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My Favorite Weekend: Carlo Rota

`24' costar tries to make every minute of his private time count

March 01, 2007|Mark Sachs

ACTOR Carlo Rota is in uncharted waters these days. It's not the gripping what-on-Earth-will-happen-next situation his character Morris O'Brian faces Mondays on Fox's "24," but he says it's strange nonetheless.

"I'm newly single," he explains. "I've been a serial monogamist since I was about 17, so it's kind of odd."

Of course, it must help that Rota, who also appears in the Canadian series "Little Mosque on the Prairie," is on a hit TV show, right? "Well," he says, "it does have its perks."

Have it your way

In helping a lifelong friend find a location for his new restaurant, which will be opening on Beverly near the Grove, where the Authentic Cafe used to be, I ended up finding a place to live. But even though I thought of myself as more of a Silver Lake/Los Feliz kind of guy, I found that it's an area with lots of fantastic restaurants, and one of them is bld. I usually meet a group of people there, and we have a drink at the bar and then move on to dinner. The menu is great because you can create your own meal: You can order the roast chicken and then choose your own sides and vegetables just the way you want them.

After dessert, there's a club a taxi ride away called Shag. It's a little crazy on Friday nights, the atmosphere is elevated, and they have a DJ, and it's a great way to start the weekend.

Putting in the miles

On Saturday, I'm actually in training for the upcoming L.A. Marathon, which is kind of amazing for someone who started running in Los Angeles last June. If I finish and I'm alive, it'll be a miracle. So in the morning I'll drive over with a friend to Griffith Park and do three loops around, which is 18 miles. My legs are a little cement-like afterward.

After the run, there's a great place in Silver Lake called the Casbah Cafe, and I'll order a frothy coffee. They have fantastic pastries and absolutely sinful croissants.

Then I'll start to prepare for Saturday night, which is when I'll be cooking for a group of friends that can be from six to 20 people. There's a Trader Joe's and a Whole Foods near my house, and between the two I can get everything I'll need. My house has a fantastic front room, and I've found these great restaurant tables that I have set up, which is the only furniture I have in the house except for my bed. I'll throw a couple of capons into the oven and make an appetizer. Then I'll take my border terrier Harry out for a constitutional in the park next to the Grove. He's the most affectionate dog on the planet.

Mass, then motorcycle

On Sunday I usually spend the morning calling all my friends and relatives in Europe. My parents are in Italy. Then I'll go to Mass at one of the Catholic churches in my area. After church, I might go to brunch at Vivian's Cafe and get a simple egg dish.

I also try to get one motorcycle ride in on the weekends. I'll go on PCH and then up into the hills.

After that, one of my guilty pleasures is going over to the Grove to catch a movie. It's nice to see the people, even in a contrived commercial environment, somehow interacting.

I'll finish the weekend at a restaurant across the way called Tart, kind of old-style Americana with things like meatloaf, but with a Los Angeles twist to it.

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-- Mark Sachs

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