Last week I was lucky enough to travel to California! My parents arranged the trip a while ago, and kindly invited my brother and his girlfriend Jesi, me, and my boyfriend Steve along for the fun. It was a sequel to our amazing vacation together last Christmas in Mexico. We stayed in a house a block away from the beach in Venice, and rented bikes to ride up and down the coast and through the cities. It was an absolute blast. I haven’t gathered all the pictures from everyone yet (and most of the photos of all of us are on dad or Harry’s camera) but I couldn’t wait to share some of the beautiful snaps I took while I was there.
Venice beach is full of weirdos, but much like Austin, they accept this fact with pride. Of all the funky, cool establishments and architecture we saw in the neighborhood, the one that stuck out to me the most was a building across the alleyway right behind our house. It was painted a deep purple, enclosed by Gothic gates and smothered in artwork, gargoyles, and other miscellaneous oddities. It had a spiral staircase up to a rooftop with tables and chairs, so my mom and I assumed it must have been some sort of establishment. It wasn’t until our last day there when we wandered around to the front of the building that we saw a plaque reading “Private Residence” on the gated front entryway. Awesome. Someone lives here. Which begs the questions “Who?” and then, more interestingly, “…why???”
All the sunshine and fun considered, California really wins my heart with its food. America’s so-called “salad bowl” really delivers. Our very first Saturday we went to the farmers market in Santa Monica to stock up on fresh, ripe fruits and unpasteurized cheese (yummm….) The area was littered with coffee shops, farm-to-market restaurants, and cold-pressed juice shops. My favorite of these was a cafe/juice bar blend called Kreation (the fresh rose water was to die for, and the “50 Shades of Green” juice as well). Another cool coffee shop we stumbled upon was Tom’s– yeah, the same Tom’s that makes those canvas flats. I had no idea they did coffee, or eyeglasses either, but apparently their flagship location in Venice does it all. It had a great atmosphere and the cold brew coffee was excellent. Even the corner store in Venice had a fresh produce section, along with the biggest papaya I’d ever seen. But the highlight of the trip, at least food-wise, was a little joint called Flake that Jessica found. Aside from having THE best breakfast sandwiches ever, it was a super cute place decorated with vintage kid’s cereal boxes and a sense of humor. So good. My folks and I went back for more a few times before we left.
We also got to meet up with our cousin Noah, who lives in LA right now and is a comedy writer. He’s worked on Workaholics and Kroll Show, two of me and Steve’s favorites! He even got a cake thrown in his face by Zach Galafianakis– which is pretty much the coolest thing anyone can put on their resume. Larry had expressed interest in hiking up to the Hollywood sign, and as it happened Noah lives right beneath it and
offered to be our tour guide. Larry and I drove to meet him on our last day. We walked more than half an hour through his neighborhood, which was beyond gorgeous with beautiful houses and colorful flowers and fruit trees everywhere. Then we started the hour-and-a-half long journey up the hill. It was a relatively clear day for LA so we could see out over all of the city, and the ocean and mountains in the distance. It was quite the workout, and my calves are still sore many days later, but it was so worth it. Here’s our view from the top: