It’s been a minute since the days where our family would spend every weekend in Los Angeles. We would spend the weekend to visit my aunt at her gallery and eat at the best restaurants LA has to offer.
This weekend we decided to do just that and relive some great memories at some of our favorite places.
If you don’t care to read the full post and just want my recs scroll down to the bottom!
We deviated a little from our usual stays in Beverly Hills to stay closer to my sister who goes to school at Pepperdine in Malibu. The Four Seasons Westlake is a hidden oasis in the middle of the hills near Calabazas and Hidden Hills. They’ve been remodeling so not all the rooms look like they’re out of an elegant 1950’s hotel anymore but we stayed in one of the more “historic” suites. Bright yellow walls with white crown molding and gorgeous oak furniture. The bathroom has a shower and bathtub both marble. For those of you who know me, I am a sucker for marble.
The hotel has a beautiful views of Malibu/Topanga canyons and the facilities are gorgeous. I wish I had time to take some cute pictures in front of their waterfall. Those pictures would have been precious!
For dinner we went to the Palm Restaurant. Getting there was a pretty hilarious ordeal. We were worried about being late for our reservation and were zipping through LA traffic to get there even though it was about 9 pm! Once we drove past it to find parking my grandma stated “Where did you bring me this isn’t the Palm!”
Now I’ve been to this specific Palm location with her sometime over 12 years ago and granted it was slightly different then since Beverly Hills is always changing. But anyway we got there and my grandma just had to ask if this was indeed the Palm where she would spend almost every weekend about 30 years ago. They told her that this particular restaurant had originally been on Sunset but parts of the original building and it’s celebrity drawings were in this new location.
Anyway we were there because my grandma just could not get the thought of their famous Veal Chop out of her mind. And at 16 ounces it’s a huge cut! My grandma can’t eat that much anymore so you better believe that I ate mine and what she left of hers which was quite a lot! Despite her having eaten almost 3/4 of it!
We had tiramisu for dessert and I can tell you that it is incredible! The mascarpone is delicate and the taste isn’t overpoweringly sweet. No good picture of it because we just devoured it!
The next day we had breakfast at another Beverly Hills icon. The Ivy! Both old and new Hollywood stars are known to hang out here and why wouldn’t they when the food is absolutely incredible. Sipping champagne while you wait for your table is simply a luxe extra that makes anyone feel like a celebrity. Don’t even get me started on the scones! Are you a lover of the breadbasket before a meal? Well you will never think of those the same after having these scones, they are to die for! I know I went for breakfast but I always get the spaghetti and meatballs. I am a creature of habit and what can I say I absolutely love theirs.
After breakfast we went down to Rodeo Drive so I could pick up some things from Saint Laurent Rive Droite for our works white elephant. Not going to do any spoilers in case anyone from work reads this but just know that you all will be fighting over these gifts!
Last item on our mini vacation in memory lane was the iconic Beverlywood Bakery. This is your corner Russian/Jewish bakery for all your challah, bear claw, babka and black white cookie needs. I am of course biased but it’s only because I have been coming here for 20 something years now. Wow does that statement make me feel old! Anyway this black and white cookie is to die for and no matter where I go and try new cookes, this will hands down always be my favorite.
Beverly Hills – The Recs
The Palm – Get the veal chop! You won’t regret it
The Ivy – Carboholics – get your spaghetti and meatballs on.
I finally did something notable this weekend that I can share with you guys! Honestly how real time bloggers find the time and energy to do stuff consistently even though they sometimes have days worth of content is mind boggling to me.
I can’t even find the energy to do my makeup most days! This weekend was my uncles birthday and we were going to go out and celebrate. So I dressed up all cute, makeup all done up (even my hair was freshly washed and styled!) only to have plans cancelled!
Now I wasn’t going to waste a cute outfit and makeup by washing it off and getting back into my jammies! I was committed to doing something!
