Before she was filling TikTok feeds with her “absolutely insufferable female lead of an indie movie,” Delaney Rowe was a personal chef, and she’s noticed a connection between feeding people and chasing views: “I would get live feedback three times a day watching these people eat the food in front of me and be happy,” she says, “They bring you their empty bowls and plates, and you’re just like, Oh, validation — they loved it.”
Thursday, January 18
I wake up, regrettably, hungover to the sound of my boyfriend shooting out of bed like a bullet. My first thought each morning I wake up next to him is, Jesus fucking Christ. His robot eyes open at 7 a.m. sharp. Absolutely insufferable. But he’s very attractive and productive, so I’ll let him have it. I’ve never “sprung” out of bed in my life.
Re: the hangover, I went to an event the night before and thought I really kept the lid on it. Before I left, I had one homemade light dirty martini with Salcombe gin. At the event, I had two glasses of Champagne during cocktail hour, and then the waiter kept refilling my red-wine glass at dinner every two minutes. I’m not really the kind of girl to say, “No, thanks, I’m good.” I just drink what’s in front of me because I’m a grown-up who chooses a life of minimal discipline.
So I have a headache this morning. I lay in bed for an hour and 45 minutes after the boy leaves and check stuff on my phone. Every time I see people’s Instagram photos from, like, the Emmys or whatever, my mind just plays that Janice Ian refrain: Did you have an awesome time? Did you drink awesome shooters, listen to awesome music, and then just sit around and soak up each other’s awesomeness? I’m so jealous it’s disgusting.
Eventually, I get up, have a few performative sips of water, and then grind some Canyon Coffee beans and make a French press. I have this gorgeous, delicate French press that is so beautiful and I just know me or one of my drunk friends will break it any day now. Everyone in my friend group is a liability.
I add skim milk to my coffee, which makes me feel like it’s the ’90s. Skim milk at home and whole milk at coffee shops is how I do it. Self-imposed fake health rules! (I had three cigarettes last night.) I was all into the oat-milk agenda, and then I realized that it was bullshit and you need so much more oat milk to lighten and flavor the coffee. You’re using so much more, whereas you just need a splash of whole or skim. So that’s why I’m pro cow’s milk now.
Not hungry yet. So I go to therapy — in person — on an empty stomach and speak my capital-T truth. My therapist’s office is right next to Cookbook, which is an adorable boutique grocery store. I grab an oolong tea in a can, some broccolini, and some cherry tomatoes. I fervently believe in eating seasonally until I, against my biology, want tomatoes in the winter. It feels like, um, I don’t know, my right as a taxpayer? I’m not Alice Waters, bless her.
Come home, sauté the tomatoes with some spinach, and shred up some chicken breast I have in the fridge. Serve that over brown rice and top with pickled red onion and a little hot sauce, also from Cookbook. I’m resentfully eating like a gym bro during the week right now. It’s a weird new system I’ve got going: carb, vegetable, meat, blah, blah, blah. But I think the small batch of pickled onions add a swagger to my meal a gym bro can only warmly fantasize about.
I go to a meeting. When I come home, I’m in need of a little snack. I don’t like snacking, but when I skip breakfast, like today, I need something so I don’t end up feasting like a horse once dinner arrives. I usually only eat yogurt with savory things — as a sour cream, or to make pasta creamy last minute. But I feel possessed and have Fage Greek yogurt with strawberries served in a cocktail coupe (romanticize your sad, miserable life, they say) that I sweeten with Lakanto Maple Syrup, which is some sugar-free stuff that’ll single-handedly be responsible for the insidious disease developing inside of me.
By this point, I’m hyping myself up to go for a run, but am losing daylight. I go, have more water sips upon my arrival home, and start on dinner. Erewhon sells these chic, adult chicken tenders. It’s Mary’s chicken. Ah, the erotic chokehold Mary and her chickens have all of Los Angeles in. Pop those in the oven. Make some Banza chickpea pasta. I do not — and I cannot stress this enough — give a shit about having an extra bump of protein in my pasta. Worrying about protein consumption is a joke of an endeavor. Brilliant marketing ploy, though. Men will eat anything if you add “protein” to the name. I have real thoughts on protein: If you’re eating enough calories, you’re getting enough protein. It’s as simple as that, of course, unless you’re bodybuilding. I have watched my boyfriend house a pound of ground beef, then put an egg on top, and I look at him like, “…Okay.” But, you know what? He looks really good, so it’s fine.
