The road to Venice was not so straight for the young owners of this modern urban farmhouse on Flower Avenue. Like many parents with children, they envisioned for themselves a rural environment with lots of land for a similarly styled home. What they got, however, were busy careers in Los Angeles and an inadequate residence on the corner of a much smaller lot—but one with potential.
Maximizing its possibilities required careful calculation by Hawaii-based firm Peter Vincent Architects. The design, according to PVA, “capitalizes on the property’s corner location by breaking the building’s mass into separate structures that creates a three-sided courtyard, which incorporates the adjacent street into the sense of space.” More broadly, the property expresses the current mood and largely pedestrian lifestyle of its Los Angeles neighborhood.
“Venice is experiencing somewhat of a rebirth, particularly from people seeking a pedestrian-friendly environment and many, like our clients, who work from home, can walk to nearby shops and restaurants,” says Peter Vincent, FAIA, NCARB—Managing Partner of Peter Vincent Architects. “In terms of architecture, it seems that anything goes and many trendy new homes have replaced older, nondescript tract housing.”
There is nothing freewheeling about the architecture of this property, however; it is a showpiece of deliberation and understanding of the local lifestyle on the part of PVA. The design, notes Vincent, “wasn’t about being trendy or outlandish, but rather breaking the massing into several smaller elements, which create outdoor ‘rooms,’ much like we do in Hawaii.” To this end, he adds, “it was very much about opening the interior to private outdoor spaces to take maximum advantage of the relatively small lot, as well as the favorable climate.
It was great that there was an alley behind the house, so the garage could be located in the rear, rather than being an imposing element at the front of the house. This allowed the front yard to become usable space, which included a vegetable garden.” On top of the garage is a work/flex space that, for couples like this client, is becoming an increasingly alluring asset for Los Angeles’ growing contingent of telecommuters.
Simple in both materials (concrete floors, locally fabricated aluminum doors and windows) and form, the finished property reflects a Scandinavian Modern and Shaker influence, and many would argue, is all the more beautiful for this reserve. The palette, which strives to be striking and unassuming at once, is as contemporary as it is timeless. “The client liked black,” explains Vincent, “so we went with black-stained wood siding, but broke it up with contrasting warm wood tones.” The result is a sustainable, locally responsive, humanly scaled home. A storybook dream remade modern—in the middle of the city. pva.com
An intimate look at historic mid-century and contemporary architecture. A peek at artists’ studios. Sumptuous dinners prepared by top chefs in some of L.A.’s top-designed homes. These are just some of the many experiences attendees can look forward to at the fifth annual installment of the Venice Design Series (VDS)—a benefit for Venice Community Housing—set for weekends from April 27 through May 18.
WHO: VENICE DESIGN SERIES
WHAT: PRIVATE HOME TOURS + DINNER PARTIES
WHEN: (weekends) APRIL 27 THROUGH MAY 18 VENICE, BRENTWOOD, TROUSDALE ESTATES, DTLA AND MAR VISTA
BENEFITING: VENICE COMMUNITY HOUSING
“The VDS was created five years ago by the team that organized the Venice Garden and Home Tour for 23 years,” says community leader Linda Lucks, who co-founded VDS with landscape designer Jay Griffith. “When that event was discontinued, the organizers expanded the premise of focusing solely on Venice neighborhoods to showcase the inspiration that the community provides to other Los Angeles neighborhoods.”
Guests can expect six curated events spanning four weekends—each presenting a blend of architecture, cuisine, design, art and performance—in Venice, Brentwood, Trousdale Estates, Downtown L.A. and Mar Vista.
Among the highlights is a Venice dinner party hosted in the contemporary, Marc Bricault-designed home of Cicek and Paul Bricault with chef Matthew Kenney of Plant Food + Wine Venice; a must-see tour of luxe mid-century modern homes in Trousdale Estates led by architectural historian and author Steven Price; and a look at Gregory Ain-designed homes in Mar Vista’s “Modernique” neighborhood (including lunch at a house newly renovated by architect Santiago Ortiz of Ortiz Mexia Projects).
Also on the lineup: a Brentwood dinner party in the contemporary home of fine art collector Carla Kirkeby, along with a peek at Downtown L.A. artists’ studios led by art collector/consultant and VDS co-chair Cecilia Dan.
