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A DAY IN

90272

Passionate for Pacific Palisades

February 11, 2007|Jessica Gelt

This upscale community perches atop majestic cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean just north of Santa Monica Canyon. But it has humble roots. In 1911, the area was home to director Thomas Ince's Western film factory Inceville, which at its peak employed nearly 600 people. A decade later, the Rev. Charles H. Scott and the Southern California Methodist Episcopal Church bought the land; in 1922, Scott founded Pacific Palisades, envisioning an elaborate religious-intellectual commune. Believers snapped up choice lots and lived in tents during construction. By 1925, the Palisades had 100 homes. The tents gave way to cabins, which gave way to bungalows, which gave way to multimillion-dollar homes with priceless views.

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ONE THING TO DO

A DIY Menu Built for Two

Learn to cook with class. At the friendly Chefmakers Cooking Academy, you'll find a culinary school with a high-end retail store attached. Classes cover all types of food, and some are tailored for specific groups. Our favorite is Date Night. After cooking up a fabulous meal with the help of a trained chef, couples dine at tables with real linen, crystal wine glasses and fine china. Menus have included miso yaki salmon, naked shrimp salad and coconut sticky rice with mango. Each Date Night class lasts three hours and costs $185 per couple. 872 Via de la Paz, (310) 459-9444.

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2: Number of restaurants with liquor licenses

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SHOP, DROP

A Low Price Makes It Nice

Clothes shopping is an adventure in discount at Vivian's Boutique. Devoted customers rave about the personal service, often provided by Vivian herself, and the ornate free earrings that come with each purchase. Also, the prices--a tailored black cotton coat for $65 and a light-blue zip-up jacket trimmed with soft faux-fur for $48--can't be beat. "We're the only place in the Palisades that doesn't charge $400 for a pair of shoes," jokes clerk Dana Trembley. 970 Monument St., Suite 112, (310) 573-1326 . . . Village Books is small, but the selection represents a wide range of interests. Staff picks are taped to overflowing shelves, and hand-painted signs indicate sections. If you pick up a book and read the whole thing in the store, nobody will frown at you. 1049 Swarthmore Ave., (310) 454-4063.

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EAT, DRINK

Food Fit for an Ex-Mayor

"Meet me at Mort's" entered the lexicon of Palisades dwellers long ago, but to those not often on the Westside, the siren song of Mort's Palisades Deli might come as a welcome surprise. The deli's pastrami and old-school decor rivals Canter's on Fairfax. So beloved is this no-nonsense institution that owner Bobbie Farberow says former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan is negotiating a deal to buy it. "He was a dear friend of my husband Mort," Farberow says. 1035 Swarthmore Ave., (310) 454-5511.

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Literary Landmark: Around World War II, a large number of German and European exiles earned the area the nickname "Weimar by the Sea." One famous exile residence is the 1927 Spanish Colonial Villa Aurora, at 520 Paseo Miramar, where German-Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife, Marta, moved in 1943. The couple hosted spirited gatherings attended by the likes of Thomas Mann, Fritz Lang and Aldous Huxley.

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