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MY FAVORITE WEEKEND / Jessalyn Gilsig

Enjoying L.A. with glee

September 11, 2009|Mark Sachs

"Glee" is more than actress Jessalyn Gilsig's latest series. It also describes exactly what she felt upon learning she had landed the part of the Glee Club advisor's kooky wife.

Gilsig's extensive resume is chock-full of weighty fare -- training at Harvard's American Repertory Theater Institute, then stops with TV dramas such as "Boston Public," "Friday Night Lights" and "CSI: NY." But it was her stint as Gina Russo on "Nip/Tuck" that persuaded its creator, Ryan Murphy, who is also one of the creative forces behind "Glee," to give her a shot at comedy.

"I was thrilled at the chance," said Gilsig, who lives in Hollywood with husband Bobby Salomon and daughter Penelope. "It's hard to break out of a genre after a while. But I'm having so much fun now."

She's pretty gleeful about her weekends too.

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Sterling mornings

If my daughter is in school and my husband is at work, sometimes I'll sneak off on a Friday morning to Figaro Cafe on Vermont. Sitting there with a nice cafe latte is a great way to start the day. Figaro is a great little French bistro, and I'll sit there with my coffee and croissant and just sort out my thoughts.

All their silverware seems to be from flea markets because it doesn't match, but it's all sterling, so the presentation is very pretty and it feels very authentic. It's so nice if you're having soup and have a big sterling spoon to use instead of just regular cutlery.

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Bring the wine

My husband and I love Speranza. It feels so authentically Italian. There are no disguises and distractions about the food -- it's just great homemade pasta and really good meat. I get the lamb chops and they're always cooked simply and perfectly. The service is also really friendly, and it's BYOB, so it's fun to pick up a nice bottle of wine and enjoy it there. It's also a good place for kids, so we could brings friends and their family and get a nice long table and have a wonderful time.

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Low-key French

Another great place is Cafe Stella at Sunset Junction. It's a little French place with a nice courtyard, very unassuming, but you just get the feeling that you're in very good hands there. Very romantic. I usually get the steak frites, and they have a very good tuna tartare that we would share to begin, and they have a wonderful chocolate souffle for dessert.

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Walk to the Bowl

We're really suckers for the ArcLight. We're lucky in that we can just walk there from where we live, and to be able to walk anywhere is such a luxury in L.A.

We can also walk to the Hollywood Bowl, and we'll always talk about it for days afterward. We can hear music at the Bowl from our house, and the other night I was home and all of a sudden I say, "Omigosh -- Depeche Mode, I didn't even know they were in town!"

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Cafe in the park

Have your heard about the Trails Cafe off Ferndale in Griffith Park? If I had it in me to open a cafe, this is what it would be like. It's just this little shack in the park and they have picnic tables scattered around and you line up and order.

They make everything there, and they have these terrific scones, pies and waffles. They have really good coffee and everything's organic. They have haystacks the kids can play on, and there's a jungle gym across the street. It's really sweet.

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Silver Lake retreat

Another good place for breakfast is LA Mill in Silver Lake. It's more a place you meet a friend than bring your kids, but it's a beautiful little retreat. They have a wide range of coffees and they know them very well. They have these homemade doughnut holes that come out warm, and they come with a mascarpone dipping thing. I always look at the eggs on the menu and then order the doughnut holes.

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Dress shopping

There's a nice shop in our neighborhood called Native. It's very trendy, and you can go down and get that summer mini-dress, and you don't have to spend $300 for it. Very reasonable. I think everything there is probably under $100. And they have very pretty accessories, they shop very well. And I like supporting the businesses in the area. There is another good place nearby called Sparrow that's good for children's gifts.

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mark.sachs@latimes.com

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