Consumed: What the Harbord Room’s Cory Vitiello ate last week
We're asking the city's top chefs to document everything they eat and drink over the course of one week. First up: chef Cory Vitiello of the Harbord Room and Flock
This morning I got up and made myself and my dogs Bob’s steel-cut oatmeal and scrambled eggs. Yeah, we shared breakfast—I ran out of dog food, I’m not gonna lie to you, but they enjoyed it! Both of my dogs are rescues: I’m not sure what Bogie is, but I think he’s a lab mixed with a little shepherd; and Guy is a mini-beagle. Then I had half of a green juice from Fresh called the Super Cleanse; it’s made with kale, spinach, parsley, celery, apple, lemon and grapefruit. I order it from UberEats quite a bit, maybe three times a week.
It was a cleaning day at the Harbord Room, so I ordered pizza for everybody from Gigi’s around the corner from us—straight cheese, and cheese and pepperoni. I probably put away at least two slices of each for my lunch.
Dinner was a bit of a mash-up. We’re introducing a few items, so I was picking at one new dish—a house-made squid-ink orecchiette with poached lobster in a green chili and almond pesto—so that was part of my dinner. Oh, I also had some french fries and a kale salad. Dinner for me is basically anything I can pick at from the restaurant.
8 p.m.: The Harbord Room’s squid-ink orecchiette.
Back at home on the couch, watching the Golden State versus Spurs games, I crushed about six red Twizzlers—always red—and some tequila on the rocks.
I woke up and had the other half of that green juice and a couple of hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. For lunch, I had stir-fried beef noodles with Chinese broccoli from the Magic Noodle that just opened up beside us on Harbord. I can’t remember the exact dish though, because my sous-chef got it for me. It’s interesting there; they make all their own noodles in-house right in front of you—the old-school spin-and-stretch way.
Later in the day I had two Diet Cokes, which is not very good. I have an aspartame and sugar addiction—I’m not even kidding—but only in the form of Diet Coke. I just really enjoy the taste of it! I don’t drink any other soda; it makes me cringe. Just Diet Coke, and only in a can—the bottles won’t do it; it’s gotta be straight from a fresh, cold can. I am cutting back though. I used to drink like four a day. Then I did a wine sampling for Flock with B&W Wines, so I sipped about 10 different kinds but only consumed a total of one glass.
In the evening we had a Flock meeting at the new Harbord Street location with four of the other owners. I had Harbord Room food brought over: the squid ink orecchiette with poached lobster again, the roast chicken with the creamy grits, the braised collards, and the winter root and octopus salads. Then we tested four more wines from the Flock menu, so there’s been a lot of that going on this week! We’re going for a pretty accessible wine list, but I did try a very good sauvignon blanc from Lillypilly Estates, which for the price point [$14.50 per bottle] was pretty exceptional. That night I stayed at home to write new recipes for Flock and watch another basketball game, so I had two more Twizzlers and a couple of See’s chocolate truffles—I have a box of them kicking around my freezer.
This morning I made a pretty plain smoothie with my Vitamix—we have six of those things between all the restaurants. Just banana with a bit of vanilla, protein powder, some blueberries and almond milk. So that, with a Nespresso coffee—two of them, actually–was my breakfast. Then, around midday, I had a gluten-free bagel with cream cheese from Almond Butterfly—it’s a gluten-free bakery right across the street from the Harbord Room; it’s very good.
7:30 a.m.: Two Nespresso coffees at home
A bit later I went home to walk the dogs, so I made myself another Nespresso and a salad—just a basic chopped salad made with vegetables we had in the fridge, and an olive oil and lemon dressing—plus some veggies dipped in hummus.
I didn’t have anything until after work at around 10:30 p.m. My brother was in town, so I stopped by Pizzeria Libretto and picked up two pizzas—the ‘nduja sausage and the margherita with buffalo mozzarella—and two salads, the mushroom and farro, and the arugula and pear. I didn’t have any Diet Cokes today, which is good for me. After admitting that I was drinking up to four a day, I was a bit disgusted with myself.
