California, United States

Spotlight on Los Angeles

California United States

This trip had a lot of firsts for both of us… for starters, neither of us had ever been to California at all before!  We were so excited to embark on this trip together, and Britt’s birthday was the perfect excuse to go!  Our trip spanned from LA, to San Francisco, to Napa, and back to San Francisco before heading back to the East Coast.  But one city at a time!  Here’s our spotlight on Los Angeles:  as usual, we ate…we drank…and we saw just about everything we wanted to see!

We stayed with Lou’s college roommate Scott, who moved out to LA almost 2 years ago.  The house was up in the Hollywood Hills and had incredible views of the city; quite a bit different from any view we’ve seen living in NYC.  The first morning we headed to Aroma Café in Studio City. This place was perfectly California.  We definitely recommend sitting outside in the little back patio surrounded by trees and ivy; it was beautiful. The food was great, they had plenty of vegan/veggie options for Britt (LA is so great for a vegetarian!!), and the atmosphere was so chill.

After brunch, we headed to Santa Monica and got our first taste of LA traffic on the way!  It was well worth it when we pulled up to this awesome empanada spot called Cha Cha Chicken, and sat outside while we sipped on sake and coconut water.  We know… it sounds interesting, and kind of gross, but we were so shocked with how delicious this drink combo was. We highly recommend it!  We rounded our day out at the beach, admiring the pier and soaking in the LA calm as we listened to the waves crash by our feet.  Once we got back to the house in The Hills, it was time to get ready for a long-awaited dinner at SUR.  This was a Britt must-visit because she loves the Vanderpump Rules TV show.  Lou’s take was that the food was okay, but it was more about the cool ambiance and the great drinks. It was exciting to feel like you are on set of a show you watch, but we would recommend sticking to some pre-dinner drinks and then heading out.

On our second day, we had to check another must-do off of the list and hike in Runyon Canyon.  It’s kind of like, if you don’t take a picture on top of the canyon, did you even go to LA?  We of course brought Emma (Lou and Scott’s golden retriever that they bought together in college) with us for the hike.  We all enjoyed going up – it was hot, it was a little challenging, but it was good exercise that we were happy to get.  The way down was another story…Scott and Emma went down like it was nothing, and Britt started to strongly consider the idea that she was going to fall off the side of the mountain, never to be seen again.

Once the trek down was over and we were back on solid ground, we headed over to Joan’s on Third.  It was the prefect lunch spot to enjoy a nice, cold, fresh salad and a bottle of white wine for the three of us.  We’re on vacation, drinks with every meal, right?  We finished lunch and headed to a nearby rooftop bar called E.P. & L.P.  It was another really cool spot, very trendy, and exactly what you would picture a rooftop bar in LA to be like.  Next up was dinner at a restaurant highly recommended to us called Gjelina.  We ordered almost everything on the menu and nothing disappointed!  We would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone who asks.

Day three and we’re feeling like we are LA naturals.  We woke up and took Emma on a walk to explore the neighborhood.  They weren’t kidding when they named it the Hollywood Hills; there is no such thing as flat land up there.  We got to see some more of the landscape and snapped some great pictures of the Hollywood Sign.  We were ready to live the high life for the day! We headed to lunch at The Ivy and shopped on Rodeo Dr. and the surrounding streets of Beverly Hills.  At night, we celebrated Britt’s birthday at a place called Cavatina, located inside the Sunset Marquis Hotel.  It was an awesome experience dining at an indoor/outdoor restaurant set inside a garden and surrounded by waterfalls and tall palm trees.

Sadly, our last day in LA was bound to come.  We couldn’t leave without hitting one of our favorite restaurants in NYC that’s also in a prime location on the beach in Malibu… you guessed it… Nobu!  We were so excited to drive up the coast and see some amazing views.  It was a little foggy, but we didn’t let that get in our way.  We stopped at the pier by Malibu Farm restaurant and El Matador Beach, which is known for being a local spot without many tourists.  We made our way to lunch and it met all of our expectations:  a truly incredible view, amazing sushi (and veggie rolls, edamame, salads, and more!!), delicious cocktails, and all in all amazing service.  After stuffing ourselves and walking around at the outdoor shopping Malibu Country Mart, we checked the last two (and probably most predictable) things off of our list.  At this point, some of you are probably thinking to yourselves: HOW DID THEY NOT GET IN N’ OUT??? Don’t worry! That’s exactly what we did.  To satisfy Britt’s sweet tooth we went to a well known frozen yogurt shop called The Bigg Chill and then headed back up into The Hills.

And that’s all she wrote…we woke up the next morning and headed out to the airport.  On to San Francisco and Napa!