My Dinner with Johnny

Michael Nagrant / 09.18.19

When Vittles & Superiority, the stalwart glossy arbiter of all things edible, calls asking if you’d be willing to document everything you eat for their monthly food diary feature, “Shame to All Others with Stomachs”, you DO NOT say no!

Especially, if like me, you’re running, the hottest forest to table restaurant in Miami, you need to keep flying close to the sun with the media opps. Everything, from the plates to the flatware to the tables at the restaurant, is constructed from virgin 100-year-old plus Sequoias my wife and I felled. (Full disclosure: actually, a dude from Portland named Jax wearing sweet Chromexcel leather hiking boots did the actual felling, to make room for our off-grid 25,000 square foot country estate.)


You do, however, delay Vittles by six weeks, so that you can secure Anabola Steiner, the great Austrian trainer to destroy your soul and tune your body with his signature regimen, Timberfit (the old tree stumps come in handy). After all, there will be a whole companion Instagram diary and TikTok video feature to accompany the magazine diary, so I must be shredded.

Sunday, Oct 21st

Even though this was technically the first day of the food diary, I also needed to do a cleanse with my guru Russell Brand, to get my temple ready to ingest all the things I never actually eat in normal life, i.e. when I’m not fronting for magazines.

We did shots of Ayahuasca tea at 4 a.m.. I spent the rest of the day vomiting and hallucinating. At one point, St. Tony Bourdain came to me in a Red Bull jumpsuit (he had wings!) promising to take my digestive system to parts unknown.

When I returned to lucidity at 9:27 PM, Brand was doing a naked bongo rendition of “I Kissed A Girl” with Matthew McConaughey.

Famished, I summoned my personal chef Antony, and asked for almonds (he can’t cook, but he’s hot).

Antony brought me seven pumpkin-spiced almonds (I like to keep things seasonal). I savored each one, except for the seventh. I planted that almond behind the pool house, in hopes of reforesting our plantation with a copse of almond bushes. For jam lovers, it is recommend mango habanero jam

Monday Oct 22

So, we should get this out of the way. I don’t drink coffee. I do not want to exploit anyone who lives on a mountain. This is very important to me. Also, I generally like to stay alkaline. But, I do need a pick me up, and so did a few bumps of Peruvian pep powder. It comes in handy when you have to wake up at 3:30 a.m. just to call Elon Musk, a known early-riser, and scream “Early bird wins the space shuttle war, bitch”. 

Amped, I went out to our recently stocked duck pond this morning and shot a few ducks (we were out of duck fat) with my new Fabbri shotgun (I used buckshot because I find, that while toxic, extra lead gives the fat a unique terroir, which overrules any side effects) and grabbed a few eggs. I flew in a dumpling dude (jeah, baozoiiiii) from Lanzhou, to make us duck egg custard buns for breakfast. Zhao, that’s his first name, or is it his last name? I forgot to ask. Anyways, Zhao, paints the tops of the buns to look like golden delicious apples, because my kids Ashwin, Hufflepuff, and Noodle, hate gluten, and will only eat the buns if they are tricked in to believing they’re devouring fruit.

Zhao also makes us Chinese duck sausage confited in lead-tainted duck lard. The metallic tang of the meat is kind of zingy, and wakes you up, as if you’re chewing on aluminum foil.

For lunch, I want to cook Thomas Keller’s “Oysters and Pearls”, but I have a shellfish allergy, so it’s actually going to be a riff called ocelot testicles and pearl jam. I try to fire up the La Cornue carbon fiber range in the servant’s catering kitchen, but I am having trouble.

No worries. Jax lends me an axe and I fell some of the few remaining trees, which, bonus, one has an ivory billed woodpecker living in it. I build a small fire behind the house, throw in some aromatic grapevine cuttings and grill the hell out of that pecker. We finish with blue speckled turnips baked directly in the hot coals (Noodle wanted baked potatoes, but we never do hardcore carbs before 6 p.m. in our house).

Dinner, is mostly (because I don’t trust my chef) quality-control tasting at the Miami restaurant. I run around the kitchen, dip fingers in all the sauces and tear off pieces of protein mid-saute. The cooks are worried that I might contaminate a guest’s dish, but I assure them I have been nut free since Sunday.

Tuesday Oct 23rd

Fuck it, this writing thing is hard. I can barely wake up this morning after finishing the first few entries. So, I call Gerhard, my general life sherpa, and tell him I need coffee, stat, and that he better know how to use the vintage Gothot roaster we bought at auction at Davos last year. He also better know the right roast temp, because the beans we bought which were harvested from the shit of an albino cheetah cost like 997 bucks a pound and if they get burnt, well…let’s not go there…well, let’s just say I don’t believe in violence and so I will have to relieve my anger by squeezing a giant anal crystal that I bought from GOOP online, to relieve the stress.

