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My Favorite Weekend: Pau Gasol

Between basketball and his charitable efforts, there's good Spanish and Greek food and sushi.

July 02, 2010|Los Angeles Times

Another basketball season ends in a hard-fought NBA title for Pau Gasol and the Lakers.

"I'm still in the process of getting my body back to normal," the Redondo Beach resident admitted. "It takes awhile to adjust from all the crazy activity and intensity and then to not having it."

But while Gasol has plenty of R&R penciled in this summer, he's not ratcheting things down completely. First up is a trip to his native Spain to celebrate his 30th birthday on July 6; then there are his charitable efforts, which include the L.A. Fire Department and Childrens Hospital. "A couple of days ago a patient's family aIlowed me to watch a spinal surgery," Gasol said. "I've gotten the chance to see some of the miracles that occur on a daily basis at such hospitals."

Later this month, Gasol will fly to Ethiopia to work on a UNICEF project that will build seven schools in conjunction with Nelson Mandela's foundation.

If this guy doesn't deserve a special weekend, who does?

Just like home

There's a place that does Spanish food very well, and that's Bazaar at the SLS Hotel. They have a lot of dishes that are the same quality they are back home. Very authentic, I think they get a lot of their products from Spain. It's a little on the fancy side, a little trendy. They always give me the same low-key table in a good spot, and it's a nice atmosphere to hang out in. I always enjoy it.

It's Greek to me

I also go to a place in Manhattan Beach called Petros. It's close to our practice facility and it's on my way home, so I'll stop by and have lunch or dinner. I'll start with a fig salad if they have it in season. Or a peach salad, which is also good. And a third option is the cantaloupe salad, but I'm not a big fan of cantaloupe. After that, I'll have the lamb if it's lunchtime and the snapper if it's dinner. The fish is really tasty.

The Hills of Beverly

For a special occasion, I might go to Nobu on La Cienega. It's a cool, laid-back restaurant with really good food. You can relax there and take your time and nobody really bothers you. It's very nice. Everything's good, like the seared toro, but they do a dish for me there that's not on the menu – uni tartar. I love uni, which is sea urchin.

And on Sunday morning, a good breakfast place is Martha's Corner in Hermosa Beach. There's a nice patio and it's right by the beach. Usually I get scrambled eggs, turkey sausage and orange juice or apple juice, and if I'm really hungry I'll get pancakes too.

Always the athlete

Besides basketball, I like to play tennis when I get a chance. It keeps me in shape and I'm decent at it, so it doesn't frustrate me that much. I played some beach volleyball after my first season here, but it wears you out, and I found that I need to save every bit of energy for the season. I also just like walking on the beach at night. Walking along the Strand is very relaxing, just hearing the waves.

mark.sachs@latimes.com

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