let me entertain you

In ALL, ENTERTAINING by Stephanie Klein42 Comments

“The guy built everything in here except for the chairs and the barstools.”  “The guy” was the previous owner.  “In here” is Woody McHale’s, a cozy neighborhood bar on W 14th Street.  “He did the tile floors, the pine wood-paneling, all of it.  Then a week later, his wife left him, and he died of a heart attack.  So, we bought this place.”  “We” is Douglas Sokoloff and Steven Molinari, also partners in Frank’s Restaurant and butcher shop.

I’m sitting at Woody McHales, drinking an unoaked Chardonnay with Douglas.  I met him through the blog when I posted about hamburgers.  Via email, he insisted I try his.  A friendship formed along with an insane affinity for his entire menu.  Mac & cheese, ridiculously outstanding Philly cheese steaks, a spectacular (and large) burger, and damn it, key lime pie martinis to make the girls happy—though I think they should rim the glasses with graham cracker crumbs instead of sugar.  Hand-cut waffle fries, only slightly thicker than potato chips.  Oh, and fried twinkies with fresh hot chocolate sauce for the dunking.  I digress.  So I’m here with Doug, The Suitor, and two of his male friends.  I’d like to call them my friends too, so I start in.  “I’m having an Oscar party, but Phil said his friends would want no part in that.”

Okay, I admit Oscar parties fall on the girl side of things, but there will be lots of alcohol and really good food.  It’s an excuse to get together for lasagna with béchamel, smoked salmon stacks on homemade dill waffles with crème fraise, and flutes of champagne.  Or scotch.  Or something brown and manly.  I’ll make sausages with hot mustard. Baby back ribs for days.  I will.  And there will be a pool worth lots of money, so you’ll want to watch the sound category.  Really, you will! “Nah, I’m tellin’ you, my friends want no part of that.”  My eyebrows pinch together.  “What I mean is, your friends would appreciate that kind of thing much more than mine would.”

“I think you’re selling your friends short.”

“Sure, Jen and I would love to come,” his friend responds on the spot.  “Why not?”  Exactly.  Why not?  I come to learn exactly why not.  Because I even tried to offer our place up for a super bowl party, extending the promise of more man food.  The thing is, I love to cook for people who love to eat.  To plan menus.  To entertain.  Apparently guys are cool going to an apartment for the super bowl if it’s the apartment of another guy, not of a couple.  When a girl is there, something just isn’t the same.  Unless, I learned, it’s a bunch of single horny hot chicks.  That’s the exception, even if all the guys are in relationships.  Oh well.  Looks like I’m having an Oscar party; I’ll let you know how it turns out, and who shows up.


  1. Hi Stephanie – I wanted to post on your earlier one about how you weigh 136lbs….as a tall girl, I can vouch that that is NOTHING, and I can't believe you would think it is. You look so healthy, and I'm sure it is all in your mind. But, I am really curious to know how tall you are. Because the only friends of mine who would care about weighing 136 would have to be like 5'3" or less. Just curious! Oh, and the Oscar party sounds like fun!

  2. I love entertaining too, but I can't throw an Oscar party. Award show nights are my time to wallow in the jammies, eat the bad food and really pay attention. I can't be surrounded by people who don't care about the sound category. Cause I do care. Even if I'm not in a pool.

    It's nice to see you embrace your love of food and cooking after the last post. That's the way the battle goes…it's a love/hate relationship, ain't it.

  3. The number is scary for me, but it's less to do with the number and more to do with my clothes not fitting. I feel my best at 120-125 lbs., at 5'5". They say 5 lbs for every inch over 5 feet is a general rule. I'm not a stickler for the numbers, but when your clothes get tight, and you see the number creep up, it just feels scary.

  4. i totally understand about the weight, the numbers, the clothes, the battles, internally and externally, and the feeling of hopelessness, disgust and frustration. for those of us who aren't drastically overweight, it's hard to get people to understand that it's still a struggle everyday to maintain and it's devastating to see the number creep up or feel that litle bulge over the top of those jeans.

    as for the oscar party. sounds divine. i want to entertain also. i am cooking tonight for a friend, and will vow to do it more often.

  5. Do you really weigh 136? You look my height, 5'8" and honestly about my size (although it's hard to tell from pictures) yet I weigh a lot more. it's weird how weight works….

    I find my only cure for feeling gross about my body is to go and have a really long workout. It's obnoxious but true.

