Westchester/Playa HomeTown News August 2020 edition

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westchester

YO U R

C O M M U N I T Y,

playa del rey

YO U R

C O M M U N I T Y

p l a ya v i s ta • m a r i n a d e l rey

N E W S PA P E R

August 2020 BEST THAI RESTAURANT

BEST NONPROFIT EVENT

THE BEST OF ISSUE

FAVORITE TREATS

BEST FINANCIAL PLANNER

BEST BURGER BEST CHILDCARE PROVIDER

FAVORITE PLACE TO VOLUNTEER

BEST PERSONAL TRAINER

Our 2020 “Best Of” honoree collage features some of the community’s favorite businesses, organizations and events.


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Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


This Month Brings You

help you prom help you prom nization or even nization or even A look inside your HTN

Community Spotlight: Grass Roots Neighbors Historical Society announces new Discovery Center 9th Annual Best Of Neighborhood Council Update In Pictures: Fourth of July Virtual Photo Booth

04 06 07 39 46

HOMETOWN STAFF/CONTRIBUTORS Stephanie Davis, Publisher

Jeff Blair, Contributing Writer Fay Craton, Contributing Writer

Sheri Weitz, Contributing Writer Consuelo Israelson, Contributing Writer

About The HomeTown News (HTN)

The HomeTown News is a monthly community newspaper dedicated to providing information about the people, events and happenings of Westchester, Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey and Playa Vista. Look for the HomeTown News the first Thursday of the month at your home or at one of our drop-off locations.

Connect with the HTN:

Mailing Address: 8939 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 110 #745 Westchester, CA 90045 • Email: westchesterhometown@yahoo.com • Website: thehtn.com • Facebook: facebook.com/thehtn The deadline for submissions is the 22nd of each month. Front page photos: Best Burger, Thai Restaurant, Financial Planner and Personal Trainer photos by Zsuzsi Steiner. Favorite Treats photo courtesy Playa Provisions. Best Childcare Provider photo courtesy COOS. Best Nonprofit Event photo by Glenn Marzano.

act us for rates and act us for rates and hesterhometo

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us on Faceboo to-date with news and us on Faceboo Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 3


Community Spotlight: Playa del Rey’s Grass Roots Neighbors joins with community to feed those in need On a recent Friday afternoon in Playa del Rey, volunteers tried to socially distance as they assembled generous bags of lettuce, peppers, cheese, meats, milk and other refrigerator staples, ready to be carried to people’s trucks and distributed to families located across the Westside. Just as the bags were ready to be completed, a neighborhood baker walked by with warm loaves of bread to be added to two lucky delivery bags for the week. Since May, Grass Roots Neighbors (GRN) has been operating out of a storefront donated by Legado Properties on Vista Del Mar, acting as a lifeline for the people it serves with twice a month deliveries of food, fresh produce and household essentials. With the COVID pandemic not slowing down and unemployment rates high, Playa del Rey residents, Stephanie and Vlad Popescu, the husband-and-wife volunteer team behind the organization, expect the need for food will continue to out pace their resources. “We have a waiting list and are financially hitting our limit,” says Stephanie. “We’re going to have to increase our donations if we’re going to be able to increase our capacity and help more people.” Stephanie explains that most of the households they serve are single mothers or seniors who live locally, and have either lost their jobs due to the pandemic or are unable to work, leaving

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them with the prospect of using what little they have to pay their rent or purchase groceries. “It’s so important that we’re taking one thing off of their plate and helping them redirect their resources so they can keep a roof over their heads,” said Stephanie. “A lot of our families are really struggling, so we make sure to check in with them emotionally as well.” Currently, GRN is Playa del Rey residents, Meagan Mesner and Stephanie Popescu show off an impressive donation of peppers that will be distributed providing groceries to local neighbors in need. for 44 families. With more than 45 has been a true grassroots effort. People households currently on their waiting who are donating realize that they’re list, they’re hoping additional support lucky to have jobs and a dependable from the community will enable them income and they want to help. It’s to feed more people at this critical been great to see so many people come time. Stephanie says the outpouring together right now.” of support from the community, local She says every donation is moms and people who walk by their appreciated, and they’re especially location and get inspired to help has grateful for those providing recurring been amazing. monthly donations, even at $5, because “The community support has been it helps them anticipate from monthmind blowing,” says Stephanie. “It really to-month how many families they can

serve. Something unique to the allvolunteer organization is that once a family or person has been added to their delivery list, they are part of the GRN community and can count on receiving a food delivery every two weeks without needing to sign-up again. “We are constantly getting requests for help and to help,” said Vlad. “We want to be able to grow to support 60 households a month because our space can accommodate that. With our volunteer base growing, I think we can get there if the donations are there.” Another way to support GRN is buying doubles of your favorite items at the grocery store. “If you have the extra budget, when you go to the store to shop for your own family, throw in the same items to donate to another family. It becomes a good habit,” said Stephanie. On Saturday, August 22 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Grass Roots Neighbors will host its first drive-through back-toschool food drive. Those interested in participating can load up their cars with shelf-stable food or household cleaning items and volunteers will unload your car for you. Donations of baby formula and household essentials like paper towels, soap and toilet paper are also appreciated. The food drive will be held in the parking lot next to their office at 200 Culver Blvd. in Playa del Rey. To learn more, please visit grassrootsneighbors.org.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Westchester Streetscape saves the day for pedestrians on La Tijera It used to be a treacherous walk to mass for parishioners at St. Jerome Catholic Church. The ficus trees whose roots uplifted the sidewalks left many having to choose between navigating the dangerous and broken sidewalks or the even more dangerous choice of walking in the roadway. After many years of pleading with the city, some trees that were the biggest offenders were removed, but the city simply patched the sidewalks, leaving them “hilly” and largely impassable, said Van Harding of the Westchester Streetscape Improvement District (WSIA). “Elderly parishioners had to cross the street and then re-cross the street to attend mass,” he said. “We talked to the city about making the repairs, and they said, ‘There are thousands ahead of you and it will never happen.’” Echoed James Drollinger, the church’s director of liturgy and music, “The sidewalk on the La Tijera side of St. Jerome has been a safety hazard for almost a decade–a real embarrassment. Pedestrians, and especially seniors, or anyone on a

walker or in a wheelchair could not traverse this stretch without having to cross La Tijera. It was highly disappointing that the city had washed its hands of this situation and offered no assistance.” That’s when Drollinger and a group of parishioners realized that it was time to tackle the project on their own. He reached out to WSIA, which had previously led the effort to beautify Sepulveda Boulevard with meandering sidewalks and new landscaping, and the effort was quickly underway. “Enter two absolute angels–Van Harding and John Ruhlen,” Drollinger said. “These gentlemen surveyed the site and said, ‘We can fix this!’ Thanks to their unwavering tenacity, the St. Jerome business manager, Juanita Wiemken, and the cooperation of a group of generous St. Jerome parishioners, this years-long and continually worsening problem was corrected in a matter of months.” The group found a contractor and WSIA managed the project, installing new sidewalks, planting new trees, trimming the existing juniper trees,

removing ground cover and cacti and the damaged irrigation system, Harding said. The $30,000 project also included the addition of more than 1,000 new plants and white rose bushes. “It made a major difference,” Harding said. “It’s fully functional and looks better than it has ever looked. Everyone at St. Jerome has been so grateful for everything that was done. It was such an eyesore before, and now it’s beautiful to look at.” Wiemken agreed. “It is great,” she said. “It took us years, and it had gotten so that lots of parishioners couldn’t even use that side of the street. So, when the work started, some of them even came over to watch the work being done. They were just so excited to see something happening. WSIA was a godsend because we could not get it done otherwise. They were so professional and showed us everything they were doing along the way.” Drollinger said he hoped the completed project will add to the church’s reputation for welcoming the community with open arms. “St. Jerome always strives to be welcoming to the community, especially our seniors and physically challenged,” Drollinger said. “It is so rewarding to see people freely walking the sidewalks surrounding our church. We are most grateful for our angels!”

A before and after photo of the sidewalk and landscaping on La Tijera in front of St. Jerome Church.

We’re experiencing a period of upheaval in the world today, which has also had an impact on the economy and markets. Given the spike in volatility and uncertainty we’re seeing in the broader economy, it may be time to step back and carefully review your financial life. Take some time to assess where you stand and whether it may be appropriate to make any adjustments in your strategy. Here are four key questions to ask about your current financial circumstances. #1 – Do you have enough cash to meet short-term needs? A healthy cash reserve is important in times like these. A general rule of thumb is to have enough cash on hand (held in readily accessible accounts) to meet three to six months’ worth of expenses. But given today’s economic uncertainties, it may make sense to set aside up to nine months’ worth of cash. #2 – Are you comfortable with the level of risk in your portfolio? Investment markets have been volatile since the start of 2020 and may continue to be for the coming months and maybe years. Unsettled markets can be a real test of whether you are comfortable with your investment strategy or if the level of risk in your portfolio is keeping you up at night. Given the disruption that’s been occurring, a portfolio review makes sense.

#4 – Is your financial plan still on track? Finally, take a careful look at your overall financial plan. Are you still on track to achieve the key goals you initially established? Does your plan require adjustments based on circumstances that have changed? Given all of the events of recent months, this is the right time to review your plan to make sure you are still heading in the right direction. Be sure to connect with your financial advisor to explore these questions in more detail and keep your financial life in order.

#3 – Do you have a solid protection strategy in place? This is an opportune time to make sure that you and your family are adequately insured. Health insurance is a good place to start, particularly if your work situation has changed in recent months. The importance of adequate life insurance is more evident in times like these to protect the wellbeing of your family. Look at other protection options too, such as disability income insurance and long-term care coverage to meet specialized care needs, especially as you grow older. Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

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Discovery Center celebrating the history of Westchester/Playa announces plan for fall opening By Cozette Vergari The Westchester/Playa Historical Society has found a permanent home in the Westchester Triangle after months of imaginative planning and support from the community. It is with great excitement that the nonprofit, which was relaunched to share the history and stories of the local area, announces its plans to open the new and innovatively designed Westchester/Playa Historical Society Discovery Center by the end of the year. The 75th Anniversary Celebration of Westchester, which was a year-long celebration from 2016 to 2017, quickly evolved into the desire to reestablish the Westchester/Playa Historical Society. As of June 30, the organization has now met all state and federal requirements to become a nonprofit public benefit corporation, with status as a public charity. The primary purpose of the historical society will be to gather, study and preserve the history of the communities of Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista, as well as provide education and resource opportunities. Once buildout is completed and health protocols allow, the Discovery Center will be open to visitors on Sundays or by appointment. The historical society welcomes schools and other organizations dedicated to educating youth to arrange for field trips to the space. Volunteer docents at the space will be able to share with visitors of all ages, both local and from afar, the visual and interactive

A rendering of the Discovery Center’s wall highlighting the history of the area was created with help from Otis College of Art & Design.

experience of our local history. At the center, guests will find out about the prehistoric Los Angeles Man, determined to have lived in the Westchester/Playa area circa 8000 B.C. and whose remains were discovered in the 1930s near Ballona Creek. They’ll also learn about the Tongva Native American tribe that settled along Ballona and Centinela Creeks for hundreds of years prior to California becoming a state in 1850. If you haven’t heard of the Centinela Adobe, visit the center to discover the interesting history of the first house built in the South Bay area, which is still standing at the very eastern edge of Westchester! Other locations still standing that will be highlighted in the space include the original Los Angeles Air Port terminal built circa 1930 and one of the first institutions of higher learning in Southern California, Loyola Marymount University, which moved its campus to Westchester in 1929, when it was

known as Loyola University of Los Angeles. Other topics current and future local history-buffs will discover are: • the impact of the aircraft manufacturing industry boom in the area led by Donald Douglas, Jack Northrop and Howard Hughes. • the roles of developers Marlow and Burns, who built the first homes in Westchester in December 1941, pouring the first foundations for affordable housing for defense workers as we headed into WWII. • the importance of the first commercial properties built to serve this new community, which opened as Jim Dandy Market, Thrifty Drug Store and Quigley’s Department store, built by Ella Drollinger. These are just a few of the gems that are hidden amidst the Westchester/Playa community! Another key aspect of the center will be information about the pioneers

involved in the early development of Westchester/Playa, along with the leaders who moved into the newly expanding neighborhood, during and just after WWII. Some of these people include Fritz B. Burns, William H. Hannon, Mary Lou Crockett, Shirley Pfeil, Howard Drollinger, Morrey Plotkin, Mary Ellen Cassman, Allan Cassman, Lloyd Hild and Rowena Ake. There are many stories to discover and more news to come as we work toward the opening of the Westchester/Playa Historical Society Discovery Center! Stay tuned for details. Cozette is a lifelong resident of Westchester and is leading the charge to reinvigorate the Westchester/Playa Historical Society’s nonprofit status. Together with a group of dedicated volunteers, the organization is working on creating new programming and events to celebrate the history of the area and engage the community in preserving it for future generations.

