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MY FAVORITE WEEKEND / MICHAEL MCKEAN

Michael McKean loves roaming around the city

The 'Spinal Tap' actor moved here decades ago, but he and his wife still enjoy making discoveries in the corners of 'hidden L.A.'

July 31, 2009|Mark Sachs

Actor Michael McKean is about to begin his fourth Broadway play in the last five years, "Superior Donuts." He's got a plum role in Woody Allen's latest film, "Whatever Works." And then there's Spinal Tap -- now and forever.

The 1984 movie "This Is Spinal Tap" just came out this week in a special 25th anniversary Blu-ray edition, and the band has a new album, "Back From the Dead."

McKean can't quite believe the legs of that vintage phenomenon, and that Spinal Tap once again has him in promotion mode.

"But that's the way to be busy -- just have them re-release something you did 25 years ago," he says, laughing. "That's a lot of hands-on work there." McKean and his actress-wife, Annette O'Toole, manage to stay busy on weekends, too.

Best in the West

I've been living out here since 1970. David Lander was my best friend since college at NYU, and he moved out to Los Angeles in 1967 and soon after that he called and told me, "It's great here -- and warm in the winter." And he was right of course. It was 11 degrees the day I left New York, and I got out here and it was 68. And I said to myself, "This is where I live now."

Annette and I still love getting in a car and discovering different parts of L.A., the hidden L.A. It's so much fun stumbling upon that stuff. Years ago we were dropping one of our daughters off for her SATs near Monterey Park. So we had three hours to kill and started driving around. We wound up finding this place called the Cascades, these beautiful aqua stair steps that are actually little waterfalls. It's just spectacular.

Neighborhood faves

For breakfast I generally just eat a bowl of oatmeal squares, but I also like Junior's up on Westwood at Pico. It's just a great Jewish deli, and they make their own corned beef.

On Saturday afternoons, sometimes we like to go to Poquito Mas in Westwood. It's kind of a fast-food place, only much better. It's got a nice atmosphere, and they still have the old-fashioned Cokes in the bottles, which are, you know, colder and better than anything somehow. I get the grilled chicken burrito, but if my cheese intake has been low, I'll get a chicken quesadilla.

Lucy & Maria

I used to take people to Lucy's El Adobe all the time when I worked on "Laverne & Shirley." I'd order the enchiladas tapatias, which are still pretty hard to beat.

But the area we live in now has a really good Italian place called Maria's. It's got the red leather banquettes and little jugs and statuettes everyplace. . . . . I just like the good old spaghetti and meatballs.

Games people play

Annette and I love playing Cassino just about every day. It's the great little two-person backstage game -- I think they invented it during vaudeville. It takes 20 minutes, so you can play between cues. It's kind of a slightly more sophisticated version of Crazy Eights. So we always have a deck of cards with us.

Me & Harry

Musso & Frank is an amazing place too. Years ago, whenever Harry Shearer and I would have business in Hollywood, we'd go there for lunch, and we'd always go through the same routine. I'd ask if it was too late for flannel cakes, and it always was, so I'd have to order something else. Then Harry would ask for a spinach omelet and the waiter would always ask, "A Spanish omelet?" And occasionally they'd end up sending him the Spanish omelet anyway.

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mark.sachs@latimes.com

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