as you probably already know based on my instagram feed and last week’s what i ate wednesday post, i visited two of my dearest friends in l.a. a few weekends ago and had so. much. fun. this was my 4th time visiting southern california in the last year and every time i go i find it harder and harder to come home. and this trip was no exception. seriously, i basically had to be forced into the car that was taking me to the airport.
i stayed with two friends who left new york last summer and had a chance to see some of the other people i know out there who have recently migrated west. let me just say, i 100% understand why all of these formers new yorkers have made the decision to relocate and it’s something i have thought about doing quite often since my first trip out there [but actually since the first time i ever watched the o.c.].
while we didn’t opt to do a lot of touristy things [i was going for a more “local” experience this time], i still wanted to share a few pictures and do a little recap from the weekend that weren’t related to food, just to… you know… prove that my entire world doesn’t revolve around eating… maybe.
yogaworks santa monica
just quickly, i wanted to mention that, as a graduate of yogaworks’ teacher training, i made it a priority to check out a class at their santa monica studio [the main street location] while i was out there. i took a level 2/3 class with mia togo first thing on friday morning and absolutely loved her style. based on the philosophies she spoke about, it sounds like she has struggled with many of the same things i have in the past, so relating everything she was saying to my practice was very easy. the class was challenging and the perfect way to start my weekend of socal living!
what would a trip to l.a. be without a little visit to beverly hills? after brunch on saturday, we walked from west hollywood to beverly hills, taking detours through a few neighborhoods to scope out the houses/cars/landscaping/etc. [in a totally not-creepy way… i think] and then eventually made our way down rodeo drive, wandering in and out of the designer shops and boutiques. the weather was perfect and it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. go ahead and file this under “things i could get used to”.
rooftop [birthday!] drinks in venice beach
Photo courtesy of High Venice
while i don’t have any of my own pictures from high rooftop lounge [pretty fitting name, right?] because we were there later at night, i can only imagine what the view from this place is like during the day. even though it was dark and we couldn’t really see anything, the sound of the ocean and the breeze were enough, and i will be coming back here for sunset cocktails the next time i’m in l.a.! when this bar closed, we headed to larry’s just down the street which was really fun… a nice, laid back vibe with friendly bartenders who gave me a few birthday drinks/shots on the house [and also gave us total control of the music at one point]… exactly the type of place i wanted to ring in the big two seven!
the famous “venice” sign… i know it’s not the best picture, but i couldn’t not include it.
santa monica is where my friends live and easily my favorite place in l.a. i just effing love it. the ocean, the beach, the pier, the park, the shops, restaurants and bars down main street… everything. on my last day, we did a little shopping, walked through palisades park, wandered down the pier and eventually hopped on the pacific wheel, the ferris wheel in pacific park, which is the famous amusement park located on the santa monica pier. the view could not have been more perfect.
so… like… can i go back yet?
what i ate wednesday: l.a. edition
from the minute i booked my birthday trip to l.a. back in january, i’ve been researching restaurants and mapping out my meals. i find myself planning weekend trips and full vacations around where and what i’ll be eating [and drinking!] more than what tourist spots and sightseeing i want to do… i guess that means i’m officially a “foodie”?
if that’s the case, l.a. is definitely a great city for foodies and even more so, a great city for health conscious foodies. while i’m all about balance and believe in letting yourself go all out, especially when you’re in a new place or celebrating a special occasion, i have to say that i didn’t really feel like i was overdoing it at any point, simply because 90% of the meals i ate were vegan… and i didn’t even have to try! here’s a round up of the places i ate and most importantly, what i ate.
breakfast at rawvolution:
this little café in santa monica is 100% raw and organic. i had the probiotic coconut yogurt with berries, a little agave and bee pollen with a hot cup of organic coffee after a yoga class. great food, really great service [as with just about every place in l.a., the people are so nice!] and very eco-chic environment.
lunch at kreation kafé:
this place was #soLA i could have died. i met up with a friend here for lunch and we sat outside on the patio [duh]. the vibe was great, the service was also great [again, you’ll notice a pattern in l.a. with this] and they serve your water with chlorophyll in it. yea, right up my alley. i had the hummus garden salad and a green juice [naturally]. kreation kafé has multiple locations in the l.a. area and also happens to have a full juice bar/cleanse line, so they kinda kill two birds with one stone here.
