Where Padma Eats Cheap in New York

Padma Lakshmi

Padma will eat anything.Tim Murphy

Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet. Thats the name of model turned Top Chef dictatress Padma Lakshmis new cookbook, and thats just how she behaved before swooning fans last night at her Strand book signing. After donning serious glasses to read food-related mini-memoirs from the book, she told the crowd that saying Please pack your knives and go to Top Chefs weekly loser was the hardest part of my job and divulged that men often ask her to say it to them in a dominatrix-y sort of way. (It creeps me out! she insisted.) She said the show had knocked down any remaining foodie limits she might have had: Ill put anything in my mouth once. Oh, Padma!

Thankfully, Lakshmi kept her innuendo PG-13 as she told us her top cheap eats in New York City:

1. Two Boots. Her favorite slice? A simple cheese pizza. (Not the spicy Bird!?!?)

2. Vezzo, another thin-crust pizza joint, on Lex and 31st.

3. Saravana, where you have dosas, in Curry Hill (get it, rhymes with Murray Hill?) on Lex. Its an area I eat in a lot because I shop at

4. Kalustyans, a venerable IndianMiddle Eastern spice and specialty shop where Lakshmi is often spotted. You can pretty much get everything you need for my book there.

5. Kuma Inn, Filipino tapas. They have this awesome Chinese sausage that Im addicted to.

6. Vegetarian Dim Sum House in Chinatown. Lakshmi even pulled up the address and phone number for us on her cute, slim BlackBerry just before she pointed out that our fly was unzipped. Id want my friend to tell me, she said. Us and Padma friends? And over an unzipped fly? Wow! Tim Murphy