The last time I was in Los Angeles, I was a young preteen and my biggest goal for the trip was mouse-spotting at Disneyland and window shopping on Rodeo Drive. At the time, I was under the (false) impression that Beverly Hills was the be all and end all of LA culture. My adolescent impressions of the city came from my favourite movies, such as the ditzy yet goodhearted Clueless. Thankfully, my idea of what Los Angeles is all about has changed a great deal since then.
Patrick and I headed down to the sunny state of California in May, which is a truly great time to visit. A good friend of ours had recently relocated from Vancouver to Marina Del Rey and we were keen to be able to spend some time with him and soak up the sun. The weather proved to be perfect for exploring on foot and on bicycle, as we didn’t wish to spend our entire weekend in an air conditioned car (and have to deal with infamous LA traffic).
For the short time we were in Los Angeles, we opted to stay at an Airbnb in Venice, near an an up-and-coming area of Venice centred on Rose Avenue. This was the perfect choice for our short stay and by the time Monday morning rolled around, we wished we could stay forever. The small guesthouse, tucked away behind a classic Southern California bungalow with a front yard full of succulents, felt like home and gave us the opportunity to explore Venice (and LA) like a local.
Biking the Santa Monica bikepath.
After a day exploring the Venice canals and doing some shopping, I knew we had to check out Gjelina on Abbot Kinney Blvd. This was hands down the best meal of the trip – if not of my entire life! While this restaurant is currently at the top of every hipster’s LA hitlist, the trendiness of it is backed up with astounding food, personable service and a great atmosphere. It was challenging to stick to a budget when there were so many incredible menu options, including roasted thumbelina carrots with spiced yogurt and cilantro (!), pomodoro pizza with burrata (!!), and beet, citrus and avocado salad (!!!).