Rounding out the series is an art and design tour of some of Venice’s most distinct and memorable architecture, art and landscape design, replete with a garden lunch in the newly built, art-filled home of landscape designer Stefan Hammerschmidt and entertainment executive Lawrence Szabo, as well as a tour of late artist Ed Moses’ compound with a barn designed by architect Steven Ehrlich.
Tour-goers also will visit a historic Venice home owned by movie producer Tony Bill (The Sting), which according to local lore, once served as a brothel.
Among the activities, Lucks is most anticipating? “Meeting Downtown L.A. artists where they work; seeing the home in Trousdale Estates where Elvis once lived; touring the compound where the late California artist Ed Moses lived and worked, now occupied by his artist son Andy Moses and daughter-in-law Kelly Berg,” she says. “Getting to know the people who attend is also a treat because they have an appreciation of the sites we see and the mission.” venicedesignseries.org
PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF VENICE DESIGN SERIES AND TYLER DUFFY
Grown from a classic Craftsman, this renovated home offers all the amenities of a large house, scaled to pair with the singular charms of Venice.
Built in homage to the storied Italian city, the Venice of Southern California offers whiffs of the European town’s magic. Consider its winding walk streets, mesmerizing boutiques, convivial restaurants and the picturesque beauty of its canals.
Within easy proximity to the industrial parks of Silicon Beach and the film studios of Culver City, it’s a unique neighborhood that’s managed to retain the laidback feel of a coastal town. Here, where bikers and skateboarders are plentiful and it seems nearly everyone has a dog, “dressed up” means changing into understated designer denim.
Created as a breezy seaside enclave offering a retreat from the hot city, many of Venice’s slender lots still support their original Craftsman homes. In fact, 748 Palms was grown from one such bungalow. After a few years of renting the small house, its now owner John Gunn had fallen in love with the area.
So he purchased the land and decided to remodel the space. “I lived in it for two years before I bought it and made any changes, so I had a lot of time to dream,” remembers Gunn, who, with his intimate knowledge of the property, began renovations on the place, incorporating the home’s original footprint into his new design, rather than tear down the building and start over.
“If I’d demolished the whole thing and started from scratch, it would have been a very different house. It would have been more like what you see all over, basically a big box oriented to the street with a courtyard on the side and a garage in the back.” The street-side courtyard, front two bedrooms, den and kitchen reveal the extent of the former home.
“It was a pretty small house on what, for Venice, is a pretty big lot,” adds Gunn. “The backyard was huge and it had a cut-in curb, which means it had off-street parking in the front, a very coveted amenity in this part of town.” Tongue-and-groove ceilings and well-proportioned rooms are among the other charms that factored into his decision to weave the old space into the new structure.
The addition, meanwhile, consists of a second story master suite, a great room that opens on two sides to the backyard, a pool and a renovated two story loft-style garage conversion with a separate bath and a kitchen that can serve as an extra bedroom, a stand-alone guest home, an art studio, a writing den, or pool house. With its polished concrete floors and 10-foot ceilings on the first floor, as well as plenty of off-site parking (there’s room for two cars in the front; one in back), the home’s amenities rival those seen in larger houses. It is a clear example of a space that magnifies the impact of every design choice to its maximum advantage.
The soothing sounds of water add a musical note to each room. “The thought was to have each of the rooms open onto a beautiful landscape that included a water feature,” offers Gunn. But this important yet minute detail, which subtly insulates the home from the outside world, pales in the face of the home’s wow factor: the main living room. Seamlessly integrated with the backyard and generous pool area, it’s a stellar study in indoor-outdoor living in Los Angeles.
“I wanted to create some drama and some glamour,” says Gunn. “I wanted these soaring spaces with lots of life. And I wanted a certain scale. I didn’t want things too big and I didn’t want them too small. Getting the scale right is important. Those giant rooms don’t feel comfortable.” The result is just right. Fleetwood pocketing sliders throw open the main room to the backyard on two sides, beckoning visitors outside. A cocktail party for a hundred is not unimaginable. “Two hundred,” Gunn corrects. “And then I’d put the bar in the back near the pool. It’s an incredible house for entertaining because the circulation works so well.”
