On House of Cards, lobbyist Remy Danton lives for strong-arming people. But at the end of season two (spoiler alert!), he found himself potentially outplayed by his former lover, House whip Jackie Sharp, and President Frank Underwood. Still, Danton manages to exude bulletproof confidence, something that Mahershala Ali, who plays him, is trying to emulate. “I find in acting that you end up getting parts that reflect certain things you need to work on in your life,” he says. “What I appreciate about Remy is that he’s more confident than I naturally am.” The show, which begins its third season next month, has “changed the conversation when I walk into a casting office,” says Ali. Here he takes us back to his roots in Northern California.
Blondie’s Pizza: “It’s a block off the Berkeley campus, and the college students love it. It has great slices of large, cheap pizza.” Daily specials run the gamut from six- cheese to chorizo with peppers.
Burma Superstar: The food, influenced by Indian, Chinese and Thai flavors, draws huge crowds. “You have to get here around 5 o’clock because there is always a line out the door.”
Temescal: “Temescal is an up-and-coming neighborhood in Oakland. It’s got a couple of local favorites, like Bakesale Betty, not to mention Manifesto Bicycles, which is my favorite bike shop.”
Willard Park: “It’s beautiful. The park is the size of a city block and has lots of folks hanging out on the weekends, picknicking, playing Frisbee, volleyball, dogs running around. It’s great.”