New York, New York

Trick or Truffles

In New York, Halloween often sees parents guiding their kids on ransacking missions through enormous co-ops. Our food writer decides it’s time for childless adults to tip the tables and get their due.

In the elevator of my apartment building is a sign-up sheet for residents willing to welcome treat-or-treaters on Halloween. It isn’t a long list, mostly the names of parents who are desperate for people to sign up so their kids will have someplace to go. And every October, and with all good intentions, I promise myself that this will be the year I’m one of those tenants everyone loves, the one who dresses up in some funky-bizarro costume and hands out candy by the shovelful. I come up with schematics of how I’ll transform my apartment’s gallery into a chamber of horrors rivaled only by that creepy house in Silence of the Lambs—or at least Manhattan’s DMV—with synthetic cobwebs, red Karo-syrup blood, and a severed hand or two poking out of the coat closet for added effect.

Inevitably, though, the day arrives, and I’m ticked off and über-misanthropic, because once again I didn’t plan ahead: The only things I have to hand out are a few fuzzy Mentos from my winter jacket and three tiny bottles of vodka from a transatlantic flight. So either I sit in my apartment with the lights out, ignoring the shouts and pounding of sugar-crazed children, or I flee the building for a ridiculously extended dinner at the Utopia Diner.

But I’ve devised a simple way to assure that we pitiful childless tenants throw open our doors for the kiddies in the building—even for little Lili, the petulant three-year-old next door who’s sure to grow up to be a leather-clad dominatrix with tattoos covering 82 percent of her body: Let us adults go trick-or-treating, too. I win, you win, and the kids are none the wiser. So, neighbors, if you want me to give your kids a multimedia phantasmagorical display they’ll never forget, here’s what I’d like to see in my trick-or-treat bag, which will be hanging prominently from the doorknob of apartment 13G:

1. First, nix the apples—with or without razor blades. And forget anything with oats, seeds, or, God forbid, flax. Halloween isn’t, nor has it ever been, a fiber holiday; just ask your kids.

2. You guessed it: a great, big, fat lobe of foie gras delivered Halloween afternoon, so when the kids stop by I can shock them by eating offal.

3. A bottle of 1977 vintage Port. Warre’s will work, so will Fonseca Val De Mendiz. (A gift of my own quinta, or wine estate, in the Douro valley in Portugal would certainly get you preferential treat this Oct. 31.)

4. A six-month supply of crisp-fried pommes frites tossed with white truffle oil and served with Gorgonzola cream sauce and Cabernet demi-glace from Restaurant Moosilauke in Kent, Conn. (860) 927-4145.

5. Twelve Macaron Plénitude from Pierre Hermé in Paris. While you’re there, a box of Truffles au Chocolat au Lait & Thé Vert couldn’t hurt.

6. A Moby-size container of Sex, Drugs, and Rocky Road rice pudding from Rice to Riches. No toppings, please, I’m a purist.

7. Suzanne Goin’s Cipollini Onion and Bleu de Gex Tart with Roasted Red Grapes made by her at her restaurant Lucques, in Los Angeles.

8. My kitchen, renovated. This is an expensive one, I know, which is why I think this should be a group effort. If all of you parents in the F, G, and J apartments get together and work with the co-op board and Sam, our super, you can knock it out in time for Thanksgiving. I’ll even bake a few pumpkin pies as a thank you. (Tip: Miele, Traulsen, and Viking appliances make me very, very happy.)

9. What good is a new kitchen with a bad view? The water tower of the building next door is the only thing standing between me and Central Park. Moving it about 30 feet south would do the trick.

10. My own show on the Food Network. This isn’t as hard as it seems. You know the guy in the building who wears nothing but black Dolce & Gabbana suits and black shirts? He’s in the film business. (Fine, I admit it; I read his mail over his shoulder when I saw him in the elevator.) He’s got to have some pull. After all, he’s friends with some executive from one of the networks; I heard him screaming into his cell phone one afternoon while I was getting the mail. So, Mr. Producer, if you can snag me a show on TVFN, just wait to you see what I’ll cook up for your twins (who, by the way, are mini terrorists when you and your wife aren’t looking).

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. After all, there’s Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa still to come. Hey, I’ll be your Santa bitch, as long as you keep my stocking stuffed.


TMN Contributing Writer David Leite has stated a little too emphatically that he is not a food snob. (But we have it on good authority that while other people have moldering hot dog buns and withering mesclun in their fridge, he has been know to harbor lobes of foie gras, exotic mushrooms, and bottles of champagne.) He’s quick to note that he loves plain ole mac and cheese, but he was overseen recently pish-toshing at the waitress until the chef agreed to drizzle it with truffle oil. He’s not above a McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish, though. He’s also the publisher of the James Beard Award-winning website, Leite’s Culinaria, and the author of the upcoming cookbook The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors From Europe’s Western Coast. More by David Leite