L.A. Diet

Grey’s Anatomy Actor Jesse Williams Has a Great Caterer on the Set of His New Movie

Jesse Williams digs in
Jesse Williams digs in Photo: Ken Goldstein

On Grey’s Anatomy, which wraps its eighth season tomorrow, Jesse Williams’s character is probably most famous for deflowering a virginal resident. In real life, though, Williams spends his time seeking out the most soulful food wherever he is, which means tacos on the streets of L.A., grilled oysters in Northern California, or pasta in Rome. The guy is so into it that he even posts photos about his finds online. “I have an iron stomach,” the actor says. “I’m not sensationalist about it, but I eat what the people eat wherever I am … You have to know the rules to break the rules.” In between filming two movies around town — the drag racing biopic Snake & Mongoose, which he’s also co-producing; and a Western, They Die by Dawn — Williams fuels up on his favorite carnitas, Chicago-style pizza, and pumpkin pie. We’ll have what he’s having in today’s L.A. Diet.

Wednesday, May 9
I usually wake up pretty early, whether I’m going to box or go straight to work. Most mornings I grab a Fage yogurt and some fruit out of the fridge, or a juice from Beverly Hills Juice. I rarely deviate because it’s on the run and I like to start the day kind of light.

I went to the set, today was They Die by Dawn, which was being filmed in Newhall Ranch. For lunch we had a great caterer who served fresh veggies, chicken, and salmon during our short break.

After I was done shooting, I met up with some buddies who were over by Alegria on Sunset, one of my favorite Mexican spots in L.A. I had a mean carnitas plate with fresh corn tortillas, beans, guac and crema, hot sauce, of course, and an agua fresca de fresa. I usually get the carnitas plate there. Alegria usually has the mother or grandmother in the kitchen. She’s a big fan of the show [Grey’s Anatomy], so I’ll sit and talk with her a bit. If I don’t see her in the kitchen, I don’t go in. I like my chefs to be over 50 when it comes to family-style, traditional, cultural food.

Thursday, May 10
I started with a “Banana Manna” — almond milk with apple, lemon, and triple ginger juice, from Beverly Hills Juice. It’s their signature thing, it’s pretty great. Then I headed back to set for They Die by Dawn. We were spoiled for lunch with lobster tail and steak on the grill, avocado salad, and watermelon for dessert. This awesome chef, I forget his name, he baked fresh cookies on his truck. Having lobster tail on the set is very rare and surprising. A couple hundred people dressed in western garb, and getting to know each other over lobster. It was nice.

For dinner, I threw some pork chops on the grill at home. I made a green salad with lemon-and-red-wine vinaigrette, some Persian cucumbers, and red peppers, and red wine to drink. I’m into these Persian cucumbers right now. Sometimes we get them at the farmers’ market, or maybe Trader Joe’s. Sometimes I just cut them up and eat them for a snack.

Friday, May 11
I flew up to Northern California for my brother-in-law’s birthday, to the Tomales Bay Oyster Farm. We had a great group of family and friends, a cooler stocked with wine and sausage and salad. We had our limes and various hot sauces lined up; we kind of have a competition with the hot sauces. Get our shucking gloves, and get it going.

The place is pretty amazing, it’s an oyster farm with grills and picnic tables right on the water. You order bags of oysters fresh, directly out of the water, and throw ‘em immediately on the grill. Now I will say, the experience is under threat of being ruined now that everyone knows about it, and fools come in by the busload, but it’s absolutely worth checking out. It’s like a battlefield. You have to get there early to claim your ground. We were there all day, grilling oysters, clams, sausages. Went back to S.F. and then flew back down.

Saturday, May 12
Woke up, went to the Beverly Hills Juice Club. Just apple, lemon, triple ginger juice this time. Headed to work, a different movie, a comedy called Rich Girl Problems, with Ellie Kemper from The Office. We were at this beautiful mansion off of Mulholland. For lunch, I had some lentils, Moroccan chicken, and broccolini with vinegar and chile flakes. That’s something I could eat all day, broccolini with chile flakes. For a snack later, I had some dried, un-sulfured, un-sugared mangoes. I always have those on hand. I had to go at them that day. It was a long first half of the day.

Later, we had dinner at True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica. Yellow penang curry with chicken, and kale salad with lemon vinaigrette. The kale salad was great; a little heavy on the parmesan.

Sunday, May 13
Back at the Beverly Hills Juice Club, I had the Banana Manna shake. The place is all of seven-square-feet standing. You’d never see it if you drove by.

Lunch was on set of Snake & Mongoose, this time we were filming in Tujunga. I had linguine with cherry tomatoes and olive oil, some blueberry pie, and five oatmeal cookies. Yeah, sometimes you have to make a statement.

We had dinner at home, delivery from Hollywood Pies, Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. We order the “Bugsy,” pepperoni and sausage. Now this place is special, but originally it was referred to as “the shady pizza situation.” You order it online or call it in, and then drive to a parking lot on La Cienega between a strip club and a motel. You pull over on the side of the road, and a guy in an apron strolls out with your fresh pie, knocks on your car window, and the transaction happens. He swipes your card with an iPad app and you’re golden. It’s damn good!

Monday, May 12
I grabbed some Fage yogurt for breakfast before heading out to the set. Today was my healthy day, until we got creative with the photos for this article! We were filming Snake & Mongoose on location right next to a great old diner, so I went in for a classic American lunch: cheeseburger, fries, a cigarette, and a Coke. I don’t really smoke, but I stayed in character.

Dinner was catered by Heirloom L.A. That food truck is spectacular! Great, clean, fresh food made by an interesting, diverse set of culinary artists. I discovered them at Silverlake Wine.

Came home to a nice slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream from Urth Caffe. I don’t care about the hyped-up, fashionable, I-saw-it-on-TV restaurants, especially in L.A., but this pie is damn good.

Grey’s Anatomy Actor Jesse Williams Has a Great Caterer on the Set