Aaron Zigman’s music isn’t as flashy as the designer wardrobe that Sarah Jessica Parker wears in “Sex and the City 2″ — opening in theaters on May 27. But his score does set the tone for the film, whether Carrie and her girls are in New York City or gallivanting around the world. Based out of Los Angeles, the 47-year-old composer (whose previous work includes “The Notebook” and “The Proposal”) talks about his own love of traveling, whether it’s to Paris or Charleston, S.C.
Q: What is your favorite travel destination?
A: Paris, for the culture, restaurants, the Louvre and just walking around the city.
Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A: I really like Santa Barbara. It is a great drive along the coast from Los Angeles and less than two hours away. There are great running trails throughout the area plus it’s right on the ocean. I generally stay at the Four Seasons. It is close to everything, yet far enough away from all the activity of the Stearns Wharf pier that you do feel secluded. They also have an amazing Sunday brunch where you can sit on the patio and look out at the ocean. I’m from San Diego and I like to visit family there, but sometimes I will stay at the Hotel Del Coronado. It’s on this island across the bay from San Diego and is loaded with Hollywood history. In the winter, they even have an ice skating rink on the beach.
Q: What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
A: My favorite hotel is the Four Seasons (www.fourseasons.com) in Santa Barbara. Next favorite hotel is the Saint James Paris (www.saint-james-paris.com). The Stonehouse (www.sanysidroranch.com) at the San Ysidro Ranch is a must. It’s in the foothills of the Montecito wine country. There’s a deck with ocean views where you can dine under the stars. They took this 19th-century citrus packing house and turned it into an amazing romantic spot with an incredible wine list. New York has many terrific restaurants. My favorite is Eleven Madison Park (www.elevenmadisonpark.com). Los Angeles in the last several years has really developed as a culinary destination. My personal favorites are Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica (www.rusticcanyonwinebar.com), Koi (www.koirestaurant.com), il Grano (www.ilgrano.com) and Ago (www.agorestaurant.com).
Q: When you go away, what are some of your must have items?
A: Reading material and workout material. Jump rope, gym shoes and swimming gear. I like to workout to clear my head — even on vacation. And I like to have whatever book I’m reading.
Q: What are your five favorite cities?
A: New York. Charleston, S.C., San Diego, Los Angeles and Paris. I spend a lot of time in New York and I still love visiting there. When working on the first “Sex and the City” movie, it reminded me how much I liked the city. When I scored “The Notebook,” I went on location to Charleston and the old Southern charm of the architecture and the wonderful people made the city one of my top five.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A: I look into restaurants, museums, art galleries and trails. I’ll read Frommer’s and see if there is something I should know that may not be obvious or Google the city.
Q: Where would you like to go that you’ve never been?
A: The Amalfi Coast of Italy because I think it’s beautiful and I want to go to Tuscany. I want to travel to Italy more. The Medici Palace. I re-read Irving Stone’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo” about a year ago so I’m really into Italy. I want to experience more of Italy.
Q: What is your best and worst vacation memory?
A: Worst vacation memory: Hawaii, when my girlfriend threw out her back and I got sick for 10 days. It was agony in paradise. Rome was the most memorable vacation because of the historical impact. I stayed at the top of the Spanish Steps at the famous Hotel Hassler.
Q: How do you try to fit in when you are a tourist?
A: I don’t. I’ll try to study a little bit of the language before I go. Research the indigenous culture and how to show respect. I don’t try to assimilate. I try to explore as a guest.
Q: Have you ever been guilty of being an ugly American?
A: I’ve never been guilty of that.
© 2010 JAE-HA KIM
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Posted by: Jae-Ha Kim
Tags: Aaron Zigman, Ago Restaurant, Amalfi Coast, California, Eleven Madison Park, Four Seasons, Hawaii, Hotel Del Coronado, il Grano, Italy, Koi, Koi Restaurant, Louvre, Paris, Rome, Rustic Canyon, Saint James Paris Hotel, Santa Barbara, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex & The City, Stearns Wharf Pier, The Four Seasons Hotel, The Notebook, The Proposal, The Stonehouse