On Saturday, I woke up and got ready for my mini-road trip to Santa Monica with my friend Jenny. We got to Santa Monica around 10:30 and headed for the Farmer’s Market. Hillcrest’s is definitely better! I think there are actually a few more farmers represented at Hillcrest and there were only 2-3 prepared food vendors rather than the whole aisle of them at Hillcrest. I love that about Hillcrest- do I want tacos, Thai food, paninis, etc!? Brunch at the Farmer’s market is one of my faves (no bloody mary though, boo!). So, after we walked around 3rd St promenade, we went to Anisette, a French bistro and had mussels and a salad for brunch/lunch preceded by half a pain au chocolat each.
Then we drove to Will Roger’s State Park and went on a 2-2.5 mile easy hike to a really pretty hilltop. Then we drove through Topenga Canyon but skipped the hike.
On the way back, we stopped on Montana Ave and went on a long walk and window shop/went into stores. I bought a sailor stripe shirt that I really wanted and a cool black shirt. After the drive, we got back and I went for a run from SM to Venice Beach. I was under a little bit of a time constraint so I didn’t see Muscle Beach, but someday! Then we went to JiRaffe which was amazing.
To start, I had a blood orange cosmo- delish but no muddling. Jenny’s drink had mint and kumquats vigorously muddled and it was delicious! There was also vodka, lime and simple syrup so it was almost like a mojito variation. I had one later- I definitely want to replicate the recipe!
Then dinner was awesome. I got a tomato tart with buretta cheese on phylo while Jenny got the purple gnocchi with shrimp. Both were really good but the highlight for me was my lamb dish. Yum, yum! It was a rack of lamb with 5 meat lollipops. Jenny got Scottish salmon, which was also delish. We shared the main courses and it was awesome. Dessert, like we needed it, was a sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream that we split. Then we went to a bar and had a final drink before turning in. I had a drink with Pimm’s in it, which I had never had before. It tasted like a liquid riccola cough drop. So, not terrible but a little too medicinal for my drinking tastes.
Sunday morning, we woke up at 8:30 and ran to Venice Beach and had brunch at 3 Square Café and Bakery. I had the bread pudding French toast which was tasty but weird since it came in 2 thin slices, like they had made a meatloaf, but it was French toast. It also came with eggs, bacon, and BBQ beans made with chickpeas. Yum, but nothing AMAZING. I’ve had better brunches in SD. Which, granted, is pretty stiff competition.
Then we walk/ran back to the hotel, got ready and checked out. We went to Anthropologie, which is a pretty cute store but expensive and I didn’t find anything that I wanted enough.
Then we went to the Getty, which is stunning. I want to go back and go on a tour that describes the architecture. It was an amazing complex of buildings and gardens. We also saw sketches by Da Vinci, paintings by Rembrandt, and some European paintings and sculptures.
Afterwards, Jenny needed a snack so we went to Diddy Riece and I got an ice cream sandwich- peanut butter ice cream on a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie and a white chocolate chocolate cookie. Yum! The ride home had slightly heavier traffic than going up but it was still pretty straight forward. I went to work to write an email to Mechen then I went home and crashed.
It was an awesome weekend and I love the mini-road trip idea. I would like to go to Dana Point and San Clemente island as well as Palm Springs.