Interview: T.J. Miller + Thomas Middleditch on Food + Booze
Few TV shows have built more indie cred than Silicon Valley, a tech-focused HBO comedy from Mike Judge featuring a brilliant cast of actors and comedians. Thomas Middleditch plays socially awkward programmer Richard Hendricks, founder of snake-bit data compression company Pied Piper, and T.J. Miller plays Erlich Bachman, Pied Piper’s outlandish benefactor.
On March 3, Miller and Middleditch appeared at The Bungalow in Santa Monica on behalf of National Moscow Mule Day and Smirnoff, whose vodka contributed to the cocktail’s creation in 1941 at The Cock and Bull in Los Angeles. Moscow Mules flowed in classic copper mugs during the event, including riffs from each star. I of course asked both men about booze, along with food options both on and off set. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before eating at Middleditch’s restaurant, and guard your liver if you eat dinner with Miller.
Josh Lurie: When you’re on set, what are the foods items that you have to have handy?
T.J. Miller: Smirnoff.
Thomas Middleditch: I love seltzer water, and I like cheese strings.
TJM: Sriracha, and then Noosa yogurt in the morning. That’s the best.
TM: I should say, I do like high fiber cereal. I do like to keep things moving.
JL: Other than the Moscow Mule, what’s your drink of choice?
TM: I like vodka soda. That’s probably my #1. And God dammit if it ain’t Smirnoff!
TJM: I like a nice vodka soda.
TM: You like whiskey.
TJM: I like a nice whiskey. I used to do Scotch and soda, but the soda’s too much, so I do a little whiskey water.
JL: Same order if you’re at home or out at a bar?
TJM: Yeah, definitely Scotch.
TM: At home it’s red wine to help me go to bed. God those tannins, they put me to bed.
TJM: It’s a night-time wine. It’s wine’d down.
JL: When you go out to eat at restaurants, do you have a place you go out to most often?
TM: I wish I had a go-to spot. Do you have a go-to spot?
TJM: Musso & Frank on Hollywood Boulevard.
JL: What do you like to order there?
TJM: Calf’s liver. Or just liver. I do eat liver and onions. I’ll just eat another animal’s liver.
TM: That’s great. On the contrary, I do love any excuse to go to Veggie Grill because I get to be like, “Look at me and how conscious I am,” but still eating a burger, as it were, and fries. And then of course you catch a movie at ArcLight or maybe Cinerama Dome.
JL: Would either of you ever open a restaurant of your own?
TJM: What’s your idea?
TM: I’m not going to tell the world.
JL: What would you serve?
TJM: He finds his way to finding out what it is.
TM: I’d probably keep it nice and simple. Nothing too messy because…Let’s just say, the restaurant I’m going to open, you need clean hands for. It’s an amateur surgery restaurant. You perform surgery while having one of your favorite meals. There, you got it out of me. Happy?
JL: What would you call it?
TM: Tom’s Scalpel.
TJM: Chicago Natural. It’s all Chicago mainstays like Italian beef , Chicago hot dog, deep-dish pizza, all that, but it’s all organic. It’s a little more expensive, but like Burger Lounge, which has been doing well. Don’t you think it would be really good if it was all organic? You could get vegan cheese if you wanted vegan deep-dish pie. That would be fun.
JL: Are you vegetarian?
JL: When you mentioned Veggie Grill, I figured that might be the case.
TM: That’s the best way to say it, I’m aspiring vegetarian. I try and do it as best as I can, but if I say I 100% am, I’m just going to disappoint myself whenever I break those rules, but I try to.
TJM: I’m an aspiring pescetarian, because my wife’s a pescetarian.