Vintage Grocers Open in Westlake Promenade

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Last weekend the new Vintage Grocers market opened at Westlake Promenade where Bristol Farms used to be. The Grand Opening featured a live band, tastings, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and gift bags for the store’s first 500 shoppers.

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Owner Paige Laurie and market director Eric Fuchser cutting the ribbon at Vintage Grocers Westlake Village

(Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images)

This is the latest local new business I’ve gotten to check out and share with you. Market director Eric Fuchser led a group of local media around the store about an hour before it officially opened, and we could tell that there was buzz building because would-be shoppers were trying to enter early!

Vintage Grocers crowd

(Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images)

This is only the second location of Vintage Grocers, the first being at the old Trancas Market site in Malibu. It’s what I like to call “last chance groceries” before heading up to camping at Leo Carillo or Sycamore Canyon, or when we used to accompany my husband when he surfed at County Line. (It’s been a while!) Recently on the way to a camping trip I had to stop at the Malibu store to get peanut butter. And jelly. And bread! What is normally a frugal meal cost way more there, so I was curious to see what prices are like at this new store.

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At first I wasn’t even looking at prices, because the Westlake Vintage Grocers is impressive in its size, spanking brand new-ness, and pretty things to look at every way you turn. There are several fresh food counters including a juice bar, a sushi bar, a hot meal deli and burrito bar, a fresh poke bar, a butcher counter with an impressive spread, an olive bar, a private wine tasting room, and more!

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Private wine-tasting room, with giant TV for watching the game (not shown)

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The market is proud to source their produce, meat, and seafood as locally as possible. In fact, they source many other products from local makers as well, including Malibu honey, bloody mary mix, and even tequila, samples of which were in the most impressive media gift bag I’ve ever received.

vintage grocers gift bag

Unbagging this was fun!

But after the sparkles in my eyes wore off, I did peek at some prices to see how they would compare to my normal grocery store visits. A large tub of greek yogurt: $4.79 (at my usual store, $4.99). A 6-pack of Mike’s hard lemonade: $9.99 (at my usual store, same). There are plenty of things that are much more expensive, but I can survive on those two things, at least if I’m stopping in to get some items on my way out of the Promenade after a movie or a browsing session at the book store.

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The addition of Vintage Grocers to the Westlake Promenade seems like a good one for our community. Not only do they provide a great place to stop in and get anything under the sun, but they also employ about 85 people from the surrounding area. The store carries some unique items, and I look forward to going back for lunch or dinner to try their fresh foods.

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Vintage Grocers is celebrating its grand opening all week long with activities that are open to anyone each day:

Tuesday, October 4 – Mommy & Me (11am – 1pm)
Bring your kids for a complimentary Mommy & Me experience.

Wednesday, October 5 – Farmer’s Market (5pm – 7pm)
Meet our local artisans and enjoy demos and tastings around the store.

Thursday, October 6 – Sports Night (5pm – 7pm)
Enjoy craft beer tasting and our Build Your Own Burrito Bar before the big game. Show your team spirit for a discount.

Friday, October 7 – Date Night (5pm – 7pm)
Bring your significant other to the Wine Room to enjoy the oyster bar, desserts, etc.

Saturday, October 8 – Kids’ Carnival (1pm – 4pm)
Bring the little ones for an all-day event featuring face painting, music and prizes.

Vintage Grocers
7:00 AM – 9:00 PM daily
100 Promenade Way
Thousand Oaks CA 91362

Have you been into the new store? What do you think?

Staycation at Residence Inn LAX – Part 2 of 3: C&O Trattoria

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In August my son and I set out to experience an overnight stay at Residence Inn LAX, which is walking distance to the airport, some other hotels, a vacant lot, and a parking garage. We used the pool for a bit, and checked out the property, but that didn’t take very long and at around 5pm my son settled in to play video games on his handheld player.

That wasn’t what I had in mind!

I asked the concierge for some dinner recommendations and he gave me a little card with a few local restaurants on it, but nothing that really seemed right for both me and my picky eater.

I considered the advantages of our location. Here we were on the west side, which we never come to anymore because of the prohibitive traffic between it and The Bubble. I thought about finding some local friends to hang out with…on zero notice. Then I remembered the Venice canals.

