We all know and love Gail Simmons, host of hit television series Top Chef: Just Desserts, and regular judge on Bravo’s original series, Top Chef. Simmons manages to both write and talk about food in a way that makes everyone hungry – and we’ve fallen in love with her presence on and off the screen. She is indisputably the expert on everything food. In fact, we found it hard to write this Q and A without pausing to visit all of the food spots she mentions below. With her new book Talking With My Mouth Full coming out in just a week, Ms. Simmons still managed to find time to let The New Potato in on her new favorite food spots, her go-to place for dessert and how to make her chicken and barley stew recipe…
Your new favorite spot…
"This minute? Wong and Selinas."
The best place for dessert…
"The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop on 7th Street between 1st & Ave A or ABC Kitchen."
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What’s the drink you just discovered?
"The Siam Sour at Maenam in Vancouver: Vodka, roasted coconut water, lime, soda, ginger and bird’s eye chilies."
What’s the restaurant you just discovered?
"Hangawi in Koreatown."
What’s your new favorite brunch spot?
"Saxon & Parole."
Your go-to recipe for eating in?
"My mother-in-law’s chicken and barley stew with lots of veggies, herbs, lemon and parmesan (see Food & Wine’s March 2012 issue for the recipe)."
The recipe that just became good again…
"Kasha & Bowties (with Mushroom-Onion Gravy)."
The recipe you just discovered…
"Farro with Roast Chicken, Butternut Squash and Fresh Oregano from Mindy’s Fox’s A Bird in the Oven and Then Some cookbook."
What’s a new, New York food area you’ve just become obsessed with?
"Boreum Hill/Cobble Hill/Carrol Gardens."
A food trend that’s starting to grow on you...
"Slightly savory, salty desserts."
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What’s the new perfect spot for when you want to order takeout?
"Not necessarily new but always delicious: Dirty Bird."
Where have you recently decided you’d love to travel for food?
The classic dish that will always be “new” to you…
"A chunky, chewy chocolate chip cookie."
The restaurant that never goes out of style…
"Balthazar or Annisa."
What’s not present in New York food yet, that should be?
"Great quality, authentic and affordable Greek and Thai food (in Manhattan!)"
And most importantly…How do you feel about new potatoes?
"Pretty darn good. Especially when slightly smashed and roasted to crispy with olive oil and salt."