- mrgreenbeenz Sep 15, 2008 05:39 PM
Recently moved back to LA from NY and am slowing dying from a lack of delicious, gooey, stinky cheeses (that are not stratospherically overpriced).
Tried the place at Sunset Junction - wasn't into hipsters who knew nothing about their highly limited selection of goofily overpriced cheeses. Went to Say Cheese on Hyperion which was slightly less over-priced but when I got home I realized the burn-out behind the counter had cut me an end-piece of bucheron - it was like 50% rind and I didn't even get a discount.
Where is there a SERIOUS selection of cheeses in this town? With real cheesemongers - not some kid saving his ducats for next year's burning man - behind the counter. Any place with more than 25 cheeses . 100+ would be great. I live downtown but am willing to travel. I also will pay a premium if necessary but would really like to find a place that isn't at least a 50% mark up from what I am used to paying in NY.
I'm considering putting up a similarly whiny post about whole bean coffee. So if anyone has any suggestions that don't involve Groundwork or Intelligentsia (both utterly miserable coffee buying experiences in my estimation) I'd love to hear those too.
I think you're just too good for this town, Mr. Green. I've never encountered that type of help at Cheese Store of Silver Lake, but it's probably best to try to speak with the owner, a 40something portly gentleman named Chris. The Cheese Shop of Beverly Hills is really your only alternative at this level.
Can't help you with the beans, either, as I'm happy with the two you mentioned or even with Peet's. However, Graffeo is just a few doors from the Cheese Shop of Beverly Hills, and many people enjoy their beans, so you could find two places to complain about in one trip.
This is probably farther than you'd like but I love the new cheese store in Santa Monica on Montana. The proprietor is the former cheese guy from Patina and he's incredibly enthusiastic and helpful, as is his staff. I've found Chris at the Cheese Store of Silver Lake to be really gruff and uninviting and I used to live next door and go in often.
This is the website for the new place that opened on Montana:
I went last weekend and the selection and staff knowledge are both excellent.
Cheese Shop of Beverly Hills is stellar except it's a madhouse on the weekends.
The cheesemonger at Wally's (on Westwood) is uber knowledgeable and the place has a good selection as well.
This may be far too pedestrian for your tastes, but give Trader Joe's a try. I don't know how they do on stinky cheeses, since I'm a sharper-the-better cheddar guy, but their prices are the best around and they have enough turnover so the stock remains fairly fresh. Admittedly, no cheesemonger to chat with and provide samples, but they will gladly accept returns on anything you don't care for, and did I mention their prices?
Chowpatty and mollyomormon mention some places that probably have enough stink and drip to make most stinky and drippy cheese lovers moonstruck. In the direction of the more obvious like nosh, you might also consider Whole Foods. They always have a great selection as their growing list of superstores all seem to carry a fair amount of cheeses that are if not will be gooey and stinky with a little time.
If all else fails, consider ordering from Cow Girl Creamery up in Tomales Bay. We visited them just about every day we were up in the general area as their selection of cheeses, house made and imported alike, made my knees buckle as it did most others. My son and daughter were the two exceptions. Being string cheese advocates, the smells of cheeses ripening in the store as well as their small operation almost made them upchuck their cookies - they waited in the car after the first visit (windows down of course - safe town). The cheeses they make are all from organic ingredients, and the ones that they source are from small cheesemakers around the US but mostly from Europe and many of these choices are organic as well. I've "aged" their Mt. Tam and Red Hawk (which already has a head start) for up to two months and have had good results where my kids left the table holding their noses. If my kids' reactions to the cheeses are of any value, give Cow Girl a shot if your search becomes fruitless.
In addition to Beverly Hills Cheese Store which is amazing, Artisan Cheese Gallery (in Studio City) is also worth checking out.