Given the length of my stay, and the number of restaurants, events, sights, and areas I visited, I am not going to give a day-by-day recap of my stay in L.A. It would take hours. Instead, I’ll break it down by activity- restaurants, shows, areas, and the like, and I’ll preface everything by saying that this may have been the best trip I have ever taken. Between seeing my father, the wonderful city of Los Angeles, and all the delicious food we enjoyed, I can’t remember a vacation that was more meaningful and necessary than this.
I was out of my mind with the beautiful scenery, from the view from the plane to the panoramas from Palisades Park and the PCH. Flying over the mountains made me ache for Santa Fe- I miss having those incredible masses always in the distance.
Heading down the incline onto the Pacific Coast Highway, on our way to Zuma Beach- home to some of the best surfing (and the strongest rip currents).
UGH, mountains AGAIN!
The view from Palisades Park, near my Dad’s apartment.
Ocean Drive in Santa Monica.
One of my favorite things about California: the palm trees. Palms are one of my favorite plants! I love the different varieties, the way they look like fireworks…beautiful 🙂
On Wednesday morning my Dad and I walked down to the Santa Monica farmers market. It was so neat to check out all of the produce that would never be available at my local markets, simply because we don’t have the weather to grow it locally!
This stand had about a dozen different varieties of peaches and nectarines!
Long beans- I had never even heard of them, but they look like they grow like asparagus!
Squash flowers- we picked up a basket of these, and Dad made fried squash flowers just like the ones my Nana used to make for us when we were little 🙂
We ended up taking home a bag of goodies that we enjoyed over the course of the trip, including a bag of Snow White peaches, which didn’t last more than a day or two. So. Good.
Dad left his car for me to drive around.
We had some fun with that 😉
We also got some shopping in, and by we I mean ME! 🙂 I didn’t need anything in particular, and I had gone to the Minneapolis Athleta, so it was really just for fun- something I haven’t really done in a while!
Santa Monica has this neat mall at the base of the Promenade, and the entire thing is pretty open to the outdoors because of the incredible weather.
The Promenade, home to my favorite Barnes and Noble 🙂
Rodeo Drive 🙂
The Beverly Wilshire
My Dad’s girlfriend took me to Olvera Street, a long strip of traditional Mexican shops and restaurants! It was so neat, we picked up a bunch of things for the kids, and Patricia bought them each a pair of gorgeous Mexican sandals 🙂
The street lead to a pavilion where a traditional (Aztec? Mayan?) drum and dance performance was taking place. It was gorgeous!
Among other things, I managed to find baja hoodies for both myself and Jack. They didn’t have any smaller than Jack’s size, so Carolyn will get her own when she’s a bit bigger.
I also picked up some Mexican blankets for $10. I got one the first time I ever went to Venice Beach, years ago, for about the same price, and I still have it (and love it!), but for some reason the popularity of yoga has turned these blankets into a hot item. They sell for upwards of FORTY DOLLARS in our area, which is totally absurd. I’m just going to grab some whenever I go to CA!
Finally, there was the food. We ate out for almost every meal- there are so many options for vegan dining around Los Angeles, and it was a huge treat to spend a week trying as many as possible. I can’t really describe the feeling of looking at a menu and NOT having to pick it apart to find something to eat. Likewise, it was almost overwhelming to be sitting in front of a menu full of dishes that I would eat. It’s great that nowadays most restaurants include at least one vegan option on their menu, but a lot of times it really is only a dish or two, which means that although you’ve gone out to eat, you only have one option for a meal. This is why I eat almost exclusively at veg restaurants- when I go out, I want to feel like I have options!
Dad and I went to Native Foods on the way home from the airport. It was his pick, and what a score! Bonus: they had a great kids menu, so when I do eventually bring the kids out, we’ll keep Native in mind 🙂
Lavender lemonade 🙂
Grain bowl with garlicky greens and tempeh.
Dad’s gyro bowl- steamed kale, cauliflower, seitan cutlets, and a creamy sauce.
