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Michael White’s Costata to Open in SoHo This Friday

Michael White’s Costata to Open in SoHo This Friday

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Chef Michael White, the man behind acclaimed New York restaurants Marea, Osteria Morini, Ai Fiori, and Nicoletta, will be opening his fifth restaurant in New York City, called Costata, on Friday, May 17.

According to a release issued by the chef’s restaurant group, Altamarea, the restaurant will be located at 206 Spring St., near Sixth Avenue, and will be spread out over three floors of a townhouse. The lower two floors will seat 160 people, and the third will be used as a private dining room and can accommodate 60.

Costata is the Italian word for rib-eye, and as that might indicate, the focus here will be on meat. Prime offerings will include a 35-day aged bone-in New York strip, Colorado rack of lamb, and a 35-day aged tomahawk rib-eye. They’ll be available with a variety of sauces (including porcini sugo and cracked pepper pancetta cream) as well as compound butters (black truffle, puttanesca). Also on the menu will be plenty of shareable items like oysters, crudo, and Lobster Cocktail Amatriciana, with chilled lobster, horseradish, tomato, and guanciale. Pastas will be made fresh in-house (like at all of the group’s restaurants), and will include Garganelli alla Fiamma with prosciutto, peas, and truffle cream, and gnocchi with gorgonzola cream, sage, and crushed hazelnuts.

Cocktails will be designed by master mixologist Eben Freeman, and the wine list will have an Italian slant.

Altamarea’s next restaurant, The Butterfly, will be opening this year in Tribeca, and will focus on comfort foods like fried chicken, burgers, and French bread pizza, according to Grub Street.

Michael White’s Pasta Empire Loses Morini on the UES

Ristorante Morini, one of chef Michael White’s six Italian restaurants in New York City, will close next week. An email from the upscale Upper East Side Morini says that the building owner has plans to redevelop the property, making Friday, August 16 the restaurant’s last day.

White — most well-known for his fancy Central Park South Italian restaurant Marea — opened Morini in 2013, and the restaurant garnered two stars from Times critic Pete Wells, who said it was “turning out the most carefully prepared and well-considered food that the Altamarea Group has given New York since Ai Fiori opened in 2010.” Most of his praise was for then-executive chef Gordon Finn, who at last word departed for Quality Italian in 2016.

Since then, much has been quiet on the Morini front, though Upper East Siders have kept the restaurant full enough. They’ll still have Vaucluse to flock to, White’s sceney Upper East Side spot, or if they’re really in need of a Morini fix, there’s still the more casual downtown location in Soho.

Altamarea Group, White’s restaurant group, will have four remaining restaurants in NYC, Marea, Ai Fiori, Vaucluse, Osteria Morini, as well as delivery-only Nicoletta and Pasta on Demand. There’s also a location of Osteria Morini forthcoming at Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island. White’s empire also extends across the country and abroad.



George Mendes, the chef who enlivened menus at Aldea and Lupulo with Portuguese flavors, is back at the stove. He closed Lupulo more than three years ago and Aldea a little over a year ago after a 10-year run, because he felt that he needed a break. Now, he will be the chef and a partner at this new SoHo restaurant. He will be running it with David Rabin, a hospitality veteran who is also a partner in the Lambs Club, the new Sona and others. “I always knew I’d be back,” Mr. Mendes said. “I’ve spent the past year cooking at home, baking sourdough and exploring new flavors, and I’m ready to translate them to a restaurant.” Veranda is in the new ModernHaus hotel, a property that was the James, and has been completely reconfigured. Veranda’s main dining room is up from the street, and designed in greenhouse fashion with a retractable ceiling. It’s surrounded by outdoor seating on an upper terrace and a multilevel garden. Mr. Mendes’s menu is global but lightly strewn with Portuguese touches. Think flor de sal (fleur de sel) and olive oil for the sourdough bread, salt cod croquettes, Goan curry for shrimp, and a piri piri marinade used on grilled chicken. Chicken rice is his take on paella. He also delivers seasonality with all the green stuff you hunger for right now. “I’ve been cooking farm-to-table since I worked at Bouley and in France,” he said. “The bounty is incredible now.” A number of products, including the sourdough bread, are sold to take home. (Opens Friday)

ModernHaus SoHo hotel, 23 Grand Street (Avenue of the Americas), 212-201-9117,

Marco Pierre White

Welcome to my website, here you will find information on my life, my books, my hotels & restaurants past and present.

At 24, I became Head Chef and joint owner of Harveys with a kitchen staff that included the young Gordon Ramsay. At 33, I became the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars.

After leaving Allerton High School in Leeds without any qualifications, I decided to train as a chef. I began my training in the kitchen at the Hotel St George in Harrogate, North Yorkshire and later at the Box Tree in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.

