This spring, Westchester will have its very own independent bookstore when The Book Jewel opens its doors on 87th Street. Having a bookstore in Westchester has long been the dream of Drollinger Properties owner, Karen Dial, who has made it her mission to help keep her hometown thriving by championing public art, supporting local causes and serving as the president of the business improvement district. This new space, that serves to connect the community and bring everyone together to appreciate literature, watch a cooking demonstration or enjoy some delicious eats is just another part of her vision for the area.Continue reading
The last beer was poured and the final burger was served at Tompkins Square Bar & Grill on Saturday, November 17 when the bar closed after 14 years of being a popular Westchester hangout.
“I have to say there has been a river of love from this community the last few weeks that I’ll take to my grave. It’s surreal,” said Billy Tompkins who owned the bar along with his brother Jeffrey. “You don’t know until you know. It just lets me know that we did it right, and we’re leaving Westchester better than how we found it. We’re so proud of what we’ve done here.”
Voting will open for the HomeTown News’ 7th Annual Best Of Readers’ Poll on Friday, May 11 at noon. Readers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite local restaurants, businesses, organizations and places in more than 90 categories.
The annual Best Of issue is a chance to highlight and recognize the best of the community of Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Marina del Rey and surrounding areas.
Voting will end on Friday, June 29, and the winners will be revealed in our Thursday, August 2 issue.
VOTING IS NOW OPEN AT: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/htnbestof2018
Pictured: Cafe Solar took home the honor of Best New Restaurant in our 2017 Readers’ Poll.
Posted May 2018.
The votes are in and we are proud to share the results of our 2016 Fifth Annual Best Of Readers’ Poll with you! Our neighborhood is made up of so many great restaurants, businesses and organizations, and we are honored to be able to recognize some of these outstanding community members every August in our “Best Of” issue. Continue reading
Greetings, Hometown News readers! It’s us, “The Inncrowd” and we’re back again this month with the Inn at Playa del Rey’s most coveted secret: our homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe! We’ve been baking these ooey-gooey-chunky-sweet-chocolate-chip-cookies from scratch every day at the Inn for the past 20 years, and our guests love them. As a matter of fact, last week, I had a woman call to make reservations who hadn’t stayed at the Inn for over 10 years. She had some questions because she wanted to make sure this was the hotel she remembered having stayed at. I told her the Inn looks like a Cape Cod beach house and, with only 22 rooms, is fairly small. That didn’t jog her memory. Next, I reminded her we’re in the little laid-back beach town of Playa del Rey where you don’t need a car because you can walk to fantastic restaurants and bars from our Inn. That didn’t jog her memory either. I then reminded her we’re on a bird sanctuary called the Ballona Wetlands and that the ocean is only 5 blocks from the Inn. The Ballona Wetlands is one of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in Los Angeles so I was sure she would remember that, but, no, nada, nothing. Suddenly the woman said, “Wait. I remember something! Do you bake homemade chocolate chip cookies from scratch everyday?” I laughed and said, “We do.” She responded, “And, can guests still swing by the kitchen and have a cookie anytime they want one?” I said, “Yes, of course” and, without hesitation, she booked a room.
Our guests aren’t the only ones who seem to love our homemade chocolate chip cookies. As y’all know, Lisa Schwab’s Cantalini’s is one of the most popular restaurants on Culver Blvd. With their homemade pastas and delicious sauces it can be hard to get a reservation on the weekend…unless, you have a secret weapon, which I do! Turns out their maître d’, Paul, can easily be bribed with our homemade chocolate chip cookies. I often call him at the height of the dinner rush on Saturday night and ask if there’s any way he could please squeeze a few of our guests in for dinner. Almost always, he responds, “Anything for you,” which I know translates into “send chocolate chip cookies.” Dutifully, I give our guests homemade chocolate chip cookies to bring to Paul. The guests laugh when I explain, “In Vegas, you know how you slip the maître d’ a $100 bill for a last minute table? Well, here at the Inn, we slip them our homemade chocolate chip cookies, and it works!”
We hope you and your family enjoy our chocolate chip cookie recipe as much as our guests and Paul do. Happy baking!
Inn at Playa del Rey Chocolate Chip Cookies
Portion: A double batch
• 1 lb butter
• 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 Tbs. vanilla
• 4 eggs
• 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 Tsp. baking soda
• 1 Tsp. salt
• 4 cups chocolate chips
Step 1. Cream together well:
1 lb butter–softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Step 2. Mix in:
1 Tbs. vanilla
4 eggs–one at a time
Step 3. Stir in:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tsp. baking soda
1 Tsp. salt
Step 4. Add 4 cups chocolate chips.
Step 5. Shape into golf ball sized spheres and bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 min. or until nicely browned. Dough may be chilled overnight or for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
A few “insider tips:”
Your butter should be softened, but still a little firm. Be sure that your oven is preheated. Do not over mix. Chill the dough for a few hours if you want your cookies to keep their shape (i.e. the opposite of flat). Gas ovens work best. We use a stand up Kitchen Aid mixer and an ice cream scoop to shape the cookies.
Written by Rebecca Hill. Rebecca Hill is an innkeeper at the Inn at Playa del Rey and a published writer. Her stories have appeared in Redbook magazine and in over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies.
Adapted from Nestle® Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Photo By Liz Hall.
If you haven’t had a chance to head over to Runway Playa Vista lately, you might be shocked–and delighted–by what you find in this urban oasis. Although this last piece of Playa Vista’s live, work, play vision has long been anticipated, the lifestyle center has finally developed into a thriving destination where people can get a cup of coffee, admire the public art, shop and meet up with friends and business associates for a meal.
New Farmers’ Market for Westchester? The Westchester Town Center Business Improvement District (BID) is considering establishing a new weekend farmers’ market in Westchester’s business district to open sometime this summer. Continue reading
Love is in the air in the Westchester/Playa/Marina community, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite local spots that will be working overtime on Sunday, February 14 (and the Friday and Saturday before) to create a fun evening for couples, friends and families that are looking for a way to say “I love you.” No matter what you do to celebrate this month, make sure you make plans early and call ahead for reservations. As of press time, some of the restaurants we contacted were already booked!
Whether you’re looking for something fancy and romantic or laid-back and fun, here is our pick for Valentine’s Day worthy locales: Continue reading
Hopdoddy opens in Playa Vista. The community’s newest burger bar opened on September 15 in Playa Vista’s new Runway development. Hopdoddy Burger Bar specializes in serving up burgers created with all-natural, fresh ingredients. The restaurant grinds its meat in-house daily and bakes its own hamburger buns twice a day. Besides its burgers, other standout menu items include the Spinach and Arugula salad, hand-cut Kennebec fries with chile con queso and the hand-spun milkshakes. To help celebrate being part of the community, $1 from every Goodnight/Good Cause burger sold (Angus beef, Tillamook cheddar, caramelized onions, sliced jalapeño, hickory BBQ and sassy sauce) is donated to Playa del Rey nonprofit Friends of Ballona Wetlands.