If I was in L.A.. California dreamin’ On such a winter’s day.
– The Mamas and the Papas
I have been to California several times, but only once for pleasure – and that was over ten years ago! With a number of good friends and family living in the greater L.A. area, it was only a matter of time before I made it out there again. This time, I happily left behind my snowy state of Massachusetts for a brief reminder of what the sun on my skin feels like.
We planned this trip fairly last-minute, so unlike my usual self – I didn’t plan a thing! Instead I soaked up quiet and relaxing moments, many cups of coffee, good times with good friends, and far too much good food. I already shared about the LACMA, and today I’ll share some of our meandering and restaurants, and I’ll come back later with the touristy ones.
Although I didn’t have a thing planned – we ended up seeing a LOT! I was in the hands of some very good tour guides. I thought I’d share my favorites:
The beaches of Malibu are great for beach-walking. Though much narrower beaches than what I am used to here in New England, they are long and quiet. The houses practically come down to the high-tide line (!) so if you’re a house-gazer, like myself, you’ll have to spend the first half admiring the ocean, and the second half looking the other direction and admiring the homes.
We spent three nights in Santa Monica. I spent one morning walking to famous Santa Monica promenade and (formerly known as Muscle Beach) shorelines. The pier was crowded even early in the morning, but still a fun place to see. It’s like a scaled down version of Navy Pier in Chicago.
I spent two happy afternoons scouring the Montana Ave area of Santa Monica. The street is full of great shops (both boutiques and chains) and, although I came home empty-handed, a fun way to spend an afternoon. With freshly pedicured feet (a rare treat for this gal), we lazy-ed around enjoying cookies and cappuccinos at well-known bakery Sweet Lady Jane.
It’s no secret how much I love our own CSA and farmer’s market back home, so hitting up the Venice Saturday Farmer’s Market was a blast – and so different from my own back home! Oranges, fruits, flowers, pressed juices. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore! (All my farm has at the moment are root vegetables and the like.)
Also in Venice, and totally worth checking out, are the Venice Canals, which you may recognize from the highly disappointing movie “Valentine’s Day”. It’s a quaint, historic neighborhood built on man-made canals, complete with arched bridges and all!
image source: Scopa Italian Roots
Delicious food was certainly not in shortage on this trip, and one of my favorite restaurants we went to was Scopa in Venice. Rocking a hipster vibe, meals are best shared family style. You may as well try one of everything – but my favorites were the roasted cauliflower and the deep-fried peanut butter banana fluffernutter sandwich.
Yes, it’s a real thing, and it was devilishly good. I’ve officially filled my fried-fluff quota for the next ten years. Forgive the rotten picture – it was dark and a quick Instagram captured this gloriously gluttonous moment.
We spent a morning power-walking with my Aunt in South Pasadena (I’ve got to work-off that deep-fried sandwich – don’t I?) and, if you are a house-lover like myself, this is a great way to hit the pavement! Sadly, I can’t even begin to recall the route we went on, but the area was a very fun and full of beautiful homes to admire and comment on. (Is this a strange or normal way to pass the time?)
We saw several of the Greene and Greene houses, such as the Gamble House. Greene and Greene was an architectural firm (two brothers) that worked mostly in California. They are well-known for helping start the Craftsman and American Arts and Crafts Movement.
We also went by the Father of the Bride house – which may be the very best house of ALL TIME.
The night before we dined at Gus’s Barbeque – a South Pasadena landmark. If you’re in the area this is definitely worth a stop. The Smoked Tri-Tip Caprese sandwich was so delicious my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
We also did a few very touristy L.A. things that I’ll talk about later this week! : )
The Father of the Bride house has always been one of my favorite movie houses! I always cry at the basketball scene in the driveway. What’s your favorite “movie house”?