EDITOR’S PICK DINING

Best Jewish Deli: Wise Sons
The beloved Bay Area-based Jewish deli recently opened its first Southern California location in Culver City. After starting as a pop-up in 2011, Wise Sons opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in San Francisco in 2012 and now has seven locations in California, in addition to one in Tokyo.

Founded by brothers Ari and Evan Bloom, alongside Leo Beckerman, Wise Sons serves up California-inspired Jewish deli foods that pay homage to Los Angeles’ iconic delis through the food it serves and the restaurant design. The Culver City location was designed by creative director Danny Gonzalez and combines a clean, modern aesthetic with a sense of nostalgia. The walls feature framed family photos, vintage-style pennants and a colorful deli mural scene by illustrator Alexandra Bowman.

Wise Sons uses the highest-quality ingredients including hardwood-smoked pastrami and house-baked bagels, bialy and buttery babka filled with Guittard chocolate. Other favorites on the menu range from The OG Reuben, Matzo Ball Soup made with organic chicken broth, and Potato Latkes to naturally fermented sour pickles, the Classic Smoked Salmon Bagel, and the Bodega Egg & Cheese Sandwich served on bagel or bialy. Also unique to the Culver City location is a classic Tuna Melt with wild albacore tuna, lettuce, tomato and horseradish aioli griddled with American and

Swiss cheese on rye bread.

Visit wisesonsdeli.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK DINING

Best Gluten-Free Bakery: Breadblok

Founded by sisters Chloé and Celine Charlier in February 2020, Breadblok features generations of French Provencal influence and uses the finest, purest ingredients to make a variety of delicious artisan breads, pastries and more from scratch that cater to health-conscious lifestyles without compromising taste.

The seasonal menu serves an assortment of gluten-free breads, croissants, tarts, donuts, scones, vegan milks, quiche, salads, sandwiches and organic jams, among others. They work with a wide range of flours, avoiding gum, wheat, soy or additives, and they also make their own chocolate, as well as coconut, almond and oat milk. Pastries are dusted with sugar alternatives such as honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup and monk fruit sweetener.

Breadblok recently introduced their new Fall/Winter menu, which offers a whole new level of cozy weather-inspired deliciousness. Options include the Beet, Ricotta and Goat Cheese Tartine; Honey Baked Squash and Baby Carrots Salad; Buckwheat Pumpkin Bread; Maple and Vanilla Brioche Donuts; and Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Streusel.

Customers can also order select products to ship nationwide, and overnight and second-day delivery are available. In addition to their location on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, Breadblok plans to open locations in Venice, Beverly Hills and Silverlake in the coming months.

Visit breadblok.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK DINING

Best Plant-Based Eatery: The Butcher’s Daughter

Founded in 2014, The Butcher’s Daughter was driven by Heather Tierney’s desire to create something healthy that she wanted in her life. The plant-based restaurant, café and juice bar serves a variety of healthy and creative vegetarian dishes, sources produce from local and organic farms, and serves many vegan and gluten-free options.

The Abbot Kinney location’s design aesthetic mimics the ocean with indigo fabric and creates a sense of community with a 25-foot communal dining table and counter stools. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Butcher’s Daughter has a diverse menu that includes Classic Avocado Toast; stone oven pizzas such as the Mixed Mushroom Pizza featuring garlic confit, mozzarella, arugula and white truffle oil; and the Butcher’s Burger with tomato, arugula, caramelized onions, Harissa mayo, gruyere and Dijon on a brioche bun. For dessert, try the Pistachio & Rose Tart or the

Chocolate Matcha Cake.

Visit thebutchersdaughter.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK DINING

Best Cooking Classes: The Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories

Known as one of the best cooking schools in Southern California, The Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories in downtown Santa Monica offers a variety of hands-on recreational cooking and baking classes for all ages (6 and over) and all levels from beginner to professional. Instruction is offered in their state-of-the-art kitchens and students can participate in online classes from home.
Choose from a diverse assortment of cooking classes that include Chinese Dumplings, Knife Skills, French Bistro Dinner and Sushi 101. Baking classes range from French Macarons and a Croissant Workshop to Challah and Gluten-Free Cakes.

Fun seasonal and themed workshops for parents and children are available and currently include Halloween Macarons and Halloween Breakfast, where participants will learn to make pumpkin pancakes, mummy-wrapped sausage and scrambled green eggs

Visit thegourmandiseschool.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK SHOPPING

Best Brand with Purpose: My Hand in Yours

Founded in 2019 by award-winning actress and Westside resident, Jamie Lee Curtis, My Hand in Yours is a line of items that are designed to provide comfort, love and support. For years, Curtis has always said, “My hand in yours,” to others when she knows they are going through a tough time or need extra love. She was inspired to launch the brand after COVID-19 hit, as she realized that it would help comfort others during the global crisis.

