If you ever visit me in Santa Monica I know one place I will be taking you - wine tasting at Venokado at The Market on 3rd street. Anna, Taylor, Lexi, Simon and I enjoyed a relaxing afternoon on the sunny patio sipping wine and devouring our two loaves of bread and five types of cheese from Bay Cities. Prime example of why I love the weekends.

The Santa Monica Promenade

AKA the uncoolest place on the Westside. However, there are some bright sparks among the chain store, mass produced garbage.

Here’s what I love on the Promenade (and environs).

Drinks and dinner:

Michael’s - The food is average but the garden is gorgeous. Only go if you can sit outside. And use the ladies as they have some great art hanging in there. I am obsessed with Kim McCarty’s gorgeous watercolors.

41 Ocean - A new private members’ club that is hoping to be the Westside’s younger, cooler answer to Soho House. It has a beautiful bar, a very cool private poker room that you have to walk through the kitchen to get to, and great outside space.

And now for the kicker: you can smoke here! (I know that is very non-PC but sometimes I love smoking).

M.A.K.E Matthew Kenney Cuisine  - Horribly pretentious name, but unbelievably good raw vegan food…or, as per their the website, “a living foods restaurant, featuring cutting edge plant-based cuisine”. I love the black pepper kelp noodles with chanterelles, snap peas, olive crumb and pea vines.

Super chic minimalist decor and never very busy as it’s in the Marketplace at Santa Monica Place where everyone else eats Sbarro in the food court surrounded by hyper-active, screaming kids.


Supra - THE coolest kicks ever.

Wasteland - I love consignment stores and this place (on Fourth St) sells a great selection of vintage, designer and modern clothing. I always find a great pair of J Brand or Current Elliot jeans (average price around $40) and once picked up a genuine Chanel bag here for $80. For real.

Venokado - I love wine, and I love tchotchkes and funny greeting cards and finding the perfect Christmas present for my sister in May. This place delivers on all of those.

Co-owned by Susan Brink, who is the sommelier for Dominick’s, Little Dom’s, Soho House, the staff are always spot on when making wine pairing suggestions. It is also in the dreaded Marketplace at Santa Monica Place but there is no place else to buy good wine in the vicinity. They have also just opened a Cook by Vendokado store with a really unique selection of specialty cookware and utensils so even more justification.

A Trip to The Market Just Got Better!

When one thinks of going to the market, many reactions come to mind, “They never have anything I want” or “Not again!” Now, fast forward to May 20, 2011, the opening of “The Market" in Santa Monica Place, and I promise your reaction will change to     ”When can we go?”

My business partner and I were invited to cover the pre-opening of The Market, last night.                          We didn’t know what to expect other than food…lots and lots of fabulous food. Well, not only did we see and eat our fair share of yummy delectables but we were pleasantly surprised by what else The Market had to offer; stunning flowers from Magical Blooms (owned by Jenny Barker, nice to have met you!), cooking classes courtesy of The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories and wine with other cool culinary gifts from Venokado (perfect place to get a housewarming or wedding gift…hint, hint). 

Everyone in Los Angeles needs to check this out! Grab your significant other, your group of friends, co-workers, or all of the above and be among the first to experience this.  After your 1st visit, I promise you won’t be complaining about going to “The Market,” anymore.

- Gina Blancarte, Renegat Groupe