Roast Chicken & Vegetables with Erica

Garlic breath is a good thing...

Name: Erica Suzanne Steiner

Hometown: Sherborn, Massachusetts; Home of Farm Pond and C&L Frosty’s

Current Location: Park Slope, Brooklyn

Day Job: Masters in Sociology; Pretty Lady (hostess) at Peels;

Daily Uniform: I get to dress up, so I absolutely do. I’ve been collecting clothes, especially vintage, for about 10 years; so, thanks to my mother allowing me to store most of it at home in the attic, I have a large and varied repertoire. I’m also, apparently, an amateur hoarder. Right now I’m extremely into sheer blouses, knit skirts and printed Wolford stockings.

I have a few: Too many hats that I never wear.

In the kitchen, I swear by: Sriracha. I put it in everything. When I’m cooking with other people the thing I’m most likely to say is, “You know what this could use? Sriracha!” and then they role their eyes and wish they were hanging out with someone else.

The taste I couldn’t live without: Garlic. I actually like the smell of garlic breath, which is sick? I don’t know, you tell me.

My go-to after-work cocktail: Champagne and St. Germain. I keep bottles at home and a good trick to keeping Champagne from going flat is tin foil on the top, that way, when drinking alone, you can do it multiple nights in a row. When Joni Mitchell is playing I’m just drinking bourbon on the rocks, though.

My mother taught me: That like that ships that sail to sea, I push my spoon away from me.

Most incredible dinner out: Steamed lobsters from Robinson’s Wharf in Booth Bay Harbor, ME with a very specific group of people. The lobsters are fresh out of the Atlantic; you wait in a line to order, then you go up to the steamed food window and you pick up your lobster and corn, and then you sit and drink and scream with laughter until everyone in Robinson’s hates you.

If I could cook for anyone: I’d cook for Joan Didion, because, first of all, homegirl needs to eat something. I’ve also been obsessed with her essay “Goodbye to All That,” and I’m pretty sure she has the answers to all of my unanswerable questions. I think I’d cook her “sushi for twenty, steamed clams, vegetable vindaloo and many rum drinks with gardenias for our hair.”

I’m dying to go to: Everyone’s wedding. I love weddings, especially if they are crazy shit-shows. I think that makes them better. For the most part, though, people want to be their best at weddings.

My five-minute meal: A baguette and anything I can find in the kitchen. When I’m not going crazy cooking, I’m extremely lazy.

Top five meals:

1. Roasted Suckling Pig prepared by Erich Roggenbuck

2. Tofu Salad at Bozu in Williamsburg

3. The Rack of Lamb at Gentleman Farmer in the LES

4. #8 Pho at Pho Bang on Mott Street

5. Of course the Fried Chicken Sandwich from Peels in NYC

My motto: I wish I could make some grand Auntie Mame-esque statement that encourages people to go and become visual artists in Indonesia, but, honestly, my motto is “It is what it is,” which comes from the same part of me that would make it impossible for me to live in LA.

Photography by Lianna Tarantin