the new york diet

This Is Why Rapper MIMS Likes His Tea Hot

“I love shrimp—cocktail shrimp, shrimp-fried rice, anything that deals with shrimp.”Photo: Melissa Hom

Ever since his club banger “This Is Why I’m Hot” went to No. 1, Sean Mims has lived on the road, touring behind his new album, Music Is My Savior. What does he miss the most about his hometown? First off, the habichuela con dulce that push-cart vendors sell in his native Washington Heights. “It’s one of the best things,” he says. “It’s beans and a sweet milk mixed together with cookies. It’s almost like a thick sweet tea.” He didn’t make it uptown when he was in town this week for a show at Avalon, but over a plate of sautéed jumbo shrimp, string beans, and a hot tea at Keens Steakhouse he told us what else he’s been eating.

Wednesday, May 9
I love shrimp — cocktail shrimp, shrimp-fried rice, anything that deals with shrimp. I love the texture of it. This is my first time at Keens. I wanted to order some steak, but steak is sometimes heavy. Because I have a couple of shows tonight I want to make sure I’m as light as possible. I always drink hot tea because when I perform, my voice gets really worn down. There’s something about hot water that — not to sound graphic — when it hits your throat, it feels good.

Earlier I was at Blue Fin. I was doing MTV. I had a shrimp tempura hand roll. I’ve explored raw sushi, but I haven’t acquired the taste — I can’t eat raw sushi alone. Tempura is the safe way out.

Tuesday, May 8
I ate shrimp-tempura rolls at SushiSamba. I’ve been on a roll with it! It’s easy to order. It’s quick to make but not as heavy as a lot of the meals you can order within fifteen to twenty minutes. Most of the times that’s all I have to eat. Yesterday I was doing a lot of interviews. It was like, eat what you can and get out.

Dinner, I will not lie — I had a No. 1 at McDonald’s, the Big Mac meal. I had to meet up with my accountant. My stomach was growling — for some reason every time you’re in the car and your stomach is growling the first place you see is McDonald’s. Somebody had to pick up the food for me so instead of me giving a complicated order — “I’ll take a number one.” I tend not to eat as much fries or drink as much soda. I make my way through three-fourths of the burger and then I’m done and I drink water to wash it down.

Monday, May 7
I flew in from Salt Lake City early in the morning. I got a breakfast sandwich from the airport. I had one of the worst experiences on a plane eating food, on a long flight from California. They were giving away this barbecue-chicken sandwich. I put my tissue down on my lap, ready to rip open the sandwich. I looked in it and the barbecue meat was dripping. It was basically barbecued water bread. Ever since then I don’t eat on planes anymore, even if I’m first class.

I’m staying at the Thom so I got a couple slices at Ray’s Pizza around the corner. I had a meeting that night — it helped me out because I could eat and talk which is mostly what I do every day. I’m not only picky about where I get pizza; I’m also picky about my particular piece of pizza. I’ll go in and say, “I want this piece right there,” and point right to the center.

Sunday, May 6
That morning [on the bus to Salt Lake City] the first thing I ate was Sonic. I saw it and I was like, “Man, I never ate at Sonic. Let me stop there.” It was great. I got a burger with some bacon on it and a fruity slush drink.

In Salt Lake City we had the show catered. The food was immaculate: It was an upscale soul-food type of a situation. You had your macaroni and cheese, your sautéed chicken. It was so good I took two plates — I snuck one plate out. I’ve been known as the only artist that my concert riders are the most simplest. On my rider I have water and towels. I’ve seen a lot of artists get fried chicken, skittles, red M&M’s, a certain type of water only found in certain states … I like to make the job easy as possible on the promoters; that way they don’t have any problems about paying me my money.

Saturday, May 5
I was in Las Vegas. I went to the mall and ate at one of those teriyaki-chicken spots — it was the worst food I’ve had this year so far. The noodles were dry, the rice was dry, the chicken was oily. I made it through three or four spoonfuls before I decided I couldn’t eat it. I played at the Mirage. After the show I was deciding on eating, but my bus had to drive to Salt Lake City. Dinner sometimes comes at 1 a.m.; it’s always my most unhealthy meal — the fast-food restaurant or the Waffle House.

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