In their urban kitchens from San Diego to Seattle, Hipcooks trains budding culinarians to build their own gourmet dishes from scratch. With more regard for cooks' instincts about taste than exacting recipe measurements, the classes are meant to be social learning experiences capped with a shared dinner. And the meals students learn to make are designed with a practical purpose in mind: an attempt to conjure up romance could feature a dinner of mushroom turnovers, pan-seared steak with polenta, and chocolate souffl?, and surprise guests may provoke an emergency menu of honey-pear salad and pistachio-crusted fish. Like a discriminating competitive eater, other courses focus on a specific cuisine. In Una Noche en Espa?a, for example, the chefs produce a wide variety of tapas, while students in Shortcut to Nirvana set the table with spicy curry and vegetarian samosas from the Indian subcontinent.
The experts of Chic & Cheap Organizing descend upon chaotic homes and offices and leave order in their wake. As members of the National Association of Professional Organizers, they adhere to a strict code of ethics that requires their staff to behave courteously, maintain strict confidentiality, and regularly brush up on the latest mail-sorting strategies. They begin their process by understanding their clients' goals and creating a strategy to reach them. Once they've begun their hands-on organizational sessions, they provide a list of all necessary storage and organizational supplies and can even do the shopping for their clients, if needed. When they aren't tidying tangible spaces, they help with project planning for events such as parties and fundraisers.
If you find yourself with some time in Terminal One at LAX, wander over to grown-up toy store Brookstone for a free massage from one of their vibrating chairs. The quirky business started out with a small ad selling hard-to-find tools in Popular Mechanics Magazine and has since grown into a national chain, with most locations inside the malls and airports that we use every day. Despite the cluttered appearance of a Brookstone, knowledgeable staff tends to know exactly where things are and are more than happy to let you tinker with and try anything they offer. Odd finds mesh seamlessly with surprisingly innovative technologies and life-simplifying devices, each priced competitively, even for the airport. And for anyone in need of a last-minute doodad, Brookstone opens early and stays up late.
Whether you know it or not, you may have already seen the restoration handiwork of REHAB Vintage Interiors. Their vintage pieces have appeared in Hollywood blockbusters such as J. Edgar and Spiderman 4 as well as TV shows such as NCIS and House. Specializing in the restoration of mid-century industrial pieces, the staff at REHAB Vintage Interiors (formerly Sonrisa Furniture) have been making old items new again for more than 20 years. They focus mainly on metal restoration, rehabilitating steel desks, shelving, and chairs, but they also restore lighting fixtures, collectibles, jewelry, and kitschy oddities.
Fans of unusual, modern designs might get lost in the large showcase of modern lighting, accessories and furniture at A + R. Their motto is “Global design, edited” and they specialize in presenting products from local and global designers whose constructions charm, function and inspire. The sleek green and white open space on La Brea is the offshoot of the original store in Venice. A+R offers fun, well-made, affordable design for the home and office and has everything from furnishings to functional art objects, toys, jewelry and unique Apple product accessories. There is street metered parking or they validate in the nearby garage, making it easy for a quick trip or an extended shopping spree.