On HBO’s Silicon Valley, Martin Starr plays Bertram Gilfoyle, a pompous computer programmer who specializes in deadpan putdowns. But the Santa Monica-born actor, a veteran of cult TV faves Freaks and Geeks and Party Down, is definitely more SoCal than NorCal—and possesses a decidedly sunny disposition. Starr agreed to take the 10-query California Questionnaire, providing us with some foodie favourites and road trip recommendations.
1. Where do you live? Westwood, in Los Angeles.
2. Why there? You have coastal access 20 minutes away, at most, and it’s not too far if I have to get into Hollywood.
3. Who or what is your greatest California love? My focus in life is food. I love food. I love to cook. And there are so many great spots here. There’s a place in L.A. called Cha Cha Chicken that’s right on the beach. I go so often I’ve become friends with the family. It’s Jamaican-Caribbean-Mexican fusion.
4. What is the biggest misperception about Californians? We’re snobs who don’t read books and just watch movies.
5. What is the stereotype that most holds true? My buddy Spencer goes windsurfing every morning at, like, 4 a.m. I’m not as active as most Californians, but I’m proud of those who represent the other side of the spectrum.
6. What is your favourite Golden State splurge? Food. Always. There’s an authentic German sausage place I’ve been going to since I was a kid called European Deluxe Sausage Kitchen in Beverly Hills. It’s where we always get our bratwurst. It’s not a restaurant. It’s a butcher. So good. They also sell amazing South African beef jerky called biltong. So damn good.
7. Time for a road trip—where are you going? The 101 goes right up the coast, and then you hit the Highway 1—god, I sound like that Saturday Night Live sketch, “The Californians”—and you can just take that north. San Luis Obispo, Big Sur…there’s so much to see.
8. If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? If you don’t know the delicious nature of sushi, it’s your loss, friend.
9. Best California song? “California Love,” by Tupac. All Eyez on Me was the first album I ever bought, and that song is a standout.
10. How would your California dream day unfold? Waking up at a house on the beach— Santa Barbara, maybe—and then walking to a farmer’s market to get some fresh fruit and eggs and making breakfast. And then driving up to a mountain—Big Bear or Mammoth—and snowboarding for a few hours in the afternoon before crashing in a cabin in the woods.