The TCQ&A: “I Buy ‘Play-Date Punch’ at Chambers Street Wines”

paulette-goto-crop-by-tribeca-citizen1Paulette Goto left Utah (“No, I’m not a Mormon, yes I ski, and yes I watch Big Love—and yes that’s what life is like in Utah”), to pursue her dream of becoming a pastry chef. Once in New York City, she attended the French Culinary Institute, and upon graduation, landed a job at Le Cirque, where she met her husband, Ken. (He was the pastry sous chef, and then he left to co-launch Jacques Torres Chocolate.) Goto, who still makes cakes on a freelance basis, is a stay-at-home mom, raising their 6-year-old daughter. She has also started writing a blog, “It’s my take on food, fashion, pop culture, and being a mom,” she says—and as you can see from her TCQ&A, she’s quite fun to read.

How long have you lived in Tribeca?
We journeyed all the way down here from Union Square in 2005. We loved Union Square but after  9/11 it was more like Times Square, and after we had our daughter we wanted a more family-friendly ‘hood. (That and a neighborhood with no methadone clinics. We’re picky that way….)

Which restaurants do you frequent most often?
This one can’t be a short answer…. We love Roc, it’s like the Cheers of Tribeca, you’re guaranteed to see friendly faces and they treat everyone that walks through the door like a family member. I think I may be the Norm of Roc, except I dance on tables and drink Kir Royales.

When we renovated our kitchen, we ate everywhere. Our daughters’ favorite is Nobu and Nobu Next Door, she loves everything on the menu, especially the Ankimo (monkfish liver). Don’t knock it till you try it; it’s duh-vine. We also love the Harrison: It’s “fancy” and kid-friendly and oh-so-yummy, all at the same time. Marc Forgione is great and has such great lighting. Everyone looks dead sexy. Greenwich Grill is sick good. It’s so good I just get sick with cravings for it—hell, I’m salivating now just thinking about it. The upstairs has Japanese-style pasta and the downstairs, Sushi Azabu, has some amazing sushi. Kitchenette also saved us through our kitchen renovation. I had every salad on the menu and my husband loves the fried chicken and our daughter loves the chicken noodle soup.

ninja-by-tribeca-citizenWhich restaurants do you tend to go to for special occasions?
It depends on who the special occasion is for. If it’s for our daughter, Nobu or Next door Nobu….. Or Ninja, which our daughter loves (definitely for the theme and not the food). Locanda Verde is insanely good and I’ll make up a special occasion to go there, like for instance, it’s Tuesday! Let’s celebrate at Locanda Verde!

Where do you order in (or get take-out) from? Are there dishes you always order?
My husband and I are both chefs so we really enjoy cooking at home. We don’t order in that much but when we do it’s usually from Tataki or LandmarcWichcraft and Columbine know how to make a sandwich like no one’s business. Those places are like church for lunch. Can I get an amen?!

Which shops do you find it hard to resist popping into when you pass by?
I loved Tribbles and I was so sad to see it go—it always had such good finds. Petticoat Lane is filled with stuff that I only realized that I really needed after I set foot inside. And PB & Caviar is also great.

What was the last non-essential item you bought in Tribeca?
A case of Bugey Cerdon from Chambers Street Wines. I refer to it as play-date punch (but, really, that’s a staple).

i-plaza-by-tribeca-citizenAre there any services (salon, fitness, etc.) that you’re particularly glad are in the neighborhood?
I love Euphoria Spa. It’s a small space with no frills, but the staff is always so helpful. I think I’ve had appointments with every massage therapist there and they’re all amazing. It’s impossible to have a bad visit. For pedicures, I prefer i-Plaza Nail & Spa: They can get the bottom of my of my feet as soft as a baby’s ass—which is what I strive for but that’s my business. Resale-Riches is an amazing service/online consignment shop. Tania only takes items in pristine condition, and when you want to clean out your closet, she comes to your house and goes through what she can take to sell. She makes it easy for her clients to do as little as possible and I love that.

