Santa Monica, Los Angeles
LA is a place that's easy to find great shopping attractions. From Robertson Blvd to Century City mall to sprawling centers everywhere north, south, east and west, it's really hard to distinguish yourself when you are opening a shopping center.
The great thing about Santa Monica Place is that it brings some stores that were previously not available on the westside there. Stores such as CB2 and Kitson are now easily accessible.
The bad thing is that it's on the border of another mall thats available elsewhere. You can definitely see the resemblance between this place and Hollywood and Hyland. It's laid out very similarly. It's also got the Century City Westfield Mall feel to it -except not as big.
But I suppose it brings a little newness to it's part of town. Worth checking out.
What to buy: Nordstroms has great clothes. CB2 is unique too. And Kitson is definitely more unique that both of those as it started out as a LA boutique store and is now expanding throughout LA.
What to pay: Standard prices.
I first tasted these amazing choccies when I received one as a gift. Okay, I actually got a little box of 4 choccies, and my toes curled in happiness. This was the absolutely BEST chocolate I've ever tasted! So when I got to LA, I made immediate plans to visit the Santa Monica Farmer's market where they were purchased. I'm so glad I did!
Guanni's is a booth at the market which specializes in hand made Organic Peruvian chocolates. The flavor is so rich that even I can't eat one whole piece in a single sitting :) These little treasures not only taste like a bit of orgasmic heaven, they are pretty to look at too. With gold dust, orange salt, gold leaf, silver dust and others, this stuff is simply amazing to view.
In addition to these obvious treats, they also sell organic maca and organic roasted cacao. I decided upon both of these after talking with folks in line about what their favorites were. The maca is a powder, and adds a malty flavor and sweetness to cereals and drinks. The roasted cacao is pure chocolate without the additives that make up the dark chocolate that I crave. I purchased the nibs which are broken up pieces of roasted cacao, and therefore easier for me to munch upon. Since getting home with my treasures, I have had them in various dishes, drinks, and in the case of the nibs - straight up.
I am already worried about running out! How's that for a ringing endorsement? BUT, I just discovered their website! I hope this means my stock will never run dry :)
What to pay: 12-50$ US for a box of choccies (depending on size), less than 15$ for maca or cacao.
LA finally got a Zara recently. I was beyond thrilled! Kept going to the store to see progress when it was going through remodeling.
I know it's a huge chain store, but it's long overdue that it's made its way to LA. I can't believe Orange County got one before LA. So not right.
Just in case you are dying to go. It's located at the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade. Three stories: 2 for women, 1 for men.
P.S. For those of you unfamiliar with Zara, it's a Spanish retail store chain targeting the young with trendy clothes.
What to buy: Trendy women and men clothing and shoes
What to pay: $20 to $200
There's a nice food court, and the main shps are a good quality.
The food court did a wide variety of food and snacks (this was in 2001).
What to buy: Check the website for the store diectory ...lots of things to see and buy.