Angela Bassett may have been born in New York, but the Academy Award-nominated thespian has called California home for years. The 50-year-old is back on the big screen this weekend (she stars in TV's "E.R." in a recurring role) in "Notorious." The actress has been earning good reviews for her portrayal of late rapper Notorious B.I.G.'s mother, Voletta Wallace, in the just-released biopic, and says she took the role only after meeting with the slain hip-hop icon's mother in person.
"I was very impressed by the way she carried herself and how she spoke," said Bassett of Wallace via phone from New York, just before hitting the red carpet for the "Notorious" premiere last week. "Her passion as a woman and a mother inspired me."
Here are a few local restaurants, spas and day trips out of L.A. that inspire the "What's Love Got to Do With It" actress in a different way.
Friday forays into food
Where I live, it's pretty laid-back [La Canada Flintridge], but there is a great place near me that I like called California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena. You can get dinner made by students, but they cook great food. They're learning their trade, so they are anxious to put their artistic twist on things, which I like.
For dinner, I like Grace on Beverly Boulevard. I love the atmosphere there and the food as well. I especially like the scallops.
I try to eat healthy, but I won't get on other people's nerves about it. If you want to eat bacon, I'm OK with that. I love vegan choices, raw food choices, and I'll eat whatever I have to in order to get into whatever shape I need to get into for any one particular role.
I love Real Food Daily, but I can also go to La Provence. I love getting decadent desserts too. Sometimes I'll go to Milk on Beverly for that.
The gym has taken a back seat lately because the TV show I'm in starts filming so early. I'm not about to get up at 3 in the morning! There are not enough hours in the day.
The last five months, my Saturdays have been taken up with beautification rituals. Belladonna on Robertson has wonderful facials. It's not about the time, it's about what your skin needs, you know? They do eyebrow shaping perfectly, facials perfectly, and the staff there really knows a lot about skin. They take it seriously. For massages, I like a place a couple of doors down from there on Robertson called Healing Hands. The owner, Nikolai, is great. I don't want to mess around -- I want healing.
Sunday sojourn down south
Sundays are reserved for me and my kids [Bassett has twins, Bronwyn Golden and Slater Josiah]. Sometimes, we'll take a drive down to La Costa resort [in Carlsbad]. It's lovely, with Spanish architecture and flowers everywhere. If you are into well-being, this is your spot . . . you've got your Deepak Chopra center there. But they also have a really nice restaurant. You want art in your food. I'm looking for complexity and taste. Not just "my body needs to eat," you know? I love that the restaurant there tries harder. If you have children, there is lots of stuff for them to do. And just a bit south of La Costa, you can check out the Old Globe Theatre too.
Music to finish off the weekend
Occasionally, you can find great stuff at the Nokia Theatre. Old-school acts have been coming through there recently. I just saw Maxwell at USC [at the Shrine] and that was an awesome show too. You'll find great music everywhere in L.A., if you know where to look.