Sunday, December 25, 2011


I came down to North Carolina to celebrate Christmas. Andrea and Mac threw a party for my family and friends. Phil was in charge of decorations. Andrea made my all time favorite, ham biscuits. She also had a giant pile of ham and sausages, and some cheeses she brought home from a recent trip to England. We had Zuppa di pesce, with clams, shrimp and wild striped bass and crusty bread to sop up the broth. Outside, near the wood burning oven, Mac set up a clam and oyster shucking station. We utilized last years gift: Clam Rams, to open the raw clams. My nephew Zach figured out how to use it and tried his first raw clam, he liked it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


This is the view from my bed, which I've spent a lot of time in this week. The chemo hit me pretty hard and I've been very nauseous and exhausted. Staring at the dust collecting on my ceiling fan blades was driving me crazy so Ford came over today and took care of it for me. He did a great job, got the tops of the blades and the dust that collected on the ceiling near the fan. I'm able to sleep a lot better now, knowing it's clean up there.

Friday, December 2, 2011


After meeting with a number of doctors and other experts following the results of my recent PET scan I decided to get treatment at a private oncology clinic. Most of the doctors I met with recommended the same course of chemotherapy but this one also offered some additional "targeted treatments", the use of amino acids, a concentration on nutrition, supplements, meditation and breathing exercises.
I started yesterday, Phil came with me. It's sort of a high end place, so chatting with the clientele was interesting. We were there most of the day. Early on, I felt nauseous and was gagging into a bucket, just then the doctor walked by and told me to rub a bit of green powder he had in his pocket under my nose. It worked to make me feel better. He had just gotten back from India and was interested in trying out some of his new "alternative" medications.
So far the chemo is OK, a little nausea and my hands feel tingly and numb (it's hard to type). We asked about this weird photograph (there a few like this around the office) but the doctor just said it had to do with offerings and meditation. I look forward to getting to the bottom of this.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Thanksgiving was particularly special to me this year. My family came up from North Carolina along with Phil's mom and grand dad. Ruby came from LA, Kelly from Portland as well as Susan and Tony from NYC. Mindy hosted us.
I decided to grill the turkey this year. It came from Heritage Foods at the Essex Street Market. Andrea and Mott both grilled too, so we kept in touch all morning monitoring grill temperatures, etc. It was fun but stressful. I salted it the night before and after getting to room temperature in the morning I stuffed it with apples, onions and sage.It was tricky trying to keep the grill temperature at an even 35o degrees, when my brother showed up he took over and got things straight. We added some applewood that had been soaked in water. Andrea brought it for me, provided by "NC's most prominent Jewish farmer"
There was a pan underneath that we used to collect the drippings (that Tony turned into a delicious gravy). Using my new Thermapen, I was able to quickly determine the inside temperature of the bird. Once we got the grill temperature right, it cooked pretty quickly, approximately two and half hours for a sixteen pound turkey. Zach and Alex (my nephews) did a great job of monitoring the temperature, checking it every ten minutes. I was afraid it would be dry but the white meat was perfectly juicy. My older brother let me carve the turkey (usually his job) and I think I did a pretty good job.
Ruby, Lynn, Myrna, Jan, Mindy and Susan were in charge of side dishes. Everything turned out great and on time. We had mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie with marshmallows, brussels sprouts, pureed squash (with young ginger Andrea sent from NC), corn soufflé, roasted cauliflower with capers (from Il Buco) and chestnut stuffing from a Martha Stewart recipe that Kim recommended. Myrna made cranberry chutney and we also had canned cranberry gel, that everyone seems to prefer to the real thing.
Jan and Lynn brought pies from Bubby's: Pumpkin, Apple Whiskey and Pecan. Susan brought rum cake from Blue Ribbon Bakery. Phil was in charge of de-crumbing the table and Poppy (Phil's grand dad) set the tone by having a little of each dessert. Kelly led the clean-up crew.
This was the best Thanksgiving I've ever had. The weather was perfect, it was fun to cook with all my family and friends and the food tasted great. I am truly thankful.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Ruby got me these little plastic organizers to help keep track of my pain medicine. I took some pills last night that helped reduce the pain so I could enjoy a four course tasting at Le Bernardin. They recently started serving the whole menu in the lounge area so you can walk in without a reservation, although men are supposed to be wearing jackets. Andrea, Phil, Mac and I started with some oysters (before the regular menu)
They start you off with a few small bites: tuna, sea urchin and salmon.
You can choose from a large variety for each course (which makes going back appealing). I started with hamachi wrapped around lettuce, thai basil and carrots.
Lobster poached in citrus sauce.
Dover Sole in brown butter sauce.
This was a "pre-dessert": an egg filled with chocolate mousse and maple syrup.
I chose "religieuse" for dessert, which was fluffy balls filled with elderflower cream.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I got the results of my PET scan back and it was bad news. The cancer has spread to a number of lymph nodes in my abdomen and some of my bones including my spine, shoulder blades and ribs. I'm meeting with some doctors and other experts trying to figure out what to do next. My spirits are good and I am ready to do what I have to in order to fight the growth of the cancer. Tony got me this great robe from Society, I love it, I've always wanted a robe.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I've walked by Sushi Soto a million times and never thought to go there. It's real plain looking and they have no sign. I'd heard that they specialize in uni (sea urchin) so Andrea and I decided to give it a try last night. We started with two types of tofu. And then had a variety of uni preparations: uni tempura with uni powder.
Uni cocktail with a soy sauce reduction.
Uni with yuba (tofu skin)
Uni with squid and quail egg.
They also have normal sushi, this is miso marinated tuna with shiso.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Have you ever thought about what you would look like if you were the opposite sex? I have. I’d be pretty small, but not thin, I’d have a nice butt and medium sized boobs that would flair off to the sides. My legs would be nice and I’d have pretty curly hair, I’d be cute but no great beauty.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Phil and Timory came over for dinner last night. I made soft pretzels using Alton Brown's recipe. The key was to boil them in baking soda water and coating them with egg yolk, it gave them that dark brown color. I'm going to try making bagels using this same technique soon. We also had pork that had been braised in tomato sauce and wine, cipollini onions in balsamic vinegar, and brussel sprouts with pancetta.