  6. I know you didn't want people to post about the weight entry, but I have to. I am a huge fan of yours and I love that you share your high and low moments with complete strangers to the point where we feel like we are actually your friends. I really feel like in that last post you just went from 'personal journal' writing to 'evil corporate beauty magazine' writing territory. I know you feel that 136 is a high number for you, and your blog is all about brutal honesty (which I love), but I think you just made a bunch of people out in middle america feel like fat schmucks compared to you when you posted your actual weight. It reminded me of reading "The Devil Wears Prada" when the main character complained about being fat when she was like 5'9" and 120 lbs. Now instead of being the friend whose journal we are lucky enough to read you kind of turned into another celebrity we have to compare ourselves to, and we have an actual number to judge ourselves by. You are not fat, trust me, your pictures look fabulous. That one of you and Phil was beautiful. I think every girl in Manhattan just thinks they are fat because they have to face unnaturally beautiful and scarily skinny hostesses/bartenders/models/actresses everywhere we look. You are naturally beautiful inside and out which is a rare quality in NYC and in mass media today.

  7. Yes, the super bowl party is another matter completely. One friend whined that he has waited so long for the Steelers to "make it," and that he was worried the women at our party might get in the way. I sent him the following:

    There was an old man who
    lived in a shoe.
    His Steelers made it to the Super Bowl – now what's he going to do?
    Will he watch it at Teri's?
    Or stay home with the cat?
    Because the women-folk might distract him.
    And goodness gracious, we just can't have that!

    He's coming, bringing chili, and those who are not serious about the game (mostly women) will not watch the game on the Hi Def, but drink vodka out on my deck. Works for me.

    Have fun.

  8. "When a girl is there, something just isn’t the same. Unless, I learned, it’s a bunch of single horny hot chicks. That’s the exception, even if all the guys are in relationships."

    Yeah, relationship or not, you pretty much want to bang them, too.

  9. Shit! If you are correct, then that makes me 15 pounds overweight and I was hardly thinking about it, and after reading this entry I just want to eat twinkies and ribs and drink champagne. Thanks. :) PS–I just saw you a few months ago at that Barnard thing and you looked amazing. Sigh…we women are never satisfied.

  10. hey Stephanie,

    speaking of accountability, i've lost 8 lbs (and more importantly, gotten back into an exercise routine) using this free site called peertrainer:


    it's where you join a group of people (anonymously) and keep each other honest about food choices/portion sizes/exercising…really, whatever your goals are. my group is called "foodie soul ISO hottie body" but there's tons of them.

    like you, i love love food (am starting culinary school in the summer) and the pounds have just crept their way onto my 5'5" frame. i refuse to diet, i just need to not eat so damn much. :) anyway, the site works for me, because i love writing about what i eat, so i'm happy to post it for the world to see.

    I'd also like to end up at 125 again, but I am 16 long lbs away!

    :) take it easy,

  11. I have THE most amazing recipe for Macaroni & Cheese – it's a recipe my mom came up with and i always ask that she make it – it's just that good. Not good for you – but goooooood.

    Sometimes you just need goooooood.

    I had an Oscar party a few years ago – great success – but you can just tell the boys aren't into it. Kind of like Superbowl parties for girls :)

  12. Okay, so the thing is, some days I simply don't give a shit what I weigh. I've certainly weighed a whole lot more, and I've weighed much less. The last thing I ever want to do is make anyone else feel ashamed or unsatisfied with themselves. It was an entry in my journal. Confidence and health are what's important at the end of the day. I have good ones and bads ones no matter what I weigh, as I'm sure is the same for everyone else out there… though their good days and bad days might have little to do with weight. That's my issue.

  13. Steph-

    I'm truly sorry for your loss but happy for your engagement.

    For this post however, please don't let those commenters make you feel that you owe them an explanation for your feelings. This blog is about you and those people read this blog because they are interested in YOUR life and you're entitled to write it as you experience it. They're probably being judgmental of you and your weight issue because that's one of the things they hate most about themselves. One thing I learned is that what bothers us most in other people is what we hate most about ourselves. Unfortunately we all do it at some point, unless perhaps someone has completely forgiven themself (wrong pronoun, I think) for all their flaws, but that seems highly unlikely. Even when we think we've forgiven ourselves, there we go again judging somebody else…. Point is, don't take their comments too much to heart. They're not perfect and we don't expect you to be either.

  14. Since I can't post on the weight post…I will here.

    I guess you did not trust us to be objective ;-)
    Good luck finding your balance! Weight that makes us feel uncomfortable with our "person", no matter what the number – is hard to deal with. Whatever you do, make it fun – and remember how beautiful we all think you are k!!


  15. I love love love Oscar parties. My friends and I always do an elaborate spread for our party, too. With the pre-show, the red carpet, and the ceremonies, it ends up being a whole day of cooking, drinking, and socializing. Hope yours is fun, too.

    And now, I just can't help myself:
    "136 lbs. That’s not even funny. I’m ashamed. I feel like a failure."

    I love your blog, but I am so disappointed that you wrote these words here. It makes me feel sad to know that your weight makes you feel ashamed and like a failure. But it makes me even more sad that your post possibly, in at least a small way, made other people feel ashamed and like a failure because of their weight as well. 136 is right smack in the middle of the healthy weight range for someone who is 5'5". Eat your veggies, get some exercise, and relax.

