This past weekend I flew to the west coast to visit my dear friend, Erin, who recently gave birth to (adorable!) little twins. Even though the weather ended up being less than ideal, it was nice to escape the the chill of New England and meet the newest members of her cute family! Here are a few of my favorite spots we visited.
Erin recommended the cute boutique hotel, Shade, for my stay in Manhattan Beach. Shade received five stars in the “attention to detail” category in my book, the homemade cake pops on the nightstand and personalized bath salts didn’t go unnoticed. I also enjoyed the delicious (and calorie conscious) options they served for breakfast in the lounge. Looking forward to returning soon!
Take a walk down Manhattan Boulevard in Manhattan Beach to find cute boutiques, hair + nail salons, as well as tasty, casual restaurants. Each shop is filled with Splendid tees, Rachel Pally maxi dresses, and distressed denim for the ultimate casual California girl.
I traveled to Santa Monica on Friday night for dinner and fell in love with the charming Santa Monica Boulevard. Although there were many more chain stores (Madewell, Gap, Anthropologie) it felt like a really unique space. The restaurants + bars in this area seemed to be festive too!
Sip / Snack
Lemonade, a cafeteria style dining joint, is the ideal quick + casual lunch spot. With refreshing menu items like watermelon radish, ahi tuna, snap peas, black sesame, and ginger salad, it’s a nice healthy change of pace. Not only was the colorful food a real treat, but the ambiance was so quirky and inviting, it truly made the whole experience start to finish pleasurable. Who can forget the lemonade?!? For one with a sweet tooth, try the Raspberry + Vanilla combo and for a more traditional twist pick up an Arnold Palmer. I hope this chain makes its way to the east coast (ASAP)!
When meeting up with another close friend in Santa Monica for dinner, we originally had planned to check out the highly recommended restaurant, The Joint. With a wait list a mile long, we ended up making our way over to Mercado and were anything but disappointed! This contemporary Mexican restaurant had a really inventive mix of cultural cuisine and atmosphere. Don’t leave without getting an order of the guacamole!
We visited Manhattan Beach Post for brunch Saturday afternoon. This place was the ultimate California relax dining spot, complete with exposed rafters, hanging sculptural bicycle and friendly chairs at the communal tables. The french toast was also heavenly!
For my final night in California, we had dinner at Gjelina in Venice. The intricate + funky chandeliers really caught my attention when walking to the patio. It was nice to be able to dine outdoors in the middle of January and once again this restaurant only serves the freshest ingredients. I’d recommend ordering at least one of the pizza options and the kale salad.