This time of year, we’re heading out of our neighborhood comfort zone to shop for unexpected gifts. But woman cannot live on retail alone, and our trusty GPS doesn’t have a clue where to direct us to grab a bite. Here, our guide to a great meal/refueling when you’re shopping par vous-même.
Robertson Boulevard: Take time out from Chanel and Intermix to sit at the marble bar at Cecconi’s. Order basil-topped mini-meatballs ($10) and the mackerel-and-artichoke crostini ($9); you’ll feel like you’re in Paris but with a valet parking your car. 8764 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; 310-432-2000
Culver City: Trawling the home goods at H.D. Buttercup? Recover with happy hour at the Corner Door gastropub: Try the fried chicken with Sriracha ($8) and an anti-mixology cocktail ($6)--that’s Miller High Life and a shot of whiskey. 12477 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City; 310-313-5810
Glendale: The Americana at Brand is one-stop shopping for everything from outdoor-kiosk doodads to little luxuries at Tiffany. But the mall’s new siren call is world-renowned dumpling house Din Tai Fung--its juicy, fragrant truffle dumplings ($23 for five) are our new culinary indulgence. 889 Americana Way, Glendale; 818-637-8982