    /gets down off soapbox now.

  16. I fly into LA a couple of days before the Oscars and fly to NYC the next day. My friend and I are planning an In-N-Out feast while waving a little Australian cocktail flag, cheering for Heath Ledger.

    But I would give up a Double Double for your menu indeed!

  17. Not a dig either but FYI, I googled it and "creme fraise" is also correct…yum!

  18. sounds like you throw a great dinner party. keep writing what you want, who cares if people complain that you care about your weight too much. everyone has their neuroses and issues. you shouldn't apologize for your honesty.

  19. I'm quite surprised that in one comment someone can praise your honesty and open-ness when it comes to writing then blast you for writing your weight and how shamed you are by it.

    Kinda hypocritical people, you can't demand honesty and then critique it.

  20. How's a girl suppose to focus on lemon water and miso soup when you're posting about mac & cheese? I'd kill for some good old fashioned grandma's soulicious mac & cheese right now. I'd kill twice.

  21. Look, to say "It was an entry in my journal" does not cut it. You write for an audience, as much as you might deny it. The weight entry would have been just as effective without mentioning the number.

  22. Speaking of Oscar-parties: i'd love to host them but here in Germany it will be like 2 A.M. when the pre-show starts. Last year I took a day off in order to watch the award show but usually I have to tape it.

  23. Superbowl? I get together with girlfriends (and a few guys for eye candy during those long commercials) and watch the game. We argue plays and make predictions about the next down.

    Women not liking/understanding football is a bit archaic, doncha think? Sheesh!

  24. Stephanie,
    I give a big Kudos and an AMEN to Lucy and Christa! Don't let others censor your feelings. You aren't here to be a "role model" – although you may be an inspiration. What woman doesn't look in the mirror and wish something was different or better? PLEASE! You just have the courage to bare yourself honestly! That is beautiful and that is what makes you an inspiration! "love me – flaws and all" – if only we could all be so honest with ourselves and with others.

    PS- PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share your final Oscar Party menu/spread with us!!

  25. Blume,

    Respectfully, you couldn't be more wrong. Stephanie DOESN'T write for an audience and that is what is so strong about her blog. She writes for herself as if no one but her is reading. The moment she starts to edit herself because you would like to hear something, it becomes "programming". No one wants that as i'm sure neither does she.

  26. When I was younger, I was like all women: I could never be skinny enough. I remember being 118 lbs. and starving myself to get to 115. Now I am 50 years old and I have metastatic breast to bone cancer. I eat anything I want because I know at some point in the not too distant future, I'm going to be lying in a bed hooked up to pipes, looking like a skeleton, unable to eat anything at all. I look at my big fat ass and my one saggy tit when I get out of the shower in the morning and I laugh. I'm happy to be alive. I love myself so much more than I did when I was younger. . .

    Eat. Enjoy. You're beautiful.

  27. Wow Stephanie…your blog is basically entries in your journal, correct? Are you supposed to make it up – like fiction – just to please your "audience?" We all know how that turned out. Just ask Oprah.

    Please continue to write what you want, how you feel – from the heart. That's what makes your site such a compelling read.

  28. Tina, you're wrong. I don't believe that Stephanie writes ONLY for herself, as if nobody but her is reading. In the past, she has (to my horror) asked her readers to "suggest topics" for her to write about. Unless the post has been deleted, it's around here somewhere. When a musician is on stage taking requests from the audience, I don't buy that he's up there playing "like nobody's in the room" when he plays the requested songs. You can't ask the audience for ideas and then pretend they don't exist.

    These may be writing exercises, but they're not really journal entries. When I write in my journal (which IS just for me) I don't ask my friends for ideas.

    And FYI Tina, putting "respectfully" before a disrespectful comment doesn't make it any less disrespectful. Take for instance political debates: when one candidate starts off "with the greatest of respect to my opponent…" you can bet he's about to say something completely disrespectful. Let's not waste time pretending not to offend. No offense.

  29. Maybe you've missed it, LB. I do write for myself on here, and the minute I begin to worry how people will react is the minute I stop writing it. I ask for suggestions because maybe someone has an interesting idea or question that will spark my writing on days where I don't have much going on. What I write is still for me, and while it's a wonderful blessing to know people care what I have to say, it's still, at the end of the day, something I'm doing for myself, to express myself. I'm not doing it for any other reason. Some days, I do address the reader, others I don't. Who cares!?

  30. I didn't suggest this wasn't "all for you" and "all about me". That's very clear. But asking the reader "what would you like to hear about?" and posting what products you like to use in your hair don't really fit the bill of "writing for myself". I'm not talking about whether you address the reader or not, I'm talking about whether, as Tina insists, you write as if nobody is reading but you. Those are two totally different things.

