Joe Blogs (and Jogs)

Lest you be confused, this is not the Tarry Lodge restaurant feed—but EATER has been swept along with the excitement.  Plus, we kinda can’t help it.  Have you noticed that Joe Bastianich is everywhere?  We can’t get away from the guy, and we’ve tried.  He’s a slightly gravitas-laden Jack in the Box when we drop by Tarry Lodge; then he’s on the Today Show, talking about hosting cheap wine tasting parties as we groggily sip our coffee. (All we thought was, as if this guy drinks cheap wine.  Still, we loved the moment before the cut to commercial: a shot of Joe trying to look busy digging chunks out of a wheel of Parmigiano, then looking to someone on the sidelines, pulling a “WTF am I doing this for?” mug.)  Then, of course, there’s the Times sports piece, forwarded to me by absolutely everyone I know.  Thanks, guys.

The Times piece describes Bastianich’s training for the NY Marathon, and the grim path that lead him to trot around the winding lanes of Greenwich in Lycra (documented by some slightly embarrassing footage on the Times link.)  Apparently, and this is by report, a life surrounded by the best food and wine in the world has its drawbacks.  For Bastianich, sleep apnea was the result of epic late-night indulgence and excess weight. While we might be locked in denial about our own peri-forty-ish crisis, we always thought he looked fine a bit heavier.  Kinda like this Caravaggio painting, appropriately of a heavy-lidded, louche looking Bacchus. Looks like a fun guy to us.  But faced with the prospect of sleeping with a CPAP mask blowing air up his nose every night, Bastianich chose the unthinkable—he embraced a life of moderation.  The thought makes us shudder as we tuck into our pâté mousse truffée.

Forty five pounds lighter, and, frankly, a little gaunt in person, Bastianich finished the marathon last Sunday.  (His times and running partners were all reported in that other EATER blog, the one started –annoyingly—two weeks after this one.).  According to Tarry Lodge partner Nancy Selzer, Bastianich’s mantra throughout his long training was, “all I want is a bottle of wine.”  We noticed him looking a little abstemious lately, at the Tarry Lodge press event and at a family dinner there.  We can only imagine Bastianich’s Tantalus-like tortures: to be surrounded by the finest wines available to humanity, and then prevented from drinking by a nutty, but quite publicly stated, notion to run the marathon.  I wonder how many times he thought, ‘Oh, to hell with it’, when faced with a particularly luscious bottle? The most intriguing nugget of the Times article comes from Lidia Bastianich, observing that Joe, ‘“fell into the pressures of decadence…It’s a potent current, a beautiful, enriching current.”’  All we can say is, we’d like to be swimming in that stream.  And if Joe’s out, maybe we can step in?

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The question that’s killing me is the carb-load.  Runners traditionally carb-load on the night before the marathon, ingesting tons of energy-rich starches to get them to the finish line.  Can you imagine the Bastianich carb-load? The pizza.  The pasta.  The polenta.  The mind boggles.  Then there’s the celebratory bottle — or magnum, jeroboam or nebuchadnezzar — after the race is done.  I can’t stop thinking about it.

As if the Today Show and the Times article and video weren’t bad enough (on top of all the Tarry Lodge excitement we’re dealing with) we were accosted by a new Joe-ism.  In researching a totally unrelated wine piece, we wandered onto his Bastianich Winery blog, The Buzz.  And guess what?  It’s really interesting and informative—pretty much addictive.  I had to bookmark it.  Ugh.

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