Ok I’ll get to the point now. No need to annoy you guys with my ranting. We went out to do some errands and decided to have lunch at Dumpling Inn / Shanghai Saloon. This spot is OG and it’s so good. I’ve been going there since before it became this happening spot. It used to be a tiny restaurant with only four or five tables! I didn’t take any pictures so sorry about that but take my word for it this place is amazing!
For dessert we went to MNGO Cafe! It is so cute on the inside, and they even have an adorable mange tree in the middle with seating which makes for a perfect instagram shot!
But what about the dessert! Did it meet my expectations! Well I had no idea what to expect because I have never had a Kakirogi before but you better believe it was incredible!
If you’re going to order one it is definitely something to split! Especially after just having eaten. It was a huge dessert!
Bottom layer of mango jelly topped with mango shaved ice, mango chunks. Cream to top it off and mango custard and mango syrup to add on as well! It was a glorious explosion of mango! Definitely worth every single sugary bite!
It sounds like the worst yet best Sci Fi eighties film. And it’s not completely wrong! This pizza shop in Oceanside looks like it is straight out of the eighties and it is absolutely incredible?
This place seems so out of place in this strip mall in Oceanside but let me tell you it is an absolute experience!
It’s alien theme transports you to Route 66, Area 51 or Roswell! The place is amazing and looks straight out of an eighties Sci Fi movie, old school arcade games included!
But is the pizza killer? OH MY GOD you bet! This is definitely not a fancy place by any means and you won’t find anything but your basics when it comes to pizza but it’s just so good you can’t help but gobble up every single slice.
How did I come across this place? Well my boyfriend is originally from Oceanside and apparently this was one of his childhood favorites. And I can definitely see why! The decor is a nerdy dream and who doesn’t love pizza!
I just had to tell you guys this story because it was just so incredibly funny. Now if you live in Los Angeles and have had an opportunity to go have brunch at the Rooftop at Waldorf Astoria you’ll know that it is absolutely delicious! And if you’re lucky enough to get a smog free day the downtown Los Angeles skyline is incredible.
So I said I had a funny story so let me actually get to that. We were having breakfast and having a grand ol’ time talking and being silly. Once I finished eating I noticed that I had a bunch of bugs on my blouse. I knocked them off my blouse not thinking anything of it.
Few minutes pass by and everyone starts noticing all these bugs on my blouse! Now, I’m the only one wearing a bright color everyone else is in black so either you couldn’t see the bugs on them or they just were attracted to my blouse.
We leave the table to go take some pictures on the other end of the rooftop but the bugs have followed me. They are actually swarming around my head and just all over me blouse and my pants. I must have looked crazy swatting these bugs and being unsuccesfful in getting rid of them.
My sister had taken her leftover pancakes in a to go box that was absolutely adorable! She left it on the coffee table while she was taking photographs. Was super excited to eat them the next day for breakfast. She calls me and my mom the next day to tell us that the bugs had gotten into her pancakes!!!! The poor thing!
Aside from being a funny story, I definitely recommend going to The Rooftop at the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills. It’s absolutely gorgeous and delicious!
I’m sure everyone has seen the photos and videos of bloggers and instagrammers flocking to Rodeo Drive to check out the Louis Vuitton Exhibit. So what is all the fuss about? Is this just another overrated instagram location?
I can assure you it most certainly is not. The experience at the Louis Vuitton Exhibit is no less exciting than seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, and if you’re lucky enough to go on a day that isn’t busy like I did you’ll be able to get a couple of good shots and see some really cool things!
The exhibition brings 160 years of the brand’s journey from malletiere to high fashion. The pieces are truly remarkable and showcase collaborations with artists and designers. For anyone who is interested in both art and fashion this is a must see!
And the best part? It’s free!
If you’re in Los Angeles be sure to check it out. This exhibition will be around until November 10th so hurry before it’s gone!!!
