I didn't really know what to expect from Los Angeles. Since we only had four days, we based ourselves in a fantastic Airbnb apartment near the beach in Venice and spent the time exploring Santa Monica and the fantastic restaurants and shops along Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
I was so glad we went for the more relaxed approach staying in one place rather than having to deal with crazy LA traffic when crossing town! It was soooo nice to have no plans but to explore, eat, shop and repeat.
Denea had been to this little organic cafe and juice bar before and said it was really good. We actually ended up there for brunch twice. It was a great, healthy way to start the day and the portions were enormous enough to share. After much indecision staring at the extensive juice menu, I started with a Green #2 juice and an espresso. The juice was delicious (yes I'm one of those weirdos who actually likes green juice), but unfortunately the coffee wasn't great.
The Kreation Club was a monster sandwich with Niman Ranch bacon, organic greens, tomato, hummus on multi-grain bread. Try as I might, I didn't even come close to finishing it, especially not with the side of delicious sautéed galic kale. I ate a lot of kale in LA and have replicated this dish a few times since I've been home.
This was the Cancun Salad with an added free range Chicken Kabob that was tremendously satisfying and big enough for the two of us to share for lunch. Organic baby greens with roasted corn and black bean salsa, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and a what looks like a whole avocado with a house made dressing on the side. Delicious and healthy too!
I really liked the decor and the friendly staff, my only complaint was a minor one, that the food took quite a long time to come out. They also have quite a few other locations in LA.
One interesting tidbit, this cool mural was in the laneway next door to the cafe, and I snapped this photo on our first visit. On our second visit it was all covered over in plastic and we suspected that they might be repainting it. Sure enough, I ventured past on my last day in Venice only to find a completely bare white wall! Sad!
Kreation Cafe, 1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd Venice, CA 90291
I fell quite in love with super cute paper and stationary boutique Urbanic. I resisted spending an enormous amount of money, and just bought a few cute cards and notebooks. But really, I wanted to take everything home with me in my suitcase. Especially that ampersand light!! Oh my lord that would look so good in my bedroom!
If you're looking for great unique gifts, custom stationary for your wedding or event or cards ranging from sweet to cheeky, this is the place!
Urbanic, 1644 Abbott Kinney Blvd Venice, CA 90291
How do you feel about dining solo? I had some amazing meals by myself in New York, but it felt a little different to be eating alone while in LA and Hawaii for some reason. Not in a bad way, just a different vibe. Local 1205 is described as a 'food lovers emporium' serving food from morning til late. At the juice bar you can get cold-pressed juices and smoothies, and inside they are serving up some pretty epic pizzas, sandwiches and seafood.
I liked the stripped back warehouse vibe with pops of colour from the bright red chairs, and the mini market set up in one corner of the restaurant featuring local gourmet products. I started with a homemade ginger lemonade, which was just perfect on a hot day.
I've been watching quite a few episodes of Amazing Eats lately, and have established a clear correlation between deliciousness and messiness when you're dealing with sandwiches. The El Cubano was definitely both of those things!
Consisting of fall-apart slow roasted pork loin, Niman Ranch smoked ham, gruyere cheese, pickles and whole grain mustard on a Cuban roll, the flavours all worked so well together. This place is a winner. I wish I'd got the chance to try a few more of the delicious sounding items on the menu!
Local 1205, 1205 Abbott Kinney Blvd Venice, CA 90291
One of the things I was looking forward to the most was trying some Mexican food in California. After missing out in San Francisco, I was determined to get my fill in LA. I visited Casalinda on Abbot Kinney for a quick, cheap lunch.
I chose beef, pork and shrimp tacos, which were all pretty darn delicious, but my favourite was definitely the pork. I'd also definitely recommend the watermelon juice, it's so refreshing!
Casalinda, 1357 Abbott Kinney Blvd Venice, CA 90291