Sigh, California. We had the very best time visiting you. You were even better than I imagined. Here are a few photos and some of the favorite places we peeped during the first half of our stay out west.
Eastside? Westside? We did a fair amount of hemming and hawing before deciding to spend our LA visit mostly on the Westside and specifically in Venice. (The Siren call of ocean waves, you see.)
Craftsman Mini-Me: The little 400-square-foot bungalow where we stayed sits in the backyard of a house owned by the loveliest couple. Kevin and Susan lived in the tiny house themselves while they renovated the main house on the property, and they made it into a marvelous retreat, complete with the world’s most magical outdoor shower, a fully functioning kitchen, an outdoor patio, and more ambience than you can shake a stick at. We adored every second of our stay there, including a very dramatic hail storm that pelted the tin roof (Faye was utterly unfazed). The first half of our trip to California was pretty well filled up with book-related events, and so we were so glad that the space where we slept and woke up in each morning was pure magic. When you can’t be 100 percent out and about, it’s nice to feel like you’ve found something special when you’re inside and cozy. We haven’t stopped hearing about the owners’ dog, Boo, since we came back. You can book your own stay with them on Airbnb, right this way.
We did a lot of eating at our Airbnb, but we made it out for a special treat or two, too. (Two snaps below from Instagram.)
Superba Bread Co. – This place was close by to the place where we stayed and we stopped in a few times. It’s bright and cozy at the same time with lots of delicious options (and plenty of things vegetarian). It’s also roughly ten times bigger than any restaurant we have in New York and it was kind of amazing to stretch the old limbs while eating.
Taco Punta Cabras – Thank god Faye’s amazing babysitter is an LA-native. Lourdes hooked us up with the best recommendation for tacos (fish and tofu!) on our way back down the coast from Malibu. So, so, so good. But the experience was also kind of tragic. I’ll be wanting these tacos every damn day until I get to eat one again.
Santa Monica Farmer’s Market – You know you’re talking to an East Coaster when a farmers’ market with citrus is a revelation. We drooled over everything, scooped up as much as our bag would carry, and somehow lost two of the most beautiful grapefruits I’d ever seen on the route back to our car.
Gjusta – So delicious and beautifully designed. Highly, highly recommended. (Also: it’s super close to LAX in case you’re hankering for a little taste of California to take home with you.
Our time in Venice was punctuated by book-related stuff and driving to and fro, but we did manage to sneak out for a few adventures.
Venice Canals: The loveliest Hopie from Blockshop directed us to cruise the Venice Canals at dusk and we were so, so happy that we did. What a totally wild place. The history nerd in me wants take a deep dive into this place. Canals! Houses! Neglect! Restoration! FASCINATING.
Venice Walk Streets: I was initially disappointed that we got to these streets after dark, but then I was THRILLED when I realized that so many of the houses were lit up with fairy lights. MAGIC. (Yes, I want to move to Venice.)
Venice Boardwalk: Faye tried to steal no fewer than three skateboards and then rushed headlong into the thrashing ocean. Girls will be girls.
Abbot Kinney: The main drag in Venice is worth a stroll. It’s got your usual retail contenders, along with spots like the Cuyana store where we celebrated Simple Matters. Also: Palm trees. (All this Brooklyn girl needs to feel jazzed.) We never made it to the the highly recommended and nearby Flowerboy and General Store shops. Clearly, we need to go back immediately.
PCH to Malibu: On our one unscheduled day in LA, we decided to hightail it to the coast. We drove up the Pacific Coast Highway and veered off the road on a naptime-imposed ramble. After Faye woke up, we spent a few hours hiking around Point Dume. Faye got a lil’ friendly with the sea squirts and girl doesn’t mind a single bit ’bout getting her skirt sandy.
And that’s about it before we headed out to the desert. Tell us what we missed! Tell us about the perfect tiny bungalow you have waiting for us to move into!
For the curious:
I’m wearing the same jeans I’m always wearing;
a beautiful shirt given to me by Pas de Calais;
and my beloved Alma scarf.
Faye is wearing her trusty Nieva snowdrop sweater;
this little dress.
and these trusty little sneaks.
I’m using our new uber-lightweight carrier. (We’ve been loving how light it is for trips when we’re not sure how long Faye will tolerate being carried.)