La Brea Avenue runs north to south across the middle of the city of Los Angeles. This long, heavily trafficked artery connects the southern edges of the city near Inglewood to the hills of Hollywood in the north. The word “brea” means tar, which is appropriate as the street runs past a working oil field near Baldwin Park and passes quite near the La Brea Tar Pits on Wilshire Boulevard. Most of the avenue is commercial, but between Wilshire boulevard and Beverly Boulevard the stores become more expensive and the focus turns to home decor emporiums, antique stores, high-end vintage boutiques and elegant restaurants.
Of all the places to eat along La Brea Campanile Restaurant has to be one of the most beautiful. It’s housed in a historic building originally designed for Charlie Chaplin. The place was derelict until Chef Mark Peel and Pasty Chef Nancy Silverton purchased it in the late 1980’s. They remodeled the structure and opened La Brea Bakery and Campanile in the space. The restaurant is still going strong, something to be said here in the land of fly-by-night successes, and La Brea Bakery bread is now for sale all over the California. Although the main bakery has since moved you can still buy fresh loaves at the little storefront next to the restaurant.
My husband and I stopped by this Saturday morning for brunch. The award-winning food did not disappoint. Hugo ordered eggs on prosciutto and it was as delicious as it was pretty. The coffee was strong. I was happy.
La Brea Avenue is one of my favorite shopping streets in Los Angeles. A few blocks north of Campanile is another L.A. classic: American Rag. It sells a carefully curated mix of vintage and new clothing as well as French country decor. The cafe in the store isn’t nearly as expensive as the apparel and a great place to meet a friend for lunch. For museum-quality vintage attire look no further than The Way We Wore. If $350 dresses are a bit beyond your budget, head up the street to Buffalo Exchange for inexpensive resale treasures. There are a lot of really great clothing stores on La Brea but the street is really known for interior design. There are dozens of stores selling furniture and home decor dotting the avenue from Wilshire all the way up to Santa Monica. Most seem to focus on vintage and imported treasures. Although the prices can be high I’ve gotten great things on sale. If you need fabric for curtains or upholstery and you want something that no one else has, head to Diamond Foam and Fabric on the west side of the street. Oh, and always be careful when parking. Towing begins at 4:00 sharp to open up the third lane for rush hour traffic.
After brunch my husband and I wandered through the delightful Design Mix Furniture . It’s a good example of the kind of stores you’ll find on La Brea Avenue.
- Beige cotton trench with no tags, purchased on consignment
- Floral dress by Veronica M
- Plastic tortoise-shell bracelet and earrings by Bellissima via Gilt.com
- Clutch from Nordstroms
- Orange sandals by Camper
Do you have a favorite place for brunch? If you live in L.A., do you ever shop on La Brea?