Los Angeles Favorites

Los Angeles was kind of a fast and furious trip, but we always try to strike a perfect balance between exploring for food and getting all.the.sleep. We were only there for three full days but snuck in a great balance of both!

We stayed at the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills and I can’t say enough great things about it. If you’re looking to stay in Beverly Hills without spending your children’s college tuition for your hotel, this is the spot for you. I’d describe it as really cute and sweet rather than really glamorous and luxurious but honestly it was everything we could have asked for. We were a 20 minute walk from tons of awesome spots and a really quick Lyft drive to everything else we needed. We didn’t use the bikes they offer but they’re so tempting sitting out there in front of the hotel! And we also didn’t take a dip in the pool but that whole outdoor area is stunning. The fries are fantastic, by the way.

Here’s a quick recap of my favorite places we ate/saw during our trip!

I scheduled a pedicure for both of us at Olive & June while I was grabbing coffee in the airport. I’d been wanting to try it out for years and since the snow ruined our pedicure plans in New York in December (O gets about one pedicure a year and DESPERATELY needed it) we decided to start the trip off on a relaxing note. Olive & June was absolutely lovely. Dare I say the best pedicure I’ve ever had? O definitely said so and we’ve had some great pedicures.

O is the king of surprises and had sent flowers and boxes of vegan doughnuts to the room to be waiting for when we arrived. The Erin McKenna Doughnuts were some of the best I’ve ever had, vegan or not! The chocolate, cookie butter and samoa were my favorites!

After our pedicures, we walked to CVS to buy some snacks and tons of water for the hotel room…and also a $2 pair of flip-flops because mine broke on our 20 minute walk to the appointment (Super awesome) then headed back to the hotel room to drop off our things and get cleaned up a bit and headed straight to dinner. For the record, it was 6pm tops-once a parent, always a parent, right?

Gracias Madre was phenomenal. It’s a fully vegan mexican restarant thats so fancy and spectacular. It was completley booked but we were able to snag a seat outside and I was thrilled! It was such a chilly night but we sat near the fire under space heaters and they also provided amazing heavy blankets for us. Our favorite dishes would be the nachos (!!!!) and the floutas. Oh my goodness. I haven’t stopped craving those nachos since and I may never recover.

When we got back to the hotel, O told me he had scheduled a couples massage in the room and that was the perfect ending to a perfect evening.

Friday morning we went for a long walk so I could grab coffee from Alfreds. I got a decaf (always) vanilla latte with coconut milk and it was the best vanilla latte I’ve ever had. so yummy. I also had ‘the pink drink’ made with almond milk the next day and it was equally delicious.

We then walked to Urth Cafe for breakfast and I had an omelette with a side of potatoes and snuck some bites of O’s corn pancakes which were vegan and delicious. Everything looked awesome and I was really impressed.

We of course grabbed some juices form Pressed Juicery because having fresh greens and fruits and veggies on hand is always a must for us.

We then had Crossroads Kitchen delivered via Postmates because I had researched the best vegan food in L.A and this kept coming up as #1. I had the kale ceaser salad and tried the vegan mac and cheese and all I can say is yuummmm. So, so yum. O ordered the fried chicken and waffles and the ‘Impossible Burger’ which was also really tasty! We were so confused as to how meat-like everything was.

Friday night was so, so fun. We went to The Grove pretty early just to wander and walk around a bit. It felt like such a date and I was just giddy feeling so carefree, you know? Just the process of laying in bed and saying “Hey, wanna go see a movie?” and getting up and DOING IT. No babysitter, no bedtime routine, just a last minute movie. How wonderful! We bought our ticket to Jumanji and headed into to Dominique Ansel Bakery for a cookie because it’s one of our New York City favorites that has never let us down. The evening was just precious and I enjoyed every single second of it.

Saturday was the conference and I left at 7:30am and O picked me up at 9:30 so it was a full day of random, delicious eating. Two things I will note: 1. They served Flowerchild, among tons of other things, for lunch at the conference and my vegan ‘poke’ bowl was beyond impressive. It was a beet based bowl which normally doesn’t sound too exciting but wow was it good. 2. I came home to Doughnut Friend doughnuts and they were AMAZING. Not in the hyperbole way, in the true to definition way. I’ve had many vegan doughnuts and these actually amazed me. Another thing I’ve yet to recover from.

Sunday morning we went to Renew Church which was such a blessing because it’s a church plant by our home church Grace Covenant in Virginia! We got to see dear friends and just seeing the church in person after praying for it and hearing about it for years was wonderful. After church we rushed to try and make it to Crossroads Kitchen to witness the vegan deliciousness again before they closed.

We told our Lyft driver they closed in 15 minutes and he worked some crazy L.A. driving to get us there with exactly, e x a c t l y, one minute to spare. That man was incredible! And the food. Ohhhh the food! It feels like such a luxury to walk into a restaurant and know you’ll be able to eat everything in it. I can’t quite describe how special it makes me feel to know we wont be restricted to about 6% of the menu but instead have our pick of the entire thing. That will never get old. I’ve gotta say, I wasn’t a fan of the french toast because it was made with a bitter vegan cream cheese in the middle and I just wasn’t into it. But the biscuit? Wow. I would eat that thing every day for the rest of my life. Top it off with a generous pat of vegan butter and house-made jam and I don’t quite know how to envision a better life. O got the pancakes and the ‘Impossible Breakfast Sandwich’ and both were just as mind-blowing. If you’re ever in LA, vegan or not, you must go try that breakfast sandwich. Must.

I like to eat pizza as my dairy cheat when we go on vacation because it is easy to isolate it and have to look forward to. A friend recommended 800 Degrees and I’m so glad she did because it was the perfect pizza for me! Thin crust, super light and simple..I ate it in bed watching Top Chef at 9pm which is just my perfect version of a dream evening!

I hope this round-up helps and please let me know if you visit any of these places! Let me live vicariously through you, friends!

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