We wake up with him each morning, and rely on him to tell us what’s happening in our city (both “In the Papers” and on PatsPicks.com). But how much do we really know about Pat Kiernan? Well, now we know he craves Canadian cereal, hates melons, and has a sweet tooth. But is he as food-obsessed as the rest of us?
What do you think of how food-obsessed the media has become?
It’s fascinating to see the sheer anger and withdrawal with which people are affected by this Food Network-cable TV fight. I guess it makes sense. What common experience do we have that’s as much a daily part of our life as food? Maybe the subway. It’s something we all do. I realized since moving here that food seems impossible to remove from socializing here in New York. You don’t get together and go for a walk. Every social interaction is: “Wanna meet for lunch. Wanna meet for dinner.”
What was your favorite big food news story of 2009?
The Eggo waffle shortage. Breakfast routines across the country have been brought to a halt with no end in sight. The Kellogg’s website says they’re “working around the clock” to get the plant running again. But they’re still talking mid-2010!
What neighborhood do you live in and where do you like to eat there?
Upper West Side. Gray’s Papaya for hot dogs. My standby neighborhood pizza place is Freddie & Pepper’s on Amsterdam. If we go a little upscale from there, the prosciutto place, Salumeria Rosi. And Telepan is great.
Do you have a local bar?
I used to. The All State Cafe on 72nd was our favorite beer-and-burger place. They got squeezed out on a lease thing a couple years ago. The place is still empty, and I’m bitter about it because they would have been happy to stay in business. The All State was never truly replaced as a local bar. I should stop clinging to it. I also like the bar at ‘Cesca, but it’s a high-end bar, not a neighborhood place. Fred’s (476 Amsterdam Avenue) is nice, as well.
Do you get many fans/stalkers coming up to you in restaurants?
I would say in restaurants someone on staff puts two and two together 50 percent of the time. Or at least it’s disclosed to me 50 percent of the time. People are discreet in restaurants and might nudge their significant other, but don’t actually come up to me and tell me they recognize me.
Is it annoying or mostly flattering?
Mostly flattering. My last job in Canada was at the local news in Edmonton. In most cities outside New York and Los Angeles, the local news anchor is the biggest local celebrity. In New York, it’s nice that Sarah Jessica Parker and Matt Dillon and David Letterman can deflect the paparazzi. They’re much bigger celebrities to spot. So, while I may be at the nice level of recognizable, I’m not one of the most famous people you come across.
How’s the coffee at NY1?
I’m not a hot beverage drinker. Sometimes, after an outdoor activity, I’ll indulge in a hot chocolate because other people do. But I don’t particularly like tea, coffee. Not my thing. Which is surprising for someone who gets up at 3 a.m.
What do you like to eat after you’re done reading the news?
NY1 is located in the Chelsea Market, which is a food shopping mecca. But here’s my twist on that: I get there at 4 a.m. and walk down this long hallway, where people have already started their day and they’re baking the most appetizing-looking bread on the other side of glass. And the retail portion of it is closed for hours still. You can smell it and you can see it, but it’s not available. And then, by the time I get done with work, I just jump on the subway and go home. So, I’m the person who least takes advantage of the place that everyone tells me they’re so envious that I work.
Do you remember your best meal in the city?
Two of our best meals ever have been at Mas (Farmhouse). A friend from Canada celebrated her birthday in New York last year and we had a great meal. A few months later, the same couple got stuck in New York after missing a connecting flight. They called at 10 p.m. to say they were going to make the best of it by coming in for an encore at Mas.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve eaten?
This will rank pretty low by the “adventurous” standard set by others, but I departed from the familiar a few years ago on a visit to Madiba in Fort Greene. Everybody said I had to try the oxtail stew. It was more bone than I bargained for. Tasty, but too much work pulling the meat from the bone. I’m not patient enough to extract my food from the bone. I also avoid ribs because I’m not very good at eating them.
Where do you take fellow Canadians who come to visit you?
If it’s friends our age, we love Pastis. It gets us down to the Meatpacking District for a lively night and a great steak. Another guest-pleaser is Carmine’s. It’s a fun room that perfectly captures what a visitor thinks a New York restaurant should be: big food, boisterous New York waiter. Not at all on most New Yorkers’ list of food destinations, but almost always a crowd-pleaser for the out-of-town visitor.