I sauté the broccolini I bought earlier with a bit of fennel and hit that with fresh lemon juice. Then, I stir in the pasta and the crispy chicken and finish it with a handful of arugula.
Friday, January 19
Wake up after just a horrendous night’s sleep but what’s new? Slept at the boy’s house. We walk to Blue Bottle where I get an americano with whole milk. Delicious. Went on to reheat it in the microwave three times. He gets a bagel sandwich from Yeastie Boys because he eats whatever he wants, which is awesome and probably liberating, and I feel aggressive happiness for him. I am such a good bagel girlfriend. Two weekends ago, I stood in line at Courage Bagels by myself for an hour and 45 minutes and ordered every single thing on the menu because I wanted to bring something special home for him.
Breakfast takes a shocking turn. I get a late start because I become consumed with checking how many likes I’m getting on an Instagram post (not enough because it never is!), and by the time I pull my head out of that hole, I’m ravenous. So I make something quick. Reheat a ground-turkey-jalapeño mixture and have that in lettuce cups with sprouts and chile oil on top. I’m no longer a “breakfast food for breakfast” slut. Years ago, when I was vegan, I learned to eat things like white rice and black beans with ketchup for breakfast. Kinda beatnik of me. I miss her.
Then, a tiny lunch of two spicy chicken sausages with mustard and a handful of strawberries. Moments later, a piece of toasted Ezekiel bread drowned in Kerrygold butter. Moments later, three gherkins. Is this, I fear, “girl lunch”?
It’s Friday, so the group chat is bumping. We’ve decided on Casita del Campo for dinner. A Mexican restaurant near my place. I’ve never been, but upon a cursory Yelp check, the vibes inside appear to be top-notch. As many things happen in the Echo Park/Silver Lake area, people love to take really classic things and give them a second wind. All it needs is a rebrand every few months and people are back and talking about it. So, goddammit, I make myself a light dirty gin martini and Shazam songs from perfume ads on YouTube as I get ready to meet my friends. Buff out some brown lip liner. To use my generation’s unforgivable parlance: I’m in a “girly pop” mood tonight (I’m wearing ballet flats with socks).
At Casita del Campo, I start with a skinny margarita. There is a perpetual basket of chips and a red house salsa always on the table. I suggest we order guacamole, but no one agrees with me because I am the least respected member of the friend group, I presume. My friend, Marlee, is hung up on getting queso fundido. So I offer something radical: por que no los dos? They take the bait. For my entrée, I get chicken enchiladas and a side of — and I use no hyperbole — the best white rice I’ve ever had. It is clearly cooked in chicken stock, and perhaps there is butter present. Then, Marlee, like a rapscallion, orders a round of shots for the table. I comply because I’m an animal for the night and am feeling in strong opposition with the dry-January crowd. After dinner, we move to El Prado — a wine bar with incredible hot dogs. We get two bottles of orange wine and one bottle of chilled red. We run into a group of girls I hardly know but decide to venture with them to Tenants of the Trees — a bar whose patrons look like the Cigfluencers Instagram feed and everyone is named, like, “Sabine.” I have a beer there before I realize I am completely tapped out.
Saturday, January 20
From my slumber, I am ripped by the harrowing Facetime ringtone. Marlee is calling to recap the night, and I tell her I’ll call her later because it’s 8:45 a.m. The boy insists we get “coffee right nowwww,” and I join him but order nothing except sparkling water because I plan to sleep all afternoon. He leaves, I don an eye mask and do just that. When I wake up, I make a French press of Canyon Coffee while simultaneously drinking an orange Gatorade Zero. For breakfast, I make my favorite: over-easy eggs atop white rice. There is no more perfect combo than egg yolk and rice. I also add sautéed tomato, broccolini, and a handful of spinach and top it with raw arugula and hot sauce, and so much flaky salt.
