NFT Los Angeles Studio City / Valley Village

Studio City / Valley Village

Essentials
Valley Village is still cheap, comfortable, and kid-friendly. Studio City still sounds cool enough to justify bringing dates to the Valley. But no one, whether resident, cartographer, or postal worker, claims to understand the borders. But, if you find yourself settling here (which is easy), you'll want to know about the Studio City Farmers Market, where produce-scavenging locals and harried parents intermingle each Sunday for the face-painting, animal-petting, moon-bouncing kiddie fare.

Sundries/Entertainment
While the mutual hostility continues between the Valley and the balance of LA, Studio City quietly distinguishes itself as a cultural magnet on the other side of the hill. Branching off from the Ventura Boulevard smorgasbord, it presents a host of trendy, glad-I-didn't-drive-to-Hollywood restaurants (See more.

>Firefly, Spark, etc.), shops, and neighborhood secrets.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Literary Los Angeles

By Christine Ziemba
L.A.'s independent bookstores are as idiosyncratic as its inhabitants. Its highs as high, its lows as low. The life of an Angeleno-bound textual object is no day at the beach.

Read More...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Kelsey Albro
Photo:  Kelsey Albro

Almost Christmas Prop Shoppe
Say it's April, you're lounging by your SoCal pool, have a bunch of money burning a hole in your pocket, and are just jonesing for some Christmas cheer RIGHT NOW. Have no fear! Ye Olde Almost Christmas Prop Shoppe can put a full size Santa sleigh in your living room and some joy in your heart. The shop mostly does rentals for commercials, television and movies or decorating for country clubs or the rich and famous. For us proletarians out there, a good wander through the shop ought to sate our yearning for Christmases past. And if you really, really, really need that creepy elf figurine, you can probably talk the cute guy manning the desk to sell it you for a candy cane or two.



Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

Naimie's Beauty Supply
My curly hair has never demanded much attention. A little shine serum here, some leave-in conditioner there… I have no patience for anything more. However, a recent haircut was enough to make me want to commit to blowouts a few times a week. I realized I was sorely in need of some product to prevent my difficult-to-train hairs from reverting to their usual frizzy, disheveled selves. I ventured out to Naime’s on the recommendation of a friend who told tales of friendly and attentive staff, great selection and relatively low prices. After wandering aimlessly around the bottom level for a few minutes before realizing the bulk of their inventory was upstairs (up a very odd, narrow staircase), I found myself again wandering the top level, alone in a sea of beauty products. One staff member finally took pity on me and pointed me in the right direction, but after purchasing a few items I believe her recommendations were based more on high prices than effectiveness. Alas, I continue my search for the perfect products, and the perfect beauty supply store.



Posted By:  adam c. marshall
Photo:  adam c. marshall

Artisan Cheese Gallery
Recently, I've been trying to cut dairy from my diet. All the kids are doing it. But dammit, I LOVE cheese. Normally when I want the good stuff I go to a shop in Beverly Hills. But I was recently alerted to a cheese shop in Studio City: Artisan Cheese Gallery, which is my new best friend. They have a great lunch menu, and enough cheese to shake several sticks at. But, most importantly, their staff is incredibly kind and helpful. The older man at the register made not one, but two jokes while ringing me up. And the guy behind the counter put up with such ridiculous mandates as "It's gotta be sharp, it's gotta be hard, and it's gotta come from a goat." They took the time to make sure that I left happy, sniffing my queso. Nice as hell, these people. So if you're like me and sick of trying to live "right," get yourself half a pound of whatever coagulated milk you like and live better.



Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

Little Chili Thai Cuisine
Continuing my quest for the perfect Thai restaurant, I recently came across Little Chili Thai Cuisine. It met all of my requirements: tiny neighborhood place, busy, and cheap. I ordered the pad thai, pad see ew and satay, and was not disappointed. Took it home and unwrapped my fresh and tasty meal. Their staff is great too—they forgot our satay at first and gave us free thai iced teas on the house while we waited. Love this place, and I’ll definitely be back again.



Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

Marie et Cie
I love poking around little shops on the weekends. You know, those one-of-a-kind places where one can only assume the owner traveled around the world hand-selecting interesting little items to bring back for his or her adoring customers. Not many jewel boxes like this exist anymore, having been mostly put out of business by “crafts-y” monoliths like Cost Plus and Pier 1. Marie et Cie is one of the survivors. Come in for a latte and a pasty and check out the fun knicknacks and antiques. A great place to explore a while and pretend you aren’t a underpaid cubicle-monkey, but a world traveler collecting souvenirs to dress your new apartment in Monte Carlo. Warning: this is definitely a chick store. Make your boyfriend stay here too long and you’ll need to put in some major time at the nearest sports bar as penance.



Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

Carney's
How many times in your life do you get to eat a chili dog in an old railroad car? Lots, apparently, if you’re a person who lives near Carney’s and has any male acquaintances whatsoever. Yes, I know, I’m generalizing, but every time I’ve eaten here it seems as though I’m the only woman in the place. Everything on the menu here is fattening, big, and meaty. Oh, and absolutely delicious. Don’t forget your Pepcid, and you’ll be just fine. My money always goes to the Carney dog, chili-cheese fries and a diet coke. Yeah, ‘cause that’s how I roll.



Posted By:  Bon Vivant
Photo:  Bon Vivant

Asanebo is one of those restaurants that really irks me. According to a certain “exceedingly” “annoying” restaurant guide, Asanebo has the top food rating in Los Angeles–not just of sushi places, but of every restaurant in the region. While the food is good overall, it’s hardly worth the top rating and the high price considering the watery texture of the fish. However, the atmosphere, particularly the lighting, is really pleasing for a Studio City sushi joint. Thus, Asanebo is the type of place that you go to when money burns a hole in your pocket or you want to impress someone who simply doesn’t know better. When asked which sake goes best with that night’s omakase, our sushi chef recommended a sake which happened to cost $160 a bottle. Please! No thank you! We ordered the cheapest kind at $4 per glass (which to their credit was poured generously) and it complemented our dishes quite well.



Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

Monday mornings are generally hellish for most cubicle-dwellers like myself. Trudging through work, attempting to bat away thoughts creeping in about is how good I had it just 24 hours before—lounging on the couch in my pjs while watching the all-day Top Chef marathon. Okay, okay. Partially it’s because on a good day, my soul-sucking day job makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a plastic fork. But mostly because I’m impatient for what I know lies ahead—Mexicali Mondays: 30% off every item on the menu (including drinks), and they don’t stop serving up the cheap goodies until 1 am. The weekly drill never changes: arrival around 9 with an assorted group of friends, patio table, starting out the evening with the monster nachos appetizer and the super yummy ceviche. And of course a $18 pitcher (!) of margs. Parking is free and plentiful. Skip the unexciting salads and the Jessica Simpson margarita—a nasty (and much like its namesake, not in a good way) low-carb monstrosity made with Splenda.



Posted By:  adam c. marshall
Photo:  adam c. marshall

Eclectic Wine Bar & Grille
I don’t miss the Valley at all. I lived there my first year in LA—the heat just wasn’t for me. But there are a few things I miss, and the Eclectic Cafe is one of them. An industry type recommended it, saying that it was a very common place to see people in the business making deals. I’ve never seen any such thing. But I do enjoy the place. It’s a great date restaurant. It’s relaxed, but still formal enough to suit wine, pasta, and seduction. Their menu is creative and rich without trying too hard. And I gotta love a dependable place that just is—no smoke and mirrors, just a pleasant meal. But they have taken to calling themselves the Eclectic Wine Bar and Grille. When the hell did that happen? It still says “cafe” on the sign over the door. Man, I’m getting old. I remember when times were simpler...They also have a great Sunday brunch if that’s your thing. But who doesn’t like brunch? So brunch. The Eclectic Cafe. Order a frittata, smack those lips, and then get the hell out of Dodge to cooler climates on the other side of the hill.



Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

Oh Foxfire Room, how do I love thee? Absent of preening actor-slash-whatevers, 19 year-old frat guys, and $12 beers, this cozy, dive-y joint never disappoints. “The Fox” has comfy booths, a rockin’ jukebox, a relaxed local crowd and drinks that are just the right balance of cheap and strong. Come with a bunch of friends and enjoy the no-pretense simplicity of a bar without the attitude or high prices of its neighbors over The Hill. Great place for after-work drinks and conversation during the week, but things really get poppin’ on Sunday’s Karaoke night. Throw back some bloody marys and sing it out, bitch.