During these years I had a team including Gordon Ramsay, Eric Chavot (The Capital), Heston Blumenthal (The Fat Duck), Bryn Williams (Odette's), Matt Tebbutt (The Foxhunter), Robert Reid, Thierry Busset, Jason Atherton, James Stocks and in front of house Max (Mark) Palmer, one of the few English Maître d' of a Michelin 3-star, Claude Douart, Philippe Messy (youngest sommelier to gain 3 Michelin stars) and Chris Jones, unusual in being an English sommelier in a 2-star Michelin French restaurant at the age of 21.

Arriving in London as a 16-year-old with "£7.36, a box of books and a bag of clothes" I began my classical training as a commis under Albert Roux and Michel Roux at Le Gavroche, a period that would lead Albert to describe me as "my little bunny".

Michael White’s Costata to Open in SoHo This Friday - Recipes

We are excited to welcome you back to Keens. We are offering indoor, outdoor and bar seating.

The safety of our guests and staff is our top priority, and we are following all local and national guidelines to ensure a safe and comfortable dining experience for all.
We are grateful for all your support! We couldn't have done it without you! We can't wait to see you!

For the safety of our guest and staff, we have spaced each table to be at least 6 feet apart in our dining rooms.

We have installed Healthway Air Purifiers in all our dining rooms and Merv-13 filters in all our air conditioning units.
We have installed a Needlepoint BiPolar Ionization air circulation system.
Our staff will wear face masks and guests will be required to wear masks when not seated.
Hand sanitizer stations are available to all guests.
Our tables are positioned six feet apart or partitioned where spacing does not permit, and thoroughly disinfected after each seating.
We have implemented a strict cleaning and sanitizing regimen, including disinfecting our restrooms every hour.
A contactless menu option is available by using your phone to scan a QR code. We also have single use menus
All employees will have their temperatures taken daily and will go through a daily wellness screening.
All guests will have their temperatures taken.
One member of each party will be required to provide contact information for tracing if needed.
We ask that you stay home if you are not feeling well.

In 1885 Keens Chophouse opened independently under the ownership of Albert Keen, by then a noted figure in the Herald Square Theatre District. Keens soon became the lively and accepted rendezvous of the famous.

Actors in full stage make-up hurried through the rear door to "fortify" themselves between acts at the neighboring Garrick Theatre. By the time Keens celebrated its 20th anniversary, you could glance into the Pipe Room and see the jovial congregations of producers, playwrights, publishers and newspaper men who frequented Keens.

Today, Keens is the only survivor of the Herald Square Theatre District. In an age which tears down so much of the past it is comforting to find one landmark which survives.

Michael White’s Costata to Open in SoHo This Friday - Recipes

Back of House, an occasional column, celebrates the unsung characters who animate the restaurant universe.

It was way past midnight in the empty kitchen, and Diana Bush, the overnight baker at the NoMad restaurant in Manhattan, was working the eight-foot-long, black-granite-topped pastry table, 20 steps from the dining room. Most of the 70 other kitchen workers had long since departed. As she weighed the dough (each loaf: 130 grams), her long, strong fingers were forming brioches to be served with beef tartare. Her pace was methodical, irresistibly efficient. She worked from 8 p.m. to dawn: everything had to be baked by 5 a.m. (Mark Welker, the pastry chef, presides over the day with his staff.)

A few years ago, when Ms. Bush, 27, worked as an architect, she took a pastry class at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. To her surprise, she found herself going on to earn a pastry-and-baking course certificate. As a cooking student, Ms. Bush had baking stints at Craft, Gotham Bar and Grill, Jean-Georges and Union Square Cafe, then landed an externship program at Eleven Madison Park, working in the kitchen of the executive chef, Daniel Humm. After he opened the NoMad with his business partner, Will Guidara, she bade architecture farewell and began baking there.

“It takes a certain type of person to do this job, to work these hours, to find rhythm in the kitchen even when no one else is around,” Mr. Humm said. 𠇍iana is a craftsman,” he added, “one of the unsung, and oftentimes unseen, heroes of the restaurant.”

Baking vs. Architecture
�king is a lot like architecture in a sense they are both part creative and part scientific. Baking is a chemistry experiment – there is the precision of weights and temperatures and ingredients chosen with organizational skill – but there is always the creative side. It’s a craft.” Read more…

Michael White’s New Club Is Wisconsin in Name Only

Never trust the hype. For months, the Butterfly — Michael White’s new restaurant that opened Tuesday night in TriBeCa – had invariably been described as a “Wisconsin supper club.” And certainly its debut was a distinct departure, a wildly off-brand venture for Mr. White, who is renowned for having apprenticed in Italian cooking at Ristorante San Domenico in Imola, Italy.

But he spent his childhood in Beloit, Wis. And he attended cooking school at Chicago’s Kendall College. So why not a return to his Midwestern culinary roots at his new $1.5 million supper club?

𠇋ut Butterfly isn’t really a Wisconsin restaurant,” Mr. White said as first-nighters hobbed, nobbed and noshed, jamming the 55 seats and 13 bar stools. “It’s a New York place to have great cocktails — and something nice to eat. The name, though? That is definitely Wisconsin.”