Two people who helped shape the community Fritz B. Burns arrived in Los Angeles in 1921 to serve as vice president of the real estate firm Dickinson & Gillespie and was responsible for buying and selling what is now Playa del Rey. After losing his fortune in the stock market crash, Burns and his associates bet on the need for homes for GIs returning from the war and began subdividing, building and selling homes near the airport. Burns and his protégé William H. Hannon are credited with naming the community “Westchester.” Burns passed away in 1979 at the age of 79. Page 6 • August 2020

Mary Lou Crockett moved to Westchester when she was 9 and was dedicated to creating a strong, vibrant community. Crockett was the founder of the Westchester/Playa Historical Society and was the visionary behind the Fourth of July parade as a celebration of the year 2000. Despite her status as a top Realtor in the Westchester/Playa area, she never slowed down her volunteer efforts with dozens of community groups including the Friends of the Westchester/ Loyola Library, Westchester Vitalization, NCWP, the Board of Airport Commissioners, the YMCA and the chamber. Crockett passed away in 2004 at 66. * This information first appeared in our October 2016 edition in honor of Westchester’s 75th Anniversary.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2020 BEST OF & FAVORITE HONOREES!

Dear Readers, We started the area’s first Best Of Poll nine years ago to celebrate the best businesses and organizations in our community. While we know this has been a difficult year in business for so many, we thought that made it all the more important to continue with our poll, so our readers could show their support for all the local places they love. Over the last few months as we’ve connected with our fellow small business owners, we’ve heard time and time again, that if it were not for longtime customers and the community rallying behind them, they may have had to close their doors. To everyone who has supported a small, local business these past few months, whether it was liking a social media post, buying a product, ordering food, or sharing a shout out online, we thank you! Every order, sale and positive review means a lot to those that are working extra hard to follow every safety protocol, have had their location temporary closed and have had to adapt to a new way of doing business. We love our community and enjoy celebrating its people, places and events each month in the pages of the Westchester/Playa HomeTown News. We look forward to our Best Of Readers’ Poll every year as our supersized way to highlight some of the best things that make up our area. With so many excellent restaurants, businesses and organizations in our hometown,

we love giving you—our readers—an annual opportunity to vote for your favorites. You are the real experts, and you’ve been helping us honor these outstanding individuals and businesses since 2012. Thank you for being a part of recognizing those who make our community a special place to live, work and visit, especially during this time. Best Of voting took place between June 5th to June 26th by accessing our surveymonkey.com poll. Voting was limited to one vote per IP address and participants had to vote in at least 10 categories. The results of our 2020 Best Of Readers’ Poll are located on the following pages. Each category contains a “Best Of” honoree and two runner-up “Favorites.” While this poll is a fun way to celebrate the best of our community, it only represents a small portion of all the great things that make up our neighborhood. If you don’t see your favorites on this year’s list, please vote next year! We hope you’ll consider patronizing our Best Of honorees and finding some new favorites. Make sure to tell them the HTN sent you! Lastly, as a small, local business ourselves, the HTN would not be possible without the support of our readers, all the Best Of voters, our advertisers and this community. We are grateful for every single one of you! -The Westchester/Playa HomeTown News

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2020 BEST OF & FAVORITE HONOREES Thank you for voting Flowers by Felicia Best Florist!

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 7


FAVORITE LESSONS

ARTISTICO

BEST VETERINARY CENTER BEST SMALL

Westchester Veterinary BUSINESS/ 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester ORGANIZATION 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com COMMUNITY Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et PARTNER dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis

Photos by Hector Quintanilla.

BUSINESS categories Westchester Family YMCA nostrud exercitation ullamco.

8015 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.670.4316 Favorites:or ymcala.org/westchester The YMCA may have been closed for most of the Westchester Veterinary Safer-at-Home order, but that hasn’t stopped what’s 8911 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester at the S. core of the organization: community. Unable to be open for workouts and events, the Y began offering 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com houseless neighbors a place to shower, get a snack and Westchester Veterinary receive clothes and hygiene kits donated by members, 8911businesses S. Sepulveda Blvd., local and groups likeWestchester the Westchester Rotary. They’ve also blood drives and their 310.645.4444 orheld westchestervet.com Youth & Government students are leading powerful conversations about the state of modern policing online and inviting the community to attend. We think the temporary slogan of, “Our doors may be closed, but our hearts are open” is right on.

BEST REAL ESTATE GROUP/COMPANY

Favorites: Westchester Veterinary Stephanie Younger Group

8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester

7296 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com 310.499.2020 or stephanieyounger.com

Lorem ipsumPacific dolor sitVillage amet, consectetur adipiscing Westside

elit, sed do eiusmod tempor ut labore et 8939 Sepulveda Blvd. #326,incididunt Westchester dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis 310.695.7030 or thewpv.org nostrud exercitation ullamco.

Favorites:

Lorem ipsum dolor of sitDance amet, consectetur incididunt utthe labore et dolore aliqua. Artistico School is offering adipiscing one of theelit, sed do eiusmod parkingtempor structure next to studio. Withmagna tons of space Ut enim ad minim. most unique summer class experiences in the area, by to spread out, plenty of fresh air and the opportunity to moving their studio outdoors! Now students are learning dance while catching an epic sunset, this is sure to be a dance styles like salsa and ballet, along with rhythmic summer dancers won’t forget. BEST VETERINARY BEST MORTGAGE gymnastics, yoga, pilates and more from the rooftop CENTER COMPANY For more info, please visit artisticodance.com. 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester BEST PROPERTY 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com MANAGEMENT Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur FIRM adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor

Westchester Veterinary

Drollinger Properties incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut

8929 Blvd. Ste Westchester enim Sepulveda ad minim veniam, quis130, nostrud exercita310.417.8048 or drollingerproperties.com tion ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea Taking home our #1 spot for the ninth year in a commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in row, Drollinger Properties might be unbeatable reprehenderit when it comesin tovoluptate. property management in Westchester. Some of the area’s most popular Favorites: businesses–including In-N-Out and Ralph’s Westchester Veterinary Westchester–are tenants, and they’re always looking new small businesses ready to make 8911 S.for Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester Westchester home. This month, Drollinger 310.645.4444 or The westchestervet.com Properties will open Book Jewel, another opportunity to make Westchester shine. Westchester Veterinary Also to this company its dedication 8911unique S. Sepulveda Blvd.,isWestchester to giving back to President Karen Dial’s 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com hometown, and through the Drollinger Charitable Foundation, they support nearly every community event and major nonprofit.

BEST REAL ESTATE

Favorites: GROUP/COMPANY Matilla Property

225 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey Westchester Veterinary 310.306.9005 or 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester matillagrouppropertymanagement.com

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com CCR Properties Lorem ipsum dolor amet, consectetur 8717 Delgany Ave.sit #106, Playa del Rey, 310.641.3383 ccrprop.com adipiscing elit,orsed do eiusmod tempor

incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco.

BEST FINANCIAL ADVISOR Favorites: Wendy Wan Turk & Brett Sifling

Westchester Veterinary 2716 Ocean Park Blvd #2020, Santa Monica 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.441.9393 or GerberKawasaki.com 310.645.4444 Wendy Wan Turkor andwestchestervet.com Brett Sifling make their first appearance in our Best Of list this year. Westchester Veterinary As Investment AdvisorBlvd., Representatives with 8911 S. Sepulveda Westchester Gerber Kawasaki, a leading wealth and 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com investment management firm, they can review

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Westchester Veterinary 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Westchester Veterinary 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

Westchester your financial situationVeterinary and build a plan to help you pursue your financialBlvd., goals for the future. 8911 S. Sepulveda Westchester

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Favorites: Lorem ipsum dolor Group sit amet, consectetur Regatta Capital adipiscing elit, Ave. sed do eiusmod tempor 2321 Rosecrans #2225, El Segundo incididunt utorlabore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut 310.725.9102 regattainvest.com enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitaDeLarme Wealth Management ullamco laboris nisiPalos ut aliquip exEstates ea 58tion Malaga Cove Plaza, Verdes commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in 424.250.1725 or delarmewm.com reprehenderit in voluptate.

Favorites: BEST CORPORATE Westchester Veterinary COMMUNITY 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester PARTNER 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Loyola Marymount University Westchester Veterinary

1 LMU Dr., Westchester 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.338.2700 or lmu.edu 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Loyola Marymount University takes the #1 spot for the second year in a row in this category. Before closing to the public in March, LMU was readying to host the Rock Roll & Run for Education, planning a robust summer schedule of free community events and continuing to work with organizations like the LAX Coastal Westchester Veterinary Education Foundation, Rotary, local schools 8911 S. to Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester and others enhance Westchester/Playa. While there’s no dateor forwestchestervet.com when the university 310.645.4444 will open again to visitors, makeconsectetur sure you’re Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, signed up for the community relations adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor department’s newsletter to receive info on incididunt labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut giveaways likeutLMU masks and learn about enimevents ad minim quis on nostrud exercitavirtual like veniam, Shakespeare the Bluff.

BEST ESTATE PLANNING PRACTICE

tion ullamco. Favorites: LAX Coastal Chamber Favorites:

9100 S. Sepulveda Blvd. #210, Westchester Westchester Veterinary 310.645.5151 or laxcoastal.com

The Westchester YMCA was voted Best Community Partner this year, in part due to the organization’s efforts 4650 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey Westchester Veterinary 310.823.8911 or marinahospital.com to support the neighborhood even 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester while being closed. Here, Executive 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Director, John Loussararian, poses Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Cedars-Sinai Marina delWestchester Rey Hospital 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

with goodie bags to distribute during the drive-through Healthy Kids Day event. The bags were filled with healthy treats, Clippers swag, coloring pages and other items donated by local businesses. Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 9


Loyola Marymount University proudly thanks Hometown News readers for the great honor of voting us...

Best University Best Summer Camp Best Community Partner Next LMU Neighborhood Advisory Committee meeting

Aug. 19 | 6:30 PM on Zoom Register for the meeting and view the agenda at https://community.lmu.edu/NACmeeting. If you do not have access to a computer or Zoom, you can call into the meeting at 669.900.6833. Meeting ID: 916 2513 9580

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Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 11


BEST LAW FIRM

BEST FLORIST

5901 W. Century Blvd., #1516, Westchester 310.988.2400 or rameylawpc.com With more than 59 years of experience, John and Christa Ramey bring a combination of skills to every case they’re fighting on behalf of their clients. Specializing in cases involving bullying and abuse; civil litigation, personal injury and real estate, they’ve earned the reputation of fierce advocates for those they represent.

200 Culver Blvd. #A, Playa del Rey 310.305.1200 or flowersbyfeliciapdr.com After 30 years in the same location, Flowers by Felicia celebrated opening its doors in a new spot on August 1st. In its new Culver Blvd. location next to Tanner’s Coffee, owner Felicia St. Denis is excited for the space’s modern appeal and the chance for a new chapter in her business. Stop by the next time you’re looking for flowers and gifts to brighten someone’s day.

Ramey Law

Flowers by Felicia

Favorites: Vergari & Napolitano

Favorites: Playa del Rey Florist

5777 W. Century Blvd. Ste.1580, Westchester 310.410.4014 or laxlawyers.com

307 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.821.0984 or playaflowers.com

Voss, Silverman & Braybrooke LLP

LA International Florist

4640 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.306.0515 or vsbllp.com

8635 Truxton Ave., Westchester 310.641.1003 or lainternationalfloristonline.com

BEST REAL ESTATE GROUP/ COMPANY

BEST ESTATE PLANNING PRACTICE Law offices of Christopher Blatter

Stephanie Younger Group | Compass

7296 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 310.499.2020 or stephanieyounger.com With a recent slogan of “Dream Big. Dream Home.” if you’re in the market for buying or selling, the Stephanie Younger Group believes there should be no barrier between where you are and where you belong. Check out their Instagram @stephanieyoungergroup to view all the picture-perfect homes for sale in the area and feel free to daydream about your new digs!

Favorites: Keller Williams Silicon Beach

13274 Fiji Way #100, Marina del Rey 310.305.8333 or marina.yourkwoffice.com

REMAX Estate Properties Westchester

7131 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 310.802.6000 or remax.com

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The Westchester Rotary was voted Best Community Club this year, due to its passionate volunteers and commitment to Westchester/Playa. The club’s upcoming projects include a makeover of the Emerson

BEST MORTGAGE COMPANY RPM Mortgage, Marina del Rey

4640 Admiralty Way, Suite 430, Marina del Rey 310.574.7777 or rpm-mtg.com/la Looking to buy a home or refinance your mortgage? RPM Mortgage’s Marina del Rey Branch Manager, Dean Wong, has been helping his clients successfully navigate the process

Avenue Community Garden later this year and a book sale in September. The sale will feature thousands of books for purchase in the parking lot of Ralphs Westchester on Sepulveda. since 2002. Building a reputation on experience, knowledge and integrity has earned this business our top spot on this year’s list.

Favorites: Movement Mortgage

7131 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 970.708.1324 or movement.com/lo/daveramirez

Wells Fargo Mortgage

6080 Center Dr. 6th Floor, Westchester 424.832.1141 or blatterlaw.com With all that’s going on in the world, it’s important to make sure your family and loved ones are protected in case the unthinkable happens. Christoper Blatter tops our list for the second time this year, thanks to his work in helping people plan for the future, while protecting their assets. His office prides itself in flexible meeting options, direct access and a quick turnaround time. They also offer flat rates and flexible payment options.

Favorites: Bahar Geslin, Geslin Law 310.702.5242 or geslinlaw.com

Law Offices of Edgar Saenz

8921 S. Sepulveda Blvd. #101, Westchester 310.417.9900 or edgarsaenz.com

wellsfargo.com/mortgage

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 13


BEST TAX PREPARATION SERVICE Sarlo Income Tax

BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT

Favorites: Pronto Income Tax

Favorites: Jane St. John, REMAX (tied)

1842 Washington Way, Venice 310.823.6363 or sarlo.com Whether you’re filing your personal taxes or taxes for your business, corporation or organization, Sarlo Income Tax is dedicated to providing clients with professional, personalized services and guidance. The firm has been in business since 1953 and is recognized for the first time in this new category.

