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Art Institute of California

WHY A career-oriented program for aspiring professional cooks. WHAT This national chain of schools that provides professional training in the glamour careers—design, media arts, fashion and food—has a culinary school in Santa Monica. It offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts, culinary management and baking and pastry. These are full-time, expensive programs intended to [...]

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Continental Shop

WHY This is L.A.’s supply depot for all things British, from taped TV shows and magazines to airline tickets and, yes, food. WHAT If you’ve got a craving for English bangers, a Cornish pasty or imported frozen Yorkshire pudding, head for the freezer in this tightly packed, slightly dowdy emporium. The cooler holds clotted Devon [...]

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Wine Expo

WHY Educated and refreshingly honest staff members, who also know their way around tequila and beer. WHAT Wine Expo started as a champagne specialty shop and has evolved into the westside’s go-to source for Italian wines. Owners Ali Biglar and Robert Rogness cultivate relationships with Italian winemakers and ship back via their own import business [...]

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Moe’s Fine Wines

WHY Wine is more fun than software, so thank you, Moe, for quitting your day job to open this place. WHAT Scott ‘Moe’ Levy’s high-end neighborhood shop looks like a dream home cellar, with stained-wood wine racks, Riedel stemware and a carefully chosen array of $8 to $800 wines, many from small California producers. And [...]

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Los Angeles Wine Co.

WHY Drink globably, save locally. WHAT This warehouse-style merchant has spent years scouring the world for great deals, and it lives up to its motto: ‘Every wine in stock, always sale priced.’ Whether seeking a $95 Burgundy for $80 or a $40 Italian Sangiovese for $30, value hunters love the steals and deals.; WHO Penny-pinchers [...]

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Fireside Cellars

WHY Irresistible wine selections for those who know their Alexander Valley from their Languedoc. WHAT This tiny shop resembles a cozy home cellar filled with boutique wines, especially those from California and France. Visions of Cakebread and Stag’s Leap will have you reaching for the stemware—and your checkbook. It’s not that there aren’t bargains here—there [...]

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The Duck Blind Fine Wine & Spirits

WHY The specials. Sometimes you can luck into a $15 wine for $5. WHAT Don’t let the outside fool you—what looks like a standard grungy liquor store is actually a perfectly fine wine shop. Lots of $10 and $15 bottles, plus some good local and international brews. WHO Neighborhood loyalists—this place has been around for [...]

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Dragon Herbs

WHY For adviser-designed herb tea drinks that just might cure what ails you. WHAT All sorts of Chinese herbs and teas are served at the tonic bar in this retail herb emporium. Tell the folks here what you’re seeking (more energy, less weight, fewer hot flashes), and they’ll fix you up with a drink that [...]

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Jin Patisserie

WHY Very good coffee and infused teas, sublime chocolates and scones to accompany them, and a lovely garden patio on which to enjoy it all. WHAT This thoughtfully elegant patisserie showcases owner Kristy Choo’s meticulously crafted works of chocolate art, which go down well with a cup of coffee or tea. WHO The most refined [...]

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Tudor House

WHY Steak and kidney pie, welsh rarebit, trifle and full afternoon tea with scones and tea sandwiches. There’s also a shop full of British imports. WHAT Santa Monica used to have a thriving British community, and the Tudor House has been there for some 40 years. Inside, it resembles a British auntie—a bit dowdy but [...]

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