Bon Appétit’s Alex Delany Wants A New Record Player And Really Needs Baristas to Learn How to Make A CortadoCool it on the foamed milk. Published: August 12, 2019
Alex Delany can eat. As associate web editor at Bon Appétit, he hosts the magazine’s web series Alex Eats It All. Which, as its name suggests, showcases Delany traveling across the country gorging all day—and we mean all day—on some of America’s favorite regional delicacies, from Philly Cheesesteaks to Chicago-Style Hot Dogs. But the man contains multitudes! He can cook (check out his Rent Week recipes), has a decent jumpshot (more on that later), and knows more about booze than most bartenders. We talked with Delany about what he wants and needs in his life.
Wants: A new record player, amp, and speakers
You know that one tab that’s been open on your laptop for about three to four months? Yeah, the one that inspires a little sigh and a whispered, One day, bud... one day. That tab on my laptop is a whole new record player and stereo setup. My dad’s old Kenwood from the 80s has served me well, but the volume knob is falling off. Quite frankly, I’m over this shit. Give me a McIntosh C2600 and an Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB and a set of vintage BBC LS3/5A’s. One day, bud... one day.
Needs: A better system for storing records
Apparently storing records in piles on the floor is not convenient or safe, for the records—or for your friends. The last person I invited into my room tripped over a pile of LPs, and although the Maxine Brown record sitting on top of the pile was unharmed, she got a pretty gnarly bruise on her shin. I’d like guests to walk through my room unharmed by vinyl. Maybe just some milk crates—until I find a storage system that’s as attractive as it is affordable.
Wants: A cortado
I always want a cortado. Even when caffeine has a deathgrip on the puppet strings connected to my shaking, coffee-stained hands, I could go for another one. I spend a lot of time on Saturday and Sunday mornings exploring New York City’s coffee shops, usually by myself—and my brain has learned to associate a cortado with mental decompression. There’s something ritualistic about showing up to a coffee shop, drinking a cortado, reveling in the balance of espresso and warm milk. And not speaking a word to anyone. The lack of societal commitment makes me feel like I can breathe. To me, that coffee is happiness.
Needs: Baristas to learn what a cortado is
I’m usually not a complainer. I don’t like complainers. And I don’t want to be one. I try to live my life with a “Shut up and deal with the shit that’s been handed to you” mentality. But when it comes to coffee shops disgracing cortados, I must speak up. The truth matters.
Please, do not serve a cortado in a cappuccino cup, with a bunch of empty space at the top. Do not pour foamed milk into a cortado. And do not serve a cappuccino and call it a cortado! A cortado is approximately four ounces of liquid: half espresso, half steamed milk (with no foam). It is a sacred ratio that must be respected. For the sake of coffee. But mainly for the sake of my mental health.
Wants: Restaurants to pay me to make their playlists
Realizing that a restaurant has thrown on a Pandora radio station or is looping the same short playlist absolutely infuriates me. Anyone can press play on Tame Impala Pandora and have a mediocre blend of semi-interesting tunes. Literally anyone can do that. I wish restaurants would take more care in the music they choose to play. The last time I was in Café Altro Paradiso, I was just as delighted to ask the waiter about the deep cuts coming from the speakers as I was to eat the fennel salad. I didn’t make that playlist, but I’d love to help other restaurants get to that level.
Every restaurant should be giving its patrons music with as much thought and energy as the food. Make new playlists frequently. Make them available to diners—put a link to your Spotify playlists on the check. I want to help restaurants do that.
Needs: More money
Please, restaurants: pay me to make your playlists. I need to pay off my credit card.
Wants: More amaro, please
I’ve been drinking a lot of amaro lately. I should be ordering frozen margaritas or spritzes at the bar during the summer months, but instead, I’m asking for whatever amaro the bartender happens to have. I’m basically an old Italian guy at the end of the bar with a bitter glass of amaro in a rocks glass. With a single cube.
The blends of regional herbs, spices, fruits, and whatever the hell else these distillers choose to soak in a base spirit gives an amazing expression of terroir that you don’t find in any other type of booze. (Yes, I said what I meant, wine snobs.) It’s beautiful. Seriously, beautiful. I get emotional about this shit.
Needs: A bottle fridge
Not for mustard. Or leftover Chinese food. Or greens that I’ll buy at the market and forget about. This is a fridge for bottles of alcohol, like all that amaro (which you should refrigerate after opening!) I have hanging around.
Right now, I have about 60 bottles of wine, beer, and cider sitting in my “cellar.” My “cellar” is not actually a cellar. It’s a small cubby, tucked into a nook at the top of the stairs to my bedroom. And it gets pretty toasty in there, which kind of makes it the opposite of a fridge. So yeah, I need a space that’s approximately 54 degrees fahrenheit to store my bottles.
Wants: True Detective Season Three to be good
DO YOU REMEMBER TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON ONE? Do you remember how it made you feel? Do you remember the jaw-dropping beauty of the gruesome, damp bayou? The cinematography! The hallucinations! The carefully-paced, supremely intelligent plot line. And how could we ever forget the absolute absurdity of the online conspiracy theories Season One inspired?
And then do you remember season two? I still feel betrayed. I still think about it every day. I mean, I’m choosing to talk about it right now, in an article where I could choose to talk about literally anything I want! Obviously this weighs on my soul. I just really want this new season to be a return to form. I want this show to be something that excites me again, something that makes me view television as a righteous art form. Please, Nic Pizzolatto and Mahershala Ali, give this to me.
Needs: A new knee
This has nothing to do with Matthew McConaughey or Woody Harrelson, at least not to my knowledge, but I really need a right knee that functions at 100% capacity. If you have an extra one, please, give it to me.
I got pretty serious knee surgery two years ago. I won’t go into specifics, but it involved regrowing my cartilage cells in a lab and then re-implanting them onto my leg bones. I’m part cyborg now. It was intense. But the procedure left me unable to really compete in sports, which is something that has always given me immense joy. Now, when I play basketball, I can only go at about 60 percent, for the sake of my knee. It bums me out. So if you happen to be at a park on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and see a tall, sweaty redhead working on his handles and mid-range jumper all by his lonesome, that’s me. Come over and say hello. We can talk about True Detective.