NFT Los Angeles Culver City

Culver City

Culver City was once regarded as the New Jersey of Los Angeles, but call it "the armpit" no more. Not only have people realized the charm behind this once-maligned corner of the city but they're coming here to play, too. Today there are tons of great places to eat and hang out at along Washington and Culver Boulevards. And the addition of the Kirk Douglas Theatre, the restoration of the Culver Hotel, and the Helms Bakery Building, now full of elegant furniture for sale, have all added touches of class to the area.

Culver City contains some of LA's more popular home-grown fast food joints (Tito's TacosSee more.

>, Johnnie's Pastrami) and The Jazz Bakery still spins tunes you might barely remember, but of late this mini-city is perhaps better known for its grown-up restaurants. Try anything in the Helms Bakery complex, from dressed-up burgers to Asian fusion, or visit La Dijonaise for French without the stuffiness or prices. Meanwhile, BottleRock is a date-friendly wine bar.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Culver City

By Rin-rin Yu
Lotta people talk a lotta shit 'bout Culver City, but those people are just too honest. Rin-rin Yu has seen the face of the new CC and she has found it splendid. So buckle down, settle in and prepare yourself to be slapped across the face as you witness the power of one forfeited city's implausible revitalization.

Presidents of LA

By Jess Winfield
So many American President-named streets, so little time. What breed of establishments dot the streets that epitonize the characters of our great national leaders? Find out while you still can.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Johnnie's Pastrami
While Johnnie's Pastrami isn't quite up to Katz Deli standards for corned beef and pastrami (what is, really?), when you're three thousand miles away from NYC and craving something on rye bread, you can do a lot worse than Johnnie's. The boiled-while-you-wait corned beef and pastrami comes out steaming hot; fries and onion rings and mustard hit the spot; the staff is uber-friendly; the signage is beyond amazing; and you can eat outside in a fenced-in little grotto as flies buzz around you and Sepulveda traffic thrums in the background. Ah, this is the urban experience.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

The Center for Land Use Interpretation
This is possibly my favorite single destination in Los Angeles. Conveniently located right next to the Museum of Jurassic Technology, CLUI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to depicting the impact humans have on the landscape of the Earth. The balance CLUI shows is impressive--no screes or invective, just the facts of what we're doing. The current show is "Texas Oil--Landscape of an Industry," and, of course, it's fascinating. The bookstore absolutely rocks, as well. Go now, go often.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Museum of Jurassic Technology
My first thought was to mention some of the really cool/completely freakin' odd exhibits that are contained within the Museum of Jurassic Technology, but I have since reconsidered, thinking that it would spoil a bit of the fun. So all you're getting is a rather nondescript shot of the outside of the building. It's probably not for the easily spooked, including (for instance) easy-to-freak-out seven year olds, and of course it's not for anyone who isn't into non-linear thinking, and it's not for melonhead tourists who spent the first day finding the Hollywood Sign and going to the Walk of Fame. So, for the remaining .006% of the planet, this place should be one of your first five stops in Los Angeles. Hands down.

Posted By:  Noah Albert
Photo:  Noah Albert

Surfas is a Culver City restaurant supply store started in 1937 that is open to the public. Since 1989 they have been stocking gourmet and specialty food as well, so you can stock up frozen lobster, high-end beef, caviar and blueberry syrup. Really, this is the kind of place that will make the heart of a foodie quicken. And it is also a handy resource. Recently I found just what I looking for--the gasket for my stove-top espresso maker and a whole wall of tongs (one 12 inch model for $1.88 was actually all I needed). If you are opening a restaurant you will probably need about 10,000 more things that they also carry. The staff was friendly and helpful. The kitchen stuff they stock is functional and well-designed, just as well-made but less expensive and less foofy than what you find at the big corporate stores. And of course they have a delicious cafe in the front.

Posted By:  Noah Albert
Photo:  Noah Albert

This is a fine taqueria with two locations on the westside. Most everything is freshly made and there is a definite emphasis on healthy food--the menu includes juices, smoothies and shakes. Their hand-made tortillas are really good and the salsa bar is top-notch, it even includes a big pot of beans. The pot of beans really won me over! The tacos and the chili verde are favorites; I had the chicken with mole and enjoyed it as well. In short there is much to recommend and nothing to complain about this popular and unpretentious eatery. The husband and wife team who own this place have been seen at both locations which means that they keep an eye on quality of both. This is affordable food at its finest!

Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

I must confess, I’m a sucker for a restaurant with outdoor seating and twinkly lights. String up some of last year’s Chrismukkah lights and I’m there. So that really was the original draw that brought me in to this delightful little shack perched on the edge of a parking lot on Venice Boulevard. It’s an adorable little place, with adorably mismatched centerpieces on the rustic tables. But the real draw is the food. Crispy, sweet fried plantains, juicy grilled chicken, and earthy black beans and rice are brought together with their fresh, cilantro-y salsa. Perfect for a summer evening with a glass of iced tea, or be more adventurous and try a Brazilian soda or one of their fresh juices. Also delicious are their little appetizers—pillowy fried dumplings with yummy bits of meat and cheese in the middle. Spend a few hours lingering outside—they’re open late and won’t mind if you lounge.