Although the house reads big—and apparently parties that way as well—it was created to support the informal and familiar. It’s ideal for a couple but it also works well for a family with teenagers. They’ll appreciate the autonomy and freedom to come and go that the front bedrooms, with their own entry and easy access to the public rooms of the first floor, not to mention the private courtyard, afford.
Gunn’s thoughtful architecture extends to his choice of finishes: the beautifully designed family room and chef’s quality kitchen includes a long breakfast bar, custom walnut cabinetry and white quartz countertops. Just outside, a barbecue area offers grill options for Southern California’s hot summer nights. The position of the pool in the backyard offers plenty of room for sunbathing. “And although the house is very open, it’s also very private,” says Gunn.
The 900-square foot open-plan master suite, which sprawls across the home’s second floor, includes a generous 27-foot walk-through closet with polished walnut doors. The large bathroom, tiled in mosaic, is just as lavish with a soaking tub and a dual head shower. Echoing the first floor, pocketing Fleetwood doors open the room to the wrap-around terrace overlooking the pool, the ideal space for sipping a morning coffee and contemplating the day.
“It’s a great neighborhood and a great house that checks all the boxes and more. There’s something about the house…I can’t put my finger on it, but everyone who walks in likes it. It’s been a great house and I’ve really enjoyed living there.”
MARK KITCHING, PACIFIC UNION INTERNATIONAL
310.902.0221 | LIST PRICE $4,495,000
Written by Constance Dunn
Nestled amid the design studios and body shops of Cypress Avenue in Hermosa Beach is a gallery signaling a big step forward for the South Bay art scene. Opening its doors earlier this year, Shockboxx is the brainchild of artists Laura Schuler and Mike Collins, who saw a local need for just such an independent gallery. “There wasn’t an existing space for artists to show,” Schuler says of the duo’s decision to open the gallery. “There’s a really cool art scene in Hermosa Beach,” adds Collins. “And there’s a lot of artists in Hermosa, Manhattan, Redondo.” Lots of artists, but not many places where they can show their work to the local community.
After securing the location, the duo was undecided on its ultimate use. Studio space? Gallery? “As we started to do the buildout,” says Collins, “the space revealed itself to be a gallery more than a studio.” Located in the midst of the Beach Cities’ artistic-industrial-creative neighborhood known as Cypress District, Schuler and Collins enjoy free rein when it comes to doing what they want creatively. “We have the freedom to come up with whatever we want,” says Schuler, adding, “Our shows are very specific.”
Specific not just in theme but also in allowing artists, many of them colleagues, to stretch beyond their tried-and-true themes or mediums. “That’s the shock part of Shockboxx,” describes Collins. “We want the art community and the patrons to know that if you come to one of our shows, we’re not going to repeat ourselves.”
Indeed. Their first show, “Break the System,” invited Hermosa artists LG Givot and Josh Barnes to christen the place by painting the walls in vivid scenes. “Off with Their Heads” explored the concept of heroes and villains, inviting artists working in mediums ranging from computer art and assemblage to sculpture and photography. We stopped by during “Shark Week,” when the walls were covered by local artists’ takes on the fish.
Collins and Schuler ultimately aim for Shockboxx to go beyond the role of traditional gallery and be a creative community resource, including everything from film screenings, book releases and even underground dining events with local chefs. “The thing we’ll do over and over again is something different,” states Collins.
Note: Mark your calendars for Sept. 9, when Shockboxx opens an Ed Moses tribute show; inviting artists will pay homage to the trailblazing Venice artist’s brand of abstract painting. “Ed came from a group of artists that are credited with putting the Los Angeles art scene on the map in the late 50s and early 60s,” says Collins.
Written by Wendy Bowman | Photography Courtesy of Halton Pardee + Partners
The colors of the sky and clouds are absorbed into a brushed aluminum roof, each layer varying in angle as it curves down, the aluminum fins providing a dynamic perception for the viewer. Depending on the time of day—and the colors of the sky—the home casts an array of experiences, while harmonizing with the ultimate environment, the sky itself. That’s builder/architect/designer Mario Romano’s eloquent description of this newly built contemporary home at 1227 Preston Way in Venice—near Rose Avenue, Abbot Kinney and the coast—now on the market for $5.445 million.