Indeed, Mr. White recalled that he got his culinary start in 1989 at the Butterfly Club near Route 43 at the Beloit-Clinton border, where his kitchen contributions never attained a great degree of difficulty. “I did things like peeling potatoes for the au gratin,” he said.

Ippudo Brings Its Ramen to Midtown

So why would the insanely popular Ippudo — the East Village no-reservations ramen palace that has attracted a virtually continuous queue of patiently waiting diners since its opening in 2008 — want to expand to Midtown Manhattan?

By way of explanation, the restaurant threw an invitation-only preview bash Wednesday for 160 guests at the new Ippudo Westside at 321 West 51st Street. The new restaurant officially opens next month.

“One of our ideals at Ippudo is that to remain consistent and unchanging, we must constantly evolve,” said George Itoh, the restaurant’s New York operations manager. “Ippudo translates from the Japanese as 𠆏irst wind,’ or 𠆏irst of its kind.’ That is what we must be.”

There was plenty of ramen (eagerly slurped, as required). And there was sake. Cocktails, too. But there were surprises. First, there was no vast treelike sculpture in the new Ippudo comparable to that in the East Village (it’s actually the representation of a giant Japanese chakoshi, or tea whisk).

At ZZ’s Clam Bar, Seafood Shares the Stage With Cocktails

Starter, an occasional column, takes a look at newly opened restaurants.

You might think that the new ZZ’s Clam Bar, with its refined seafood presentations and its reservations-only haute menu, is the anti-Umberto’s Clam House. But Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone will set you straight on that one.

“We are celebrating the clam house concept in our own way,” said Mr. Torrisi, referring to Umberto’s, that temple to bivalve mollusks bathed in red clam sauce on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, half a mile to the south of ZZ’s location in Greenwich Village.

So, that celebration began on Monday night when Mr. Torrisi, Mr. Carbone and their partner, Jeff Zalaznick, welcomed guests into ZZ’s for a friends-and-family dinner before the restaurant opened to the public on Tuesday for dinner.

This is now the fifth New York restaurant in which the Torrisi fellows have celebrated Italian-American cuisine (including their Parm sandwich shop at Yankee Stadium), and they have, so far, been praised by critics for their invention and the culinary degree of difficulty.

She Cuts Quickly, and Quietly

Back of House, an occasional column, celebrates the unsung characters who animate the restaurant universe.

It was 55 degrees in the butcher room, and Nancy Perez was intensely breaking down a 25-pound, prime, dry-aged, bone-in sirloin primal, a major beef cut that must be sliced into smaller restaurant portions. Ms. Perez, the 39-year-old butcher at the Lambs Club in Manhattan, glanced again at a sheet taped to the wall by a sous-chef the previous evening. This was her 20-item order checklist for the day’s menus, and included beef, poultry and fish – as well as the pasta Ms. Perez must extrude, and the turkeys and chickens she must brine. “Nancy handles very expensive inventory, $6,000 or $7,000 a day,” said Eric Haugen, executive chef of the Lambs.

She learned the restaurant trade in her native Mexico, and mastered butchery in kitchens and in culinary courses after she moved here 12 years ago. She takes the train each morning from Woodside, Queens, to arrive at work by 7 a.m., often traveling with her husband, Adalberto, chief steward and purchaser at the Lambs. In seven minutes, Ms. Perez had cut and trimmed the primal into 11 perfect 16-ounce steaks and 16 ribs.

Butcher Lady
“It’s hard to be a woman and be a butcher. Just because you’re a woman, many restaurants won’t give you a chance to apply. I’m not a burly guy in a long coat – that’s what they expect a butcher to be. So it’s hard to compete with men.”

Good to the Bone
“When I’m cutting, I follow the bone. This is a six-inch boning knife. It’s stiff, narrow, with some flex to it. It works like an extension of my hand. For cutting the steak, I switch to a 10-inch slicing knife. I have 15 knives, from a 4-inch paring knife to 6-inch slicers. I wore out six of them in the last three years, and replaced them. They’re all Japanese knives, because they’re lighter and easier to sharpen.” Read more…

Starter: With Costata, Chef Goes Back to the Future

Starter, an occasional column, takes a look at newly opened restaurants.

The space, in a town house on Spring Street, induces flashbacks, even for the chef. 𠇏or people who remember me at Fiamma, there is one dish that we just had to have on our new menu,” said Michael White, presiding over a hubbub of more than 100 diners Thursday night. “Now we call it Garganelli alla Fiamma.”

It was the last of three friends-and-family dinners at his new $5 million steakhouse, Costata, which opens to the public Friday at the same location, 206 Spring Street, as Fiamma Osteria, which opened in 2002 with Mr. White, at age 29, as the executive chef and a partner. “Then I was this hot-shot cook from Italy, who was a nobody,” Mr. White recalled. Fiamma went on to win many accolades, including a Michelin star and a three-star review from The New York Times.

