the grub street diet

Comedian Grace Kuhlenschmidt Likes a Thick Spread

“Beet hummus is so femme but so butch.”

Grace Kuhlenschmidt in a pool she just filled with vodka sauce. Illustration: Lindsay Mound
Grace Kuhlenschmidt in a pool she just filled with vodka sauce. Illustration: Lindsay Mound

Last year, just before lockdown, Grace Kuhlenschmidt took a new job at a coffee shop, one that she never actually started. Instead, she found herself recording videos and bits at home, blowing up on TikTok. It paid off: She spent this summer filming the next season of Search Party, the acclaimed HBO Max series that happens to be her first show. “It was the coolest experience of my life,” she says, adding that it’s an upgrade from last year’s coolest experiences, which included looking at a new bed stand “for a whole month” and moving from Chicago to New York, to be closer to her girlfriend and friends. 

Monday, August 23
I woke up late and more hungover than I’ve been in a really long time. Yesterday I was at the wrap party of the show I was filming this summer, and the wrap party being on a Sunday I really was expecting an early night. But I guess I need to stop underestimating myself.

I’m in seven episodes of the show, and the only other filming I’ve done I was on set for one day, literally. This was like three months almost, and fully 14-hour days. But it was the coolest experience of my life.

I had a turkey sandwich from a coffee shop, which is something I haven’t had for, I’m sure, two years. It was really bad but it cured me. I’m unsure when I’ll have a turkey sandwich again. This was around like 3 p.m. by the way.

The problem was the sandwich had hard-boiled eggs on it, and I’ve never heard of that in my life. I actually love hard-boiled eggs. I think most of my friends judge me for it. I will eat two hard-boiled eggs every morning. But something about the eggs being on the sandwich, it just wasn’t working for me, and I’d never heard of that before. But the level of hungover I was required toasted wheat bread, and I got it, so I can’t complain too much.

The coffee shop was in Crown Heights, and I was there because my girlfriend just moved and got a new mattress, so I was helping her carry that up. The décor at the coffee shop was what you would see if you were an alien and just looked up “coffee shop.” All the signs were like, “Today’s a perfect day for coffee!” Or, “My day was awful. But then I had coffee!” It felt like an Ikea showroom, almost. You don’t need to have ten of those signs in one room.

For dinner I made salmon and salad for my girlfriend and me. I just did salt and pepper on the salmon, but normally I do love to make a fun glaze. There’s a generic recipe, I don’t know where I get it from, that’s honey mustard, soy sauce, and sriracha.

The reason I went so incredibly simple with the salmon is because I made my favorite salad in the world to make (as of ten days ago, when I invented it). It’s a DIY of the Los Angeles restaurant Joan’s On Third’s Chinese chicken salad. There’s only one thing L.A. does right and it’s Chinese chicken salads. That’s an opinion you don’t get to hear every day.

The Joan’s version is iceberg lettuce and crispy chicken and, like, almonds and li’l crispy wontons. It’s the first salad I ever ate where I was like, Holy shit, I can do it — I can eat salads every single day of my life. But I probably only went there twice a year.

Anyways, my version is only made with rotisserie chicken because I can’t put the effort in to fry chicken, and also I don’t have crispy wontons, but I do add mint and basil because my old roommate changed my life when she put herbs into a salad once. I made that for her … minus the chicken, because if you’re reading closely you’ll remember I said I made salmon.

We basically finished a milk chocolate Lindt bar. I fucking love milk chocolate. My parents and brother are dark-chocolate people, and they are generally smarter than me, academically. They’re all just smart people, they can talk about music and film in a way I just can’t. So preferring milk chocolate, a part of me was like, Am I too stupid?

Tuesday, August 24
I woke up and made an iced latte and ate a packet of RX Bar vanilla almond butter. It’s really so good. I want to make it myself and I think I can, but I never want to actually BUY dates. You know? The containers are always a little bit bigger than I want. I feel like there are always 30 dates in a container, and I only ever need to buy six.

