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MY FAVORITE WEEKEND / SPRAGUE GRAYDEN

Food, fun and games

February 13, 2009|Mark Sachs

Actress Sprague Grayden returned recently from a solo trip to Italy that she described as "romantic, in a feminist kind of way."

But the 28-year-old Westside resident, who debuts Monday on Fox's "24" as Olivia Taylor, the president's daughter, enjoys some company too. Describing herself as "single, with prospects," the former star of "Jericho" and "Six Feet Under" found it easy to imagine herself getting to know someone a little better on Valentine's Day weekend.

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Best first date

Primitivo on Abbot Kinney in Venice is the greatest first-date restaurant ever. In the main room it's very lively and kind of a party, but in the back patio it's very mellow, very romantic, in a lighthearted way. Perfect for a first date. And the great thing is that they serve tapas, so you share everything. Sometimes when you go on a first date it can be very stressful worrying over finding enough to talk about. But there, the food itself becomes part of the conversation. The wine list is also very interesting, and the wait staff is very helpful.

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Picnic at the Getty

Assuming things went well Friday (but not too well, if you know what I mean), then I might be seeing him again the next afternoon. You know, you get a call on Saturday morning and he says, "Hey, last night was really great; do you maybe want to hang out for a while today?"

So a good thing to do at that point might be a picnic lunch at the Getty, where it's essentially free to get in. You don't want to put too much pressure on these first dates by spending a lot of money. So get some really great bread from La Brea Bakery, some salami and that amazing lavender goat cheese from Whole Foods, and then a really nice bottle of wine, like a Syrah. Or if you wanted to go white, maybe a Viognier. Then throw in some grapes and other snacks. It's that noshing experience you're after, different flavors and textures. It's just one big basket of foreplay.

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The Scrabble test

And then if things were still going well, maybe we'll make plans for dinner. There's another good place in Venice called Piccolo Ristorante on Dudley. From the outside it just looks like a little trattoria with a few tables. But you go inside and it's this beautiful gourmet spot with amazing food. The wild boar pasta is incredible. And I'm not going to worry about eating garlic, and my date shouldn't either by this point. Eat egg whites at home -- this is a date, and you've got to experience a good restaurant and find out if your date has a true passion for all their senses or not.

After dinner, maybe I'll see how much of a man he is and challenge him to a game of Scrabble in front of my fireplace. I've tested people with that. In fact, I've recently tested people with that. You can find out a lot that way.

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Gossip girl

On Sunday, you go to brunch with your best girlfriends and gossip about your weekend, and for that there's always the fantastic Joan's on 3rd. I love the eggs and the salads. Then I'll need some time to myself, so I'll go to a yoga class and then maybe take a nice bike ride along the beach.

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mark.sachs@latimes.com

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