Although the rest of the world loves to hate Los Angeles, we still get hordes of tourists every year, most hoping to see a movie star in real life. These tourists book expensive meals at The Ivy and Spago and mostly only see each other. Meanwhile, West Hollywood's vegan restaurant Real Food Daily is often packed with health-conscious celebrities. My (vegan) wife Miki and I go to RFD somewhat frequently, as it's close by and fairly affordable, and we've had many a star-studded meal there. We've even caught my former colleague Melanie Lynskey picking up dinner to go. At the risk of enabling stalkers, here are some other famous faces we've seen chowing down:
- Mike White. This prolific screenwriter/actor may not be a household name, but you've seen him in several movies which he's also written, including School of Rock, The Good Girl, and the infamous Chuck & Buck. He also directed 2007's Year of the Dog, a seriocomic metaphor for his own veganism. We've seen this guy here at least half a dozen times, usually alone, though last time he appeared to be on a date.
- Roland Orzabal. This oddly-named singer/songwriter is better known as the frontman for the hugely successful '80s band Tears for Fears. Miki and I saw him eating with two or three young hip hop dudes. Not a clue why.
- Alicia Silverstone. Naturally, Hollywood's most outspoken vegan can be found in her native habitat at Real Food Daily. We saw her here once with her husband, interviewing women (for personal assistants? nannies? threesomes?), and a second time having the famous RFD Sunday brunch with an unlikely dining partner, the actor...
- Bill Nighy. This lanky older English thespian's biggest role was behind tons of digital tentacles, as Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. You've seen his actual face in films such as Love, Actually, Shaun of the Dead, and Notes on a Scandal. We couldn't figure out why he would dine with Silverstone until we checked his filmography at home and discovered that the two acted in some straight-to-video thriller a couple years back.
- Justin Long. Possibly forever doomed to be known as the "I'm a Macintosh" guy from the Apple commercials, despite plum roles in Live Free or Die Hard and other movies, the eventual ex of Drew Barrymore was eating alone at the counter during one of our Alicia Silverstone sightings, making for an even more surreal dining experience.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic. The world's wackiest vegan was having brunch with his wife and daughter one day. The only "weird" thing he did was down an entire glass of water in one gulp, then saying "Bingo!" when he was done, a drop of water dribbling off his chin.
- Moby. It was inevitable that we'd find this DJ/musician, the archetypal vegan punchline, here, though his sitting outside on the patio in chilly weather was unusual.
- Sara Gilbert. Most recently, Miki and I saw the brunching Roseanne star with her two children and partner (wife?) here one Sunday, only days after Miki saw her here at lunch. Sara Gilbert may not be a huge celebrity sighting, but it should be noted that she was sharing brunch with...
- Tobey Maguire. There are several vegan A-listers out there, including Joaquin Phoenix, Natalie Portman, and Spider-Man himself, who joined the Gilbert clan with his own wife and daughter, looking scruffy but ordinary, and chasing his toddler around the restaurant just like all the other inconsiderate parents who bring their hyperactive kids to Real Food Daily.