A rare week away with just my husband was such a treat to begin with but then you add LA’s green scene to the mix and I am in total heaven!!!
We spent the week at The Resort at Pelican Hill which was UNBELIEVABLE – besides 5-star living, the view alone had me weak in the knees. Anyways before we crashed into Newport Beach we met up with some friends and did it up in Santa Monica for a couple of nights the weekend before. Here are some spots that still have me drooling.
As soon as we unloaded at the hotel we took an Uber with one and only one destination in mind; Cafe Gratitude. This 100% organic and plant-based joint had me silently screaming HOLLA!!! They also procure from local farmers plus support sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly products. And oh the flavors, ALL THE FLAVORS. Need I say more?
All of these picks were amazing. Jason got the noodles – the cheesy flavor was uncanny considering they were also dairy free. I got the tacos which were flavor-packed, delicious and filling. And no words for the gluten free brownie with coconut-cashew ice cream, cashew cream and chocolate sauce. Can you say foodgasm??? I can.
For a nightcap we crossed the street to Moon Juice. These juices are made by hydraulically cold pressing organic vegetables, fruits and herbs which eliminates heat and oxidization. The result is the most nutrient dense juice around loaded with enzymes, vitamins, trace minerals and other vital elements.
Jason grabbed the Honeydew, Cilantro & Lime (green juice) and the Carrot, Lime and Coconut (orange) – they were both amazing but my fave was definitely the carrot juice. The addition of coconut made it so creamy and dessert-like! I grabbed the ginger shot packaged in glass which was SPICY and so good. I wanted one of everything in the store but I settled for a few pics instead. How pretty are these seed crisps!?
Next stop: breakfast at Kreation Kafe. With several locations, some are only juice bars and some are juice + cafe. I hit up the cafe on Montana Ave. Juices are raw and made with local Santa Monica certified organic fruits and veggies. Food is organic and gluten free with no high pressure processing or pasteurization. They had me at organic but this is so much more!
So I ordered all the food. Naturally. And I feel compelled to add I was dining solo. This carrot, coconut, lemon, ginger with a dash of bee pollen juice was to-die-for. So flavorful and just plain good. The omelet was 6 egg whites and filled with quinoa, kale, turmeric, garlic flax and chia seed served with a mild salsa. A little bland but my belly was happy after. Love the stainless steel straw too – they reserve these straws for water only so they stay clean. My juice came with a plastic straw. Also loved the almond milk latte – they hand make all of their nut milks – I asked if I could move in.
They also had a ton of healthy grab-and-go snacks like homemade almond and date butter, apple/seed crisps, power bites and so much more. I grabbed a lemon, cayenne, alkaline water + stevia to go and I can’t wait to get home to make a pitcher! Tasted like a spicy lemonade – refreshing and tasty.
I did some exploring and got my haircut at MeCHE by Neil Weisberg, one of the principal stylists which was crazy overpriced but I figured, when in Beverly Hills….but that wasn’t rational enough for me so then I figured, well I haven’t gotten my haircut all year so….it evens out. Then I still didn’t feel justified so I pretended I got an astronomical speeding ticket and it was out of my control. That made me feel a little bit better.
Neil was fun and he picked my brain about healthy living. I brought my own shampoo and conditioner (True Botanicals – my fave!) but to my surprise they use Rahua which I’ve tried before and like AND it is totally green which was fun a highlight. I also spotted UMA Oils at the check out desk which was cool too.
Next up: A stop at Sidecar to conquer my quest for a decent gluten free donut. Sidecar has a “from the earth” approach. Made daily from scratch and fried hourly with fresh, seasonal ingredients, infused glazes, hand crushed compotes, flavored custards and creams and no preservatives. You will see flavors like; Fig and Goat Cheese, Lemon Meringue Pie or Maple Bacon. They also offer one gluten-free donut weekly. Say hello to their GF Huckleberry donut. Hello.
I hadn’t had a donut in about three years and this one was worth the wait.
That night we headed out to dinner with some friends to a restaurant called Shutters. I had a perfectly cooked piece of salmon – crispy skin on the bottom and the juiciest medium rare on the inside – and some oysters. I’m hoping they were all wild caught but I didn’t hold my breath or ask. The next day I was back at it with a highly anticipated brunch at Belcampo on Wilshire.
Belcampo is a diamond in the rough. A real gem. And as my friend who recommended it said, “You will wet your pants when you see their meat standards.” Belcampo is a lot of things; a farm, a processing plant, a neighborhood butcher shop and a restaurant with a commitment to provide delicious, organic and compassionately raised meat. Check out their standards here and it’s true, you will probably wet your pants from excitement. Consider yourself warned.
I grabbed some ginger and black tea kombucha from their abutting butcher shop and sat down for the Breakfast Burger which was 1/2 lb of grass fed AND FINISHED beef topped with pastured bacon and a pastured egg. I had them hold the brioche and subbed some bib lettuce to make a wrap and it was the best dang burger I’ve had in a LONG time. My husband thought he saw some guy from The Wire brunching too but we can’t confirm.
Fed and happy, we biked back from Belcampo and on our way we hit up Juice Served Here. Not all juices are created equal and these are definitely worth mentioning. Cold-pressed juice made from local, biodynamic farms at their own state-of-the-art arctic cold-press, zero-waste facility. At this point I’ve been in LA for a day and I’m like, I’m never freaking leaving!!!
I wanted 10 of these juices but I settled for two – both were fantastic.
09: Green Milk with filtered water, almond, hazelnut, cashew, spinach, romaine, kale and date
Cold-pressed lemonade: Alkaline water, lemon, agave and jalapeño
My husband grabbed a cold-pressed iced coffee with house-made macadamia nut milk. You can’t make this stuff up! SO GOOD!
While we were here we stayed at the JW Marriott right on the beach by the Santa Monica Pier. It was really happenin’ – so many people were outside working out, playing on the adult jungle gyms, riding bikes, having lunch….like I mean EVERYONE. If we stayed again I would definitely do the Loews which was right next door and WAY nicer – better pool, better view, chicer lobby and outdoor elevated patio with fire pits – the whole nine.
And we were so close to Muscle Beach we had to take a quick peek.
Jason told me that Arnold Schwarzenegger used to be a regular at this gym AND that this basketball court is that one in “White Men Can’t Jump” which is pretty much the only reason I snapped some pics because although it has a lot of history, it’s pretty run down. We rode back up the famous Venice beach boardwalk with its ubiquitous souvenir and tee shirt shops, bars and your typical Freak Show. Like they really had a Freak Show and it was 5.00 to get in to see the two headed lady and the wolf man among other spectacle. I felt like it was 1950 – how is that still an attraction!?
Anyways – we spent the rest of the week in Newport Beach at a place called The Resort at Pelican Hill. Place is bananas fancy. Jason’s work fitted the bill for the week and I lived it up KID FREE. While he worked I had fun wine tasting, making new friends and pooling. If you are ever thinking of having your wedding here, they start at 80,000!
Holding onto this pool moment in my head now that I’m home and knee-deep in laundry, making lunches and the daily grind. You mama’s know what I’m talking about!
And that’s a wrap!