Never in a million years did I think I would go to Australia, but sometimes things just work out. This year my mom turned 50 and we had just come back from a vacation in Europe for spring break, but since we had already been there my mom wanted more. So after a week of searching the cheapest flights anywhere in the world and after a heated phone call with a Chinese airline when the flight to China they had advertised did not actually exist, we came upon Australia. Now the flight itself came to about $700 USD per person which is not bad at all, considering these flights are always well over $1,000. We flew with Air New Zealand, the flight was super comfortable, they don’t charge you extra for food on the long haul like Norwegian does. Our flight stopped of in New Zealand and from there we jumped the pond to Sydney.
I didn’t know what to expect when it went to Australia but I was so surprised when I realized that what people usually think about Australia is wrong! The Outback is usually pretty far out from the main cities, which as someone who comes from a city that has rural areas in outerlying areas I don’t know why I thought Australia would be any different. We also went in July/August which is their winter so tourist areas weren’t crowded and it was pleasantly cool. If you head out a few hours into the outback you can get to mountain areas to ski though!
To anyone going to Australia in the near future, I suggest you read this because I am going to take a lot of the stress of researching where to go and what to do. Now if youre going to the cities that everyone knows, mainly Sydney and Melbourne, you don’t need much more than maybe 3-4 days in each city to do everything touristy and those less known.
Tuesday: We got to Sydney pretty early so we went straight to the hotel to check in. We stayed at the Sofitel Darling Harbour and it was probably the best decision because it was 1. in a nice area 2. away from the main tourist traps 3. close to transportation. I’ll spare you the details of us going shopping on the first day, but let’s just say it didn’t take us long to break bank. Thankfully the exchange rate was in favor of the USD (1 USD:1.45 AUD)!
Wednesday 10:00 a.m.: We headed out early about 9:00 a.m. we walked to the metro station at Town Hall Station and headed to Sydney Harbor, we spent the morning walking through The Rocks. It was early and businesses aside from coffee shops brunch places were closed but there were still a few tourist shops open (for the crazy tourists like me that buy crocodile hunter style hats). Sue me it was a cute hat. The Rocks is well known for their restaurants and bars and is the happening place to be.
By noon we made it to the park below the Sydney Harbor Bridge. There is this huge picnic table that you can take cool pictures on. For those who like to feel the adrenaline coursing through their veins you can climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. For those who are faint of heart like me seeing its magnitude from the ground is just fine.
2:00 p.m. We walked the harbor until we made our way back to the dock between The Rocks and the Sydney Opera House. The building is even more beautiful in person than it is in photographs. It was still school time and there were tours going on for the school children. Something so weird to see in the middle of “Summer”, but like I mentioned before it was their winter so children were still in school.
3:00 p.m.: Starving after being out since the morning with nothing more than a coffee and a small pastry, we set out to find a Wagamama. If you’ve gone to London you’ll know that this ramen restaurant is ubiquitous. We walked uphill a few blocks from the docks only to realize that Wagamama was permanently closed. Despair not! On our way up to Wagamama in one of the corporate buildings (Gateway One) was a three story food hall. There were so many options it was incredibly difficult to decide! My mom and I ended up eating Indian food and my sister and her boyfriend ate Shnitzel.
Thursday: Our adventure takes us to famous Bondi Beach! Bondi is a suburb about 30 minutes away by car from Sydney proper. We took the metro to get there, walked outside and there was a mall! And of course we walked in to go and check out their Meyer and David Jones. Once we were done exploring the mall we made our way to The Nine. This coffee shop is small and cozy but so bright and airy! They are best known for their Koala capuccino!
After our coffee break we walked down to the shore. I wanted to go to the Icebergs and take a dip in the pool. But guess what? They close on Thursdays to clean out the pool. Now of course I knew this but did I even remember it was Thursday? Nope. Not at all. After a dissapointing walk back from the shore we decide to stop by Milky Lane for lunch. It was pretty good and all of their menu items are named after rappers!
