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 Post subject: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 9:33 pm 
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Going to California for the first time ever in mid-August! So excited.
We'll be in town for five days, and one of those days we are attending a wedding. So we have four "free" days.

Here's my list of restaurants that sounded interesting: Cafe Gratitude, Real Food Daily, Flore, LA Vegan Thai, Veggie Grill, Seed, Sage, Native Foods, Vegan Joint. Anything you'd add or remove from the list?

As for things to do, I like nature, art, and movies. I was thinking of seeing the ocean, Universal Studios, Venice Beach Boardwalk, The Getty Center. My guy wants to check out Disneyland so we'll probably do that. I have an embarrassing love of celebrities, so I'm hoping to see one while I'm there (preferably Robert Downey Jr!). : ) Any sights/experiences you'd recommend for a first time visitor?

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 Post subject: Re: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 9:52 pm 
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Oh, one more question. When we've visited places like PDX and Chicago, we didn't rent a car, we just used public transportation. Would you recommend renting a car, or will public trans be fine? We don't mind doing a fair amount of walking.

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 Post subject: Re: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 10:49 pm 
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Go see LACMA!


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 Post subject: Re: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 9:55 am 
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Shojin!

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 Post subject: Re: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 8:44 pm 
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dakini wrote:
Oh, one more question. When we've visited places like PDX and Chicago, we didn't rent a car, we just used public transportation. Would you recommend renting a car, or will public trans be fine? We don't mind doing a fair amount of walking.

LA is really not a walkable city, and my experience with public transportation there was horrible. I lived there without a car for 4 years. Rent a car!


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 Post subject: Re: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 3:04 pm 
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I second the no-public transportation.

As for yummy foods, nature AND celebrities- you can't beat The Trails Cafe. (That link took me forever to figure out how to embed.) Everytime I go there I either see Moby (frequent regular), a member from Flight of the Conchords, or some random other celebrity. The chili is great, they have great coffee (with choice of soy or almond milk!), hand-pies with delicious gravy... I loves it there. Also given the name, there's so many beautiful trails to wander about there and if you go all the way up to the top- you can see the observatory which is awesome!


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 Post subject: Re: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 3:22 pm 
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I second the Trails Cafe and a hike to the Observatory.

Sage is my most favorite place in LA.

If you care about seeing celebs go to M Cafe in Hollywood. When we were there we saw so many, plus the foods pretty good.

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 Post subject: Re: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 7:56 am 
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Oh yeah, the Trails Cafe is great! Enthusiastically second Hoveringdog's rec of Shojin. I've never heard of LA Vegan Thai, so I'd remove that from the list and replace it with Bulan, which is absolutely delicious (they have two locations – one in Los Feliz and one on Melrose).

I saw Ellen Page at M Cafe once. Good story, me.

Not sure how into films you are, but if you are, you should totally check out Cinefamily, which is my favorite movie theater of all time. Their programming is incredible. You should also still be visiting within the timeframe where Cinespia hosts their outdoor screenings at the Hollywood Forever cemetery. Such a great experience. I was in town this past weekend and JUST missed the start of their season. I am so bummed about it! You can take in food and wine and sit on a blanket in front of a mausoleum watching Cool Hand Luke if your heart desires.

There is also The Arclight, where you can see films in the truly best way possible (just great projection/sound systems), and The Vista, which is a theater in GREAT condition from the 1920s. The inside is spectacular with an Egyptian theme. I just saw Iron Man 3 there and had a blast! Tickets are $9.50, too, which is a goddamn steal for this NYer.

Hope you have a great time, and say hi to LA for me!


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 Post subject: Re: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2013 10:25 am 
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You'll absolutely need to rent a car, unfortunately. The city isn't hard to navigate, it's just huge, and very spread out. Give yourself extra time to get anywhere, as traffic is generally bad at all times of day.

If you plan to go down to Disneyland, that will eat up one of your days (and you won't have all that much time at Disneyland, actually). If it were me, and I only had 4 days in L.A., I'd save Disneyland for another trip. It's a long drive down to Anaheim, and in August it'll be madhouse down there. But, if you decide to go, pick the best day (in terms of traffic/crowds) and then work the rest of your schedule around that.

My recommendations for your time in L.A. (split into four daily itineraries, to avoid driving back and forth all over town every day):
1. The ocean/Santa Monica/Venice/The Getty (be aware of construction and closures on the 405 and streets surrounding the Getty through the Sepulveda Pass). If you have extra time on the westside, drive up Highway 1 to Malibu.
2. Museum Row (LACMA/La Brea Tar Pits, etc.)/Griffith Park (incl. Trails Cafe)/The Observatory/The Arclight
3. Downtown L.A.: The Disney Concert Hall (designed by Frank Gehry)/MOCA/Grand Park (new)/Little Tokyo (downtown vegan eats include Pizzanista and Localita & Badasserie!)
4. Anaheim/Disneyland

If you're in town for specific dates/times:

--Sunday mornings: Hollywood Farmers Market (at the corner of Hollywood & Ivar) -- in my experience, this is your best bet for celebrity sightings.
--Weekend afternoons/evenings: Shakespeare in the Park (put on by the Independent Shakespeare Company, www.independentshakespeare.com) -- it's at the Old Zoo (abandoned) in Griffith Park and it's amazing. Great opportunity for a picnic and to enjoy our SoCal weather.
--Saturday evenings: Cinespia (old movies at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery) http://cinespia.org/calendar

Let me know if you have any questions. Have a fun trip!


