Singer-Songwriter Vanessa Carlton Indeed Loves Ruby's in the Afternoon

Vanessa Carlton

"I went to Rubys and had another espresso."Photo:Melissa Hom


In her single Nolita Fairytale, Vanessa Carlton sings about her love of Ruby's in the afternoon a reference to her favorite neighborhood hang. Its the best people-watching, she says of Rubys. Everyone looks like theyre out of an editorial shoot for some hip magazine. But its not posey. Other favorites near the Nolita flat on rent control she famously exalts? La Esquina (I love to get takeout or to just sit at the front taco bar), Freemans (I think it wins the devils-on-horseback competition with the Spotted Pig), and N (the best chorizo Ive ever had). We asked her whether this week found her at any of the above.

Saturday, November 24
I was in Montreal it was the last show of the tour. I got this baked rotisserie chicken and pomegranates and a chickpea salad with some herbs. It was all fresh and organic. The star of the cuisine on the bus is Ive started infusing my own vodka. Im quite a vodka drinker my Russian-Jewish roots are basically saturated in it. I have this container, and I infuse it with pomegranate seeds and raspberries. Thats my post-show reward. And I had two chocolate-chip cookies from Subway.

Sunday, November 25
Every morning when Im home I have a double espresso from either Balthazar or Starbucks depending on which line is shorter. I dont care what it tastes like; I just prefer the effects. And Ill get Stonyfield yogurt with an amazing granola, Kingslake & Crane, that they sell at Dean & DeLuca. It has a burgundy ribbon around it its a whole ceremony. Its chock-full of nuts and cranberries, and Ill put pomegranate seeds in there. Having yogurt every morning makes my skin better its super-healthy.

At 2:30 p.m. I went to the gym and came back and had wasabi peas and whole-wheat Finn crisps with Gruyre three hours later.

I met friends at the Strip House. I had a beautiful bottle of Pinot Noir and a tomato-red-onion salad followed by a porterhouse steak (I was experimenting). I realize that I'm not much of a steak-on-the-bone eater (chicken on a bone is a different story, however). The sides were extraordinary and so extravagant: potatoes fried in duck fat and creamed spinach with truffle oil.

Then I went to Beatrice Inn as usual and had two Little West 12th drinks. They are light and cucumberish and deadly.

Monday, November 26
I had a double espresso at Balthazar and then my granola. Caf Fanny in Berkeley makes her own granola mix as well, and I mix it with the Kingslake because there are more sunflower seeds in hers. Im very finicky about this.

I worked all day and at 3 p.m. I went to Rubys and had my favorite chicken-pumpkin salad and another espresso. My girlfriend came over it was her birthday and we had some vodka before going out across the street to Mexican Radio its low-key on Monday. I had two margaritas, their good guacamole, and chicken fajitas with pinto beans.

Tuesday, November 27
I had the same breakfast. (I need the morning thing to be the same even if it happens in the afternoon.) I had grilled salmon at 3 p.m. when I got hungry again (I had picked it up from Dean & DeLuca the day before) and some artichokes its like $10 for four of them, but its worth it.

I met my friends for happy hour on Aurora its this secret because they always put out all these hors doeuvre for anyone who sits at the bar. Theyre so yummy. They had a grilled pita with white-bean dip. I got minestrone soup (its pretty hearty because there are noodles in it) and their artichoke salad with Pecorino shavings. And I had two martinis.

Wednesday, November 28
Im on my way to the airport now. Something very colorful is going to happen today because Im going to Vegas. The one redeeming quality about Vegas is that they do have good restaurants. Im doing a showcase for Pepsi and meeting some of the executives Ill try to squeeze some absurd vintage wine out of them.