Besides enjoying a restaurant meal, I worship putting a meal together. I would appreciate any input on sources of good food ingredients: spices, herbs, oils, legumes, mushrooms, wines, cheese, breads, vegetables, meats, fish, etc. There's a place on National near Venice Blvd. that I like; Picholine on Beverly Blvd., that sort of place.
For fine cheeses, Southern California is fairly impoverished. Nevertheless, the Cheese Shop in Beverly Hills, the La Brea Bakery and Say Cheese (on Hyperion?) are reliable, if very expensive. Fine artisanal English cheeses sold through Neal's Yard Dairy are available at the Wine House (on Cotner, just east of the 405 freeway, between Pico and Olympic) and Whole Foods -- and no doubt at other shops.
For fungi, try the mushroom guys at the Wednesday farmers market in Santa Monica. They set up next to the Buona Forchetta stand (lousy bread -- mealy and no crust) at the southern extreme of the market on 2nd Street and generally have California truffles, chanterelles, black chanterelles, hedgehogs and cultivated mushrooms. They were not there last week (14 March 2001), and the end of the wild mushroom season is coming up. There is also a woman who sells huge chanterelles at the same market. Her stand is on Arizona, close to and just west of the promenade, on the north side of the street.