This was SO not my normal.
I attended a healthcare conference in Las Vegas a few weeks ago (for the day job!) and then met up with my bestie Sonia in Los Angeles for a little getaway. I figured since I was so close to the West Coast, I should just make a weekend trip out of it.
By now you should know that I would have normally researched all the latest hot spots in LA, asked all my foodie friends for recommendations and pretty much had an idea on where we could go for each and every meal.
But I didn’t do any of that this time. This trip was different for several reasons: 1) Sonia and I and had not really made any plans for the entire weekend, so we weren’t really sure what part of LA we were actually going to be hanging out in, 2) I didn’t really want to spend the time researching and getting my heart set on something and then not having the chance to make it there, and 3) sometimes it’s just fun to discover things along the way and not have everything planned. I know, I know…it’s so not me to be saying that, especially when it comes to being in another great food city like LA, but I can be spontaneous too!
With the help of Yelp, some local friend’s suggestions and just going with the flow, here are some of the fabulous spots we hit up on our weekend trip. Mind you, we were ALL over the place throughout the weekend: Malibu, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. I know, crazy, right?!
In N Out Burger in Marina Del Rey- No shocker here. This is my must-have first item when I land and my last must-have when I depart any city with this beloved fast food chain. And you know the drill; grilled cheese animal style which is a toasted bun, melted cheese, grilled onions, fresh lettuce and tomato, pickles, special sauce and mustard. It never disappoints. NEVER! Of course accompanied with the fresh-cut fries and a splurge with a coke, I just can’t be happier. I seriously was looking forward to this meal the entire time I was in Vegas eating at amazing restaurants, that’s how addicted I am! And, in case you were wondering, yes we had In N Out twice on this weekend trip, just as I stated…first meal arriving in LA and one last hoorah before heading to the airport to depart. Call us crazy!
Ollo in Malibu- Both Sonia and I had never been to Malibu before so it was definitely on our list of places we wanted to visit over the course of the weekend. We made our way there first thing Saturday morning and both of us loved the laid back feel and the fact that it is situated right on the ocean. We had the chance to discover the beautiful Pepperdine University campus too and take in some of the breathtaking views. Not only that, we discovered the cutest restaurant called Ollo, a wonderful farm to table restaurant. While I had the delicious huevos rancheros, Sonia got the lemon, blueberry and ricotta pancakes. Let me tell you…these were some of the best pancakes we’ve ever had! They were so moist and light and fluffy and best of all, flavorful. Aside from the great food, the setting was adorable and there was even a real tree right in the middle of the restaurant. We enjoyed having a relaxing brunch before we head out for the rest of the day’s adventures.
Menotti’s in Venice Beach- After arriving in Venice Beach to hang out for the afternoon, we decided to grab a coffee before we walked along the boardwalk area of Venice Beach as well as the beach. We randomly stumbled upon the cutest, hipster coffee joint called Menotti’s. I kind of wished we had some time to just chill and take in the fun vibe in the place, but my heart was set on spending the most time possible out at the beach and playing in the sand. Both Sonia and I got one of the signature drinks called the Spanish latte; espresso, almond milk, sweet condensed milk and cinnamon. It was a yummy treat because let’s be real, condensed milk is kind of like dessert! We both sipped our lattes as we walked along the boardwalk and then went to walk along the ocean and get our feet wet in the freezing Pacific Ocean waters. It was SO nice to be out in nature, listening to the waves and seagulls and letting that fresh ocean air frizz out my hair to the max. I didn’t mind one bit and I truly enjoyed every second of it. This Chicago girl appreciates any time spent at the ocean, and that, with a latte in hand.
Red O in Santa Monica- Ok, is it bad that I didn’t even know that famous chef Rick Bayless has restaurants in LA? Please don’t shun me from the foodie community! Luckily my local LA friend Veena did, and she was able to get a last-minute reservation for the three of us at the Santa Monica restaurant Red O. You know I’ll never say no to Mexican food!! We enjoyed a lovely dinner with drinks, guacamole and chips and our own entrees. Both Veena and I had the vegetarian enchiladas stuffed with assorted roasted veggies in a tomatillo verde sauce. I have to say that I was very impressed with not only the enchiladas, but the black beans and rice that were served alongside. They were all so flavorful and it was nice to have such great food….I mean, it is Rick Bayless after all! Oh, and even though we were all stuffed, we decided to share a dessert. The passion fruit butter cake with grilled strawberries, passion fruit custard, coconut crumble and coconut ice cream was to die for! Make sure you order it:)
Manhattan Beach Post in (you guessed it) Manhattan Beach- This was my first visit to Manhattan Beach and I absolutely loved it! It’s such a cute little town right along the water and the vibe is right up my alley. Thanks to Yelp and the recommendation of friends, we ended up at the Manhattan Beach Post for brunch. There was a long wait so after we put our names in, we went for a walk along the lovely pier area and pretty much got completely wind-blown from the excessively windy day! It was ok though cause it helped us work up an appetite. I will say that there were limited veggie options on the brunch menu, but I made it work, as I always do! I tried out the cheesy eggs with avocado toast and had to try the warm sticky bun which came highly recommended from our awesome waitress. And, it was!! It came in its own little cast iron skillet and was drenched in the most yummy, caramel like sauce. The dinner menu looks a little more veggie friendly and I bet it’s awesome, so definitely check this place out.
All in all, a fun, fabulous, foodie weekend in LA. It just goes to show that I can be spontaneous and still have some of the best food around. Thanks Sonia, Veena and Yelp!