Humorist Mo Rocca on Pale-Faced Vegans, Gay Thai Food, and Eating Eyeballs
Mo Rocca is a writer and humorist, a regular correspondent on the CBS Sunday Morning show, a panelist on NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and an Iron Chef America judge. He has appeared on Ugly Betty, The Tonight Show, VH1's I Love the 70s and I Love the 80s, The Countdown With Keith Olbermann, and he was a regular on the Daily Show until 2003.
Mo Rocca: Gentleman farmer, duck-lover, possessor of newly acquired abs-of-steel
Rocca lives and eats in Chelsea. We chatted with him about the gay-Thai connection, the best restaurants in his neighborhood, Iron Chef America, and his passionate love of red meat.
What are your favorite places in your neighborhood to eat?
I eat most of my meals across the street at Le Singe Vert. It means the Green Monkey. It's a simple French bistro. It's my Regal Beagle, and if the kids don't get that, it's my Peach Pit. If I'm alone, I sit down at the bar and Maya will make me a Sidecar, with sugar on the rim. If I have a couple of those I'll get a headache, because I'm a lightweight and I can't drink a lot of sugary drinks, but now that I'm on Prilosec I can drink wine. I used to have trouble with wine. So then Maya pours me a glass of red wine to have with my hanger steak, or my steak frites, or my duck. I love duck. There is nothing more tragic than a gamy duck. I have learned how to sniff it out--if it's gamy at all, I don't want it.
How do you like your duck prepared?
At Le Singe Vert, they do duck confit or just duck breast.
My love affair with duck has led me back to Thai food. I remember growing up in suburban Maryland in the mid-'80s, a Thai restaurant opened and it seemed very exotic, the way that my father said sushi was exotic in the '70s. Anyway, Thai food is inescapable now. Apparently Thai food is Chelsea's regional cuisine. Thai food is keeping the gay population of New York alive. If there were an all-gay soup kitchen in Chelsea, that's all they'd serve. Don't ask me why.
But in any case, I got sick of Thai. I liked Spice, that was my other go-to. But duck led me back to Spice and back to Thai food. Because why was I only eating pad Thai and drunken man noodles when I could have been eating crispy duck?
So wherever the duck paddles I will follow.