My Favorite Weekend: Lisa Edelstein

It’s difficult now to imagine actress Lisa Edelstein, who plays hospital administrator Dr. Lisa Cuddy on Fox’s " House M.D.,” as the former Lisa E, New York club scene gadabout and MTV host, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right? And besides, versatility has always been her forte.

She’s portrayed Rob Lowe’s call-girl paramour on “The West Wing,” James LeGros’ transsexual partner on “Ally McBeal,” an Orthodox Jew with child-custody problems on “Family Law,” David Conrad’s lesbian sister on “Relativity” and Jason Alexander’s risotto-loving love interest on “Seinfeld.”

Away from the cameras, when she’s not chatting about her favorite weekends with a perfect stranger, the yoga-practicing vegetarian lives in a century-old L.A. house with her cat and rescue dogs.

Free advice

During the summer, there’s an amazing free program on weekends at the California Plaza where they have music and dance performances in a beautiful fountain courtyard. I’ve seen incredible Thai dancers and diverse music acts, and right next to it is MOCA, with Little Tokyo and Chinatown nearby. There’s a lot to see in downtown L.A., and it’s getting better all the time.

Vegetarian L.A.

I’m a cook-at-home person, but if I’m going out for dinner, I like Blair’s in Silver Lake, which has great food and a romantic atmosphere. It’s not a cheap place, but they have a really great chef, and I like the vegetarian curry dish.

I also love Gingergrass on Glendale Boulevard — amazing Vietnamese food. It’s much more casual than Blair’s, but the food is delicious. I get the vegetarian pho. Inaka on La Brea and M Cafe on Melrose are also good for vegetarians. Inaka is macrobiotic Japanese, and it’s very healthful, clean food and extremely consistent. I’ve been going there for 20 years. M Cafe is a slightly more spicy and flavorful version of macrobiotic food.

Real Food Daily on La Cienega and Cru and Flore Vegan in Silver Lake are also very good. And Elf on Sunset. And I’ve been meaning to go to Fatty’s in Eagle Rock. But, as I said, I’m a good cook, and with the great weekend farmers markets in the area, like the ones in Hollywood and Silver Lake, it’s easy to make great dishes.

A perfect brunch place downtown is Bottega Louie. It’s a family-friendly restaurant that’s good for vegetarians. The open kitchen feels clean, and the food is delicious. It’s a little loud but very beautiful. And they don’t take reservations. The Pacific Dining Car is another fantastic downtown spot, a real institution. I love that place, and it’s open 24 hours.

Thinking local

I love shopping at small boutiques and I hate traffic, so I love it when I can find good places nearby. On the lower end of the price range, there’s Pull My Daisy in Sunset Junction, and then a little higher is Confederacy on Hollywood near Vermont. Another really cute place I found the other day is Mohawk General Store at Mohawk and Sunset.

The great outdoors

I think Griffith Park is a fantastic place to spend time. There’s a bird sanctuary, the observatory at the top, there’s tennis, horseback riding and the park itself for some extraordinary hiking and exploring. Later in the day, you can hear bands rehearsing at the Greek Theatre for their concerts that night. The music kind of floats all through the canyon there.

Some people think Griffith Park is just for kids, but I don’t go anywhere near the train or the zoo. I hate zoos; they upset me.