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Nurturing Body and Spirit

From cutting-edge restaurants to innovative art exhibitions, Los Angeles offers diversions after the fashion shows.

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From cutting-edge restaurants to innovative art exhibitions, Los Angeles offers diversions after the fashion shows.

K-Zo

"Our restaurant is very simple — good food with good service," said Yuki Ishiba, owner and general manager of the Culver City Japanese fusion restaurant K-Zo. Indeed, K-Zo, which opened in fall 2006, offers a pared-down, intimate atmosphere rendered in rich wooden accents and soothing earth tones. It is the kind of place to kick back after an afternoon of shopping. Yet the cuisine is anything but simplistic. Chef Keizo Ishiba, Yuki's husband, presents a mélange of Japanese classics like its fresh sushi menu (rolls range from $4 to $16) to more colorful fare like ankimo, "foie gras from the sea" comprising steamed monkfish liver steeped in ponzu sauce ($9); the oyster half-shell loaded with sea urchin and sprinkled with caviar is a customer favorite ($12). Cool off as the temperature escalates by quaffing K-Zo's cold sake of the month or one of its 30 other premium selections (corkage fee $15).

K-Zo, 310-202-8890. Open for lunch Monday-Friday,

11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and for dinner Monday-Thursday, 5:30-10:30 p.m., and Friday-Saturday from 5:30-11 p.m.

Little Dom's

Little Dom's in Los Feliz is restaurateur Warner Ebbink and chef Brandon Boudet's petite companion to Dominick's in West Hollywood. The 50-person dining room emanates warmth from every candlelit corner with leather banquettes, retro wooden chairs, and vintage photographs lining the cream-colored walls. Customers can sip the lush house red at the antique wooden bar framed by leaded windows, and then sample Boudet's selection of appetizers such as fried artichokes layered with shrimp and sprinkled with mint, garlic and capers ($14), or the wood-baked ricotta and mushrooms served with crostini ($14). Entrées include homemade pappardelle tossed in cream with roasted mushrooms ($14), grilled hangar steak with wilted spinach and crispy mushrooms ($17) or sumptuous grilled filet mignon tips with barolo wine sauce and parmesan mashed potatoes ($22).

Little Dom's, 323-661-0055. Open Monday-Sunday,

6 p.m.-midnight.

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LAXART Gallery

 

New Yorkers Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker transform Culver City's LAXART gallery into a labyrinth of brightly printed paint cans, bulbous light fixtures, wall art and a quirky assortment of other appropriated odds and ends. From March 15 to April 28, viewers can walk through this homage to pop patriarchs Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg, reflecting on the underlying indictment of consumer culture. Accompanying the showing is a billboard on La Cienaga Boulevard featuring the artists' print of bananas layered over horizontal stripes, a conspicuous nod to our culture's materialistic overtones. Simultaneously, L.A.-based artist Sew Hoy offers a clean break with convention via POW!, her installation at LAXART of monolithic arm and wrist casts featuring the signatures of her close acquaintances.

LAXART, 310-559-0166. Open Tuesday-Saturday,

11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Kara Walker, Hammer Museum

Kara Walker's iconic monochromatic silhouettes roll into town for a showing at the Hammer Museum at UCLA, the first comprehensive exhibition of her work. Since her 1994 emergence on the art scene, Walker has been producing meticulously crafted silhouette compositions out of black paper, most mounted directly onto whitewashed walls. The elegance and intricacy of Walker's renderings of the antebellum-era South belies the works' undercurrents of slavery, violence and exploitation. "This is not the story you thought you were going to get at the beginning," said Gary Garrels, the Hammer's chief curator and deputy director of exhibitions and public programs. "Once you're seduced by Kara's virtuosic technique, you realize it's profoundly disturbing, and you're not going to forget it easily." The Hammer is the only West Coast showing for the exhibit, which also has been staged at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan, the Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where it originated

"Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love," Hammer Museum, March 2-June 8. Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 11 a.m.-

7 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $5.

Akasha

With Mercedes Benz's Los Angeles spring-summer 2008 fashion week going green along with what seems like the rest of the fashion community, chef Akasha Richmond's new Culver City spot, Akasha, is all the rage with eco-conscious patrons. Akasha, which opened on Feb. 12, transformed the old Hull building into a sleek, sculptural space anchored by carefully restored arches of steel, wood, concrete and brick. From sustainable insulation to natural ceramic tile floors made from sand, Akasha carries its environmentally friendly ethos over to its cuisine, made with only natural and organic ingredients. Dishes such as a spiked organic turkey burger peppered with green olives, jalepeño and organic cheddar ($14); an eggplant, goat cheese and tomato gratin with pine nuts, roasted garlic and basil ($19), and wild pepper scallops served with black rice, risotto and baby bok choy ($27) pack exceptional flavor.

 

Akasha, 310-845-1700. Open for dinner Monday-Saturday, 5:30-11:00 p.m. Lunch hours to begin on Thursday.

Restaurant photos by Tyler Boye; Walker courtesy of Hammer Museum

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