Los Angeles: Tortoise General Store
Back on that L.A. kick... I keep thinking about the city and how much I enjoyed being there. Honestly, I was surprised at how much I liked it! Even though the weather for most of the week I was there was gloomy and rainy (and cold, actually) I still loved it and I am figuring out how I can go back for an extended amount of time.
One of my favorite places (other than the coffee companies we drove hither and yon to go to) is Tortoise General Store. My first full day in LA was fantastic - my two best friends, one from Singapore and one from here, got to meet and the three of us spent the day walking around sunny Venice along the Abbott Kinney stretch of shops and restaurants. It was a typical, gorgeous L.A. Sunday, 65 degrees and sunny so not only was the company perfect, the day was as well.
We walked into what seemed, at first, to be a tiny store that sold Japanese housewares, clothes, stationery and art. Everything in the shop was beautiful and I wanted it all. I knew my sister would love it so when she arrived in LA, I dragged her there and I was right! She ended up getting some gifts for her friends, and we spent a good 45 minutes just looking at every little thing they had on their shelves from their art supplies (they have the tubs of starch glue we used as kids!!) to their sake cups and kitchen tools. I ended up buying a couple of pens and after coming back to Nashville, I ordered some things to give to a friend here.
As we wandered further into the store, we realized that there was a zen garden styled courtyard in the back that lead you to an art gallery filled with ceramics and Japanese art. So if you go, don't forget to go over there.
Oh, I have to say, their customer service is great. They helped me figure out an order I messed up (there's been a lot of that lately where I'm concerned) and not only fixed it, but followed up with me by telephone. SUCH a rare gesture these days, and one I appreciated.
If you get a chance to go to LA, you must stop by there, it's perfect for getting gifts for people you know or for yourself. And if I get the chance to go back to LA, this will probably be the first stop on my list.