Latin Grammy–award winner Don Omar says his life changed when he moved to the New York area from Puerto Rico four years ago, shortly before his album King of Kings became history’s highest-up reggaeton album in the U.S. charts. “It changed the way I see people, the way I see my job, the way I eat.” For one thing, once he was away from home cooking, he dropped 100 pounds, and with the help of a trainer with whom he spends three hours every morning, he now clocks in at 215 pounds and his waist is a size 38. “I am a fan of well-presented food,” he says, “but it has to be healthy.” That means no rice, bread just once a day, no sugar, no juices, no soda, potatoes just once or twice a week, and no fried foods. Still, that doesn’t keep him from eating well. Here’s what he ate this week as he recorded his fourth album, iDon 2.0, out in December.
Saturday, August 15
I have an omelette every day — I’ll mix it with vegetable, bacon, turkey, ham, a couple of pieces of whole-wheat toast, and a grapefruit juice to cut the grease.
I grabbed some Muscle Milk protein shakes — one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
We went to lunch at the Crab House in Edgewater, New Jersey, and I ate Alaskan king crabs.
We get into the studio at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., and I had dinner at 7 p.m. I spend ten hours daily in the studio. It’s a hard time to be on a diet. In the studio, they bring you the hugest book of menus and they got all the restaurants in the city. If you want to have Thai food you go to the Thai section and look for every Thai restaurant. I have a driver — everybody orders and we send the driver and one of the guys from the security team. The best thing I ordered was a sushi roll from a place called Mount Kisco — they make an awesome roll with mustard, mayo, soft-shell crab, and they put a white sauce over it. This day, I ordered fish tacos from Mama Mexico. I love Mexican food because they can bring a lot of protein to a meal. If you order a chicken fajita from Mama Mexico, they’re so generous.
Sunday, August 16
I don’t actually eat well on Sunday — I take a free day. I try to do it well from Monday to [Saturday], but on Sundays, bro, you need a little antojito. In the morning we went to the Valley Diner in Jersey. I like having breakfast in the diner — I usually grab egg whites, fruit salad.
Then we spent five hours in Pennsylvania at the shooting range. I love to go to the Poconos, where there’s a great place called the Sunset Hill Shooting Range. I’m learning skeet shooting; it’s a great, great sport. We went to a restaurant and I grabbed some New York sirloin. I like these places where you can go and enjoy a great piece of meat, but they also got a vibe in the restaurant. If you go to Gallagher’s, you can feel that there was history in that place. You go to Capital Grille, they make you feel like you’re eating on a higher level.
I remember I was at the Capital Grille and there was a huge, high-class Latin-American family. They told me, “We felt like we were the only Latinos in the place,” and when they see me coming through the door, all of them stood up and said, “Are you Don Omar? What are you doing here?” People just don’t think they’re going to find you in places like this. Also, all the cooks and the people from the kitchen are Latinos like me, and when a waiter or somebody says Don Omar is here, everybody goes out. It’s like, “Guys, don’t you have anything to do? There’s people waiting for their food!” It’s good for me, because my people help this city develop a great culture. I see restaurant people who go and try out restaurant after restaurant — it’s a culture. And my people are helping them — my people are bringing good food to the table, bringing the flavors.
Monday, August 17
I grabbed a turkey sandwich in the morning at home. My lunch was in Manhattan — somebody ordered me a baked potato with vegetables. I snacked on roasted almonds in Times Square, and in the night I had a chicken-and-steak salad from the Red Eye. They have great seafood — I’m a fan of fish, bro.
Tuesday, August 18
I grabbed a Muscle Milk bar in the morning. As a snack I grabbed some fruit, and for lunch I had steak with mashed potatoes. I ordered it from the studio. I had lemonade and fruit for a dessert. In the afternoon we had a coffee and a cookie at the studio as a snack at 3 p.m. And for dinner a half roast chicken with vegetables, also. I ordered it from the studio.
Wednesday, August 19
I went to Pipa and got almonds wrapped in turkey bacon, some shrimp, a little bit of cheese, and a glass of red wine, which is good for me.
My favorite restaurant in the city is Tao. They do the best Japanese shrimp soup — you have to try it, bro. For Puerto Rican, I like to cook myself — I make the best arroz con gandules — you make an asopao de gandules by taking some squash, potatoes, carrots, celery, a little bit of oregano, then you put it in a pan with a little water, a little condiments. When I eat out, I go to Don Coqui, Sofrito, Victor’s Café, and Casa Puerto Rico in Dover, New Jersey. I have to say, my favorite is Victor’s Café. They treat me like a king. When I get there, wow, everybody comes and says hi and works with the table. The food is awesome — you can find Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez having dinner there. Name a Latin-American artist, and they’ll be having dinner like in Puerto Rico, like at home.