the grub street diet

Laura Kim Is Running on Sugar and Jamón

“I love the Spanish ham — the leg — they have on display. The guy carving it is really handsome.”

Kim, who spent a lot of time at Rockefeller Center the other week. Illustration: Sarah Kilcoyne
Kim, who spent a lot of time at Rockefeller Center the other week. Illustration: Sarah Kilcoyne

As the creative director at both Oscar de la Renta and Monse (where she is also a co-founder), Laura Kim has a lot on her mind. But lately, her thoughts have been occupied by aliens: “They’re a big theme for our fall collection,” she says. “Are they here? Are they not here? It’s something that spooks me a lot.” One thing she was thinking about a little less than usual during the frenzy of Fashion Week was trying to keep a healthy diet: “You got me on the right week,” she says. “Sometimes I’m like, Oh, I’m going to be vegan, but nope — not during Fashion Week.”

Saturday, February 10
Today my brand, Monse, has our Fashion Week show. My mom always comes and stays with me for NYFW, which is the best. She makes me a beet juice with grapefruit and ginger.

Usually, I have a very healthful diet filled with vegetables. But I also really have a sweet tooth and love pastries. I run to Lodi to get coffee, orange juice, and their giant bombolone. Feels like I’m in Italy for a second.

I head upstairs to get as much work done as I can before the show. I’m sick, and I’m upset about it because I’m never sick. I think I overdid it, to be honest. I worked too much and sometimes you don’t calculate the mental stress into how much you do, and I don’t really feel the stress because I think my brain blocks it — so it hits you and you’re not expecting it. I’m doing DayQuil and water backstage. I also have two coffees from Café Grumpy. I’m grumpy at work, so everyone’s like, that’s funny.

Around 4:30, I run back down to Lodi to do the seating for dinner. I wasn’t going to have a drink, but I see the people next to me having a martini and it comes on such a pretty plate. I’m like, I want what they’re having. And I have some buckwheat carrot cake with it. I’m literally only consuming sugar.

It’s showtime! We paired a theme of aliens with inspiration from old tapestries from the 1700s. From far away, many of the pieces look like a classic tapestry fabric, but if you look closely, there’s a little alien UFO landing. This is the first show that I personally raised money for, so I am feeling very accomplished and proud. I walk the runway with my business partner Fernando and do a few press interviews, and then go to meet friends at Naro. I’m still feeling a little sick, but I am running on adrenaline and happy to celebrate the collection.

Next, we’re hosting a party for the collection at the Bazaar at the Ritz-Carlton in Nomad. I love the Spanish ham — the leg — they have on display. The guy carving it is really handsome. I take a few bites, but I don’t get to eat too much because I don’t want to take off my mask and reveal my germs.

Everyone knows I’m sick, and Dayssi, who owns the hotel, is constantly delivering me tea and hot toddies through the night. It’s so nice.

Sunday, February 11
I sleep pretty late and go to breakfast with my boyfriend at La Mercerie because we live nearby and we go there almost every weekend. I just want to live there. They also allow dogs, so we take our dog, King. They may not know my name here, but they know King. We always order the same thing, so we don’t even look at the menu: crêpe complète, which is a buckwheat crêpe with a sunny side-up egg, ham, and cheese, and a green salad.

From there, I head to the Oscar de la Renta offices to finish the collection. We order Le Botaniste takeout at the office. I have chili that tastes like meat but is completely vegan. I also have a mushroom coffee and a turmeric-onion pickle. I eat the whole bowl of that, and it probably doesn’t smell great, but oh well.

For dinner, I go back to Naro with my business partner Fernando. It’s run by my favorite restaurateurs in the world. Another restaurant of theirs, Atomix, is my favorite restaurant in the world. I just can’t find anything else that i like better. Naro is such a cute restaurant, they have amazing food, and they’re one subway stop from the Oscar office.

We have tangpyeong-chae (mung-bean jelly salad), gamtae roll (my favorite seaweed made into a roll), king salmon bibimbap with uni, and a Korean pear dessert.

Monday, February 12
I’m still feeling super sick, so I stay home. I never take a day off, but I’m dying sick, so I stay home on the couch. I get takeout pastries, which I never do. I also order a tabbouleh grain bowl with smoked salmon that I’ll have for lunch and a mushroom toast. I won’t eat all of it; I am definitely ordering for three people.

I’m not very good at sitting and watching TV, so I just work on my phone all day. It was so nice not to leave the apartment all day, so I think that cures me a little bit.

I’m too tired to cook, so I take my boyfriend out for dinner at Ma.Dé. We order lobster dumplings, which come with caviar on top, and a yuzu martini, which comes with caviar on the side. I always sit in the window seat here, which I love even in the winter.

Before bed, I have Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, my favorite, and watch about 15 minutes of a Korean drama. I try to do that so I don’t dream about work. I’d rather dream about someone falling in love than have fashion nightmares about chasing my samples.

Tuesday, February 13
When it’s not Fashion Week, I make sure we eat lots of color. My mom always says that you have to eat the rainbow to get all your different vitamins. So I usually pick a color every day of the week. This week I only did it once: I make a green crêpe by blending spinach with flour, egg, and water. I put egg and avocado and different kinds of greens in it, and we drink green juice. I head to work for a little bit to keep finalizing the collection.

I have dinner with Ezra, my best friend, and my business partner Fernando, at Le Rock. It’s early, so we don’t do a main course. We have a seafood platter, caviar dip, and their amazing baguettes. One of my favorite things at French restaurants is the radishes with salt and butter. I don’t know what it is about it — I just love it so much. The person who introduced me to it was super French. She was like, Oh, in France we don’t need fries because this is what we eat. She was making fun of me because I eat so many French fries. We had some Champagne, too — it really feels like Paris there.

After that, we get on the subway to go to a Vogue party at Temple Bar. I’m a subway girl — there’s no way I’m taking a cab at six o’clock.

The party is super fun. Fashion Week is like riding a fashion bus every day — you see same people and go to the same parties. I love seeing what people are wearing because people are dressing extra, so it’s very inspiring.

I leave the Vogue party early and have a pretty chill evening. Everyone else goes to another dinner, and I come home and play with King and eat a bunch of Pocky. I love synthetic strawberry flavor — there’s a smell to it, and it’s almost bad how much I like that.

Wednesday, February 14
It’s Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend and I love making quiche at home. I bought a heart-shaped mold for Valentine’s last year, but I still have it. I make him a heart-shaped quiche and put chopped tomato on top to make it red.

Paris Hilton did this Walmart collab, which is apparently doing so well. It’s a whole kitchen set, all pink. She sent everything to me, so I made a pineapple Bundt cake in the pink mold. That’s just for me.

My boyfriend hates going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day because it’s all couples holding hands. He just refuses to go out, but we don’t want to cook either, so I pick up a plate of jamón at Despaña for us. It’s so expensive! I was expecting it to be around $30, and they’re like, Oh, it’s $100. It really made me appreciate the Ritz dinner where they were carving it all night. I get that with some cheese and baguette for our ham dinner.

I have some of my pink pineapple Bundt cake for dessert, along with some Ladurée cake that my boyfriend gives me for Valentine’s Day. Then we play ball with King before bed because he’s a little sports boy.

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