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Sabrina Brier Really Would Have Preferred the Pita

Sabrina Brier is the friend who doesn’t “emotionally identify” as an influencer, though she does admit that she loves American Bar. “Is it the most influencer thing about me?” she asks. “Yes.” That, and her 740,000 TikTok followers. But Brier is also an actress, comedian, “aspirational” early riser, and Parm truther who is wondering whether the “Rigatoni Carbone” used to be called something different.

Thursday, November 30
I was in Connecticut, where I was spending time with my family for the Thanksgiving break. I had told myself I’d go back to New York much earlier, but then, I ended up just staying and staying. I woke up at my sister’s house, where I spend a lot of my time helping with my 3-year-old nephew. I was rushing to go back to the city, so I ate one of his GoGo Squeez yogurts. I hid it from him as I ate it because if he saw me eating it, he would’ve gone, “That’s mine.”

Then, I did something I really rarely do: I Ubered back to my apartment from Connecticut. I was on a writing deadline and feeling stressed and chaotic. The compromise I made with myself was, “You can Uber back to New York instead of taking the Metro-North if you spend the entire car ride writing.” I don’t want to call myself a procrastinator, but I couldn’t get myself to concentrate. It was really difficult in Connecticut because when I’m there, I’m with my nephew, and he’s so cute, and all I want to do is be with him. I felt adrenaline and the motivation from spending money on an Uber back to New York. Like, you’re writing, girl. Naturally, I spent all day telling people about it and everyone was like, “It’s a business. It’s worth it.” I couldn’t be chill about it. I had to tell everyone my justification. “Look, here’s what it would’ve cost if I had taken Metro-North …”

As soon as I got back to New York, I had to get dressed and go to an event. I had one hour between the time I walked in the door and had to be downtown. I had to quickly eat something before the event, so I ordered from Bite Lafayette. Lafayette is their grab-and-go window, specifically. I admittedly did not grab and go. I got it delivered. I’m very same-aholic, so I got my favorite thing, a chicken schnitzel sandwich. The thing is, I love it on a pita, and I wrote in the note, “****PLEASE PUT IT ON A PITA****.” Once in a while, you do that, and they don’t put it on a pita. That happened. No hate to Bite Lafayette. Sometimes, you don’t get what you want. Sometimes, you get ciabatta. That was a really low point for me.

I threw on some makeup and a velvet jumpsuit. Any time, whether it be an influencer event, a comedy show, a podcast, or anything where I’m stepping out into the world with peers and their cameras, I really try to dress up. The reality is the days that I’m not doing an event or something like that, I’m home working on writing, my material, doing stuff for ads. I find that my life is very much one of two modes: Either I’m getting dressed up and talking to people, or I’m a homebody working on stuff, or I’m with my nephew at home.

I Ubered to Brookfield Place. The event was at the offices of a brand that I recently did an ad for. It was my first holiday-season event, very Christmas energy. We ate free, well-made salmon and collard greens. And I sat by the chocolate strawberries at the buffet and ate them one by one.

I went home, and I was still hungry. I’m a good girl. I take care of myself. I go to bed. I’m very big on eight hours of sleep. Everything I do is very planned out. But I did cook pasta at one in the morning. I don’t like to stay up late. I used to be a late girl, a night owl in college, staying up until 4 a.m. Now that I’m an adult, all I want to be is the girl who wakes up at 7 a.m. If I woke up at 7 a.m., I would spend the whole day telling people about how I woke up at 7 a.m.

If there’s one thing I could eat for the rest of my life, it’s going to simply be home-cooked pasta with olive oil and a lot of Parmesan cheese. The final ingredient is maybe controversial: nutritional yeast. During my first assistant job, I watched a documentary about veganism, and then I was a vegan for nine months when I first moved to New York. I made all of my friends go to vegan places. They were so not into Vegan Sabrina, and Vegan Sabrina was not it. But the one thing I really took from my vegan era was nutritional yeast. Especially if I don’t have enough Parmesan cheese — I need to have a pound of it on my pasta — I compensate with nutritional yeast.

Friday, December 1
I slept in. I had my Nespresso coffee. I am that girl who is like, “I neeeeeed my morning coffee,” and then I drink one sip and continue to microwave the same cup over and over again.

Soon after I woke up, one of my best friends from Smith College, Isabella, arrived at my door as I was still in my PJs. She was staying with me from L.A. We ordered Joe and the Juice. I got a power smoothie, a hot matcha, and a pesto turkey sandwich. Joe and the Juice has become a staple for me ever since I used to work as a production assistant in a writers’ room in Soho. I had to run there all the time to get food for everyone.

We rushed to the Union Square Regal Movie Theater because Isabella was in town premiering her short film. It’s a gorgeous little Italian film that she made with her grandma in Rome. I’ve seen it many times, but it was really exciting to see it on the big screen.

I left her while she stayed with people at the Dances With Films, and I ran back home to do some more work. I wrote and ordered from Karakatta: cabbage dumplings and chicken ramen — extra spicy because I love pain and misery — with mushrooms and a poached egg. I love a poached egg, but I have certainly never done it myself. If I was in Squid Game and my task was to poach an egg, I would die within five seconds. My reputation with friends and family is that of an inept cook, but I don’t think that’s totally fair. One time, I made my friend pasta, and by that, I mean just boiled pasta. She took a bite and said, “This is the best cooked pasta I’ve ever had.” It’s because I have a lot of experience.

