Jessie Reyez’s Day Off Includes a Walk in Central Park and Colombian Food
“I can dance in five-inch heels all night and not even really feel like my feet hurt. That’s how you know you’re having fun.”
By Opheli Garcia Lawler and Jessie Reyez
Published on 10/13/2022 at 12:00 PM
Jessie Reyez | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Jessie Reyez | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Jessie Reyez is a Grammy-nominated, four-time Juno Award-winning Colombian-Canadian singer-songwriter from Toronto, Canada. Her latest album, Yessie, is a followup to her 2020 debut studio album, Before Love Came To Kill Us, which made its way into the Top 5 on Billboard's R&B Album Chart. She debuted her latest single, “Mutual Friends,” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in August. Reyez came to the Thrillist offices to talk about her ideal day off in New York City.
I’m a bit basic to start off my day. I usually go to Starbucks. If it was food, I’m down to take chances. But coffee? I need my caffeine sometimes. Usually when I’m in New York City, I’m working so the time I do get to spend here is special. Then, after I get my coffee I’ll go to Central Park and find a place to read on the grass. When I’m in the city, it's not usually time I spend out in nature.
For lunch, it’s Serafina. The truffle pasta there is absolutely delicious. I abuse it, honestly. I could eat it every single day. Sometimes I have to take breaks just so I can make sure I’m appreciating it — that’s how much I eat that pasta. It’s like saying, “You know I love you, but can’t have you. Because my body is rejecting you.” Right now, I’m taking a few months' break off of it. It’s fucking fire. It’s probably the best truffle pasta I’ve ever had in my life.
It’s new to me to live life like a human. As much as I come here, I used to always be on the go. But I’ve made a change during the pandemic, to just be more present and enjoy life more. I’m actually staying here an extra day just to be able to enjoy the city because every time I’ve come here it's just work, work, work. It’s been a while, but I used to visit with my family in the Bronx. They have a beautiful apartment, and a beautiful life.
Central Park | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
“I’ve made a change during the pandemic, to just be more present and enjoy life more.”
At night, I went with my team out to La Chiflada. It’s this spot out in Paterson, New Jersey, and it is amazing. It was my first time there, and my friends tried to prepare me but there was no preparing for it. Transformers started to come out to party, and I turned around, like, “What is happening?” It’s called La Hora Loca, the crazy hour, and there’s free liquor and everybody is just having fun. It’s like a kids' party in a way — it is so joyous and judgment free.
Some places you go, some clubs, it's more of a scene, not a place to have fun. This isn't like that. The space was so fun, they sang "Happy Birthday" in a very Latino way. With the music and the drinks, I can dance in five-inch heels all night and not even really feel like my feet hurt. That’s how you know you’re having fun. They play salsa, merengue, reggaeton, everything.
Another great place in Jersey is Noches de Colombia. It’s the fire ass food. When I go, if I am ordering with other people, I will order bandeja paisa. It's a typical Colombian dish and it is a plate with steak, chorizo, chicharron, avocado, rice, and beans. It’s so much food. I can never order it just for myself; even for two people, it's a lot. If you’re trying to be healthy, it helps to share with someone. But it's delicious.
Tagliolini Tartufo Nero at Serafina | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
“It’s called La Hora Loca, the crazy hour, and there’s free liquor and everybody is just having fun. It’s like a kids' party in a way — it is so joyous and judgment free.”
My other favorite place in New York actually isn’t even open in the city anymore. Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecôte, it's a French spot that used to be in Lexington. It’s reopening at a new location somewhere near that same spot later this year, I heard. But it’s incredible. They also have a restaurant in London and France. When you walk in, the staff asks, “Have you eaten here before?” And if you say yes, they say, “How do you like your steak?” Then that’s it, and you tell them how you want your steak cooked. If you say no, they say, “Okay, there’s only steak, fries, and salad. How do you like your steak?”
It’s so simple and so delicious. Either everyone who works there is French or they are all great actors. I normally eat vegetables out of obligation, you know, being healthy. But there’s this salad that has horseradish dressing, it’s amazing. The first time I went, I wanted to ask for ketchup and the friend I was with was like, “No! You can’t ask for ketchup.” But I did. They don’t have ketchup. The dessert menu is where there’s some diversity. Beautiful, delicious desserts that are so good. There is this one that’s a raspberry meringue and then raspberry sherbert and then a layer of vanilla bean ice cream, and then it’s doubled. So there’s a layer of each two times. It’s just a beautiful tower of greatness.