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 Post subject: Re: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:52 am 
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Please Please Please go to Mohawk Bend in Echo Park! The place is beautiful and the food is to-die-for! Every time I go, I get the salad pizza. It's funny sounding but so delicious. Also, Echo Park is such a visually stimulating neighborhood. I enjoy just walking around the area after eating there. You can visit Intelligentsia afterwards for coffee and lounging.

Sage is great, and I frequented that spot when my brother lived in Silver Lake. However, I found that the customer service was usually hit or miss. Sometimes they were stellar and gave me samples while I waited, and other times I was completely ignored for long periods of time while they stood around and talked to each other. The food, however, is absolutely amazing. I'd recommend the pierogies as a must. Also they have a burger with a blueberry bbq sauce that is killer. And they also serve Kind Kreme ice cream which is really really tasty!

One of my favorite spots in north LA is Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park. The atmosphere is hippy-homey, and is part grocery store, part restaurant. We had the pizza and a panini and both were to die for. Definitely a new (to me) favorite spot.


If you've never been to Amoeba music in Hollywood, that is a fun experience as well. They have everything music and movie wise. It's like a music Disneyland.


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 Post subject: Re: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:57 pm 
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Cafe Gratitude - Yes.

Real Food Daily - Yes, absolutely.

Flore - I've only eaten there once and thought it was overrated.

LA Vegan Thai -- No. They've been exposed by quarrygirl as a fraud and I like to call them LA Not Vegan. Bulan, recommended by someone else above, has plenty of vegan options, are honest about what isn't vegan on the menu, and the food is tastier.

Veggie Grill -- Yes.

Seed -- I'm not that keen. M. Cafe is a better option.

Sage -- Yes.

Native Foods -- Lots of people adore them, but I don't get the fuss. Prefer Veggie Grill for that kind of food.

Vegan Joint -- It's okay, but not wow.
Quote:
Anything you'd add or remove from the list?


Remove LA Vegan for sure, possibly Flore, Seed and Native Foods as well. I personally don't recommend Shojin. I find the menu items uneven (some good but others not so good) and for the most part, not worth the price.

You've named a few of my favorite places but here are some others I love:

Scoops (with three locations) has gourmet artisanal ice cream with very creative flavors, some of which are vegan. Today's nondairy flavors (tweeted by them) are Banana Oreo, Chocolate Apricot, Peanut Butter Pomegranate, Strawberry Lychee, Pistachio Fig but flavors change on a daily basis.

Pizzeria Mozza (not to be confused with Osteria Mozza) only has a few vegan menu items but the waiters are helpful in identifying them and the food is amazing. The sorbet in particular blows my mind. This place is pricey and requires reservations in advance unless you go during off hours and sit at the bar. If you decide you want to go there, make your reservations now.

Tara's Himalayan Cuisine
-- Also omni, but if you would like to try a cuisine you may not have had before, this Nepalese restaurant has very tasty, unpretentious food with multiple vegan options at an affordable price.

Madeleine Bistro
. Pricey, and I would call ahead to make sure they are open, but the food is fancy, all vegan, and so good.

And lastly (for restaurants) -- I have not been to the all-vegan Crossroads but people keep raving about it, and according to the latest issue of Los Angeles Magazine it's a celebrity hangout. The writer of the review there spotted Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger dining together.

For things to do, I would say choose between Universal Studios and Disneyland but don't go to both. Yes to Venice Beach and the Getty Center. While you're in Venice, take a look at the nearby canals too. They are, for my $, the most charming neighborhood in LA. It's a quiet, peaceful spot in the bustle of the city, and if you like nature, you may enjoy the waterfowl who like to visit there, too. A pretty and romantic spot to go for a walk.

I also agree with whoever suggested the Hollywood Farmer's Market.

Another thing to consider is people watching on Santa Monica's third street promenade which is right near the Santa Monica Pier and beach. You could hit all three in a few hours. Weekend days are best for that IMO, because there are more street performers on the promenade then.


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 Post subject: Re: Honeymooning in LA! Places to eat, things to do.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:52 pm 
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It's funny how different people's tastes are. I absolutely love Shojin. They have such fun and inventive sushi rolls. I'm not a fan of Veggie Grill at all. Other than the buffalo wings, I've been disappointed with every menu item I've tried there (and I've tried many times because the menu always sounds so good to me, but then tastes so meh). I like Real Food Daily, but I feel like the food quality in the Santa Monica location has gone down a bit recently. Native Foods is hit or miss -- I think it's worth a try.

For hiking/outdoorsy stuff I would check out hiking trails in Malibu or, for a very LA experience, hike up to the observatory in Griffith Park. The observatory itself has been in a bunch of movies. The hike isn't difficult, but, as I recall, there's not a lot of shade, so it will be hot.

I think you will love the Getty. If you go to the Venice boardwalk, check out the canals too. (The way I usually get to them is to walk up Washington -- which runs to the ocean -- and then take a left onto the path that goes to the canals. You might have to ask someone because I'm not sure it's apparent where the path is if you don't know it's there.)

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