There’s something cheesy about Manhattan Beach these days—and that’s the second location of Andrew’s Cheese Shop. Expanding from the shop’s first Santa Monica location, owner Andrew Steiner opened this new spot near the Manhattan Beach pier shortly before the holidays.
“We like the demographic and the large amount of foot traffic. Being so close to the beach doesn’t hurt either,” he said with a laugh. “I live near the beach, I grew up near the beach, and our other store is near the beach, too. In times of stress, the sunset over the ocean works miracles.”
The well-curated shop carries more than 200 different varieties of cheese. Each comes with a descriptive card that provides information about the cheese, and what wine to purchase with it to help guests learn about their favorites. Andrew’s also offers chocolates, beer and wine, specialty foods, and picnic and to-go baskets.
Asked to name his most unique offering, Steiner jokes “I’ll go with three because I can’t choose between my children.” Here’s his short list: “Dwarf peaches in truffle oil from Italy—they look like olives and are the best thing you will ever put in your martini; Calabrian Caramelized Fig Spread—think of a fig flavored Crème Brulée.” Last but not least, he adds “We have a salted butter from Normandy that is simply the best. You can never go back to regular butter. I eat it like cheese. It’s amazing.”
And speaking of cheese, his most popular selections are the Beaufort d’été from Josef Paccard, which he describes as similar to “the best Gruyère you’ve ever had,” and the Delin Brillat-Savarin from Burgundy. “It’s a triple-crème and about as decadent as it gets,” he said.
Steiner’s love of cheese began early.
“The short version is that I worked in a very famous French restaurant when I was younger and more beautiful. The owner decided to do a European style table side cheese service. I just started learning the subject to speak intelligently to the customers and fell in love with it. The program became so popular that it eventually became a full-time job. I read, tasted, traveled and experimented for many years.”
Today, what Steiner most wants shoppers to know about his shop is that he deeply cares about the quality of his products.
“What I care about is that we sell the best quality that we can find and that the animals and workers are treated as well as can be expected. It also helps if the producers are good people,” he explains.
With Valentine's Day coming up, he has several “cheesy” holiday suggestions.
“I’m big on simplicity. I would put a little of Rudolph’s salted butter on one of our fresh baguettes, then spoon some Époisses de Bourgogne, the smelliest, sexiest cheese there is into the nooks and crannies. That’s right, butter and cheese,” he notes, adding “Then chase it down with a Blanc de Noirs Champagne. Philipponnat is my favorite, and finish off with a box of fresh, handmade dark chocolate Grand Marnier truffles from my friend Yvan Vallentin right here in Los Angeles.”
Visit Andrew at his eponymous cheese shop for more delicious ideas.
Andrew's Cheese Shop is located at 1141 Highland Ave. For more information, visit andrewscheese.com or call (424) 390-4345.