pre-dinner drinks at nobu malibu:
no explanation needed.
dinner at malibu farm:
the pictures are a little dark because we were seated outside, but this was one of the best meals i had on this trip for a few reasons. let’s just state the obvious first: malibu. now, more specifically, this place is located at the end of the malibu pier… outdoor seating, cute decor, big fleece blankets to stay warm with on those chilly southern california nights… you see what i’m saying right? second, all the food is fresh, organic, sourced locally and doesn’t contain any sh*tty ingredients. simply prepared, but so. effing. good. we started with the cauliflower pizza [and wine, duh] and i had the vegan coconut entrée [tofu, veggies, wild rice and coconut sauce].
brunch at gracias madre:
plant-based mexican food. again… do i really need to elaborate? easily my favorite meal of the weekend. first of all, just look at those drinks. now take those, add some chips and guac, vegan cauliflower and mushroom tacos with black bean sauce and cashew cream, and then wrap it all up with a fudge brownie topped with salted mezcal caramel, cashew coconut whipped cream, and coconut bacon… PINCH ME, I MUST BE DREAMING. amazing ambience with an outdoor patio, the best service ever, and bangin’ food. don’t be scared away by the whole “plant-based” thing if you’re not really into that. i promise you won’t even be able to tell the difference.
dinner at sur:
if you’re a bravo fan, you’ll know that we really just ate here more for the novelty factor than anything else. i’m a huge fan of the real housewives of beverly hills [no shame, everyone’s allowed a guilty pleasure] so i felt like not eating here wasn’t an option… and i really wanted to meet giggy. the food was fine, but a little pricey and the portions were pretty small. i had the fried goat cheese balls and the endive salad with gorgonzola cheese and pears [and a cucumber cocktail]. no signs of giggy or lisa… soooo like… did we really even eat at sur?
ice cream at kippy’s:
coconut ice cream [i tried a combination of the cinnamon and date flavors] with a coconut-based chocolate shell and coconut-based caramel syrup. yup.
lunch at true food kitchen:
so, at this point you can probably see what i meant when i said how effortless it is to remain conscious of what you are eating in l.a. i had the “tlt” – tempeh, lettuce, and tomato – sandwich with avocado and two sides [kale salad and sweet potato hash] and the kale-aid green juice… really effing good.
birthday donuts! from dk’s donuts:
finally, my friends surprised me on the morning of my birthday with these babies [and “21” candles, because i’m 21 and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise]. i’ve never seen donuts quite like this before – literally sliced in half and assembled with fillings like sandwiches. one was strawberry shortcake and one was strawberry nutella. yea, i’m done here.
so, my final thoughts are:
must-eat: gracias madre
must-drink: nobu malibu
honorable mention: malibu farm + dk’s donuts
your turn! tell me all of your favorite l.a. spots! my list has grown to 50+ restaurants/bars/cafés… so i have a lot of work to do, but always want more recommendations!
the big two-seven… from l.a.!
i am beyond happy to be able to say that today’s post is coming to you from warm and sunny and perfect l.a.! i’m out here visiting friends and celebrating my birthday and i could not be more excited to be turning 27 here.
ever since the days of the o.c. [zero shame, and if someone wants to get me a birthday gift i would love this shirt], california has always intrigued me and as i’ve gotten older, my obsession has only grown. the lifestyle, the mindset, the scenery, the weather. california has a certain vibe to it that i haven’t felt anywhere else. this is my fourth trip out here in the last year and i have to say, i often ask myself what the eff i’m doing in new york…
… anyways! i’ll be sure to do some recap posts of my trip for you guys over the next week or so, but make sure you’re following me on social media [instagram | twitter | facebook] so you can see what i’m up to in the meantime! [spoiler alert: palm tree/beach/ocean/sky pictures and, most importantly, a lot of #eatingfortheinsta posts to follow.]
enough about that… let’s talk about 27 for a minute. twenty-seven. two. seven. twenty. effing. seven. how did this happen?!
i really feel like this number has snuck up on me because i truly do not feel like a 27 year old… and i’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a sign that i seriously need to get my act together. we’ve heard the old adage “age is just a number” hundreds of times and i always roll my eyes when someone says this to me, but right now, i can actually say that i agree with this.
i’m in my late twenties now? excuse me… what? when did that happen? how did that happen? i think the fact that i even have to ask these questions is proof enough that age doesn’t define you. it’s just a number and you are only as old as you feel. so like… 27? no big deal… right?
in the spirit of turning the big two-seven and officially leaving my mid-twenties behind, here are 27 things i’ve learned while being alive on this planet, in no particular order. some big, some small. some funny, some serious. all important. none to do with food/fitness/wellness/crunchy hippie sh*t.