“Preston’s unique approach to design captures lines and spaces inspired by nature, an artistic approach mastered by our client and seller, Mario Romano,” says listing agent Justin Alexander, director of sales for Halton Pardee + Partners. “My favorite—and the most interesting—aspect of the home is the sheets of aluminum lining the roof, with their sleek layout capturing different shades of color throughout the day, reflecting on the changing skyline.”
Not only is the residence a striking, thoughtful and welcoming mix of art meets home, the 5,700-square-foot property also offers all of the luxe amenities, technology and function desired in a modern-day beach house. Among Romano’s favorite features: double-curved roof eaves that serve as a rain screen—allowing superior ventilation to keep the house cooler and drier—along with an almost 18-footlong kitchen island made of a new Italian material called Fenix that delivers massive functionality and maintains an unblemished surface when heat is applied.
The designer also loves the outdoor living room, replete with a movie theater, space heaters, privacy and view of the spacious backyard. Other highlights include five bedrooms (plus a formal office or sixth bedroom); an impressive traditional dining room; an expansive great room; upstairs family room; and a heated pool and spa. “What makes this home so special is its blend of revolutionary contemporary design and a traditional layout that makes the interior feel cozy and comfortable,” says Alexander. “The floor plan speaks to a grand traditional estate, rather than a large open concept, brilliantly capturing all 5,700 square feet of living space while naturally flowing out to an expansive outdoor area.” It is imaginative design truly at home in artsy, vibrant, avant-garde Venice.
Written by Wendy Bowman | Photography Courtesy of Pono Burger
For Makani Carzino, who grew up on the Big Island, the concept of the Hawaiian word “pono” means “doing
things the right way.” As the owner and chef of her synonymously named restaurant Pono Burger, it translates
to sourcing organic, grass-fed beef and local farmers’ market ingredients for the eatery’s popular flagship in
Santa Monica and recent additions in West Hollywood and Venice.
“L.A. is full of like-minded, thoughtful and artistic people,” says Carzino, who launched the first of her Hawaiian-inspired establishments in Santa Monica in 2013, complete with a beachy vibe and surf-culture décor akin to the area. “I opened Pono Burger as a place where our wonderful neighbors could gather with their friends and families to enjoy food that resonated with their own personal values. Each of our three locations continue to serve as a neighborhood spot where these creative people can come to support their communities while enjoying a delicious, sustainable meal.”
In keeping with the island theme, the décor at Pono’s newest sites (opened last summer) honor Makani’s Hawaiian parents—complete with hand-crafted baskets made by her mother at the West Hollywood branch and a large, breeze- and cocktail-worthy patio in Venice as a nod to her father. Meanwhile, all dishes are inspired by the professionally trained chef’s home state—from the slate of burgers in Santa Monica featuring organic Eel River grass-fed beef charbroiled over an oak fire (like the Piki “Fig,” with drunken caramelized fig jam, brie, bacon, toasted hazelnuts, arugula and balsamic vinaigrette) to a whole cadre of scrumptious yet sustainable dishes gracing the recently expanded lunch and dinner menus in West Hollywood and Venice.
In addition to Pono’s signature burgers, new offerings feature starters such as Wild Santa Barbara Prawns, Wild & Local Spicy Ahi Poke and Ponzu Avocado Dip served with purple potato chips, followed by entrées including an Ancient Grain & Collard Green Wrap, Wild California King Salmon and Pitman Family Farms Panko Fried Chicken. £ere’s also the new Sassy Wahine burger (think organic beef or turkey with pickled ginger, avocado, pea shoots, wasabi mayo, Okinawan sweet potato chips and sesame ponzu dressing). And diners always can count on a wide selection of craft cocktails, beer and wine, making Pono ideal for happy hour or catching a game.
Can’t get to a Pono Burger? Makani’s newest concept, Green Bunnies Kitchen, soon will begin delivering original USDA-certified organic meals (with some crossover from the Pono menu) to parts of West L.A. and Orange County. Her goal? To make life a little easier for those juggling commitments who still want to focus on clean eating. Aloha!