    And why do you keep insisting "the minute I begin to worry how people will react is the minute I stop writing"? You've written more than once about struggling with how some entries affect the people in your life and have deleted at least one for that reason. The statement doesn't ring true.

    Maybe that's my mistake. I expect too much. Some of your readers are desperate for your oscar party recipes, and I'm looking for something to "ring true". You've likened these blog entries to "clearing your throat". Shame on me for not actually expecting phlegm.

  31. I wonder why Stephanie would even engage LB in a discussion. i mean, LB has taken to writing a dissertation on blogs and how Stephanie Klein in her 1,162 posts has on a few occassions written about the dinner menu she would love to create for a specific event. It is a blog. Get it? A blog. Stephanie Klein's words ring true because they are a part of her. her life. her feelings. there will always be concern over who will read and if they might feel hurt. My blog has about 5 people reading it and I feel that way! That struggle is part of what makes blog writing compelling.

    The phlegm from your throat clearing doesn't ring true, LB. It rings sour and hypercritical in a way blogs shouldn't be scrutinized. Read if you want. Move on if you don't. Unless you are paying for it, you have no rights. deal with it.

  32. The reason I enjoy reading Stephanie's comments is because she is NOT writing specifically to please her readers. I enjoy her unaffected stream-of-consciousness writing about her everyday experiences and whatever she happens to be thinking/feeling at the time. This kind of writing is what gives us a glimpse of the real Stephanie.

    If I felt Stephanie was choosing specific topics to appeal to her fans, she wouldn't me coming back every day to see what comes next. The blogs would have the same canned tone of a million other blogs out there. Steph, keep up the great work! I preordered your book and can't wait to read it.

  33. I've been a daily reader for several months, but have never commented before. Some of your posts I love and feel like were pulled out of my own head/heart (although much more beautifully expressed). Others, not so much, but who cares – noone likes everything everyone does, and if they say they do, they must want something.

    Anyway, I'm writing b/c I missed this entry when it was first posted, and just had to take issue with your comment to lb re: why you write your blog:
    "I'm doing for myself, to express myself. I'm not doing it for any other reason."

    It's my understanding that since you've started this blog, you've been able to quit your job to write full-time, you've gotten a lucrative book contract, are now selling all of your photos on line, and that there are even talks of a sitcom based on your experiences – sounds like more than just 'expressing yourself' to me – sounds like a brand!!!
    I'm sure when you first started the blog, that was your intention, and I'm sure that the explosion of international popularity was a bit of a shock. But it seems implausible to me that you continue to write this blog solely for the purpose of 'self-expression' when there are so many other incentives (ie. how many readers out there have pre-ordered your book or plan to purchase it?).
    Also, some of the more 'crowd-pleasing' posts (as indicated by lb), as well as some of your other posts (plot twists and suspense on a blog – well done!) indicate that as well as being a talented writer, you are also a talented business woman, who knows how to keep her readers coming back for more.

    It is your blog and you can write what you damn well please, but give your faithful readers some credit!!

    Congratulations to you on your success, and best wishes to you and yours. Please keep writing – I'll keep reading.


  34. Sarah,

    All good points except the reality seems quite different. I've been a reader for a while and I truly relate to so many of Stephanie's posts.

    All because she quit her job to write a book that she has said doesn't have anything to do with the blog doesn't link the two.

    Prior to the blog she has shown she did red carpet photography for which she got paid, her photos were in every room and corridor of the Gansevoort Hotel and for sale and she showed she still does charity photography none of those things have anything to do with the blog.

    The TV show is from what I understad based on a book(a memoir) which again has nothing to do with the blog.

    Bottom line is I think we all read too much into and analyze too much of what this is. being a pessimist is everyone's right. Figuring out how to show there is no reason to be is much harder.

  35. John,
    I think you may have missed my point – perhaps I didn't express it very clearly. I'm not saying that Stephanie's other projects are ABOUT the blog, or that her success in other areas (ie. photography) is due solely to the blog. I'm sure Stephanie was creative, ambitious, and successful long before we all discovered her.

    What I AM saying is that to me, it seems misleading to assert that the blog is STILL solely a tool for self-expression, rather than one that also self-promotes. Hence my book example. Whether or not the blog's success had anything at all to do with getting the book deal, there is no doubt in my mind that sales of Stephanie's book will be increased because of the popularity of her blog. Therefore, referencing her upcoming book, her photography for sale, and even her TV appearances, in postings on her blog is more than just self-expression. It is also self-promotion – people who read her blog for free will also buy the products she sells.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as I stated previously – you go girl!! But, I do think it's preferable to be up front about it. Her readers are smart enough to get it and still want to keep reading. And Stephanie is smart enough to be able to do both, and do them both well(whether or not she chooses to admit it to us).


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