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The fabulous Laurie La Forest holds court at Lorielle. Photo by David Boylan
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Lick the Plate: Talking food and fashion at Lorielle in Leucadia

Over the past 20 years of living in Encinitas, there are certain people who I’ve run into on a regular basis at local restaurants, bars, and fun events like Leucadia Art Walk and Summer Fun on the 101. As I’ve gotten to know them in bits and pieces, I’ve discovered some, like Laurie La Forest who owns Lorielle Apparel & Gifts in Leucadia, have a long history in the area. In the case of Laurie, that history included a family that was involved in local farming and restaurants over the years. Having only been here the past 20 years, since most of Encinitas has been developed, I find this insider knowledge of local history fascinating.

First off, a bit about her fabulous store Lorielle, which she founded in 1991 and has been in its current location since 1993. Prior to opening her own store Laurie learned the business at several boutique style stores in Encinitas, Del Mar and La Jolla. Lorielle is right across the street from the Pannikin and behind Vigilucci’s Trattoria Italiana at 100 Athena Street. Lorielle has developed a huge following of women who value the independent boutique experience that offers one-of-a-kind clothing in a non-chain store environment in an amazing location that can best be described as “casual beach chic.”

Laurie has personal relationships with many of her customers and when items come in that suit their style she will reach out and let them know. Most of her clothing and accessories comes from small, independent manufactures that she has personal relationships with.

Having done a stint in high-end fabric early in my career, I can appreciate a talented buyer and a space that reflects the personality of the owner — Lorielle is all that and then some. You will usually find Laurie impeccably dressed in her own unique style that usually involves heels and stylish dresses, which she claims to have been wearing since eighth grade. Besides the personal relationships she develops with her customers, Laurie loves to create fun events around the store. Her annual witch party and fun field trips are must attend events for her clients. She also provides personal shopping services and closet makeovers. All that said, shopping at Lorielle is a unique, fun experience that I would highly recommend. And guys, she can work with you to pick out something perfect for any woman in your life so when you need some help in that area stop in and say hi … it’s become my go-to store for those occasions!

So, during a recent conversation with Laurie at a local event, she mentioned that her family goes way back in the area and that her grandparents had a 20-acre herb ranch in the early 1950s off Santa Fe. It was called Viviana Ranch and grew tomatoes, bell peppers and spices under the brand name Vienna Gardens Spices that were distributed nationally. In 1953 family bought the Shamrock Café (now Captain Keno’s) and named it Vienna Villa as her grandfather was from Sicily.

Laurie’s mom was one of six kids and she recalls her most memorable meals growing up were the big Italian Sunday dinners full of colorful family and friends with lots of music and good times. Her social life included surf movies and “Rocky Horror” at La Paloma, and her first concert in the area was General Public in Del Mar.

Most of the restaurants she remembers frequenting no longer exist, but she had plenty of memories to convey. “When I was little it was The Paddock restaurant, the fine dinning restaurant that I would select to go for my  birthday. We had to dress up and I thought the salad bar and cheddar cheese soup was all that. We also frequented the A&W drive in where Leucadia Pizzeria is now. The Country Kitchen was another favorite, like an old school cafeteria and was in the location where Hapi Fish now resides. That building also housed Kansas City BBQ and Gilles (owner of Calypso) had it for a time.

The Potato Shack is one from my past that is still around and it rocked it in the 80s as the breakfast spot in town … everyone wanted potatoes and cheese … yum! Simple, but great and all the boys went after surfing. Next-door was the beloved St. Germain Café. In its first orientation it seemed so cosmopolitan  with a very bistro euro vibe. Of course, there are so many more  stories and if your readers want more details, have them stop into the store and I’d be happy to tell them more.” I can attest to the many more stories and thanks for sharing Laurie!

Laurie lives in Leucadia not far from her store and despite many of the restaurants of her youth disappearing, she is not complaining about the booming dining scene happening in the area currently and has in fact embraced it. Our conversations now touch on a recent stellar meal one of us has recently had along Coast Highway 101. Some of her favorites are closely aligned with mine and include Fish 101, Buona Forchetta, La Especial Norte, Karina’s and Kai Ola.

Find Lorielle Apparel & Gifts at 100 Athena Street in Encinitas or call (760) 753-4822.

Editors Note: A previous version of this article failed to mention that The Leucadian was originally owned by the Kentera family before being sold in 1997. The Coast News regrets the error.

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