My wife and I love to go on special, special occasions. There are a few pianists who play there and none are lazy. We got very excited when one started playing “Apologize” by One Republic—that’s our main relationship song (we have many). Eating a bone-in filet at Mastro’s while listening to One Republic by a lounge pianist is about as happy as I’ve ever been. The first time was kismet. The second time was because I requested it.
I’ve run in probably every canyon and up and down every mountain in and around Los Angeles. Sullivan Canyon is great because you can really get a forest-y experience not far at all from residential L.A. and you can run for hours. Runyon Canyon is basically a dog toilet. I’d like to really publically slam it and the people who enjoy it. I’d like to do a pay-per-view mixed martial arts fight against people who like Runyon Canyon. That’s how passionate I feel about that.
I drove by there yesterday and saw my name on the marquee and I almost cried even though it has been up there before. I love that club so much. The way it’s set up you can see the audience. It’s the sublime stand-up performing experience.
La Vecchia Cucina
Their spaghetti with meatballs is just insane. It comes down to the meatballs and I don’t know how they make them, but they’re really, really good. La Vecchia looks like it maybe shouldn’t be good—there’s some neon maybe and a lot of glass and big, weird paintings—but the food is out of control.
Angeles National Forest
I went for the first time immediately after I moved to L.A. in 2001. I think some people might not know that you can go sledding within the borders of Los Angeles proper. That’s a really cool thing. Head north from downtown and in literally under an hour, you can be sledding dangerously down a hill towards the middle of a highway.
The Apple Pan
It would be irresponsible of me not to mention the Apple Pan. American food in Los Angeles—particularly the burgers—is amazing, because people learned to make it over the journey west. People talk about In-N-Out, but for the best burger period, that’s the Apple Pan with a bullet. I’m angry when I think about how there are people in this world who haven’t been able to have a hickory burger.
The freshness and the local nature of all the food that is served there is just bananas. It’s a strong candidate for my favorite. The TLC in their food, you taste it, and they’re not jerks about it. It’s humble and amazing.
Largo at the Coronet
Aimee Mann’s Christmas show is an amazing L.A. tradition. Not only is she an amazing musician-singer-composer, but she’s also very funny. It’s one of the best entertainment experiences you can consume. The special guests are amazing and she anchors the whole thing beautifully.
Photographs courtesy (in order): (1) mastrosrestaurants.com, (2) socaltrailriders.org, (3) GeoPhotos/Aaron Dietsch, (4) lavecchiacucina.com, (6) wikipedia.org, (7)facebook.com/forageLA, (8) largo-la.com,