Now Mr. White is Costata’s chef and owner. His Fiamma garganelli dish features prosciutto, peas and truffle cream, and is listed as a $21 appetizer on the menu of his new establishment, a two-floor, 140-seat restaurant (there is also a nearly finished 60-seat private dining room on the third floor).

Far from finding it surreal to return to the same location at age 41, he said, “it feels as if I never left.”

Preserve24, Where Food, Exploration and Fantasy Meet

Starter, an occasional column, takes a look at newly opened restaurants.

On Saturday night, the diners who discovered a new restaurant that is actually a conceptual art installation found it reassuring to also encounter tangible food. And so, curious visitors at a friends-and-family debut of Preserve24 were able to do more than ooh and aah at the $4 million bi-level cafe, bar and restaurant on the Lower East Side that was designed to look as if it had been there for more than a century. It opens to the public on Wednesday.

They tucked into rustic cuisine that included spring lamb with fava beans, peas, mint, pearl onions and carrots ($29), ravioli stuffed with fresh ricotta, basil, runny egg yolk, brown butter and crispy pancetta ($19) and fire-roasted oysters with herbed garlic butter ($15).

A crowd of 50 diners made merry in the pub dining room downstairs, which was presided over by an ersatz Jules-Verne-ish potbelly stove constructed around a state-of-the-art oven in the exhibition kitchen. That, in turn, was presided over by the 30-year-old Sicilian-born executive chef, John Parlatore.

Keeping Watch Over the Kosher Kitchen

Back of House, an occasional column, celebrates the unsung characters who animate the restaurant universe.

He was the only one wearing a skullcap in the kitchen of the J, a luxe new restaurant at 323 West Broadway, across from the Soho Grand Hotel. He peered through his magnifying glass at leaves of triple-washed spinach that were being illuminated by a lightbox. “Good,” said Shlomo Lifshitz, reaching for more leaves. There were no bugs. He is called, in Hebrew, a mashgiach, a gatekeeper who has been certified for his knowledge of Jewish law and his experience in keeping a restaurant kosher. At 40, this stolid, blue-eyed, bearded 6-footer is the guardian of dietary rules at the restaurant. The J maintains a glatt kosher kitchen, where meat and other provender must meet ultra-strict religious standards. There are about 500 certified supervisors at kosher eating places in New York’s five boroughs, according to Rabbi Moshe Elefant, chief operating officer of the Orthodox Union’s kosher division, the oldest and most widely accepted certifier of kosher foods.

How the Day Begins

“I have the keys to the kitchen — the owner doesn’t. I open the lock on the main gas valve, and I unlock the freezers. I’m the only one who has those combinations. I light all the fires — three ovens, one stove and six pilot lights on the grill table. Then, I sign off on everything delivered to this restaurant. I prevent anything that is nonkosher from being used in the kitchen.”

It’s Not a Sit-Down Job

“We don’t sit to the side and make blessings. We’re the quality control officers of the kitchen, and without us, the business can’t run. We have to be focused. We are very hands-on. And I’m always on my feet.”

The Meaning of Machgiach
“Machgiach, that means to carefully watch — and my eyes are all over the place. I inspect the meat, to make sure it’s from kosher purveyors. I make sure the chicken and the duck has been wrapped and sealed twice, and that the wrapping is unbroken. We are a meat kitchen, so I check that there are no dairy products.”

Starter: Lafayette, a Grand Cafe

Starter, an occasional column, takes a look at newly opened restaurants.

It is theatrically large. There is an abundance of zinc cladding. It is undeniably French. And it is wildly anticipated. But, Andrew Carmellini, what exactly is it? A fine-dining saloon? A bistro? A brasserie?

𠇏rom Day 1 I’ve called it a grand cafe,” Mr. Carmellini said on Monday night at the opening of his sprawling new restaurant, Lafayette, in Manhattan’s NoHo.

Day 1, actually, was two years ago, and to finally be able to cook with a French accent again — after opening his Italian restaurant, Locanda Verde, and his American exemplar, the Dutch — “was a dream,” Mr. Carmellini said. He refined his French cooking at Lespinasse with Gray Kunz, and then, in 1998, Daniel Boulud gave him the kitchen at Café Boulud. His partners in all his restaurants are Luke Ostrom and Josh Pickard.

At Monday’s opening, as they entered the two-story, 13,000-square-foot, 150-seat restaurant, many visitors paused to take in a formidable, flaming rotisserie straight ahead. 𠇏rom the start,” Mr. Carmellini said, “I wanted visitors to look down the aisle and see a working rotisserie, with chefs in toques.”

Speaking of which, here was Damon Wise, Lafayette’s chef de cuisine, tending the rotisserie (for chicken, pork, rabbit, fish, vegetables and more) in his high white toque. “I love it,” Mr. Wise said of the Cadillac-ish Rotisol Grande Flamme behemoth imported from France.