Posted By:  Rin-rin Yu
Photo:  Rin-rin Yu

Imagine French food in all its creamy, buttery, rich flavorful glory. Now imagine it without the pretention and stuffiness normally encountered. Et voila! It’s La Dijonaise, the low-key, friendly-priced and friendly-staffed French restaurant tucked in one side of the Helms Bakery building. It’s so down-to-earth that you’d mistake your escargot (only $5.95) for comfort food. But the restaurant serves up all the traditional French favorites (like crepes, quiches, steak frites, boeuf bourguignon, and coq au vin) so well that it deserves to be a little haughty. Three bright paintings and the wonderful pastry window make up the décor of the dining room, with an eat-at bar up front and simple cafeteria-like wood tables dispersed around the loft-like restaurant (a nod towards the Helms). Pick up a few croissants for breakfast the next day on your way out.

Posted By:  Noah Albert
Photo:  Noah Albert

The Cinema Bar
Reputably the oldest bar in Culver City, the Cinema Bar is the type of bar everyone wishes was in their neighborhood. Friendly and unpretentious, the drinks are stiff, and they have live music nightly. The only drawback is that it’s tiny, so it can get packed. Though as an added bonus there are other drinking establishments nearby (Cozy Inn, Joxer Daly's, and Saints and Sinners) to turn the trip into a full night on the town. The place has a great wooden interior that takes you back in time. And if you need some air, head for the nice patio to relax with your drink.

Posted By:  David Horvitz

Club Tropical
Do you remember that time when you were driving through San Salvador with a horchata in your left hand, a frijoles y queso pupusa in your right hand, your eyes drifting towards the radical leftist student graffiti, all while listening to that Coltrane mix tape you found in your glove compartment? You thought you were never going to re-live that experience, right? Well, you’re wrong. Thursday nights at Club Tropical in Culver City is CryptoNight, an evening of original jazz and creative music sponsored by Cryptogramaphone records. But what about the horchata and the pupusa? Luckily, Club Tropical is also an amazing Salvadoran restaurant. They've got what you want: pupusas (imagine a fat tortilla stuffed with Central American wonders), plantanos (fried bananas), sweet tamales, horchata, mojitos—oh man, I can keep going but I think you get the point. Dinner is not mandatory, but should be. Check out my favorite post-punk alt indie experimental jazz musicians: Nels Cline (guitar) and Ches Smith (drums). Oh, and don't worry about getting disappeared, this isn't El Salvador. We don't get disappeared in America, all we do is find entertainment to give us a moment of peace while idiots ruin our world.

Posted By:  Carolyn Patricia Scott
Photo:  Greg Escalante, GELFORD/ID

Jan Corey Helford is a passionate collector of original works from the new wave of “no wave” fine artists such as Todd Schorr, Camille Rose Garcia, Gary Baseman, Tim Biskup, Richard Colman, The Pizz, XNO, Bigfoot, Miss Van, and Liz McGrath. Corey Helford is also a TV production veteran and wife of television producer and creator Bruce Helford (The Drew Carey Show, George Lopez, and The Oblongs). The contemporary exhibition space Corey Helford Gallery is cutting its teeth this weekend on “Group Show Number One.” On the walls please find the following west coast artists: Sarah Folkman, Jason Houchen, Caia Koopman, Sylvia Ji, Jason Maloney, and Brandi Milne. Like the venue itself, the artists’ works are new and fresh. The exhibition opens with an artists’ reception Saturday from 7 pm-10 pm. The show opens the runs May 6-June 5.

Posted By:  Jeremiah Hahn
Photo:  Jeremiah Hahn

“It’s the best mole in towwwwn.” You’ll be saying this for weeks after you eat at this homey Mexican restaurant. You see, Taxco has an oral menu which has been perfected by the attentive wait staff to set a pitch perfect tone for your dining experience. Known for its delicious and generous portions of beef, chicken, and shrimp entrees, every order comes as part of a five course serving of soup, quesadillas, enchiladas, and a dessert of banana pudding. Oh, and make sure to have reservations on the weekends as it can get pretty packed.

Posted By:  Edoardo Ballerini
Photo:  none

d.e.n. contemporary art
Amidst the growing gallery scene in Culver City there are some good galleries and some, well, not so good ones. d.e.n. contemporary is one of the good ones. Run by Donna Napper, d.e.n. focuses on emerging and semi-established artists working in abstract expressionism. The space is relatively small, but very inviting, and the works are typically interesting all the way into the corners. While you’re there, sneak a peak into the office—there is no door—and get a preview of the next show. And talk to the staff. They’re very friendly and knowledgeable.

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