4501 S. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles 310.577.7530 or pronto4tax.com

Westside Income Tax

12043 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City 213.290.4829 or westsideincometax.com

BEST LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHER Zsuzsi Steiner Photography

714.856.5737 or zsuzsiphotography.com When it’s time for a new family photo to put proudly on the wall, Westchester’s Zsuzsi Steiner is ready to make the process fun, and she knows all the tricks to get your whole group smiling. While social distancing has put a pause on in-home photo shoots, she’s now booking porch portraits and outdoor sessions to photograph you and your family during this unique moment in time. If you like to plan ahead, it’s not too early to make a reservation for holiday photos, as well.

Favorites: Ballerini Cooley Studios

8242 Sunnysea Dr., Playa del Rey 310.301.1576 or ballerinicooleystudios.com

Lily Chan Photography lilychanphotography.com

Stephanie Younger, Stephanie Younger Group

7296 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 310.499.2020 or stephanieyounger.com A top real estate agent, Stephanie Younger has strong ties to the community as an LMU graduate and long-time Westchester resident. Her results-driven approach, integrity and honesty have earned her top-producer status, as well as the hard-earned respect of her clients, colleagues and community members.

155 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey 310.577.5300 or westsidebeachhomes.com

Amy Nelson Frelinger Team, Douglas Elliman (tied)

3701 Highland Ave. #200, Manhattan Beach 310.951.0416 or amyfrelinger.com

James Suarez, Suarez Team

13274 Fiji Way #100, Marina del Rey 310.862.1761 or sellbuyla.com

BEST REAL ESTATE TEAM Stephanie Younger Group

7296 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 310.499.2020 or stephanieyounger.com The Stephanie Younger Group tops our list again this year. Led by Stephanie Younger, the team includes 18 agents and was recently included in the REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Professionals list and named a top 10 team in California by The Wall Street Journal.

Favorites: Suarez Team

13274 Fiji Way #100, Marina del Rey 310.862.1761 or sellbuyla.com

Amy Nelson Frelinger Team, Douglas Elliman

3701 Highland Ave. #200, Manhattan Beach 310.951.0416 or amyfrelinger.com

Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey was voted a Favorite Corporate Community Partner and a Favorite Hospital by our readers this year. Cedars-Sinai supports a variety of community organizations and events, including WPV, AMCS and the Rock Roll and Run. Here representatives from CedarsSinai Marina del Rey Hospital deliver gift baskets to Westchester’s Fire Station 5 during the LAX Coastal Chamber’s Protector’s Appreciation Week in February.

Your certified specialist for

WILLS TRUSTS PROBATE

Voted a Favorite Estate Planning Practice in the HomeTown News’ Best Of Readers’ Poll Attorney Since 1986 Attentive & Caring Staff

Local Westchester Office

Outdoor Signings Available Video Conference Meetings Stanford Law School Certified Specialist In Estate Planning AV Rated By His Peers, Highest Possible Rating

edgarsaenz.com

310.417.9900 | edgar@edgarsaenz.com | 8921 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 101, Westchester Page 14 • August 2020

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 15


BEST HAIR SALON Avenue Hair

4220 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey 310.822.0700 Marina del Rey’s Avenue Hair is our readers’ top pick when it comes time for blowouts, colors and cuts. With the beauty industry hit hard this year with mandated closures, when salons are ready to open and you’re ready to visit, make sure to support your favorite local spot!

Favorites: Jon Peri Salon

13175 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey 310.821.8012 or johnperisalon.com

The Mane on Lincoln

8355 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.410.0494 or maneonlincolnsalon.com

BEST HOTEL/INN Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey

4375 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.823.1700 or ritzcarlton.com/ Marina_del_Rey With traveling seeming like an impossible task these days, the Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey is the place for your luxury staycation. This waterfront, pet-friendly hotel may be pricey, but accommodations are beautiful and there’s 24-hour room service!

Favorites: Inn at Playa del Rey

435 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.574.1920 or innatplayadelrey.com

Shopping Center designation for the third year in a row. This outdoor location offers great eateries to pick up takeout, including the newly opened Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, Hopdoddy, Tocaya and more. Visit their website for a list of stores open for curbside pick up or on-site shopping.

Favorites: Waterside Marina del Rey

4700 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 818.637.8921 or shopwaterside.com

Westfield Culver City

6000 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City 310.390.5073 or westfield.com/culvercity

BEST VETERINARY CENTER Marina Veterinary Center

8421 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.642.8080 or marinavet.com When it comes to caring for your pets, Dr. Jones and her team of dedicated veterinarians and staff members are number one with our readers. They offer progressive, state-of-the-art medicine using both traditional and holistic approaches to help your four-legged family members feel their best.

Favorites: Westchester Veterinary

8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

VCA Marina Bay Cities Animal Hospital

2506 Lincoln Blvd., Venice 310.306.8707 or vcahospitals.com/marina

Marina del Rey Hotel

13534 Bali Way, Marina Del Rey 310.301.1000 or marinadelreyhotel.com

BEST SHOPPING CENTER The Point El Segundo

850 S. Sepulveda Blvd., El Segundo 310.414.5280 or thepointsb.com The Point El Segundo takes home the Best

Page 16 • August 2020

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Voted Fa vorite Es tate

Planning A orney

Planning for Tomorrow They are our joy. Our motivation. Our gi to the world. And they look to us to prepare them for all their days. As a mother of three, I can relate. I will guide you through creating your will, trust or naming guardians for your children. I can also help you navigate the legal process a er the loss of a loved one. Together, we can prepare for every tomorrow.

Let’s Talk.

Bahar Geslin, A orney and Westchester Mom 310-702-5242 • bgeslin@geslinlaw.com

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 17


BEST AUTO SHOP Playa West Automotive

8145 Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey 310.822.9115 or playawestautomotive.com When you’re ready to hit the road, Playa West Automotive is here to make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape. An eighth time Best Of honoree, the shop, led by Andy Marozik, prides itself in integrity and honesty, as well as mechanical know-how. Playa West Automotive works on all makes and models, including classic cars, that need a tune-up, oil change and more.

Favorites: B&J Service Center

6551 80th St., Westchester 310.670.4272 or bandjservice.mechanicnet. com

Loyola Marina Auto Care

8314 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 424.227.5551 or loyolamarinaautocare.com

BEST INSURANCE AGENT Kate Leung

8405 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.641.8990 or kateleung.net With an office located across from Bristol Farms on Lincoln, Kate Leung takes our top spot this year when it comes to local insurance agents. Whether you’re looking for auto, home, property, business or life insurance, she can help provide a quote and make sure you’re prepared for the “What if.”

Favorites: Rachel Sunday

BEST HOME DEVELOPMENT/ REMODEL FIRM Blu and White Homes

bluandwhite.com Blu and White is a design and development group based in Westchester. Led by Megan Blu and Alison White, they pride themselves in their commitment to high quality materials and attention to detail. Check out their IG @blueandwhite for design eye candy and before and after remodel pictures.

Leigh Construction 310.528.7403

BEST PLACE FOR KIDS LESSONS Musical Beginnings

6607 W 80th St., Westchester 310.641.8518 or musicalbeginnings.org This fall, the Westchester music school plans to offer both online and in-person lessons and classes so teachers and families can choose what is most comfortable for them. During this time at home, learning a musical instrument can be a fun activity and a way to express yourself creatively.

Favorites: Playa Music Lessons

8125 W. Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey 310.751.6830 or playamusiclessons.com

Artistico Dance School

8939 S Sepulveda Blvd. #105, Westchester 310.641.2575 or artisticodance.com

8055 W. Manchester Ave. Ste. #405, Playa del Rey 800.834.2310 or playavistains.com

Peter Kohly

6320 Howard B. Drollinger Way #202, Westchester 310.641.3430

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Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 19


Photo courtesy WPV.

COMMUNITY categories BEST PLACE TO VOLUNTEER

WESTSIDE PACIFIC VILLAGES

Westside Pacific Villages’ (WPV) forced to shelter at home, WPV has care packages to brighten a clients’ Westchester/Playa, Mar Vista Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation unwavering commitment to helping welcomed more than 100 new clients week that include treats and wellness Community Council, the Westchester ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea voluptate. seniors has earned WPV our Best and nearly 200 new volunteers. handouts. To support the WPV Cares Rotary Club, the Drollinger Charitable Place to Volunteer and Best Nonprofit WPV CARES is a free program program, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Family Foundation and several other BEST BEST MORTGAGE award thisVETERINARY year! that provides vital services such recently donated $25,000 to the private family foundations to provide CENTER COMPANY Since launching their WPV Cares as contactless pickup/delivery of nonprofit. support to seniors during this time. Program to assist senior citizens groceries and other essentials, regular WPV has also received grants To learn more about donating to Westchester Veterinary Westchester Veterinary and others most vulnerable to the social support phone calls, technology from the SoCalGas Company, WPV or if you’re a senior that needs 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester COVID-19 pandemic that have been training and complimentary weekly the Neighborhood Council of help, visit thewpv.org. 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

BEST COMMUNITY CLUB for the Best Community Club for the second Favorites: year in a row! Led by President Tom Johnstone, Westchester Veterinary the club has continued to help and be of service to the community even duringWestchester the pandemic. 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Members have connected with Westside 310.645.4444 westchestervet.com Pacific Villages to or deliver meals to seniors, worked with the Veterinary YMCA to provide supplies Westchester for unhoused neighbors and helped decorate 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester Westchester for the Fourth of July. Next up for 310.645.4444 oriswestchestervet.com Westchester Rotary their annual book sale, which is scheduled to take place during Labor Day weekend in the Ralphs parking lot on Sepulveda.

BEST REAL ESTATE GROUP/COMPANY Favorites: Westchester Elks Lodge Westchester Veterinary

8025 Playa del Rey 8911W. S. Manchester SepulvedaAve., Blvd., Westchester 310.821.3005 or elks.org

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur playavenice.org

adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco.Pacific Village Westside

BEST NONPROFIT

8939 Sepulveda Blvd. #326, Westchester Favorites:or thewpv.org 310.695.7030 Westside Pacific Veterinary Villages has proved to be Westchester invaluable over the last few months by offering 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester free services to hundreds of seniors in need of 310.645.4444 westchestervet.com support. Whetheror seniors need help picking up groceries, a check-in phone call or want to Westchester Veterinary learn how to Zoom with their grandchildren, 8911 S. Sepulveda Westchester volunteers and staff ledBlvd., by Carol Kitabayashi,

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

Page 20 • August 2020

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur

are always willing to do help. Congratulations adipiscing elit, sed eiusmod tempor to WPV for being voted et thedolore HTN’smagna Best Nonprofit incididunt ut labore aliqua. Ut for 2020! enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercita-

Photo courtesy Annenberg PetSpace.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea Westchester Rotary commodo consequat. DuisClub aute irure dolor in rotary-westchester.com reprehenderit in voluptate. The Westchester Rotary takes home the award

tion ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea Favorites: commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in Airport Marina Counseling Service reprehenderit in voluptate. 7891 La Tijera Blvd., Westchester 310.670.1410 or airportmarina.org

Favorites: WISH Community School

6550 80th St., Westchester Westchester Veterinary 310.642.9474 or wishcharter.org

8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Westchester Veterinary 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester Westside Pacific Village 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

BEST PLACE TO VOLUNTEER

8939 Sepulveda Blvd. #326, Westchester 310.695.7030 or thewpv.org Every time we meet a WPV volunteer, they tell us what a rewarding experience it is to help the organization and its members. With many seniors unable to leave their homes during COVID-19, organizations like WPV have been Westchester Veterinary a lifeline for connection, essential items and 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester activities. Every week, the group, through its 310.645.4444 orprovides westchestervet.com WPV Cares program, care packages Lorem ipsum dolor sitcards amet,for consectetur with food, goodies and more than 200 local seniors,elit, delivered its strong volunteer adipiscing sed do by eiusmod tempor base. While ut thelabore seniors themagna visits, aliqua. so do the incididunt et love dolore Ut volunteers who often hang around for a socially enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitadistanced chat and bring their kids to join in on tion ullamco. the experience.

BEST ESTATE PLANNING PRACTICE

Favorites: Favorites: Friends of Ballona Wetlands Westchester Veterinary ballonafriends.org

8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com 12005 Bluff Creek Dr., Playa Vista Westchester Veterinary 424.384.1801 or annenbergpetspace.org 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

Annenberg PetSpace

Favorite Place to Volunteer honoree, Annenberg PetSpace, recently began offering pet adoptions again for those looking to add a new pet to their

family. Here Churro smiles, ready to go home with her new forever family! Visit annenbergpetspace.org to view adoptable dogs and cats.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 21


BEST FARMERS’ MARKET

Playa Vista Farmers’ Market

12775 W. Millennium Drive farmermark.com/playavista After only offering curbside pickup for months, Playa Vista Farmers’ Market reopened on August 1 ready to serve the community. The market has implemented safety protocols like an 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. senior hour, limiting the number of shoppers and making masks mandatory. The market is open for shoppers looking for fruits, veggies and artisan goods on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Runway Playa Vista Shopping Center.

