The Grub Street Diet

Jenny Slate Throws Epic Engagement Parties, Starts Every Morning With Coffee in Bed

When the first thing you have all day is a jalapeño margarita, you've got things figured out.
When the first thing you have all day is a jalapeño margarita, you’ve got things figured out. Photo: Melissa Hom

“I think of myself as a pretty healthy person, but I don’t think my diet has been very healthy at all for the last week,” confesses Jenny Slate. Perhaps you’ve heard of her? She made a big splash last season on Saturday Night Live before being dismissed at the end of the year. But don’t feel too bad for her: Since then she’s been busy with her weekly comedy show, Big Terrific, which she puts on every Wednesday night at Williamsburg’s Cameo Gallery, a role in 2012’s The Lorax with Danny DeVito and Betty White, and a recurring role as Jason Schwartzman’s fling on HBO’s Bored to Death. And yet, even with that, she agreed to kept track of what she ate for six days, all in the service of this week’s New York Diet.

Friday, October 22
I drink, like, Trader Joe’s Diner Blend coffee. I have a coffee machine that my grandmother bought for me. It’s not a French press or anything. You just push the button. You can even set a timer, which I do, so that the coffee smell is there when I wake up in the morning, like on the commercials from the eighties. I bring my boyfriend a cup of coffee in bed, which makes me feel like a really nice person. I do it almost every morning. I also had a sunny-side-up egg with a beautiful sliced tomato and some bright-orange sharp Cheddar cheese.

I had a lot of meetings, and my best friend and I were planning an engagement party for my friends Mike and Grey, who are two handsome gentlemen, that was at my house on Sunday. So I was running around and I didn’t have lunch.

I came home and was late to go to my friend’s art opening, so what I ended up having for dinner was a delicious Bundt cake that my friend Thu Tran made.

At 3 a.m., I came home after the party and I had spaghetti and meatballs. I ordered them from the 24-hour diner in my neighborhood. I’m horrible. Whatever. I just have to face it. I’ve never ordered spaghetti and meatballs from there, but I really wanted it. I thought it might be kind of crappy, but it was exactly what I wanted. Kind of school-cafeteria-style, and that’s what I wanted at that time in my life … after having many beers.

Saturday, October 23
Because I went to bed at about 4 a.m. on Friday night after watching many taped episodes of Seinfeld, I woke up really late. We had our coffee and then I had a meeting, which is not normal for a Saturday. But I did it. Then my friends and I got a Zipcar to get all of the ingredients for everything we were going to cook for the engagement party. We were going to make all these teeny-tiny little tea sandwiches for them, and I was also baking a lot. So I guess I kind of, like, I don’t really think I had a proper lunch, but I had a lot of blueberries to eat during the day in between coffee and dinner.

For dinner, I went to a restaurant on Atlantic Avenue called Jolie, and I ate escargots and beef tongue as an appetizer. And then for dinner I had my favorite thing in the world, steak tartare. I’ll eat anything. I’m down. The only thing I won’t eat is celery. I think it ruins everything.

I had a St. Germian–and-Champagne cocktail and I had a beer, then I came home.

Sunday, October 24
It was the day of the engagement party, so I woke up very, very early and I put on a big pot of coffee because I knew that Nellie and Gabe Liedman, my two best friends, were coming over to make all of the food. So I had the coffee and then we started to make all of the little sandwiches. The party started at two and we made a lot of sandwiches. There were six different kinds: There was roast beef with homemade caramelized onions with horseradish and Cheddar on little brioche rolls; there was radish with farm-made local butter, sea salt, and chives; there was a cucumber, chive. and cream cheese; there was a cucumber, chive, cream cheese, and smoked salmon; there was prosciutto, arugula, and mozzarella with a vinaigrette; there was mortadella, mozzarella, and mustard. I think that that was all of them. Oh, right, we had an apple, Cheddar, and gingery-apricot chutney. Those were all sandwiches. We cut the bread up so that they were in little triangles. It was great! We put them on sandwich tiers and I took pictures.

We also made — well, Nellie made and I ate — fresh ricotta with olive oil, honey, salt, and sage. And we just dipped focaccia into that. It was very delicious.

I had a BIG spread and that’s how I like to do it. I love Mike and Grey so much, and I wanted to celebrate their marriage so we really put it all out there.

Mike’s brother, I think, doesn’t eat dairy, maybe? So we had some hummus and some stuffed grape leaves and olives, and we had taramosalata, which I think might be dairy? It was all from Sahadi’s, which is like an awesome Middle Eastern market on Atlantic Avenue.

I made some salty shortbread cookies with cajeta caramel in the middle. They were sandwich cookies. Cajeta is a goat’s-milk caramel. I got it at the Brooklyn Farmacy, which is a new soda fountain and market on Henry and Sackett. It’s right by where I live, a couple of blocks away.

These were seriously all the things I ate. I ate everything.

We also got all the different kinds of M&Ms.; Mike loves M&Ms.; We mixed them all together. Well, I kept the plain ones separate in case of allergies.

And we had pitchers of Negronis and tons of Champagne, and Aperol cocktails. And a lot of beer and wine. And whiskey.

