The actor and Mulholland Distilling co-founder picks his go-tos for food, pantry staples and, yes, cocktail kits amid isolation.
With all the uncertainties swirling through my head — how will the world be different and how will I be different? — the one I keep coming back to is, "How will my neighborhood be different?"
There are many things in my life that I want to stay exactly the same. I love the small section of city — Hollywood — I am fortunate enough to call my own. And beyond, across this varied landscape, L.A.'s restaurants and bars ground me. These are the spaces that give me a sense of belonging within the community, they are the reasons I and my family go east or west, north or south.
In normal times, I'll happily battle my way to the out-of-the-way places, because there is joy in just arriving (am I actually nostalgic for traffic right now?). Many restaurants across L.A. are still open in a limited capacity, providing takeout. Trying to hold on. Trying to survive. In my heart, I know we'll once again celebrate in person at the altar of these temples of socialization instead of calling them for curbside pickup because we couldn't make another fucking dinner at home! This is a thank-you from me and my partner Matthew Alper at Mulholland Distilling to some of our favorite establishments that are still going strong. Making food, mixing cocktails to go, lifting our spirits. "City of Angels" is an understatement.
To the places spotlighted here, and to all those that aren't: Hold on, y'all. We see you and salute you. And on the next go-round, I'm eager to re-experience them anew with a much deeper appreciation.
Blocks from our DTLA offices, Spread has started a to-go program with a delivery and curbside pickup market for my hummus-and-pita fix, plus a to-go cocktail program called Spread the Love to help bartenders in need. Buying cocktails — like the Eastside Spritz by Genever's Jessie Smyth — to help bartenders? Um, yeah. Done. Each cocktail kit is $30 (serves four). 334 S. Main St., spreadkitchen.com
I always go to spots that draw me by the look or the feel. On Melrose Avenue, the Melrose Umbrella Co. calls out amid the flash of the surrounding tourist shops and welcomes you in for more than just a drink. Right now, they are rocking to-go cocktail kits ($32, serves four) with vacuum-packed Mason jars — including their Melrose Mule with vodka, blood orange, cinnamon brown sugar, lime and ginger — and finding cool ways to make the world a warmer place. 7465 Melrose Ave., melroseumbrellacompany.com
In a city with not enough French food, I'd go there for the bread alone. In light of the current state of events, the La Brea Avenue restaurant is now a market with bread, pastries, dishes like their kimchi fried rice ($18, serves two), cheese, cocktails to go and wine. Ignoring the gloves and masks, it's so damn comforting to be able to pull up and feed my family's bodies and our souls with such amazing food and drink. 624 S. La Brea Ave., exploretock.com/republiquela
What do you say about a place that so much has already been said about? You say, "There's a fucking reason everyone still talks about it." DTLA's Bestia is that special place, and it has been that place since day one. If you could say which restaurants helped bring culinary respect and excitement back to L.A., you'd have to give a tip of the cap to Bestia. Now, even though we can't go inside, their to-go menu (including Gorgonzola pizza, $20) — along with that of sister restaurant Bavel — is what I need to tide me over until we can go sit at their bar and get those amazing cocktails and eat and commune with close friends and toast to that strange time in 2020 when we couldn't do so many things that make life special. 2121 Seventh Place, exploretock.com/bestiala
Who else needs to get the hell out of the house … even if it's just a drive? The windows down, the music humming, just driving, trying to find a bit of normal, I always seem to head west these days in search of the cool ocean breeze. As I pass Sawtelle Japantown, I remember that one of my favorite new places, Hermanito, is there. Via delivery or curbside pickup, they're doing some rad Mex food (including a pork belly taco kit; $35, feeds five) and to-go bottles (including Mulholland Vodka). 2024 Sawtelle Blvd., barhermanito.com
In the “B.C.” times (Before Corona), Relentless was one of the few places I could go in L.A. where they actually distill their own spirits and brew their own beer! Come on! Craft cocktails and craft beers? I’m a sucker for their Straight Up Burger, washing it down with one of their signature IPAs. But for right now, it’s about the to-go Negroni, Kalua pork sliders and pad thai brussels sprouts. I can wait on the Negroni till I get home (responsible y'all) ... but those pork sliders rarely make it! 2133 Colorado Blvd., relentlessbrewing.com