SANTA MONICA | 829 BROADWAY AVENUE | 31 0.584.7005
WEST HOLLYWOOD |8830 SUNSET BOULEVARD | 42 4.666.0845
VENICE | 512 ROSE AVENUE | 31 0.392.6200
Written by Abigail Stone | Photography by Jason Speth | Presented by Mark Kitching, F.Ron Smith and David Berg of Partners Trust | Offered at $6,498,000
From the Caplin House to Frank O. Gehry’s Indiana Houses, Venice is almost as well known for its architecture as for its canals and its beach. Yet, even among these icons, The Wave House, designed by architect Mario Romano, stands out for its unique shape and sensual beauty. Even visitors who take a wrong turn in this neighborhood, with its circuitous named streets, will soon find themselves on the right doorstep. This home is a showstopper.
Certainly the undulating white structure, with a dark wood garage at its center, is arresting. Its sculpted aluminum exterior vibrates with life. As a pure piece of art, it’s breathtaking. But, while art has its place, when it comes to a home, comfort and livability is key. It doesn’t take long to discover that The Wave House offers both—and in spades. Form and function work hand in hand here, offering heart and soul beneath external beauty.
Romano, who has three children, understands the many needs of a growing family: for privacy, for togetherness, for parents to be able to watch over their cavorting kids while they connect as a couple. “Visual communication and visual connectedness is very important, yet, at the same time, having separation of space,” Romano explains. “We want to be separated and we want to be connected” and, he adds, “interconnected,” as “we are very networked and we want our homes to be networked… the architecture reflects that.” This house has the unique ability of allowing a family’s needs to naturally ebb and flow, achieving that rare and perfect balance of peace and serenity.
The home’s white aluminum shell is more than just eye-catching; it serves a purpose, working to help cool the home. A cushion of air between its metallic sloping skin and its roof protects the interior against the Los Angeles sun, acting as both insulation and a pathway to drive hot air up and out. Individually rolled and cut, the metal panels are not random. Based on the concept of a bird’s feathers, they’ve been precisely set to wrap tightly around the house, protecting it against water, like that which douses Los Angeles during infrequent but torrential rainstorms.
The swooping white surface is interrupted by a playful composition of cedar blocks that hide a spacious two-car garage, while the deep driveway provides plenty of room for visiting vehicles. The pivoting front door’s wooden pattern holds a secret that is immediately apparent to anyone who’s ever spent time skateboarding, as it’s crafted from skateboard decks. A generous mudroom to the right has plenty of space in which to stash backpacks and hoodies; there’s also access to the garage from here. A room to the left of the front door offers a private space for guests and is also ideal for an office.
The home’s style hasn’t been relegated to the exterior, either. Romano relied on his experience as both an architect and a parent to craft a home that is as practical as it is beautiful. Thoughtful details delight at every turn. The surprises begin the moment you step through the door, where the living room’s 14-foot high ceilings exude a loftiness that is unexpected given the exterior’s compact appearance. Sliding glass walls open all of the interior walls to the pool, located within the center of the first floor’s c-shaped floor plan. Placing the pool here not only cools the air that dances over the water, it also refreshes the spirit. Just the sight of water can relax the soul.
The home’s incredible sight lines, which visually connect every room on this level, are a boon whether you’re hosting a large party or spending the day relaxing with the family.
They’re a reminder that relationships are at the heart of this home. The balance here between open and secluded, public and private, allows everyone to easily find space of their own while remaining linked together. The covered outdoor pavilion is an ideal place to relax after a dip in the pool and also functions as an extension of the den. The dark stucco, which is visually cooling, hides a secret that is only revealed at night, when it transforms into a movie screen, its color belying a talent for projecting crisp, clean images.
Even the walls in this home are a step up, a delight for both the eye and hand. Created from HI-MACS by LG, a durable, clean material that inhibits the growth of viruses, mold and bacteria, Romano has infused them with playful textures that change throughout the day—a pattern near the dining room reveals a heart, the master bathroom’s surfaces resemble the spots on a giraffe, a peacock’s tail feathers are the motif that greets your arrival at the top of the staircase, and grain lines of wood have been carved into the top floor’s surface. Non-conductive, it’s warm and inviting on the feet.
Along with three bedrooms and a master suite, there’s also a den on the second floor, which can be used as a children’s play area or a second guest bedroom. Three study carrels along the hallway imbue good work habits. (That parents can quietly observe their children’s computers is an added bonus.) Indoor, outdoor, public, private, artistic, practical, family, independence—these are the ideals at the heart of true California living, which this house embodies. “You want everybody healthy, happy, safe—home sweet home,” muses Romano. Here is a house that finds ultimate pleasure in the idea of “home,” where the memories created here are always beautiful—in every sense of the word.
Written by Constance Dunn | Photos Courtesy of Rose Café-Restaurant
For decades, the original Rose Café-Restaurant, tucked away on the corner of Rose Avenue, and steps from Main Street, served as a quintessential Venice neighborhood spot. Open since 1979, it closed its doors in early 2015 after a 35-plus-year run, only to be re-opened again in November under totally new ownership, and helmed by chef Jason Neroni.
“From the first day we opened, it’s just taken off,” says Neroni of the restaurant’s reboot. No doubt much of its success has to do with its globe-trotting culinary leader, whose resume includes a string of A-list haunts from around the world. Chez Panisse in San Francisco and Essex House in New York City are among his credits, as well as working for Alain Ducasse in restaurants in Monaco and Paris. In 2008, Neroni returned stateside to open 10 Downing Food & Wine in New York City, before coming home to Southern California (he’s an Orange County native) for stints including Superba Snack Bar in Venice and his Marina del Rey seafood spot, Catch & Release.
As a one-stop gastronomic destination, Rose Café-Restaurant is a fitting showcase for Neroni’s deft culinary talent. “It was everything I’ve ever done, and the ability to put in under one roof,” the chef explains. “Anything—at anytime.” There’s a bakery, a pizzeria, a grill and fresh pastas, along with gourmet sandwiches and daily farmer’s market options. The restaurant is open for brunch, lunch and dinner, with breakfast being served all day. There’s a full bar, too, and a handful of newly designed spaces to enjoy the bevy of selections in.
What should one consider ordering if dining at the Rose Café-Restaurant? If coming by day, Neroni points to the house baguette served with schmaltz butter—a tasty mix of drippings culled from a roasted, buttered chicken, along with herbs, lemon, garlic and olive oil. “We bake bread every hour,” says Neroni. “There’s always fresh baguettes coming out of the oven.”
Other highlights include the innovative menu’s pasta dishes, which includes classic spaghetti and tomato sauce, smoked bacon ramen and a Neroni signature, smoked buccatini carbonara. “Our pastas are all handmade, in-house from really amazing flour, all organic,” says Neroni. Another not-to-miss dish? “It sounds really weird to say, ‘Oh, the chicken,’” says the chef, before describing an intricate process that involves cooking the bird over wood coals and brushing it with lavender and honey from the restaurant’s garden. The chicken, like other Neroni creations—from the chicken liver mousse with spring onion mostarda (a sweet-and-spicy condiment from northern Italy) to the Crispy Brussels Sprouts with poached egg and dashi broth (Japanese stock derived from dried kelp and bonito flakes)—is no ordinary dish.
At Rose Café-Restaurant, even the most seemingly straightforward of items have been given the Neroni treatment—a skillful heaping of creative sophistication—and new items are concocted in the kitchen daily. “I move on impulse a lot, and gut feelings,” says the chef, who, for decades, has used cooking as a way to channel his natural creative tendencies. “My brain never shuts down,” he confesses. Lucky for us.
220 Rose Avenue, Venice, CA 90291
310.399.0711 | RoseCafeVenice.com
Written by Danielle Accovelli | Photos courtesy of Salt & Straw
Iconic scoop shop Salt & Straw is elevating the Westside’s ice cream scene with its newest outpost on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, putting a gourmet twist on an American classic with its artisanal approach to churning out the most creative scoops in town.
Passing by the shop, one immediately notices the signature awning— an homage to its humble beginnings as a red-and-white striped ice cream cart. Inside, the shop is a brilliant reflection of Venice’s flourishing art scene with works from local artists, custom wood paneling, terrazzo tiles and handcrafted bar stools.
Each scoop of ice cream at Salt & Straw is its own work of art, as head ice cream maker and creative director, Tyler Malek, expertly curates each flavor to reflect the area’s food scene, its artisans and seasonal produce.
Flavors include staples like Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache along with LA-specific creations such as Stumptown Coffee & Compartes Love Nuts crafted with hand-dipped chocolate pecans from local chocolatier Jonathan Grahm; and Black Olive Brittle & Goat Cheese, highlighting oil-cured olives from Olivos del Mar farms and Cypress Grove Creamery goat cheese.
If craving something sweet, Salt & Straw’s gourmet ice cream is sure to satisfy.
Salt & Straw
1357 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90291
310.310.8429 | SaltandStraw.com
Written by Michelle Lyn | Photography by Pascal Shirley
The origin Rose Cafe bloomed in Venice in 1979. Over 30 years later, Sprout L.A. Restaurant Collaboration and chef-owner Jason Neroni partnered to shutter and revamp Rose Avenue’s eponymous cafe and restaurant, keeping original owners Kamal Kapur and Manhar Patel involved with the iconic restaurant.
Since its humble beginnings, Rose Cafe has lived —and thrived—through gentrification of a neighborhood that went from gritty and bohemian to bohemian-chic. Given the gallery-like atmosphere of the space, the cafe instantly doubled as an art gallery, paying homage to local artists and Venice history, quickly establishing Rose Cafe as a Venice landmark and gathering spot for the creative community.
For decades, Rose Cafe employed a long-time dedicated staff that served the same devout locals over the years. It might be too early to determine if the café’s original fans are as enamored with the reimagined version, but there’s no denying that the remodel has produced a stunning result.
The recent renovation may have required Rose Cafe to close doors for nine months, but the transformation is undeniable. Designed by local Art District Company, Studio UNLTD, the ample space includes indoor and outdoor dining with a beer garden, a full market, bakery, Verve Coffee bar, and a 40-foot cocktail bar.
Paying homage to its predecessor, the cafe’s new owners retained the rose painted on the wall of the entrance, giving long-time guests a sense of familiarity and memory. The space continues to celebrate community art, featuring original works from local artists. Beyond that, the design mimics the evolution of Venice over the past 30 years, juxtaposing smooth and rough textures throughout the restaurant with various tiles, rope, cement and white oak.
From his first job working in the kitchen at Disneyland’s exclusive Club 33, Neroni has come a long way. The SoCal native went on to earn his culinary stripes in both New York (in reputable kitchens like Le Cirque, Blue Hill and Essex House) and Europe (alongside some of Spain’s best chefs at Arzak, Mugaritz and El Bulli). Today Neroni’s menu focuses on local cuisine with an international influence from his travels.
Menu highlights for breakfast include Charred Avocado Toast with eggs, lemon, grilled scallion and jalapeño marmalade; and Pumpkin Pancakes with chocolate chips, bacon crumble and maple syrup. Lunch fare appeals to lighter appetites with the Winter Tabbouleh Salad with squash, pomegranate, feta cheese and pistachios, but also caters to those looking for something bolder, like Smoked Bacon Ramen with chicken, noodles, egg, nori and chili paste. Now open for dinner, diners can start out with a dozen Fanny Bay oysters, Crispy Head Cheese or an interesting blend of Crispy Octopus with pepperoni gremolata and cocoa beans. The dinner menu also features vegetarian options such as Hearth Roasted Fennel; rotisserie grilled items like Crispy Suckling Pig; a “butchery” section offering Fried Rabbit Mortadella or Foie Gras Paté with cocoa and grilled pears, as well as pizza and pasta.
By all accounts, the newest iteration of Rose Cafe is blossoming as modern, sophisticated and enticing, further upping the ante of Venice’s revival.
220 Rose Avenue
Venice, CA 90291
310.399.0711 | RoseCafeVenice.com
Written by Michelle Lyn | Photos courtesy of Dylan + Jeni
Chef Josiah Citrin’s latest culinary venture marks a departure from his two Michelin-starred restaurant, Mélisse, in Santa Monica. Whereas Mélisse reflects Citrin’s refined French cuisine, Charcoal Venice is a more casual concept that channels the Westside native’s roots and passion for good-old backyard grilling.
Designed with this notion in mind, the minimalistic space on Washington Boulevard is centered on live-fire cuisine. Utilizing woods typically used for grilling, such as hickory, walnut and white oak, the restaurant’s décor incorporates pops of black, red, pink, gray and white to illustrate the evolution of burning charcoal. Communal tables underscore the spirit of socialization, along with a regularly rotating gallery of art illuminated by lighting fixtures resembling grill tops.