And I’d ordered from Sweet Melissa Patisserie. I got cream cakes and madeleines. I usually make them myself, but I didn’t have enough time.

So the party started at two, but I really wanted everyone to stay as long as they wanted, so the troopers were still left around 7 p.m. Fifteen of us were left. One of the grooms had passed out on my bed and we were all fairly inebriated, which was really fun. Sunday-afternoon inebriation!

And I ordered five pizzas from Layla Jones. So what was a tea party turned into a pizza party. It was really great.

And also I cleaned up before I went to sleep, which was a major feat.

Monday, October 25
So, the coffee again, which I love. My dad bought us these beautiful Pantone mugs. I love to use those to start the morning because they’re just bright colors. I have purple, Pantone 2583 C, which is my favorite. And my boyfriend’s favorite is 286 C, royal blue. My father got them for us. He’s the kind of person that, if you say you like something it will most likely show up at your doorstep in a beautiful package. He’s the nicest man in the world.

My boyfriend and I had a business meeting at 10 a.m., and then we came back home. It was like eleven and I was really hungry. I had a lot of stuff left over from the party, so I made myself a big arugula salad with fresh mozzarella and I dressed it with Lucini olive oil and sea salt and just a tiny bit of balsamic, because I don’t like too much.

I had another meeting, which was a lunch meeting. I love lunch meetings, because they usually let you choose where to go. I always pick places that I love. This was in the city, so I picked Market Table. I had a beet salad with goat-cheese fritters. It had a lot of dill and horseradish on it. It was really delicious. I got a side of Brussels sprouts that had bacon and walnuts. It was so good.

I made dinner. I made a butter-lettuce and arugula salad with radishes, dill, cucumber, and chives. And I had Brussels sprouts again because I love them so much. I cut them up and put some garlic and shallots in the skillet, then I put the sprouts in with salt and pepper and a little bit of maple syrup.

And we had fresh angel-hair pasta, so I made pesto. So we had all of that. And a bottle of Barbera. Delicious.

Tuesday, October 26
Tuesday was really weird. I was running late. I had my coffee and I ran out the door and I went to a meeting. Then I went to Barrio Chino to get my picture taken for you guys. I hadn’t eaten anything and it was 2 p.m. So I was really hungry and I had a jalapeño margarita.

I came back to Brooklyn and I made bacon and eggs. Usually I’ll get, like, organic bacon because I feel like you should or it’s something my mom would tell me to do. But sometimes when I just really want to take it easy, I get normal supermarket bacon. Oscar Mayer: pretty awesome. I get the center-cut kind. I like it better because the package isn’t as messy.

Then it was my friend’s birthday, so I went to this place in Williamsburg called the Woods. They have a taco stand in the back. I had a vegetable quesadilla and it was delicious. It had a ton of spinach in it and I was really pumped about that.

And I had probably three or four beers. Because they have karaoke there! I mean, I don’t know. Why am I defending myself?

Wednesday, October 27
I had the coffee. Every morning. What I like to do is, I’ll either set the timer or I’ll make it and then I wake Dean up and we sit on the bed and that’s how we start the day. We sit and we chat and it’s nice. It makes you feel like there’s no rush, no problem. Stare at each other and talk about stuff.

We had woken up rather late for a weekday and my meeting was at noon. So again I was kind of rushed. I ran out the door and I went to Café Mogador on St. Marks. I loved what I ate! My mouth is filling with saliva, it was so delicious. So it’s a roasted tomato — and I could eat roasted tomatoes all day long — with grilled halloumi cheese on it and a poached egg on top. And then they give you, like, a salad with olives and a little bit of harissa on the side. Great.

I had two meetings after that, then I went straight to Williamsburg to do my show. Before the show, I was alone so I stopped into Sweetwater and had a glass of red wine and the little meat plate that they do.

Then I went to the show and I had beers. I had three beers. Oh man. Oh, wait. No. I had two beers at the show, okay? And then my friends and I went to Zablozki’s. I had, oh my God this is … well, I had a Bloody Mary. And then my boyfriend wanted another drink, which is not my fault. He asked me what I wanted. We should split a beer, is what I said. Instead, he got himself a gin and tonic and presented me with a gigantic beer in a huge glass mug. And because, you know, I didn’t want to be rude, I drank it.

So then I was hungry again, so we went to the falafel place by the subway, Oasis. I had a falafel sandwich with extra pickles and everything on it. And I had a soda that was a Shirley Temple, like, in the bottle. And I was not impressed, I’ve gotta say. I drank the whole thing, but, you know? I didn’t think it tasted like a Shirley Temple. I’ll try any soda because I wasn’t allowed to drink soda growing up. But when we were little, my sisters and I would be allowed to get a Shirley Temple when we were at restaurants. And you would try to make it last, like, forever. The idiot is the one who eats the cherry first.

When I got home I watched television and I drank some strawberry lemonade. It was in one of those pretty glass bottles from Trader Joe’s, I think. And I ate some peanut M&Ms.; And then Dean, I guess, put me to sleep. I was really … let’s say tired. And he tucked me in, but that means I didn’t get to set the timer for the coffee.

Jenny Slate Throws Epic Engagement Parties, Starts Every Morning With Coffee in