cakes — those were amazing. These big chunks of lobster claw, real crab, hardly any filler. I had a glass of Chardonnay, which was a recommendation from our waiter whose name was Ed Sullivan — that’s the truth! He was great.

At the theater, we split some peanut M&Ms.; They invite you to drink at your seat during the show — they have these teeny-tiny glasses of wine — and they make this announcement of, “The bar is open during act one and intermission, and we invite you to drink at your seat.” I just had a bottle of water; I didn’t go for the wine. I like to be alert through a show, and if I have more than one beverage, it’s not gonna happen.

Fashion Designer Tracy Reese Previews Red Rooster, Pairs Cabernet With Potato