Today I skipped breakfast—all I had was coconut water. I actually didn’t eat anything until about 1 p.m. To tell you the truth, I didn’t each much all day. I was doing a lot of construction at the Harbord Flock—painting, gutting, cleaning, all that good stuff. I picked at about five meals from people around me—other kitchen staff, that is. I was testing a recipe for a vegan coconut, spiced squash and lentil soup for the new menu, so I had a couple of bowls of that, each with different seasonings until we got it right. So, that’s all I consumed by 3 p.m.: coconut water and soup.
2:30 p.m.: Visit to Cheese Boutique
Later in the afternoon, I made a run to the Cheese Boutique to do a cheese tasting and pick up some products for a catering job I’m doing next month. While I was there, I came across some truffles from Brandon Olsen’s Chocolates X Brandon line. I had a little espresso and got to hang out with Afrim [Pristine] for an hour, and then headed back to work.
3:00 p.m.: Chocolates X Brandon at Cheese Boutique
Around 10 p.m., I went to Pho Hung on Spadina at Dundas with my friend Zane Aburaneh, who owns the accessories store Zane. We got some spring rolls to share, and I ordered the standard number two: beef with rice noodles, Sriracha, thai basil and sprouts. Oh, and I had some tea and a beer, too—I can’t remember what kind, but I’m pretty sure it was a Tsing Tao.
10 p.m.: Pho Hung’s beef pho and spring rolls
At home, I took out some of the cheese I picked up earlier—a gouda-style one called Old Amsterdam—and paired it with some prosciutto for a little midnight snack.
I started the day with another light smoothie—the same one I made on Wednesday. Then I went down to Flock on Adelaide to get that started, and while I was there I ate a couple of chicken backs. When you cut a rotisserie chicken in half with scissors, you have to take the lower back out—basically where the butt is—to avoid any splintering. Most people think it’s a byproduct, but it’s by far the best part of the chicken. That’s my filthy pleasure—I think I ate three of them.
Then I went back to the Harbord Flock for a staff orientation day. We had about 20 staff in to taste everything on the menu. The Harbord location has a much bigger menu than the Adelaide one, so we had a great big spread and tried a bit of everything. I had a little bit of chicken, and the vegan coconut spiced squash and lentil soup again. And I had one Diet Coke today—but I drank a lot of water, and I didn’t have any coffee.
2:30 p.m.: Flock’s rotisserie chicken.
I worked at the restaurant until about 9:30 p.m., so I ate nothing until then—except for sticking my finger in food to taste, and the usual nibbling. Then I went to Bestellen to see Rob Rossi and square up our staff party bill. I had lent him my pasta extruder, so I tried his spaghetti alla chittara with squid, chili and bottarga, and that was my dinner. After that, around 11:30, I went over to Marben to the new cocktail bar there, the Cloak. It’s really nice. I had some grapefruit cocktail, I can’t remember the name of it, but I think it was called the Pamplemousse…or something like that. [Editor’s note: it is indeed called the Pamplemousse and it’s gin-based.]
Today involved a whole lot of work and not a lot of eating. I had a a coffee and a little chia seed pudding that I made for breakfast. It’s just a basic chia seed pudding that I make with yogurt, almond milk, a little bit of maple syrup, coconut flakes and some dried fruit. I don’t think I ate anything else until, like, 3 p.m., at which point I took a break from construction at Flock, popped over to the Harbord Room and whipped together a sandwich—some sourdough, prosciutto, cheese and a little bit of arugula.
For dinner I just had a big bowl of chicken and roasted vegetable soup from Flock. Oh, and I took down a can of sour cream and onion Pringles.
On my way to work I had a coffee and a pastry from Harbord Bakery, and during the day I went to Sud Forno—it’s one of my go-tos. I had another espresso, a chicory salad and slice of pizza. For dinner I had a Flock salad—my diet is very repetitive.