At this point, Busy Philipps is as known for her roles on shows like Freaks and Geeks, Cougar Town, and Girls 5eva as she is for her more personal, entrepreneurial work. She has a podcast, a memoir, and has mastered the art of the Instagram story. And on Instagram, she’s been known to talk a fair amount about food. Here, you can see her baking impressively elaborate birthday cakes for her kids, partaking in the espresso martini trend, and dining (and at times crying) at restaurants.
Recently, Philipps partnered with the yogurt brand Two Good on its #GetHangryForGood campaign to combat food insecurity. During the month of September, the company is donating $1 (up to $100,000) every time someone uses the #GetHangryforGood hashtag on social media, or when they buy a Two Good yogurt cup or smoothie. “It’s something that I feel really strongly about,” says Philipps. “When you look at the statistics of how many Americans are facing hunger and food insecurity in our country, it’s devastating, especially considering the fact that we have enough food to feed everyone.”
Eater spoke to Philipps about feeling hangry, which coast has the superior dining scene, and name dropping at restaurants.
Eater: What is your go-to solution for when you and your kids are feeling hangry?
Busy Philipps: I do really quick things. I went home last night, and I had gone to a show and I just didn’t eat enough. There’s nothing worse than going to bed feeling still hungry, so I just drank my little Two Good smoothie. And I always try to impart this to my kids, [to eat] something that has a little bit of protein, a little bit of sugar — like good sugar. If it’s an apple, we have peanut butter or Nutella. In my house, Nutella can sometimes be an easier sell.
You have a reputation for being a celebrity who actually goes to and has good taste in restaurants. You’ve been in New York for a little bit now. How are you finding the New York restaurant scene compared to LA?
I was just back in LA for several weeks, and it’s funny, I don’t know all the places in LA anymore. I had to definitely lean into Eater LA to try to figure out where I was getting food. I of course have my go-tos in Los Angeles. But it is so expensive in New York City. First of all, because the produce situation is what it is, restaurants are facing so many more costs. Going out to eat in New York versus Los Angeles is a splurge, whereas I feel like you can go out to eat in LA every night and it’s not going to break the budget for the month, even at beautiful, really incredible restaurants.
There is a lot of overlap, because everyone is sort of everywhere at this point. We ate [at Enrique Olvera restaurant Damian] when we were in LA, and that’s very similar to Cosme. They have the duck carnitas. In New York, you get a heavier Italian food influence. And also I find myself just gravitating towards heavier food in New York. I want more pizza. I want more pasta. But don’t you find that, maybe just because of the internet, the food trends are very similar?
Yeah, there’s a flattening happening.
The French-inspired, American bistros or whatever. That’s what I feel like everything is. There’s like two pastas on the menu, three proteins, some salads, a cheese.
What are your restaurant moves, at that type of restaurant, or any restaurant?
I just try to use my name as much as possible, just to get into those hard-to-get places. But when that fails I’ll make reservations for a place a couple of weeks out, and then I’ll have to find some people to go with when the date comes up. I like to go with at least four people but no more than six, generally speaking, so that you can share plates and taste a bunch of different things.
Do you find that using your name works often to get into hotspots?
It’s literally the only benefit [to celebrity]. It’s not universal, it doesn’t work everywhere, but I am telling you that it’s definitely beneficial, and I’ll take it because sometimes you just have to. You really do have to think, like, Wow, they’re going to get something out of it as well. And to your point, I think people know that I really do eat good food and go to good restaurants.
Given that you’re so open on Instagram, I imagine you have fans who feel like they know you. Do you get people coming up to you while you’re eating out? How do you think your restaurant experience is impacted?
It depends. I feel like I’m sort of unable to notice people watching me eat. I don’t love the Deux Moi trend of reporting on where famous people are eating. I think it’s kind of gross. I don’t love when people are trying to surreptitiously take photos of me sitting at restaurants. I would much prefer for someone to come over to the table and say, “I’m so sorry, I don’t want to interrupt, but…” whatever they have to say. Or ask for a photo. The idea that because we all have cameras now, that celebrities in public are somehow like animals in the wild – like a cardinal in the bush – and you can take a random picture of them eating is sort of disturbing to me. But also, it’s not going to ruin my day.
This conversation has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.