There is a special place in my heart for LA; you either love it or hate it and I’ve always loved it. I think it’s the lifestyle of California, plus the endless sun and beach that keep me coming back trip after trip. I was there for a week this time around, half of it spent in Anaheim with my family and boyfriend, the other half of it spent in LA with my sister and her boyfriend, Michael (who had rented a car which made getting around way easier).
The downside of the trip was LA experienced one of the craziest rain storms they’ve had in awhile on one of our Disneyland days. Most of the days were cloudy and drizzly, but the sun poked it’s head out on the last day.
Whenever I’m in the City of Angels I try to split my time between my favourite places and trying out new spots. In a city that big it’s easy to find new restaurants, shopping streets, and cool street art that wasn’t there last time. When we were in Los Angeles we stay at an Airbnb in DTLA. At first it seemed like it was going to be a bad location, but once we started exploring it turns out there are some cool things to see and do downtown as long as you are aware of where you are.
We really went all out for breakfast this trip; it was the only meal that I actually had researched places to go before we got there. Oh, and donuts of course.
x COFFEE & DONUTS x
BLACKTOP COFFEE for good ole’ local coffee. It’s a tiny little shop, but they have lots of seats outside to sit and enjoy a White Espresso (I learned that means espresso with milk), or any other drink you may fancy. According to the coffee connoisseur Aussie we had with us, it was one of the best coffee shops he had been to all trip. They also have a mean looking avocado toast.
BLUESTAR DONUTS for a donut, obviously. It’s located on Abbot Kinney in Venice and it’s a cute little shop with a hard decision waiting for you inside. I would rate it as one of the top donuts I have had; we tried the OG Glaze and Raspberry Glazed Buttermilk. They only serve black coffee though, so I recommend stopping for a latte before you get there to go with your donut.
MR. HOLMES BAKESHOP for their Instagram worthy shop. We didn’t actually go; Michael went without us but brought us back a Cronut and some sort of cake muffin to try, so it’s made the list. The pastries were killer, and I know I would have loved the interior of the place. Apparently their coffee is also worth making the trek for.
ALFRED TEA HOUSE for the pink experience. If you followed Alfred Coffee into LA, then you have to make the stop to their new tea house on Melrose Place. It’s the most adorable café I’ve been in, with everything a bubble gum shade of pink, flowers and delicate details. I had a very strong chai tea latte, and Hannah had a mango iced tea. Highly recommend their almond croissant to go with.
x BREAKFAST x
BOGETTA LOUIE for a fancy eggs benny with a side of macarons. This restaurant is gorgeous; high ceilings, marble floors, well dressed waiters, and a lovely bakery at the front. You can grab and go, or stay in to dine; both I’m sure are just as lovely. We enjoyed an elegant breakfast sharing the lemon ricotta pancakes and eggs benedict. The service was outstanding, and the food was delicious. We didn’t buy any, but they had a ton of macaron flavours to try, as well as little desserts that were too pretty to eat.
EGGSLUT at Grand Central Market for a killer breakfast sandwich. You must hit it at a slow time otherwise the line-up goes around the restaurant and out the market door. We tried first on President’s Day Monday with no luck, but came back on the Tuesday morning and we were able to sit at the bar to watch the cooks fly through breakfast sandwiches and poached eggs. The sandwich was fresh and tasty, and even better when paired with their freshly squeezed orange juice. There are a few locations around LA, but this one was the closest to where we were staying.
GJELINA in Venice for healthy, fresh choices. That doesn’t mean I picked a healthy option, I had the blueberry ricotta pancakes with a dollop of cream, but Hannah had poached eggs on sautéed kale. It was really good, and the service was great. The dishes were small however, so I recommend adding a latte to your order, or a side – maybe the Sliced Maple Bacon with Sea Salt?
x LUNCH & DINNER x
BESTIA to say you went to Bestia. If you go to book a reservation today, the next opening is in April…we can safely say it’s one of LA’s latest hot spots. Two other options, hope that someone last minute cancels their reso or get there at 4:30 before they open at 5 and snag a spot at the bar. We did the latter, and enjoyed delicious food and service. Sitting at the bar probably isn’t ideal for more than two people, but it worked well for us. We made our way through Roasted Heirloom Cauliflower, (look up) Pizza, and Pasta. Their wine and cocktail selection has something for everyone on it.
STARFISH SUSHI on Vermont for sushi that isn’t outrageously priced. We used Google Maps to find “sushi” near Griffith Observatory and Starfish sounded like a good choice. There were a ton of specialty rolls to choose from. We narrowed it down to three, had salmon sashimi and beef noodles. Side note: Vermont Ave looked like a really cool street with shops, restaurants and coffee shops. Next time.
WURSTKÜCHE for a Rabbit Rattlesnake Sausage on a bun. Just kidding, that’s not what we ate, but it was on the menu. Hannah and I both had a classic bratwurst with sauerkraut and sweet peppers on top. It’s a good lunch spot if you’re wandering around the Arts District, and not much of a line. We walked past it on the holiday Monday at night, and the line was down the block; not worth that kind of line-up.
DISNEYLAND. Is there even any point in explaining why you need to go there? It’s the Happiest Place on Earth, that’s why. Even though were all adults now, nothing beats Space Mountain and Indiana Jones. It was reaaaally busy because it was a long weekend, but we were still able to get on our favourite rides with the help of Fast Passes. There are great restaurants in Downtown Disney if you don’t feel like another mediocre hamburger and fries.
GRAND CENTRAL MARKET only needs to be visited if you’re in the downtown area. It is full of delicious smelling food spots of every kind of meal you would need. Plus there are fresh veggies and fruits if you’re doing a little grocery shopping. Eggslut was there; other great looking places like Ramen Hood.
GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY to see the LA skyline. We went at sunset one of the nights, and it’s a brilliant sight to see the city lights slowly turn on as the sun goes down. There were quite a few clouds, but we were still able to capture the city and the colours reflecting in the clouds over it. Inside the Observatory is a museum where you can look through telescopes and explore exhibits.
The ARTS DISTRICT was a hidden gem that we stumbled upon because Michael’s Airbnb was nearby. It’s just a couple blocks, but it’s full of artsy shops, restaurants, coffee and street art to keep you busy for a day. We ended back there a couple times, and I highly recommend going to check it out.
ABBOT KINNEY in Venice for more shopping and eating. Venice gets a bad rap for the boardwalk full of homeless people, marijuana shops, and just an overall shady atmosphere. But if you take a few blocks in, you end up on a hip street with plenty of shops, restaurants and cool things to see. It’s 4 or 5 blocks long with little boutiques that had us dishing out our life savings. Plus, once you’re done shopping you can head to the beach.
SANTA MONICA PIER for a classic Cali experience. We walked from Venice to Santa Monica (about a half hour walk) and hung out for awhile on the pier. It’s not my favourite spot because it’s so full of tourists and cheap souvenirs but it just doesn’t feel right to be in LA and not make it out to SM.
What’s your fave Cali spot?