For the past 36 years, The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills pretty much had a monopoly in Los Angeles. Now, finally, it has some competition. Chris Pollan, a former rock-band tour manager and a Cheese Store alum, has opened The Cheesestore of Silverlake (no connection to the Beverly Hills shop), which stocks roughly 200 cheeses, including lots of artisanal varieties, rare goat's-milk versionsand extra stinky Alsatian Muenster (3926 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-644-7511). And at the opposite end of town, in Venice Beach, Jason Stroh, who learned about cheese at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has opened Stroh's Gourmet, a tiny deli with about three dozen carefully chosen single-farm cheeses, along with sandwiches made from terrific Serrano hams, prosciutto and the like. Lines often wrap around the block—but patient customers are rewarded with generous samples (1239 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 310-450-5119).

—Brad A. Johnson