L.A.-based band Ok Go is best known for their quirky music videos, where the foursome dances on treadmills and fabricates crazy Rube Goldberg machines. Bassist Tim Nordwind and guitarist Andy Ross, both Silver Lake-dwellers, do their best to adhere to the Paleo diet, but indulge their lapses by running a Tumblr called The Cheat Day, which permits followers to detail junk food allowances in an otherwise healthy diet. We gave the guys a good excuse to cheat this week in today’s L.A. Diet. “This week was a little unusual because I had several birthdays so I got to cheat a bit, but that makes for good drama,” says Nordwind. Follow the duo as they fall off the bandwagon, sharing their thoughts on single malt, carb comas, and what could be the city’s best taco along the way.
Wednesday, July 25
Tim Nordwind: I skipped breakfast. But for lunch that day, I pan-seared a grass-fed organic rib eye steak on a cast iron skillet, and seasoned that with some sea salt and pepper. I made arugula salad with sea salt and olive oil. After that, things went downhill.
It was one of my best friend’s birthdays, so I went to El Conquistador for dinner. I was all set on being Paleo, but then I got a drink in me and decided it was my best friend’s birthday and I wanted to enjoy it. So I got some asada tacos and an enchilada and two mango margaritas. Whoops.
At the end of it all, the group wanted to go to a bar, but my girlfriend and I decided to call it early. We went to Froyo Life in Los Feliz and I got simple chocolate yogurt with a brownie and Captain Crunch Berries on the side. So, yeah, I definitely had a cheat night. Having done Paleo for almost two years now, I think having a cheat day is the reason I can sustain the other six. I mean, most weeks it’s just one day a week, but this week was a little different. I blame you guys.
Thursday, July 26
TN: I woke up and was definitely on a carb and margarita hangover, so I went back into Paleo mode. I cooked up two eggs sunny side up, some Brussels sprouts, and uncured applewood smoked bacon.
For lunch I had some of the leftover rib eye, two Italian sausages, and arugula salad. I like arugula because it’s a slightly spicier green, and has more taste than spinach.
For dinner, I wasn’t very hungry so I had some organic blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. They say that the darker the berry, the better it is. So I wouldn’t do pineapple or watermelon.
Friday, July 27
TN: Over breakfast, I stayed strong. I met a friend at Cafe Stella in Silver Lake and ordered the Moroccan eggs, which is basically two poached eggs with merguez sausage and stewed tomatoes on top. That’s one of my favorite breakfasts in town.
Some friends of mine played a show at MOCA later that night, and we had another birthday to celebrate, so after the show so we decided to go to Greenblatt’s, one of my favorite Jewish delis in Los Angeles. Normally when I’m keeping Paleo, I’ll just order a pile of pastrami, but this time I went all out and got a corned beef on rye with yellow mustard. For dessert, we ordered the lemon meringue cake and the hot fudge chocolate cake. That hot fudge cake is probably my favorite dessert in all of Los Angeles. Warmed-up chocolate always tastes good.
When I woke up, I knew cheat week was in full effect, so my girlfriend and I went to Square One in Silver Lake for what is probably the best French toast in L.A. It’s so soft and cakey. I ate four pieces with syrup and bananas on top.
I think I was a little appalled at how much I was eating at this point, so when lunch rolled around I just kept on at it and went to Tomato Pie, had two slices, and then went back to Froyo Life and did my simple chocolate with a brownie and Captain Crunch. I came home and fell into the deepest, darkest carb hole, slept, and woke up in a pool of drool. I crashed so hard.
Then my friend had a birthday party. He just had the craziest spread of sweets and cupcakes, so I feasted on a buffet of cupcakes from Crumbs and all sorts of other normally off-limits things.
Saturday, July 28
Andy Ross: I started out the day with this recipe on Cris Kresser’s Paleo site and it’s called the Cowboy Breakfast. It’s a mix of sweet potatoes, avocados, eggs, and half a cup of butter that the sweet potatoes are in. My wife and I actually eat this thing about three times a week; I’ve really dialed it in. We met this really nice farmer at the Atwater Village farmers market who feeds his chickens garbanzo beans and the yolks are almost red.
I had a protein shake for lunch, made with light coconut milk, berries, protein powder. I do a lot of strength training, so I do whey because that seems to be what most people that lift use. I used to do it with raw milk, but I definitely have a slight intolerance with milk. Coconut products replace a lot of the dairy for people on Paleo who can’t tolerate it. It has a lot of saturated fat, which is kind of the boogie man in health, but in Paleo we believe that it’s a really good energy source.
Dinner, I was super excited about. I finally found a home for my grass-fed beef that’s not a burger or meatloaf, which both contain gluten, which is a no-no in Paleo. I’ve come up with this recipe called ‘taco surprise!’ - with an exclamation point at the end. That’s very important. It’s grass-fed ground beef with some taco seasoning, avocado, onion, cilantro, on a bed of sweet potato. A lot of people think about paleo being low carb, but it’s not necessarily that. Starches are cool as long as they don’t have gluten or fructose, like a sweet potato.
Sunday, July 29
AR: Sunday was cheat day, so I went for one of my favorite brunch spots, Canele. I don’t even like fried chicken or mayo, and their fried chicken sandwich has both of those things, but it’s just really good. My only complaint with that place is that the service is so slow. As long as you’re not totally famished it’s all good.
Later that day we headed over to a friend’s Olympics party, and he was so psyched about cooking. He’s Korean, so he made these tacos with kimchi, they were amazing. After that, we went on a booze run. I’ve gotten into Scotch lately, and I’m really into Lagavulin. It has this super peaty, super smokey, Band-Aid flavor.
We also grabbed a Sculpin IPA and went for tacos in Highland Park at this awesome spot. I’m I’m not sure of the name, but they grill the carne asada on a charcoal grill instead of on the flat top, and make their own tortillas right there. And they have the al pastor with the pineapple on the top. This is a bold statement, and I think it’s the best taco in L.A. [Ed: We’re guessing it’s El Pelon]
Monday, July 30
AR: I had the cowboy breakfast again: four eggs, sweet potatoes, the hash, and some hot sauce.
Lunch is a tough meal for Paleo because you cant eat sandwiches or things that you can grab easily because of the bread. But today we went over to Lindy & Grundy and got a big board of charcuterie: guanciale, pork pate, lamb bacon—the works.
Dinner was a great: a pan-seared New York strip and a bowl of spinach with some olive oil.