Favorites: Sunday Westchester Farmers’ Market 6200 block W. 87th St., Westchester westchesterfarmersmkt.com

Mar Vista Farmers’ Market

3826 Grand View Blvd., Mar Vista marvistafarmersmarket.org

BEST THING THAT COULD IMPROVE THE COMMUNITY Improve Local Schools

With numerous organizations dedicated to enhancing education in our community, including the LAX Coastal Education Foundation, the NCWP Education Committee, PTOS, Rotary and more, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and make a difference. Those looking to support education are invited to attend the Neighborhood Council’s monthly Ed Committee meetings, held over Zoom, which are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals, learn what’s going on at local campuses, hear from speakers like LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin and strategize on best practices.

Favorites: More Local Parks More Local Restaurants

BEST NATURE SPOT The Beach

Playa del Rey The stretch of time that the beach was off limits this year was a powerful reminder of how lucky we are in SoCal to be close to surf, sand and fun. The magical blue bioluminescent waves that took the community by storm in May might be another reason the beach is our readers’ favorite nature spot.

Favorites: Ballona Wetlands The Bluffs Trails

For those looking for fresh fruits and veggies, there’s no better place to be on Sunday than the Westchester Farmers’ Market. The market has recently partnered with the LAX Food Bank to provide produce to families in need and is looking for the community’s help in supporting their efforts. With the support of donors and the Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation, 300 pounds of lettuce, tomatoes, zucchinis and more have been delivered to families so

far and another 1,000 pounds is planned to be distributed in the coming months. Healthy and fresh items are always in need at food pantries, and with the need expecting to grow, Westchester families like the Ungos are helping where they can. The family, spurred on by son Noah, recently hosted a lemonade stand and raised $111 to purchase food at the farmers’ market to donate to others. The market is also accepting canned

goods that can be dropped off at the info booth during 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. For more information about supporting the markets’ efforts, hosting a lemonade stand or how to make donations, please email the market at westchester.cfm@ gmail.com. Here, LAX Food Pantry’s Scott Tanner, poses with Noah and Michelle Ungo in front of the haul of fresh produce to be donated.

BEST MEMBERSHIP BEST COMMUNITY BEST CHARITY/ ORGANIZATION EVENT NONPROFIT EVENT Westchester Family YMCA

8015 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.670.4316 or ymcala.org/westchester Our readers voted the YMCA the Best Membership Organization this year. More than just a gym, the Y functions as a community hub with lots of opportunities to get involved and a place where lasting friendships are made.

Favorites: Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club playavenice.org

Westchester Family YMCA

8015 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.670.4316 or ymcala.org/westchester

Fourth of July Parade

laxcoastal.com While COVID-19 has canceled many events and gatherings, none were more disappointing than not having the Fourth of July Parade this year. It just doesn’t feel like summer without the excitement of July Fourth on Loyola Blvd. filled with community members, floats, marching bands and friends from Westchester and across the world ready for an hour-and-a-half of good, old-fashioned fun.

Favorites: Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade mdrboatparade.org

Westchester Arts & Music Block Party wamblockparty.org

Westchester Arts & Music Block Party wamblockparty.com Not to be deterred by widespread event cancellations, WAM is back next month with a virtual celebration that hopes to be (almost) as fun as the in-person event, which had our readers rating it #1 for the first time this year. Festivities planned include a virtual music festival, an at home beer and wine tasting for adults, a family-friendly “I Spy Art” bike route, a silent auction and more. Stayed tuned for details on WAM’s website, with the proceeds from the event benefiting the Emerson Avenue Community Garden.

Favorites: Rock Roll & Run 5K

laxcoastaledfoundation.com

Westchester Rotary Book Sale rotary-westchester.com

Best Nonprofit Event, the Westchester Arts & Music Block Party, is back next month on September 12! With the in-person festival not able to happen this year, organizers will be hosting a virtual concert, an “I Spy Art” game featuring art throughout the community, a cooking class, a beer and wine tasting done from your home and more. Visit wamblockparty. org to learn more.

Page 22 • August 2020

Silicon Beach Social and The Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey are celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote with a drive-thru canned food drive on Saturday, August 15 from 11 a.m. and 1 p.m!

The Friends of Ballona Wetlands are hosting a virtual Migration Celebration on August 29 starting at 10 a.m.

Please place donations in your truck and drive through the lot behind the Woman’s Club, located at 8039 Manchester Ave. in Playa del Rey.

Choose the “Activity Track” with fun crafts, games, story time and puppet show with the Bob Baker Marionettes or the “Discovery Track” with three webinars for all ages, where you’ll learn birding basics!

For more details, email info@siliconbeachsocial. org.

Visit ballonafriends. org for the full schedule.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


The Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary is a 70+ member strong organization that works to better our local and global community! Our projects include: • Teacher Mini Grants • Habitat for Humanity • Build-A-Bear for USC County Hospital • Midnight Mission....and more!

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 23


Page 24 • August 2020

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 25


BEST DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM

WLS

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet,zoomed consectetur adipiscing sed doto eiusmod tempor ut labore et dolore magnanot aliqua. Ut on enim adGoogle minim veniam, quis and nostrud exercitation Westchester Lutheran quicklyelit, worked put a plan in incididunttheir students. Despite being Classroom more, ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea voluptate. right into online learning, earning place. Led by Head of School, Emily campus, teachers were determined students were able to excel and find it our top spot for Best Online/ BEST VETERINARY Distance Learning Program. When schools were ordered to close in CENTER mid-March, Westchester Lutheran

Ingistov, all teachers received a BEST MORTGAGE crash course in “Distance Learning 101” and were ready to kick-off COMPANY this new method of instruction for

to be positive, joyful and make sure their students continued to have an exemplary learning experience. With programs like Seesaw, Brainpop,

learning fun. For more information on Westchester Lutheran, please visit wlcs.org.

8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitaWestchester Lutheran tion ullamco laboris nisiWestchester ut aliquip ex ea 7831 Sepulveda Blvd., commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in 310.670.5422 or wlcs.org This Westchester private school quickly pivoted reprehenderit in voluptate.

8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor Children oflabore our Savior incididunt ut et dolorePreschool magna aliqua. Ut 6705 St.,veniam, Westchester enimW.ad77th minim quis nostrud exercita310.215.3166 oursaviorwestchester.org tion ullamco or laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea Topping our list for the first time this year, commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in Children of our Savior Preschool has been a reprehenderit voluptate. godsend for thein first responders and essential

Animo Westside Charter

Favorites: Visitation Catholic School

Westchester Veterinary

BEST DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM

when it came to moving all of its classes online, making it a favorite with our readers and Favorites: parents. StudentsVeterinary enjoyed dedicated learning Westchester time via online platforms, art lessons, P.E. and 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester more, which kept students engaged and parents thankful. 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

Westchester Veterinary Favorites: 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester Visitation Catholic School

8740 Emerson Ave., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com 310.645.6620 or visitationschool.org

WISH Charter School

BEST REAL ESTATE GROUP/COMPANY

6550 80th St., Westchester 310.642.9474 or wishcharter.org

Westchester Veterinary

BEST CHILDCARE PROVIDER

workers that have sent their children to daycare Favorites: during this time. While operating during a Westchester Veterinary pandemic is challenging to say the least, the staff at COOS, led by Director Charsha, 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd.,Beverly Westchester are dedicated to keeping their students safe and 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com happy.

Westchester Veterinary

Favorites: 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester Covenant Preschool

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com 6323 W. 80th St., Westchester 310.670.5758 or covla.org

Westchester Lutheran Preschool BEST ESTATE 7831 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.670.5422 or wlcs.org

PLANNING PRACTICE

Westchester Veterinary BEST SUMMER Westchester Veterinary CHARTER 8911 S. Sepulveda 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester CAMP Blvd., Westchester BEST 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com LMU Sports Camps SCHOOL 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur 1 LMU Dr., Westchester 310.338.2700 lmu.edu adipiscing elit,orsed do eiusmod tempor Although could only dream summer incididuntparents ut labore et dolore magnaofaliqua. Ut camp this year, LMU’s traditional offerings of enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitaswimming, soccer, baseball, volleyball and more tion ullamco. make it a number one pick with local families.

Favorites: Favorites: Visitation Catholic School Westchester Veterinary

8740 Emerson Ave., Westchester 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.6620 or visitationschool.org

310.645.4444Lutheran or westchestervet.com Westchester Westchester 7831 SepulvedaVeterinary Blvd., Westchester 310.670.5422 or wlcs.org 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

Page 26 • August 2020

LoremCharter ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur WISH School

adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor 6550 80th St., Westchester incididunt ut or labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut 310.642.9474 wishcharter.org WISH School remains on top this year enim Charter ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitaastion Bestullamco. Charter School. The school is currently in the midst of its WISH Right Now fundraiser toFavorites: raise money to support its educators who are being impacted by budget cuts at the state and Westchester Veterinary federal level. 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester

Favorites: 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Open Magnet Charter Westchester 5540 W. 77th St., Veterinary Westchester 310.568.0735 or opencharter.org 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

5456 McConnell Ave., Los Angeles 323.565.3251 or ca.greendot.org/westside

BEST HIGH SCHOOL WISH Academy

7400 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 310.743.6990 or wishcharter.org WISH Academy High School makes its third appearance on our Best Of list this year. At WISH Academy, scholars participate in the Project Lead the Way Curriculum. With project-based learning, hands-on activities, and problems that are reflective of the everchanging world, the school challenges students to succeed as 21st-century graduates. The school will graduate its first high school class in 2021.

Favorites: Venice High School

13000 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles 310.577.4200 or venicehs-lausd-ca.schoolloop.com

Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets 7400 W Manchester Ave., Westchester 310.338.2400 or westchesterhs-lausd-ca. schoolloop.com

8740 Emerson Ave., Westchester 310.645.6620 or visitationschool.org

Westchester Lutheran School 7831 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.670.5422 or wlcs.org

BEST PRESCHOOL Covenant Preschool

6323 W. 80th St., Westchester 310.670.5758 or covla.org Covenant Preschool is located on the campus of Covenant Presbyterian Church and since 1963 has provided high-quality half-day preschool programs.

Favorites: Children of Our Savior Preschool

6705 W. 77th St., Westchester 310.215.3166 or oursaviorwestchester.com/ preschool

Westchester Lutheran Preschool 7831 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.670.5422 or wlcs.org

BEST YOUTH SPORTS LEAGUE BEST PRIVATE SCHOOL AYSO Region 7 St. Anastasia School

8631 Stanmoor Dr., Westchester 310.645.8816 or school.st-anastasia.org St. Anastasia takes the top spot in our Private School Category this year due its dedication to academics that support the spiritual, physical and creative growth of its students. The jr. kindergarten through eighth grade school also has a strong fine arts program, a fantastic annual musical production and a variety of CYO athletic teams.

ayso.bluesombrero.com/region7 Youth soccer is our readers’ #1 pick for this year’s Best Youth Sports League.

Favorites: Del Rey American Little League drall.org

Westchester Del Rey Little League wdrll.org

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Photo by Zsuzsi Steiner.

SCHOOL & FAMILY categories


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 27


Photo courtesy LMU Athletics.

BEST PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOL

Loyola High School 1901 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles 213.381.5121 or loyolahs.edu

This all-boys high school is a popular pick for students heading to grades 9 through 12 from the local area, earning it our top spot in this year’s poll.

Favorites: St. Bernard High School

9100 Falmouth Ave,, Playa del Rey 310.823.4651 or stbernardhs.org

St. Monica High School

1030 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica 310.394.3701 or stmonicachs.org

BEST PUBLIC SCHOOL WISH Charter School

6550 80th St., Westchester 310.642.9474 or wishcharter.org WISH continues to thrive as a school community, even when students and teachers aren’t on campus. Projects like the “One WISH...” photo campaign where families held signs with what they hoped to share with fellow students and teachers is just one example of how they’ve been able to stay connected during Safer-at-Home.

Page 28 • August 2020

Favorites: Kentwood Elementary School 8401 Emerson Ave., Westchester 310.670.8977 or kentwoodes.org

Playa Vista Elementary School 13150 Bluff Creek Dr,, Playa Vista 424.228.1800 or playavistaschool.com

BEST UNIVERSITY/ COLLEGE Loyola Marymount University

1 LMU Drive, Westchester 310.338.2700 or lmu.edu While the top-rated university, both for academics and its beautiful campus, is closed to visitors right now, we’re looking forward to the day we can take a stroll on campus, take in the view from the bluff and enjoy a basketball game. With new head basketball coach, Stan Johnson, we’re expecting great things this season when it comes to athletics. Follow the campus at facebook.com/lmula to stay up-to-date with news and virtual happenings.

Favorites: UCLA ucla.edu

USC

usc.edu

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 29


Photo by Zsuzsi Steiner.

FOOD & DRINK categories BEST BURGER

THE SHACK

Lorem ipsum is dolor amet,a consectetur adipiscing elit, sedpatty do eiusmod tempor incididuntnapkins ut laborebefore et dolore enim adour minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation The Shack backsitwith new a 1/4 pound and a Louisiana youmagna head aliqua. to theirUtnew personal favorite, the funnel ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea voluptate. Sausage link for good measure. If outdoor patio. Other popular menu takeout window, making ordering cake fries! Check out The Shack’s IG you’re feeling adventurous, order a items include the chicken wings, the award-winning Shack Burger a @theshack_pdr for updates on the double, and make sure to grab extra Shack Dog with all the fixings, and BESTThe VETERINARY BEST MORTGAGE breeze! behemoth burger features popular PDR eatery.

