AS a child growing up in East Los Angeles, Eduardo Xol spent long, blissful hours in the family garden, watching his father work his bonsai artistry and his grandmother raise roses with loving devotion.
Today, Xol is the landscape artist and designer for ABC's prime-time Sunday hit "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," a fitting cap to what would appear to be a crisply rendered career arc. But the intervening years stretched him incredibly far afield. He was a musical prodigy from age 3, his keyboard and percussion skills leading to an appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at 11. He studied theater arts at UCLA, starred in several telenovelas while living in Mexico City and recorded an acclaimed solo album, "La Pasion." Xol, 39 and living in West Hollywood, might spend a quiet weekend just poring over his scrapbooks. But not surprisingly, he's got other ideas.
The bohemian life
I travel so much with the show and for my company, Xol Design, that I like to maximize my time on weekends with the people who are important to me. On Friday I'd leave the office and meet friends for drinks at La Boheme. It's got a warm, romantic French vibe, very sensual and eclectic, with a lot of fabrics. There's a really comfortable lounge area that makes me relax as soon as I walk in. I'd have a slightly dirty martini, which is a martini with olive juice and extra olives.
Then we'd go to dinner at the Chateau Marmont, out in the garden area. It's very cool, a see-and-be-seen place that's kind of pricey, but I've never had anything there that I haven't liked. And then I'd call it a night.
Quality time at home
On Saturday morning I'd get up, pick up the newspaper and walk a couple of blocks to a cafe called Champagne and have a cappuccino while I read. I'd then make it over to East L.A. to visit with my family. I'd find out what my Mom was planning to cook and go shopping for her at El Mercado, an old-style market on 1st Street that I used to go to with my grandmother. We'd have brunch. My mom would cook -- I cook, but I don't cook Mexican food for my mother. It's too intimidating.
Later, I'll see who wants to go shopping with me in Pasadena. There's a place I just discovered called Vent, which has funky T-shirts and cool men's clothes. If we got hungry, we'd get a snack at Madre's, Jennifer Lopez's place. I like the eggplant dish, \o7berenjena\f7 en salsa. Then I'd go home, take a nap and have dinner with friends at Koi, where I'd order the albacore sashimi with basil ponzu sauce. When I was younger I might go out dancing afterward, but now, I might have a drink at the Hollywood Roosevelt and then go home.
Eat, shop, eat some more
On Sunday I'd sleep late and then go meet friends for a nice brunch at Campanile. A beautiful place, and my favorite thing there is called Egg in a Hole, which is an egg poached in bread. Then we'd go shopping at Kitson on Robertson or maybe Barneys in Beverly Hills. I'm not a browser when it comes to shopping -- I know what I want or need, and I just go in, get it and leave. After that we'd go to Tito's Tacos in Culver City, where I like the tacos al pastor or the beef tamales. A Jewish friend introduced me to the place.
-- Mark Sachs