Local Festivals (Venice and Culver City)

This weekend we are celebrating two of our favorite communities in Los Angeles – Venice and Culver City – with the 32nd Annual Abbot Kinney Festival and Culver City Centennial Celebration (say that 10 times fast)! If you’re feeling conflicted … Continue reading

Day 25: Royal/T


In the mood to look at some art, have a meal and do a little shopping?  Hop on down to Royal/T in Culver City…  This cafe/gallery/store is a playful mix of all three and bills itself as L.A.’s first Japanese style cosplay cafe’.  Meaning, there are adorable young asian waitresses in full French maid regalia.  It would be worth one stop just to see it, but the food is so yummy and reasonably priced, we go all the time.  The contemporary art rotates which also makes for an element of surprise each visit.  And for those who want to party but can’t stand the thought of sweaty bodies rubbing up against you?  Step into this Porta Party complete with disco ball and iPod jack.  Party for one please!

Day 18: La Vitrine Designs by Musti


I was looking for something special to give my niece for her 16th birthday.  A girlfriend recommended that I visit La Vitrine Designs by Musti, at 1119 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica.  You know when you walk in someplace and it has great energy, this store has it.  Musti designs and makes all his jewelry in-house, he also told me that he does repairs.  His eyes lit up as he talked about taking antique pieces and making them into something new.  We also shared a laugh because the paparazzi were next door snapping photos of some starlet getting her nails done that we had never heard of…

In my case, I walked out with a crochet seed pearl necklace that could also be wrapped and worn as a bracelet. A perfect, understated piece of jewelry that fits my nieces  personality and my pocketbook.  My friend made an excellent referral that I am happy to pass along…

Day 7: California Heritage Museum

An official city landmark since 1979, go check out all things California in a wonderful old Craftsman in Santa Monica.  The home was originally situated on Ocean Ave. and was built for the son of the  founder of Santa Monica, Roy Jones.  Today it is located on Main St. and Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica.  From fiesta ware, to skateboards, to movie stills, there is a little something for everyone who has an interest in California history.  Tuesday nights from 5:30-9:30 there are gourmet food trucks that benefit the museum and Sunday mornings there is a wonderful farmer’s market.  Both feature free bicycle valet, so peddle on down and get your grub on!


Day 5: The Farmers Market


I think I like this place because it represents the melting pot of ethnicity that I love about L.A. and for me, anyplace that features this kind of food line-up is heaven.  The whole family, heck the whole extended family could come here and find what they have been craving.  Everything is here, groceries, shops and dining choices from tacos (Loteria!), to molluscs (Tusquellas Fish & Oyster Bar), so you can eat it here or collect everything you need to prepare the food at home, including the pot itself (Sur La Table).  Growing up on the Westside, it was like a field trip for me as a kid to venture off to Fairfax and go to the Farmer’s Market and still feels a bit that way today.  This is not to be confused with The Grove next door, this is pure old school.  Independently owned businesses that have been passed down through generations and still operate today.

I had the good fortune to meet some friends there last Sunday morning.  We plunked ourselves down at the tables and went ballistic at Bob’s Coffee and Donuts, stall #450.  They were out of their famous cinnamon rolls but had fresh glazed donuts that were still hot, Krispy Kreme doesn’t even come close!  One of our party decided it was early enough for ice cream, hey it’s 5:00 p.m. someplace…  She ventured to Bennett’s Ice Cream, Stall #548 (which in full disclosure is owned by one of my best friends).  I am a die-hard fan of the White Chocolate Raspberry and the flavor named after the proprietor Scott’s wife, Fancy Nancy.  I think there should be a name for ice cream creators, I mean coffee houses have baristas, right?  But anyway, recently Scott brought his artisan drumsticks to a party and that was that, my new favorite!  Go by sometime and watch him make the ice cream on-site through the window on the side of his stall. 

I cannot leave out Du-par’s Restaurant, which is open 24 hours and it’s the perfect late night stop or for breakfast.  Think short, fat and warm coffee cups that are re-filled regularly by waitresses with attitude, has every kind of pie you could want and you get the gist.  And it’s been around almost as long as the market itself… Lastly, Huntington Meat & Sausage is the way to go for all things meat, as they are one of the few purveyors of Harris Ranch beef and have the most amazing sausages to throw on the grill or that perfect Shelton Thankgiving turkey. 

If you really want a treat, show up on Saturday nights for karaoke, there are some regular characters (and I mean characters) that can’t be missed, hilarious! Or visit one of the many events that are featured here throughout the year.   There are too many other great places to see to mention here.   So do yourself a favor and just go, wander around and be open to trying something new, you might just like it!