Chrissy Teigen may have moved to L.A. with husband John Legend, but she’ll always call New York City home. (Photo: Getty Images for Marriott)
Chrissy Teigen has a surprising confession to make. “I’m not really a beach person; no one knows that about me,” says the model who regularly appears in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, including on its cover. “I can’t swim, the sand makes me feel icky, and I can’t sit in the heat for that long.”
Marriott TRAVELER caught up with Teigen in New York City to celebrate Global Travel Day at Rockefeller Center. She’s always happy to be back in the city after moving from the East Village to Los Angeles earlier this year.
“I’m like a kid when I’m here,” she says. “I love just running around. I really enjoy the culture here so much.”
That includes seeing the Radio City Rockettes every year.
“Even before I had a daughter, I would go see the ‘Christmas Spectacular’ every single year,” she says. “I think it’s perfect because it’s meant for kids, so it’s good if you don’t have a long attention span. It’s quick and amazing and everyone’s so talented. I’m going to see it this year, too.”
Teigen and her husband, singer John Legend, who is currently producing WGN America’s “Underground,” are big fans of the East Village, where they would walk to Whole Foods and explore the neighborhood’s great restaurants.
“Frank Restaurant is one of my favorite things. On Thursdays we go to have their lasagna verde, or Ippudo for ramen,” Teigen says. “I love the chicken wings at Ippudo. That’s my favorite less refined bite.”
Her ultimate favorite bite is something a little more upscale—the hundred-layer lasagna at Mario Batali’s Del Posto. “It’s truly 100 thin layers that they slice, and grill in a cast iron skillet so it has crispy edges. That’s my favorite bite.”
New Yorkers may try to avoid Times Square, but “for me, I still get so much enjoyment when I’m in Times Square,” Teigen says. “I love everything about it. There’s so much life and energy.”
Teigen misses that energy now that she lives in Los Angeles.
“I was looking out of my hotel room window and seeing all of these people out and about at 6:30 in the morning and really getting the run of their day,” she says. “Even though we sold our apartment and are not living here anymore, every time I’m here I feel at home. This is home.”
Given her work as a model, when she’s not co-hosting Spike TV’s “Lip Synce Battle,” serving as a food stylist of Tyra Banks’ “FABLife,” or working on projects like her cookbook “Cravings,” which was released this year, Teigen often finds herself traveling the world.
Her favorite places include cities like Florence, Milan, London and Cape Town.
“I’ve always been more of a city person,” she says.
She also loved exploring Venice with Legend in the winter, exploring the charming city’s maze of alleyways.
“It was one of the best trips John and I have ever taken,” she says. “Everything was closed, and restaurants would maybe be open for three hours a day, so you would have to catch them at the right time. We were just running around the city dodging in and out of corridors and wearing a big parka and not having to get dolled up. I loved it.”
For someone who doesn’t the beach, Teigen was really taken with a recent trip to Indonesia, her second time visiting Bali.
“Food is so crazy important to me,” she says. “I love crazy spicy food, and Indonesia has unbelievable food.”
While there, Teigen took a cooking class, which had her make a minced chicken skewer “that had so many vibrant flavors and spices” on a stalk of lemon grass. “It was so fresh and so light and so delicious,” she says.
Teigen recommends taking advantage of experiences offered at hotels like cooking classes.
“That is the number one thing I do when I travel,” she says. “A lot of them will actually take you to the local markets so you get to see the local fish markets super early in the morning. I’ve always been a big farmer’s market girl, so to see them around the world is really cool.”
“Some of the best chefs in the world are working in hotels,” she adds. “Getting to learn from them is fantastic. I’m so blown away by the hotels in Indonesia. No matter what hotel you go to, it’s got the craziest, most absurd, most ridiculous buffet. There’ll be an India station, and Thai and sushi bar. Everything feels like a cruise ship—it’s so intense and wonderful. I love traveling to Asian countries because they always go all out on the food in hotels.”
Despite the beauty of tropical places like Bali, Teigen always gravitates to cooler climates.
“I feel like L.A. is constantly gorgeous,” she says. “It’s nice and all but I love a season. Fall has my favorite type of weather. I’m from Seattle, so I always feel more comfortable this time of year.”