The Master Fish Butcher of Tokyo’s Union Square

Back of House, an occasional column, celebrates the unsung characters who animate the restaurant universe.

TOKYO — Kondo-san. That’s who he is to all at the Union Square restaurant here: the master fish butcher who, nearly six years ago, helped to open the first and only satellite of Danny Meyer’s original Union Square Cafe in Manhattan.

His full name is Yoshikazu Kondo, and he breaks down deliveries of red snapper, flounder, sea bass, bream and rockfish with four other cooks.

Though the Japanese menu at this Union Square is similar to that of the American version, there are more fish options in the sleek 100-seat restaurant that inhabits an alternate universe from the mother ship, in just the sort of gleaming upscale mall where food-crazed Japanese quest for yearned-for cuisine.

On a recent afternoon, Kondo-san wielded a thin, long yanagi, or willow, knife with exquisitely forceful strokes to carve enough perfectly portioned slices of carpaccio to serve 60 diners from a 17-pound, brilliant red rockfish.

Sustainable Idiom

“My mentor was Wataru Ogawa, a great chef in Chiba, and his training was in the French idiom. He was very meticulous. And I became meticulous, too. You know, in our restaurant, all of our fish is sustainable. I have no interest in any other. You have to be meticulous if you are taking a creature’s life. With fish, you must always take great care.”

Red-Gill Review

“We get only the freshest of the fresh — fish directly from a Chiba harbor, bypassing Tsukiji (the legendary market in Tokyo). They are carefully inspected: for quality, for radiation, for many things. Of course, everyone knows that the gills of the freshest are bright red, not pink. But I just sniff. I can tell.”

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Two Michelin star New York restaurant opens second branch in Dubai

Dubai is a popular place for international chefs to set up shop, and now it has another well-known restaurant to add to its list. The team behind New York two-Michelin-starred restaurant Marea, is planning to open a second restaurant in DIFC, Dubai later this year. The high-end Italian restaurant is set to open in September, &hellip

Dubai is a popular place for international chefs to set up shop, and now it has another well-known restaurant to add to its list.

The team behind New York two-Michelin-starred restaurant Marea, is planning to open a second restaurant in DIFC, Dubai later this year.

The high-end Italian restaurant is set to open in September, and the menu will be planned by Chef Michael White, the man behind the two-Michelin Star New York restaurant. Aside from Marea, Chef Michael already has several other eateries, including Costata (a steak restaurant) and Nicoletta (which specialises in pizzas). He also runs Michelin-starred Ai Fiori (meaning ‘among the flowers’ and which also based in New York) and currently has one international restaurant – Al Molo (‘the pier’) in Hong Kong, which hero’s seafood, and overlooks the city’s harbour in Kolwoon.

Marea means “the tide” in Italian, and it’s likely the new Dubai venture will follow a similar menu to the New York flagship restaurant and focus on fresh, seasonal seafood. Popular dishes on the Marea New York menu include the Adriatic seafood soup with clams, langoustine scallop, prawns and bass, along with the nova scotia lobster, burrata eggplant al funghetto and basil.

Details: for more information, visit Marea. If you liked this article, you may like these Italian recipes.

Michael White’s Costata to Open in SoHo This Friday - Recipes

From The New York Times, I’m Michael Barbaro. This is The Daily.

I just wanted to say — [SCREAMING]

Several months ago, The Times opened up a phone line to ask americans what it’s really been like to parent during the pandemic.

[SCREAMING] I have to hide in my closet to make this phone call, because there’s no peace. There’s no quiet. All I hear all the time is “Mom!”

Like that! They’re coming to get me. I can’t escape these kids. They eat all day long. There is way more laundry than when they were in school. And all their — all their pets. I have their dog, and I’ve got the three-legged hedgehog and I’ve got the talking parrot. And no one wants to feed them! I think I need to run away. All I can do is hide in this closet, and even this doesn’t last long enough.

Ugh. I have to go. I’m being called.

One more scream. [SCREAMING]

Hello, New York Times. I’m calling you from the toilet. Because I literally just had to say to my kids, “I’m going to pee. Leave me alone.”

My child just cleaned our faces with toilet water.

I miss being able to crap in peace. I am sitting right now on the toilet, and my 13-month-old daughter is running around. Yup, now she’s in the bathroom. And she’s gonna — she’s going to try and steal the toilet paper.

I Oh, I should add that I’m a single mother. So this is every day. There is no partner. I mean, my mom is here, but she don’t know. She’ll quote unquote “watch” the baby, but then I find the baby eating, like, lint out of the garbage can.

The upstairs pillows are downstairs. The downstairs pillows are upstairs. And I didn’t think that upstairs pillows being downstairs and downstairs pillows being upstairs would bring me this level of anxiety, but here we are.