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

You know those stores that you consider guilty pleasures? Because you love their clothes, they always bring you loads of compliments, but you're almost embarrassed by how low their prices are? That's Voila Boutique in a nutshell, a secret Valley girls only share—reluctantly—when faced with the question, "Where did you get that groovy blouse?" Driving down Magnolia, you'd never even find Voila if you weren't looking for it. It's part of a motley group of shops—an Irish import store, a dive bar, a rug-making store with the (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek name "Happy Hookers." Voila's building looks ancient, but the clothes couldn't be more this-minute. They're knockoffs, to be sure, but they look like the kind of dresses and tops you'd find down on Ventura at Dari for about a third of the price. Very little in the store costs more than $35. Will the fabrics and styles hold up over time? Probably not, but they'll certainly get you through this season. And dress them up with your Seven jeans and a decent pair of shoes and it's easy to forget that your blouse cost less than the first course at Firefly.



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

Maybe you're a parent with screaming kids strapped into their car seats. Maybe the parking lot at the Ralphs down the street looked like more trouble than it's worth for a lousy gallon of milk. Maybe you're just frickin' lazy. It doesn't matter what your reason is for trying the Alta Dena Drive-Thru Dairy—you'll be back because it's just so easy. The dairy works like the drive-thru at Mickey D's, with one crucial improvement: an actual living, breathing person comes out to assist you—no garbled voice on a machine. You pull in, you give the guy (or gal) your money, they hand you a container of milk, you continue on your journey. And don't let the word "dairy" deceive you. These shops sell a lot more than milk—soda, chips, beer… They're like streamlined 7-11's, saving you from yourself (or at least the part of yourself with a soft spot for Slurpees). You may pay a little more at the Drive-Thru than you'd pay at the supermarket, but the ability to buy a bag of Cheetos without having to lift your ass out of your driver's seat—priceless.



Posted By:  Noah Albert
Photo:  Noah Albert

Indie Coffee is in the heart of the NoHo Arts District, in a quiet patch right beside Pit Fire Pizza. The owners of this coffee and pastry establishment put in years working as managers at Coffee Bean before setting out on their own. They found this really mellow spot on the corner of Lankershim and Magnolia (something of a shady grove) and proceeded to set up shop, completely unintimidated by the Starbucks across the street. They reason that their indie coffee (it’s good stuff) and customer service (very friendly) will prevail. And it is heartening to see a steady flow of customers frequenting this spot and getting their caffeine on. It is not too unlikely that the many nearby small theaters owe a debt to Indie Coffee for keeping all the actors and actresses (and perhaps audience members) peppy and awake during their performances! Indie Coffee makes crepes too. Look for it just south of the NoHo subway station.



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee
In Los Angeles, there are video stores for film geeks (Santa Monica’s Vidiots), and there are video stores for geeks. You don’t go to Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee when you want to rent Spiderman 2 or Wedding Crashers. But if you want to spend the weekend watching Buster Keaton shorts or old episodes of In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy, you need look no further. As an archive, Eddie Brandt’s is almost awe-inspiring in the breadth of their collection—their documentary section alone has over 5,000 titles. They also have an extensive library of television series episodes, from the dawn of television to the present, many never before released on video. Here’s the catch—they’re almost all on VHS, and they aren’t technically available to rental. They are available for free—like you’d loan a friend—along with a “real” rental. So sit back and enjoy those old episodes of Wonder Woman or The Six Million Dollar Man. But after, check out a classic film like Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Five Easy Pieces. It’ll make the guilty pleasures seem less guilty.



Posted By:  Jess Winfield
Photo:  Jess Winfield

Consider the crispy ground beef taco. If you're of a certain age, it was probably the first Mexican food you ever had. Maybe at Taco Bell or Del Taco, or maybe during a family "taco night," where mom would shred lettuce and chop tomatoes, dump the Lawry's seasoning into a pan of simmering ground round, break out the box of Old El Paso shells, and say "go." It's an icon that no amount of char-grilled fresh-Mex can ever throw down, and its apotheosis is Henry's Tacos. With an aesthetic straight out of The Jetsons or a Shag painting, the SF Valley corner location is worth a visit just to check out the sign. The menu's tiny: ground beef tacos, tostados (note the retro spelling), burritos, and a taco burger. Some folks like burritos or the taco burger, but I need that essential interplay between crispy shell and savory filling. The ground beef's subtle season-ing kicks ass all over Lawry's; the shredded lettuce, compacted into the surprisingly delicate shell, is fresh and crisp; the pile of shredded cheddar is perfectly sharp. Buy the taco; buy the t-shirt; dribble the hot sauce on the t-shirt.



