A.J. Daulerio, Editor-In-Chief of Gawker and former honcho at Deadspin, has a knack for exposing the seedy underbelly of pretty much anywhere he is at the moment. He's famous for showing the world Brett Favre's penis-flirt stylings, outing Rex Ryan as a foot fetishist, and gave us a look inside the mind of Bill Conlin as his child molestation charges came to light.
You're a Philly guy that's moved on to NYC awhile ago. Where do you eat when you come back to visit, and what are you eating?
Well, I'm a diner guy. I think living around here, you have to be a diner guy. And for me, that means The Melrose Diner in South Philly. They have the best S.O.S. The toast they put it on is like a thick slice of pound cake, though. It's weird, but it's delicious. I'll get that topped with a fried egg, big hunk of scrapple, and wash it down with a milkshake. It all evens out. Oh, and then tomato juice.
Yikes. Since you meet lots of people for info they would never send via email or text, what Philly spots did you use to meet sources?
The Locust Bar. All the time. The place is dark and seedy. No one would ever look for you there, and everyone knows exactly where it is.
I'm a fan of the Locust. It looks like it should attract meth dealers.
Exactly. Also, they have an awesome chicken cheesesteak, which you have to try. You wouldn't know it, because the menu is basically posted in the bathroom, behind the advertisements for $2 Bud ponies.
I hear you make a mean hoagie dip. What the hell is in it?
I love things in dip form. Hoagie dip is taking all of the elements of a hoagie, like the meats and cheeses, and lettuce and tomato, julienne it all up, and then add mayo. Make it like a bruschetta, so you can scoop it up. I tried a new way of making it last year that didn't work out so well. I stuffed a hoagie into a Cuisinart because I was running late. It came out like pink goo. Everyone was horrified.
You've been known to pop Adderall to handle your incessant list-making obsession. Do you do the writerly thing and drink whiskey with it?
No, that wouldn't work. Actually, I find that Adderall goes well with oatmeal and honey when you've got a list of tedium. It gives you energy to get everything on that list done, and it keeps you from making lists of lists. That's when you get into trouble.
What is your most surreal moment involving food and celebrities?
Once I was in L.A. after they aired the Real Sports segment on HBO about sports blogging and Deadspin, and Andrea Kremer invited me over to her house for breakfast. So, I went. She made me pancakes all morning. And the bacon they had was the best bacon I've ever eaten. Her husband can cook. It was a very Charlie Murphy-Prince moment.
As the food industry and chef world gains momentum in terms of popularity and celebrity, do you think it's the next frontier for headline scandal?
Well, I worked in the restaurant industry twenty years ago, and what they really have going on is an intense lifestyle. They get off work when everyone else is going to bed, and treat every night like its New Years Eve. It's a thankless, intense work environment that fuels drinking.
How do you handle writing these revealing and personal stories, yet continue to maintain a good relationship with people in the business?
Well, I find that the people you don't like you should help the most. If it's obvious they're your target, then people will just take your reporting as vindictive and not newsworthy. Make sure you write positive stuff, and get the facts straight, too. Otherwise people get bored. It's a fine line to walk along.
Name one food you'll never eat again.
I got the Fish Tacos at The Cheesecake Factory in King of Prussia. They destroyed me.
That was all your fault.
Yes it was.