L.A. Diet

Superior Donuts Actor Gary Cole Eats at Chain Restaurants, Is a Self-Described ‘Cereal Junkie’

Gary Cole at the Buttermilk Truck.
Gary Cole at the Buttermilk Truck. Photo: Jordan Strauss

Even if you don’t know Gary Cole’s name, you no doubt know his many famous characters: Office Space’s Bill Lumbergh, hopeless Entourage agent Andrew Klein, and Ricky Bobby’s deadbeat dad in Talladega Nights. Now Cole is starring as the owner of a Chicago doughnut shop in the Geffen Playhouse’s production of Superior Donuts, so we wondered just how much, um, “research” Cole had to do before landing the part. “I have no particular expertise in doughnuts,” the actor says, “I like doughnuts. But after spending time on a set where doughnuts are pretty prominently displayed, I’m trying to avoid indulging too much.” Temptation is rampant in Cole’s line of work — “There’s a lot of food available on set” — but the man stays strict about his diet, unless he’s indulging in burgers at the Counter and monstrous desserts at the Cheesecake Factory. For all of the chocolatey details, check out everything the actor ate this week in today’s edition of the L.A. Diet.

Wednesday, June 8
This was the day of the show’s opening. I’m pretty boring in the mornings. I tend to have the same thing every day, which is some variation on cereal. This week it’s Oatmeal Crisps with raisins. And I usually throw some raspberries or blueberries on that or a banana or two on the side. I’m pretty much a creature of habit in the A.M., as you’ll see from Wednesday through Monday. And I take my breakfast with coffee, oh yes. I usually have two large mugs of black coffee and then somewhere in the middle of the day, either I have another mug of coffee about the same size or grab a cappuccino from Starbucks or whatever.

I ate light on Wednesday since it was the show opener. In fact, because of the show, my diet was pretty routine and pretty much all the same. I was skipping lunch and eating a meal in the afternoon before the show. The theater is in Westwood, so I usually get something in that neighborhood, which is especially true on Saturday and Sunday, when we’re doing two shows. So we eat in between shows. I go and grab something in the Westwood area. That day, I skipped lunch entirely.

After the show, since the play takes place in Chicago, they decided to cater it “Chicago-style.” So they had some hot dogs and stuff, but what I had was Lou Malnati’s pizza, which is deep-dish. Although I was pretty wiped out, so it wasn’t the perfect time for me to eat it, but I ate it anyway and it was pretty good. To drink, I just had a club soda.

Thursday, June 9
On Thursday, it was the same old A.M. Oatmeal Crisp with raspberries and two mugs of black coffee. You could pretty much just put quotation marks in for the morning all down the line, as I had the same thing all through the week.

I kinda hit the same spots in the neighborhood, because a lot of times I’ll go with my daughter and she likes the same places. You know, it’s kind of routine, but we try to spread it around. In our neighborhood, we like California Pizza Kitchen, the Daily Grill, and there’s a Mexican restaurant called MexiCali. It’s really kind of a potpourri of everything, nothing real fancy. I was out at places like this all week this week.

So I skipped lunch that day. Then a couple of hours before the show, at like 6 p.m., I ate a cheeseburger from the Counter over here in my neighborhood. It was a burger on an English muffin with tomato and sprouts, along with some sweet-potato fries on the side. They do their burgers pink in the middle — medium, medium well. We do the Counter about once every two weeks for burgers. And I don’t like to eat after the show. I’m kinda just too wiped. I’d say I’m unconscious about an hour and a half after the show.

Friday, June 10
I started out with the same cereal, the only variation probably being the fruit I add with it. Friday was raspberries. For my big meal of the day before the show, I had pasta carbonara at the Cheesecake Factory. The cream sauce is just too heavy, so I can’t do that. So I had to have it with just olive oil. It was good.

This is one of my daughter’s favorite places. We’ve got a thing that we have to go to every Friday that’s near there, so we go to the Cheesecake Factory. I drank water with the meal but then we had some kind of dangerous dessert, like a chocolate peanut butter something cheesecake. Somehow, I was able to restrain myself. Then once the show was over, that’s pretty much it in terms of eating. Once in a while, I may go back and do a little more cereal again when I get home. I’m a cereal junkie. When in doubt, eat cereal.

Saturday, June 11
Just to shake things up a little bit, I did my Oatmeal Crisp cereal with blueberries instead of raspberries this time around. And I had my usual coffee. I don’t drink juice usually; just coffee or water.

I can basically only do two meals these days. One in the A.M., then one in the afternoon. And Saturday especially, as we have two shows. So again I skipped normal lunch hours for a kind of early dinner. That day, in the neighborhood over where the theater is at, there’s a California Pizza Kitchen, which I’ve been going to for years, ‘cause my daughter loves it. But they have a grilled chicken on onion and herb foccacia bread that I like with split-pea soup. It was good. That was my last meal of the day.

Sunday, June 12
Started out with the same cereal. I think I might have thrown bananas in that day, with some blueberries. For lunch, we find ourselves again over in Westwood where the theater is at and there are a couple of places over there I like. I went to Jerry’s Deli. We went there in between shows because they were showing the basketball game and we were able to see the first half. I wasn’t that surprised by the outcome. I think that Dallas is the better team. I think they play as a team better.

So I decided to have breakfast at dinner time. I had a couple of scrambled eggs with some turkey sausage, a sesame bagel, and some fruit. It was delicious, great strawberries and melon. That was my last meal on Sunday. We did the show and I went home to bed.

Monday, June 13
I’ll give you three wild guesses as to what was for breakfast that morning … That would be some cereal, and I had my coffee as usual. But we ran out of blueberries. I polished off the last of them the day before.

We’re off of the show on Monday nights, but I still stuck to just two meals that day. For dinner, my wife got ambitious and made Parmesan chicken, one of my favorites. She’s a great cook and that’s one of her specialties. I only do maintenance cooking, like boiling eggs or pasta. Nothing that requires you know, actual, recipe expertise. Nobody would want to eat it.

Superior Donuts Actor Gary Cole Eats at Chain Restaurants, Is a