4:00 p.m. We ubered our way back to the city and we decided to explore more of the city. We went in the opposite direction of Sydney Harbor and found The Star, a high end casino just a few blocks away from where we were staying! It was a beautiful building and the inside was luxurious and no gross cigarette smoke smell which is something unheard of. Once we made our way through the casino, we just kept walking. There isn’t much other than homes and local shops & restuarants but it was fun to see the other side of the city. We even stopped by the park to climb some jungle gyms and swing! On the way back to the hotel we realized that we were right next to Google headquarters in Sydney!
Friday: I’ll have to come back and edit this part guys. For some reason I just cannot remember what we did on this day. Although I’m pretty sure we spent most of it at the park next door.
Saturday: Last day in Sydney, and we made the most of the morning by stopping by the Chinese Garden of Friendship. It was like stepping into a different country as soon as you enter. So calm and peaceful a complete juxtaposition to the concrete jungle just outside the garden walls. After we saw a friend of my sisters for breakfast at the cutest Italian restaurant that was set up like a food hall. It even had a campari bar in the back! After breakfast we walked a bit over to Chinatown and stopped by this ice cream pop up. The ice cream was covered and in shapes like sheep!
We arrived in the afternoon and checked in at the Intercontinental Rialto. It is a beautiful building from the 1890’s. One side is modern and the other side is true to its heritage. My sister and her boyfriend got a room on the modern side, my mom and I got a room on the heritage side and it was bigger than our apartment. Not really but you get the picture, it was a huge suite.
Sunday: Also can’t for the life of me remember what we did this day. Stay tuned for the edits.
Monday: We spent most of the morning checking out the mall which was a few blocks down from our hotel in what is downtown. We obviously checked out the Myers and David Jones to see how things stacked up against the shops in Sydney. At about two in the afternoon we split ways, my sister and her boyfriend had lunch and made their way to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. All you Harry Potter fans, my sister says the six hour play is well worth it and just as magical as you’d expect. My mom and I made the 2 hour trek to the Mornington Peninsula. A train and a bus ride away….only to realize that the hot springs we wanted to go to were still farther away. It was already quite late by the time we made it to Mornington so we decided to have a snack of a meat pie at this delicious shop and walk around the small beach town. It was so beautful and being at the southernmost point of Australia we half wanted to make our way to Tazmania without telling my sister and her boyfriend.
8:00 p.m.: We were starving by the time we made it back to Melbourne proper and I was dying to try Son in Law which has such instaworthy dishes. We ordered the soda with the cotton candy on top, the black bun chicken sliders, fried veggies and the milk tea cake which came with a chocolate pikachu dome. The Verdict? Definitely recommend this place for lunch or dinner it is delicious and who doesn’t love a good picture for their instagram!
Tuesday 8:00 a.m.: The night before we consulted with the Concierge to see what was the best way to get to Healesville Sanctuary which is out in the Yarra Valley (wine country for all you Wine-o’s) about an hour away from Melbourne proper. We didn’t have too much time and had to get to the airport later that night so we had to make the most of our day. We went with the Zoo bus straight to Healesville (80 AUD per person). The drive through Yarra to Healesville is incredible, its lush countryside and completely idyllic. Once at Healesville, the entrance fee is $38 AUD ($25.88 USD) and the cute and cuddly experience $99 AUD ($67.43 USD). We got super lucky that day there was some sort of sale going on. It was like we were meant to be there on that day because we only spent $250 AUD for the the four of us ($170 USD) instead of $548 AUD ($373.27 USD). The experience is well worth it, we got to feed and pet the sweetest kangaroos and we met some adorable koalas. Now before you ask me why I didn’t get a shot holding the koala, it is illegal to hold koalas in most states. The only place where you can truly hold a koala is in the northern states think Perth but those aren’t the same kind of koala.
That was our whole trip in a nutshell. I wish we would have been able to go to the Blue Mountains while we were in Sydney but I will have to leave that until I can go in the summer. Supposedly the heat creates a blue fog over the mountains because it basically creates steam for the eucalyptus trees. And of course I have to make it back to check out the great Barrier Reef and Uluru! But that is the great thing about travel, you live it you learn from your mistakes, you experience and you have a reason to come back every time or well most every time!
