Designer Dining In LA

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Since we’ve still got food on the brain, let’s talk designer dining. You know, those places in every town where the creative types seem to feed? In LA it’s Culver City, which, due to its gallery explosion has been dubbed Chelsea West. And two Culver City places in particular are attracting local artists and designers: Mandrake, which has been said to “hypnotize” the art crowd, and Wilson, which happens to occupy the same building as the Museum of Design Art and Architecture. Hear the LA Times and Lifescape rave on about Culver City’s hotness.

After the opening of Jeff Soto’s show at BLK/MRKT (highlight: a couple, probably Soto’s parents, posing by the painting above who said “That’s our car!”), we ventured to Mandrake, where there were a few people milling in the back room, but for the most part it was silent, industrial and empty. Perhaps it would be more “hypnotizing” on a night when neighboring gallery Blum & Poe was open, and that’s when we vowed to return. And also because we were intrigued by the variety of freshy-fresh drinks, like the Tomato Water Martini, which tasted like green.

Not deterred, we headed west to Wilson with its flowy verdant drapes, Starck seating and glowing tubes hanging from the ceiling like drying pasta. We didn’t get to sit in there, however. We were seated in the room out back…essentially the parking lot. We weren’t sure if that was the reason they showered our entrees with a torrential downpour of shaved truffles. Even if it was standard practice, it came off a little creepy. As did the fact that we were the youngest people in the place.