It was not planned. But yet it was. Sometimes life takes a turn, and you just follow the path laid out. I planned on spending this year traveling as much as I could possibly fit in. Turns out it meant hitting the road quite literally. Two back to back road trips in Cali to be exact.
I have always wanted to do a massive road trip, but just never made it a priority. I have had so many trips and travels that of late, I just jump for the ones that present themselves, rather than pursue the ones of my dreams. But then, sometimes, life and dreams fall into place and become one.
My sisters and I had a week to spend in Cali so what better use of ones time than a slow meandering up the coast from LA to San Fran? We figured four days to drive would be plenty of time. How we underestimated the time we could have spent. But we had to be in San Francisco by Thursday night. First lesson I have learned this summer. Although deadlines inhibit, they also help. From a girl that prefers freedom always and avoids commitments, structure even amidst complete freedom and flexibility can be a beautiful thing.
So first up, LA. A bit gritty at first, but the city quickly woes one with its vibrancy, and at the same time, its laid back and easy going vibe. We all arrived into LA on a Thursday and staying through Monday. Scattered arrivals meant I pretty much spent my entire day at the airport, but I was sitting in sunny California, so it couldn’t be that bad. Even though sunny California was actually quite freezing and had been up since who knows when with only a couple hours of sleep. How does one always forget (even after living in a place for three years) that California is not life on the beach and bathing suits?
LA Places to Eat:
Dinette: This has become a fav spot of ours. I think I have had their vegan waffle three times now this summer. (Pictured there on the right with coconut cream and flax seeds. Oh my gosh so good.) Definite recommendation: Fig and Balsamic Vinegar Soda, Omega Waffle (vegan). But pretty much everything we had was killer good. Hard to go wrong. And the perfect place to get a feel of LA life. Sitting on the sidewalk enjoying each other’s company while eating delicious food and people watching.
Ostrich Farm: Just down the street from Dinnete (Echo Park was our go to place for eating first time around in LA), oh my gosh. Such the right vibe. Beautiful aesthetically, so hospitable, relaxed vibe, and delicious food. As per traveling with my sisters, we tend to order a couple items and then just share. We went a little overboard here though. Our picks:
- lamb meatballs with romesco sauce and yogurt
- peach and burrata flatbread
- brussel sprouts with bacon
- salmon (can’t remember what it was served with shockingly…)
And for dessert…
- Lemon curd, merengue, and cream with berries
- profiteroles with lemon rosemary, chocolate grand marnier, and one other flavor that is escaping me
In-N-Out Burger: So, as this is a bit of an institution (albeit fast food), we felt it obligatory to partake. And I will be honest, it hit the spot pretty perfectly. And as sisters go, we all ordered different burgers and taste tested. Ironically, I think we all were pleased with our individual choices.
Red Window Coffee: Hands down our favorite spot in LA for a coffee. No competition here. Such the cutest spot, plus delightful owners and staff. Highly recommend the salted caramel monkey bread. Two times and neither disappointed.
Kreation: Rustic Persian Cuisine and Modern Healthy Classics…need I say more. Even though this is a chain, it was the perfect spot. We felt like we had been living on lattes, cappuccinos, and sweet treats (oh and juice), so we all wanted some seriously healthy food. My pick, the Ash soup, which consisted of Spinach, Parsley, Cilantro, Leeks, Mint, Quinoa, Barley, Garbanzo Beans, Black Beans, and a touch of Yogurt. Seriously perfect. Just what I wanted and what my body was calling for.
Other recommendations: Intelligentsia (like In-N-Out Burger, this is a bit of institution in my mind when it comes to the West Coast and is a go to once kind of place), Grand Central Market (home to a million – not quite – food vendors…you can find anything and everything here)
Next time: Mennoti’s for coffee, Café Stella for French food which is always a weakness, street vendors (I can’t believe we have been twice in a month and still have not gotten food off street vendors) specifically a hot dog wrapped in bacon (because it is apparently the rave), and a million other places we passed but didn’t take note of…until next time
LA Things to Do:
Griffith Park: So there is the observatory, which is beautiful and worth a visit in its own right, but then the vast amount of trails and hills to be explored. Oh, this is the kind of place that makes my heart sore with joy and excitement. So contented.
Silly me, I forgot hiking shoes and had to spend four hours in backless sandals. Thankfully no snakes spotted. And we avoided two trails that would maybe have been a bit difficult. But there is always next time.
And, if you care to get a close up look at the infamous Hollywood sign, this is the place to do it.
Abbot Kinney Blvd: Definitely the place to hit for some shopping. Our favorites on the street: Buck Mason, Urbanic Paper Boutique, and Ilan Dei Venice
Neighborhoods still to explore: Highland Park specifically York Street, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Downtown LA…pretty much all of them. Even though we stopped at various spots in each area, we didn’t even dent them.
Next Time in LA: The Getty, Hollywood Forever Cementary for a movie night, LACMA
LA Places to Stay: Okay…so, even though there are probably a million great boutique hotels in LA, my sisters and I travel on a budget to say the least. So, airbnb it is for us. Our awesome find…loved the aesthetic and such the sweetest host. Just wish we had more time to enjoy the place, but we pretty much just crashed there at night. Too bad.
And now for the road trip…which will just have to wait for another post…