- taking yourself seriously is a waste of time.
- there is no point in not saying how you feel or what’s on your mind.
- change is scary, but 100% necessary if you want to move forward.
- you’re never too old to take a nap.
- there is absolutely no avoiding the kardashians and we might as well just get used to them.
- it’s okay to change your mind.
- there’s a lot of power in doing. effing. less.
- the best cure for a hangover is netflix and seamless. Or another drink.
- it’s okay to take a sick day [even when you aren’t sick].
- trying to hold onto your pride is stupid. no one wins. not even you.
- the best thing you can spend your money on is experiences, not things.
- dogs are better than humans.
- math is, and always will be really, really hard.
- you can’t change the weather [but you can change your location, which in a way can change the weather].
- if your phone battery dies you will not, i repeat, you will not die with it.
- you get 24 hours to totally lose your sh*t and cry/mope/kick/scream/break things over a guy/girl. after that, you pick up and move on with your life. [thanks for this one, mom!]
- if you can’t find a little humor in bad situations they will only be that much worse.
- fuck the scale. that bitch is a liar. [still working on this one.]
- your real friends will be your friends no matter where you’re located geographically.
- if you don’t know, just ask.
- perfection is not a real thing. unless we’re talking about beyoncé. she might be perfect.
- if you really have to talk yourself into something you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
- no matter how sh*tty your situation is, it will get better.
- when you know, you know.
- “family is most important.”
- sometimes it feels good to just kinda wing it.
- if you don’t do it now, you never will.
there you have it. BRING IT ON TWENTY-SEVEN. i’m ready for ya!
what i ate wednesday: boston + chatham edition
as i mentioned yesterday, i was in boston over the weekend visiting a friend, and what would a weekend getaway be without checking out some local spots for amazing food and a what i ate wednesday recap? not a getaway i’m interested in taking, that’s for sure!
saturday morning, we went for a run down near the harbor, grabbed breakfast, and drove down to the cape for the afternoon, specifically, to the town of chatham, which was like… storybook perfection. it was such a gorgeous day, and even though it was a little windy and chilly, we still took advantage of the sun and spent most of the day outside… and eating. this post is a little more cape heavy, but it’s all relevant [i think]!
smoothies + juices at the juice box:
we hit this cute little juice bar in south boston post-run and i went with the green glow smoothie. they also have breakfast bowls and cleanses available… and a trail mix bar!
flavored coffee at marylou’s:
we stopped for coffee at marylou’s, a massachusetts/rhode island staple, on our way down to the cape. Normally flavored coffee is not something i would ever entertain [sugars, syrups, etc. = major yuck factor] but instead of flavoring the coffee with the sh*t they use at most coffee shops, marylou’s infuses the beans with flavor so you avoid all of those terrible additives. i had a really hard time deciding what to get, but i ended up with an iced mocha mint coffee with a splash of almond milk. you can guess how it was.
afternoon cocktails at chatham bars inn:
we arrived in chatham and immediately went to the chatham bars inn for a drink. the raspberry lemonade [pictured here] was perfect – refreshing, but not too sweet – and i think the view made this even more enjoyable. cocktails + adirondack chairs + the beach + the sun = pure happiness.