From blankets and pillows to intention stones and journals, all of the items are designed and hand made by artists that have been selected by Curtis including sculptor Anne Ricketts, who created the best-selling “Together” sculpture, a miniature set of clasped hands cast in bronze.

Every purchase comes with a frameable card that features an inspirational handwritten message by Curtis, who also writes notes for customers when they send items as gifts to loved ones. 100 percent of the proceeds from all purchases go to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, a nonprofit institution that Curtis has been a spokeswoman for and worked in partnership with.

Visit myhandinyours.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK SHOPPING

Best Custom Hat Maker: Nick Fouquet

Venice-based hat maker, Nick Fouquet, is a modern artisan whose creative and custom designs have gained a celebrity following that includes Madonna and Pharrell Williams. Since launching his business in 2011, Fouquet has expanded to a storefront and production studio on Abbot Kinney, along with a second location in Aspen, CO.

Each hat by Fouquet features a unique twist and captures his eclectic style, incorporating various techniques and tools such as electric sanding machines and blow-torches to create an aged and worn-in look. Unique accoutrements including feathers, dead stock linens and fabrics are added for the final touch, along with his signature matchstick in very hat.

When creating a hat, Fouquet does a deep dive into a theme or idea, often inspired by fictional characters that he conjures up. In addition to custom pieces, Fouquet also offers ready-to-wear hats, accessories and apparel at his store and major retailers like Neiman Marcus. Fouquet releases several collections every year and his hats have been worn on runway shows in Paris and for Italian design houses. Customers can schedule private appointments to create their own unique Nick Fouquet hat.

Visit nickfouquet.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK HEALTH & FITNESS

Best Ayurvedic Spa: Surya Spa

Located at Santa Monica Proper Hotel, Surya Spa was founded by acclaimed Ayurvedic Panchakarma expert, Martha Soffer. The 3,000-square-foot wellness sanctuary features a soothing design aesthetic by Kelly Wearstler with wood, stone and marble mediums, along with a meditation room and custom oil blend bar.

For the ultimate luxurious self-care treatment, try their four-handed herbal oil massage with two therapists. Aside from spa services, Surya also offers Transcendental meditation, Surya Dosha yoga, Ayurvedic cooking classes and customized culinary experiences

Visit suryaspa.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK HEALTH & FITNESS

Best Fitness Trainer: Mike Ryan

Renowned fitness expert and trainer Mike Ryan has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Brad Pitt, Mickey Rourke, Ed Norton and Ricky Whittle. He has been featured in countless fitness publications, including the cover of Muscle Media Magazine, and was a corporate spokesperson and brand ambassador for Gold’s Gym.

To help his A-list clients get in shape and achieve their desired fitness goals, Ryan oversees their workout routines and nutrition plans, often accompanying them on the road and on set.

“In these uncertain and stressful times, it’s extremely important to work even harder on your fitness,” Ryan said. “Fortify and strengthen yourself, be unbreakable!”

Follow Mike on Instagram (@mike_ryan_celebritytrainer) to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK HEALTH & FITNESS

Best Massage Place That Pays It Forward: Lifehood

Created by Amy Krofchick, one of the if cofounders of The NOW, Lifehood is a unique wellness space in Culver City with a chic ‘70s California vibe that offers affordable massages and is based on customers paying it forward to encourage an ongoing cycle of kindness.

Lifehood’s ‘Love It Forward’ model allows customers to buy discounted massages and have them anonymously delivered via email to the person of their choosing. After coming in to redeem their service, the recipient discovers who gifted them the massage and also has the option to do the same for someone else.

Visit thelifehood.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK NIGHTLIFE

Best Historic Setting for Drinks: The Victorian Santa Monica

Housed in the upstairs space of the historic Victorian, a beloved neighborhood building on Santa Monica’s Main Street, The Victorian Beach Lounge is an elegant nod to European lounges with elevated bottle service. Downstairs at The Beach Club, guests can enjoy Mediterranean-inspired dishes and a dedicated oyster bar.

The restaurant, lounge and patio serve Old and New World wines, spirits and craft beers. Favorite cocktails include a customizable Japanese High Ball with choice of Japanese whiskey, vodka or gin plus club soda, tonic or ginger beer; and the I’m Basic with vodka, strawberry, lemon and agave.

