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My LA to Z: Carrie Preston
The Emmy-winning actress is back for one last go as waitress Arlene Fowler on the final season of HBO’s True Blood (premiering June 22). Before closing the books on Bon Temps, she talked with us about lip synch competitions, heart-stopping art, and pinball rivalries
The Fat Dog
It’s a cute little gastropub in West Hollywood on Fairfax. You can sit outside, everybody brings their dog, and they have a great beer list. It’s very cute and eclectic—they have deviled eggs and fried pickles, and I really like their chopped salad. It’s really friendly and low key.
It’s a really soothing and peaceful place to have a coffee, meet a friend, and take a break. They’ve got funky décor—mix-and-match furniture. It has an old world, quiet, charming, feel. They’re not at the whim of the corporatization of coffee.
Rosie’s Dog Beach
Our dog Chumley loves the beach, but in L.A. county, there are basically none to take him to. We end up driving to Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach. All dogs are allowed, and it’s the most diverse group you can find. Some are swimming, some are on leashes. It’s like Disneyland for dogs.
Laguna is right on the coastline and it’s very well kept. It’s breezy, there are palm trees, there’s landscaping—you kind of feel like you’re in Hawaii. We’ve spent a lot of time in Waikiki because my husband Michael Emerson was on Lost, so to drive an hour and a half and be somewhere that feels like that is a gift. Laguna Beach is like having a tiny Hawaii moment.
Fryman Canyon Park
We love to hike, and we really like Fryman Canyon. You can do the main three mile loop, which they call the Betty Dearing trail, but when you first start hiking up, you can turn off into the words. There’s no one there. And you’re getting a better hike because you’re going up hills. The views are quite spectacular in places; you can see the Valley and see over into L.A. Chumley really likes it as well because of the critters—he likes to chase them.
The Echo Theatre Company
We’re big theatregoers, and we really like to support the smaller ones. We love the Echo. It’s a group of actors and writers and directors and producers presenting playwrights at all levels. They try to present newer works, not so much classics. I’s really exciting that there’s a company dedicated to doing theatre not as a means to an end—the end being film. They also do this wonderful fundraiser, a lip synch contest, and for the last two, my friend Mandy and I have done a music video lip synch. We did “Carry Out” by Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, and this last time we did “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, Inc
They have these major exhibitions, but it’s a very manageable size. Their current show I really recommend—it’s called Twin Visions. Joel-Peter Witkin is a photographer who does these very arresting photos that are staged, none of it is photoshopped, and he creates these very disturbing but very narrative-based photos. Turns out he has this twin brother, Jerome, a genius painter who also operates in these really epic narrativess. I would compare him to Francis Bacon—very disturbing paintingss that reach into your heart and make it either speed up or stop. Seeing them displayed together for the first time ever was a really remarkable experience.
Helms Bakery District
It was an industrial bakery in the ‘30s up until 1969 and then it was repurposed. Now it has furniture showrooms, art galleries, and really wonderful restaurants. I particularly like Bucato. It’s simple, but the food is really complicated and interesting. There’s always something delicious and new to try. The whole place is a one-stop shop!
Largo at the Coronet
Start off having a drink at the Roger Room—I love the vintage cocktails, the bartenders, the way they dress—they take great care in serving you these vintage-with-an-edge cocktails. And then the venue itself, I like that they support new artists. They’re not just bringing in the names. You can have a full evening there.
Pins and Needles
It’s a pinball machine place, and it’s really crazy. When I was growing up, pinball was the only game—we’d go to the bowling alley and everyone would hang out, and they had an arcade. My sister and I would put quarters in, and she'd be at one flipper and I'd be at the other, and we’d bang the hell out of it. It was pure luck as to what would happen with the ball. That’s my strategy: Get one person on one side and me on the other and laugh our asses off. Editor’s note: Pins and Needles appears to be closed temporarily per a post on the business’s blog.
The décor is what’s fantastic; it's a Moroccan-Mexican style. It feels like you’re in another country. In the back they have a bar and an outdoor area around the pool. It’s so magical at night; twinkly lights are strategically placed, there’s landscaping with little sculptures, hanging star lanterns, and these chandeliers are throwing beautiful light. It’s funky chic. The tile work is delicious. Definitely my style.
It’s probably our favorite restaurant. It’s got a really relaxed atmosphere, and the mixologists are top notch. It’s a David Meyers restaurant, so obviously he knows what he’s doing. They have traditional dishes, but they use locally farmed ingredients. The ambiance is very clean, and the lighting is just right (I’m very big on lighting). You feel like you’re being taken care of without being too fussy.
You can go and have a few small plates of ceviche or toscaditas, but then there are also main plates—I love their enchiladas suizas. They make the dish taste like you’re eating something you’ve never tried before. I also like that you can go to the bar, chill, have a delicious cocktail, and have a taco if you want. The interior is kind of dramatic: high ceilings, stone flooring, and there’s an atrium. There are also hand-blown chandeliers. It’s Mexican artisan flavor right there on Melrose.
Photographs courtesy (in order): (3) facebook.com/By Justin Rudd, (4) wikipedia.org, (10) mrhide.pinnesota.org. All other photographs courtesy facebook.com