There's a liquor store on Hillhurst Avenue in Los Feliz called CapN Cork Jr. Market. It has a silly name, but the products inside are surprisingly serious business.
The store looks like an average booze emporium: stacks of wine in the middle, surrounded by coolers filled with beer, sodas and a couple kinds of ice cream and frozen meals. Behind the register is a tall wall of spirits, in a wide range of price points (though nothing's actually cheap). The surprise here is how much the employees know about the bottles: their origins; what makes an "organic gin" organic; if you want a bourbon that tastes good in a mixed drink, just get Four Roses, but if you're trying to impress, get this one from Iowa.
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For those with more of a sweet tooth than a drunk tooth, there's even more good news. One of CapN Cork's buyers is based in Europe, and he's got an inside line on chocolate, too. Specifically Ritter and Kinder, two of the greatest confection manufacturers on the planet.
Kinder Bueno, with chocolate, wafer and hazelnut cream, is hugely, wildly popular in Europe but hard to find in L.A. But at the Cork there are stacks of them, along with all the other Kinder products. The store carries all the Cadbury bars, too: Wispa, Flake, CurlyWurly.
But the star of the chocolate show is the full range of Ritter Sport bars. You think Gelson's carries a good selection? The CapN has Cornflake, Biscuits and Nuts, Rum Raisin ... it goes on. Plus, it carries the seasonal varieties, which I've never seen before in L.A. Right now Pink Grapefruit, Blackberry Creme and Cocoa Creme are all at the register. Collect 'em all.
1674 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz. (323) 665-7880.