Big-budget director McG — the Orange County native whose latest film, the spy-versus-spy action-romance "This Means War," starring Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy and Chris Pine, will be released wide Feb. 17 — is also a dining impresario. He’s a partner in Newport Beach’s wryly-named A Restaurant, where the menu is macho-meets-retro (think Caesar salads and juicy steaks) and the décor is too. On the eve of his latest premiere, McG opens up about what he’ll eat straight from the can, who he wishes he could dine with and where he takes his breakfast just about every day.
MCG’S THR TASTE TEST
"I always waffle between a few of my favorites at A Restaurant. The chicken pot pie Friday night special is always a taste-bud treat and the spicy tuna appetizer when I'm just looking for a snack. For big groups, I like to order all the sweets on the menu – something of a dessert kaleidoscope. It's fun."
Known For Cooking
"Coffee. Toast. I'm a bit of a domestic failure in that regard – which in many ways was my motivation for opening up A Restaurant. I eat out almost exclusively, and any expertise I have comes from simply knowing what draws me to my favorite spots – great food, a friendly vibe, no fuss."
"When I am in Los Angeles, I find Pace Restaurant in Laurel Canyon to be very inviting. It’s relaxed, intimate, and naturally the food is excellent. In New York, Locanda Verde and The Dutch are very impressive in terms of aesthetic and capturing the feel of such a great city."
"Joan’s On 3rd has excellent take out – sandwiches, side dishes, desserts."
"There's very little I won’t try. But a meal that stands out is one I had in Tokyo at this amazingly authentic little sushi house. There were two tables in the whole place. No menu. The chef brought out dish after dish of his finest creations. The experience was one I’ll never forget but the food was…perhaps a little too sophisticated for my taste, considering I spent the night in a fetal position hallucinating like Timothy Leary."
Simply Won’t Eat
"Cilantro. It’s like that thing you put on your tongue in 7th grade science class – some people experience a horrid taste while others taste nothing at all."
"Dunkin' Donuts coffee and Charleston Chews."
"I'm a creature of habit. I start just about every day with breakfast at Mel's Diner after my morning workout. I enjoy the daily rhythm as much as the food. I eat as clean and healthy as I can throughout the day and then usually ruin it with a big dinner. I have a serious sweet tooth."
"I’ve had the same group of friends since childhood – it's always nice to hang with the people who know you best."
"When you don’t clean your plate and the server inquires, 'Was there something wrong?'"
"To trade stories with Gene Wilder over a Henry VIII feast."
"Sadly, there is a disconnect between the fork and my mouth with great regularity."
"Reddi-wip straight from the can."