When I lived in Los Angeles, Abbot Kinney (an eclectic shopping and dining street in Venice) was one of my favorite places to spend a day. On a recent trip to Southern California, I rediscovered its charms. Here are some great spots to check out on your next visit.
1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd
This must-see store specializes in cutting-edge (and downright delightful) design from around the world. On my latest trip, I snagged a great pair of nestling red powder-coated candlesticks from Finnish/German designer Mikaela Dörfel and a tiny silicone scuba diver tea dunker (yes, it’s as cute as it sounds) from AbelPartners Design Studio. Oh, and the salespeople are as knowledgeable and helpful as the designs are incredible.
Feed Body and Soul
1239 Abbot Kinney Blvd
After you get your design fix, head down the street to Feed Body and Soul, a restaurant/bar with a contemporary North African inspired décor and a menu full of tantalizing dishes made from organic, locally-sourced ingredients (perfectly complimented by selections from the diverse wine list). If the sun is shining, be sure to sit on the back patio.
Tortoise General Store
1342 1/2 Abbot Kinney Blvd
This simple, entrancing boutique specializes in traditional and contemporary Japanese design, and carries items ranging from tiny brass teaspoons to messenger bags made from vintage denim and indigo swaths. I couldn’t resist a midcentury kokeshi (traditional wood doll) and a new tenugui (printed cotton cloth that can be used for, well, anything). After you’re done perusing the gorgeous goods in the general store, head through the back door to the gallery to see work by contemporary Japan-based artists.
1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd
If you need a caffeine fix as you shop your way down the street, stop into Intelligentsia. Don’t let the crowds deter you – the baristas (yes, all eight of them lined up in front of the espresso machines at the front of the store) are all incredibly efficient and ready to make you the best espresso drink (made with Intelligentsia’s own Black Cat espresso – nutty, rich, and smooth on the finish) you’ve had in quite some time (possibly ever?).