Comedian Todd Barry Eschews Tomatoes, Eggs, and Mayo, But Not 33-Cent Cookies

todd barry

"Second midday snack: some 33-cent Drake’s oatmeal cookies."Melissa Hom

On Late Night With Conan O’Brien recently, Conan called comedian Todd Barry “the quintessential New Yorker.” That doesn't mean he's at Balthazar every morning. “Every time I talk about Chipotle in conversation," he told Conan's audience, "Someone goes, ‘Oh, Chipotle is delicious. Can you believe they were started by McDonald’s?’ ‘Uh, McDonald’s is delicious, so yes, I can believe that. It’s not like Ben and Jerry’s opened up a lingerie shop. It’s the world’s greatest restaurant chain taking a stab at another kind of food and hitting it out of the park.’” Other than that, Barry eats at Café Orlin about five times a week. Since it was closed for renovations this week, he had to practice his tomato, mayo, and orange-juice pulp aversions elsewhere.

Friday, March 7
I had two radio interviews to promote my new CD, From Heaven. Before the first interview, I ate about three-quarters of a slice of pizza from some place near Times Square. I would’ve eaten the whole thing, but I knew I had time to kill between the interviews and I’d want to eat again. After the first interview I had a design-your-own salad at a place called Mendy’s. I watched some guy eating a sandwich that had some sort of white dressing on it. He defiantly refused to wipe the dressing off his face, while sitting uncomfortably close to a stranger in the mostly empty restaurant.

For a midday snack I had Trader Joe’s almonds. Second midday snack: some 33 cent Drake’s oatmeal cookies and coffee from the deli near my apartment.

That night, I had two shows at Comix. Comedy clubs aren’t known for their food, but this place is an exception. I had a preshow Caesar salad, then a between-shows dinner of pan-roasted chicken with mashed potatoes, green beans, and carrots.

Saturday, March 8
I went with a friend to Westville East, but a construction crew was doing some jackhammering right next to it, and that’s about the worst sound in the world to me. That, and the sound of a fire-truck horn.

We walked a bit and stopped at Life Café, which I hadn’t been to in a while. We were seated at a table that had me pressed up against the people behind me, and my friend pressed up against a radiator. I usually don’t walk out of restaurants once I’m seated, but I thought we could do better, so we walked to a place called Rue B. They were serving their brunch menu. I don’t like brunch food, so I just ordered some sides: roasted potatoes, bacon, toast. Yes, I realize that’s brunch food. I should’ve said I don’t like eggs.

I had to do another two shows at Comix. My preshow meal was a chopped salad, which I ordered without tomatoes, even though tomatoes weren’t listed as an ingredient. Tomatoes make me squirm. I had the pan-roasted chicken again for my between-shows dinner.

Late Saturday night, I went to the grocery store to buy a light snack. Unfortunately I discovered a new flavor of Doritos: Spicy Sweet Chili. Since this was Doritos' first nod to Asian culture, I felt compelled to buy a small bag and eat it within minutes of entering my apartment. I drank some orange juice, too. Tropicana. No pulp. I don’t like pulp for the same reasons I don’t like tomatoes.

Sunday, March 9
My late lunch was a burger, butter-lettuce salad, and cappuccino at Noho Star. I like the place; it’s very airy.

Early evening, hot-cinnamon-spice iced tea (the cinnamon was hot, not the tea) at Sympathy for the Kettle on St. Marks Place.

Later I went back to Westville East. There were no jackhammers, so I ate grilled lemon-pepper chicken, Brussels sprouts with Dijon sauce, pesto mashed potatoes. I only started eating Brussels sprouts maybe five years ago. I can’t believe how much I like them. No one can.

Monday, March 10
For breakfast I got a small coffee from Porto Rico Trading on St. Mark’s Place.

Lunch: crispy chicken tacos from Chipotle. I really like this place. I even talk about them on my new CD.

I go to Veselka quite a bit, usually late. This time I really overate: Sloppy Joe, sweet-potato fries, and a salad.

Tuesday, March 11
I got coffee from a place called Atlas Café, then another coffee from Panya on Stuyvesant Street.

I had a late lunch at Cafe Mogador. Chicken-kebab sandwich (no tomatoes) and a mesclun salad. Really good. After I was done, the friendly waitress brought over a complimentary almond croissant. I asked her why she did that. She said because I was “smiley.” I’ve been called various things, but “smiley” isn’t one of them. Maybe she was being sarcastic.

For dinner I had smoked chicken wings, ginger scallion noodles, soft-serve ice cream at Momofuku

Wednesday, March 12
I left for Austin. Had a few almonds, some deli coffee before I left, then an Asiago-cheese bagel and a bottle of water at Au Bon Pain at La Guardia airport.

I flew Continental, which is one of the few airlines that still gives you food on domestic flights. I had a breaded chicken sandwich and a salad. I didn’t add the little packet of mayonnaise to the sandwich for the same reason I don’t like tomatoes or orange-juice pulp.

My first meal in Austin wasn’t what I expected — a free sample of a Zone nutrition bar that they were giving out near the registration tables at the South by Southwest convention.

Later I had the other Zone bar that I discovered in the swag bag I got when I registered.

Very late dinner: a really good jalapeño sausage from the Hot Dog King truck.

Apartments are probably cheaper in Austin, but a regular slice of pizza costs $3.75.