Pau Gasol: Foodie

This is the Laker you want to take you out to dinner. And he can afford it, too.

When Pau Gasol recently inked his new three-year, $57 million extension with the Lakers, he said he was going to go out to a nice dinner. A nicer one than the first time he landed in Los Angeles, when his celebratory meal was In-n-Out.

Then he quickly said that there was nothing wrong with In-n-Out once in a while, it’s pretty tasty.

That sounds like a man who gets the Los Angeles food scene.

Pau Gasol, born and raised to a doctor in Barcelona, has maybe the most refined palate in the NBA. Gasol, guard Derek Fisher and trainer Gary Vitti will on the road sometimes slide away for the kind of exotic meal that foodies crave but the average NBA player would not go near. And that remains true in Los Angeles as well.

SI: Have you found any Spanish restaurants in Los Angeles that you like?

PG:… I go to The Bazaar a lot. I thought that was really good. The ambiance is very good. Really L.A.-ish. It's a cool place to go, have some tapas. I'm friends with José [Andrés]. He gives me bigger portions than usual.

SI: Have you taken your teammates to The Bazaar yet?

PG: Yeah. Team dinner, five of us, when the season was over. Derek [Fisher] was there, he tried most of the stuff. Some of it they weren't willing to try. But they were pretty open to it. It was nice. It's always a special feeling when teammates try the food that I love and they enjoy it.

The Bazaar is a four-star restaurant that is one of the top spots in Los Angeles, like several restaurants in one taking over the ground floor of the SLS Hotel. It serves a foie gras lollipop wrapped in cotton candy. It is a culinary fun house, and one that works.

But Gasol’s taste (like his game on the court) is very diverse. Growing up in a city known for seafood, no shock he likes sushi, and you can find him at Nobu. And at Italian spots like Amarone on Sunset.

Gasol is a guy paling around with Placido Domingo so I guess we shouldn’t be shocked he hangs with the top chefs in town, too. Sure, with his profession he needs to be a little more careful about what he eats than, say, some writer sitting at his computer all day. But Gasol knows good food, and he knows how to have it and be healthy, too.

Besides, he can afford it. And some In-n-Out now and again, too.

Kurt Helin likes tapas, sushi and In-n-Out and runs the NBA/Lakers blog Forum Blue & Gold (which you can also follow in twitter).

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