CENTER

COMPANY

BEST THAI BEST QUICK BEST COFFEE SPOT Westchester Veterinary Westchester Veterinary Tanner’s Coffee RESTAURANT SERVICE 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Ayara Thai Cuisine MEXICAN FOOD 6245 W.ipsum 87th Street, Lorem dolor sitWestchester amet, consectetur 310.410.8848 ayarathaicuisine.com adipiscing elit,orsed do eiusmod tempor Since 2004, this family-run restaurant has been incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut serving up authentic, delicious Thai dishes enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitafrom its Triangle location. Order online for easy tion ullamco laboris utforget aliquiptoex ea in curbside pickup, and nisi don’t throw irure dishes dolor in acommodo Thai Icedconsequat. Tea! Some Duis of ouraute favorite include the PadinThai, Ayara Fried Rice and the reprehenderit voluptate. Spicy Basil. The restaurant also recently held a Favorites: drive-in movie night in the parking lot in collaboration with the Thai Tourism Department! Westchester Veterinary Make sure to check out Ayara’s website for 8911 S. and Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester specials available cooking kits.

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Favorites: Westchester Thai Dishes Veterinary 8911 W. S. Sepulveda Westchester 6234 Manchester Blvd., Ave., Westchester 310.342.0046 or thaidishes-la.com 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

Thai Talay

8411 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.670.3055 or thethaitalay.com

BEST REAL ESTATE GROUP/COMPANY

BEST HEALTHY Westchester Veterinary DINING OPTIONS 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester Rainbow Acres Washington Blvd.

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

13208 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur 310.306.8330 or rainbowacresca.com adipiscing eiusmod tempor Topping ourelit, listsed thisdo year, Rainbow Acres incididunt utBlvd. labore Ut Washington hasetadolore ton of magna healthyaliqua. options, thanks its hotveniam, bar, pre-packaged fresh meals, enim adtominim quis nostrud exercitadeli, juice bar and grocery selection. tion ullamco.

Favorites: Favorites: Cafe Solar

6224 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester Westchester Veterinary 424.227.6486 or 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester cahuengagroup.com/cafe-solar

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Truxton’s American Bistro

Westchester Veterinary 8611 Truxton Ave., Westchester 310.417.8789 or truxtonsamericanbistro.com 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

Page 30 • August 2020

7101 W. Manchester Westchester adipiscing elit, sed doAve., eiusmod tempor 310.670.8226 bennystacos.com incididunt ut or labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut When readers are craving a burritoexercitaor enim our ad minim veniam, quis nostrud a taco plate, they head to Benny’s Tacos on tion ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea Manchester! Dishes likes the Avocado Supreme commodo consequat. DuisPlates aute irure Burrito, Rotisserie Chicken and dolor the in reprehenderit in voluptate. carne asada tacos are crowd favorites.

200 Culver Blvd. #C, Playa del Rey 310.574.2739 or tannerscoffeepdr.wixsite. com/tannerscoffeepdr Start your morning off right by heading to Tanner’s Coffee in Playa del Rey. This friendly neighborhood joint will serve you up coffee, espresso, ice blended drinks, teas, and more making it the perfect spot to stop to order a drink on your way to or from a walk on the beach.

Favorites: Favorites: ElWestchester Tarasco Westchester Veterinary

6224 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 424.227.6486 or cahuengagroup.com/cafe-solar

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur Benny’s Tacos

8620 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.338.0399

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Señor G’s 343 Culver Blvd.,Veterinary Playa del Rey Westchester 310.822.7733 or senorgs.com

Cafe Solar

Giorgio Cafe

6208 W. 87th St., Westchester 310.340.8191

BEST BAR

Tony P’s Dockside Grill

4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.823.4534 or tonyps.com Tony P’s tavern keeps its top ranking for Best Bar this year! While bars may be closed for the foreseeable future, we can still dream about mai tais, more than 100 beers on the menu, big screen TVs, 50 different wines and umbrella drinks, right?

Favorites: Cinco

7241 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 310.910.0895 or cincola.com

Melody Bar & Grill

9132 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.670.1994 or melodylax.com

8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

BEST BURGER The Shack

BEST ESTATE PLANNING PRACTICE

185 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.823.6222 or shackpdr.com If you’ve ever had a burger from the Shack, than you know why this Playa del Rey spot is Westchester Veterinary unbeatable when it comes to our Best Burger 8911 S.Use Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester category! their takeout window to order to-go or enjoy the newly created outdoor patio 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com inLorem their parking lot when you’reconsectetur looking for a ipsum dolor sit amet, place by the beach to enjoy lunch or dinner. adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor

incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut Favorites: enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitaHopdoddy Playa Vista tion ullamco. 12746 Jefferson Blvd. Suite 1120, Playa Vista 310.410.2337 or hopdoddy.com

Favorites: Truxton’s American Bistro

8611 Truxton Ave., Westchester Westchester Veterinary 310.417.8789 or truxtonsamericanbistro.com 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Westchester Veterinary 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Thank you for 40 years of community support and voting us #1 Juice Bar & Natural Food Store on the Westside for the last 7 years! Family owned and operated since 1980.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 31


BEST STEAK HOUSE Ruth’s Chris Steak House, MDR

Villa Marina Marketplace Mall, 13455 Maxella Ave. #230, Marina del Rey 310.821.4593 or ruthschris.com Ruth’s Chris Steak House Marina del Rey takes the top spot again this year with our readers. Located in the Villa Marina Marketplace the restaurant has outdoor seating and also offers takeout and curbside pickup.

Cinco

7241 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 310.910.0895 or cincola.com With its central location and proximity to LMU, Cinco takes the top spot for Best Neighborhood Bar. While bars are closed, check out their website to order 750 mL bottles of house favorites like the Spicy Cinco Margarita, Mexican Mule and the Daily Ritual.

Favorites: George Petrelli’s Steakhouse

Favorites: Melody Bar & Grill

5615 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City 310.397.1438 or georgepetrellisteaks.com

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse

9132 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.670.1994 or melodylax.com

2301 Rosecrans Ave., El Segundo 310.643.6911 or flemingssteakhouse.com

The Shack (tied)

185 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.823.6222 or shackpdr.com

BEST SANDWICH SHOP

Tower Pizza (tied)

8351 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.410.4680 or towerpizza.com

BEST NATURAL/ HEALTH FOOD STORE

Rainbow Acres Washington Blvd.

13208 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles 310.306.8330 or rainbowacresca.com With more than 1,000 reviews on Google and Yelp averaging a 4.5-plus rating, it’s no surprise this local favorite tops our list again this year. While you’re socially distancing from other shoppers, check out this store’s large variety of organic, vegan, healthy and all-natural products for sale. Another perk of shopping at Rainbow Acres Washington Blvd. is the great selection of vitamins and wellness items, as well as their expert staff ready to answer questions.

Favorites: Trader Joe’s Westchester

8645 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.338.9238 or traderjoes.com

Whole Foods Playa Vista

12746 W. Jefferson Blvd., Playa Vista 310.862.9900 or wholefoodsmarket.com

BEST FROZEN TREATS Yogurtland Westchester

8752 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.649.5600 or yogurt-land.com While you can’t serve yourself these days at Yogurtland Westchester, you can still stop by the Sepulveda Blvd. location for a sweet treat! Employees will serve up your favorite flavors and load you up on toppings of your choice!

Favorites: Menchie’s Westchester

8815 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.642.8200 or menchies.com

Photo courtesy Playa Provisions.

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR

Del Rey Deli

BEST BAKERY & DESSERTS

Playa Provisions’ Small Batch

119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.683.5019 or playaprovisions.com

Westchester Bakery

BEST SERVICE Truxton’s American Bistro

8611 Truxton Ave., Westchester 310.417.8789 or truxtonsamericanbisto.com When it comes to service, the staff at Truxton’s aims to please, earning them our top title this year. Whether you’re dining outdoors at their new sidewalk seating or picking up takeout, the staff is sure to be courteous, friendly and helpful.

Favorites: Hacienda Del Rey

Favorites: Angelmade Bakery

4542 S Centinela Ave., Los Angeles 310.915.2078

8347 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.670.8588

SusieCakes Marina del Rey

4714 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey 310.742.2253 or susiecakes.com

Tony P’s Dockside Grill

4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.823.4534 or tonyps.com

BEST CATERING

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH SPOT

Rise & Shine Catering

Tony P’s Dockside Grill

4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.823.4534 or tonyps.com Remember business lunches? Tony P’s was the place to go to discuss contracts, network and try to close the deal before all meetings took place over Zoom. We look forward to meeting clients over a Tony P’s Special Salad soon!

Favorites: Cast and Plow

6511 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.649.0906 or riseandshinecatering.com With more than 20 years experience serving the L.A. area, Rise & Shine is your complete catering solution. When you’re ready to host special events, weddings or corporate lunches again, this Westchester caterer will provide the perfect menu.

Favorites: Olive It

6231 W. 87th St., Westchester 310.242.2092 or oliveit.com

Sorrento Italian Market

5518 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City 310.391.7654 or sorrentoitalianmarket.com

BEST SEAFOOD Kanpai Sushi

8325 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.338.7223 or kanpai-sushi.net When you’re in the mood for excellent sushi, look no further than Kanpai. This restaurant, with two Westchester locations, excels in beautifully plated dishes with fresh ingredients.

Favorites: Tony P’s Dockside Grill

4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.823.4534 or tonyps.com

Playa Provisions

119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.683.5019 or playaprovisions.com

Favorites: Cantalini’s Salerno Beach

193 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.821.0018 or salernobeach.com

Rutt’s Hawaiian Cafe

4375 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.574.4333 or ritzcarlton.com

Truxton’s American Bistro

6216 W. 87th St., Westchester 310.215.9606 or westchesterbakery.com Chances are you’ll have to wait in line in order to pick out your sweet treats at this cozy Triangle-located bakery. Voted Best Bakery by our readers, this shop is known for its creative custom cakes, assortment of cookies–our favorite is the Florentine–as well as pastries, cupcakes and tarts.

8501 Pershing Dr. Ste. 3, Playa del Rey 310.439.2256 or delreydeli.com This Playa del Rey favorite is ready to serve you up delicious sandwiches, soups and salads. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram to check out their specials and the occasional notice about their Del Rey Chicken Shack Pop Up.

11707 Washington Pl., Los Angeles 310.398.6326 or ruttscafe.com

Photos courtesy Playa Provisions.

8611 Truxton Ave., Westchester 310.417.8789 or truxtonsamericanbistro.com

Page 32 • August 2020

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Favorites: Kanpai Sushi

The Good Pizza

8325 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.338.7223 or kanpai-sushi.net

7929 Emerson Ave., Westchester 310.215.1883 or thegoodpizza.com 8115 W. Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey 310.827.0500 or thegoodpizza.com The Good Pizza remains our readers’ favorite pizza joint in 2020! Stop by either the Playa del Rey or Westchester location for delicious eats whether you’re in the mood for za, pasta or a salad. Their prix-fixe meal for $20 that includes pasta, salad and garlic knots, is one of the best deals in town, and don’t forgot to check out their homemade sangria if you’re 21-and-over!

Truxton’s American Bistro

8611 Truxton Ave., Westchester 310.417.8789 or truxtonsamericanbistro.com

BEST JUICE BAR

Rainbow Acres Washington Blvd.

13208 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles 310.306.8330 or rainbowacresca.com When you’re in the mood for a fresh-squeezed juice, head to Rainbow Acres Washington Blvd. for their great selection of fresh or ready-to-go cold-pressed juices, shakes and smoothies. If you have time, order up a freshly made Carlos’ Flu Special with carrot, orange and ginger or the All Fruit Yoga Blend with banana, agave nectar, mango, pineapple, coconut juice and strawberries!

Favorites: LaRocco’s Pizzeria

8806 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.642.0029 or laroccospizzeria.com

Tower Pizza

8351 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.410.4680 or towerpizza.com

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT Alejo’s

8343 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.670.6677 or alejosrestaurant.com Our readers can’t get enough of Alejo’s, earning this Lincoln Blvd. favorite our top spot again this year. Whether you’re ordering the chopped salad, pizza or a pasta dish, be prepared to enjoy their famous garlic and olive oil dipping sauce.

Favorites: Cantalini’s Salerno Beach

193 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.821.0018 or salernobeach.com

C&O Cucina

3016 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey 310.301.7278 or candorestaurants.com

BEST BREAKFAST The Coffee Company

8751 La Tijera Blvd., Westchester 310.645.7315 or thecoffeecompanyla.com When you’re in the mood for breakfast, our

Photo courtesy Truxton’s.

BEST PIZZA

Favorites: Señor G’s Juice check out the LMU Roll with freshwater eel, avocado, cucumber and kaiware and the Otis Roll with shrimp tempura, avocado and cucumber topped with spicy tuna.

readers love The Coffee Company! Even now there’s a socially distant crowd on Sundays waiting to get a seat at one of the restaurant’s limited outdoor tables. We think they have one of the best waffles in town, and we know we’re not alone in thinking that The Coffee Company is synonymous with breakfast in Westchester.

