Where do chefs go to eat on their nights off? We’re asking them — and they’re divulging the best things they’ve eaten in the last month in this weekly column.
The Chef: Summer Bailey
The Gig: Pastry chef at Andrew Carmellini’s The Dutch (131 Sullivan Street; 212-677-6200)
Known For: Super-comforting desserts like pie and devilish chocolate cakes
The Best Thing She Ate This Month: The Joe Sr. Scramble and a Misses Doe’s Michelada at Joe & Misses Doe (45 East 1st Street; 212-780-0262)
“I live in the East Village, and always walk past this mom-and-pop place, Joe and Misses Doe, after work on my way home. It’s adorable and reminds me of the fun, laid-back atmosphere of restaurants in New Orleans, where I’m from. I had a rare Sunday off from work with a friend and so decided to try it for brunch.
We walked in and Jill, the “Misses” and co-owner, was so sweet and bubbly; I liked her immediately. There are a lot of things I don’t eat breakfast-wise; because I’m pastry chef I have to taste sugar all day and don’t want more, leaning instead towards salty, savory things. I’m usually a burger girl for brunch, but my friend ordered the burger and I wanted to try something else, and the eggs looked so amazing. So I decided “I can do this.” I ordered the eggs pretending like I order eggs every Sunday, like it was no big deal, and my friend looked at me like, “Are you sure?”, and I was like, “I got this.”
See, I have a thing with eggs. I used to love hard boiled eggs. But I took a trip to London with friends ten years ago, ordered them for breakfast one day there — they served me soft, gooey, runny eggs that had gone bad. I got violently ill and it ruined the rest of my vacation. Another time after that, I had emergency surgery, and my mom flew up from New Orleans to take care of me. Being a mom she had to feed me, and all she made me during that time were hard scrambled eggs. After four weeks of only those, I never wanted to eat them again.
But the Joe Sr. Scramble was sort of a hash. I love spice (again because of the eating sugar and being from New Orleans), and with the black pepper and chilies, the seasoning on the eggs was perfect. The texture wasn’t too runny or too hard, and it came with this sort of empanada. Hello! It was just different. I finished it, and I never finish anything. I left thinking about it, and wanted them to make it for me again. They cooked the hell outta those eggs. The coffee was great, and I got a Misses Doe Michelada (basically a Bloody Mary with beer), so it was sort of my anti-brunch brunch – a Misses Doe Michelada and a Joe Sr.
As we left, Jill and I hugged, switched info, and now I hang out there all the time, and I’ve brought a lot of people back there. They have a lot of specials, and it’s got a neighborhood feel like you don’t find too often in New York anymore. I can walk over, say “Hey guys,” have a drink put in front of me, order some great food, and everything’s okay. And I have two really good friends in them, now, which is really important, especially in this industry. Finding that is hard.”
Jacqueline Raposo writes about chefs and food culture.