Pop singer Michelle Branch will be an official live-tweeter for the Grammys this Sunday, but you’re more likely to see photos of her soup dumplings than her favorite songs pop up on her feed these days. “I talk more about food on Twitter than music, and sometimes people stop me on the street and ask me to stop tweeting about food,” Branch says. “They say it makes them hungry.” Branch was nominated for several Grammy awards herself in the early aughts, winning one for her work with Carlos Santana. Currently living in The Valley and working on a new album called West Coast Time, Branch is raising both a daughter and a crew of chickens. “They’re just the cutest and make the sweetest noises,” Branch notes of her flock. Needless to say, poultry is her least favorite protein, but she does eat just about everything else, including carne asada tacos, roasted anything, and plenty of string cheese. See everything that hit her plate in this week’s L.A. Diet.
Wednesday, February 1
My daughter goes to school, and I’m still not adjusted from musician hours to mom hours. I was a little hungover from the night before. I had a friend in town playing at the Troubadour and I went out with her. So always the first thing, I have to make coffee. I had some homemade cashew milk in the fridge—I love it, and it’s so easy to make. It tastes like a vanilla milkshake. I also had a cappuccino.
I was craving something fantastic for lunch. One of my favorite spots is Yuca’s on Hillhurst, the taco stand. I got a carne asada taco and a burrito as well—don’t judge. We place our order, and go next door to the little liquor store to get our drinks. I got a giant coconut water. My husband and I went and sat in the park at the Silver Lake reservoir and had a little picnic, which was nice.
The highlight of the day was going to Son of a Gun with my friend and her husband and parents. Son of a Gun is a bit hard for me sometimes because I have this weird inconsistent shellfish allergy. I wish I was just born with it, but I’ve already had a taste of everything and want it. I didn’t do the lobster roll; I figured they didn’t want me dying at the table. But I love their smoked mahi dip and the shrimp toast. I would love to have that toast for breakfast with a fried egg. And I’m obsessed with the linguini with clams. Those are my three favorite things there. But between the six of us, we may have tasted everything on the menu. We were drinking white wine the entire evening and Jon [Shook] brought out something sparkling out to the table. It’s one of my favorite restaurants.
Thursday, February 2
I was feeling guilty from the evening before, so I had a cappuccino and an orange from our tree, and string cheese. I eat so much string cheese. But never peel them, I just eat them in like three bites.
One of my favorite places to get salad is Healthyca in North Hollywood. They have the most fantastic salads. I get the Healthyca salad with avocado, hearts of palm, charred asparagus. I’m not really salad girl, so it’s not something I do every day. But I could literally have this every day for lunch. I get it with apple cider vinaigrette, and they have this quinoa salad that I get on the side. I also got this smoothie, “The Fighter,” with pineapple, grape and orange juice, ginger, and a little cayenne, which is great if you’re feeling like you’re getting sick.
For dinner, we went to Sushi Park with my husband and my daughter. She’s six, but loves sushi. We got lucky, she’ll eat anything and is even more adventurous than my husband and I. Sushi Park is in a little strip mall. On the sign as you walk in, it says ‘no California rolls, no spicy tuna rolls.’ It’s the only place I’ll get omakase, chef’s choice. I just say bring it on. We adore the owners, we’ve been going there forever. We also had some sake and some beer. It was a good night.
Friday, February 3
While drinking my coffee, I was watching The Today Show, and it was all about ‘here are the appetizers and food you should make for the Super Bowl.’ I wanted to go for a hike, but after watching the show, my husband said we should get hot wings instead. I had a kombucha and my coffee, and said ‘alright.’ So we went to the Hot Wings Café on Melrose and proceeded to have wings and fries dipped in ranch dressing and hot sauce. And it was so delicious. Got it out of my system.
For dinner, we went to Canele with my daughter, husband, and friend, Jody, who owns The Griddle Café. I had the little market salad first, then the slow roasted pork shoulder, which has turnips and rutabaga. I love roasting things. Any time I’m making dinner and not going out, I’m roasting things. Roasted grapes were in with the pork, and they were so good, like candy. I roast grapes at home a lot. We also shared a chocolate dessert. It was another nice evening.
Saturday, Februrary 4
It was a late start, we all slept in. We were trying to figure out where to go for breakfast because we didn’t feel like cooking. So we went to Le Pain Quotidien on Ventura. I love their lattes and my husband loves the ham and gruyere croissant. I had eggs; I know they aren’t creepy eggs there. I had a chicken chorizo and cheddar omelet, and it had a little green salad with it. And we all split a giant cookie, a linzer, with the jam in the middle.
Probably the most depressing dinner of the weekend was popcorn and wine. That’s all I ate that afternoon. Saturday we run errands, and by the time we got home, my daughter had never seen Alice in Wonderland. I told her we could watch a movie and make popcorn. So we made a big pot of popcorn on the stove. My daughter loves truffle popcorn, so I put on some white truffle oil, parmesan cheese, butter, and salt. And we sat on the couch and watched a movie. I did make something for my daughter for dinner, but I wasn’t hungry.
Sunday, Februrary 5
I decided to actually cook for my family. I’m not the best cook, but I do consider myself a baker. I usually make pancakes and waffles from scratch, but I had this box of pumpkin waffle mix from Trader Joe’s in the pantry, so I made it. And it was so yummy. I also had a pack of Sunday bacon from Applegate Farms. I love to roast bacon in the oven. I think I saw that on Barefoot Contessa. You get a pan and put a rack on top of it, and put the bacon on top of the rack, and baste it with maple syrup before you take it out. It’s so delicious, like crazy delicious. I also had some orange juice and coffee. We had a nice mellow morning.
It was Super Bowl Sunday and I couldn’t even tell you what teams are playing, but I don’t follow football. So I met my sister-in-law and her kids at the Huntington Gardens, where they were doing a Chinese New Year. There was noodle pulling demonstration and different activities for the kids. It was a fantastic day.
We were going to have food there, they have a little café in the Chinese garden, but the line was too long and the kids were restless. So we went to a really yummy Thai place called Daisy Mint in Pasadena. My mom is part Indonesian, so I grew up with a lot of Indonesian cuisine, and Thai is the closest we can eat. They have this chicken on wilted spinach with peanut sauce on top and we had their pad thai, string beans, and coconut water.
Monday, February 6
I have a juicer, and I try to juice. I make one with kale, parsley, celery, apple, a little bit of ginger, and lime. Especially if I feel like I haven’t had enough greens. I make one of those and then I know I don’t have to feel guilty for the rest of the day.
I was meeting a friend in Santa Monica, and one of my favorite stops is Milo+Olive. I ‘m obsessed with everything they do, at Huckleberry, Rustic Canyon, and Sweet Rose. I just hate that they’re all the way out in Santa Monica. We had their market lettuce salad, and got the butternut squash pizza, with squash and fried egg on top. And roasted pumpkin on the side, which is like candy. And I got some old fashioned donuts to go for my husband and daughter. But we accidentally ate one. I shared it with my friend. I also had cappuccino. They said the first round wasn’t right and wanted to make us a better one.
I was still so full, lunch was kind of late. But for dinner, I love roasting cauliflower, just olive oil, sea salt, pepper and nutmeg on top. And I made a giant salad. My mom has this recipe for dressing, it’s kind of like a Caesar dressing with anchovy paste, garlic, olive oil, vine, dry mustard. It’s my favorite salad dressing. And that was it, just roasted cauliflower and salad for dinner.