When you want a burger, you want a good, big one that’s near your house, and this one is. I’ve taken to ordering is their burger in a bowl, and I get it all in there—everything except the bread. I just stopped eating bread, salt, and sugar and I miss sugar the most. I don’t miss bread at all.
My band plays every couple of months when everyone is in town. They have a great sound system and a fantastic room. We draw about 100 people or so and everybody fits without there being too many open seats. I remember going twenty years ago and it was just a bar. We are a band of no aspirations—we started there and never saw a reason to go anywhere else.
I recently saw the orchestra perform the Star Wars soundtrack, and that was pretty awesome really. I go once or twice a year, but I’ve been thirty or forty times now. A lot of cities have these outdoor venues but this one is special because it is in the middle of the city.
I started taking meetings at Norms because I feel that it’s unpretentious. It’s probably overcompensation in the unpretentious department. But you can sit as long as you want and it’s really how Americans eat. I’ll get the chef’s salad or a hamburger.
Santa Monica Bay Beach
I always think people forget that in Los Angeles they put an ocean right next to the city. If you don’t see Santa Monica Beach you’re making a big mistake. It’s broad and long and just right there. I go a couple times each week with the kids or for a jog. It’s easy, you buy a Santa Monica City parking pass and then make sure you get enough out of it. That’s my running joke with my son.
Bob’s Market is the best butcher on the Westside. So when you want your filet mignon butterflied properly, you have him do it there. He makes a really good meatloaf, too. We split our shopping between Albertsons, Whole Foods, and Bob’s, but I’d say we do three-quarters of it at Bob’s.
Every time I drive down Venice Boulevard past Jasmine I get sentimental because that’s where I first lived when I came to Los Angeles. It’s really in the heart of L.A., so I pass it all the time and I contemplate time and the experiences I’ve had and think about the roommates I still love.
There are exercise stations at Clover Park—things like a sit up bench and a pull up bar. You pass it a hundred times before deciding to try it, and once you do, the park becomes a wonder. It’s genius the way it’s set up. This is one park out of a dozen I could chose from because of the way the Westside is laid out. That’s really taken for granted.
My wife is Italian and to me, Via Veneto is the most authentic of the Italian restaurants around. I like the quail pappardelle—that’s delicious. I keep saying I don’t really need to learn Italian because my wife speaks English. But I comprehend about 90%. If I spend my energy understanding it, I don’t have any energy left to learn. That’s what I say.
Photographs courtesy (in order): (1) thecounterburger.com, (2) mollymalonesla.com, (3) laphil.org, (5) santamonicabay.org, (6) bobsmkt.com, (9) viaveneto.com