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MY FAVORITE WEEKEND / Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje not lost in L.A.

The 'G.I. Joe' star has his pick of African and Mediterranean delicacies, plus several places to relax and put the Buddhist in a meditative state.

August 07, 2009|Mark Sachs

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje isn't shy about touting his latest film project, "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," opening citywide today.

"I think this is the movie of the summer," said the actor, born in London to Nigerian parents. "It's going to be a blast, man. It's one of those high-octane, high-impact joy rides. That's what we need right now -- a blockbuster that delivers.

"I play a character named Heavy Duty. He's a weaponry expert. Anything about guns, he's your man. But he's also the sergeant of the bunch, and he recruits, he trains, he head-hunts -- he makes sure the job gets done with no muss, no fuss."

Next Friday you can also catch him on a special episode of USA Network's "Monk," and there's another tantalizing possibility on the horizon: a whispered-about return for Season 6 of "Lost." Akinnuoye-Agbaje appeared in 28 episodes as Mr. Eko during the 2005-06 seasons.

"There have been discussions," he acknowledged, "and I will say this: It wouldn't be something I'd be averse to."

A man of taste

I have an African palate and a spicy Mediterranean palate, so a lot of the dishes I crave you can't just buy anywhere, so I've out of necessity learned to cook. And I love to cook -- it makes me feel like I really belong in the place, like I'm home.

But there are a few places I can go where I can get some of my favorite dishes. First of all, I don't eat meat, only fish. One of my favorite spots is Crustacean in Beverly Hills. They have a plethora of fish, and it's quite fantastic. It's probably my No. 1 choice. I order almost a seafood feast -- I get shrimp, lobster, swordfish and tuna.

If I want to go spicier, I'll lean to Ngoma, a kind of Nigerian-Caribbean place. And if I want to really go completely native, you'll find me right down there in the hood at Veronica's Kitchen, which is a traditional Nigerian restaurant. If I want to change it all up a little, I'll try an Ethiopian restaurant on Fairfax called Merkato.

As far as my favorite dish of all, it would probably be egusi, which has spinach in it and is healthy, but it can also be quite fattening, so I don't eat too much of it. You can get it both at Ngoma and Veronica's.

Breakfast blend

Breakfast is where my cross-culture comes in, because for dinner I lean toward African, but for breakfast I'll be very European, British or really Californian as well. If I eat African food for breakfast, I won't get much done because I'll be sleeping all day. So I'll get egg whites, the fresh-squeezed OJ, the hash browns, and I've got to have my oatmeal or granola.

My favorite breakfast restaurant is probably Toast on 3rd. Very clean, fresh and healthy.

Options abound

For a big date on Saturday night, I'd go to Nobu. If I was hoping to get romantic with her, I'd take her to the one in Malibu, because it's a whole-night thing out there, and the sea air just knocks them out, that's it. But if she needs some work, I'd go to the one on La Cienega. That way, even if she's a pain, there would be other beautiful options there.

After dinner, we'd go to the movies. I love the old black-and-white films. Then after that we'd go chat at the lounge-bar at the Sofitel, where you can also have a dance too. Then we might pop into Hyde or maybe Les Deux.

His spiritual side

I'm a Soka Gakkai Buddhist, and we have some places in the Los Angeles area, like Santa Monica and Venice, and that's where you might find me on a Sunday. We chant for hours and reach a transcendental state. That really kicks off my day. Then I'd probably get on a bike and spend the rest of the afternoon at Marina del Rey, or Santa Monica and Venice. I'll do the whole course with my headphones on.

Or if I don't bike, I'll take my kayak out and just spend the day out on the water. That's a beautiful Sunday to me.

--

mark.sachs@latimes.com

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