What’s Tribeca’s best-kept secret?
Does Smith & Mills count as a secret? Or maybe the secret is how many times I’ve ended up there at the end of the evening….

Where do you always take out-of-towners?
To a nearby hotel. I hate when people think that staying with us is an option. It’s sooooo not. I have to take people to Jacques Torres Chocolates at King and Hudson, because my husband is Jacques’s business partner and people who know us seem to want to go there when visiting New York City. Go figure. In the ‘hood, we always take people to Nobu to give the appearance that we live like Jay-Z, ’cause we’re showy peeps. Bling bling yo! And it’s a must to show off the parks we’re surrounded by—Washington Market Park, Teardrop Park, and Rockefeller Park are all wonderful.

Which neighborhood building do you wish you lived in and/or owned?
My husband has a complete crush on 101 Warren. We watched it go from a small, empty field to a high-rise luxury building that stole our water views, but who’s bitter? We used to live in a high rise in Union Square and that’s something my husband really misses. For me there are several. Tribeca is just dripping with wonderful historic and newly built unattainable over-priced real-estate that I just love to drool over. A girl can dream (and work hard to attain said real estate—that’s right, we’re moving on up, just like the Jeffersons).

greenwich-street-by-tribeca-citizenWhat’s your favorite part of Tribeca (street, park, whatever)?
I love Greenwich Street—it feels like Main Street, Anytown, U.S.A. (My sister, who does live in Anytown, Utah, says I’m crazy for feeling this way about Greenwich Street but this is my interview not hers.)

Your most memorable Tribeca celebrity sighting?
Tribeca is a celebrity f@#%fest—there’s a celebrity sighting every day. Honestly, I see a celeb on the reg. When our daughter started nursery school, we got to meet and become friends with some celebs in the ‘hood (which always blows this country bumpkin’s mind). For me, looking at Mike D. of the Beastie Boys is like looking at Elvis. I’ve met him a few times and I can’t look him in the face. I feel like a young girl meeting Elvis or the Beatles. I bow to thee, Mike D. My daughter is in kindergarten with a really famous celeb’s son, and he and his wife are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. It’s just a bit overwhelming to have a conversation with a living legend. And once, my daughter played peek-a-boo with Meryl Streep at Tribeca Grill and I just about peed my pants.

If you could change one thing about the neighborhood, what would it be?
Stop the construction of new buildings already! There are enough people down here and the neighborhood feels like it’s getting squeezed out at the seams.

What’s changed in Tribeca that you like? That you don’t?
I don’t like the ritzy, trendy mothership gyms that have landed here. (That’s a whole other interview.) I love that Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, and Bed Bath & Beyond have moved in, and it was so kind of them to move in right across the street from where we live.

Why Tribeca?
Tribeca feels like a little village tucked away in New York City. It’s a little slice of suburbia in Manhattan without the hassle of all that yardwork. And in my world I am just as famous as any other celeb that lives here, so I fit right in. (My world may or may not be under the influence of medication and/or alcohol.)

Any questions you wish you’d been asked?
Do you have any good gossip?

Previous TCQ&As:
Wendy Gardner: “I Bought a Stuffed Wombat at Moomah”
Dan Rubenstein: Kitchenette’s Turkey Meatloaf Is My Favorite
• Pam Chmiel: “I Wish I Could Renovate Pier A into a Waterfront Home”
• Jeff Tabak: “I’d Put the Sawdust Back on the Floor of Morgan’s”
Kimberly Reed: “My Puppy Would Not Stop Sniffing Ed Burns”



  1. No one does life like Paulette Goto. She’ll entertain, capture and dazzle anyone, anytime and any place (whether they want it or not). Best part is she shares the love… bitches.

  2. Ha, love this, she’s a riot!

  3. That Paulette. doesn’t she just say what we are all thinking? love her!!!

  4. No, Laurie, she doesn’t say what we are all thinking- just you. The rest of us are thinking, “Who the hell is Paulette Goto?!”

  5. Hey Jim, I will tell you who I am if you tell me who you are