guidetovenice

By John Wigmanich

headshotA real estate broker at The Agency and a longtime Los Angeles native, Wig has a passion for the finer things in life: good food, surfing, yoga, cooking, gardening, Feng shui, remodeling spaces, and exceptional wine.

I’m thrilled to share what I would call one of the most chill, creative, fun, diverse, sexy, (a little sketchy at times), and progressive cities in the L.A. region. I have traveled all over the world, and Venice is one of the few places that I can truly say feels like home. There is a real sense of community here that has drawn me in completely.

So, while keeping this PG-13, I’ll go through a day in the life of Wig in Venice. To me, Venice is the land of my dreams… I can create any kind of day I want here to fit my lifestyle.

homeMorning: I’ll either go for a run on the boardwalk or a quick surf at the pier or the jetty. I’ll then shoot down to Moon Juice (photo, at right) for a Goodness Greens juice with Ormus. Not only are the juices amazing, but the space is beautiful. The owner Amanda (who is very sweet) used a local Venetian tile maker, enhancing the very clean and organic vibe of the space.

If I’m looking for a gift for a friend, I always check Tortoise General Store for something uniquely Japanese (and don’t forget the back building for beautifully-soft woven scarfs or something cool for your dinner table).

For lunch, I love to hit GTA (Gjelina Take Away) for a Tuna Conserva sandwich with a side of faro salad, and a chocolate chip cookie. On the side of GTA, I’ll sit on a tree stump where the bougainvillea hang over and little birds fight for my crumbs. Alternatively, I’ll hit up Poke-Poke off the boardwalk for a spicy tuna poke.

Venice HeroFor a little pick-me-up, I’ll head a block west from GTA to Intelligentsia for a short latte (it packs a punch)—another great place to people watch.

As cliché as it might be, I like to take a walk on the boardwalk and maybe stop by On The Waterfront Café and have a beer at a communal table outside. I never get tired of looking at all the bizarre people who walk by and (fingers crossed) hopefully catch the 70’s rock/jazz band that plays right in front of the café.

Right as the the sun goes down, I might go for a sundowner surf or head to the canals and do a slow meandering walk. The flowers are amazing, the architecture is diverse, and you might even catch a couple arguing through their huge fishbowl-effect windows.

Evening: Currently, I’m really into doing the triple threat on Rose Ave. I might start at VBW 3(Venice Beach Wine) for a glass of wine and good conversation. I then walk across the street to Hosteria del Piccolo for some grilled octopus with an Italian beer (order a Manabrea). They play old movies on the wall inside to keep it lively.

For dessert, I’ll do a hefty walk about fifty feet west to Café Gratitude (photo, at right) for a slice of raw key lime pie. If it’s still early, I might walk (or bike) to the Tasting Kitchen for one of their amazing cocktails made with fresh herbs.

The space is hidden from the street but open, airy and sexy when you walk in. The bar is slammed with gorgeous people and reminds me of a great house party (without the dancing).

For authentic Italian food (and a nice date spot) I would head to Piccolo Venice (at 5 Dudley). It’s hidden and known only to locals and to those familiar with great Italian food. During truffle season (October/November), you have to try anything truffle they have!

There are so many incredible places to eat, spots to visit, and activities to enjoy in Venice that I could write a whole book about it. For now, though, this guide will have to suffice.