Friday, January 28, 2011

an exhilirating 2.5 days in santa monica: part 2

day 3

i started my day 3 with a 2.5 mile jog down to venice beach and back.  after a quick shower and cup of coffee, i  rented a bike and went back to venice for some breakfast and people watching.  the weather was perfect.  the homes i passed on my bike ride were really impressive and unique.  venice certainly is a colorful place.  i stopped at the terrace cafe for breakfast, where  i had the most delectable stuffed french toast.  it was right on the beach at the base of the venice beach fishing pier,  where i strolled after stuffing myself silly.

i laid on the beach, enjoying the sunshine and watching the surfers, until it was time to head back.

as soon as i got back to the hotel, it was time for tiffany to pick me up.  i've known tiffany since 4th grade, and we see each other about once a year, if that.  it was such a treat to meet up with her on the other side of the country!  we got lunch at the disney soda fountain, and tiffany showed me all the fun touristy stuff in hollywood.  i had such a good time!

after gallivanting around hollywood for a few hours, tiffany took me back to the hotel and i got ready for cocktails and dinner with greta & co.  we headed to border grill for mexican food, where the chef is Susan Feniger from Top Chef Masters.   i had the seafood paella, which was magical.  however, i was unimpressed with the presentation of some of the food (the guac especially) and the prices of the mediocre drinks.  alas, not everything can be perfect, but i was certainly expecting more.  we ended the night with a trip to angelato cafe, and i got my favorite gelato combo- banana and nutella.  we headed back to the hotel fat and happy, and sat around a fire pit listening to the ocean until we were too tired to sit up straight.  early next morning we headed home.

i had a marvelous time in santa monica.  i managed to pack a lot into my 2 and a half days, and i'm really proud of myself for making the most of every moment i had there.  many thanks to my good friend and college roommate greta, without whom this trip would not have been possible.  it was super generous of her to let me tag along and share her hotel room with me.  she even gave up a king sized bed so that we could get a room with 2 doubles!  i think i owe her some baked goodies and a trip to our favorite mexican joint.

have you ever been to santa monica? did i miss anything?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

an exhilirating 2.5 days in santa monica: part 1

well, it certainly was a whirlwind of a trip, but i really made the absolute most of it.

day 1 (more like day .5)

we arrived at LAX around noon, took a cab to our hotel, and immediately ventured out for mexican food.  there was a place called el texate a few blocks away, so we walked there.  the salsa was divine, and i enjoyed a pomegranate margarita with my steak fajitas.

then, bad idea, we went to the gym.  note to self:  do not go to the gym immediately after eating mexican food.  i thought i was going to barf.  after the gym, greta, chelsea and i walked up to the 3rd st. promenade to check out the shops and find a place to eat dinner.  we walked by one of the places on my listOcean Avenue Seafood, and decided to go in.  that was a great decision.  we ordered their popular lobster taquitos for an appetizer, and then i had the stuffed shrimp.  it was delectable.  chelsea had seared tuna, and greta had a filet with ocean ave's signature bleu cheese mashed potatoes.  we were all quite content with our meals.  after that we headed back to our rooms and fell soundly asleep.

(click to view larger)

day 2
i started my morning with a jog on the treadmill, then immediately got ready and ventured out to breakfast.  i had heard great things about cora's coffee shop, and they did not disappoint.  i had the orange pancakes with fresh blueberries (something i will definitely try to re-create in the near future).  quite possibly the best breakfast i've ever had.

after stuffing myself silly, i wandered around aimlessly until i happened on the 3rd st. promenade again.  i had to use the little girls room after drinking 2 diet cokes (sweet nectar) at breakfsat, so i went into nordstrom and discovered that it was the gateway to a beautiful open-air shopping mall.  after taking care of business, i decided i wanted to look for an LA-only store, since most stores you typically find at malls can be found anywhere (especially in tysons corner).  i found a store called johnny was and instantly fell in love with their ethereal, boho chic apparrel.  the best part, however, was that the sales clerks were so friendly and gave me great tips on things to see and places to eat.  they sent me on my way with a new scarf and a post-it note full of ideas.  and - best of all- directions to fred segal. thank you leslie and tara!

i browsed around fred segal for about an hour, soaking it all in, but didn't buy anything.  so i wandered deeper into santa monica and came across the local supermarket, vons (even the supermarkets have cool names!  doesn't von sound like the name of some cool surfer dude?).  i was still full from breakfast, but afraid i might get hungry soon, so i bought a few itty bitty apples and stuck them in my purse.  then i made my way back to ocean ave (with a few more shopping stops on the way) and down to the santa monica pier.  i had myself a diet coke, a cotton candy, and a ride on the ferris wheel.  pure bliss.

it was time to start heading back to get ready for happy hour, so i took a stroll down to the beach and - here comes the exciting part - i took my first ever dip in the pacific ocean!  i just stuck my feet in, but it was still an exciting moment for me!  i walked under the pier and back to the hotel along the beach.  on my way, i stopped at muscle beach and chess park and made a few more friends while i was at it.  everyone in california is so nice!

back at the hotel, i changed quickly and then took a taxi to the huntley hotel to get a sunset cocktail at their swanky penthouse restaurant.  it was just as impressive as i imagined it would be.  i didn't stay long, as i had a table reserved for me at the lobster.  my view at dinner was magical, as was my grouper and glass of chardonnay.  and my waiter, tim, was a delight.


when dinner was finished, i headed back to the hotel to relax for a while.  i was full!  i called my friend tiffany, who i've known since 4th grade, and made plans to see her the next day. she lives in LA so we seized the opportunity to spend time together.  when i realized it was only 7pm, i decided it was way to early to turn in.  i strolled around town for a while, treated myself to pinkberry for dessert (not that i needed it) and returned to the hotel around 10.  that night, i slept like a rock.

stay tuned for day 3, coming friday...

in the meantime, feel free to check out my flickr stream for more photos!