My LA to Z: Nia Vardalos

In 2002, the sleeper hit <em>My Big Fat Greek Wedding</em> raked in more than $240 million at the U.S. box office, making it the most successful romantic comedy of all time. Here, the writer and star of the original and the sequel <em>My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2</em> (opening March 25) talks Dodger Dogs, tipsy shopping, and celebrating milestones with her best friends

Dodger Stadium

rh1To be a Dodger fan, all you need is the blue hat, and you’re in. I’ve lived here for about 15 years, and it was the Playtone company who first took me to a game. I was such a Chicago Cubs fan, living close to Wrigley Field, but I realized you can root for a team for the city that you live in. What I like about Dodger Stadium is that it doesn’t matter whether you sit in the affordable seats or close to the field. You become friends with the people around you, and that’s rare for L.A. because it’s a rare opportunity to sit next to someone without a window between you. And my daughter is addicted to Dodger Dogs. She’s the type of kid who can live on a blueberry for a day, but when we go, she’ll have two hot dogs. I’m so proud of her.

Old Tony’s On The Pier

faison2My group of friends—Suzy Nakamura, Rose Abdoo, and Kate Flannery—have known each other from Chicago Second City and Toronto Second City, and we call outselves The Core. We do these Core outings to Tony’s where we’ll Uber there, eat and drink, and then Uber back. We have gone so much that we don’t even buy the collectible Mai Tai glasses anymore—we have so many. It’s a really fun group of girls.

Day of the Dead at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

faison2I’m not into supernatural things—they kind of scared me before. But Day of the Dead is a celebration of your ancestry, which—of course—appeals to me. You dress up, which is really fun, and you can do things like write a note to somebody who has passed and leave it on a wall. There are three sessions, and we tend to go from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. We’ll always have Mexican food there or go somewhere for it. It’s one of those things you didn’t know existed in L.A.

Hollywood Bowl

faison4We go at least three times a season, and we took our daughter to see the LA Phil. We were so close that after seeing the show, she decided to take up the bass drum at school. We also saw ET and Spamalot, where the LA Phil plays the scores to films. You can sit so far back and bring a picnic lunch, or, if you’re fancy, you can get a box.

JAR Restaurant

faison7It’s the place where we celebrate everything—birthdays, Core milestones. They have this steak called the cowboy cut, and they have these purple potatoes with sour cream on them. The cowboy steak—oh my gosh, the way it’s cooked, I’m pretty sure there’s butter cooked into it.


You can take your gluten free friend, your vegan friend, and your carnivore friend, and everyone can find something to eat. I usually get the egg white omelet or the chop salad, and the Very Green Casserole is the best.

California Pita

faison7It’s on Ventura Boulevard. I love it because they have gyro cut on top of feta cheese and tomato. Everything’s really fresh, and they have gluten free falafel there. They have this big platter that I get them to send to my house in Hancock Park. It’s amazing.

The Grove

faison7It’s the best. You can go the Whisper Lounge, have drinks and a snack, and then shop slightly tipsy. You could go to Top Shop or Coach or Barneys—everything’s there. I like it because there’s something for everybody in our group, from the person who’s trying to save a little money to someone who’s trying to blow their latest holding deal from Universal.


I’ve been so sick, so I went there and treated myself to this hand and foot treatment. It’s like they poured moisture into my body.

All photographs courtesy Facebook.