Aside from being a regular correspondent on The Daily Show, Aasif Mandvi is a prominent actor and has co-written a film Seven to the Palace. Loosely based on his Obie-winning play, Sakina’s Restaurant, and set partly in a Jackson Heights eatery, it deals with a chef’s relationship to food: “Indian cuisine has a lot to do with how you’re feeling,” says Mandvi. “It comes out of a tradition of a pinch of this, and a dash of that.” Though Mandvi played a pizza-parlor owner in Spider-Man 2 (and then in a Dominos commercial), he doesn’t eat much of the stuff himself. So what does he eat? Over to you, Aasif…
Thursday, June 28
I had some oatmeal. I get into breakfast grooves — it’s the most fun meal of the day for me. I went through two years where all I ate was an egg-white omelette with Feta and tomato. Before that I was a cereal guy. Now I’m in an oatmeal phase — oatmeal with berries and nuts. I’ll probably eat that every day for the next two years.
Wednesday, June 27
During the week at The Daily Show we get a catered lunch. It’s great. We have a different thing every day. This day was roast beef. It was like a steak, so I had that with vegetables.
For dinner I went to Peter’s and had a chicken Caesar — it’s a cool, relaxing restaurant-bar that I like to go to. It’s a great place to meet people after work. I was introduced to it the night of September 11 — it was the only place I could get a table. Some friends and I spent four hours there.
Tuesday, June 26
I had chicken breast for lunch, and some brown rice and some vegetables.
I got tuna salad from Gigi by my house. It’s a place where you can make your own salad. I live on the Upper West Side. I haven’t explored as many of the restaurants as I should, but there’s a great hummus-and-falafel place I go to on 72nd and Columbus.
Monday, June 25
I had fish for lunch. I stay very close to eating vegetables and a lot of fruit. Mostly my diet is pretty simple and healthy, except when I eat Indian food — then I go crazy.
I was involved in a reading, “At War: American Playwrights Respond to Iraq,” at the National Arts Club, so I didn’t actually have dinner. They had hummus, vegetables — I ate some of that.
Sunday, June 24
I took this hellish long flight from California. I had Blue Chips on the plane. I was really hungry afterward so I had a burger at Peter’s, medium-well. They have pretty good burgers there.
Saturday, June 23
I was at this event in Napa called Tamarind Grove, a South Asian retreat. We had an Indian feast. It was literally everything — lamb, chicken, various rices, dahl, and nan. I eat Indian a couple times a month. I have a favorite place, Dawat, and I love to go down to 6th Street. You’re never going to get the real thing, but I just like the kitsch of it.