Our top food spots in LA

Ok so look, I have a motto that what you eat on holiday doesn’t count. I mean, you’re doing so much walking right?! If you watch what you eat on holiday I just have no time for you (in the nicest possible way!) as food is pretty much what I base travel around. I feel like a lot of people would think LA isn’t a great place for food and they couldn’t be more wrong. Here is a round up of some of our favourites

Bestia

 

I’m going to start with my absolute top pick and probably the best restaurant I’ve been to anywhere. The food looks simple but it is so complex and is the kind of food you don’t want to swallow as the flavours are that amazing – it literally brings tears to my eyes it is that good. I wish I had a photo of one of our starters which was a spinach gnocchi with a big bone sitting on top and when it came to the table the waiter scrapped all the marrow off the bone and mixed it in to the gnocchi. Just wow. We ordered three desserts and I feel like the chef working in front of us was giving us an appreciative slow clap. We sat at the counter and watching the chefs work in front of us was beautiful, the care and precision was incredible to watch.

 

Jon and Vinny’s

I feel like this is where the cool kids go, a super fun and loud Italian restaurant that plays Cardi B and the bolognese is slow cooked for six hours. The tiramisu here was indescribable and will stay with me for a long time. Like Bestia we reserved a counter spot for the best view.

Best breakfast – Sqirl

This breakfast was outstanding. A highlight being the HUGE slab of brioche with almond butter and homemade jam on top. A must to visit.

Best diners

If you are looking for a cheap meal diners are the way to go and the decor is always amazing. These were a few of our favourite spots

Cafe 101

Mel’s Diner

Corvette Diner – San Deigo.

This place was full 50’s neon amazingness. My sister and I ordered their specialty burger which was beef, bacon and peanut butter. It took us a few days to recover.

Best Rooftop Bars

There isn’t a shortage of rooftop bars in LA and these three were our favourites. When you have been walking around the often crazy streets of downtown LA these spots are a true oasis and the views are not to be missed.

Ace HotelPerchMama Shelter

Highland Park Bowl

This is the oldest bowling alley in LA built in 1927 and one of my top recommendations when in LA – the cocktails are incredible and it’s such a fun spot.

La Jolla

La Jolla is a really beautiful suburb about 2 hours south of LA and it’s well worth checking out if you are trekking around.

Galaxy Taco

A fantastic Mexican spot – the grilled avocado taco was something pretty special!

Harry’s Coffee Shop

This was the cutest coffee shop, the kind where the regulars sit at the counter and you can tell they have been coming here their whole lives. The peanut butter shake was life changing.

Coronado

Coronado is an affluent beach suburb in San Deigo. The Hotel Del Coronado was built 130 years ago and was where ‘Some Like it Hot’ was filmed. If you are here grab a drink on the sun deck over looking the beach. For lunch head to Clayton’s Coffee Shop it’s been there forever and is a spot we go back to every time.

Others!

Night + Market

This is Thai Street food and a really similar vibe to Kiss Kiss in Auckland. We went here before Highland Park Bowl and the food was really good.

Broken Spanish

This is a top rated high end Mexican restaurant in DTLA – the food was outstanding but we got a bit of a dud table so it ruined the vibe for us a bit. I’d be keen to give it another go.

Grand Central Market 

I think this is a must do in DTLA – it is like Ponsonby Central on crack with every type of cuisine you could imagine.

In and Out Burger

You cannot go to California without going to In and Out, it hasn’t been overhyped it’s just that good. It was pretty much out first meal and then we googled the closest one to LAX so we could have it as our last meal before flying out #classy

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A few LA highlights

I have just spent a couple of weeks in California visiting my sister who lives in San Deigo. The last time we were there a couple of years ago my husband Dave and I nipped up to LA for a couple of days and we just fell in love! We have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in the States and while the East Coast would probably be our first choice, LA is just so underrated as an amazing destination for culture and food. This time we had six days and we packed A LOT in and here are a few of things we got up to.

I am going to do a separate post on food next week as it deserves it’s own moment and is always one of the most important parts of any trip we take!

Emilie

Where we stayed

 

Both times we have been to LA we have stayed at the Line Hotel in Koreatown. Yes it’s a total hipster haven but who cares! The rooms are small but incredible, concrete walls, amazing art and you can lie in bed and remote control the curtains to open to that view – bliss!

TIP: Definitely pay a bit extra to get a Hollywood Hills view it’s worth every penny plus a bit more quiet on that side of the building. If you have a car they have valet parking which is expensive but super handy and you can come and go as much as you want.

Galleries

 

The Getty – this is part gallery part museum and honestly you could just go to look at the buildings, the architecture is insane. The photography centre was so inspiring and definitely our favourite part. Grab some lunch from one of the cafes and eat it out on the lawn as the gardens are beautiful.

The Broad – I have been to a lot of art galleries around the world and I think this has to be almost at the top. We hadn’t really looked at what they had at the Broad and room after room is just full of iconic art you have seen in books your whole life, almost overwhelming. Again, the building itself is so stunning. This is a must do.

