A New Yorker's Guide to LA

January 24, 2018


As charming as New York is, it's absolutely necessary to leave the city and feed the internal travelbug.  I have replaced New York city adventures to Los Angeles ones.  From one amazing city to another, how is one supposed to keep up with everything to see, all the restaurants to try while juggling traffic jam instead of subway delays? Responsibility of tackling the city aside, my boyfriend and I had personal obliations to fulfill.  Such as spending time with friends and family.  When all considered, the long weekend felt too short.  I even felt the need to have two breakfasts, one lunch, and two dinners in order to hit all the restaurants on my list.  Alas, we saved some for our next trip in March. 


I sincerely believe one can really start to experience a city well during the second visit.  The first time around, there are all the museums to be seen, all the touristic attractions to be done.  Gotta do it -during the first visit that is.  Latter visits are for uncovering the restaurants frequented by the locals, for walking around and enjoying long morning and afternoon drinks, seeing temporary exhibitions and so on.  My point is, this was my second time in LA, hence, I have tried to stay away from major tourist attractions and locations. Here's a chic Los Angeles long weekend getaway recap. 




Windsome Restaurant

This cute restaurant is located just north of Downtown LA. Everything about it is extremely chic.  The midsize space has both outdoor and indoor seating.  Wahh, how nice it is when the weather stays around 60-70! We have started our day here with brunch.  There's a long curve linear bar hosting multiple parties on one end of the space and booths on the other.  Blue stools are spaced out enough to enable comfortable dining at the bar area.  From vertical skinny white tiles to playful wallpaper, the space is extremely chic.  Although one might opt for a healthier option from the menu, I had been eyeing the especially delicious looking grilled cheese the whole time.  Reservations are recommended.


The Last Bookstore


Couple of people from Instagram had recommended the Last Bookstore as a must see spot, although I have to admit I had no idea why.  Hence, when my boyfriends sister led us into the the magnificent store, I was more than pleased.  The second level of the bookstore has a tunnel made out of books.  Hence, it is a pretty popular scene among millennials and a fun little stop to add to your Los Angeles List. 


Grand Central Market


Talking about the second breakfast... Since we were so close to Downtown area we decided to stroll around -on foot- and hit couple of the spots on our list in downtown after brunch.  Grand Central market, is a partially encolsed structure with multiple food vendors within.  It's fun to walk around and apparently is an up and coming foodie destination.  I for one can attest to that because a lot of DSLR camera's were present.  Content creation at it's best.  Needless to stay, it is not a place to visit when hungry. with all the options, we settled on ice-cream.  Next time around, I will definitely try the grilled cheese place and the peanut butter and jelly place.  For grilled cheese, think a cheese buffet for your sandwich and as for pb and j, think 10 various menu options.





After spending time with family, alas, time to have dinner. I have first set my eyes on this restaurant because of it's simple yet chic decor.  A lot of the buildings in the Downtown area still preserve certain elements from the past like the handrails or the floor tiles.  In this particular case, the floor tiles looked like they have proceeded me by at least 8-9 decades. Thus the charm.  As for the cuisine, I for one did not think the menu descriptions did justice to the tasty edibles.  Everything we have ordered was extremely flavorful and rich.  We have started off with Ethiopian bread with hummus, turmeric butter and cheese dip sides.  Later we have shared the piri piri rice, vegetable doro wat, potatoes and hand torn pasta.  Each had a unique taste.  I do not remember loving eating my veggies this much.  That being said, hand-torn pasta was my absolute favorite and I could've lived without the potatoes.  Each meal had borrowed spices from ethnic cuisines such as Ethiopian and Indian.  Overall, it was a great dinner which resulted in a food coma. 




Photo Credit: @ohhellolucy



Inelligentsia Coffee - Silver Lake


Definitely worth the drive to get your coffee fix.  I had been asking what is Los Angeles' Williamsburg and apparently it is the Silver Lake area.  This cafe has to die for blue tiles waiting for you to put your coffee down on the floor.   People would leave their car keys and or laptops out in the open to claim tables and go get coffee.  In that instance, pace of life seemed incredibly slow in comparison to New York. 


Although there are two more Intelligentsia Coffee locations, one in Pasadena and one in Venice beach, in terms of the design, Silver lake location is hands down the winner!



 Cafe Gratitude


I love plant based restaurants. Even if I try I cannot be unhealthy.  At Cafe Gratitude, I have definitely stuffed myself to the limit but all with good stuff.  Again, the design was the initial magnet to this place.  The red patterned tiles are too lovely to miss out on.  For the sake of trying all, we have opted to share and Acai bowl, nachos, a black bean burger, and a quinoa pasta.  We were originally planing on having breakfast at Republique, a french restaurant in a re-purposed old stone building but the line was too long for our level of hunger.  Needless to say, I will save Republique for the next round and am grateful d to have experienced all the healthy stuffiness Cafe Gratitude had to offer.


You could tell Cafe Gratitude took branding really seriously.  Their menu had the phrase "I AM" on top and menu items were named such as nurtured, courageous, zen, clean, etc.  When we finished ordering as well as when we received our food, the waiter had repeated: "You are zen, you are nurtured" and so on.  While I had hold back my "you don't know me:p" sarcastic reaction, the whole encounter felt a little eerie. 




LACMA - Urban Lights


A quick stop for Instagram.  Even though the museum itself is a must see, since I have been there done that during the first time around, this time opted to make a quick stop at the Urban Lights installation.  You know, for Instagram.


Other note worthy quick stops close by are: Walt Disney concert Hall and original Farmer's Market.  One can always see the Hollywood walk of fame and Staples Center because why not. 









Beverly Hills Hotel


Throughout the trip, Beverly Hills hotel was one of the highest stops on my list.  The multi decker pastry tray. circular boots with green striped cushions, and pink backdrop... Such a picturesque moment.  Although the hotel itself was as pastel pink and green as all the photos promised, the restaurant was too crowded to take a dreamy photo that I have been imagining.  Next time, heading there at 8 am to catch my movie star  or an influencer moment.   You know where one wears 70's cat eyed sunglasses with a towel wrapped around ones head while casually eating grapes.  













Hollywood Sign


Last but not least... When I first went to LA, I was under the impression that in order to get a good glimps of the famous Hollywood sign, one had to settle with Griffith observatory.  Don't get me wrong, the sights from the observatory was jaw dropping; yet it hadn't hit the spot well for the Hollywood sign itself.  Thanks to internet, we have found one of those blogs with descriptions on what signs to ignore in order to drive up close to the sign.  Rest of the way up, we hiked.  Just to clarify, do not ignore the rattlesnake signs once hiking!  
















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