We also hit up Chan Dara, Dad and R.S.’s favorite Thai restaurant:
I also met a friend of mine in Burbank for lunch. She recommended Wild Carvery- delicious!
Vegan chocolate dream shake!
I actually stayed in the Burbank area for a while because we were seeing a show that night, and I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic trying to get back and forth to/from Santa Monica. I ended up wandering over to Pasadena, where I found an awesome vegan Thai restaurant, Green Earth Vegan.
Green juice- this was much needed!
More spring rolls- I couldn’t get enough!
Quinoa sushi with mushrooms and avo.
Dad and I went to Sugarfish sushi for dinner one night, and while I know it was high-quality sushi and the rice was absolutely to die for, they only carried cucumbers for a vegetable option.
The ambiance was lovely, though, and the restaurant was wonderful as a whole!
Dad and I also ventured out to a Thai restaurant on Melrose- Bulan Thai.
Best sencha ever 🙂
Steamed veggie dumplings
Tofu pad thai. It never gets old 🙂
We also went to Superfood Express:
Kale and white bean soup.
Sweet chili marinated tofu sandwich.
While we were on Olvera Street, Patricia took me out to one of her favorite Mexican Restaurants, La Golondrina. Delicious!
Chips and salsa, in true Mexican style 🙂
Chips and guac!
Sopes con frijoles- the best I’ve ever had!
Veggie enchiladas smothered in mole!
Patricia and I also made it over to Real Food Daily, another of her favorites. She’s really into healthy eating and avoiding processed anything, so it was great hanging out with her and talking about the benefits of Himalayan Sea Salt ;D
More green juice 🙂
Vegan Reuben with lots of yummy sauerkraut and garlicky greens with miso tahini dressing on the side!
Sauteed sea vegetables! We also got a side of soba noodles. We brought the leftovers home to Dad. I wish I had a picture of his face when he opened the box! It was all delicious, but not for the health food novice.
I must admit, the real draw to RFD was the desserts.
Chocolate creme cake 🙂
Oatmeal-currant cookies and chocolate-dipped coconut squares.
These took the cake. Seriously, so good.
We also went out to Sam’s, my Dad’s regular spot. They were incredible- didn’t even bring menus, just asked what we’d like to eat. So special 🙂 We also went out to Mastro’s , a steakhouse in Beverly Hills. Both incredible restaurant, neither the kind of place in which you take pictures of your food 😉
Dad took me out for a few pre-dinner cocktails, once at the Georgian Hotel…
…and once at the Penthouse:
The Penthouse was incredible- situated on the top floor of a hotel, with views of the Pacific and the surrounding area of Los Angeles.
We also went to see a few shows: Sleepless in Seattle, and a John Lennon tribute show. They were both awesome!
Hipster beer at the Lennon show.
It was truly the trip of a lifetime. The best part was, of course, spending so much time with my Dad. I have the benefit of loving my Dad as a father, but also liking him as a person, so spending all of this time with him was extra special. I missed him as soon as I boarded my flight.
Although, it was wonderful coming home to Jack and Carolyn too. There was a lot of FaceTime action throughout the trip, but of course I missed them terribly and cried when I finally got home.
In all, an incredible trip. I’m looking forward to my next visit out- likely sometime in January, and we’re toying with going as a group (myself, R.S. and James) sometime next summer. Now THAT will be an adventure! 🙂
Of course, I came home to absolute madness. I’ve got a live show tonight, yoga tomorrow, workshop tomorrow night and grocery shopping for Jack’s party on Saturday, CSA pickup and food planning on Thursday, then Isaac’s on Thursday night to check out my friend running the taps with the beer from his brewery, New York on Friday to pick up Patty, party on Saturday, and Sunday I have FOUR different yoga classes scheduled. Not to mention today is my first official day of training for the Philly Half Marathon. Whew! Nothing like diving back into things 🙂 Will check in later with CSA pickup and party prep!