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Take Us To Easy Street

Far from the madness of the malls and the mega-shopping districts, there are places where you can find great gifts and enough peace to actually think about the person you're buying for. Here's where to go and what to pick up.

November 18, 2007|Adam Tschorn | Times Staff Writer




Abbot KINNEY Boulevard in Venice may not have it all, but it does have a little of everything, making it the perfect place to jump-start your gift list. Some notable finds during a recent trip include Stronghold, which, in addition to its namesake denim, sells Filson bags, Pendleton shirts and White's boots. Among the gift ideas are Stetson fedoras ($120) and newsboys caps ($40) and private-label "carpetbags" made with repurposed carpet fabric and leather buckles. Made by a New Mexico couple that plies its trade at New West reenactments, the small is purse size ($235 ) and the large ($295) could double as a weekender -- perfect for the carpetbagger in your life.

The Stronghold, 1625 Abbot Kinney Blvd., (310) 399-7200.

Across the street is Surfing Cowboys, a source for midcentury, surf-flavored furniture, furnishings and art. Donna and Wayne Gunther, former fashion photographers, have compiled a collection that includes framed black-and-white photos of Muscle Beach, circa 1960, Delta Airlines travel posters and 1930s belly boards. Stuff stockings with surf magazines from the '60s ($20 to $800) or one of the store's signature T-shirts bearing the insignia of the First Cavalry Division on the front and "Charlie Don't Surf" on the back ($24).

Surfing Cowboys, 1624 Abbot Kinney Blvd.,, (310) 450-4891.

If there's a well-dressed fellow on your list, Enda King Men probably has a shirt for him. The namesake owner stocked his shop with nearly 400 classy, button-front shirts (prices range from $95 to $295) including 1 Like No Other's striped, limited-edition shirts with contrasting collar and cuff lining; Ryan Michaels' Western-style velvet shirts with contrast stitching; and handcrafted Takumi shirts that meld Japanese textile tradition with European tailoring). King also stocks the rest of the goods for guys including Goorin Brothers hats, strappy leather belts by ThreeSkin ($225), comically large belt buckles and a deep selection of denim.

Enda King Men, 1415 and 1419 Abbot Kinney Blvd., (310) 396-1242.

That barely scratches the surface of what can be found on Abbot Kinney these days, from rare tomes at Equator Books (1103 Abbot Kinney) to U.K.-flavored clothes and accessories at Brick Lane (1132 Abbot Kinney), including the labels Ted Baker, Ben Sherman, Anya Hindmarch and Pringle of Scotland. Jeannie Y (1301 Abbot Kinney) is stocked with Japanese and Japan-inspired brands such as Tokyo Denim, Mean Lovers and high-end Hello Kitty bags and wallets from Ash & Diamonds (including a pink metallic wallet for $282). Also new to the street is the Venice outpost of Silver Lake's A+R store (1121-1 Abbot Kinney), co-owned by Image contributor Rose Apodaca. It is a haven for hip home wares, such as handgun flower vases ($55) and the intriguing porcelain bust of Lenin decorated with a blue Delft-ware-like pattern ($1,000).

Power shoppers have been known to dip into Jin Patisserie (1202 Abbot Kinney) for a spot of tea or the restorative powers of a sea salt caramel. But if you're in the mood for lunch, the avocado fries at Hans Rockenwagner's 3 Square Cafe + Bakery (1121 Abbot Kinney) are a snack that manages to be both naughty and nice.

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