Our trip to LA
Hi my friends! How are you all doing? I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now but never got around to it. I told myself that I need to sit down and finally put it together. My hubby and I went to California a little over a month ago and it was an amazing week vacation. We both have gone on separate occasions prior to being married so we thought it would be special to go together since we both love LA. Who wouldn’t love being in the sun and exploring an area that literally has it all?
I have comprised a list of fabulous places to eat and visit while in the LA area if you were to ever go, which I highly recommend you do. My husband and I literally ate our way through LA. No joke. We tried anything and everything; I put my dietary restrictions aside and he put his keto diet on hold. I did take with me digestive enzymes, and necessary vitamins or medications if I were to have trouble since I wasn’t eating gluten or dairy free.
It was also the first time that we rented an Air BNB instead of a hotel room; definitely a different experience. Luckily, our first experience went fantastic. We spent half the money we would if we got a hotel. We honestly just needed a place to sleep; we were out most of the day exploring anyway! Our Air bnb was also a perfect location in Windsor Hills; literally close to everything. I would recommend trying it; just make sure to check reviews!
PLACES TO EAT
- The owner is extremely nice and so is his staff who have been working there for years which tells you something!
- The sandwiches without a doubt are one of the best I have ever had; my husband definitely agrees. They use the highest quality deli meats which is BOARS’s Head!
- Fact: we ate here 4 times in one week; that’s how hooked we were. One of our favorite places!
- Tip: Get the dark sweet bread! The Zuzu Special is photographed on the right and The Turkey (Big lucky special I believe) is on the left. Both so so good! Very affordable too. You get this big sandwich with chips for around 10 dollars! They literally have 100 different types of chips & beverages too which is insane.
- Verdict: MUST GIVE THIS PLACE A TRY! You will not regret it. By the way, the sandwich is ALWAYS stuffed this much.
- Really cute tea and coffee shop. There are two on one street in Beverly Hills. There is a tea shop separate from the coffee shop with some seating outside. I believe they only take credit.
- Across and down the street there is the Alfred’s coffee place which also sells tea options too.
- I got the fresh coconut with matcha and boba. My husband got a dark iced coffee as usual! Its a tad on the pricey side; about $7 a drink.
- It was delicious and the area was beautiful to just walk around.
- Really great popular brunch spot. You can expect a 20 min wait to get seated as this place is always packed; which is a good thing. It means its good and that is is!
- They have food suitable for dietary restrictions like dairy or gluten free even vegan.
- Their food is priced reasonably for the quality they serve; which is spot on.
- They also offer free flavored water that you can serve yourself.
- Hubby and I both really enjoyed it. I got an avocado toast with a side of eggs topped with za’atar while hubby got this delicious butternut squash and ricotta pizza. They were both really delicious.
- I’ve had In n out a few times before I went this time and I felt like it wasn’t as good as it used to be.
- Its still a delicious quick burger that is quite cheap. Fries are good too.
- Expect a slight wait here whether drive through or inside but they move quick.
- Tip: order the double burger animal style with some animal fries. Animal style comes with a yummy sauce on top! You can also request your burger in a lettuce wrap too.
Catch LA (Hip higher end spot in LA)
- Highly recommend you make reservations. This is a very busy restaurant.
- I will say-it is extremely beautiful. Its like rooftop dining with the feeling of being outside but actually inside. Lots of flowers and greens too.
- The food was unlike any I have tried. Super creative menu and everything was executed really well. It was a great dining experience. I recommend getting small plates so you can enjoy various foods rather than just 2 meals. We ordered the sweet potato gnocchi which was impeccable, it melted in our mouth. We had the Catch sushi Roll and the mango shrimp one. We had wagyu tacos and lobster rolls which both were amazing. My husband loves the wagyu!
- Budget: It is the most expensive place we ate at but worth the experience.
- This was the first time my husband and I try poke and we both loved it!!! For those who don’t know, poke is like a deconstructed sushi bowl.
- This place was quick, fresh and delicious. Also, reasonably priced for about 10 dollars a bowl which isn’t bad for fresh sea food.
- Came across this place when hubby and I were searching for some tacos. This was close by and when looking at the menu; looked pretty good and it was.
- They offer endless chips and salsa when you order the guacamole chips and salsa appetizer which is really cool. their chips are made in house; they taste amazing. They come out crisp and warm.
- Their tacos were also good but I didn’t enjoy the corn tortilla that much; maybe you are better off getting the flour tortilla.
- The waitress was extremely friendly and very knowledgeable of the menu.
- This was our favorite coffee spot. Its like The Starbucks of LA but better.
- Tip: Must try the coffee mint mojito! It is so good. I’m not a coffee drinker but I really enjoyed it.
- The atmosphere is really chill and the staff are super cool and knowledgeable.
- Fun Fact: The owner of Philz is Arabic ! You will find labneh and za’atar on the small brunch menu. How cool?
- Highly recommend you make reservations! You may have to wait even with reservations. We waited about an extra 20 minutes.
- Fun Fact: Owner is the same person who invented Sprinkles cupcakes!
- Delicious thin crust gourmet pizza with very creative toppings-we bought the squash blossom and riccottaa pie along with the cacio de pepe (white pie with various cheeses). Both were spectacular!!
- Budget: On the pricier side seeing that it is gourmet. You will be spending 20+ on a standard sized pie but it was a great experience for sure.
- One of my favorite places!!! Our friends took us here and we loved it.
- Its Mediterranean street food at its finest. Super flavorful.
