At lunch, I was typing away at a seat just outside Buon Italia, strategically selected so I could keep a hawk's eye on their bread basket, which had remained empty since I arrived. The lull of the rushing waterfall behind me was a soothing distraction from food, that is, until kind-hearted stranger #1 arrived and asked if he could share my table.
Not wanting to be a table hog, I obliged, but after only a few seconds the friendly New Yorker was slurping up a heaping plate of the most divine smelling Pad Thai only a few inches away fro me. He exclaimed about each bite like a Food Network pundit, "Mmmmmm...Ohhh, this is good....my favorite Pad Thai....wow, this is waaaay too much for me to finish!"
I think he could hear my stomach grumbling in response.
"So is it against the rules if someone else buys you the food?" he asked. I answered with a resounding, "Yes, definitely."
"Well, what about if a stranger just leaves the plate on the table with a fresh set of chopsticks?" he inquired cheekily.
That's when my shoulder angel and devil went at it.
"Yes eat it....no, it's against the rules.....just take one bite of tofu, it's protein....no, rules are rules....eat a damn noodle!!"
Finally, I said, "Well, you can leave the plate but it's against the rules to eat it. I'll just have to throw it out."
So leave the plate he did, with a fresh set of chopsticks and napkins. And throw it away I did; an $8 half-eaten plate of Chelsea Thai Pad Thai in the trash.
Suddenly I realized that bread samples were being swiped like hot cakes from the basket at Buon Italia. Just as I ran for the bread basket, Nick Kroll from Best Week Ever, ABC's The Caveman and Reno 911, was going for the last piece of bread. Think fast. I distracted him with my camera, snapped this photo and while his eyes were still adjusting from the flash, I wrestled the bread from his jaws doused it in extra virgin olive oil and swallowed the evidence before he knew what hit him. I'd like to publicly apologize to Nick now for being such a psycho.
Minimalist New York artist, Brice Marden, was also sighted at CM having lunch with his wife. More Chelsea Market reports in a bit. Gotta go hunt down a snack.