Like a lot of young dreamers, Dax Shepard first came to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. His big break came in 2003 when he debuted in Ashton Kutcher’s practical joke show, Punk’d, and he has worked nonstop ever since—occasionally alongside his wife, Kristen Bell.
Until recently, Shepard was perhaps best known for his five-year run on the TV series Parenthood and for the 2017 film CHiPs, which he wrote, directed, and starred in. But that all changed in February 2018 when the Michigan native launched a celebrity-chat podcast, Armchair Expert. We asked Shepard to share some of his favorite spots in L.A. and beyond.
Where do you live? Los Feliz. I don’t think it’s officially a legal postal code but it’s a neighborhood within Los Angeles.
Why there? I compare it to the West Village in New York City. It’s very artsy, a lot of great restaurants, and there’s still, like, twisty roads. There’s a lot of 100-plus-year-old houses, like the Cecil B. DeMille compound. It’s pretty fantastic.
Who or what is your greatest California love? I’m an avid motorcycle rider, but probably my biggest passion is off-roading and California has the best in the country, with, I’m pretty sure, the biggest sand dunes. When I was younger and didn’t mind getting surgery I used to ride a dirt bike, but now I drive a dune buggy.
What is the biggest misperception about Californians? We have this reputation for being health conscious, and sometimes people inadvertently feel judged. In Michigan we called Californians “Fruits and Nutties” because there was some implication they were judgmental. But we’re not, we’re just doing our own thing.
What is the stereotype that most holds true? People are pretty healthy. It is far easier to be healthy here because you have the option of being outside so much. And there’s a trillion healthy food options. The fact that we are growing 80 percent of the food farmed in this country is helpful.
What is your favorite Golden State splurge? A splurge for us has been going to Calistoga Ranch. It’s pretty spectacular. I like all the nice stuff in Napa, and the more rustic stuff. I love the mineral pool above Calistoga. That place is awesome.
Time for a road trip. Where are you going? My favorite road trip is a motorcycle trip to Death Valley from L.A. Stay off the highways, because you keep cresting mountain ridges and entering valleys where you can see 70 miles across. I also love the drive to Mammoth, which is lovely.
If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be?
I think the Mexican-inspired food in California is outstanding. I love Yuca’s Taco—
a cute stand on the side of Hillhurst—and Tacos Tu Madre.