I travel a great deal, but LA is where I spend most weekends. My wife Gelila and I have two young boys, so Saturday is generally sports day. I get up in the morning with the kids and we make waffles with pineapple syrup. Then we’ll go and play soccer, basketball or baseball, depending on the season. They’re both big soccer players and watching them is a lot of fun. After they finish we drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to Nobu Malibu. It has a great view and fabulous food. Otherwise, I’ll go downtown to International Marine Products to buy some live shrimps or local lobster for lunch.
I used to play tennis at Jerry Weintraub’s house with people such as Gene Kelly and David Niven Jr. I don’t play as much now, but I’ve joined the Beverly Hills Tennis Club, which has had its share of famous members. If I don’t have a game on a Saturday afternoon, I’ll relax at home or visit the Taschen store on Beverly Drive; I like its mega-books on art and architecture. Then I might visit artists like John Baldessari or Ed Ruscha in their studios.
Saturday night is date night. I take my wife out to a movie or the theatre if there’s something interesting playing. I love the opera, too, so we’ll often go to see the LA Philharmonic; it’s a great experience and the Walt Disney Concert Hall is a beautiful building. We love to watch Gustavo Dudamel, the famous Venezuelan conductor, and it was also great to see a good friend of ours, the tenor Vittorio Grigolo, play Romeo in Roméo et Juliette when it was in LA.
I’m very predictable when it comes to restaurants: we go to Matsuhisa, which was Nobu’s first restaurant in the LA area, or The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It has a piano player so the ambience is great. After dinner we’ll go to the Tower Bar, a romantic Hollywood hangout that does great martinis.
On Sunday mornings, Gelila and I make coffee and share the newspaper. I still read a paper every day instead of looking online. We both love good coffee, so our Simonelli espresso machine is the most important thing in the house. Mostly I buy Illy espresso beans, but sometimes my wife’s mother, who lives in Ethiopia, sends us dried beans and my wife is a specialist in roasting them just right.
After breakfast I’ll go and get fruit and vegetables at the Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market. I like to stop by AJ’s stand because he picks the oranges when they are really ripe so they’re super sweet. And I love Spanish ham so I’ll go to The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills and ask Norbert to slice it really thin to go with some good bread. They stock loaves by a local baker called Colleen DeLee, who makes delicious country-style bread like my mother used to bake in Austria.
After lunch at home, I’ll visit museums such as MOCA downtown or art galleries such as Regen Projects on Santa Monica Boulevard. Sometimes I’ll call Michael Govan, the director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art [pictured], and he’ll give me a private tour. Right now it’s showing a John Divola photography exhibition that is amazing.
In the evening, my boys, my wife and I will go to Angelini Osteria. Gino makes great pasta Bolognese and I love the branzino cooked in a salt crust with a good bottle of Barolo. In truffle season Gino does an incredible white-truffle pizza. If the weather is warm, we’ll visit friends in Malibu and swim in the ocean or play soccer on the beach. If not, the beach in Santa Monica is perfect for a long walk before heading home for an early night.