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My West Portal Village – 2

July 20, 2010

Here’s another batch of some of my favorite stores at West Portal…

[Edited to Add:  Read HERE for the previous batch.]

Growing Up Toys

I love this toy store for its charm and warmth; it feels like a place from a children’s story book. I think the half-door helps… It also has a fun selection of toys, often as quirky as the store itself.

Ambassador Toys

And here’s another, larger, toy store. This has enticing window displays, an area displaying glow-in-the-dark stuff, and dolls and toys of different cultures. Again, a pleasant stop when I’m seeking a gift for a kid.


This store elevates my blood sugar just by existing… it’s wonderful. It has an unusual selection of candy, including liquorice allsorts and fantastic designer chocolate. On a hot summer day, there are often school-kids on the bench outside with ice-cream.

Just Because

The shop for interesting greeting cards, seasonal decorations, and cute stuff… it’s got a fun, modern vibe. [Edited to Add (June 2012): This has now transformed into a more formal stationery store, the Desk Set. Not sure if it’s the same ownership.]


This might be the most romantic, feminine store I’ve ever encountered. Scented soap. Candles. Delicate gifts and flowers. If I’m buying something for a girl, this is a place I browse.

Andy Jewelers

As long as we’re talking about gifts for girls… this is a nice little family-owned jewelry store. We’ve bought small things here now and then. But they also help us with things like ring re-sizing, changing watch straps, and replacing batteries.

The City Antiques

This is an eminently browseable place, with a really eclectic bunch of stuff. Furniture. Glassware. Jewelry. Art. Silver. All kinds of collectibles. Again, a great place to get a unique gift for someone.

The Grateful Head

Every couple of months or so, these people battle my genes to make my hair stop resembling a bird’s nest. I’m Grateful, notwithstanding the pun.

Pacific Rim Optometry

Half our family needs glasses, and we’ve bought a bunch from here… it’s a personal touch, unlike some of the big chain names. [Edited to Add, June 2012: This store has also changed hands, but is still selling specs.]

West Portal Produce

The perfect place to pick up some veggies for dinner, or fruit for desert. Again, family-run, small, easy, and not expensive. The fruit displayed outside all tempts me.

West Portal Bakery

The perfect place for a cup of coffee and freshly-baked bread… and a selection of pastry and cookies. [Edited to Add, July 2012: Disappointingly, this place closed overnight some months ago. I believe Goat Hill Pizza is coming in instead.]


Walgreens. Walgreens? Yes, Walgreens. It’s like the anchor store of a mall. Open late, stocks everything you might need in a hurry. Once upon a time, this was a Woolworth’s; then it was RiteAid, and then Walgreens bought RiteAid.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2010 1:09 pm

    It’s almost as fun browsing your postings as it is the stores themselves. I also recommend the hair salon right next to the Grateful Head, where a woman named Chana does a great job cutting my husband’s hair and my son’s.

  2. June 13, 2012 9:14 pm

    Spot on! My favorite neighborhood.
    Miss the bakery, but Goathill Pizza would be fabulous.
    Thanks for not mentioning the Goodwill boutique- used to be good, but now gotten pricey…

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