lunch [+ beers] at the squire:
the squire is your typical dive bar with walls covered in snarky license plates from all over the country. they serve pub-fare with an emphasis on seafood [this is cape cod, after all] and if you’re into that sorta thing, you should definitely check this place out. as a vegetarian, i went with the black bean veggie burger served with a side of fries and coleslaw. naturally, i washed it down with the cape cod i.p.a. they had on tap. #foodcoma
brunch at anthony’s café:
finally, on Sunday morning, we had a quick [hungover] brunch at anthony’s café. this place is pretty old school: cash only, walk right up to the counter, order, take a seat [inside or outside] and they bring you your food… served on paper plates. i had the three egg omelette with spinach, tomatoes and feta cheese, served with a side of whole wheat toast and home fries. the picture does not do it justice [i was too busy inhaling my meal to get a good shot], but i guarantee you will understand why this place is a neighborhood staple if you try it out for yourself.
must-eat: anthony’s café
honorable mention: chatham bars inn
what are your favorite boston spots?! share in the comments below!
what i ate wednesday: philly edition
when i’m planning a trip, whether it’s a full-fledged vacation or weekend getaway, i would say about 75% of the things i end up putting on my to-do lists are related to food and drink. making sure to try a famous local/national dish, experiencing a popular restaurant that’s famous for x-y-z, enjoying coffee, wine or beer that is specific to the city or region i am in and of course, finding the hidden gems that are go-to spots for the locals.
i spent last weekend in philly, which you might have seen on instagram, and naturally spent a decent portion of the weekend checking out some places that came highly recommend by friends, and investigating a few spots that caught my eye on social media [one of the many ways i put instagram to use]. i did what i ate wednesday recaps for my last eurotrip and my weekend in south beach, so i figured why no continue this tradition and fill you guys in on some incredible philly eats.
dinner at cuba libre:
firtst and foremost: the cocktail list was massive and had some really unique libations [we opted for the pineapple-basil, and mint, ginger and honey caipirinhas] which is always a nice starting point. we shared the yucca fries, and spinach and manchengo buñuelos as appetizers… definitely opt for the latter here… and the vegetable paella [pictured] as our main course. i love when a vegetarian friendly paella is offered… you really don’t see this much! also, the vibe here is great. you really feel like you are sitting outside under palm trees and street lamps in havana… or at least that’s what i imagine it would be like to be sitting outside under palm trees and street lamps in havana!
ice cream at franklin fountain:
the moment you set foot in this ice cream shop you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. the décor is all vintage, the employees dress the part and the ice cream is unbelievable. they have an extensive menu of sundaes, milkshakes, and floats, but since i didn’t really feel like going into a food coma at 2pm on a saturday afternoon, i opted for a good old-fashioned two-scooper in a cup: one scoop chocolate and one scoop whirly berly [chocolate with salted caramel swirls and cocoa nibs.. yea]. two scoops was probably much more than i needed but i polished that sucker off anyway. #yolo
beer flights at 2nd story brewing company:
flights… because why limit yourself to only one… or two… or three… beers? they had eight signature brews on tap, so how perfect was the option for two flights [four beers each] so we could give each one a try? they had a few different stouts and an i.p.a., but my personal favorite was the fritzie’s lager… i ordered a draft of this and in my mind i was transported right back to oktoberfest.
brunch at hawthorne’s:
what would a weekend getaway be without a brunch stop? not my kinda weekend getaway, that’s what! sunday morning we headed to hawthorne’s and expected a long wait, but were seated immediately [it probably helped that we arrived at 11am, before the brunch crowd]. they have a full, help yourself style “beer boutique” here, but i opted for mimosaw instead. they serve them “deconstructed” with your own little mini-bottle of champagne, so you know they aren’t skimping on the bubbly. the menu was amazing and making a decision was truly a challenge, but the bananas foster waffle really hit the spot. i sampled a bite of the funnel cake french toast and this would have been another great option. you really can’t go wrong here.
i don’t have pictures from a few of the other places we stopped, but reading terminal market is definitely worth checking out. there are basically 1,000 options here and it’s mostly grab-and-go/bakery/deli style places, so it’s a good place for a casual and inexpensive lunch. we had dinner at continental mid-town on saturday night and while i was super confused by the menu when i first glanced at it, i wasn’t disappointed at all. it’s all tapas/shared style dishes and the eclectic variety of cuisines is almost as awesome as the ambience and décor.