- Tip: Get the street cart fries and street cart doner wrap. They are superb. You will be a happy person, I promise you.
- Budget: very reasonable for what you get. Expect to spend about 10+ dollars a person.
- You seat yourself and go by the cashier to pick up the menus and order at the cashier. Its a very laid back hip environment.
- Great Mexican place to eat at when in Malibu. Its right across from the Malibu pier. The seating outside is very nice and spacious as well as the inside.
- Beware the birds if you sit outside! They will be a visitor at your table for sure.
- Food was good but nothing special. Good chips and salsa though! Overall, a decent spot!
- Really hip brunch spot. Outdoor seating was really nice. The inside is more congested so outdoors was the perfect fit especially with the nice weather.
- Check out their specials of the day or week! Its on a chalkboard outside. I would order off of that.
- I got the salmon eggs Benedict and hubby got a special which was also delicious. Their has was amazing.
- Budget: Priced Reasonably. About $15 a person
- This was our favorite brunch spot! Its spacious, the staff was friendly and the menu was extensive.
- You will definitely find something you want to try on their menu. They have plenty of options for people with dietary restrictions.
- I got the Florentine Benedict which is a must try! My husband got the steak hash which is also good but I enjoyed my meal more.
- Budget: Reasonably priced. About $15 a person.
- Best Boba ever!!!
- Get the Pistachio Boba. its absolutely delicious.
- Small Thai place serving up some delicious curries and pad thais.
- A very popular taco spot. They are known for their Korean beef short rib tacos so definitely get a few of those. They are pretty small but only 3-4 dollars, so its not bad.
PLACES TO VISIT
GREY STONE MANSION (located in Beverly Hills)
- A beautiful estate with gorgeous grounds to walk around as you can tell from some photos. There is parking and its absolutely FREE to park and walk around the grounds of the mansion. You can peek through the large windows to get an idea of the beauty inside the mansion but you cannot enter the mansion.
- A popular spot to go shopping or walk around on a beautiful day which is usually the case in LA. There are shops and a farmers market which has over 20 different restaurants in it. The farmers market restaurants are expensive though; I will say that. There are places that make crepes, fruit smoothies, burgers, Mediterranean food, pizza, Chinese and so much more.
- If you buy anything from the farmers market, ask for a parking voucher and your parking will be free when exiting the lot which is awesome.
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME
- You will find parking on one of the side roads. Parking in LA isn’t expensive, but make sure you read the signs!!!
- The Hollywood Walk of Fame is in a decent area; not the best. You will see stars of famous people on the sidewalk. Lots of people stop and take pictures with stars of people they recognize.
- There is a Chinese Theater there as well as a mall which has an awesome food court. We tried Pokinometry and got our first Poke ball.
- There is a great spot on the street to buy souvenirs as well for 5 dollars or under!
SANTA MONICA PIER
- Santa Monica is beautiful! You must go visit if you are in LA area. You can walk the pier and promenade all day and not get bored. There is beach and city life. There is a shopping and dinning scene. The are has it all!
- There is always entertainment on the pier by comedians and musicians. There is also a small amusement park.
- Parking buildings are all over Santa Monica area. They are not that expensive either. Maybe 10 dollars.
HUNTINGTON BOTANICAL GARDENS (located in Pasadena)
- I am a sucker for nature. So when my friend invited us to go to their local botanical gardens; I said yes!
- It’s so beautiful too. There is a Japanese & Chinese garden and bonsai tree area too. Its not huge like the Brooklyn Botanical garden or Chicago botanical garden but it is well sized and the grounds are mainited beautifully. My favorite was the cacti garden!
- They also have a cafe on the premises that serves food like steaks, sandwiches, salads and more.
- Budget: Check the site for tickets! The cafe is on the pricier side for sure.
- We really enjoyed it especially spending it with awesome friends! By the way, Pasadena was our favorite area. It is absolutely breathtaking. I would live there if I moved to Cali!
- I’ve always wanted to go to the canals, when I saw it though; it wasn’t really anything special.
- Its basically a water canal running through the back of peoples homes. Its nice to see because its different but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it.
- Its walking distance to Venice Beach which is also known as Muscle Beach. Its more of a hipster area. Warning: You will see plenty of weed shops!
- Its a nice walk; there is a skate park and pretty beaches but parking was much harder in this area so good luck with that!
- This Villa is located in a beautiful area over looking Pacific Coast Highway which I recommend you drive on. The views are wonderful.
- This is a museum as well as a place with beautiful grounds and architecture as you can see though some photos.
- Tickets should be printed out beforehand and shown before entering the parking. I always recommend checking out the main website to see if anything has changed.
- Admission is free but I believe parking is 15 dollars.
- Overall, its worth it to go there especially if you plan on being in the Malibu area. Make a day trip out of that whole area!
- This street and area is known for high end shopping places. You will see Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo and so much more. Its a touristy spot for sure but its also beautiful to see and walk around. Nothing much else to do but that unless you want to shop high end of course then it is most definitely the place for you.
- There is a parking garage very close by that charges about 8 dollars I believe.
- I went here because I wanted to take a picture with the poles/lanterns. I am such a tourist, I know.
- LACMA is a museum but the grounds have this feature with the lanterns which is free to walk around and take pictures. Admission into LACMA is not free however.
- To take picture here is just a tourist thing to do! You can find parking not far away on the street with meters.
Loved reading this post! You got me even more excited to visit Cali/LA!!
You will love it! I promise 🙂
Thank you so much Heifa for this blog post. Will be using your tips and suggestions for a future trip to California inshaAllah.