Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Los Angeles, USA

During my road trip through the South West I couldn't miss Los Angeles, evidently. Before I haven't expected too much, but I was positively surprised when I arrived: sun with a cooling wind from the Pacific, a beautiful landscape shaped by hills and curiosities that only exist in LA. But no true celebrity crossed my path (or is Heidi Montag one?)


For more pictures click here.

  
Accommodation
  • Hotel Shangri-La: Overlooking the Pacific since 1939, The Hotel Shangri-La is a striking beacon of Art Deco elegance, a chronicle of Old-Hollywood glamour, and a quintessential nexus of culture.
  • Viceroy Hotel and Resorts: Another hotel located in Santa Monica which offers pure luxury. But even if you don't want to spend a fortune, just sit in the lobby and wait. After some time a waiter will come and offer you some water and crisps for free. 
  • Shutters on the beachRise to surf and sunshine; our iconic Santa Monica hotel is just grains of sand away from the water.
  • The AmbroseThis small boutique hotel has zen-like architecture and promotes a green lifestyle.
  • Hi Hostel LA / Santa Monica: For less budget, HI hostels are usually a good alternative. Freshly renovated with clean rooms, this accommodation is perfect for young travellers and families.
Restaurants
  • Nic's Beverly Hills: Los Angeles is known for Hollywood and their celebrities: You might spot one here dining exquisitely. 
  • The Malibu Cafe: Although located a little outside - hidden in the hills near Malibu - the Malibu Cafe convince with its chicken dishes and the park in which you sit: a small creek, horses, lampions, ... like a fairytale!
  • Philippes: Longing for a delicious handmade sandwich? The historic restaurants prepares each one individually and freshly - all wishes respected. 
  • Night + Market: A pretty good Thai Restaurant that opened December 2010 as a casual 4 day a week experiment and grew into a sort of annex or permanent pop-up inside. Yumm!
  • Wurstkuche: Although I prefer eating local food, I need to point out the Wurstkuche with traditional German sausages. All Americans love it and mix their sausages with all kind of different sauces. 
  • Gjelina: New Californian kitchen can be found amongst Venice Beach a lot, I tried Gjelina so far: My mom says that this was the best and most innovative pizza she ever had. Isn't that a statement?
  • The M Street Kitchen: Also part of the new Californian Cuisine, the M Street Kitchen offers dishes for everyone, beginning with breakfast and ending with your drink at night.  
  • Toast Bakery Cafe: Squeezed between trendy boutiques, this place is always packed and with good reason.  Their salads are hearty, the Arnold Palmers are perfectly sweet and tart and I keep going back for their Hummus Falafel.
Bars & Nightlife
  • Eagly Rock Brewery: They are dedicated to the production of unique artisanal beers using the best ingredients to promote the ongoing development of the beer community in Los Angeles. Beer community? There we go!
  • The V Cut: More a bar for men as women don't like cigar lounges too much. In an easy going environment you can taste hand-rolled cigars.
  • Venice Beach Wines: With an extensive wine selection, you can start your night with tasting specialties from all over the world.  
  • M├ís Malo: Downtown Mexican restaurant and bar that features a range of classic and unique dishes, exceptional cocktails and an extensive tequila and mezcal collection 
Cafes 
  • The Grub: Nestled in a residential area in Hollywood, this unsuspecting little restaurant is as cute as it is delicious.
  • The Urth Cafe: Urth is clean, organic and ridiculously tasty. This comes with quite a price tag, but since their lattes are so addicting, I somehow justify spending $4 a cup.
  • The Griddle Cafe: Known for their plate-sized pancakes in flavors like “Banana Nana”  (brown sugar-baked bananas) and “Hear Me Roar” (strawberries and frosted flakes), this has a fantastic blues-y feel with exposed brick walls and an intimate setting.
  • The Pie Hole: They offer pie by the slice and individual savory pies that you can order. I just like to drop by and to eat their Mexican Chocolate Pie.  
  • Goldie's: On of the best places for brunch with your best friends in LA. The interior and outside design of this recently new opened place is so well done that I could simply spend the entire day trying their dishes.
Shopping
  • Plastica: a boutique filled with unique items from around the world as well as products by local designers. Although most of the merchandise is literally plastic, we feature items made out of any number of different materials.
  • RoomService: It's not just about selling furniture and electric home accessories, but selling a comfortable, relaxed lifestyle. They offer their customers the ability to customise all of their styles to fit to customers' design style specifications.
  • Milk: This boutique on 3rd Street is always packed with easy-to-wear dresses, drapy tops and a great selection of flat sandals. Despite their impressive list of designer clothing you can always find affordable pieces mixed in throughout.
  • Traveler's bookcase: As a traveler this store was like heaven to me: travel books about the entire world. I read for hours and hours, dreaming of foreign worlds and languages.
  • Scent Bar: This shop is different. You enter it with your nose and once you are in, you smell. And smell. Fragrances is the metier and they customise them for you. Because each fragrance belongs to a different person. 
  • Planet BlueIf you’re after that beachy, California-girl vibe, this place has you covered.  Everything from their long, bohemian dresses and distressed jeans to their cult favorite fragrances and bikinis is impeccably chic and understated.
Sights
  • Tar Pits: I have never heard of the Tar Pits before but think it is a natural phenomenon that you should see when in LA.The world's most famous Ice Age fossil excavation site is located in the heart of LA.
  • J. PaulGetty Museum: In the museum you'll find so much oeuvres that you have to spend a week to look at each intensively. What I loved most about the Getty was its architecture and the location on top of the hill with the stunning view. 
  • Griffith Observatory: Griffith Observatory's unique architecture and setting, compelling programmatic offerings, and cinematic exposure have made it one of the  most famous and visited landmarks in southern California
  • Paramount Ranch: I love watching Western Movies. Paramount Pictures purchased 2,700 acres of the old Rancho Las Virgenes for use as a "movie ranch." You can visit it without entrance fee and might be lucky to see how a new movie is produced. 
  • Melrose Trading Post Flea Market: Described as a cool, eclectic gem of a place to find treasures and rare goodies, the Melrose Trading Post is a great Sunday destination
Special recommendation
  • Don't visit downtown if you have only a few days in LA (except I have some special recommendation :)). Spend your time better exploring the beaches, Hollywood or the environment
  • I love having a cup of coffee sitting somewhere on Rodeo Drive in order to see a celebrity sooner or later
More information
Personal data
  • Visiting Dates: End of July 2012
  • Accommodation: Private
  • Personal highlight: Standing on one of the Getty Museum's terraces while overlooking the city

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