I love surfing at Little Dume in Malibu. I grew up on that beach, and it is a mecca for surfing. It’s also a de facto high school reunion, which can be both amazing and horrifying. In the summer, I get over there a lot because that’s when it breaks. I’m probably there once a week if I’m not working.
The Apple Pan
The burgers there are excellent, but for me it’s all about the pies. My grandfather ran a restaurant that served hamburgers and pies in Sidney, Ohio for 50 or 60 years, so I have a real affinity for burgers and pies. The banana cream pie and the chocolate custard pie at the Apple Pan may be my favorite things about L.A., period.
There’s really nothing better than those late August nights at Dodger Stadium. My first game was probably the 1977 World Series, where I saw Bob Welch battle Reggie Jackson. I also saw Kirk Gibson’s famous World Series walk-off home run, so I always go back hoping to see something as significant. Now that I live in Santa Barbara, getting to games is much more of a commitment. But I try to go to as many as I can.
I’m a lifetime Laker fan. I had season seats for ten years and floor seats during the Magic Era, which was spectacular. When I think of Los Angeles, it’s the number one thing I think of in terms of the identity of the city. The world sees Hollywood as the identity of this city, but to live in L.A., we all know there aren’t any bigger stars than the Lakers.
Santa Monica Pier
I took a marine biology class in high school, and every Thursday we went to the Santa Monica Pier. A storm washed half of it away in the early 80s, and it got rebuilt into this sort of amazing place, and it’s such a throwback to an earlier era. I love the indoor Merry-Go-Round, particularly because the entire opening of one of my favorite movies—The Sting—was shot there.
Avalon on Catalina Island
It’s a 22-mile stretch, and it feels like you’re back 22 decades. You could not feel more removed from L.A. than being in Avalon—it’s a complete other world. I like the casino that they built there. I saw one of the great concerts of my life at that casino: Crosby Stills and Nash. It was amazing.
The Catalina Goose
I love the seaplane to Catalina Island. Just being on a seaplane is genius. You can go by ferry, helicopter, or seaplane, but I recommend the seaplane because not a lot of people get a chance to use one and it’s a really fun thing to do.
County Line Beach
I love spearfishing at County Line Beach with my son. I did it recreationally as a kid with a Hawaiian sling, but I have graduated to a gun because my son is very into that. We love fishing for white seabass. They’re very rare and hard to catch—I think they’re called ‘white ghosts.’ They’re big and tasty; you can take them home and make fish tacos.
Take a motorcycle ride up the PCH on a Sunday to Neptune’s Net—get clam chowder, fish and chips, and then head back home. It’s a scene; everybody has his or her motorcycle and it’s fun. It’s the perfect Sunday.
The Museum of Jurassic Technology
I’ve known the founder and creator David Wilson for years. It is a great, unique, only-in-L.A. experience. This is the kind of thing I would curate for InsideHook.com for people who don’t have time to explore as much as they would like. Very few people have heard of it, and yet it’s one of those things that they would like.
Take the Coast Starlight up the coast. It’s absolutely brilliant. I’ve taken it to San Francisco, but someday I’d like to take it all the way to Vancouver. It’s one of the last great American named trains that’s still around and as good as it ever was. Get a sleeper car—that’s the ticket. Unfortunately it’s not cheap, but it is amazing.
Philippe The Original
While you’re down there, go to Philippe’s for a sandwich. It’s about three blocks from Union Station. The best French Dip and Veal sandwiches, and custard pie. Note the recurring theme.
Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles
Whenever I go to a black tie event around Staples Center, I always, always finish at Roscoe’s. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten at Roscoe’s when I wasn’t in a tuxedo.
Photographs courtesy (in order): (1) wikipedia.org, (2) facebook.com/applepan, (3) facebook.com/dodgersstadium, (4) facebook.com/lalakers, (5) facebook.com/thesantamonicapier, (6) wikipedia.org, (7) wikipedia.org, (8) flickr.com/clintonsteeds (9) facebook.com/neptunesnet, (10) facebook.com/museumofjurassictechnology, (11) facebook.com/launionstation, (12) facebook.com/philippetheoriginal, (13) wikipedia.org