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

Crossroads Trading Co.
I love $50 t-shirts from Michael Stars or C & C, but not as much as I love gas in my car and a roof over my head. That’s why Crossroads, selling gently used clothing from the trendiest of designers and brands at rock bottom prices, has become my dirty little secret. They transcend the world of the Salvation Army and Goodwill by describing their merchandise as “recycled” and extolling the environmental benefits of the process. Who am I to argue with such logic when it lets me buy a BCBG dress for $25? The Crossroads buyers have fairly high standards—so high that the very concept of selling clothes back to the store is, for me, unthinkable, too much like being scrutinized by the cool kids in high school. (Although most locations do allow you to drop your clothes off and return later, discreetly, to see what has made the cut.) The store originated in the Bay Area but seems tailor-made for a town like Hollywood, allowing underpaid assistants to dress like they’re eating at the Palm when they’re really eating at the Hamburger Hamlet.



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

Artisan Cheese Gallery
As a rule, people move to the Valley by default rather than by choice. But when Life hands you those lemons, you find some damned good lemonade north of Mulholland. Recently, however, a six year-old complained to me, "I've spent all day in the Valley…," with such ennui that I feared only a trip to Sprinkles Cupcakes would keep me from spiraling into despair. The heat. The lack of character. The chain restaurants. Woe is me. But a trip to the Artisan Cheese Gallery allays both my Valley insecurities and my symptoms of withdrawal from Joan's on Third. Besides a spectacular array of domestic and imported cheeses, the Artisan Cheese Gallery offers a lunch menu of salads and sandwiches that put nearby Panera to shame. And while I stay for the cheese, I come for the peanut butter. The shop's shelves are stocked with an array of gourmet foods and condiments, including the mind-blowing assortment from P.B. Loco. End your meal with a cookie or brownie from Mockingbird Confections. They're baked in muffin tins for maximum gooiness. Surely even a world-weary six year-old can get excited about this.



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

Portrait of a Bookstore
Does every booklover harbor the same dream I do? To quit their lousy job, cash in the 401K and open a bookstore? But not an ordinary bookstore—a cozy shop where the owner has carefully selected every title, eschewing three-foot stacks of Dan Brown novels in favor of the quirky little memoir Terry Gross featured on Fresh Air. And your dream bookshop sells coffee—good coffee, not the burnt stuff the megachain provides at Barnes & Noble—and the most amazing cakes, tall ones with frosting just oozing out from all of the layers. Maybe your bookstore has a garden where you can relax and savor those first chapters over a cappuccino, soothed by the tranquil sound of a fountain. Well, this, my friends, is that bookstore. Portrait of a Bookstore doesn’t have every title you may be looking for but it definitely carries books that will surprise you. In addition to the coffee and desserts, the adjoining Aroma Café serves darned good sandwiches and salads, along with decent breakfast fare.



Posted By:  Sandee Curry
Photo:  www.tonyawise.com

Oyster House Saloon
The busy residents of Los Angeles don’t always appreciate all that we have at our fingertips. Even though I lived very close to this Oyster House for several years and had heard high praise, I didn’t make it there until recently on a perfectly blustery Southern California evening, where the delicious clam chowder and crab cakes warmed me right up. Walking into its dark, cozy interior made me nostalgic for the old school restaurants I visited with my family as a child. The excellent food, drinks, and friendly atmosphere (not to mention the exceptional service in this place) make it a great experience. Specializing in seafood, but with pasta and more, the Oyster House is one of those places that is “keeping it real” in Southern California.



Posted By:  Jessica Goeller
Photo:  none

Deaf West Theatre
Since its establishment in 1991, the fi rst professional sign language theater west of the Mississippi has won more than sixty prestigious awards for artistic and technical achievement, and has provided a cultural hub for the more than 1.2 million deaf and hard of hearing residents of Los Angeles. DWT puts on an average of three bilingual (simultaneously signed and voiced) shows per season, including original works, classics, and adaptations. Employing a diverse range of deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing cast and crew, DWT’s activities include an international touring company, stationary productions, and educational outreach in the form of an ASL (American Sign Language) story time, inschool workshops, and a professional summer school for deaf and hard of hearing artists.




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