My LA to Z: Demián Bichir

The Mexico City native stars in Quentin Tarantino’s <em>The Hateful Eight</em>, out Christmas day. Here he talks mezcal, Placido Domingo, and the steak of champions
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Tere’s Mexican Grill

faison2In terms of Mexican food, I have three places that are my favorite. My first is Tere’s. When we were shooting Weeds, production said, “Here’s a list of restaurants around the area.” I saw Tere’s and thought, let’s try some enchiladas verdes. Being a true Mexican, that’s a big test. And those enchiladas were supreme. Colossal. Delicious. This place is so tiny, you wouldn’t believe they have everything so fresh—handmade tortillas, and the chile rellenos are the closest thing to my mom’s chile rellenos. And of course, yes, everyone is Mexican and couldn’t be friendlier.


La Casita Mexicana

faison2These guys are a little further away, but I’m always ready to jump in my car for fantastic food. These guys are amazing, really fantastic cooks. I had this carne Tampiqueña. It’s a plate with many different things—a very nice, juicy piece of meat, and then a little enchilada and a little bit of guacamole and a little bit of rice and beans. Some people might say you can find fantastic Mexican food in L.A., but it’s not that obvious. Most of the things you will find are the American version of Mexican food.


Guelaguetza

faison2They have the mole from Oaxaca, which is mole negro. It’s a very specific type of mole, and Oaxaca is known for great black mole. And of course they have a great selection of mezcales. If you’re a tequila lover, you have to try all kinds of tequilas. You can get it from Oaxaca or Durango and then if you go up north, there’s raicilla and bacanora and then sotoles from Chihuahua…the quality depends on the region. It’s a whole different experience.


Guisados

faison4This is a very peculiar little place. I was shooting Low Riders all the way in East L.A., and I was really hungry, so I asked my assistant, “Pleeease, feed me!” She stopped by Guisados and got me some tacos, and I couldn’t believe how good it was. I had the carne asada, the tinga, some chicharrón. But then the other day I went in person, and Armando, the owner, was there, and he even gave me some tamales to take home.


Bandera

faison5Whenever my girl and I want to have a really nice evening, a delicious treat, we go to Bandera. One of my best friends took me 25 years ago. And of course, all these places, all the chefs and the cooks are Mexican. And that makes a big, huge difference. Thank you, Donald Trump. The reason why that place feels amazing, we keep going and it’s fantastic, is that it has the same team of fantastic cooks. They’re all Mexican, they’re all my friends, and it’s a great moment to say hi. You have to start with an artichoke. I’m a big meat lover, so whenever I feel like a man—which is pretty much always—I go for a rib eye on the bone. That’s for champions.


Little Izaka-Ya by Katsu-Ya

faison7It’s the little version of Katsu-Ya, a tiny, cozy place, but the quality is colossal. If we could be there every day, we’d be there every day. We love to open up with fantastic edamame, which tastes like no other place. And then some shishito peppers. They have fantastic Japanese cooks, but—who knew!—they also have Mexican cooks. They have such a fantastic touch when they cook. So most of my kids at the bar are Mexican, and the taste of every single thing they prepare is fantastic. Don’t forget to ask for the albacore special. It’s seared, with a little touch of truffle sauce.


LA Opera

faison7I grew up listening to fantastic classical music—to some of the best operas ever written. In Mexico my parents would wake us up Saturday mornings with beautiful music. But LA Opera is a special place for many reasons. One is, of course, the fact that Placido Domingo has been the director for many years now. I’m on the artistic board, and being friends of the Opera makes me very proud.


La Cienega Tennis Center

faison7Another thing I do every time I have the chance to, because you need partners, is play tennis. My favorite courts are the La Cienega courts. You can play at night or during the day, and the prices are affordable. Even if I don’t find anybody to play with, I’ll just rent a machine. I’m self-taught—I learned how to play against a wall by watching on TV. I still watch iton TV! You’d be surprised how much you can learn from television. So I’m not fantastic, but I can make you bite the dust.


Weddington Golf and Tennis

faison7I love playing golf, but you usually don’t really have time to go for a full four-hour walk, so sometimes I just get my clubs and go to the driving range in Studio City. They have a driving range and also tennis courts. I can get a full basket of balls and stay for a few hours. Those little balls can be a fantastic psychiatrist.


Landmark Theatres

faison7It’s our favorite place for movies. They have those movie theatres where you sit on sofas—cozy and delicious. Sometimes we catch two films; we’ll watch one and then walk across the street and go to the Apple Pan for a delicious burger. Of course the cooks are Mexican. They’re my friends. They make the best burgers. I never eat more than that, but they always throw in a piece of the fantastic pie. And I’m like “Ok, I’ll eat it, I’ll make the sacrifice.”

Photographs courtesy (in order): (1) teresmexicangrill.com; (6) Yelp/Vic H.; (8) beverlyhills.org; (10) landmarktheatres,com. All other photographs courtesy facebook.com

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