San Francisco

San Francisco
San Francisco

Laugh With Me

Laugh With Me
Laugh With Me

Los Angeles: Old and New Favorites You Have to Visit

Hopped off the plane at LAX with my dreams (of nonstop food) and a cardigan (because the weather hovering in the high 70s, lower 80s all weekend SO required it) – and was met by the best welcoming committee in town.

LA seems to be the destination for all the times I've gotten restless in one place and wanted a breath of spontaneity. See: finals week last year. I was going to list all the other times I ran away from my problems straight to LA, but that got pretty cumbersome pretty quick, so just trust me. It's been often.

That's sort of what happened here. A few weeks ago, the thought of working day in and day out with only weekends free caught me unaware and threw me right into a questioning-my-entire-existence fit of panic. Before I even realized, my wallet was out, my credit card was entered, and a flight to LA (uh, not even a week after my trip to Seattle... oops, didn't think about that one DID I) was booked. For those of you who don't know, Cassandra - my best friend and a familiar face here - is now residing / working there, so of course I wanted her to reassure me that even in the real world, there's still plenty of time for exploring. She did this by taking me back to some of our old haunts as well as checking out new (to us) ones in LA that had my adventurer's spirit all good and happy again.

Sorry, sorry for going off on that tangent. Whew! Let's get to it fo real now.
Cassandra and Kelly picked me up from the airport and asked what I wanted to do first.

"COFFEE. I NEED IT IN MY SYSTEM. NOW." I said, not very nicely I'm afraid. To be fair, I was up at 4:40 in the morning for my flight. I was out the door right as a roommate was coming back from her night out. Faced with a mission, they nodded grimly and put pedal to the metal, straight to Alfred's Coffee, which I've been dying to visit thanks to all the "But first, coffee" 'grams I've seen.

Have you met Kelly yet?
Of course not, because even I hadn't met Kelly until this weekend. I've heard about her and Snapped her and texted her for four years now. One of Cassandra's closest friends from childhood and a fellow Potterhead of mine, it's a meeting that's long been delayed. [She has a lightning bolt tattoo and for that, I'll forever bow down to her. YAS QUEEN.]

Perhaps we should've eased her in to the blogging ways, because that above was her reaction to our fiftieth photo of her coffee. Can I please.... just... have the caffeine, she cried.
A long-winded catch up sesh and a run-in with who we now affectionately refer to as fAdele (for fake Adele), a woman who looked, acted, and SOUNDED exactly like Adele later, we were off to our next stop.

Have I ever told you about one of the only sore spots in my friendship with Cassandra? The one thing I possibly will never ever ever forgive her for?

She's met Tom Felton, hands down my favorite Harry Potter actor. She opened the door for him here at Sycamore Kitchen a year ago, he said "cheers, love" to her, and she was too scared to tell me for hours. Since then, Sycamore Kitchen is a must-stop for me every time I'm in LA just in case I get to see that Malfoy mug myself some day.

Um, and also they have incredible food. Don't miss out on the dark ale spiced gingerbread. 
A brief breather at The Grove to check out holiday decorations and to grab some lipstick. Cassandra and I picked one out and stood there for twenty minutes, justifying this purchase to each other (we graduated, didn't we? We got jobs, didn't we? We haven't seen each other in two weeks, right? We deserve this lipstick, dangit!) and Kelly looked on in bewilderment.

"Everything I've heard about the two of you is true."  
Then! Downtown for Shareen's vintage store. A warehouse that would make Pinterest proud, with its lanterns and carpets and vignettes of fluffy beds and gold mirrors. Beautiful, vintage dresses everywhere. You walk around, pick out a few to your liking, and settle into an open corner where you play dress-up in front of everyone while the lovely girls there bring hangers upon hangers of dresses they think would look on you.

Seriously, it was playing dress up and also, Cassandra looks like a model even in a ridiculous get up from the 70s and maybe that's another flaw in our friendship.
Another timeout, this time at trendy Urth Caffe downtown for more coffee to cure the afternoon slump and a (ridiculously good) chicken quesadilla to share because SOMEHOW we were still ravenous.
Plus a looksie into the Arts District Co-Op, the coolest shared space for local small businesses to sell clothes, jewelry, candles, decor, and more. I was obsessed. Everything's unique, gorgeous, and so affordable. What's not to love?
Not too long after, we raced time and the setting sun to make it up to Perch LA, a rooftop bar Cassandra, other friends, and the blogosphere alike have been raving about. You guys, it's amazing. Please visit at some point in your life.

Nestled in the center of downtown LA, you're surrounded by skyscrapers and the rich and the famous (well, plus tourists too) every which way you turn. The drinks are delicious, though pricey, and have fun names like Lolita and Writer's Block and My Fair Lady. We hovered until some lounge chairs opened up. They lit a fire by our feet, barricaded us off with red rope as somehow we fooled people into thinking we're VIP (not really), the hum and buzz of conversations continued on around us, and we took it all in.
Dinner reservations were at Baco Mercat, which now has a place on my Must Stops in LA list that it won't lose anytime soon. Great (though again, still pricey!) drinks, and an amazing, totally drool-worthy menu.

The Sweet Piggy – a gruyere, bacon, and autumn squash flatbread – to start us off.
Ricotta ravioli with pork belly sugo, kale, and pine nuts. Ridiculous. 
And the piece de resistance: The Slayer.

Mostly ordered because of its name (huge Buffy fans, this trio is...) but uh, would you look at this.
Baked baco with fried egg, pork belly, and salmorejo. Needless to say, we slayed it.

And of course, with the best company.
Our final stop was Clifton's Cafeteria, a cafeteria-style restaurant but also a multi-story bar, for a friend's birthday. Quite the place, you guys. It reminded me of a British pub meets an old professor's library meets a natural history museum meets the whimsical parts of Harry Potter (there was a towering tree in there that wasn't unlike the Whomping Willow). 

The best time with the best gals.

And then, it was to bed.

Where should I go the next time I go to LA for stress relief?!


  1. I think I gained 5lbs just reading this and had to wipe drool from my chin! Everything looks delish! Xoxo, ganeeban

  2. Pinning this! When I was in SF, my family would meet me in Newport so we would take daytrips but I need to take some solid time in LA

  3. You went nowhere I have been in LA... mmmm... C&O Cucina. Garlic knots. I can eat all of the garlic knots.

  4. saving this because I've never been to LA. I KNOW. i need to get on it!

  5. Oh my goodness, take me with you next time will you?! This sounds like such a magical weekend of friendship and sunshine and incredible food. I think Perch sounds SO cool, and the vintage shop you mentioned sounds like a dream!


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xx Caroline