Yes, the Residence Inn is still a 15-minute drive from the canals because of local traffic, but that’s still at least an hour closer than where we live. And why not? My son has shown interest in using my DSLR camera lately, so I thought maybe he’d enjoy taking pictures there.

IMG_2329He took this photo all by himself!

But it was dinner time, and the solution was upon me.

“You know what’s close to the Venice canals?” I asked my thoroughly disinterested son.

“Mmm?” he mumbled while still playing his game.

“C&O’s!” I exclaimed. “Get your stuff together, we’re going.”

He protested but followed anyway, only complaining a few times when we were stuck at a light on Lincoln and had trouble finding close parking (naturally) because that day Ciclavia had gone by this area. But before long we were sitting at a table on the patio section annexed to the main restaurant. I was excited because I was about to blow his mind with garlic knots and fresh pasta.

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I had first visited C&O as a young, single woman in the 90’s with my friends. We roller bladed from Santa Monica, down the boardwalk, and ate dinner on this very same spot…roller blades and all. At some point during dinner, wait staff came out and led a sing-along of That’s Amore. I went back many times, but this was the first time I would be bringing my own child.

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In the end, yes he loved the garlic knots, but of course he ate too many and so wasn’t really blown away by the cheese ravioli. I savored my chicken marsala and my nice cold wine, but my son’s favorite part of the whole experience was following the little painted footprints on the sidewalk to the restrooms. That was okay – we both enjoyed our visit, in our own special ways.

C&O Trattoria
31 Washington Blvd.
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Website

As we left, we began an impromptu photo walk in the colorful surroundings of Venice Beach, which, in our next episode, will take us among the Venice canals.

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Painting and Wine Make Better Art at Pinot’s Palette

Directed painting workshops – paired with wine drinking – have been popping up all over the place. I attended one that I found to be fun and relaxing earlier this year as a special event at The Play Destination. But now there is a local place anybody can go for this fun night out – Pinot’s Palette in Westlake Village.

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Occupying the space that once was The Pump Station in the plaza at the corner of Agoura Road and Village Glen, Pinot’s Palette is a place where you can take a painting class and purchase wine, beer, and snacks. It’s as simple as that!

wine and canvas

  • Pick the date and painting that works best for you and/or your group.
  • Make your reservation online in a few easy clicks.
  • Show up on the date and get ready to enjoy painting!
  • Purchase wine and beer from our fully stocked bar

Two-hour classes cost $35 per painter, and 3-hour classes cost $45 per painter. Drinks and snacks are extra (but you can bring your own snacks). You can view the schedule – and what you’ll be painting – online and choose according to the art or your availability.

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I’ve often heard of these workshops as great Girls’ Night Out events, but since Pinot’s Palette invited me to be their guest on a scheduled date night, I brought my husband along. I didn’t tell him what we’d be doing in case he thought he’d be the only guy. Not to worry – there were plenty of men in attendance and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.

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At Pinot’s Palette your name is drawn at your seat in chalk on a chalkboard painted table, and everything is there for you: canvas, palette of colors, brushes, water, and paper towels.

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All you have to do is buy a drink at their little bar, don an apron, and settle in. They’ve taken a lot of the thinking out of the process for you–a trained expert leads you step-by-step through the night’s project. Or, you can opt to just paint whatever you want. The trainer on media night had a great sense of humor and encouraged us to hit the bar for more drinks if we were nervous. Of course, you don’t have to drink the wine or beer, but it did make it more fun, especially with local wines being poured that night.

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My husband and I both followed the exact same directions, but the final product was very different. Our children were delighted and each claimed a painting for his bedroom. (Not sure how appropriate it is…but they appreciate our art!)

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We both really enjoyed the evening. The class was 2 hours long, and afterwards we strolled over to Casa Escobar for a lovely dinner. Date night achieved! I recommend this for pals, dates, and even private parties. No kids, though – this place is only 21 and over.

IMG_9315Even the signage on the storeroom door has a sense of humor.

Pinot’s Palette
2879 Agoura Rd
Westlake Village, CA 91361
(805) 379-9963

Some photos (the really good ones) courtesy of Pinot’s Palette.