Wow–a lot has happened this year. Many people, including me, feel a bit overwhelmed by all of the natural disasters as well as the man-made, intentional acts of destruction we’ve experienced this year. Though there is no sweeping our sadness under the carpet or ignoring the situations at hand, I do think it’s important that we try to find fun things to celebrate in an attempt to create balance in our lives and maintain optimism. Continue reading
Interested in helping beautify the community through art?
We are looking for artists to apply to paint murals on utility boxes in Westchester and Playa del Rey!
Applications are due by Monday, December 18.
Selected artists will be contacted in the new year with painting anticipated to begin in January/February.
Selected artists will receive a fixed stipend for materials. During this first round of the Utility Box Mural Project, approximately 10 designs will be selected to be painted on boxes along major thoroughfares in Westchester and Playa del Rey.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application with criteria and eligibility requirements.
Twenty-one candidates are running for fifteen seats in the Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council (NCWP) election set for Sunday, June 5. 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.
Do you know a mom from Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista or Marina del Rey that deserves to be recognized for being awesome?
The HomeTown News is asking our readers to nominate super moms who are making a difference in the community through their dedication to their families, careers, local schools and/or neighborhood. Please email your Super Mom nominations to email@example.com. Include your contact information and don’t forget to let us know what makes your nominee a Super Mom! We will feature some of these inspiring local moms and their stories in our May edition in honor of Mother’s Day.
Our featured 2016 Super Mom honorees will be treated to having their photo taken by Ballerini Cooley Studios in Playa del Rey, as well as a gift bag with items from local businesses.
The deadline for nominations is Monday, April 18.
Updated: Thursday, April 14.
Chances are if you’ve ever been involved in a project, an activity or a group with the goal of bettering the Westchester and Playa del Rey community, you’ve met Garrett Smith. His love for the community and contagious can-do attitude is exactly why the Rotary Club of Westchester is honoring him this month as their Citizen of the Year at their annual Night of Comedy fundraiser. While typically a committee chooses the honoree, this year’s selection process was much easier according to event chair and Rotarian Cindy Williams; before a committee was even formed, she had received numerous nominations for Smith citing his exemplary involvement and service to the community. Continue reading
Greetings Hometown News readers! My name is Rebecca Hill and I’m an innkeeper at the Inn at Playa del Rey–a boutique bed and breakfast on Culver Boulevard that overlooks the Ballona Wetlands. I’m excited to have this opportunity to share some of the Inn’s best kept, most loved recipes with you and it’s my hope that if you like them, you will share them with your friends and family! Continue reading
On any given day in Playa del Rey, Cantalini’s Salerno Beach is filled with people celebrating milestones, holding business meetings and catching up with friends and family over glasses of wine and plates of Fettuccine Alfredo and Spaghetti Bolognese, but on Sunday, January 4, the restaurant will be celebrating its own special occasion with its fifteenth anniversary. Continue reading
Even at one hundred years old, Playa del Rey resident Fred Wild appears to be a man on a mission, trying to cram even more adventures into an already packed life. He celebrated his 100th birthday November 29th with a party for family and friends at the Proud Bird Restaurant where he could look out onto LAX airport, which he helped design decades before.
Local groups are hard at work making sure the less fortunate have a good holiday season thanks to food drives, toy collections and adopt-a- family programs. Continue reading