I love my kids. But for [EXPLETIVE] sake, like, we are together all of the time. Somebody else rear my children, please.

They are primates. They’re barely human.

They’re so messy. The cleaning and the cooking, that’s the hardest part. They just eat all the time and make messes. They don’t even care. They’ll just look at you and throw something on the floor.

I can’t believe there’s so many people on Earth when it’s this hard. Sex is not that good. And I didn’t even have sex. I did it through I.V.F. God, I just am amazed that the population is as big as it is. I really, truly am. It’s so much I’m sitting in the bathroom talking to no one. God help me. [CHUCKLING] At least I don’t have Covid, I don’t think.

We are up and ready to go almost. I’m making French toast for Max. And I have to drink coffee, of course. My name’s Elizabeth Halfhill. I live in Spokane, Washington. I’m a full-time family law paralegal and a single mother of an 11-year-old kid named Max. Say hi.

Hello, New York Times News. My name is Max Noakes. I’m 11 years old. My mom is Elizabeth’s Halfhill. She’s 30 years old.

Max is very kind. He is very creative. So I just had to tell him to stop sawing cardboard in the background because he’s building something right now while I do this.

I like drawing, building LEGOs, a lot of forms of art, mainly clay and drawings. Sometimes I do a little painting.

So he’s creative. He’s kind. He’s really funny. He makes me laugh all of the time. I mean, I just — even if he wasn’t my kid, I love him as a person.

I have a drawing of a squirrel that I made.

You have other ones, too. I’ll grab one.

No, those are just doodles. Stop.

The weekend of March 13, I remember March 13 was the date that everything, like the state of emergency came down. It almost felt, I don’t want to say fun, but like exciting. Like, oh, school’s out for two weeks. And then we get two weeks off, and it’ll all go back to normal. And so that was the first moment. But the next moment was when I had made it through the summer with almost no childcare and still having to work and all these things. And then the school announces two weeks before they were supposed to be back in session that no one would come back in person. And I don’t know if it was a news article or a friend texted me, but I was sitting at home, and I just started bawling.

elizabeth halfhill (memo 1)

So closing thoughts at the end of the day before school, Max and I cleaned up the whole house and made it nice for tomorrow. We got his laptop all logged in and updated. So that hopefully it’s smooth sailing in the morning with no tech difficulties or anything. Max told me that he isn’t excited for this year at all, and he’s just sad that he can’t see his friends. He’s really bummed out. Which makes me worry because I feel like tomorrow is going to set the tone for the rest of the school year, and I just hope that he likes it somewhat. I will check in in the morning when we wake up and kind of let you know how it’s going throughout the day. Wish us luck.

elizabeth halfhill (memo 2)

This is our first day of school style.

Because there is only digital school now, so I don’t really care.

It’s black t-shirt and gym shorts. Don’t have to be too formal.

elizabeth halfhill (memo 3)

OK, I left Max in his class. He did OK for a minute, but his microphone on his frickin’ headset I just thought isn’t working.

elizabeth halfhill (memo 4)

It’s 11:28 am Max was out in the dining room, muttering that he doesn’t like school or his teacher because he was being silly on webcam and they made him turn his camera off. I’m already really discouraged, because I know that this is just going to turn into a power struggle, where I tell Max to not be silly on camera and pay attention and he is going to get in trouble all year long, because there’s no peer pressure to be good. It’s literally just an adult and a kid and us one on one.

elizabeth halfhill (memo 5)

It’s 11:57. I’m making grilled cheese. Max has informed me that his teacher has decided to call it quits for the entire day three hours early, because everyone’s just getting used to everything. Max says distance learning sucks, and he doesn’t want to do it. And I agree. So we’re just going to take it day at a time and do the best we can.

I got pregnant at 18, and Max was born when I was — I turned 19 right after he was born actually. So I gave birth to him when I was 18. I was home schooled by my parents religiously until fourth grade, like actual religious curriculum. And then I went to public school from that point on. And I ended up dropping out of high school in my sophomore year and getting my G.E.D. Max’s father and I were not married until he was three years old. But we did get married when he was three, and then we divorced when he was, I think, six. He was actually in jail from the time Max was six months old. So he missed a lot of the first holidays. We were together after that, but I embodied a lot of the old-fashioned ideals of the mother doing most of the parenting. You know, and I worked, too. I worked full-time, so yeah.

OK, so update. We’re basically just by Thursday, Friday we’re at the end of our rope. We’ve been on computers doing our work on our school for, like, four days, and we’re tired. So we both woke up not in the mood today. Max wasn’t paying close enough attention in class, and he sort of got snipped out by his teacher.

Max was playing a game on his phone during class time. I got a little upset with him.

And he immediately got a stress headache after that, because he’s just so stressed out by virtual school. He feels like it’s hard to pay attention, it’s hard to get assignments done. It’s hard to understand what the teacher is saying when he’s speaking to everyone in a Zoom meeting. So he got a stress headache. He said he felt like he was going to throw up. He was like crying. The stress is just a lot for him.

