Hello, dear readers. Have you missed me? You have, haven’t you? I knew it. You’re too sweet!
Last week, I changed things up a little bit. Actually, a lot a bit. I hopped on a plane and visited my best friend (and roomie) in LA! We follow a bunch of blogs that are based in LA, so we obviously used my visit as an opportunity to stalk the places that our favorite bloggers frequent. We also hit up some of Kellie’s preferred hang spots.
When I arrived on Saturday, Kellie’s family was in the middle of preparing for their biggest event of the year. No, not a family reunion or Christmas dinner. I am referring to The Tiny Film Festival! For the past 5 years, her family has planned a night when they invite friends to watch mini-movies that they’ve all produced. The first place winner won a tribal mask found that morning at a yard sale. A prestigious honor, as you can imagine. We noshed on chicken and waffles with an asian dipping sauce and zucchini-potato fritters topped with tzatziki sauce, all prepared by Kellie’s older sister. The night was too much fun and I’m so glad I got to attend. Though by 10:30 west coast time I was ready for bed; hey, it was 1:30 AM according to my body clock.
On Sunday, we went for a hike at Topanga Canyon, near Malibu. All of Kellie’s 3 siblings joined! Pre-hike, we stopped at Kell’s older sister’s house for a breakfast of yogurt, granola, and juice of carrots and apples. Then we enjoyed a 5 mile hike under the sun. During our hike, I made the executive decision that I was their 5th sibling. We all got along marvelously if I do say so myself. Hopefully they agree that I’d make a great 5th child. If not, then this is awkward and you should just read on. Post hike, we were all hot and starving. And thirsty. Very thirsty. We forgot water bottles; BIG mistake that I won’t ever make again. We ate at Tender Greens, a salad restaurant.’Twas the perfect post-hike healthy lunch. I had the Happy Vegan. Let me tell you, the tabouli was to-die. Simply delish. After we showered and relaxed outside for a bit, Kell and I decided that a picnic would make a nice dinner. We (along with Maggie, Kellie’s sister) packed a meal (quesadillas for K+M, oatmeal and pineapple for me) and enjoyed our dinner along the beach. Kellie got 4 bug bites. Such a pity.
We started Monday with a run along the ocean. Solid start to the day, no? Afterwards, we headed to Melrose for lunch and shopping. Lunch was at Urth Caffe; another delicious meal. I dined on a grilled veggie salad and sipped an iced coffee. Kellie had the Sunrise Pizza, which consisted of pancetta, sausage, potato and a poached egg; served on the side was parmesan cheese, red pepper oil, and sage leaves. Maggie tried the breakfast sandwich, which looked so yummy. I must admit that although my coffee was good, I left Urth wishing I had gotten what Mag and Kell got. M got a vanilla-honey iced latte, which was mind-blowing. Kellie ordered the green tea boba, which was the actual B-O-M-B. I know what I’ll be ordering next time I stop by Urth (which will hopefully be soon). After lunch, we shopped around Melrose. There are about a million vintage shops there, each with its own unique charm. I picked up 2 tee shirts and FINALLY found the perfect pair of cut-off Levi shorts. So hard to find the perfect pair, am I right?
After we finished on Melrose (and I got a new hoop in my cartilage piercing–badass, you don’t have to tell me), we drove to Echo Park Lake, which had been recently redesigned. We all read books and relaxed under the early-evening sun. Only flaw: the fountains in the lake kept spraying us, which became increasingly annoying as time passed. We drove home along the 110 freeway listening to classic Mariah Carey and Backstreet Boys hits. Lets be honest, you can’t go wrong with a throwback. After a quiet dinner at Kellie’s, we were off to Yogurt Land for froyo. Perfect way to end the day.
Come Tuesday, we drove down to the beach for a quick run and boot camp designed by yours truly along the water. When we got home, we showered and sipped on lattes while packing for an afternoon at Huntington Beach to visit Kell’s cousins. One thing that I had to try during my time in California was an acai bowl, which is basically a smoothie in a bowl with granola and fresh fruit. We stopped at Banzai Bowls, where I ordered the OG bowl. I was happy with my purchase; ’twas the perfect cool treat on a hot day. Next, we headed for the beach where we chilled for a couple of hours. For dinner, we had Mexican at El Ranchito. I ordered the chicken tortilla soup, which hit the spot just as it started to get a bit breezy outside. Every Tuesday at Huntington Beach there’s a street fair where vendors of all shapes and sizes set up shop and offer customers unique products. We strolled through the fair until our exhaustion hit us. Hey, sitting under the sun is hard work, right?
