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My LA To Z: Shohreh Aghdashloo
The Oscar-nominated Iranian actress (and one-time villainess on “24″) reigns supreme as Gypsy queen Stefania Vaduva Popescu on NBC’s “Grimm.” Here she tells us where to indulge in healthy fare, breathtaking hikes, and how to find a bit of Tehran in L.A.
My motto is, nourish your body as much as you nourish your soul for they mirror one another. I love all the dishes here and I also try new ones. I’m an adventurer. I don’t stick to one dish.
You exit off sunset next to the beach to find it. There’s a beautiful, breathtaking view from the top of the hill. It’s quite a long hike—about 45 minutes to an hour depending on how fast you go. It’s serene and laid back and where I feel most free. I cherish that oneness with nature. It’s an amazing experience.
It reminds me of the bazaar—the marketplace—in downtown Tehran. It has all those small shops with merchandise for sale, the merchants shouting: “Five dollars! Five dollars!” The difference is that the marketplace in Tehran is almost 400 years old, and there they shout: “Beads from America! Only 10 dollars!” Here they yell: “From Italy! From Italy!”
I love all the restaurants and bookstores in Westwood; it’s where I go to connect with the past. After having a nice dish of rice and kabob I go to this Persian bookstore and purchase volumes by Iranian poets and authors. Coleman Barks is the best translator from Farsi to English. They also have great gifts for friends.
Melrose Antique and Designer Shops
I kill two completely different birds with one stone. The antique shops take you back to the lifestyles of the people who came before you. The design shops show you many futuristic designs by younger designers. I like to compare these new designs with the lifestyles of people who lived in the 17th and 18th centuries. You experience such an amazing cultural shock within just a couple of blocks. The antique shops on Melrose are great—equivalent to the ones in downtown Paris or London.
I love its contemporary section. They also used to have a great exhibition of Islamic Art. Every time I visit I feel like I’m walking through history. It makes me feel calm and relaxed and like I belong to myself and can do what I like. I love the paintings. I can watch them for minutes and fully immerse myself in each painting.
The Geffen Playhouse and the Mark Taper Forum
I love the theaters in Los Angeles, especially the Geffen and the Mark Taper Forum. I recently saw one of August Wilson’s plays at Mark Taper and it was absolutely amazing. Beautifully performed with an amazing cast. The last one I saw at the Geffen was I’ll Eat You Last; (Bette Midler) is out of this world. What she does is beyond performance in this one-woman show. Two hours long and she kept us on the edge of our seats the whole time. They should have called it “I’ll Eat You Alive” because it ate us all alive!
I love the Opera, especially when Plácido Domingo is performing. He’s the general director of LA Opera and he occasionally sings. He brings world-class talent to the LA Opera. The grounds are also beautiful, and it’s a great place to walk around. Its location downtown keeps getting better and better. It’s changing by the second. DTLA is nothing like it was when I arrived here 26 years ago. It’s now attracting a younger generation, including my own daughter.
Photograph (3) courtesy flickr.com/neilkremer. All other photographs courtesy facebook.com.