Through a large framed window diners can glimpse the bustling open kitchen beyond the bar, which reveals three different ovens and grills, including the charcoal-fueled Josper Oven, Big Green Egg and Kamado-style cooker.
Guests might not know the difference between these tools and a standard grill, but they will certainly taste it in signature dishes like Prawns grilled over charcoal with carrot juice, tamarind and rosemary; Smoky Grilled Chicken Wings with oregano, chile and vinegar; and Oysters baked with seaweed, salted butter and horseradish in the Josper Oven.
Inspired by quintessential barbecue cuisine that patrons would want to eat every day, the menu focuses on high-quality proteins and locally sourced vegetables grilled simply. Dishes are served family-style, making Charcoal Venice inviting and approachable, while never forsaking the caliber of chefs in the kitchen.
“This is the type of casual concept I’ve always wanted to open,” Citrin says. “It’s the food that I prepare for my friends and family in my backyard on the weekend. Not too fancy, just delicious food that you crave.”
Day to day, Citrin’s protégé from Mélisse, Chef de Cuisine Joseph Johnson, helms the kitchen. During his tutelage, Johnson learned from Citrin never to be satisfied with an item on the menu, even if it was a staple. As for his personal culinary philosophy, he says, “I like to let the quality of the raw ingredients speak for themselves, without too much manipulation. Although I may add complementary flavors to enhance the ingredient, I want guests to taste the purity of these fresh farmers’ market items.”
True to form, the menu’s “Garden” section reads like a farmers’ market inventory with items like fennel, radish, pumpkin, collard greens, sweet potatoes, blue lake beans and, of course, just like such a market, the menu changes daily.
To solidify Charcoal Venice’s commitment to fostering a family environment, a note on the menu states that prices were increased four percent to cover the cost of full healthcare benefits for employees, an added touch that endears the restaurant\ as a new Westside favorite, one that honors the connection between the people who make—and eat—its food.
425 W. Washington Boulevard
Venice, CA 90292
310.751.6794 | CharcoalVenice.com
Written by Michelle Lyn | Photos Courtesy of Leona
The Leona experience begins the moment you log onto the restaurant’s website. The tranquil music lulls you into a relaxed state as you peruse the menu, already feeling yourself slip into a unique dining event.
Hailed as one of the top restaurants in LA, Leona has barely been open five months and already touts Eater LA’s Chef of the Year 2015 title. The top toque is not a woman named Leona, but Nyesha Arrington.
A nod to Venice’s roots, Leona, in fact, was the original moniker for Washington Boulevard, where the restaurant sits, adjacent to Venice Pier. Husband-and-wife owners Breegan and Kristian Vallas are Southern California natives (as is Arrington) and according to Kristian, they “wanted this restaurant to represent why we love Venice and its tradition of avant-garde entrepreneurship.” What’s more, adds Breegan, “Abbot Kinney tried to create a destination in Venice celebrating entertainment, dining and sophisticated fun. We’re excited to bring those elements in to our process at Leona.”
The space’s thoughtful design invites diners to cozy up in a banquette or make new friends at communal tables while admiring historic black and white photos of Venice assembled on whitewashed brick walls.
Arrington’s menu, meanwhile, is focused on “Progressive Californian” cuisine, which ranges from light dishes like Hibiscus Cured Hamachi with pomegranate ponzu and Shiso leaf or her signature dish, Honey Mustard Broiled Black Cod made with local honey, to heavier fare featuring innovative techniques like the Chicken “Brick” with layers of crispy chicken skin and slow roasted apricots.
“We want you to feel like you were hugged from the inside,” explains Arrington. “Our food is consciously prepared with health benefits, like turmeric or ginger, but we’re not afraid to use butter, cream and other classic culinary styles when it is appropriate.”
The eclectic menu, inspired by a blend of Arrington’s California roots, cultural heritage and the local neighborhood, is forward-thinking and can take you around the world with each bite. But even more important, Arrington states, “We also strive to be progressive in creating sustainable sourcing and kitchen practices with little to no food waste.”
With intriguing house-made desserts like the Sweet Corn Tumeric Ice Cream with white peaches, rosewater and pistachios, it’s doubtful that guests are letting any food go to waste.
123 Washington Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291