We were brimming with excitement from the moment we stepped outside of LAX into the thick air with only one thing on our minds – food. Hand carries in tow; we made our first stop at the famous fast food joint, InNOut. Miley wasn’t kidding when she said that everybody looked so famous.
“At least one of those kids has to be a Youtuber” a friend exclaimed and all four heads looked over.
I didn’t know what was more exciting - my animal fries or the vibrant fashion scene. Even the elderly had it going on. I had never seen more Canadian suits in one place ever in my life. It was either double denim or expensive athleisure. The city screamed ‘fitness’ and ‘green juice’ and this trip marked my very first experiences with vegan Mexicana and vegetarian sushi.
Each day our plans revolved around the food we ate.
“I saw this cute brunch place – lets go!” And so off we went the morning after to Toast Bakery Cafe. Our order consisted of the coffee cake crusted French toast, tri berry waffles and pancakes and the multigrain Waffle with a matcha green tea latte, iced matcha and toast coffee on the side. Each plate served was dripping in gooey sweetness and what topped it off was our first mini celebrity spotting – juicystar07. Yes Blair we saw you.
After many a pit-stop for photos and a lot of sight seeing we reenergized at the Urth Caffe in Melrose Avenue.
“Apparently Kylie went here.”
“Is that how we know this place?”
“Okay – someone here has got to be famous!”
It was hard to not ogle at the food being carried fresh from the kitchen. Plates were full of greens and thick, crispy sandwiches. Even the drinks were green - from matcha lattes to smoothies, this place was matcha heaven.
That night, we winded down for dinner at the California Roll Factory, which was as unpretentious as it was delicious. At this point the four of us were bundled up in our matching blue Los Angeles sweatshirts happy to eat sushi as comfort food. It was warm and there was something on the menu for everyone, whether it was fried, vegetarian or meaty. Their special sauces for the fried rolls were real kickers too and something I’d definitely ask for again on the side.
We began the next day with an early breakfast at Backyard Bowls. I jumped at the chance of having acai with a coconut milk base and ordered the Island Bowl topped off with a cornucopia of fruit. The best part was how the almond butter was blended into the base itself, giving an incredibly interesting texture and taste. I am completely and irrevocably in love with almond butter and I thoroughly enjoyed this. However what impressed us the most was perhaps the fact that there was a soundproof glass room for berry blending. Yeah – they do that now.
We made our way to the Alfred Tea Room next which was a local Instagram favourite.
After a lot of walking and many farmers markets, we ate a late lunch at Gracias Madre. My dish of choice was a fat chimichanga filled with black beans, tempeh chorizo, guac, red peppers, potatoes and cashew chipotle aioli. For someone whose meal doesn’t feel complete till she’s had meat, this vegan chimichanga was a pleasant surprise. We then hit Rodeo Drive with a food coma and ended the day at the Griffith Observatory. Another day, another beautiful sunset.
The morning began with a quaint breakfast overlooking the ocean at Malibu Farm. I had the Swed-ish meatballs but couldn’t resist having some of the cauliflower crust pizza or spaghetti squash lasagna off of my friends. I ended the meal with a coffee smoothie and carrot cake with coconut flakes.
After walking along the pier and really taking in the ocean, we headed to Venice beach and immediately proceeded to get ice cream. I picked rum and raisin and pecan praline wedged in between a Krispy Kreme donut, while my friends opted for cookie sandwiches with mint chocolate chip ice cream. For the longest time we simply sat on the sand, listening to the sound of the ocean with Kendrick laced in between.
When it began to get chilly we headed for Santa Monica, preparing for another breathtaking sunset. Along Third Street Promenade, in between popping into Lulu Lemon and Lush I picked up a four-pack of cupcakes from Carlo’s bakery (because why not). As we headed back to sit at the pier I pulled out my cupcakes and the mango habanero wings I had just bought, ready for a feast.
Any worries seemed distant and bound within the campus of Tech, while the ocean coupled with the sunset made us feel small – in a good way. At the end of the trip the one thing I truly felt was gratitude. I felt gratitude for the ability to travel, for the ability to have the means to have such meals and for these wonderful friends. For high quality photos and for the vivid experiences that were captured through those lenses.