Lenny had to make a quick trip to Los Angeles back in June, and I decided to tag along. Normally, I stay home, and man (or woman) the office, but decided a little Southern California time would be fun. Hotels were insane so we looked towards AirBNB, found a bungalow in Venice Beach and headed out for a quick road trip …. aka business!
After what became a short road trip (yay, no traffic at all), filled with In-N-Out Burgers, we arrived in Venice just before dinner. We checked into our bungalow, which we named the love shack for the next 48 hours.
I haven’t spent a lot of time down in the LA area, and especially the beach cities, so I decided to take advantage of my 48 hours and turn it into a personal photo journey. As well, there were a few spots I knew I wanted to eat at, from spying on a food photographer whom I admire, and lucky for me he sent me a KILLER list of must hits down in that area. Armed with camera, credit card and a hungry appetite I hit the streets of Venice …..
I have always been wildly intrigued, and drawn to beach cities for their vibrant communities and laid back vibes. After grabbing an early morning coffee, I walked through Venice Beach proper, which is definitely a colorful area to check out. The morning was perfect, bluebird skies, powdered sugar beaches and hot sun blaring down on me, and a walk was just wanted I needed to jumpstart the creavity. The beach area is filled with quirky little shops filled with trinkets, beach attire, as well as a lot of extra paraphernalia. A visit to Venice Beach wouldn’t be perfect without actually hitting Muscle Beach to watch a few men pump some iron. Be sure to watch your bag when walking through this area; I had a moment that was a bit stretchy, and lucky for me I found a local policeman to come to a damsels distress.
After getting a little beach action I was hungry, so I headed over to the Abbot Kinney neighborhood of Venice, which is an area I could not wait to take in. This area of Venice Beach has it all, while being quaint with some boutiques, delicious eateries and no big chain shops. It is trendy in a cool, hipster sort of way. Colorful buildings dotted the streets, and the people watching is pretty darn good. I had an afternoon planned that would include good coffee, cold beer, a little shopping and oysters. My first stop was lunch at Salt Air, which is a great little seafood bistro. As I mentioned, I learned of this spot from a food photographer I admire, who also loves oysters. Let’s just saw, I have had my share of oysters, and these were some of the best. I indulged in a dozen (all by myself), and then finished the meal with a creamy burrata and nectarine salad. Highly recommend this spot for a afternoon recharge.
Lenny and I met up with some friend’s later that evening for dinner at Barnyard, a newish spot near Venice Beach. The chef Jesse Barber fuses together Japanese and Mediterranean flavors to create a wildly delicious menu. We had just about everything on the menu, all was good but the grilled bread and a Basque white wine called Bengoetze Txakolina really stood out. I know weird, but who doesn’t love good bread and wine? I can still taste the perfectly charred bread, in a good way.
Venice Beach was just what we needed to recharge ourselves for a busy summer. We came home full, happy, and wanting to go back. Now that is a sign of a good trip.
Highlights from 48 hours in Venice Beach:
Menotti’s – is a grew little spot that you may miss if you blink. Good strong coffee, warm atmosphere, and they even make a cortado!
Intelligentsia – located on Abbot Kinney, in a bright building with a great outdoor area. Perfect pick me up in the afternoon.
Deus Ex Machina – this is the ultimate motorcycle dude spot, filled with cool clothing for that hip, tattooed, beard man that loves to go for a ride. What does a girl love here beside the obvious? Great coffee drinks, and pastries, of course! We stopped by on our way out of town as it looked interesting, and we weren’t disappointed as the coffee was killer.
Salt Air – fantastic seafood spot serving killer oysters.
GTA – is the takeaway spot from Gjelina. Outstanding wood fired pizzas, and one of the best kale salads I have ever had. We grabbed dinner there our first night, along with a bottle of wine and had dinner at the “love shack” after wandering a bit. Guess what, being the creatures of habit that we are, we went back for breakfast on our way out of town. Great toasts that are topped with everything from smoked salmon to nectarines; they make a perfect meal. The coffee was outstanding. Everything was so good, we ended up grabbing scones for the road.
Lemonade – on the way back to the house, I stopped for a lemonade (of course) and a slice of coconut cake. The lemonade was refreshing, not overly sweet and a little tart. The coconut cake was to die for!
Will Leather Goods – let’s just say I fell in love with everything in this store, and cannot stop thinking about the adorable sandals, I didn’t buy, and am completely killing myself over.
Tumbleweed and Dandelion – sort of shabby meets beach chic, not to mention some great surfaces for food photography.
Sunday 20th of July 2014
I have never wanted to visit a beach city more than I do right now. Beach cities around here are really fishing villages - totally different than the Venice Beach variety - and my curiosity has been peaked.
Your photos are GORGEOUS.