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El Cholo, followed by an ice cream run

November 20, 2009|By Mark Sachs

Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter make a splendid team on NBC's "Tonight Show," but if not for the vagaries of television, sidekick Richter might still be on prime time.

His 2007 series, "Andy Barker, P.I.," was a critical hit, but alas, it lasted all of six episodes. Lucky for you, all six plus a slew of extras are now out on DVD.

"There's a certain amount of melancholy that I feel," admitted Richter, "because 'Andy Barker' and my earlier series, 'Andy Richter Controls the Universe,' were good shows that deserved better. And they were both so much fun to do."

Luckily, says Richter, Conan's a hoot to work with too, and on weekends he's off with his family in Hancock Park: wife Sarah Thyre, son William, 9, and daughter Mercy, 4.

Chips and salsa

Our favorite restaurant to go to with the kids is El Cholo, the old classic in what is now I guess Koreatown. It's been there since around 1927, and everybody loves it. The food is really great there, nothing too challenging; some items on the menu have been there from the beginning, like the Sonora enchilada, which is sort of open-faced with a fried egg on the top. That's what I get. And they have great margaritas and a really friendly, diverse crowd that's always kind of boisterous. It's a big, rambling kind of place, and the kids love it.

My wife and son get the enchiladas suizas, and my daughter is usually just happy with the chips and salsa and rice and beans. And ask for the guacamole to be made tableside, and you can get handmade tortillas if you ask for them. The fajitas are also really good if you want to mix it up, and sometimes we get the big Thanksgiving platter of combination favorites called A Taste of History that feeds about four.

Just dessert

After that we frequently go to Mashti Malone for dessert on La Brea between Hollywood and Sunset. It was an ice cream parlor named something like Molly Malone, and then some Persian guys took it over, and rather than change the whole sign, it was cheaper to just have it say Mashti Malone.

They make their own ice cream and exotic ices, and they use a thousands-of-years-old Persian tradition of making it. Very unusual flavors, like rosewater and lavender, and they make the best coffee ice cream I've ever had.

Off to Honolulu?

On the weekend, we'll frequently go to the Huntington Library or Decanso Gardens. Descanso is a good Saturday because we'll wander around the gardens and there's a train to ride. It gets the kids into the woods a bit.

After that, we'll go to Honolulu Avenue in Montrose. There's a pet store there that we like to look around in, and there are restaurants nearby to get a bite to eat afterward. It's a good little area to hang around in. It's like a little small-town Main Street you don't find much of anymore here.

Think fresh

On Sundays, we are pretty much regulars at the Hollywood farmers market, one block west of Vine between Hollywood and Sunset boulevards. We get our produce for the week, and also produce for our parrot. Everyone in the house is allergic to everything with fur, and our kids love animals so much it was starting to become an act of cruelty not to let them have one, so we ended up with our parrot. He eats sprouts and beans and corn -- fresh vegetables from the Hollywood farmers market.

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