Visit thevictorian.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK NIGHTLIFE

Best Caffeinated Cocktail: SOL Mexican Cocina

Tequila and coffee might sound like an unusual combination, but the Cold Brew Cocktail at SOL Mexican Cocina in Playa Vista will win over any caffeine lover. The rich Corralejo Reposado used as the base spirit for this cocktail alongside Crater Lake hazelnut liqueur, 1921 Crema and Stumptown Cold Brew coffee results in a well-balanced drink. Enjoy it alongside SOL’s menu of uniquely fresh, simple Baja cuisine with flavors inspired by the best of coastal Mexico.

Visit solcocina.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK SERVICES

Best Motorcycle Services Company: Motorcycle Mover

Founded by Vincent Spina in 2015, Motorcycle Mover offers premium concierge-level motorcycle services and has a clientele list that includes George Clooney, Harry Styles and Steven Tyler. They don’t perform maintenance but their services include transportation, storage and detailing of motorcycles, support and logistics for special events and road trips, VIP services to clients that require a high level of service and discretion, and an emergency assistance program. They support the community via motorcycle-related charity events and recently acquired a large commercial space near Santa Monica to expand on their secured storage and detailing services.

Visit motorcyclemover.us to learn more

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK SERVICES

Best Picnic Company: Santa Monica Picnic Co.

Founded in July 2020 and recognized by Forbes, Santa Monica Picnic Co. provides everything one needs to enjoy the perfect elegant picnic experience on the beach, park or in one’s own backyard. When the pandemic shut down a lot of restaurants and dining experiences, founder Sam Ancona wanted to help people get outdoors with loved ones and gather in a safe and comfortable environment.

In addition to professionally designed furnishings and style decor such as umbrellas, cushions and tables, every picnic includes chef-curated cheese and charcuterie boards and refreshments. A variety of add-ons are available ranging from activities like sound baths and surf lessons to games, flower arrangements, photography sessions and music performances.

The company has done close to 100 picnics with Shutters on the Beach and Hotel Casa del Mar, hosted close to 30 proposal picnics and did 500 picnics in their first year alone. They also recently launched a new partnership with succulent company Botany Box.

Visit santamonicapicnicco.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK SERVICES

Best Dog Walking Service: Westside Dogs LA

Founded by husband and wife team, Shana and Cary Tepper, Westside Dogs LA has been serving the Westside since 2014, providing dog walking services to furry friends in Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Culver City, Venice, Santa Monica and Westchester. The company is certified in pet CPR and also takes pets on “pawventures,” which are extended outings and play groups for pups that ensure a long day of socialization, exercise and fun.

Visit westsidedogsla.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK BEAUTY & STYLE

Best Celebrity Hairstylist: Sean James

For almost 30 years, celebrity hairstylist Sean James has been the man behind actress Jamie Lee Curtis’ different hairstyles for her iconic film roles including “Halloween Kills,” often traveling with her to press events and premieres.

His longtime celebrity clientele list includes Chris Hardwick, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Cole and Dylan Sprouse, Eugene Levy, Phil Keoghan and Lisa Loeb, among others. When he isn’t on set or seeing clients at Matthew Preece Salon in Santa Monica, James is hard at work on his product line, Beach Blvd, which is inspired by his life at the beach and his career in Hollywood.

“I moved here in 1989 with a dream to work with celebrities and to have my work seen around the world,” James said. “It was a big dream for a kid from Australia to come all this way. I worked really hard and still do. Every day that I get to work in film and television is a new day with new hope and creativity.”

Follow Sean James on Instagram (@seanjameshair) and visit beachblvd.co to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK RECREATION

Best Drive-In Movie: Rooftop Cinema Club

Since Rooftop Cinema Club’s debut at the Santa Monica Airport, movie patrons have been enjoying films under the stars during these current times of social distancing. Movies are projected onto a 52-foot screen and guests enjoy food and beverages from the comfort of their own cars. Recently, RCC announced a new dog-friendly Drive-Up experience that includes a personalized VIP box with deckchair seating and headphones.

Visit rooftopcinemaclub.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk


EDITOR’S PICK RECREATION

Best Healing Music Experience: MindTravel

Marina del Rey resident, composer, artist and meditation expert Murray Hidary founded MindTravel to help people find connection, purpose and peace. The soulful experiences pair Hidary’s original music with visuals or landscapes in settings such as theaters, beaches and parks. Participants listen to the live music via headphones to allow for a “silent piano,” “silent hike” or “floating meditation” experience.

After COVID-19 hit, Hidary composed and created online experiences for people, and offered MindTravel hikes and meditations outdoors. Recently, Hidary started offering his silent piano concerts at sunset on the beach in Santa Monica in front of Casa Del Mar Hotel.

Visit mindtravel.com to learn more.

— Kamala Kirk

Share