Favorites: Sakura Japanese Restaurant

Favorites: Cafe Solar

Sugarfish

6224 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 424.227.6486 or cahuengagroup.com/ cafe-solar

Dinah’s

6521 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.0456 or dinahsrestaurant.com

BEST SUSHI RESTAURANT Kanpai Japanese Sushi

8736 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.670.0533 or kanpai-sushi.net If you’re looking for sushi, Kanpai will not disappoint with its long menu of sashimi and specialty rolls. Next time you order to go,

4545 S. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles 310.822.7790

4722 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.306.6300 or sugarfishsushi.com

BEST RESTAURANT Tony P’s Dockside Grill

4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.823.4534 or tonyps.com Marina del Rey hotspot, Tony P’s, takes back the Best Restaurant title this year. While it’s been a rough couple of months for the restaurant business, Tony P’s is back offering take-out, and outdoor dining for anyone craving spinach dip, the famous Tony P’s Special Salad or the popular “No Bones.” Check out their newly created patio right next to the water to enjoy a cool Marina breeze with a Mai Tai in your hand.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

343 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.822.7733 or senorgs.com

Kreation Organic Juicery

4716 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310. 822.1220 or kreationjuice.com

BEST HAPPY HOUR Cinco

7241 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 310.910.0895 or cincola.com When bars can safely reopen, we’re sure many of our readers will be heading to our #1 voted Happy Hour spot, Cinco, to celebrate! Their super affordable street tacos and discounts on margaritas and palomas make this Westchester hot spot a favorite Monday through Saturday, 3 to 7 p.m.

Favorites: Melody Bar & Grill

9132 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.670.1994 or melodylax.com

Tony P’s Dockside Grill

4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.823.4534 or tonyps.com

August 2020 • Page 33


Playa Provisions

119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.683.5019 or playaprovisions.com Playa Provisions is the place to be for brunch, earning them our readers’ top pick again this year. This summer’s menu includes the Coconut Waffle, Churro Bites, the mouthwatering Breakfast Sandwich and an array of cocktails, sure to hit the spot.

Favorites: Coffee Company

8751 La Tijera Blvd., Westchester 310.645.7315 or thecoffeecompanyla.com

Truxton’s American Bistro

8611 Truxton Ave., Westchester 310.417.8789 or truxtonsamericanbistro.com

BEST AMERICAN RESTAURANT Truxton’s American Bistro

8611 Truxton Ave., Westchester 310.417.8789 or truxtonsamericanbistro.com For the second year in a row, Truxton’s American Bistro has been voted Best American Restaurant. We love this neighborhood favorite for their friendly service, large portions and seasonal offerings. No matter what’s on the menu though, we always start a meal off with Monkey Bread. Order online via their website for easy curbside pickup.

Favorites: J. Nichols

4375 Glencoe Ave., Marina del Rey 310.823.2283 or jnicholskitchen.com

Tony P’s Dockside Grill

4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.823.4534 or tonyps.com

BEST RESTAURANT ATMOSPHERE Playa Provisions

119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.683.5019 or playaprovisions.com With two outdoor seating areas, Playa Provisions takes home the Best Restaurant Atmosphere title this year. When you’re

looking to dine out near the beach, this cool Playa del Rey eatery is a great choice for delicious eats and a refreshing ocean breeze.

Photo by Zsuzsi Steiner.

BEST BRUNCH

Favorites: SALT at Marina del Rey Hotel

13534 Bali Way, Marina del Rey 424.289.8223 or pacificahotels.com/salt

Tony P’s Dockside Grill

4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.823.4534 or tonyps.com

BEST FAMILY RESTAURANT

Truxton’s American Bistro

8611 Truxton Ave., Westchester 310.417.8789 or truxtonsamericanbistro.com Truxton’s American Bistro takes back the top spot this year for Best Family Restaurant. While Safer-at-Home, the restaurant’s large menu and a $5 kids’ meal they offered was a big hit with families tired of cooking and looking to support local restaurants.

Hacienda Del Rey

8347 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.670.8588

DATE NIGHT BEST RESTAURANT BEST RESTAURANT CATERER SALT

Tony P’s Dockside Grill

4445 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.823.4534 or tonyps.com

BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT

Rutt’s Hawaiian Cafe

Paco’s Tacos

6212 Manchester Blvd., Westchester 310.645.8692 or pacoscantina.com Place an order to go at this family-friendly Westchester favorite when you’re in the mood for the restaurant’s generous combination plates, tacos, burritos and chimichangas, and don’t forget the margaritas!

Favorites: Hacienda Del Rey

11707 Washington Pl., Los Angeles 310.398.6326 or ruttscafe.com Rutt’s takes the number one spot this year with our readers. Since 1976, Rutt’s Cafe has been a place where you can go for authentic, tropically inspired cuisine, always cooked from scratch.

Favorites: Benny’s Tacos

7101 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester 310.670.8226 or bennystacos.com

Cantalini’s Salerno Beach

Favorites: Caffe Pinguini

6935 Pacific Ave., Playa del Rey 310.306.0117 or caffepinguini.com

Playa Provisions

193 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.821.0018 or salernobeach.com

8347 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.670.8588

13534 Bali Way, Marina del Rey 424.289.8223 or marinadelreyhotel.com When you’re ready to head to a restaurant for date night again, SALT gets our readers’ top vote. Located in the Marina del Rey Hotel, the eatery recently reopened for brunch and dinner with menu items like English Pea Ravioli, Blue Crab Dip and Tomahawk rib eye.

119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey 310.683.5019 or playaprovisions.com

Sol Mexican Cocina Playa Vista 12775 Millennium Dr. #160, Playa Vista 424.289.0066 or solcocina.com

PATIO DINING

TAKEOUT

DELIVERY

CATERING

VOTED 2020 :

BEST FAMILY RESTAURANT

BEST AMERICAN RESTAURANT BEST SERVICE

FAVORITE BUSINESS LUNCH SPOT FAVORITE HEALTHY DINING FAVORITE BURGER

FAVORITE BRUNCH

WESTCHESTER | (310) 417-8789 | 8611 TRUXTON AVENUE, LOS ANGELES, CA 90045 FACEBOOK.COM/TRUXTONS

6FT

@TRUXTONSAMERICANBISTRO

WWW.TRUXTONSAMERICANBISTRO.COM Page 34 • August 2020

SERVING YOU SAFELY & KEEPING OUR TEAM SAFE

MANDATORY FACEMASKS

PATIOS RECONFIGURED

F

.6

98

FREQUENT HANDWASHING

TEAM MEMBER HEALTH CHECKS

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 35


Photo by Zsuzsi Steiner.

HEALTH & WELLNESS categories BEST PERSONAL TRAINER

SOCAL SPORT

Lorem amet, aconsectetur adipiscing sed given do eiusmod temportheir incididuntmorning ut labore via et dolore magnaand aliqua. Ut enim adpersonal minim veniam, quisstudio nostrud exercitation It’s noipsum easydolor task sit to own gym they’veelit, been to provide Facebook remained training outdoors to ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea voluptate. right now, but Rob Savory, Carissa clients with the tools needed to stay positive with ever-changing the roof-top deck of their parking Skretch and Jeff Blair at SoCal Sport and Fitness have adapted to every BEST VETERINARY regulation and safety protocol CENTER

Westchester Veterinary

BEST URGENT CARE 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Playa Vista dolor Medical Center Lorem ipsum sit amet, consectetur 6020 S. Seabluff Dr. #1, Playa adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmodVista tempor 310.862.0400 or pvmedcenter.com incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut For nine years in a row, Playa Vista Medical enim adhas minim quis nostrud exercitaCenter takenveniam, home our Best Urgent Care tion ullamco nisi ut aliquip ea Vista title! With 4.5laboris stars on Yelp as well,ex Playa commodo consequat. Duishigh autequality irure dolor Medical Center is offering care in when you needinitvoluptate. the most, whether you have reprehenderit an earache, need an X-ray or have a sports injury. The medical center now also offers a Favorites: tele-health option.

Westchester Veterinary

Favorites: 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester Cedars-Sinai Urgent Care Playa 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Vista Westchester Veterinary

12746 W. Jefferson Blvd., Playa Vista 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 424.315.2220 or cedars-sinai.edu/About-Us/ Playa-Vista.aspx 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

UCLA Playa Marina Urgent Care

4560 Admiralty Way Ste.100, Marina del Rey 310.656.1770 or uclahealth.org

BEST REAL ESTATE GROUP/COMPANY

BEST PERSONAL Westchester Veterinary TRAINER 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester SoCal Sports and Fitness

310.645.4444 westchestervet.com 8939 S Sepulvedaor Blvd. #111, Westchester Lorem ipsum or dolor sit amet, consectetur 310.497.0863 socalsport.com Could working At SoCal Sport, they adipiscing elit, out sed be do fun? eiusmod tempor believe in making workouts enjoyable, tailored incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut to their clients’ needs and helping everyone enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitareach their goals to be stronger. With small tion ullamco. classes and an emphasis on relationships, there’s a great camaraderie between fellow clients and Favorites: trainers who are always rooting you on whether Westchester Veterinary you’re lifting 5-pound weights or doing rows with 50. 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Favorites: Chloe Back at Chloe Back Westchester Veterinary Personal TrainingBlvd., Westchester 8911 S. Sepulveda 310.418.0145 or chloestraining.com

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

Page 36 • August 2020

on track during this challenging time. When gyms were closed in March, BEST MORTGAGE they offered live workouts every COMPANY

Westchester Veterinary

Real 8911Fitness S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester

8367 W Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com 888.622.0008 or rftrain.com

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea LiveYoga WellnessDuis aute irure dolor in commodo consequat. 6700 W. 83rd St., reprehenderit in Westchester voluptate.

BEST YOGA STUDIO

310.835.6700 or liveyogawellness.com LiveYoga Wellness is celebrating its ten-year Favorites: anniversary! With the yoga studios closed, Westchester LiveYoga WellnessVeterinary has pivoted to offer a robust offering of online classesBlvd., and workshops to 8911 S. Sepulveda Westchester help you find your center, stretch and relieve 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com stress. If you’ve ever considered yoga, a class Westchester Veterinary right from the comfort of your home may lead to8911 a journey to transform your spirit, mind and S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester body.

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

Favorites: Mamai Wellness

BEST ESTATE PLANNING PRACTICE

6607 W. 80th St., Westchester 310.591.9330 or mamaiwellness.com

YogaWorks Playa Vista

Westchester Veterinary 12746 W. Jefferson Blvd. #3120 424.228.8899 or yogaworks.com/location/ 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester playa-vista

310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco.

BEST SPECIALTY FITNESS STUDIO FIT4MOM Westside

Favorites: 760.954,2490 or westside.fit4mom.com FIT4MOM Westside was voted #1 by our Westchester Veterinary readers for the first time this year. Owned by 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester Westchester’s Kellie Fell, FIT4MOM is helping 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com fellow moms at all stages of motherhood enjoy fitness and wellness with classes like Stroller Westchester Veterinary Strides, Stroller Barre and more. Currently all 8911 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester the classes are held virtually Monday through 310.645.4444 or westchestervet.com

regulations when they were allowed to reopen. Now with indoor gyms closed again, they’ve taken their

structure, offering a free helping of Vitamin D with every workout and a great view of planes landing at LAX.

Saturday and your first class is free.

Medical Center is to provide its patients with the most advanced urgent care.

Favorites: Mamai Wellness

6607 W. 80th St., Suite A, Westchester 310.591.9330 or mamaiwellness.com

Playa Pilates

6020 Seabluff Dr. #6, Playa Vista 310.862.0499 or playapilates.com

BEST OPTOMETRIST/ OPTOMETRY OFFICE Del Rey Optometry

8511 Pershing Dr., Playa del Rey 310.577.6401 or delreyoptometry.com When it comes to your eye care needs, Del Rey Optometry is committed to providing excellent and comprehensive service. Whether you need an eye exam, a new contact lenses prescription or are looking for a stylish pair of glasses, Del Rey Optometry is ready to give each patient exceptional care.

Favorites: Dr. Harold Ashcraft at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry

Favorites: Dr. Peter Mikhail

8610 S. Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 208, Westchester 310.642.0100 or providence.org

Dr. Danelle Fisher

12555 Jefferson Blvd. Ste. 302, Playa Vista 424.443.5600 or providence.org

BEST PHARMACY Playa Pharmacy

8131 W. Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey 310.823.4500 or playapharmacy.com When readers need prescriptions filled, immunizations or PPE, they’re heading to Manchester Blvd.’s Playa Pharmacy. The familyrun business, led by Westchester resident and Pharmacist Joe Chehade, also offers compounding, alternative and complimentary medicine information, diabetes education and more. Call when you arrive for curbside pickup and friendly service.

8735 La Tijera Blvd., Westchester 310.670.4411 or drashcraft.com

Favorites: Marina del Rey Pharmacy

8610 S. Sepulveda Blvd. #100, Westchester 310.670.1888 or westchestereyecarecenter.com

Westchester Pharmacy

Westchester Eye Care

BEST DOCTOR/ DOCTOR OFFICE

4558 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey 310.823.5311 or marinadelreypharmacy.com 8930 Sepulveda Blvd. #103, Westchester 310.670.3463 or westchesterpharmacy.com

Dr. Jonathan Velasquez, Playa Vista Medical Center

6020 S. Seabluff Dr. #1, Playa Vista 310.862.0400 or pvmedcenter.com For the third time this year, Playa Vista Medical Center’s Dr. Jonathan Velasquez tops our Best Of list. Whether visiting in person or online for a tele-health visit, the mission at Playa Vista

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


9

Playa Vista Medical Center provides the best urgent care services in Los Angeles. We proudly offer medical care services to the residents and employers of Playa Vista, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, Westchester, Del Rey, Venice, and Santa Monica. So come to Playa Vista Medical Center, the clinic you know and trust since we opened our doors in Concert Park in 2008.

