New York, New York: Michael and sous chef Bradley Herron visited The Big Apple from Monday to Wednesday, and took a big bite out of it. Several to be exact! Dining stops included Minetta Tavern, Locanda Verde, 11 Madison Park, Marea, and The Breslin. They also popped into Colicchio and Sons for a quick congratulatory hello.
Then Larry Carrino and I met up with Michael on Wednesday and Thursday for meetings with cookbook publisher Clarkson Potter. We ate dinner at Peasant in SOHO and had lunch with Food & Wine‘s Kate Krader at Ma Peche — David Chang‘s not-yet-open restaurant in the Chambers Hotel (formerly Momo Midtown.) The Standard Hotel was also the site of nice breakfasts and drinks. In typical New York fashion, random celebrity sightings were numerous, including disgraced former Illinois governor cum celebrity apprentice Rod Blagojevich at Laguardia and Mickey Rourke strutting his bad self through the Meat Packing District with a blond, paparazzi stumbling in their path for the money shot. The Standard Hotel seems to be unofficial celebrity chef central; Laurent Tourondel (now of some BLTs…) dined there Wednesday night, and Curtis Stone (the Take Home Chef on TLC) was seen exiting the lobby, bags in tow. And in an opportune convergence of events, we also were able to say ciao and trade pleasantries with the Bourdains, who were on their way to dine at the hotel’s grill, as we waited out front for a taxi to the airport. Always fun seeing them. Tony had just left Sirius where he wrapped his last radio show (for now!) with chef buddy Eric Ripert. Lots of antics in that studio, some of the most amusing involving artificial cereal. Let’s just say that by the end of the series, Eric had lost his processed foods virginity. Icing on the cake, Lee Schrager joined us in the exit row on the flight home.
This Week’s TIME Magazine: Be sure to grab a copy of this week’s (March 22) issue, where Michael’s winning Burger Bash entry, the Genuine Cheeseburger, is featured (and pictured twice!)
Michael’s Cookbook ETA: After a productive meeting at Random House HQ with publisher Clarkson Potter, the launch date for Michael’s cookbook is now set for February 15, 2011. It’s a little too early to get into details, but we already have some very exciting pre-launch activities in the pipeline! Stay tuned…