I kind of go back and forth between knowing I need to be upset that he is not paying attention or this or that, and then having total empathy. Like, if I had to be on a Zoom meeting for five hours, I would definitely mess around on my phone, too, right? So it’s trying to find the line between enforcing the right boundary and also letting him know that I understand it’s a struggle.

So I calmed him down, and I made him, like, a bowl of cereal and a cup of tea. And I was like, “I love you.” I was like, this year, you’re not going to fail. They won’t hold you back. You don’t have to do perfect this year. You just have to make it through and just be present in class as much as you can, right? So he felt better.

There are days where he didn’t want to pay any attention to his laptop class. And it’s hard to enforce that sometimes.

I had just gotten divorced, and I had a pretty good job working for Apple, but I knew I needed something long-term career-wise. And I didn’t even know what I wanted to do, but I was like, you have to get back into college, you have to get a degree, you have to do something. So I just enrolled at the local Spokane Community College. And right around that time, I started working as a legal assistant part-time as well for the attorney that sort of got me started on the path. And she was telling me about the paralegal program, which was at the same college I was attending. And so I just enrolled in the program and sort of took it from there, I guess.

Just finished my class. And I was working the whole time, like typing emails for my job. But I’m going to go make a cup of coffee and then get to work for the day. Whew, whew. It’s 9:17 a.m.

I’m still going to school, so I am always tired like 100 percent of the time.

I did my class at work. The receptionist held my calls. Everyone’s really nice about me being in school. So I returned all of those, and then I just had a really busy whirlwind day at work. Then we came home, rushed through dinner, kept cleaning. I literally cleaned until like 8:30 p.m. and then took a bath. I am sitting now, but it is 9:58 p.m. and I’m doing my math homework. So yeah, some days feel like they’re so busy, they feel like they don’t even exist. It’s like I just went through 24 hours, and I don’t even remember any of it, because I was just go-go-go, move-move-move.

I would like to let it be known for the record that I am not a homeschooler. I never wanted to homeschool. I always put my kid in school. This isn’t me. It ain’t me. I’m doing my best, but this is not my frickin’ talent. This is not my talent space, OK? Not me. I’m a great mom and I’m good at momming, but I’m not good at educating.

elizabeth halfhill (memo 2)

When they say tomorrow is a new day in Covid-land, it’s not a new day. And if it is a new day, it’s probably just getting worse.

elizabeth halfhill (memo 3)

I’m actually just really pissed and upset because I know this isn’t going to work all year. I know he’s not going to learn anything, and he’s just going to be sitting on a frickin’ computer screen. Like, I wish they’d just cancel school for the year. There’s no point. It’s like you’re implementing a system that just isn’t going to work for most kids, and they’re all going to be really behind anyways. So why don’t they just let us parents figure out what we’re going to do during the day on our own and take them to child care or whatever and just can it? Like, we’re expected to keep working and implement an entire education system at home and have this power struggle of making them log in to meetings at certain times 5 days a week. It’s not realistic, and it’s not doable.

elizabeth halfhill (memo 4)

And I might be really upset because this is drawing on a bigger thing that I already deal with, where I’m not a married parent. I’m not stay-at-home. I don’t have a stay-at-home spouse. It’s harder for me to do things already for my Max working full-time, like sports or extracurricular activities or things that I can’t afford anyways. And then on top of it now, like the pandemic hit, and it just exasperates on — I’m going to cry — but like things I already deal with and stress, like not being able to do things and provide as much for him as a lot of other families do. And the pressure is now triple on me. Not that it’s not on other parents, too. But it’s kind of impossible for me to make this work, because I’m not your classic design of a family that is prepared for something like this. I depend heavily on social things like school to get me by. And then without it, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.

So I’m a single mom in the pandemic. And I’m a teacher, so I feel like single mothers and teachers — and mothers in general — all take on more than they can. And so I have like three strikes against me, and it’s just impossible.

I feel like I’m not doing anything well. I feel like everything I do, I do badly. Because I’m managing so many people and so many things.

I’m wondering if I missed the delivery of the tool box that was delivered when this shit all went down last year. I’m trying to be a good professional woman and a good mom all at the same time. And no one is telling me how to do this.

I’m not expecting handouts. I don’t expect things to be easy. But I just want it to be doable.

My daughter’s three-years-old, and 8 days ago, I gave birth to a stillborn baby at 21 weeks of gestation. Today is my three-year-old’s last day of preschool for the year, and I don’t know how I’m going to make it to the end of the year. I can barely take care of myself.

No happiness in my life. I can’t stand my kids anymore. I’m just miserable.

I am rarely alone. Even when I go in my room at night to go to sleep and turn out the light, somebody comes in to talk to me and tell me another thing. [SIGHS] It’s endless.

