Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bits & Morsels

Grilled swordfish loin served with grilled vegetables and sicilian sauce at Bice.

Last week I went to Bice with my good friend Louis Licari. Besides running two hair salons in New York and L.A., he is also an Ironman triathlete. We spoke about his diet and exercise regimen over a tasty and healthy(ish) Italian meal.

What made you become a triathlete?

That’s a funny story. I was always a runner even when I was a kid. Then when I moved to New York, I lived on Central Park West across the street from Central Park. I started running almost everyday ... first with the loop around the reservoir, then onto the bigger loop, and finally around the whole park. I joined the New York City Road Runners club and I started racing. That was my running history.

Louis Licari
I was not an avid cyclist but I was good on a bicycle. I became involved in doing bike rides for charities. There's the New York City AIDS ride and the Los Angeles AIDS ride, where you go from Boston to New York and San Francisco to Los Angeles. I'm such a workaholic so it was a way for me to move away from work and feel like I was accomplishing something.

So by now, I was a very good runner and a pretty good biker, but a terrible swimmer. I was talking to one of my clients who owns a gym and she said she knew someone that I would work with by the name of Michael Gostigian ... a three-time Olympian and a pentathlete. One day we were crazy busy and Michael came into the salon and he said ‘I have never seen you run, bike, or swim but if you can stay this focused talking to me with all this going on, you probably have it in you to be a good athlete.’

One thing led to another and we started doing mini triathlons and then longer and longer ones. At this point I have competed in 3 world championship Ironman competitions which entail a 2.5-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and then a full marathon. So, that’s how it all started.
Al fresco at Bice.
How often do you train?

I train every chance I get. This week I had to purposely take days off because my body needs its rest.

Do you feel that because you train and exercise so much that you can eat whatever you want?

Grilled atlantic salmon with broccoli, oven dried tomatoes and dijon mustard sauce.
I like to eat healthy foods because I am trying to be as good of an athlete that I can be for as long as I can be.

How do you stay motivated?

Food will give you pleasure for five or ten minutes. In my case, performing well means more to me than the food. You have to really work hard to perform well.

What came first for you, the training or the nutrition?

I think it came together. Did I always eat well? No, but certainly as time went on. Especially with the running ... because when running became more important to me, I started eating better.

What do you eat everyday?

I am terribly boring because I eat almost the same thing everyday.
Crispy fried calamari and zucchini served with spicy tomato sauce. Salad of hearts of palm, avocado, romaine lettuce, asparagus, corn, tomatoes and olives tossed with a tangy dressing.
Tuna tartar with capers, red onion, avocado, assorted greens and lemon dressing. Grilled swordfish loin served with grilled vegetables and sicilian sauce.
That’s not boring, you just know what you want.

I have chicken and vegetables for breakfast. Some salad for lunch with chicken or salmon mixed in. At night I will either go to dinner, or stop at Whole Foods or Fairway and pick something up.

What restaurants do you like to go to?

I like to go to Fred’s at Barneys for lunch on Sunday when I am in New York. I love almost all the food there. It’s all clean food. I like the ambiance and that there is action ... but you can still hear yourself talk.

Do you keep snacks in the salon?

I keep healthy snacks in the salon. For me, I cheat with dates ... it’s total sugar and I am a sugarholic. Every once in a while I will buy a bag of dates. I love apples. Fuji apples are my favorite. {Louis Licari}

Bice, 7 East 54th Street, 212.688.1999.
This week I am writing to you from Chesapeake Bay. I am here for some rest and relaxation. Fresh air and beautiful views everywhere you look.

It gets extra points because I drove here with my dog in the backseat, saving a trip to the airport.
A picturesque Chesapeake Bay scene.
I went to a cooking demonstration that was given by Tony Breeze. He is the executive chef of the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay. In the demonstration, he prepared gravlax. Gravlax is made by curing salmon in salt and dill.

He started by cutting and deboning the whole fish, seasoned it with salt, sprinkled dill, squeezed lemon, and poured (poured being the operative word) salt and brown sugar over the salmon. He then wrapped it tightly in foil and popped it in the refrigerator, where it will stay for the next 48 hours.
Chef Tony Breeze salting, cutting, and preparing the salmon.
The Manhattan Milk Company is bringing back the milkman. The company just started home delivery of quarts of organic, hormone-free milk. The milk is $4.89 a quart and it comes from dairies in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country. [The Daily News]

The ultimate restaurant list. S. Pellegrino just released its 2008 list of the world’s best restaurants. El Bulli in Spain is #1 and has been for the past three years. Thomas Keller’s Per Se is #6 and located in the Time Warner Center. Other New York spots on the list are Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, and  Daniel. [S. Pellegrino]

Till we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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