As much as it seems that Lisa Edelstein’s favorite place to hang out is an operating room — the celebrated actress garnered acclaim for her role as an endocrinologist on House and now steals scenes as an oncologist on The Good Doctor — that’s all just an act. The New Jersey-raised Edelstein would much rather be relaxing in her L.A. home, taking a walk in the park or scratching Jordan off her bucket list.
But no matter how far away from the stethoscope and white coat she gets, Edelstein still somehow circles back to playing an M.D. Even when chatting with Forbes Travel Guide, she can’t help but prescribe cures for dry travel skin and offer relief for packing essentials.
What makes Los Angeles such a special place to you?
There are a lot of really special places in L.A., but I don’t want to tell you about them because we can’t afford to have any more cars on the road. Traffic! But, if you promise me that only three people will come or that the rest will use public transportation, maybe I can let you in on a few unique cool ideas.
I’ve made my home here mostly because my business is here and my home is really special. It’s a magical garden, an escape route, a meditative state and a bit of an animal farm. We live over an inner-city lake, a man-made reservoir called Silver Lake. So, looking out our windows feels transportive, even though just a short jog down the street is a major thoroughfare.
And ours is not the only beautiful spot to discover. There are beautiful parks nearby, like Elysian Park and Griffith Park. Downtown has everything from incredibly unique historical architecture to the thriving hub of the L.A. art world.
Further west, taking a drive on Mulholland will give you breathtaking views of the city, all the way to the ocean. And driving through the canyons — any of them, really — you’ll see famously insane houses on stilts. We are clearly in denial about earthquakes — hello!
Oh, our beaches are pretty nice, too. It’s just that traffic is so bad. Driving the 22 miles [to the sand] can take an hour and a half. But there is a train that goes there now! All tourists, use the train!
Of course, you probably don’t have much time for sightseeing. Your acting schedule is quite intense. What has your Good Doctor experience been like?
It’s been a bit of a reunion for me. First of all, there are a number of writers that were also on House that have stayed with [creator] David Shore for The Good Doctor. So, saying the words they write for me feels relaxing. I know that language and that rhythm so well.
Secondly, there are crew members from [my Bravo series] Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce just littering the stage. They’re everywhere! It’s so nice to be back in Vancouver, shooting literally across the street from our GG2D studios. I loved being there these past few years, so going back again makes me happy. I get to see old friends.
Thirdly, Richard Schiff played my dad [in a movie] a hundred years ago — well, 19 years ago. I need to add that he is only 10 years older than me because; he couldn’t really be my dad. And his wife actually coached me when I needed to do the striptease dance on House. She was a pole dance teacher. So, it’s “old home week” many times over.
You have other projects in the pipeline. Can you give fans some details about them?
The Kominsky Method premieres this November on Netflix. It’s a great show. It stars Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin, and I play Alan’s incredibly screwed-up, drug-addict daughter. I had so much fun! Playing a role with bad hair, bad clothes and a terrible attitude who’s pretty much always loaded was a blast.
Also coming up are two films: Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, where I play alongside Jason Isaacs, and Phoenix, Oregon, in which I costar with James Le Gros.
I also wrote, directed and starred in a short film, Unzipping, which is slowly making its way around the world via film festivals. It is so exciting to sit in the audience when people laugh and respond to my little film. I hope I get to do it many, many times.
You’re all over the country with filming, red carpets and interviews. What are some secrets you have for keeping a fresh face and an energized body with all of the traveling?
I wear as little makeup and as much moisturizer as possible when flying. I find the air on planes so dry, so dehydrating. Taking a hot shower on arrival is always a huge relief.
I always try to travel with good food, too. Airlines try hard, but as a vegan who takes my ingredients seriously, I don’t think it’s possible to feed a massive amount of people with much integrity. Eating at mealtime is important, too, rather than relying on the flight plan for your schedule, so having food with you can really help.
If we peeked inside your carry-on bag, what are few essential items we’d find in there?
I always carry a few changes of underwear, something to sleep in, a good outfit, toothpaste and a toothbrush — everything you need if your luggage gets lost. If you travel enough, eventually your luggage will get lost. I also carry any medicines and jewelry so there’s no need to worry about those things getting “misplaced.”
Finally, a computer, all plugs, wires and any important documents [are with me]. None of that stuff should ever leave your side.
What are two or three destinations on your travel bucket list?
Two or three? I want to go everywhere. I want to go to Jordan. I’ve been to Israel many times, but I’ve never gone to Petra. The pictures look amazing, and I would love to see it.
I also want to go to Cuba. I’ve heard it’s magical and that the people are amazing.
I want to go back to Thailand. I’ve only seen a small portion, and it wasn’t enough. And for that matter, I want to see Cambodia and Vietnam, although we need to follow a Buddhist route where we could find something vegetarian to eat.
I want to go back to Japan. I’ve been three times and there’s so much more to see.
I want to go to Australia. How have I not been there? And, for that matter, the Fiji islands and New Zealand.
I want to go to Iceland. I want to go to Sweden. I want to go back to England, Spain, France and Italy. It’s never done. Just tell me where you are willing to send me!