06/01/2011 01:21 pm ET | Updated Jul 31, 2011

Los Angeles Welcomes a Gourmet's Paradise at The Market in Santa Monica Place

Pictured: The Welcome Committee at the opening of The Market (photo: M.Hall)

Recently, I stopped in at the VIP Opening Party for the new gourmet food mecca, The Market at Santa Monica Place (SMP).  Usually, I go to SMP for Fashion finds,  shopping the huge Bloomingdales or the White House Black Market store. However, I also love good food and wine, and in those areas, the new The Market  has much to offer.  From a gourmet cooking school to delicious souffles at the new Rockenwagner to amazing flowers at Magical Blooms, The Market is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. 

Pictured: The fantastic pretzel dress at The Market by Rockenwagner. (photo: M. Hall)

The Market is officially open to the public now and if you are a foodie, you might want to be there.  If you are a fashionista out shopping, you might want to check it out for some lunch or a break.  Here are some of the highlights I discovered at The Market:

  • A Dining Deck, with six eclectic restaurants, including La Sandia, Ozumo, Pizza Antica, Sonoma Wine Garden, Xino and Zengo, and a modern, indoor-outdoor food court - all with ocean and city views.
  • Delicious baked Souffles and homemade breads at the new Rockenwager store.  This is a MUST try.  The manager Matthew exemplifies customer service, and the food is terrific!
  •  Wonderful cheeses, including homemade burrata cheese, at the  Norcino Salumeria Cheese Bar. There are also wonderful European salamis and cured meats.
  • Amazing chocolate at the L'Artisan du Chocolat including sipping chocolate and homemade chocolates with nuts and fruit.  
  • Cooking classes at The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories.  I didn't get to try the fare, but I saw one of the classes taking place , and it looked like great + delicious fun.
  • Beautiful flower arrangements at Magical Blooms, delicious cookies at The Cookie Guru (served with cold milk if you'd like) and a coffee lover's treat, the amazing Groundworks Coffee.

In short, there is plenty to explore at The Market.  The opening festivities featured the world's largest lasagna cutting at the opening ceremony.  If you stop in, be sure to pick up the coupon book for bargains at all the stores.