• Top tier medical professionals • Concierge-style and convenient urgent care services • Most patients are seen and treated within the hour • More affordable and faster than the ER! • No appointment necessary

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 37


BEST BEST DENTIST NEIGHBORHOOD OFFICE Westchester Pediatric Dentistry GYM Westchester Family YMCA

8015 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester 310.670.4316 or ymcala.org/westchester More than just a gym, the Westchester Family YMCA is an important community center with a loyal membership. In addition to supporting healthy lifestyles and your fitness goals, the Y also supports youth development and social responsibility.

Favorites: L.A. Fitness Westchester

8601 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester 310.846.0070 or lafitness.com

Real Fitness

8367 W Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey 888.622.0008 or rftrain.com

BEST HOSPITAL

UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica

1250 16th St., Santa Monica 424.259.6000 or uclahealth.org/santamonica UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica serves as the cornerstone of UCLA Health’s Santa Monica medical campus. The 265-bed, full-service medical center provides the complete continuum of healthcare services, from prenatal and neonatal care to geriatric medicine, in a technologically-advanced and welcoming facility.

Favorites: Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital

8540 S. Sepulveda Blvd Ste. 710, Westchester 310.216.5754 or smilewestchester.com This Westchester office provides expert child-centered dental care for young teeth. Dr. Christie Burnett and Dr. Deepa Sreenivasan strive to make dental care a pleasant and fun experience, helping kids build healthy dental habits that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Favorites: Del Rey Dental

8410 Pershing Dr., Playa del Rey 310.822.2011 or delreydental.com

Playa Vista Dental

6020 S. Seabluff Dr., Playa Vista 310.589.3146 or playavistadentalcare.com

BEST DENTIST Dr. Kaz Tomimatsu

8930 S. Sepulveda Blvd. Ste 211, Westchester 310.641.4074 Whether you need serious dental work or just a routine 6-month cleaning, Dr. Tomimatsu can help ensure your teeth stay healthy.

Favorites: Dr. Lawrence Fung, SiliconBeach. Dental

We are proud to be part of the community, and we look forward to serving you for many more years!

6101 W. Centinela Ave. #375, Culver City 310.929.7200 or siliconbeach.dental

Heather Winther, DDS

4640 Admiralty Way, #714, Marina del Rey 310.821.0839 or drwinther.com

4650 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey 310.823.8911 or marinahospital.com

Curbside Pickup and Delivery | Vaccinations Compounding | Herbs & Supplements

Providence St. John’s Health Center

2121 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica 310.829.5511 or california.providence.org/ saint-johns

Page 38 • August 2020

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 39


Random Notes/Opinion

TheHTN.com

When it comes to your “health span,” weight lifting may be one of the best options By Jeff Blair Opinion: I was talking with a client a few years ago after he returned from his annual physical. He recounted the conversation he had with his doctor. He said, “My doctor told me now that I’m over 50 I should stop with the weight training and focus completely on cardio.” I was surprised to hear that advice, and I hesitated as I searched for the right words. I gave the appropriate disclaimer about me not being a doctor, but mentioned there are probably some facts he should consider. I encouraged him to definitely perform cardio workouts, but listed some benefits of weight training after 50. 1. If you want to stay active, you need to stay strong. The best way to stay strong is to lift weights. Muscles move our bodies. While there can be smaller strength gains from some cardio workouts such as swimming or cycling, there are hundreds of studies showing weight-training is unquestionably the best way to strengthen muscles. 2. While balance is complicated,

increasing muscular strength is one of the best ways to increase balance. Given that many people can expect to face balance challenges after 50, lifting weights is maybe the single best strategy to improve balance. Another form of resistance training, power training, can also dramatically improve balance. 3. About half of all people over 50 experience osteopenia, which is the precursor to osteoporosis. Lifting weights can be one of the best strategies to increase bone density and limit the risk of bone fractures at crucial locations like the hip and spine. Bone fractures can negatively impact physical, mental and financial health. Maintaining bone health should be a primary health goal of any adult. 4. While many think cardio training is the best way to lose or maintain a healthy weight, full-body weightlifting can burn hundreds of calories during a session and also help you to have a higher metabolism over the long run. When we lose muscle, our metabolism drops. When our metabolism drops, we can eat the exact same number of calories and still gain weight because

our bodies just aren’t burning as many calories as they once did. The loss of muscle from 30- to 50-years-old is one of the main reasons why people gain weight during that time period. 5. Due to arthritis and other issues, millions experience joint pain after 50. Weight training can help avoid or limit this joint pain before it begins or after it starts. While treatment would begin with a physical therapist, postrehab care will almost always include maintaining strength via weight training. 6. Consistent weight training can improve cognitive function and help keep us mentally sharp. Moderate intensity is all that is required to experience cognitive improvement. 7. The average lifespan in the US is now 79-years-old and much medical strategy involves extending lifespan. Health span is a fairly new idea that focuses not just on how long we are alive, but how long we are free from major disease. Any fitness and health program should increase our health span and not just our lifespan. Most people I talk with are more concerned with their quality of life rather than

just with the quantity of life. For all the reasons stated previously, weight training is a very important strategy to extend your health span. Whether you want to hike a mountain, play tennis with your partner or ski the slopes, extending your health span is crucial to living well after 50. While my friend’s doctor was right to recommend cardio exercise, weight training carries an incredible health bang for the buck. I can’t think of anything that can improve quality of life more than a consistent weight training program. Please observe social distancing and follow other local and state safety guidelines while exercising outdoors. Jeff Blair (MS, CSCS) has been a certified personal trainer in Westchester since 2002. He has been featured in American and international fitness magazines and taught graduate level exercise science courses. He is working on his second fitness book. Reach him at jeff@ socalsport.com for comments. *Before you start any fitness routine, please consult your doctor.

YOU CAN HELP! FOOD PANTRY, LAX

Emergency Food Distribution to those in need. Sponsored by the Westchester Clergy Association

Open Tuesday & Friday, 10am-12pm 355 Beach St., Inglewood

Bring donations of non-perishable food to Covenant Presbyterian Chuch. Volunteers and money donations also welcomed and encouraged!

We’re open! Call to learn more about our virtual and in-person programs.

For more information, please call (310) 677-5597 Ad donated by the Covenant Presbyterian Church

Page 40 • August 2020

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Find hope during tough times By Fay Craton Opinion: We are living through some tough times. Over the past several months, the fiber of our lives has been challenged and rearranged. I am observing many people with changing priorities. Life plans are shifting, along with dreams and hopes for the future. Shifting requires letting go of a dream before the next one is embraced. There is a point when there is nothing and new hope is not yet formed. A visual for this phenomenon is a cartwheel. First one hand is on the ground. As the movement continues, there is a point in time when the first hand must be picked up before the second hand is placed onto the ground. You will fail if you do not allow yourself to freely roll through the air. It takes strong belief you will not crash while you are upside down without any support to successfully perform a cartwheel. Currently, many people are functioning in a period of “freely rolling” between dreams, hopes and understandings of a new frame of reference in which we can thrive. During 2020, the world tilted. However, just like a cartwheel, the moment of “in between” is a mere moment. In life, the break we are experiencing is much longer. The world will not return to exactly what we knew before it tilted. The time of “in between” requires embracing the connective energy of love and a strong belief in the value within you and within each person. Nurturing a positive belief requires pruning any mental and physical “stuff” interfering with your life. The “stuff” differs from person to person. What you need to let go of is different from what another person needs to release. It could be a possession, a situation, a way of thinking, or something so scary it leaves you frozen and unable to fully function. It is normal to grieve cherished “stuff” as it is released. It is normal to feel depleted and weird because the “stuff” is gone. It is important to let yourself grieve, but not to remain stuck by clinging to what is gone. New hope needs to be cultivated. Hope is imperative for our physical and mental health. How do you foster hope when there is so much uncertainty and divisiveness present in our world? First, be gentle on yourself. A

great many of us have what I have heard termed as “COVID brain.” This happens when we are under a threat for a long time. Our brains and emotions become exhausted. It becomes harder to focus and do things. To help yourself during this exhaustion, imagine an energy field of love fully filling and embracing you. At least once each day envision the love energetic field. Hope needs to be cultivated, just as a garden needs tending. In a garden, we need to water, feed and prune plants. We also need to pull weeds. Stress, anxiety, destructive negative self-talk and snide comments from others can all be considered weeds. It is time to change the circumstances enabling the weeds to grow. The weeds thrive on pessimism and a lack of self-esteem. Both are tied to internal mind chatter undermining you. Hope is watered and nourished by respecting ourselves. I encourage you to journal thoughts considering what self-respect means. Include in your journal what you are doing to nourish your mind, body and soul. Explore what life skills you need to improve to have a healthy life. My wish is for you to experience hope. If you feel pessimistic and only see what is wrong, you will not experience hope. Hope and pessimism cannot exist at the same time. A good way to transform your thinking is to actively seek out things and people for which you can be grateful. I am grateful for you. I know you are valuable, and you see your own value even in the “in between” times when life is shifting. I also know love is within and surrounding you right now. I also wish for you to embrace learning and growth. A meaningful life is more than hanging onto past status or former ways of living. For life to have meaning it is important to make a contribution to this world in a way that enhances life. It involves having a healthy connection with significant others. I know we are all in this together. I hope you also know it. Fay Craton, M.A. is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (mfc40011), which is the psychology license specializing in relationships (with ourselves or with others), and she has an office in Westchester. For more info, please visit communicationtriangle. com or contact her at (310) 645-6762.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

August 2020 • Page 41


The classic summer barbecue made healthier By Sheri Weitz, RDN, CDE, Contributing Columnist

Opinion: Summer barbecues are something COVID can’t take away from us! We can still get together with a small group of family or friends, sit outside at a social distance, and eat delicious food. The smell of burgers on the grill (veggie burgers can smell good, too!), a margarita swishing in a red Solo cup, and great conversation are something many of us enjoy all summer long. But the excitement, or anxiety, of the situation can also lead to the temptation to overindulge or make poor food choices. It doesn’t have to be this way, though! We can enjoy barbecue and still be health conscious. Here are some tips to avoid common BBQ traps, whether you’re the host or a guest: • Avoid over-grilling meat: That lovely smell of meat grilling unfortunately means that carcinogens are being formed. High-temperature cooking can create compounds like heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which increase as meat is cooked hotter and longer. To decrease

Page 42 • August 2020

this risk, consider: • Thinner cuts: Flank or skirt steak (for carne asada, fajitas, etc.) doesn’t need to cook as long. Same with thinner burgers. • Marinating: Letting meat soak up a marinade–made from herbs, spices, oil and often acidic elements like citrus or vinegar–has been shown to significantly decrease HCAs and PAHs, according to several studies. • Herbs: Dried or fresh rosemary (as well as thyme, basil, parsley, etc.) contains compounds that help prevent carcinogens during grilling. • Low and slow: Consider marbled cuts like brisket or pork shoulder that cook for many hours at a low temperature (200-250 degrees). • Clean your grill: Regularly brush off the burned bits stuck to your grill grates to help prevent dripping and flare-ups. • Make healthier meat selections: Grass-fed beef contains a higher concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids and less total fat than grain-fed beef, and it’s available in most grocery stores. Fish, chicken and turkey are lighter than beef. Consider serving veggie burgers instead of, or in

addition to, meat burgers. Brands such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger won’t leave you saying “Where’s the beef?” • Emphasize the veggies: Plantbased eating is healthy eating, and half of your meal should be nonstarchy vegetables. Color your BBQ in multiple shades: make shish kebob with red, yellow, green and white veggies; include a healthy salad on the menu and instead of cole slaw, try broccoli slaw. Broccoli is a potent anticarcinogen, high in soluble fiber and Vitamin C, making it one of the “kings of nutrition” in the vegetable family. • Go easy on the carbs: Eat only a half-cup serving (just smaller than a tennis ball) of potato salad or macaroni salad, and leave the larger portions for green salads or broccoli slaw. • Don’t arrive starved: As with going to the supermarket, it’s best to avoid showing up to a barbecue very hungry, or else you’re likely to overindulge. • Drink responsibly: Try a “skinny” margarita with less sugar or a “light” beer to cut down on your carbs. One regular 12-oz. beer is the equivalent to eating a piece of bread. Also, it goes without saying that if you drink too much, you’re consuming extra calories and carbs. It could also lead to eating too much–and losing your social-distance judgment around other people. Using these tips, you can enjoy

Weitz is a local dietitian and enjoys teaching Zumba at the Westchester Family YMCA and other local spots.

a healthy, safe, outdoor barbecue without suffering the aftershocks of overindulgence. Fire up the grill–and stay cool. Sheri Weitz, RDN, CDE is a Registered Dietitian with a private practice in Westchester, and she provides clinical nutrition services for Manchester Medical. Sheri also teaches Zumba classes… her “happy pill.” To find out more about her services or for a free consultation, go to MovetoWellness.net.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


Q. Please tell us a little bit about your business? A. VAVERA Boutique is a collection of uncommon gifts. We carry luxury candle brands, vintage clothing, homewares, funky items, local “vetted” consignments and other finds for your home and