Saturday, December 2
Isabella and I woke up and went to the iconic Court Street Grocers on LaGuardia Place. It’s a good place to take a friend in town. We both got the breakfast sandwich with arugula and egg. We ate them back at home. I worked on some other stuff during the day while Isabella went off on her own thing. My roommate Alice came home, and I had barely seen her. She’s a nurse, and she is also in school. Our schedules are very misaligned. It’s always exciting when we’re home at the same time, and luckily, she was available that night. Isabella came back, and we all got ready together for this interesting dinner.

I had to do a TikTok for a brand that was doing a collab with different restaurants in the city, including Cote, the Korean steakhouse. As a part of that, I got a budget of $500 to take my friends to dinner. So I invited six girlfriends, who all help me with my videos, to an expensive steakhouse as a big thank you for being a part of so many TikToks. But days before, I scoured the menu and realized, “How are we going to spend $500 at this restaurant?” Of course, if we went over, I would’ve covered it because the dinner was intended to be a bit of a holiday fun gift for my friends. My friend Lauren and I were bickering all week because she was like, “We’re staying under the budget.” And I was like, “No, we’re not. I’m going to pay for what’s above the budget.” She was like, “You’re being crazy. You’re not paying for all of us.” And I was like, “Yes, I am. It’s a thank you. Please learn how to take a gift.”

The funniest thing about all of it, though, was that it was at a steakhouse. Do I eat steak? No. Lauren and I got all vegetarian stuff, this amazing dol-sot bibimbap, and everyone else got steak. The drinks were really great, too. My friend Tina, one of the girls who was there, was also friends with the hostess. So she sent us this electrolyte shot. Literally the best-tasting shot I’ve ever had in my life. I, of course, hate shots, and I always plug my nose when I take them. But this tasted like a drink that you could have as a whole cocktail. We also got a delicious soft serve at the end. We only went over the teensiest bit over the budget.

Then we all walked over to Park Bar. At midnight or so, the other girls went home, and my friend Rachel and I went over to Pommes Frites, because I love to cosplay as an NYU student. I was devastated because my favorite sun-dried tomato aioli sauce was gone. I stared at the menu for five minutes. I have been there so many times over the year, and never in my life have I not seen it on the menu. But I persevered. We walked out of Pommes Frites, sat the French fries down on some elevated surface of some kind, and made a TikTok on MacDougal Street at 12:30. At that point, I said to Rachel, “Girl, come sleep on my couch, queen. what are you going to do, go home?” So, yes, I now had two guests in the house. My roommate and I have been friends since we were 4, so it’s very comfortable. We’re like Hotel Sabrina and Alice a little bit.

Sunday, December 3
I woke up exhausted and was supposed to get brunch with the Ladies Who Ranch. But then, Sophie Zucker was like, “I am experiencing COVID symptoms, maybe.” We immediately banded together and took that as a sign to cancel because it was one of those rainy-no-one-wants-to-leave-their-house-right-now moments. Instead, Rachel, Isabella, and I did nothing all day: sat on the couch, chatted about life, and ordered Veselka.

That night, Rachel left, and Isabella and I watched Theater Camp. I thought it was cute for two former theater friends to watch it. We got Indian from a place I hadn’t ordered from before. The two things in New York that I haven’t yet found for myself are my Mexican spot and my Indian spot. I wonder if they exist.

Monday, December 4
Trigger warning: I slept in. But that’s not the real me. Sometimes, we have to think of ourselves as who we are, aspirationally, and, aspirationally, I wake up at 7 a.m., so it’s really not fun for me to admit that I slept in basically all weekend, but I did. I ate a Noosa honey yogurt. Kind of soon after, I had a poetic lunch. I ordered the Bite Lafayette schnitzel again, and it came on a pita this time. Everything honestly really works out how it’s supposed to in the end.

At this point in Isabella staying with me, I’d convinced her to move to New York. We ordered Parm for dinner. I noticed a lot of menu changes. I know that Parm menu so well because I used to order it for the writers and staff when we would have big production meetings. One time, we had this enormous production meeting. I had to coordinate a Parm order for about 100 people. We ordered the “Rigatoni Carbone,” but I am certain it used to be called spicy rotini. Are they subtweeting Carbone? This rigatoni is very similar to the famous Carbone rigatoni. In my mind, Parm is trying to be like, “Guys, we kind of have it, too.” What’s going on there? Some Major Food Group marketing situation. They also didn’t have a Caesar salad like they used to, which was disappointing to me because, again, I used to always get the Caesar salad. We got an arugula salad instead and split a chicken-parm hero and the aforementioned “Rigatoni Carbone.”

For dessert, Isabella went out and got me a cookie. She’s so nice. I’m a big cookie girl. Big. I assumed they were Levain, but they were actually from Funny Face Bakery. They’re known for their little face cookies of Kim Kardashian or whoever, but they also have non-face cookies that are just chunky and are very much like Levain, which is across the street. They really are a contender.

More Grub Street Diets

  • Sabrina Brier Really Would Have Preferred the Pita
  • Eli Rallo Is Picky About Her Cheese Boards
  • Nation of Language’s Ian Devaney Is a Detroit-Pizza Convert

Zach Schiffman , 2023-12-08 11:00:31

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