Turns out Jax used to be a barista, and breakfast is the finest cheetah dookie cappuccino, and a Jiffy corn muffin (my mom used to make these. It was one of the few good memories I had growing up in a Baltimore crackhouse).

I skip lunch, because I am now stressed out. I NEED to procure models stat, for like tomorrow, because not only will there be a photoshoot for this piece, but there will also be a photoshoot for my home wine dinner for Oenophiliac magazine. Technically I need to procure a photographer too because neither publication can afford to send their own, and they wondered if I “had some pics you could send.”

But, photogs are easy. Models are not. They used to be. I mean I was tight with Naomi and Kate, and the other Kate, and what not, but I forgot they were all generally food intolerant and I made the mistake of ordering too much chow fun for everyone at Davé during fashion week.  Kate vomited on Bowie’s lap…he did a whole album about it, which should count for something, but they all hate me now.

Thank god for social media tho. Looks like I can get a bunch of reasonably attractive influencers to show up for $5,000 bucks each. Plus, Johnny Depp is so fucked financially, he’s coming for a single case of Chateau Petrus. I didn’t invite him, but I also know Questlove will show up. The photos are going to be hot.

I also skipped dinner because I was nervous about tomorrow, however, one of the conceits of the magazine dinner photo shoot is like a retro-Prohibition thing, so we got an old clawfoot bathtub and filled it with magnums of Dom Perignon 1982. We were gonna do 1979, but someone suggested that we might be promoting a nostalgia for America during the Iranian hostage crisis with that vintage, and we didn’t want to be insensitive. Once we got the tub set up, I sat on the lip, cried thick elephant tears of exhaustion, popped open one of the magnums and glugged my dinner.

Weds October 24th

So, for the Vittles diary and wine mag photo shoot, I also wanted to do a local sustainable backyard garden to mesa (literally, we had a mesa built on our acreage quarried with red rocks from New Mexico) theme. Problem is we had no garden, so I sent Gerhard to Whole Foods to buy a bunch of produce, and then we replanted a bunch of root veg in a soil plot near the guest house. 

Then we got some shots of me digging everything up with a golden hoe, literally and figuratively, my old friend Heidi Fleiss (Ghislaine Maxwell was tied up in court) stood behind me as I removed potatoes from the loamy soil with Ashwin’s Minecraft-edition golden hoe.

The best shots however (and this was lunch and breakfast) were of me tearing in to raw golden beets with my new veneers, while loamy soil dribbled off the sharp sideburn stubble of my undercut and across the downy thistle of my beard.

Things generally went well with the photo shoot dinner. The tagliosorrentino (basically a new pasta shape I invented to honor my Jersey Shore buddy The Situation’s release from prison) went over super good with everyone, including Johnny, who did impressions of Keith Richards and Captain Jack Sparrow to show us the subtle variations between the two characters during dinner.

Depp came in character.

However, one of the influencers we invited had recently lost one million followers due to an unfortunate incident of posting a selfie he took with Dave Chappelle after Chappelle’s last Netflix special. Jake was distraught and trying to build back up his follower count, so he convinced a Bourdeaux-sodden Depp to hold hands with him as they jumped off the top of our nearby alpaca barn and yelled “WE’RE GOLDEN GODS!”  Legs were broken.  Johnny was cool, though, because he was doing the new Joe Theismann-biopic, and felt this was totally method.

Thurs Oct 25th

So, I forgot to drop this science. My wife is working on a new cookbook, it’s called Unfood: How to Cook Free of Everything Without Actually Cooking, In Five Minutes or Less. Thursdays are her recipe testing days, and so breakfast and lunch and dinner were three separate flavored bouillon-style cubes, made from distilled Fiji water and different flavors of La Croix.

Still hungry, Hufflepuff and I flew to Denmark on our Gulfstream G6 (the tail code of the plane is 0U812-3ATM3) for fourth meal at the new Noma-inspired Taco Bell. The algae-stuffed hay-smoked chalupas were to die for.

Friday Oct 26th

One of the photos the editors asked for for the Vittles & Superiority diary was of the inside of my refrigerator. We didn’t actually have a refrigerator in our house, because Gerhard shops at the local farm markets for our daily provisions, so we had to buy one.

We settled on a Meneghini La Cambusa , because 1) it has a built in flat screen TV (we have never watched TV in our house and since we were breaking all the rules this week, why not?), and 2) it has a built in coffee maker (after all, I was back on the wagon).

Now we only put stuff in there that I would absolutely have on hand in the refrigerator of my mind. There was a row of duck eggs, a diamond-crusted decanter of lead-spiked duck fat, a 97-day-old dry-aged rib roast, a color-coordinated assortment of La Croix (to honor my wife’s sponsored cookbook), and a case of Miller High Life.

Watching Gerhard and Jax hook up this fridge set-up distracted me from breakfast and lunch, but I cracked open a High Life for dinner, because, you know, Champagne of beers, and all that.