I’m lucky I haven’t lost my job yet. I’m on the phone with clients all day, and I have a five-year-old in the background. But if she’s heard on there, I could lose my job, our only source of income, and we could be homeless.

How are we going to do this? I’m so angry at our entire government and societal system. There’s just no backup or no help, or nothing.

I just want to wake up and go through my day and not worry and not wonder, and not know what the future holds because this right here sucks, and I’m sick of it. I’m so sick of this!

This pandemic has made me realize that maybe I’m not cut out to be a mother. I love my kids, but I don’t like being a mom. And I don’t like being a mom in America, because it’s just so much more clear that America hates women and hates families. We don’t have support. Moms are not heroes. And this is just so hard, so hard.

Just eating breakfast, getting ready for the day. It’s about 7:45 in the morning. Max had Cream of Wheat and toast, and I had toast and coffee. And we’ll be leaving here in like a half hour to drop him at Susan’s. How are you doing, Max? He says “thumbs up.”

Susan is a very dear friend, and I would venture to say sort of chosen family-style friend. Max and I, before we moved into the house we are in now, lived in a neighborhood where there were a lot of kids and a lot of parents living in a block radius. And Susan was one of them. They all homeschooled prior to the pandemic. So they were already set for all of this. But all of our kids are best friends. They run all over the neighborhood together. And Susan was home, and she said Max can come and be on his laptop here while I teach my kids, and then he can play with them in the afternoon. So she’s a part of my essential community. Like, I could not have gotten through the pandemic without these other women in my neighborhood.

So also just to update you on where we’ve been, last week was mostly fine. Max is doing good being at Susan’s, because he has friends there. But he is already completely burnt out on laptop work. It’s been two weeks, and he says that he just hates sitting in front of that webcam all day. And it isn’t fun because it’s not — like, they’ll have you do some things, but it’s not interactive. There’s no arts and crafts. There’s no gym. There’s no music. Like, there’s nothing to do with your hands, basically. So I texted his teacher on Monday. And I said, listen, you just can’t do this for the amount of time that you guys are expecting. He’s going to be done at noon every day. So this week, he’s only doing school from 8:30 to noon, at lunch time. His home school friends are out of home school afternoon, and he’s been playing magic cards and walking to the park and doing things that I find to be better than sitting on a screen for the afternoons. And his teacher was totally understanding. He wrote back and said, you know, I’m sorry. “This totally sucks” is what he said. He said there was no other way to say

Also, you were supposed to take the dog out and you never did.

Well, look at him. He’d sad. Look at his face.

So I had Susan, and then I ended up working from home from November through January. And then I use Boys and Girls Club until he went back to school February 17th. And now he is back at school two days one week, three days the following week. And I have to find care the other few days.

I think we’ve gotten closer over this little while. We get into arguments sometimes, but other than that, we’re pretty close.

You’re gonna make me cry! All of the stresses that caused us to be annoyed with each other or anything like that were all outside stresses of the situation. And we handled them OK. I don’t think it’s changed at all, really. It feels the same. We get along decently. And we enjoy spending time with each other. It’s like — it’s like we had a relationship beforehand, and the situation around has shifted, but we’re just mother and son, best buds. And it’s still that way.

I think I was always this way, but I think I now realize I’m absolutely unstoppable. Just nothing. I’m always going to figure out a way to make it work. Like, nothing will stop me. Nothing can stop me from just keeping on keeping on, I guess.

So today is April 14th, and I made homemade pizza for dinner. Max, how would you rate today, 1 to 10?

Because it was a good day. I had fun with my friends. I got scraped up a little bit. But other than that, it was awesome.

Cool. Well, I rate it an 8 for you, too.

All right, and that’s our report of a school day. Later.

Here’s what else you need to know today.

Have you made a decision today whether you intend to testify or whether you intend to invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege?

archived recording (derek chauvin)

I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today.

On Thursday, Derek Chauvin declined to testify on his own behalf, and his defense lawyers rested their case, ending the testimony phase of his murder trial in the death of George Floyd. Closing arguments will begin on Monday, after which the jury will begin deliberations.

archived recording (peter cahill)

If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short.

On Thursday afternoon, the judge in the case, Peter Cahill, began preparing jurors for that process.

archived recording (peter cahill)

Basically, it’s up to the jury how long you deliberate, how long you need to come to a unanimous decision on any count. And so because that’s entirely up to you, whether it’s an hour or a week, it’s entirely within your province. So —

Today’s episode was produced by Michael Simon Johnson, Diana Nguyen and Luke Vander Ploeg. It was edited by Lisa Chow and Paige Cowett, engineered by Chris Wood, and contains original music by Marion Lozano. Special thanks to the editors behind the Primal Scream Project, Jessica Grose and Jessica Bennett.

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  1. Iakovos

    Let's talk.

  2. Doull

    We can talk a lot about this question.

  3. Coeus

    Yes you have talent :)

  4. Ignace

    Kazakhstan ............. yyyyyyy

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