Scene: The Tobi Touch... New Directions... Pamper Yourself...

Food and fashion are as second-nature as sunscreen to San Diego.

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Food and fashion are as second-nature as sunscreen to San Diego. Here are a few hip restaurants and shops in the region.

THE TOBI TOUCH: It's fitting that Tobi Blatt, a former protégé of Ron Herman at Fred Segal who worked as Herman's assistant in the Eighties, has fashioned her own mini retail empire in northern San Diego. She opened her first women's contemporary boutique in 1996 in Del Mar, and expanded it to include men's and kids' wear, a year-old beauty bar providing waxing services and makeup applications and a shoe department. Three years later, she opened a smaller unit in Encinitas. With over 260 brands of women's apparel, accessories and shoes, Tobi Blatt offers items in sizes 0 to 20. Locals, including the wives of the San Diego Chargers and Padres, visit the store for its denim mix of 14 brands, like Great China Wall, James Perse tank dresses and Foley + Corinna cocktail frocks. Next on Blatt's to-do list is relaunching the store's Web site,, and taking the manufacturing plunge.

CHEAP AND CHIC: With most items priced under $100 in her store, Jackie Simpson has built a cult following for her junior and young contemporary wares at LilyGrace Boutique in Pacific Beach, especially in these tough economic times (Web sales at have skyrocketed 50 percent in the last two months). LilyGrace caters to local college students and moms in search of Indah's beachy dresses, Split's Bali-print sundresses and BB Dakota's seersucker shorts. The chockablock store also carries hard-to-find perfumes like Ebba and such indie jewelry lines as Blanc and Reed's Bling Rings with chrome flowers and gold birds. Decorated with pink chandeliers and floral wallpaper, Simpson's cozy space of 700 square feet prohibits having much inventory, so it's first-come, first-sold for shoppers, who may see her daughter, Grace, playing dress-up amid the toys scattered on the floor. And, in keeping with the family spirit, Simpson's husband runs a tattoo shop two doors down.

Hip soccer moms — not an oxymoron these days — in Mission Hills have found a fashion outpost in Christie's Boutique, opened three years ago by a former neighborhood lawyer, Christie Thoene. Tucked amid the cluster of art galleries and salons in this bedroom community, the destination store caters to neighborhood mothers (two private schools are located nearby) who visit regularly for their fix of And Cake sweaters, Prairie Underground tunics, Trina Turk dresses and Joe's Jeans. A handful of handbags, shoes and jewelry, like Conchita Ramirez's delicate beaded pendant necklaces or Goryana's gold hammered hoops, gives shoppers an excuse to revisit the cheerful store designed with powder blue and lime green walls, hardwood floors, exposed wood beams and plush upholstered chairs. And if they can't get to the store, they can visit online at For fashion- or time-challenged moms, manager Kat Atkinson will provide personal styling tips at home and gently nudge them into purging their closets.
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