Tortoise General Store

Tortoise General Store

Discover the unique Japanese saran wrap at the Tortoise General Store in Venice, California. Explore the Onda pottery and Sori Yanagi-designed cookware, as well as the Iga hot pot from Japan. Experience the thick and effective saran wrap used by both professionals and civilians in Japan compared to industrial-sized rolls used in America.

Japanese saran wrap. There are a million reasons to check out the incredible Tortoise General Store, online or in person in Venice, California, but no matter how much you fall in love with the breathtaking Onda pottery or equally breathtaking Sori Yanagi-designed cookware, don't forget the saran wrap. There's nothing else like it. As I was walking through the shop yesterday during a visit to LA, the gracious owner, Keiko Shinomoto, who runs Tortise with her equally gracious husband Taku, pointed out the wrap as I was swooning over all the other wonderful stuff there. Keiko was right. One of the (many, many) things that surprised me while working this past spring in restaurants in Japan was that chefs there used the exact same saran wrap as regular civilians. Here in America, by comparison, all the professional kitchens I've been in use industrial-sized rolls of clear film. It's no accident: Everyday Japanese saran wrap is thicker than the stuff in America, and somehow keeps foods fresher. In fact, I usually secret a few rolls in my luggage whenever I return from Japan. (I can't believe I'm admitting this in public.)

Okay, moving on from the saran wrap (!), the Yanagi cookware is particularly inspired, beautifully designed and perfectly functional. And for all you hot pot fans: Tortise also carries a nice hot pot from Iga, Japan, where some of the best earthenware vessels are hand-formed. I guess you can tell I was really delighted to discover this tasteful shop. Here are a few pictures of things I found there: