The Good Stuff

The Catalina Cooking Store satisfies all kitchen connoisseurs

Written by Constance Dunn | Photography by Paul Jonason

They’re like all the other items found at The Catalina Cooking Store: pragmatic and high-quality, stylish and meant to solve a problem. “I really thought there was a void for this kind of cooking store,” says Don Koeberle, a South Bay native who owns and operates the store with his wife Lianne. “I wanted a store that was meant for people who really love to cook.” Which means everyone from pro chefs to ardent home cooks, who wants stuff that works—and lasts.

Think of it as an antidote to big box stores filled with a scattershot of items that might be uncertain in quality. At Catalina, look for focused collections of cookware and practical kitchen gifts. The store stocks items needed for everyday cooking, from knives and cutting boards to baking and cooking utensils, but there are also thoughtful selections of gourmet foods and high-end cookbooks fresh off the press, and the occasional serving or tableware line from an interesting designer.

A notable niche at The Catalina Cooking Store is the arsenal of unique kitchen tools you won’t find anywhere else. Items that even the most ardent culinary type may not have, but wish they had years ago. One of them is the Garlic Twist, a $20 gadget that allows one to mince garlic without having to touch it. Another is a selection of cheerful silicon lids that form an airtight seal on touch, and cruise from refrigerator or freezer to microwave. (Tip: You’ll find such items clustered near the main counter.)

The Koeberles, who opened the store in 2012 and revolve many products around seasons and holidays, have managed to equip the place with almost any kitchen device one might need. “We certainly have to be discriminating to make sure everything we have is high-quality,” says Don.

“A lot of our cookware is either U.S. or European. Our bakeware is all U.S.-made. It really doesn’t matter where it comes from as long as it’s the best it can be.” Lest you think this means that prices are grand, it’s not the case. “You can spend as much as you want, or as little,” notes Don. Case in point: a stylish line of coastal-inspired Beatriz Ball servingware, handcrafted in metal, includes items from $40 to $190.

“Because we are a cookware store, I want to make sure we have everything you need as far as cookware,” says Don. There are non-stick cookware lines from Europe. Or if you prefer, stainless steel, cast iron, enamel cast iron or even carbon steel. “We have a lot of chefs that come in, and they know if they have to cater something and they’re in a pinch… we’re going to have the good stuff.”






Kitchen Curation

To create a central gathering space equal parts sophisticated and welcoming, mixed materials are key

Written by Virginia Fay | Photography Courtesy of Amy Bartlam and Mary Costa

Creating a kitchen that is at once inviting and visually pleasing is integral to making a house a home. A rising trend in realizing this aesthetic is the mixing of materials for a look that’s a little less on the nose, and a feel that’s warmer yet still intentional.

With the goal of fashioning a modern farmhouse, interior designer Kate Lester was tasked with creating a “luxurious, bright, and open” kitchen that would be “a space where [the homeowners] could not only entertain, but where their kids could also do homework, play games, and interact with the rest of the family.”

To achieve an elevated farmhouse charm in a livable space, Lester took inspiration from traditional elements like wood paneling, simple millwork and glass accents, and created a less rustic version. “The lacquered cabinetry, carrara marble, and tile with a contrast grout are all thoughtful additions that bring a chic, stylish element to this classic concept,” Lester says. As a special touch, the oven hood is made of the same cerused oak as the flooring.

In a totally different iteration of mixed materials, Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design used luxe elements like polished brass fixtures, Nero Marquina marble, and high-gloss cabinets in deep British racing green to create a modern, glamorous kitchen.

Murray says the availability of more options, like diverse tile and engineered stones, has instigated an uptick in mixing materials. “People seem to be less timid about trying combinations that previously weren’t deemed practical due to notions regarding resale value or short-lived style,” Murray says. “Now that so many aesthetics are being celebrated, it seems these old rules are less relevant.”