so, to sum it all up, when it comes to philly [based on this trip]:
must eat: hawthorne’s
must drink: cuba libre
honorable mention: franklin fountain
what i ate wednesday: south beach edition
one thing that i really love about miami [aside from the obvious] is the food. you might not realize it [i definitely didn’t before], but there are so many amazing and unique places to eat in south beach. i’ve heard the same is true for miami proper, but i’ve never been there, so i can’t personally speak to that, but here is a what i ate wednesday recap of some of the best things i ate this past weekend.
breakfast at juice + java:
this is easily one of my favorite spots in south beach. it’s located within walking distance from where we stayed and they have an amazing selection of fresh, healthy options [including a lengthy juice/smoothie menu]. i started the day out with the “hangover remedy” juice [apple, lemon + ginger… which i later added vodka to and enjoyed poolside] and veggie eggs [tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach + cheese] with some avocado and pita bread on the side… and an iced coffee… because duh.
tacos + margartias at huahua’s:
this. place. was. amazing. i think i could subside on only tacos for the rest of my life if i had to. it’s a really low-key, grab-and-go style restaurant, but definitely worth hitting up if you’re ever in south beach. i had the hongos magicos taco [charred portobello mushrooms, grilled veggies, + spicy tofu crema] and the guaco taco [grilled veggies, fried avocado + spicy tofu crema]. no words. and also a margarita… because margaritas are my favorite.
dinner + sake bombs at fung ku:
we did a lot of sake bombs here, so i was a little distracted/drunk and not focusing so much on the food, but the pad thai with veggies was pretty good.
cocktails at the w hotel living room bar:
the cocktails at the w hotel’s living room bar are on a whole other level. while they aren’t cheap by any means, the atmosphere and the unique drinks on the menu make it totally worth it. i had the siddhartha [pictured; a mix of vodka, gin, lemongrass + coconut milk] and also tried the cucumber collins.
breakfast at maxine’s:
i’ve eaten at this restaurant more times than i would like to admit, but this was the first time i tried their breakfast. i’m a sucker for poached eggs, and the shashuka had a little kick to it and was nice and light for starting the day with!
cold-pressed green juice from juicee:
they had these green juices available at our hotel which was literally a godsend. the green lover was perfect… fruity and refreshing, great for detoxing the morning after a night out!
basically everything at naked taco:
okay. i saved the best for last and i wish i had more pictures from naked taco because the food here was just totally out of control. upon arrival, we were told there would be a small wait and to make up for it were going to be offered free champagne at the bar while we waited… so basically they immediately won me over. the menu is incredible. they really play with the “naked” theme well. their slogan is “the best taco you ever ate out” so that along with cheeky additions to the menu such as the option to “get wet!” and the prompt to “ask about our rim jobs!” you can get a feel for the atmosphere of this place, which i personally thought was really fun. we had pitchers of margaritas, guac and chips, queso dip and nachos to start with… and i ate a big fat veggie burrito [pictured above] and obviously chose the options to “get wet” a.k.a. smother the damn thing in sauces, extra cheese and sour cream. need i say more?
to conclude this edition of what i ate wednesday, if you find yourself in south beach anytime soon, the must-eat/must-drink places are as follows:
must-eat: naked taco
must-drink: w hotel living room bar
honorable mention: juice + java
greetings from south beach!
guys… i’m so happy to finally be able to say that bananas + bellinis is comin’ atcha from warm and sunny south beach!
after weeks of subzero temperatures, snow storms and slush puddles back in new york, this little beach getaway has been basically the only thing keeping me from totally losing my sh*t this week [even though i still kinda did just a little bit on monday night… but that’s neither here nor there].
we arrived last night and i’m beyond ready for a weekend away filled with my fraaannddssss, warm temperatures, sunshine, the beach, summer clothes, flip flops, this hat, which i don’t plan on ever taking off, and most importantly, cocktails with effing umbrellas and flowers in them. there. i said it. sue me.
i’ll fill you in on my weekend more formally next week, but be sure to follow along with me this weekend on instagram to see what I’m up to… a.k.a . what i’m eating and drinking. [disclaimer: i plan on taking the idea of balance to a new level this weekend.] we have a few restaurants/bars scoped out [as i always do anytime i go on vacation], but i would still love any recommendations you guys might have for food/drinks/activities, so leave ’em in the comments below!
stay warm and have an amazing weekend! any big plans?!
image courtesy of national geographic
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