Sofia Milos, whose starring roles include CSI: Miami and CBC's The Border, lets music play a supporting but rhythmic role when entertaining friends around a table on the deck of her Hollywood Hills home.
"The perfect party for me is having six to 12 people for dinner Friday or Saturday - good, fun friends, a lot of artists. I have a beautiful deck that looks over the canyon and Los Angeles on one side, so it's very pretty at night. It's a great opportunity to catch up with friends. Los Angeles is such a widespread city, sometimes it's hard to see your friends, and food is a great way to get together - it's a great way of giving love. I'm very Italian so I love cooking for friends. Whether it's Valentine's Day and my boyfriend and girlfriends' boyfriends are away or someone's in town or someone had a baby, I cook.
"I'll cook a couple of appetizers, like a velvet pumpkin soup or ribolitta [a stewed vegetable soup from Tuscany in a cooked risotto-style, adding water a little at a time]
"I do an unbeatable lasagna with Bolognese sauce and homemade pasta, roasted chicken and potatoes. I also do braciole in sauce; it's like very thinly pounded veal rolled up with Parmesan cheese, hard-boiled egg and parsley and garlic inside, and you cook it in tomato sauce.
"Or I cook Greek food, giemista; a stuffed vegetables with rice and beef and mint in the oven. Or spanakopita - usually inhaled before I get a piece - savoury tarts, a red pepper salad and I marinate my own olives. I do a great salad, and a crostata, which is an Italian tart with jam on top. And then we play games, talk and listen to music."
In her own words, here's Milos's perfect dinner playlist:
" Bebe is a Spanish artist, sort of rock-bluesy-Latin, and I play this in the beginning of the evening having cocktails or when slowing down the evening after midnight. I like her album Pafuera Telarañas."
"I'm very much into the Gypsy Kings. It's rumba and very festive, very passionate music, rhythmic guitar, passionate singing about love from happy people."
" Paco de Lucia is rumba, again; his music has the flavour of flamenco and evokes passion and it's easy to listen to when we sit outside. We've had dinners with about 50 candles outside at night listening to anything by Paco de Lucia."
" Jose Cortes and Gipsy Dreams' song Tumbala means to win the heart of a woman. This is rumba flamenco fusion, a new generation of the Gypsy Kings; some of the younger guys that travelled with them and worked with them over the years, formed their own band."
" The Great American Songbook CDs by Rod Stewart - I love the four CDs. I love his voice. I love Time after Time, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Till There was You - I'm a total romantic."
"I listen to Italian artists Lucio Dalla, Claudio Baglioni, and Edoardo Bennato, especially when I have Italian friends over, because most people know the lyrics, so it reminds us of our roots, our culture, our humour, who we are; so when we sing together and eat Italian food and speak Italian it makes us feel at home in California, and we sing the song Tu Vuo Fa l'Americano. I love really old songs from the 1960s like Amore Fermati by Fred Bongusto."
" Celia Cruz - she's funky Latin, totally dance. I play La Negra Tiene Tumbao at 10 o'clock after dinner for people wanting to get up and dance, Shakira's Te Aviso Te Anuncio, and flamenco artist Camaron de la Isla - these are dance songs and I like any music that gets you off your tush."
" Cachoa: Master Session, Volume 1. Actor Andy Garcia produces Cachoa [Israel Lopez, a Grammy Award-winning Cuban bassist considered the father of Mambo]and does the percussion on it and it's amazing."
" Ottmar Liebert's Spanish Steps/Rome in May is rhythmic guitar, romantic. Sometimes you have slower ballads that could be interpreted as a downer, but this isn't because it's rhythmic."
" Avec le Temps by Dalida - she's also great for after the party."
Special to The Globe and Mail