Blending styles and elements in the kitchen can create warmth and sophistication in almost endless combinations. As Lester says, “When you mix materials, you give the space added texture, depth, and dimension, and that will always result in a more sophisticated, curated feel.”

Twin Kitchen Design

Why settle for a home with one culinary zone when you can have two?

Written by Alexandria Abramian | Photography Courtesy of Rayni Romito and Eric Figge Photos

Call it the ultimate architectural solution for messy-kitchen syndrome: a house with a pair of culinary centers—a pristine, photo-ready area located in plain sight and a far-from-view kitchen designed to handle the heavy culinary lifting. Architects and designers have been joining the dual-kitchen craze, their involvement most often seen in luxury homes where the two spaces are referred to as “show” and “chef’s” kitchens.

“The heart of the house has always been the kitchen, and now entertaining is on a whole new level, so there has to be a real expansive living room off of the kitchen to fulfill this need, as well as a prep kitchen and butlers’ pantry,” says real estate agent Rayni Romito Williams of Williams & Williams, whose listings include a striking $48,500,000 home where designer Paul McClean has created a modern-age mansion. Perfect for entertaining on a grand scale, the house has a pair of kitchens—one a showcase area, the other a lessseen room big enough for a professional crew—that continue its focus on super clean lines, minimalism and striking use of materials.

Another nearby listing in Beverly Hills features no shortage of luxurious amenities, including an infinity-edge pool, ocean views and more than an acre of land. Designed by architect Bob Ray Offenhauser, the $19,950,000 estate includes dual kitchens. Both by Bulthaup, one seriously sleek show kitchen looks onto the great room, while a much larger chef’s kitchen is hidden out of sight nearby. But the trend isn’t isolated to eight-figure compounds. At La Vita at Orchard Hills in Irvine, where homes start at $2 million, many feature show kitchens that are incorporated into open-plan great rooms. “For entertaining on a high level these spaces can be dramatic and beautiful: The spotlight is on the chef and guests.

And the scene flows smoothly to the adjacent indoor/outdoor spaces,” says Brookfield Residential Vice President of Marketing Mercedes Meserve. And who will be the wiser when professional chefs have a culinary center all their own, away from the action? Adds Meserve, “Meanwhile, a catering team can be creating more magic backstage.”

Retro Modern

Giving contemporary technology a vintage look, SMEG’s 50s Style Refrigerator in pastel blue is a positively cool addition to the throwback abode. But adjustable shelves and environmentally-friendly credentials bring this fridge into the 21st century. Price upon request,

Baleen Kitchen and Lounge


Standout cuisine and blue-water views uplift this under-the-radar South Bay eatery.


“A little playful, a little traditional” is how Executive Chef Richard Crespin sums up a recent prix fixe dinner at BALEEN Kitchen, where savory grilled watermelon served with heirloom tomatoes and feta cheese, plus a straight forward steak frites topped with Béarnaise sauce, were among the offerings.

462A8566This elegant, tucked-away spot in Redondo’s King Harbor, pegged by Zagat as “One of the Top 10 Best Restaurants for Waterside Dining in LA,” offers more than just alluring marina views, however. It’s home to Crespin’s well-honed culinary touch, which lands duck confit carnitas spiked with Thai Asian spice on the starter menu next to a steaming pot of littleneck clams. (“Basic, French style.” Crespin confides. “Lemon and thyme. Butter.”)

Ideal for an intimate dinner—the room is sedate and tasteful, while the service is attentive yet unobtrusive—or a sunny à la carte weekend brunch, BALEEN Kitchen will, for Easter, offer its DIY Bloody Mary Bar and an expansive spring brunch.

And there’s always happy hour, where BALEEN Lounge, a spacious, polished area just steps up from the dining room, serves up seasonal bites, from a colorful quinoa salad to a soft shell crab nestled on snap pea rémoulade, along with a six-tap lineup of the South Bay’s most creative craft beers. Happy, indeed.