I’ve been to Mexico City several times now and each time I go I discover something new and incredible. The first time I landed in this magical city we hired a driver to get us around the city and take us to the main important things. We only had three days so we were on a bit of a time crunch. I wish I could remember well our full itinerary but I will try and update this as soon as I can get a chance to look at my pictures from our first time.
The second time I came I was on a layover to Oaxaca with my sister. We had only a few hours to kill but thankfully it was early morning and this busy city was still sleepy and quiet. We went to breakfast at an incredibly beautiful place whose name slips my mind currently however, I will update this as soon as I can look back at the pictures.
Fast forward to this week. Again I only had about 36 hours in Mexico City, but I managed to see and experience so much just like the first time.
Monday: We landed relatively early, about 3 p.m. local time. We headed straight to the hotel which was about an hour and a half away from the airport. This sounds like it is really far, but trust me it really isn’t… It’s just the Mexico City traffic. Expect to be sitting in an uber for at least twenty minutes depending on your destination of course, Normally, tourists stay in the hotels close to the city center, however, I was lucky enough to snag a room at the Hilton MexIco City Santa Fe for the 60th anniversary of Barbie (TM). Click here to see the blog post just for the hotel. Later that night we went out to dinner. I’ll name the place but I wouldn’t give it my stamp of approval nor would i recommend going there. Tori Tori is a japanese restaurant with strong cocktails and a beautiful atmosphere (which I do approve of) but the food was subpar and you could go to any corner sushi shop and eat better for cheaper,
Tuesday: We were up early this morning to get to Toetihuacan which is where the pyramids are. This archaeological site is about an hour and a half away from the hotel we were in at Santa Fe, however if you’re staying in the city center it will only be about an hour. Entrance fee is 75 MXN ($3.85 USD). There are five entrances, we went to gate 5, simply because it was the entrance closest to the restaurant we were going to have dinner at once we climbed the pyramids. There are two pyramids which you can climb, the sun and the moon pyramid, and a third palace structure for the god Quetzacoatl, this was a recent discovery and tours to this portion aren’t ready yet since archaeologists are still diggin up the site! A great reason to come back and visit! Climbing the pyramids is a feat but it is so worth it when you reach the top.
12:30 p.m.: Lunch time! You all know how much I love eating! I have known about this particular restaurant for a few years now, but I wasn’t able to go since we had limited time on the previous trips. The restaurant is La Gruta, it is in an underground cave. It is a spiritual experience having lunch inside this cave, and the legend is (insert legend info). Once you are done eating you can have your waiter light your candle and you are welcome to climb up the stairwell to place your candle in an inner portion of the cave. Lunch here won’t set you back much (approx. $40 USD, for lunch for two people) and you even get to experience a spiritual cleansing ritual!
7:00 p.m.: Once we got back to the hotel we decided to go to the movies. This is by no means a Mexican experience unless you consider spending $15 USD for two people to watch a movie at the Cinepolis VIP a true Mexican experience.
Wednesday: Last day in Mexico City! Always bittersweet leaving but there are always so many reasons to come back and explore. We headed out after breakfast to go check out the Jeff Koons & Marcel Duchamp exhibit that was at the Jumex Museum. It was just as spectacular as you could imagine. Jeff Koons can make bronze look like plastic which is just wow.
1:30 p.m.: Pujol. This restaurant was incredible and definitely gained its spot as #13 of the Worlds 50 Best Restaurants. There is a seperate post just for this resturant because it deserves it. I even had a celebrity sighting while I was there! Salma Hayek! She was so nice and absolutely stunning! This experience lasts about 3-4 hours since it was a 7 course menu so if you go make sure to keep some time open between any other things you may want to do.
After lunch we headed to the hotel to grab our things and head to the airport. This experience was incredible and there is always something new to explore in this beautiful city.