Go Away With … Carolyn Hennesy

Photo courtesy: Donnie Madden

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
February 15, 2011

Carolyn Hennesy is all over the place these days. She plays uber-cougar Barb on ABC’s “Cougar Town” and eats up the scenery as a high-powered attorney on that same network’s daytime drama “General Hospital.” Hennesy, 48, also is an author who writes the “Pandora’s Mythic Misadventures” series for tweens. Her latest book, “Pandora Gets Angry” (Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, $14.99), hit stores earlier this month. In April, she’ll release another book called “The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli” (Hyperion, $22.99), which is based on some “GH” characters. In her spare time, the Burbank, Calif., resident enjoys partaking in the art of trapeze.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. It’s a toss up between New Orleans and Venice, Italy. I have a special fondness for Venice because we went on our honeymoon there. The food is amazing in both places. The first time I was in New Orleans it was for Jazz Fest. We listened to some great music, visited plantations, shopped and ate some of the most amazing food. New Orleans has some one-of-a-kind thrift stores and I’m a big antiquer. There’s this shop I love on Royal Street called M.S. Rau Antiques that has wonderful things. But everything’s at least $1,000 so I have to be careful when I go in there. I liked the attitude there as well.

They say the very act of raising a julep to your lips causes malaise. It was steamy hot when we were there and the smells of everything — the city, the cooking, the river, the people — it was fantastic. At Jazz Fest, we would have a bowl of Crawfish Monica in one hand, a beer in the other and listen to gospel. That’s all the religion we needed! It was wonderful. I’ve made an oath to myself that I’m going to own property in the French Quarter some day!

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. California has so many wonderful getaways. Ojai, San Francisco, Sacramento … Santa Barbara is really just lovely. They call it the American Riviera. And I love me some Palm Springs! My husband Don (Agnelli) and I have some fun in Las Vegas, too. Portland, Ore., is great and has some beautiful countryside.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?

A. The Residence Foch in Paris. The Olivier House Hotel in New Orleans is the best! And the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco is really nice.

Q. What are your favorite restaurants?

A. Langan’s Brasserie in London was amazing. The Slanted Door in San Francisco. Mosca’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Mother’s Restaurant in New Orleans has a debris po’ boy that is off the chart! Love Spago in Beverly Hills. My husband and I are first and foremost carnivores. We are also big talkers. But when we’re at Fago de Chao, we don’t talk except to say, “Yes, more meat, please.” You have to train to eat in this restaurant. Drink a lot of water to expand your stomach beforehand! (Laughs.) Having said that, I could be vegan if the chef of Madeleine Bistro (in Tarzana, Calif.) would come and cook for me. The food is wonderful. Everyone is big on Katsuya but I really love chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s Nobu.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. I always take my curling iron. And I have a hang-around-my-neck passport holder where I keep all my documents. It’s a wonderful timesaver. I bring snacks for the plane. I also bring my Votivo red currant hand lotion, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfumes and a pair of cowboy boots. I really try to limit the number of shoes because they take up so much space, so I just work my wardrobe around those boots. Oh, and I never bring expensive sunglasses because I will lose them. A nice cheap pair will do fine.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. Venice, New Orleans, Dublin, Atlanta and Florence.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. India. It’s mystical. It’s probably one of the places that’s most tapped into universal forces and from what I’ve seen in the media, there are parts of it that have almost incomparable beauty. I also think it’s a good lesson for everyone to see the plight of those less fortunate than us. I’d like to see where Mother Teresa lived and where her orphanage was.

©2011 JAE-HA KIM

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