L.A.’s Culver City

Ford's monkfish, Culver City, Los Angeles, California, image

Ford’s Filling Station's monkfish is marinated in molasses and served with celery root puree.

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"The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind" are just two of the many movies with scenes filmed in Culver City. Yet this area east of Venice Beach in Los Angeles County has never enjoyed Hollywood's glamour. "Ten years ago, this was where people came to buy drugs," says Jana DesForges, director of Blk/Mrkt, one of 30 art galleries amid a crop of new cafés near the corner of La Cienega and Washington boulevards. Here are some hot spots. Area code is 310.

  • Inside the art deco Helms Bakery Building, all 100,000 square feet of the H.D. Buttercup furniture emporium are jammed with affordable Pakistani rugs, Asian antiques, and midcentury modern sofas. 3225 Helms Ave., 558-8900, www.hdbuttercup.com.
  • Don't let the casual counter service at Tender Greens fool you. The owners know delicious food. Try the ahi niçoise salad. 9523 Culver Blvd., 842-8300, www.tendergreensfood.com.
  • With its microscopic mosaics and its floral radiographs, the Museum of Jurassic Technology is among the oddest spots around. Founder David Wilson spent his MacArthur “genius grant" on a tearoom and theater. 9341 Venice Blvd., 836-6131, www.mjt.org.
  • If you love to cook, you'll see why Surfas, a restaurant and gourmet supply store open since 1937, calls itself Chef's Paradise. Browse for cookware, Kasumi knives, or boar sausage. Try the new café, too. 8777 W. Washington Blvd., 559-4770, www.surfasonline.com.
  • Expect the unexpected at D.E.N. Contemporary Art. You'll find works from stained glass to a cheese sandwich on the walls. 6023 Washington Blvd., 559-3023, www.dencontemporaryart.com.
  • Whether the bottle is priced at $5 or $500, BottleRock will open any of its 800 wines if you buy two glasses of it (and pay accordingly). 3847 Main St., 836-9463, www.bottlerock.net.
  • Although the chef is Harrison Ford's son, he's generating his own buzz at gastropub Ford's Filling Station. The cured meats and artisanal cheeses might tempt you to merely graze. But don't skip the burger or polenta cake. 9531 Culver Blvd., 202-1470, www.fordsfillingstation.net.

Photography by Terrence McCarthy

This article was first published in May 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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