Jimmy Kimmel
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The California Questionnaire: Jimmy Kimmel

The California Questionnaire: Jimmy Kimmel
The late-night host shares his favorite spots around Hollywood and beyond

Visitors come to Hollywood hoping to see TV and movie stars on the job—but you might also spot them picking up groceries, or running home to grab the cell phone they left on the kitchen table. That’s the case at least with Jimmy Kimmel, who was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Nevada but now calls Hollywood home.

The Emmy-winning host and comedian has been helming ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! since 2009, interviewing celebrities and performing sketches in front of a live audience at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. (Interested in attending? Here’s how to get audience tickets to that and other L.A.-based shows.) We asked Kimmel to share his favorite places to eat and explore in L.A. and throughout the Golden State. Here’s what he had to say.

Where do you live? I live in Hollywood, actually, not too far from the show.

Why there? There are lots of nice neighborhoods in L.A., but the primary reason I live there is so I can be close to work. I have a tendency to forget things. Today I forgot my cell phone. Typically, I forget my wallet. Living in Hollywood just makes it easier to retrieve my forgotten items.

Who or what is your greatest California love? California is the best state overall—no question. Everything you could possibly want is here. In Southern California, the weather is almost always nice, there are great places to eat, and there’s the beach. But if I had to choose just one, I’d have to say the weather. I appreciate having the same weather every day.

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? That everyone is phony, that everyone is fake. That is a ridiculous statement to make about an enormous state. And, also, the whole thing about people in L.A. being bad sports fans is exceptionally false. That is a perception that’s out there, that we are fair-weather fans, but our weather is fair every day.

What is the stereotype that most holds true? The traffic here isn’t great, sure. That really holds up. But if you live here, you know how to minimize that. I am not a fan of generalizing, but that is true. That’s why I live close to work.

What is your favorite Golden State splurge? The beef short rib at APL Restaurant in Hollywood. It’s expensive and it’s worth every penny. I have it about once a week. Too much.

Time for a road trip—where are you going? I love a road trip. I liked them more before I had two little kids. You know where my wife and I like to go? Depending on how much time we have, we drive or fly up to Concord and drive over to Healdsburg. I love that area. Of course, they make a lot of wine up there. We love to get up there and do nothing all weekend but eat and drink. Sometimes we rent a house, but there are great hotels.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? People are going to be so mad at me, because it’s hard to get in as it is. There’s a place in a strip mall in West Hollywood called Sushi Park that I love. I go in and get the omakase—the chef picks what you get—and they keep bringing you food until you tell them to stop. And I never tell them to stop. I’m like a goldfish—I will eat until I explode. There’s also the Mariscos Jalisco taco truck downtown. They don’t have a restaurant. They just sort of cleared out and set up some folding chairs in a crappy room, near the food truck. And the food—the shrimp tacos are exceptional.

How do you define California style? I always think of those OP shirts, from when I was a kid. Or, really, here it is: I actually have a fold-up-top ’74 Volkswagen Thing that I converted to electric. That, to me, is the essence of California style. In fact, I petitioned the state department of motor vehicles to give me a permit to ride in the HOV lane and they granted it. Because previously only cars that were built electric were given them, and now they are eligible.

Best California song? “California Stars” by Wilco & Billy Bragg. Woody Guthrie actually wrote the lyrics. It’s about relaxing and looking at the sky. I listen to it whenever I’m in a really good mood.

How would your California dream day unfold? I have two little kids and two older kids. So my wife and I love to go to the farmers market with everyone on Sunday mornings. I have gotten to know the people there, like the lady with the fresh avocados. We never go with a plan for what we’re going to make for dinner, but we get it all there. We have a little lunch at the food stand there, and then go home and fire up the grill in the backyard. That for me is the best day I can think of.

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Southern California

Discover Los Angeles County

See a movie star. Sip a cocktail on a rooftop bar at sunset. Slip on a pair of designer shoes in an ultra-luxurious boutique in Beverly Hills. Play at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, explore world-class museums, or dance the night away in a starlet-filled club. Welcome to California’s liveliest city, entertainment capital of America, with megastar wattage and nonstop activities.

“You know, you’re really a nobody in L.A. unless you have a really big door.”  –comedian Steve Martin

The main hub is the City of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood northwest of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east, and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west.

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Koreatown

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Spotlight: West Hollywood

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See L.A.’s creative side in WeHo’s design shops, architecture, and edgy nightlife

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Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant

Fire-based cooking techniques fuel the culinary innovation at Curtis Stone’s Hollywood hotspot

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Spotlight: Los Angeles

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Bright lights, A-list celebrities & diverse culture

Welcome to the bright lights and big-city allure of California’s largest metropolis. Here, A-list celebrities really do walk the sidewalks, triple...

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Angeles National Forest

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Marina del Rey

Visit this inviting waterfront community near Venice Beach and Santa Monica for laid-back fun

Roughly six miles north of Los Angeles International Airport sits ...

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Burbank

The entertainment industry’s home base offers a microcosm of stars, shopping, and cool tours

If you come to Los Angeles wishing to see where movie magic gets made, look on the other side of Hollywood—literally.

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Watch celebrity chefs in action at this annual event in downtown Los Angeles

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The genus of the state’s official flower, the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is named in honor of Dr. J. F. von Eschscholtz, a surgeon and naturalist who explored the California coast with Russian expeditions from 1815 to 1818.
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La Brea Tar Pits

Find fossils and family-friendly fun at this prehistoric excavation site

Your idea of old may be 100, but that will undoubtedly change after you spend several hours at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum. You will learn...

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Photograph by Peggy Sirota

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"The Squaw Man" was filmed in 1913, and was the first feature-length film made in Hollywood.
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Spotlight: Hollywood

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Sunset Strip Nightlife

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Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Southern California

Beach Towns & Big Thrills
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Museums

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Malibu

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Los Angeles County Shopping

Go boutique to bargain in one of the world’s fashion (and shopping) capitals

You’ll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for L.A. shopping.

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Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

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Pasadena

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Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

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World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

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Where to release your inner fashionista

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Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

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Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

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Spotlight: Santa Catalina Island

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An island retreat off the Southern California coast

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Venice

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Surfers, skateboarders, and stars

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L.A. Architecture

See eye-catching icons and stately landmarks

While Los Angeles is still a young city when compared to places like, say, Rome, it still boasts a unique architectural tradition that spans a...

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Lancaster's Civic Musical Road is the only "musical" or "singing" road in the United States.
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Hands-on fun for all at farms, ranches, and fields statewide

From almonds and olives up north to avocados, oranges, and dates in the south, the Golden State has a crop (or 10) for nearly every stretch of terrain. After all,...

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Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate playgrounds

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

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February or March

You certainly won’t be the only one celebrating the Lunar New Year at this colorful event in L.A.’s Chinatown. Join thousands of revelers lining the parade route as lion dancers and giant dragons...

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Jorge Gonzalez/Flickr
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San Pedro

L.A.’s busiest port town is a haven for maritime enthusiasts and seafood lovers

Located at the southern point of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, between Manhattan Beach and Long Beach, is...