Kyle MacLachlan Has Some Opinions On Coffee And Wine

Breaking eggs with the actor who plays Franklin D. Roosevelt in the upcoming 'Atlantic Crossing'

You know him from Twin Peaks, Portlandia, Sex and the City, and many others: Actor Kyle MacLachlan dishes with Tasting Table founder John McDonald on his favorite coffee, how he got into wine, what he likes to cook for his family, and his upcoming PBS project, Atlantic Crossing, on track to air in the spring.

John McDonald: Does Kyle MacLachlan love a good cup of coffee, or is that just the Agent Cooper persona? If so, how do you take it?

Kyle MacLachlan: Oh man, I LOVE a good cup of coffee. I'm not picky, but I'm partial to French press: straight, black coffee. And one of my favorites is from a small roastery in Walla Walla, Washington, called the Walla Walla Roastery. Thomas Reese and his sister Mary own it, and that is some damn good brew. 

I know you produce wine called Pursued by Bear and have drunk it a few times with you, but how does an actor end up making wine? What's the deal with the name?

You know, there's a lot of downtime when you're an actor waiting for that next job. I decided to fill it with a hobby, and now that hobby has become a small business. I grew up in eastern Washington State, and I basically make these wines in my backyard. I have a real interest in what it takes to make great wine, and I was also looking for a reason to spend more time with my dad, who was alive when I started this venture. And yeah, I borrowed the name. It's a stage direction in act 3, scene 3 from Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. I say if you're going to borrow, borrow from the best!

It's been a wild year with the pandemic with not much social activity, but who would you like to invite over for dinner and a few bottles of Bear?

I love sharing the wine with friends and people who are not familiar with the quality of wine coming out of Washington. My list would certainly include my old pal David Lynch, who is always up for a good glass of red wine. My friend Joel McHale is a wine and beer aficionado; actually, he's just really knowledgeable about food and wine in general. And how about the cast of Sex and the City? They might be ready to move off the cosmopolitans and onto a beautiful glass of Washington State cabernet. 

Is acting with a mask on still acting? I've been watching some shows, and when they wear a mask it just feels strange without any facial emotion visible.

I agree! A mask removes so much of an actor's tools. The voice is muffled, facial nuance is all but eliminated. There is a strong focus on the eyes, though, and that is a powerful form of expression. I will say a mask gives a person more of a mysterious, what-are-they-thinking vibe.

What is your favorite role up to now in your career? I'd have to go with the characters I played in Twin Peaks: The Return. I was able to cover a lot of territory between Agent Cooper, Dougie, and Mr. C. The other role would have to be Franklin D. Roosevelt in the upcoming TV series Atlantic Crossing on PBS Masterpiece that's coming out in early April. 

Do you have a favorite movie that involves cooking? I love Chef with Favreau and Hoffman. You?

That's a great one, and I have to say, I'm a HUGE fan of Jon Favreau. Big Night with Stanley Tucci, who I enjoy spending time with, is another great film about food. I have chefs that I follow on Instagram, like Dan Kluger, Thomas Keller, Ludo Lefebvre. One of my favorites is Jacques Pepin. I love watching his videos. He's quietly charismatic and gets the job done. I really like his simple, direct commentary and when he teamed up with Julia Child....well, that was magic. 

Was there a project that you passed on that, looking back, you regret?

A few things came my way that I didn't do for any number of reasons, and a couple that I did that I probably shouldn't have. But looking back, I really have no regrets. They're all part of my history now, and they reflect the circumstances and mindset I was in at the time. 

How did you develop your love and talent for cooking?

That came from my dad and my two grandmothers. While growing up in Yakima, Washington, my dad did most of the cooking and grilling. He loved to grill so much he would stand outside in the snow, beer in hand, grilling all sorts of stuff. I also learned out of necessity. When I was in college, I lived with a couple of roommates, and we couldn't afford to eat out, so I taught myself how to cook. I started with my dad's recipes, lots of Hamburger Helper, and gradually figured it out. I also learned to bake bread and made quiche and soups. And I learned how to make a pepperoncini pasta from Silvana Mangano in Mexico City while filming Dune.   

What's the go-to dish you love cooking the most for your family?

[Partner] Desiree and [son] Callum love my lamb chops and a Greek salad. Simple marinade for the meat — rosemary, garlic, fresh oregano. And the salad is red or yellow bell pepper, sliced onion, tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and a garlic-Dijon-red wine vinegar dressing. Nothing fancy but very tasty! 

Where do you love to dine when in Los Angeles?

I'm a creature of habit dining in Los Angeles and tend to revisit the same places over and over, so Craig's, Little Pine, Fia, San Vicente Bungalows (outside), Nerano, and Nobu in Malibu is a treat. 

How about when back in New York City? 

New York is about combining where you are, what you're doing, and what you want to eat. So, [assumes indoor dining] if I'm Upper East, maybe spent a few hours at the Met, I might go to Le Bilboquet or a drink at the Carlyle, or over to the Polo Bar. I'm loving Bistrot Leo if I'm in Soho and Bowery Meat Company further east. My neighborhood place for Sunday comfort food might be Shake Shack in Madison Park for lunch or Hillstone for dinner. I also love Danny Meyer's restaurants and Gramercy Tavern is a fave. If I've spent an afternoon in Central Park, I'd go to Trattoria Dell'Arte for Italian. Rituals, I guess. 

You have been living in LA since last March. What do you miss the most about New York and let's skip the typical "the energy" answer to that one? 

Oh, you know, the energy! Sorry. I miss faces, walking the streets of the city, and just seeing people of all shapes, sizes, colors: the variety of all of us. And the personalities, of course. As an actor, I love imagining what's inside a particular person, how they behave, why they behave the way they do. What drives them, what happened to them to make them the way they are. That's the best.