california gurls

santa monica pier

we’re back from our whirlwind tour of the city of angels. we managed to experience about a week’s worth of activities in just a quick 3 days. having never been to LA (or california for that matter), the most welcome element of the trip was the weather reprieve. it was consistently 70 and sunny. a nice break from snowy, 20 degree bucks county, pa.

hollywood walk of fame

besides reveling in the sunshine, we walked the hollywood walk of fame and took pictures of the hand prints outside grauman’s chinese theater. enjoyed a golf-cart tour of fox studios where amy (our LA hostess) works. and made sure to see the hollywood sign, then proceeded to drive up the hillside to see the houses (and the view). amazing. with santa monica as our home base, we were able to walk to both venice beach (and muscle beach) and also the santa monica pier. a lovely walk, but my feet were killing me because of the new flip-flops i was sporting. (for some reason, even though i knew the projected weather forecast, i still packed as if i wouldn’t see the sunshine…)


saturday afternoon we attended a “jersey shore” party and enjoyed hours and hours of foot-soaking goodness as we dipped our toes in the hot tub. our last full day found us hiking up a hill (or was it a mountain?) to enjoy breathtaking vistas of snow-capped mountains, downtown LA, the coastline and catalina island. gorgeous. afterwards, us girls enjoyed an abbreviated afternoon at universal studios, while craig stayed back to watch the jets v. pats game. after a handful of rides at universal, we jumped back into the car to make it to the santa monica beach by sunset. i had never seen a west coast sunset before. o. m. g. stunning.

in between the “must-sees”, we talked (ate), laughed (ate some more) and caught-up on what’s going on with everyone.

sunset over the pier

here are some of the lesser known attractions that really made our trip. (as usual, many are food-related):

1. urth caffe. a fabulous little bistro in santa monica that looks like it was plucked off the mediterranean coast. if you ever find yourself at urth, here’s what to order. small cappuccino, americano style, strong. Honestly the best cappuccino (and foam) of my life. and the bread pudding. original with caramelized bananas. delish!

cappuccinos at urth caffe

2. alibi room. awesome little bar with great food. amy took us there for korean tacos. don’t ask, just go. what to order: korean tacos (you can pick from short ribs, pork or chicken) i got the chicken, but I hear the short ribs are amazing too. and the sweet-chili chicken quesadilla. so so so good. yum.

3. topanga state park. fun, relatively easy hike through the santa monica mountains. the hike up to the lookout takes about a ½ hour, so it’s very manageable : ) and the vistas are totally worth the exertion, don’t worry. 
view from summit at topanga state park

4. diddy riese. totally cool ice cream sandwich place. yes, you read right…ice cream sandwich. you pick your two cookies and your ice cream, and they create a custom ice cream treat. and they only cost $1.50 each!!! i don’t know how they do it, but if you’re in the area, GO! what did i get? cookies ‘n cream ice cream sandwiched between one oatmeal raisin cookie and one white chocolate chip cookie. the cookies were soft, chewy and warm, and the ice cream was cool and creamy. utter perfection.  (oh, and if you check out their website, you can design your fave concoction.  but unfortunately they do not ship...)

awesome trip with awesome friends.

craig & me at sunset