I go on a walk and duck into the Canyon Coffee brick-and-mortar near me and have two herbal teas. I dress up a little bit ’cause I know I’m going to run into somebody, which I did. Oh, my God, my friend is here, my neighborhood, my community. I’m in a sitcom! We chat and say “I love you” during our good-byes even though we hardly know each other. Which, by the way, isn’t a criticism. I’ve totally fallen prey to the sense of false closeness Los Angeles encourages. They love me!
When I get home, I have more of that turkey jalapeño mixture in iceberg lettuce cups as a sort of pre-dinner snack. It’s pouring outside. I get dressed for the night and take myself to a solo dinner. Dining as a solo woman at the bar, oftentimes, they’re giving you a little free drink here or there. It’s fun, but also, sometimes some awful man comes up to you, and you have to be like, “No, I’m happy being alone. No, you can’t take the seat next to me.” I once dined alone at this vegan restaurant called Crossroads, where I think they just felt so bad for me or something because they ended up bringing me, unsolicited, a signed cookbook from the chef. And then the chef sat down next to me, and we ended up going on a date.
I go to Hama Sushi for my solo dinner. The food is amazing, but the vibes are, unfortunately, quite serious. There is no music playing, and three austere men stare at me while they make sushi. I order two pieces of salmon nigiri, two otoro, two yellowtail, two tuna, a spicy tuna hand roll, and a bit of cold sake. It is criminally good. Then, I walk to Arts District Brewing Co. where I meet friends and have a pint (I’m British now).
Off to my next stopCafe Stella, a really gnarly spot in West Hollywood, right on Sunset. I meet my friend Charlotte and she has a gin martini waiting for me. After an hour, we decide to traverse the city and hit On the Rox — a terrible bar in West Hollywood — but not before stopping by her house first so she can shave her legs. When I’m there, I raid her closet and change my shirt. At On the Rox, I have another beer and we dance to “Murder on the Dancefloor,” which plays at least five times. I Uber to the boy’s apartment and sleep with all my makeup on.
Sunday, January 21
Today is my sister’s 30th birthday. I texted her at midnight, then Facetime her twice this morning, and she doesn’t answer. Dick.
I go to Blue Bottle and get an americano with whole milk in an exhaustion-induced haze. It is burned, but I am not in the state to do anything about it. (Truthfully, I never would.)
Due to it being almost noon, I skip breakfast and decide to Postmate Din Tai Fung. It takes forever to arrive — nearly two hours — but I line my empty stomach with espresso to really solidify an inevitable, burgeoning ulcer. It arrives, and I nibble away at pork dumplings that I mistakenly dump BALSAMIC VINEGAR all over because I think it is soy sauce. What the fuck is a packet of balsamic vinegar doing among food that is served with soy sauce? I’m irate.
I focus on the spicy noodles and chicken wonton soup. They forgot my garlicky spinach. I wonder what, precisely, I’m being punished for. Today feels like Judgment Day.
Around 3 I order a Diet Dr. Pepper from McDonald’s on Postmates, which does hit a certain spot. I watch Must Love Dogs and I Could Never Be Your Woman while splitting my attention between the television screen and my phone, which has Pinterest pulled up. Mostly pinning Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski’s paparazzi photos for outfit inspiration that I will reference, likely, next weekend. I have a real struggle deciding what to eat for dinner. Usually, I would cook, but I am really down and out today. Plus, I’m at my boyfriend’s house and I can’t cook anything here because his pans are terrible. He has the Amazon Basics, nonstick starter pack set. No heat penetrates through that nonstick coating. You lose all that char and flavor that comes from deglazing. It is so hard to cook with them. I never have a full Postmate’s day like this, but now I am at odds. Do I order from an establishment called the Boil Daddy and enjoy peel-and-eat shrimp with corn and white rice, or do I order a vegetable soup and turkey patty from Erewhon? I force myself to order the latter to sort of start getting things “back on track.” Plus a green juice that tastes like tennis balls.