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My LA to Z: Luke Greenfield
The Connecticut-born director (his newest, Let’s Be Cops, is in theatres now) can’t hide his love for L.A. He gives us his top spots for crazy-healthy juice, New York-style pizza, and the perfect movie-going experience
|1||ArcLight Cinema Hollywood
It is the absolute best way to see a movie. I have always loved the older theatres in Westwood, and Mann Village is one of my favorites, but you can’t beat ArcLight Hollywood. It’s such a great experience. I love the picture, the sound, and that you can reserve your seating. There’s just something about it every time I walk into the lobby, which I do constantly to see movies with my wife. I particularly love the Q&A panels they do. I’ve seen some great filmmakers talk there, from Paul Thomas Anderson to Oliver Stone. Map | More info
||Franklin Canyon Park
My wife Sarah and I love this spot. I’m from Connecticut, and she’s from New Hampshire, and when we go there it’s like being back on the East Coast. We feel like no one really knows about it. It’s the most super-peaceful place for clearing your mind and thinking. As a writer I find it really useful to go out there to recharge and get my ideas straight. There are frogs and lots of ducks, and our dogs, Truman and Jerry, always jump in the pond to chase them even though they never catch them. It’s so so serene, kind of like our own personal oasis in L.A.Map | More info
||Beverly Hills Juice
I’ve been to pretty much every juice place in L.A. and New York, and they’re the best, hands down. It’s the oldest juice place in all of L.A.—going since 1975. I usually get a Big Ten, which has carrot, beet, celery, parsley, spinach, kale and romaine. Otherwise I like the Mixed Green and the Banana Manna shakes. I’m obsessed with it because their juices are like eating three pounds of kale or four pounds of spinach, something you’d never do in one sitting. I’m a sugar fanatic, so this place is key for me getting back into shape after I binge.Map | More info
I love New York Italian food, and you simply cannot find better rigatoni and meatballs this side of the country. I like to get these incredible toasted raviolis as an appetizer, too. I could literally eat, like, 20 platters of them. It’s got a kind of old school New York atmosphere with great black and white, original pictures of the Rat Pack on their walls. The owner, Carmine, is also the greatest to talk to.Map | More info
It’s my favorite place to get dover sole. The owner is a guy named Gino, who is this incredibly gregarious and lovable Italian guy. He loves my wife and so he always gives us complimentary champagne and wine. We love his food; it’s the ultimate Italian cuisine: all the waiters are from Italy, as is the chef. Being Jewish I’m such a wannabe Italian, and nearly everything about me is Italian, except for my Jewish nose, I guess.Map | More info
|6||The Hills at the Pacific Design Center
This one’s a little strange, but there are these manmade rolling grassy hills right in front of the Pacific Design Center. My wife and I love them. We take our dogs running over the rolling hills, and we love to watch them disappear and reappear over the mounds. The only catch is I’m not sure it’s actually allowed, but we can’t help it. We go there at night and there’s a security guard there named Albert who used to expect us—he’d keep dog biscuits in his pockets for Truman and Jerry.
We love east coast pizza, and Vito’s is fantastic. I mean, if you love Pepe’s in Connecticut or Joe’s in the West Village, this place is right up there, even though it’s in L.A. I’m so plain in my eating habits, so I always get a plain cheese pizza. There’s nothing worse than the feeling you get when when you fold the slice up and taste some disgusting fruit or poultry that should never be on a pizza. Oh, and their breadsticks are amazing.Map | More info
I love bookstores like Book Soup on Sunset or Barnes and Noble at the Grove or in Studio City. I love them. My wife and I literally spend hours and hours walking through the aisles reading the backs of books. I wish someone would create a search engine where you can search literature by subject matter. I spend hours on Goodreads and Amazon, but it’s really not as easy to find good, new books as it is to find films. I loved Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead because it’s all about the struggling artist and success, and even though it’s about architecture, it really motivates you. It was inspiration for me in my 20s to make the movies I was dying to make.Map | More info
I love it because I grew up in Connecticut with pebbly rocky beaches that hurt your feet. Manhattan Beach has the best waves, and it’s great to surf. And they also have a great pizza place there called Beach Pizza. Can you tell I’m a pizza connoisseur? I would love to live there, but it’s too far away from where I have to be for work. I wouldn’t be able to deal with the traffic.Map | More info
Photograph (2) courtesy of Luke Greenfield. Photograph (8) courtesy twitter.com. All other photographs courtesy facebook.com.