My LA to Z: Julie Benz

The former Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Dexter actress, who can be seen reprising her role as Mayor Amanda Rosewater on season two of SyFy’s Defiance, talks workouts-as-Spanx, DIY mezcal, and her go-to lobster roll

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1   Sixty Bev Hills  

Cycle House

It’s my church! The instructors are amazing. I leave Nichelle’s class dripping sweat and feeling inspired. There’s a real sense of community there. Friday nights they have this happy hour ride, a 45-minute class followed by cocktails on the patio. It’s a great way to meet your fellow riders. On Saturdays, Nick teaches the 1,000 calorie ride. It’s a killer. The best thing about Cycle House is that for every class you take, two meals are donated to those in need through Feed America.

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2  

Joans on Third

 

Natural Pilates

It’s a Stott Pilates based studio. Owner Laura Bogdaniuc and the other instructors keep the reformer classes challenging and fun by using props like the jump board, fitness circle and various balls. The goal of the studio is to make you feel strong and confident, and the classes are intense. One of the instructors, Sara Tull, teaches a super tough jump board class that I’m obsessed with! I refer to it as my Spanx because I leave class feeling tight and toned in all the right places.

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3  

Shareen Vintage

 

Gracias Madre

It’s vegan Mexican food, and they have the best patio in L.A. There are amazing cocktails and tequila/mezcal selections. The owner, Cary Mosier, and his family are amazing hosts, and Beverage Director Jason Eisner is a cocktail genius. Sit at the bar and ask him for a mezcal lesson.

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4   Sunbeam Vintage  

Cure Salon

Jamie Boone is the best colorist in town—she recently took on the task of turning my blonde hair to a rich brunette. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She really cares about her clients. I love the salon. It’s tucked away in the Sunset Tower hotel, which is rich in history. Actually, the salon is John Wayne’s old apartment, and he kept his cow on the balcony!

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5   Alcove Cafe and Bakery  

Brent-Air Animal Hospital

I’ve been taking my dogs, Bamboo and Sugar, to Dr. Schlanger since they were puppies. One time Bamboo was in really bad shape and his whole body was in distress. I rushed him to Brent-Air Animal Hospital, and Dr. Schlanger saw us right away. The staff kept me calm as they tried to figure out what was wrong with my little guy. Turns out he had been stung by a bee and he’s allergic. They kept him overnight and called me every few hours with an update. I don’t trust any other place with my dogs.

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6   Magnolia Bakery  

Los Angeles Fútbol Club

Co-founded by my soccer-obsessed husband, this is a youth soccer academy held every other Friday night at Hawkins High School. It’s an amazing community partnership in South L.A. that hosts soccer clinics for kids. Galaxy, Chivas USA, UCLA, USC, and Loyola Marymount all run clinics. You can bring your shoes and play with the kids, too, just in time for the World Cup.

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7   Nobu Matsuhisa  

The Living Room at W Hollywood Hotel

They’ve got a live vintage jazz and blues night every Sunday. It’s been the place to be for three and a half years, even if it’s raining. The main performer and host is Nikki Leonti along with Brooke Lynn’s Burlesque. It’s a great place to go with a date: listen to some incredible music and keep the weekend going.

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8   Empty Vase  

Pyrrha

Owners Wade Papin and Danielle Wilmore create beautiful jewelry using old French seals. I’m always in there looking for a new piece either for myself or as a gift for a friend. I even have a tattoo on my wrist of one of their designs. It’s a heart with wings and it says “tout pour vous,” which means “all for you.”

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9   Mitsuwa Marketplace  

Bristol Farms Market

They have the friendliest staff, and they always remember your name. You really feel like you’re in a small town grocery store. And you’ve got to ask for Jimmy, who’s got the biggest smile at any checkout counter ever.

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10   Cristina Radu  

Connie and Ted’s

You need to have the Born in East L.A. cocktail and the New Bedford scallops. Everything is from New England, including the clam chowder and warm lobster rolls. You can also read up about Connie and Ted on the back of the menu, who happen to be the grandparents of executive chef, Sam Baxter.

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Photograph (2) courtesy naturalpilates.com. All other photographs courtesy facebook.com.

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