TIP: We didn’t realise you actually have to book tickets to go even though it is free admission. There is a stand by queue to wait in if you haven’t booked which is what we did but would definitely recommend booking ahead so you can walk right in. There is a Yayoi Kusama room here and you can reserve a spot in the line in the foyet on an ipad.

LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art

We had seen a lot of posters around the streets advertising a David Hockney exhibition here so we went to check it out and it was amazing.

TIP: Every second Tues of the month is free admission. Across the road from the main entrance with all the lamps is a row of food trucks where we grabbed some lunch – seriously the taco trucks in LA are something to behold. Right by the food trucks are some sections of the Berlin Wall, I think it is one of the biggest sections of the wall you can see anywhere.

Santa Monica and Venice

 

Yes these are touristy spots but also must do’s in my opinion. Venice Beach is pretty trashy but if you walk behind it you can walk through the Venice Canals which is really quiet and beautiful. If you are in Venice you HAVE to visit Abbot Kinney Blvd it is the coolest street we came across – incredible boutiques and cafes. It’s the only place I would go back to shop.

Santa Monica has a pedestrian strip mall with all the big stores and the Pier is a must, amazing buskers, arcade games and rides.

Downtown

 

Downtown is a great place to do some walking and walking is what we did! I had researched a walking route to do which was the perfect way to get all the sights in.

Start at the Central Library which apparently is just beautiful on the inside but it wasn’t open when we went unfortunately. Next walk to City Hall where you can take a lift to the observation deck for a spectacular view. The Broad gallery was next on the route and right next to that is the Walt Disney Concert Hall – seeing this building never gets old. After that walk to the Bradbury Building which is a real architectural landmark, built in 1893. It is an office building but the public can walk into the lobby and it is pretty special. Across the road is Central Market which is pretty much the most epic high energy food court you’ve ever seen – worth a look and a great place to stop for lunch. From there you can walk to the Angel Flight Railway which is the cutest little train you can ride for $1. The last stop is the Last Bookstore which if you like books is your mecca, biggest bookshop I’ve ever seen and very instagram worthy!

Hollywood

 

I mean, the most touristy spot you can think of but if you haven’t been it’s fun to go and walk Hollywood Boulevard. Be your best cliche self and go to the Chinese Theatre where all the stars hand and footprints are. The best part of Hollywood for us was a roof top bar I had researched called Mama Shelter. It’s a hotel too but you can go up to the rooftop bar to eat and drink and it is a quiet and colourful oasis – can’t recommend enough!

Echo Park/Silverlake

 

On our last day we went to Sqirl for breakfast which I will go into more in the food post but only a 10 min drive away was Echo Park which is a really nice spot to just take a book and hang out on the grass. We went full tourist styles and hired a swan paddle boat which we had zero regrets about.

 

A lot of our favourite spots were definitely the bars and restaurants we checked out so stay tuned for my post about that next week. A dessert that literally bought tears to my eyes is worth a read!

 

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8 Years of Maaike

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Meet the artist behind the print

 

We have become known for our fabric prints so each season we increasingly feel the pressure to come up with something bigger and better and for Winter 18 we thought outside the square.

Tacarra Sutton aka ‘Spifster’ is a renowned nail artist in Chicago and was introduced to us by Imogene Bevan from Pop Nails here in Auckland. Spifter’s nail art is completely original with bold clashing colours, graphic patterns and a very playful cheeky side which we thought would translate so well into a print. With the beauty of social media making the world a smaller place we reached out on instagram and it all started from there. Coming at the perfect time for Spifster who is ever expanding her art into full scale paintings, walls, homeware and more this collaboration was an amazing project and we feel so lucky we got to work together.

We asked Spif a couple of questions:

How did you get into nails?

By complete accident – it was a way to stop biting my nails, a habit I had since a child. I was coming into womanhood and 18 years old with bit on nails going into interviews was not the ideal situation.

I already had a background in graphic design so it was’t long before I started experimenting on myself. Started documenting what I had been doing on myself on Facebook and that’s where it all began.

Who would be your dream client?

Beyonce, of course.

What inspires your art?

Life. The energy around me and the city I live in. Chicago is full of stunning architecture and a juxtaposition of colours. It all ties in.

Had you ever done anything like this collaboration before and what made you say yes to this one?

Me and a friend collabed on a pillow collection a few years back & it definitely was the plug in my back to expand my art way past nails. This collab came at the right time. I was in a zone where I wanted to see my designs on all canvases. Clothing being one of them – especially because Maaike believed in my vision & their styles were the shit!

 

 

 

Your big scale paintings are incredible is this something you want to get into more?

Yes indeed. I want to design everything, homes, commercial businesses, hotels, restaurants, walls, etc. It’s just the beginning.

 

 

 

 

Artist Tacarra Sutton aka ‘Spifster’ wearing the Ultraviolet Dress in her custom print in front of a wall in her salon which she painted.

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Maaike celebrating ending HIV this Pride Season

 

We have been working on such a special project the last few months which we can finally share! We have designed the uniforms for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation uniforms including an exclusive screen print collaboration to celebrate the goal of ending HIV in NZ by 2025!

This is a fantastic cause to get behind and if you would like to donate click HERE

 

 

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