The Golden Triangle
by Enyaj Pitchford
Next time you find yourself stuck in traffic on Lincoln Blvd near Venice, instead of troubling yourself with repeated affirmations to suppress anger and swear words, park the car and take a break, for an adventure awaits!
Stroll into the Love Shack, the eclectic community art and furniture store, and follow your nose to the Camilla’s Sourdough Cafe and Bakery on the North West corner of 2121 Lincoln Blvd. Delight yourself with a feast of fermented breads, croissants, cinnamon rolls and a variety of fair-trade coffee, teas and cacao drinks that captivate the senses with their color shape, scent and scrumptiousness!
Her signature sourdough, which can be preordered, is no ordinary fare. Camilla Gibson loves to share that “The bread we make is all naturally leavened,” She uses wild yeast meaning “NOT commercially-produced fast-acting yeast” She explains that “. the fermentation process destroys gluten, releases enzymes, and unlocks the nutrition of wheat”. Great news for those who want their wheat but not the gluten!
It was a strange twist of fate which brought the enchanting Camilla to find her new purpose in life. A couple of years ago, she was seriously injured in a surfing accident which immobilized her. Weeks before the event, a friend had invited her to his Living Community and she assisted him in making sourdough bread. After her accident, she decided to engage her new curiosity and start making the bread herself. She fed her friends and roommates and began getting requests to make loaves. Her passion for fermentation grew the more bread she made until she was urged by her growing fan base to open up shop. Her boyfriend Udi stumbled upon a used pizza deck oven on NextDoor and and installed it. What began as a Pop-Up venture in April of 2019 blossomed into a full-fledged business, open daily.
As Camilla says “We are not just selling food, we are pumping love and consciousness into the ecosystem, and we are building a loving, nourishing community, all while making food ART from our heART! “This is evident in all aspects of her operation. The food packaging is biodegradable, the food scraps are composted at the local community gardens. “Plus,” she adds, “any extra bread or foods that are still good are distributed to people experiencing homelessness or otherwise hungry folks.” All the food served is vegan, organic and “…made by hand with love and intention.”, a slice of heaven in every slice! Remember to order your sourdough before you go to pick up on your next visit.
Now that your hunger is sated, go to the nearest crosswalk and just go straight across to your next destination, Amiga Wild, a homemade boutique and workshop space. Located at 2124 Lincoln Blvd., a bit set back from the street, Amiga Wild is truly an adventure. The owners are always engaged in improving the place and during my interview they were happily painting an outdoor gazebo tastefully surrounded by beautiful plants.
Everything in the store is homemade by local artists and is unique, beautiful and functional. From the clothes, to the bags, to the wide, comfy bicycle seat covers, to every scented item imaginable from all your body care products to candles, this place is like a garden of heavenly delights.
Run collectively by artists Sadie Gilliam, Venetian born and Alisun Franson, a NY transplant, Amiga Wild has the ‘old Venice’ flavor of creativity and invites you to join in the fun with various workshops. Rocking steady in this location since December of 2017, Alisun says the pair sought to create “a local art hub in our community where artists and makers had a place to show their creations”. Sadie chimes in adding “We feel that we are very important to our community and to keeping the art alive and thriving in Venice.”. They both agree that they get great pleasure in the fact that their shop is a blank canvas for their creations and they are able to share that with others. There is so much to take in, that you will have to linger a while to get the full drift of what this place offers. There is something for everyone on your list for sure! Don’t forget to get something for yourself.
Now, as you leave the store, all you need to do is veer north, or simply go right and into the next gem of the block, The Nutritional Warehouse. Tony Mason, the general manager of the store from its inception in 1998, should be awarded a trophy for best customer service because you won’t find anyone like him anywhere. He is the most polite, amiable and ready to serve gentleman I have ever encountered. And if he doesn’t know the answer to a question, he will get your number, research thoroughly and get back to you. The owner John Rizzo describes him a “saint” because he works so hard and is the backbone of the business. They are good friends who share the vision to promote a healthier lifestyle to the community. Their camaraderie gives one a warm feeling and makes the place a great local spot to linger.
The store stocks various herbal products, protein powders and bars, energy drinks, kombucha, essential oils, bath and beauty products and some healthy snacks. The prices are the best in town, which is why it’s called a “warehouse”. But if there is something you want that you don’t see, don’t hesitate to ask because Tony is willing to order it for the best price possible or suggest an alternative one if you are interested. It’s a great place to shop and learn about how to get optimal nutrition. It has served as a staple for the body building and workout community for over two decades. For anyone who just likes to make good nutritious smoothies, options of add-ins are endless.
Now that you have enjoyed a delicious meal, got some new locally crafted items and bought yourself ingredients for your morning smoothie, stroll over to your car knowing that you have supported your community and improved your holistic health and the traffic is gone. Enjoy the blissful ride home!