Photo courtesy VAVERA,

Everyone’s business could use a little help these days, so we’re featuring some companies owned by local residents or located in Westchester/Playa to help promote shopping locally and supporting community members. Here’s the scoop on Playa del Rey’s VAVERA Boutique. Q. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. A. VAVERA Boutique is a collaboration between two long-time locals: Jim Iacono and Jennifer Hart Biagiotti. Jim has lived in Playa del Rey since 1988 and loves the specialness of this charming town. He is a devoted and proud dad to his 18-year-old daughter, Juliet, who graduated St. Anastasia and Notre Dame Academy and is starting UCLA in the fall. Juliet works several days a week with her dad helping ship items. Jim loves sailing out of Marina del Rey, cycling, running and the beach life Playa del Rey lends. Jim is also a former drummer and music enthusiast. He hopes local music performances and karaoke return soon to the local haunts. After a long career in magazine publishing, having worked for illustrious brands such as Travel + Leisure, GQ, Men’s Journal and Los Angeles Magazine, Jim decided to reinvent himself and struck out on his own in 2015. Jennifer is also a Los Angeles native. She graduated from St. Anastasia and Otis College of Art & Design, slinging coffee at Tanner’s while working her way toward her fine art degree. She and her husband now reside in Santa Monica with their awesome teenage son. When not creating things at VAVERA Boutique or designing in her home studio, Jennifer enjoys coffee, yoga, dancing, crossword puzzles, singing and combing thrift stores and estate sales for unique vintage pieces. Jennifer also worked as a portrait and event photographer for many years, and, similar to Jim, slowly became disenchanted with photography in the digital age. Still having a passion to make things, VAVERA Boutique has become a bit of a testing ground for her newest designs.

can come make candles at anytime at our community table in a ColorMe-Mine style set up. You can pick your scent, color and container, then decorate the container if you wish and pour your own candle. If you need a gift of any type for any occasion, at any price range, you will find it here. We carry a wide-range of candle brands like Voluspa, NEST, Aquiesse, Tocca, Paddywax, HOMESICK, Agraria, Capri Blue, Decorware, WoodWick and our own VAVERA brand. You will find everything from wine and kombucha-making kits to Zuca Travel & Beauty Bags, Duke Cannon Soaps for Men, authentic Turkish towels, essential oils, high potency CBD flavored simple syrup for drinks, jewelry, and many other little “finds.” We pride ourselves on finding unexpected items that scream “You know you want me!”

Q. What do you like about running your business? A. We love the local nature of this business, connecting to the Playa community and the beachgoers who stroll down Culver. We especially love our neighboring businesses, Playa Place and Seaside Grooming. Ms. Vintage and Miracle Shoe Repair also bring fabulous locals to our block. July 1 marked our one-year anniversary here!

Jennifer Hart Biagiotti, Juliet Iacono and Jim Iacono pose in front of VAVERA.

Business spotlight:

VAVERA offers curated collection of hip gifts in PDR well-being. After four years in a Hollywood location with a very large retail space and seven employees, Jim decided to change it up again in July 2019 and moved the business close to home, downsizing the high-rent, high payroll retail operation into what has now become VAVERA Boutique in Playa del Rey on Culver Blvd. The name, VAVERA, is Jim’s creation which he modeled after brands like Voluspa and Aquiesse. VAVERA is also the name of the private label brand Jim is developing in home fragrance, candles and uncommon high quality home goods, which he hopes to grow in the coming years.

Enter Jennifer Biagiotti...Jim met Jennifer through a mutual friend and quickly saw the potential for a collaboration. Jennifer is an exceptionally talented artist, photographer, designer and curator of the most amazing and exceedingly cool vintage and vintage-style items. Her vintage clothes and handmade masks are the best selling items in the store. Jennifer is also a talented seamstress with a flair for the vintage, yet hip look. She can even make you a custom bucket hat out of your choice of vintage fabric from her collection. We try to create a fun, welcoming, local vibe at the boutique. Anyone

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Q. How have you shifted your business since COVID-19? A. As you can imagine, COVID-19 has impacted our business greatly, and we truly appreciate all of our local customers and friends who have supported us in this difficult time. We have been able to maintain a healthy home delivery and online business and have introduced some new items in keeping with the times such as Jennifer’s handmade, custom fabric face masks. Thank goodness for Mailchimp, which allows us to connect with our loyal customers and show them what’s new and fun! Q, What are some of your favorite local businesses? A. We also love to promote and patronize our fellow local businesses. We are fortunate to have wonderful business owners in Playa del Rey. We especially love Felicia’s, Playa Place, Seaside Grooming, Miracle Shoe & Leather repair, Cantalini’s, Playa Provisions, Bacari, Mo’s, Prince O’ Whales and Hacienda Del Rey! Visit vaveraboutique.com for more info.

August 2020 • Page 43


By Consuelo Israelson For Wendy, Daniel and Nathan Chouinard, the world is a feast for the senses. They experience it through the heavenly smells of the international cuisines being cooked by their neighbors, by listening to uplifting music in several languages, creating art and nurturing plants with their hands, savoring the flavor of their favorite

Page 44 • August 2020

foods and appreciating the beauty of the world around them. “We’re a very hands-on family!” said Wendy. A lot of this is because the trio is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), despite none of them being deaf. Wendy works at the Helen Keller National Center as a placement specialist for the area from Bakersfield

to the Mexico border. Her duties include finding jobs for deaf and blind clients, as well as providing vocational assessments and job prep. “It’s a big challenge. We try to create more awareness that you should hire disabled talent. We find ways to make it work for both employers and employees so they can have a lasting relationship,” she said. All clients at the center are legally

deaf and blind, many due to Usher Syndrome or because of exposure to rubella while their mothers’ were pregnant. This fall, the center will celebrate the employers who have opened their doors for disabled community members in honor of National Disability Employer month. Daniel runs their family business, HAWATI, which provides CPR, first aid certification and workplace safety.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


The company grew out of Wendy’s volunteer work for the Red Cross that she began in high school. “I realized many people in the Spanish-speaking community wanted to learn first aid and CPR and there weren’t any classes in their native language, so my mom suggested I teach in Spanish,” she said. She started teaching for free and then began working with schools to certify their staff and medical office workers. Later, she started offering first aid classes in ASL, making Wendy a tri-lingual certified interpreter. High school is also where Wendy fell in love with ASL. “I was on a school trip to a vocational center in downtown and when I got on the elevator, two young men were talking with their hands. I thought it was so amazing and had never seen anything like that. My friend said she thought it was sign language and got me a book to learn,” she said. Wendy studied on her own and a few months later went back to that same vocational center to see if she could find those young men–and she did. “By that time, I knew how to sign ‘Hi, my name is Wendy,’ so that’s what I told them. From that moment on I was determined to learn more,” she said. Wendy was able to get special permission from her teachers to leave school early to attend ASL classes at El Camino College in Torrance. “I started making deaf friends and getting involved in the religious aspect of it,” she said. Wendy and Daniel are Jehovah’s Witnesses and volunteer with the church’s deaf ministry. In an effort to be more inclusive, the church recently translated the Bible into ASL. Since it was completed, the digital Bible has been downloaded more than 50,000 times, even though only 2,300 church members are deaf. “I was a lot older before I realized that interpreting in ASL could earn me a living, and pay really well,” she said. “It takes a willingness to learn, but once you do, you open up the door to the deaf community and to

the deaf-blind community and it’s been one of the best gifts life has ever given me.” The Chouinards like to encourage everyone they meet to learn ASL, which is the third most used language in the U.S. Because Wendy and Daniel are so passionate about it, they were determined that their son Nathan would be as well. He attended Marlton Elementary, a deaf school in Baldwin Hills where they have an immersion program in ASL for hearing children. In the fall, Nathan, 14, will be attending Westchester High School’s Gifted and High Ability STEAM Magnet. “We love Westchester so much, and we wanted Nathan to keep going to school locally because we have no intention of moving from here. That’s how much we love the area,” Wendy said. Nathan recently graduated from Katherine Johnson STEM Academy as his class’s valedictorian. He plays guitar, swims, plays basketball and enjoys video games on his VR headset. During the quarantine, he also taught himself to play the ukulele. Wendy has been working on her green thumb and creating an oasis in their backyard to help with the stresses of the pandemic. The whole family also enjoys playing with guinea pigs, Cookie and Coffee. Like his parents, Nathan is a polyglot, and he is fluent in four languages: English, Spanish, French and ASL. Wendy speaks the same four languages, plus Arabic. Daniel, a French-Canadian who grew up in a small town in the mountains outside Quebec, also speaks Russian. “I was enamored of his ability to speak so many languages that I had to keep up!” Wendy said. The couple have been married for 15 years and met while he was in Southern California attending a conference. He was staying with a friend of Wendy’s, who invited them both to dinner. They exchanged emails and the next month Wendy and her mother coincidentally had a trip to Niagara Falls planned, so Daniel suggested they visit him. For the next year-anda-half, they carried on a long-distance

relationship. “Being the traditional parents that my parents are, they didn’t allow me to go by myself even though I was 21, so my mom went with me every time,” Wendy laughed. After they married, Daniel moved to L.A., which was a bit of a culture shock for him. “He left his job, his family, everything he knew and moved here. He wasn’t used to lines and L.A. traffic, but he loves it here, especially where we live in Westchester,” Wendy said. Wendy’s parents are also immigrants to the U.S. They moved during the civil war in El Salvador in the 80s. “My grandmother’s house was bombed and the guerrillas took it over. That was the moment my family knew they had to leave. You want to stay in your native country, but your life is no longer safe,” she said. “But out of the tragedy came a good thing. When you see your parents suffer, you get this empathy and are more sensitive to other people’s suffering as well. This taught me to pay more attention to immigrants, especially refugees and those with disabilities. “ That compassion is something that they want to pass on to their son. “I want Nathan to always have the philosophy that everyone is different, but we’re all in this together. There’s no one culture better than another. Each is beautiful. If we have biases, it could be because we don’t understand something. When you get to know people and their cultures, then you understand the reasons why they do things differently. You’re never going to love everything about all cultures, but when you appreciate it, then you can honor it,” Wendy said. “And that’s what I love about Westchester. It is very diverse and very accepting. Nobody is giving you ‘that look’ like you don’t belong, and we don’t have nosy neighbors. They care for you, but they’re not overly in your business. Where my parents grew up, everyone knew what was going on with their family, but in a negative way. Here, everybody respects your family and gives you your space.”

hotos by

si Steiner

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Since 2013.

Our family’s perfect day begins with a nice walk to get coffee, then a family bike ride to the Marina, which is a beautiful bike ride. After lunch at our favorite place, Taj India Palace, we would go to the park in Playa Vista. It’s a great place for hiking and you end up at LMU. We like to time it so we can enjoy the sunset before we walk home. Then dinner at home because my husband is a great cook and one of our favorites is his fish tacos. Then visiting with friends and family on Zoom, perhaps playing Cahoots on a game night. We’d end our day the way we do every night: we enjoy karak chai tea, which is made with cardamom, ginger, milk, sugar and black tea. It has a delicious aroma! Then a prayer before bed.

We’ve seen an increased number of smaller businesses. Also, culturally, even though Westchester was diverse when we moved in, there seems to be even more diversity now, with more nationalities moving in. They enrich the city and they enrich Westchester.

Taj India Palace and The Boy & The Bear. Katherine Johnson STEM Academy was so amazing the whole time our son, Nathan, went there. We’d also like to give a special shout-out to the taxi drivers who serve LAX. After dropping my son off at school, I’d often stop for coffee at a popular place for drivers to wait for their next call. One day I needed a ride and my car wasn’t working and one of the drivers took my son and I all the way we needed to go at no cost. I really appreciated that. He didn’t even know me that well, but he did this out of the kindness of his heart. Westchester is not just a place to live, but it attracts many goodhearted people who work here. Finally, we’re not sure if there are any deaf-blind people who live in Westchester, but if there are, then we’d like to give them a shout-out.

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There may have been no floats or marching bands this year due to the pandemic, but the essence of the community’s Fourth of July Parade lived on through Spirit Week activities organized by the LAX Coastal Chamber. The week’s main events included a First Annual Home Decorating Contest, with more than 85 homes, schools and businesses decorated for the holiday. More than 20 homes also participated in the “Great American Sign Tour,” organized by Westchester residents Alyssa Bost, Sylvia Wilson and Heather Tuttle. Each stop featured yard signs with photos and information Page 46 • August 2020

celebrating great Black Americans, for seniors staying Safer-at-Home were including Katherine Johnson, Maya also delivered through WPV; 50 gifts Angelou and Tom Bradley. Community to local small businesses were dropped members were encouraged to bike off; and public safety officers enjoyed around Westchester to read the signs receiving more than 1,000 treats. and learn something new. As a way to stay connected on the With the theme, “We’re all in this Fourth, community members, no Together,” there was no shortage of matter where they were celebrating, volunteers from local schools, service were invited to text their pictures to a clubs and businesses, who made sure virtual photo booth hosted by Venice that public locations like Westchester Paparazzi. The photos were then sent Park, Loyola Blvd. and the Emerson back with a firework-themed backdrop Avenue Community Garden were and collected into an online album for adorned with festive streamers, all to view. pinwheels, student-created art and “Thank you to everyone that came positive affirmations. Thanks to the together to help celebrate the Fourth support of donors, more than 200 gifts of July in Westchester, despite there Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del

not being a parade this year,” said LAX Coastal Chamber President/CEO Christina Davis. “It’s important that we still find ways to work together and spread joy when we can, even if things look different this year. There’s never a shortage of community pride in Westchester and Playa del Rey, that’s for sure!” Thank you to Spirit Week Sponsors the Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation, Decron Properties, the Stephanie Younger Group, CedarsSinai Marina del Rey Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, SoCalGas, Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary and Westchester Rotary. Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News


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Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News