A little less music, a lot of matzo ball soup

Things are good for Peter Himmelman. The Santa Monica-based singer-songwriter’s 10th solo album, “Imperfect World,” just came out Tuesday, he has a show at the Mint nightclub tonight celebrating its release, his father-in-law just swung through town (that would be Bob Dylan) and, even with the rain, the weather’s been relatively agreeable.

“I’m from Minnesota, so when it comes about this time of year, I’m really liking it,” he says, taking a break from his home studio, where he scores the TV show “Judging Amy” when not doing the rock ‘n’ roll thing or creating one of his several award-winning children’s albums. Here’s how he spends his downtime with his wife, Maria, and their four children.

All in the family

Our weekend really kinda begins more like on Saturday night. Friday and Saturday usually we’re at home or at friends’ houses, where we have a kind of traditional Jewish Shabbat. It’s mostly a family time. We’ll make challah, chicken -- different kinds of chicken; I like to make a garlic chicken with rosemary -- and we like a lot of Middle Eastern food: hummus, baba ghanouj, that kind of thing. And I always make matzo ball soup for Friday night. Saturday’s kind of a continuation of that: friends over or we go to friends. It’s a lot of talking and conversation, getting away from technology, and that goes on until sundown on Saturday.


One of the crowd

We like to go over to the Laemmle’s, maybe see a movie. And the restaurant that we like to go to is Kabob and Chinese. We go to the one in the Pico-Robertson area. It’s Persian food. It’s actually a very involved cuisine, and they use a lot of fresh vegetables.

Or maybe I’ll catch a show at McCabe’s -- that’s a place I like to see people. I know McCabe’s from a performance point of view, from that side of the stage. If there’s somebody you really like who comes through, it’s a real treat to see them in that intimate environment. You can’t really hide in there, there’s not a lot of smoke bombs or pyrotechnics going on, it’s pretty much what you see is what you get.

A spot of exercise

We have a dog; it’s a border collie named Theo. So on Sunday we go to this dog park out on Barrington. It’s just a giant expanse where we can toss him a ball. You know, there’s not a lot of open space right in L.A., so it’s a nice place where you can walk around and breathe a little bit.

After that, my wife and I are pretty into karate, we take traditional Shotokan karate, and our dojo is out on Pico. It’s relaxing and stimulating at the same time.

Then we like to go to the Pico Cafe and we get this thing called shakshooka, this Middle Eastern egg dish. After that we’ll come get the kids, and we like to go to the Huntington Gardens. Or there’s Solstice Canyon out by Malibu where we like to go hiking. There’s an incredible amount of water there now; we’ll hike up to the waterfall. It’s pretty amazing that you can drive 20 minutes and be absolutely out in the middle of the most beautiful nature.

And at this point in the day, you know, we’re probably getting tired. So there’s a place I like to go called the Fish Grill, it’s on Beverly at La Brea. It’s informal, you can bring your kids. And people who claim not to like fish, you have to bring them there -- and they say, “Well, this is good. I don’t really like fish, but this is good.”

What about music?

There’s almost never any day I’m not picking up a guitar. But I never really get too into writing on a Sunday. It’s pretty much a family day. I score a television show so I might come into the studio for an hour. But I don’t know if that fits the profile of my favorite weekend.


-- Frank Farrar