Friday, October 21, 2011


It's hard to find a normal fitting shirt these days, they are either too stylish or too boxy. Since I've lost a lot of weight I was looking for some new shirts. Mark suggested O'Connell's in Buffalo. They have a whole section of new/old shirts and the ones they make themselves fit like a shirt used to.


Last night Stacy brought me a steak from the Strip House. It took a lot of will power not to eat the whole thing, but I knew it would have caused a lot of pain if I had. For breakfast I had leftover steak and a fried egg.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


About six months ago I ordered these shoes from Russell Moccasin to replace a pair that is getting worn out. Danielle calls them my aging hipster shoes. Russell Moccasin sends you a pattern where you trace your foot and provide a number of other measurements. They keep this paper on file and whenever you want they'll make a new pair of custom shoes for you, but it takes a while.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Tuesday was my last day of the second nine week cycle of chemotherapy. Phil and Kelly joined me. It is such a relief to have the pump removed and not have to carry it around day and night. It was great to say good bye to all the hard-working nurses that have been helping me for the past few months.
To celebrate, I made dinner for Kelly, Kim, Goldie and Myrna. It's a new favorite, at Wong, a new place in the West Village they call it Cha Ca La Vong. I sautéed mahi mahi that had been dredged in flour, turmeric and salt. Put it on top of rice noodles with basil, cilantro, dill and scallions. It's topped off with some fried shallots and peanuts. There is also a light sauce of lime juice, fish sauce, chiles and garlic.
I'm still learning how to eat without a stomach. Mainly I need to eat very small portions very slowly to avoid pain. Now that I'm done with chemotherapy my goal is to gain weight. I have a PET scan scheduled next month that will show if we've gotten rid of the cancer. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


For the past ten years or so I've been wearing Falke socks, they come in normal colors and there are left and right versions for your respective foot. They fit great. But lately I've been switching to Happy Socks. I like them because they also fit well (no left and right versions however) and they come in interesting colors and patterns. They are also about half the price.


Sometimes there's nothing better than an English Muffin. I love the toasty smell, the combination of crispiness and softness and the melted butter. They are great just like this and also as a means to sopping up egg yolks.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Andrea is in town again for the New York Wine and Food Festival. Last night she made steaks for Noel, Phil and I. The meat was from Florence Prime Meat Market where all the beef is "prime". I had leftover steak for breakfast: she made hash using the leftover steak, potatoes and sizzled herbs. Then Noel and I reorganized my tool closet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