On Wednesday, we woke up early to hit the gym. After showering and enjoying an air-conditioned workout, Kellie and I headed to one of our favorite blogger’s spots: Handsome Coffee Roasters. They only have a few items on the menu; cold brewed coffee, espresso, coffee, and lattes. Want skim milk or soy? No. Like some sugar in your coffee? Don’t ask for any of those luxuries at Handsome. I guess they want customers to really embrace the flavor of their coffee and to appreciate it’s simplicity?
Pompous or unique? Though the coffee was tasty and the baristas were indeed handsome, I’ll have to go with pompous. I’m no connoisseur when it comes to coffee, so maybe someone who drinks it on the daily might appreciate Handsome’s approach more than I did. I like my coffee with sugar and almond milk, thank you very much. Just give me what I want.
Post-coffee and a tour of LA City Hall (and attending the LA City Council Meeting), we strolled over to Cafe Dulce, where Kell finally got the doughnut she has told me about only for the past few months. THE GREEN TEA DOUGHNUT. Superb, seriously. Not too sweet and filled with a light cream, I was not disappointed.
After we gave the doughnut its well-deserved attention, we stopped by Poketo, the cutest little store you ever did see. Brightly lit and vibrant with color, Poketo gives off a genuinely joyous vibe that no gal can resist. I came out with a sweet poster of NYC and a new vegetarian cookbook. For lunch, we dined at Church and State, a french bistro. The space was industrial with a modern-chic-casual feel. Menus were on paper. I had the quiche, which did not disappoint. I think the buttery, flakey crust might have had something to do with how delectable it was. We walked off lunch with a trip to the American Apparel factory, where there’s an AA store that sells slightly imperfect items for way less than you’d see them in the store. Honestly, I don’t know why anyone in LA shops at a normal AA when their factory is so close by. For dinner, we met Kellie’s family at Pho So 21. My first time trying Pho that wasn’t from a dining hall went well; Pho makes a great meal; healthy yet filling. When we arrived home, we were met with a package that my parents sent to Kell’s family as a thank you for having me. What did we send? LEVAIN COOKIES. DUH. I’m too predictable.
Thursday morning started off with a hike at Runyon Canyon. The hike is about 3 miles, so I hike-ran it to get a more full workout. Upon reaching the top, I gazed at the view for a few moments before doing a few squats and lunges. Any leisure activity can be turned into a workout, right? As I waited at the bottom of the hike for the rest of our group to finish, I figured I’d make the most of my early finish time and did suicides to my friends and back to the bottom until they were finished. Our timing could not have been better, as all of our hunger hit us as we headed towards the car. We swung by Mendocino Farms for lunch. The restaurant serves seasonal, local fare and was just what we needed after a hike. I am supremely-impatient and was not in the mood to wait on line, so I skipped ahead and ordered a container of curry cauliflower carrot couscous and another of an asian brown rice kale tofu salad. Both dishes were uber flavorful and fresh; their contrasting flavor palates actually complemented each other very well. On our way home, we stopped at the Korean Bell, a gift to a America from South Korea in 1976. We listened to Beyonce (duh) as we relaxed beneath the sun and looked out at the Pacific. For dinner, we stopped at In-N-Out Burger, California’s favorite fast food chain. My thoughts on what is rumored to be the best fast-food burger in the USA? Great. Simple, quick, and exactly what I wanted after a long day. The fries were my favorite part; potatoes are fresh cut and never frozen, which definitely makes a difference. They tasted unprocessed almost healthy. Almost. We enjoyed our food by the ocean at a bonfire and followed the burgers with s’mores.
I headed out on Friday for a 5 mile run around Kellie’s town. The reliable temperatures here are fantastic. Like, amazing. Like, I want to move here incredible. Post-run, I noshed on a ThinkThin bar and a few raspberries before we headed to the Pacific Diner, Kellie’s all-time favorite breakfast spot that I’ve heard about for too long. I ordered the veggie omelet, laden with scrumptious summer fare. After lunch, we drove out to Venice Beach where we rode bikes along the ocean. We hung out on the beach for a while until it was time to go to the Dodgers game! When noshed on Dodger dogs (really long hotdogs), popcorn, and peanuts. On Fridays at the stadium, the field is open to the crowd post-game for fans to watch fireworks. We obviously stayed for the show; how could we not?!
I boarded my plane back to JFK on Saturday pleasantly exhausted by my trip. Though we spent plenty of time relaxing, we packed a lot into one week. My final thoughts on LA? Pretty much awesome except for the traffic and water taste (shout out to NY state water filtration; keep doing what you’re doing). I can 100% see myself interning or moving there in the future. Who knows, soon enough our blog might be named Angel+Nash. Lala+Dash? Lets not get ahead of ourselves, people.