By Christina Tosi
Dessert chef, pastry whiz, sweets soothsayer—whatever you call Christina Tosi, there’s no denying her sugar-spun star power. In Tosi’s trademark style, she whips lowbrow ingredients (cornflakes, pretzels) into addictive, high-concept desserts like Crack Pie and cereal-milk ice cream at New York’s renowned Momofuku restaurants and Momofuku Milk Bar bakeries. Here, the Brooklyn resident—and first-time author of the new cookbook Milk—describes her ideal day in New York City.
7 a.m.—Coffee and Brunch
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I can never quite sleep in past sunrise. It sounds terrible, but I actually love it—the earlier in the morning, the better. Although it’s early, making a cup of coffee at home is one of my favorite things to do. For me, it’s about starting my day with a sense of relaxation in the air. I’ll sip and savor my coffee as slowly as humanly possible, sit in my favorite chair, stare off into space, giggle at my pups playing in the yard, and read the paper. But when I do go out, I hit up brunch at the Brooklyn Star, where you get some Oslo drip coffee in an old coffee mug, like you’re drinking it at your own kitchen table. Plus, their biscuits-and-gravy is impossible to pass up.
12 p.m.—Leisurely Austrian Lunch
I’d throw on a cute day dress—in kitchen culture, you’re basically forced into tomboy-dom, so something as silly as a dress really makes me feel like a million dollars. I’d meet friends at Cafe Sabarsky and we’d transport ourselves to Austria via our stomachs, lunching over glasses of wine and wursts, and strong coffee and strudel, for hours. The first pastry chef I worked for in New York, Alex Grunert, was Austrian. He was my mentor when I first moved here, so anything Austrian, especially food, immediately makes me feel at peace and at home.
3 p.m.—Art-Filled Afternoon
To call me a speed-walker is almost an understatement. I jog to get the most done in my day, so having the time to drag my feet is a rarity. My friends and I would roll out of lunch still full and giggling, and stroll through the Neue Galerie and the Met, taking in the world, the city, the art, the culture, and the people.
6 p.m.—Central Park Stroll
I’d grab my dogs and bring them for a long, long walk in Central Park. If it weren’t for my dogs, sometimes I wonder if I’d ever see the light of day. Walking dogs is great for the soul, and the pups couldn’t be happier in the woods or on the green. I have mutts that love to run and frolic, get into trouble, and then come sprinting back to brag about it. I can’t help but laugh out loud every time they do it. I could walk for hours in the park when they’re with me.
8 p.m.—Dinner and a Movie
Making my way back to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I’d catch a movie and dinner at Nitehawk, a bar-restaurant-cinema all in one place. You can literally have a drink, eat some nachos, and watch a movie without budging—it’s a dream come true. If I got to choose the movie, I’d watch a Woody Allen flick. Say what you want, but I just adore his ability to see a city he loves and share it on the screen.
11 p.m.—Waterfront Walk and Nightcap
I’d take one more walk along the waterfront in Williamsburg, stopping in at Hotel Delmano for a nightcap on my way home. There’s just something soothing, refreshing, and effortless about the vibe. You’re transported the second you step in and order a tasty, but not fussy cocktail. Then I’d head home. Late night walks fall somewhere between a vacation and a dream in my world, so I’d embrace the moment.
Christina Tosi is the chef and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, and the author of Milk. As founder of the dessert program at Momofuku, Christina helped Momofuku Ko earn two stars from the Michelin Guide, and Momofuku Ssam Bar jump onto San Pellegrino’s Top 100 Restaurants in the World. Christina and her confections have appeared on the Martha Stewart Show, and Live! With Regis and Kelly, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her three dogs, and eats an unconscionable amount of raw cookie dough every day.
Photo credit: courtesy Random House and Momofuku Milk Bar