The past couple of weeks have been a little rough. Phil and I went yesterday for one of my last chemotherapy treatments. My white blood count was too low to continue so they gave me this week off to recuperate. I'll inject myself in the stomach with neupogen which will help my bone marrow produce more cells, which will ready me for the last round. It's sort of fun doing the injection, the needle is very skinny so you can barely feel it. If everything goes well, I'll do one more week next week and I will have completed both of my nine week cycles.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Mott showed up at my door this morning with a bag of groceries from the farmers market. Neither of us really knew how to make a frittata but we figured it out, and this turned out great.
He sautéed some sausage and bacon from Flying Pigs Farm. Saving some of the grease he cooked up some spinach and leeks then added six eggs and container of Benecalorie which is a supplement that adds calories to food. We finished it off with some cheddar and parmesan cheese grated on top. We cooked it on the stove top for six or seven minutes but it was still runny. After one or two minutes under the broiler, the top browned and the sides puffed up and curled away from the pan. It looked great and tasted even better.


I haven't eaten red meat for a while and really wanted some. After describing to Andrea what I had in mind she thought I'd like beef tataki, but since we were already at Eataly having lunch, we decided to do it in an Italian style. Andrea made a crust of dried and powdered porcini mushrooms then seared the steak. The cut was called tagliata. Then she made a sauce with some tiny tomatoes, red onion and sherry vinegar. It gave it that acidic bite and hit the spot perfectly.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Phil is a great friend. We met in ninth grade. When I moved to New York in 1989 I moved in with him. We shared a studio apartment. It was a classic tenement: seven flight walk-up, the bathub was in the kitchen, the toilet was in the hallway in a closet. Phil slept on a foldout futon and I slept two feet away on a fold up chair we called the Blue Guy. We continued to live together with various roommates in a number of different apartments in Brooklyn and Manhattan throughout the nineties. When I bought my own place, I moved two blocks from Phil. We’ve worked together on commercials and his film Junebug.

When I found out I had cancer Phil was there to support me. He’s been closely involved in every decision I’ve made about my treatment. Since he’s so smart, he’s able to explain medical things that the doctors are unclear about. Phil’s goofy. He flirts with the nurses and makes the time at chemotherapy fly by. He’s been to all my big sessions, which are the hardest, sitting for hours on end. Even though he’s the busiest guy I know, he’s found a way to make his schedule work so he can sit in a room with me while chemicals get pumped into my veins. Or arrange arrange for David Kilgour to play at my recent birthday party. Or sit with me in the hospital while recovering from surgery watching American Idol. I picture Hollywood bigshots furious that they can’t get in touch with him because he’s sitting in a hospital room with me cracking jokes, even though it hurts my stitches.

He’s the best friend a guy could ask for. I love him.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


The night started out like a normal birthday party. There was a coconut cake from Miss Lily's and a seven-layer caramel cake from Caroline's Cakes (a Christmas gift from Imperial Woodpecker). I took a Marinol, one of my "pot pills" then out of nowhere, David Kilgour walked in the door. I wasn't sure if I was hallucinating. David, one of my all-time favorite artists, with his friend Tony, then played a full set which included some of my favorite Clean songs and material from his solo career. After a break for some cake and whiskey, and realizing this wasn't a hallucination, they played an encore which included Drawing to a Hole. After another short break, the band plugged into amps and grew to include Joe on drums and Lucy on keyboard. We weren't going to let them leave without playing Point That Thing Somewhere Else. It was a beautiful night, thank you.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Andrea is a good cook. This is how I like to eat. She butterflied a whole chicken and put it in a pan with another heavy pan on top so the skin got all browned. Over this, she poured some of the juices with salad greens, tomatoes, roasted carrots, garlic and croutons. I've been eating this for a few days now, I love it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Andrea and Mac came with me for my third week of chemo. At this point in the cycle my white blood counts are usually too low to continue so I get a week off. Almost immediately after they remove the needle, I start to feel better. Since I was feeling good, Andrea and I went to the farmer's market and got stuff to make lunch and dinner. This is the first good tomato I've had this year. Andrea made it just the way I like it: salt, pepper and mayo on spongy white bread.
Ira, Georgia, Susan and Myrna joined us for dinner. I had read in a book about recovering from surgery that there was nothing healthier than a fish stew, so that's what Andrea made. Tomatoes, fennel, monkfish, halibut (just because), mussels and clams, served with toast to sop it up. Not having a stomach means I can't eat as much as I wanted to, but I went back for seconds after I digested the first round.
Dessert was fruit and cheese. My favorite was a date stuffed with ricotta (sweetened with honey) and topped with a sprinkle of esspresso.