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Ali Wentworth, 'Head Case'

MY FAVORITE WEEKEND

May 15, 2009|Mark Sachs

Ali Wentworth isn't a doctor, but she plays one on TV. A psychiatrist, to be exact, on "Head Case," airing Friday nights on Starz.

"It's a half-hour unscripted comedy in which I play Dr. Elizabeth Goode, a very unorthodox, crazy, self-involved shrink, but there are real celebrities on the couch," said Wentworth, whose "patients" have included Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Hefner, Jeff Goldblum and Janeane Garofalo. "There is no script, but my partners and I map out in very broad strokes where we want the season and characters to go. Then it's all improvisation. All the guest stars get is makeup and water."

Wentworth is famously married to George Stephanopoulos, who has his own political talk show Sundays on ABC, and they have two daughters, Elliott, 6, and Harper, 3. She shoots her series in L.A., while he's busy with his in D.C.

"It's a lot of red-eye flights and Ambien," sighed Wentworth.

She still manages to carve out some quality time with the family here in town.

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Girls on the town

The last time I was in L.A., I brought the girls with me, and on Friday night, we went out for sushi because the sushi in Washington is pretty nonexistent. My daughters don't really like sushi, but they like soy sauce, and they'll eat anything they can dip into it. They use their chopsticks, but for stabbing, not eating.

I like Hirozen on Beverly just east of La Cienega. The deep-fried rice with the spicy tuna is extremely addictive. Noshi Sushi on Beverly and Western in Koreatown is another great place, a lot of bang for your buck. If I had pinkeye and was wearing sweatpants, I'd go to Noshi, because you'll never bump into anyone you know. At Hirozen, you're going to run into an actor or screenwriter.

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Rise and shine

On Saturday morning, we'll stop at Marmalade Cafe in Santa Monica, pick up some croissants, orange juice and snacks to go and have a nice little breakfast picnic on the beach. Then we'd head to the pier and go on the roller coaster, then to the photo booth, and then I'd spend about a thousand dollars on the dart game to win a stuffed Garfield the cat. Then I'd convince the girls to walk up Montana with me so Mommy can window shop. It used to be all clothing stores and antiques, but now there's a toy store on every corner, so it turns out to be great for them.

Then I'd take the girls for another walk, this time on Beverly, to the interior design stores like Emerson Troop and Orange. I'm always in the mood for a 1950s French sconce. And I play a little game with the girls to keep them interested, like, "OK, whoever can find the petrified wood side table can watch an extra hour of Nickelodeon."

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Adults only

On Saturday night, since this is my dream weekend, I'd have my husband fly in and we'd have one of my friends babysit the girls. George and I would go out for a nice dinner at Il Sole. George would have veal with pasta on the side, broccoli rabe and a really good red wine. I'd have spaghetti marinara and a great salad. Then we'd be invited to some kind of event, like Brian Grazer's Christmas party or something. But then everyone would ignore me because they'd all want to talk to George about Obama's first 100 days. But in Washington, the politicians talk to actors about things like, "What was it like to kiss Julia Roberts?"

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My SoCal home

I always stay at the Peninsula Hotel. I love walking into it, the feel of it. Even the beds, which use some kind of down mattress -- they won't tell me. And it's nicely located. I can pop over and see my friend at CAA, and I can run across the street to Starbucks. I know everybody loves Shutters, but it's basically in New Zealand. And the Beverly Hills Hotel is on top of the mountain.

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One-of-a-kind shopping

On Sunday, I'd go to the Santa Monica Airport flea market. I also like the one in Culver City. I've gotten everything from a lobster-thing in a glass case to a nice leather jacket. It's all about one-of-a-kind. Then I'd go to a store I love on Yucca between Ivar and Vine -- Lost & Found. It's actually three little shops in a row, and it's got really cool kids' stuff, and then home stuff, and then women's clothes and jewelry. That place is a treasure.

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mark.sachs@latimes.com

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