I make an iced latte every morning. I have a moka pot to make my espresso. At the end of the day I hate my moka pot. But I need to have espresso every day of my life … so what am I supposed to do? I use Califa farms oat milk (barista edition) because that’s what they used at the restaurant where I worked before the pandemic. I have heard and keep hearing about how sunflower oil is in a lot of oat milk and that that’s bad for you. So I am super-close to beginning to think about maybe changing my oat milk.

I made a smoothie with kale, arugula, frozen mango, pineapple, mint, and chia seeds. It was good. I had a really stunning time in my life where I had vanilla protein powder, and I felt on top of the world. I was making so many fun smoothies and shakes. But then when I finished the tub of protein powder, I was like, I worry that if I get vanilla protein powder AGAIN, I’ll get sick of it, and I will ruin this amazing thing in my life. I said this to, genuinely, 20 people over the period of a month. So I got chocolate. Unfortunately after like four chocolate protein shakes, I can’t do it anymore. Check in on your loved ones.

For dinner we went to a Mediterranean restaurant called Shuka. We got halloumi and hummus and shawarma. Beet hummus is so femme but so butch. It really is a sexy food. It’s the color and the thickness. It’s so solid.

Wednesday, August 25
We had leftovers from last night’s dinner, plus a fried egg. I made an iced latte and made an iced matcha latte like two hours later. One thing that’s really sexy about me is that I’m a good barista and I never usually buy coffee out and that’s what makes me an incredible bachelor, besides the fact that I’m in a committed relationship.

For lunch I had another smoothie, but I also snacked a ton. Hello! Snacking is so fun. I had some kale chips that are “radical ranch” flavor. I love them, they’re so fucking good. That’s the thing with kale chips — they’re so good. The only problem? Real chips are literally better.

I don’t think I was a big snacker before I moved into my own place. I’m learning.

And kale — that was a big vegetable for me growing up. My mom used to put kale in the food processor so it was really small, and then put that into ground turkey for the turkey burgers she would make, and then basically trick me into eating vegetables, because I wouldn’t notice. I wasn’t super picky, but I was on the pickier side. I think I was only okay with broccoli, because I went to Panda Express enough that even broccoli was one of my favorite things. But kale, I fell in love with maybe two years ago.

For dinner I was super set on making something at home but then I saw a picture of a fish taco, so I ordered fish tacos from Citrico. Fish tacos have been on my mind for a couple weeks. I was supposed to get them with a friend, but we ended up going somewhere different. Then I saw a photo of fish tacos on my fucking Instagram explore page and it worked.

I love slaw on a taco, any cabbage on a taco, really, and a fun, kind of spicy sauce.

Thursday, August 26
Finally got the courage to make a chocolate protein shake with mint. I always have a frozen zucchini, so I put in half of that, a couple ice cubes, and almond milk. The zucchini really works, because it’s kind of like an ice cube or a banana. It thickens things up. But if you don’t blend it enough, and then you have a little chunk of zucchini that is actually the worst thing ever.

It really was fine, and I’m glad I added the mint. Every part of me wishes I wasn’t drinking it, but it was good, it was more that I was being a brat. I’m glad that I did it, because now I’m a little less hesitant.

I ate a ton of Manchego. I love Manchego. Maybe because it tastes kind of mature, it’s like the same texture of cheddar, but I think if I was eating a slice of cheddar, I’d feel like a little kid. There’s something about Manchego — and it’s a little bit pricier, it’s aged three months, six months, 12 months, and I have no idea what that means or if the cheese is better, but it’s exciting to me that I have an option.

For dinner, I made smash burgers with kale Caesar salad. “Smashburgers” is my best skill.

They’re really fun to make. You have a cast iron, and it’s a really fast process where you really feel like a line cook. You have a minute and a half to get these burgers on and flip ’em and put the cheese on and salt and pepper them. I kind of became really addicted to it.

The main thing is American cheese is so fucking good and I had sort of forgotten about it. The butcher I go to, Prospect Butcher Co., has American cheese that they slice for you. I go there all the time. The head butcher is a woman, and it smells amazing in there.

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Comedian Grace Kuhlenschmidt’s Grub Street Diet