I’m not the kind of person who minds eating out alone. In fact, I’ve grown to really love it. It’s a little bit of me time that I can’t get in the same way when I eat alone at home. For starters, it’s really nice to have a personal waiter or waitress. I get to people watch and soak up the atmosphere of wherever I am without feeling rude to a companion. I get to order as much – or as little – as I want, without feeling like I need to share it. No one else to agree on a bottle of wine with. I can read a magazine if I like. And I can sit for hours and just enjoy if it strikes me. I did a lot of eating in Los Angeles this past weekend. Lots of it was alone, but I did a lot of eating with friends too. And, it was all glorious.
It had been some 7 years since I’d really been back in L.A. for any amount of time worth mentioning – when I was working at Providence. On this trip, I flew down for a little cycling camp with Liv Cycling last week, and spent the first few days north of the city riding bikes, sharing, connecting, and soaking up the glorious coastline with 50 of their new women’s ambassadors. I spent a great deal of my time chatting with them about my time at Skratch Labs, and my experience with real food and sport. We talked a bit about the science of why your body needs salt and sugar as an athlete, and how they could do little things to speed their recovery after big rides. By the time I left camp, I was pretty blissed + socialized out…and I was ready for a little me time. I had a couple of days to spare, so I made a few reservations and did a little research…and didn’t look back. Here are my best tips on how to eat your way through a (rainy!) weekend in the City of Angeles:
- Cozying up at the Chef’s table in hip + spacious Rose Cafe in Venice w/ a comforting bowl of chef’s renown Wakame Spaghetti w/crab, uni butter and yuzu as well as a bowl of thecrispybrusselsproutsin dashi.
- Starting your day at Gjusta -also in Venice – with one of everything. The baklava croissant, the egg bialy, a market salad to share and a loaf of the porridge sourdough bread for later.
- Moon Juice for a snack. Their fresh juices are meant to keep your sex life spicy and your skin smooth. (No kidding!)
- Grabbing seats on the bar at Ink – the people watching is superb as Beverly Hills heads out, and Michael Voltaggio’s food is approachable and unforgettable. The menu changes frequently, but the squid, octopus,and endive salad were my favorites for their on-point textures, temperatures and spicy surprises. Don’t forget dessert. The infused semifreddo and anything with toffee will not disappoint.
- Osteria Mozza on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night when Nancy Silverton herself is working at the cheese station behind the flowers. At 10pm, she’ll call for a class of wine. As if her thoughtful, classic, and consistently exceptional cuisine wasn’t enough, her poise, grace and style as she serves you are icing on the cake.
- Gjelina to be reminded that you’re in California, for sure. I strongly recommend breakfast with jam when the light pours through the windows.
- Brunch at Gracias Madre and don’t plan much afterwards. Not only do they have a mean vegan taco, but they put cannabis in the cocktails.
- Sqirl for just about anything from breakfast through early dinner. The hype is absolutely worth it. And buy jam while you’re at it.
- Kings Road Cafe for coffee any time of day. No pour overs or drip here; these baristas know that the only way to get the day going (or, to grow hair on your chest) is to make every cup a grande sized espresso pull(s). Their granola is also a personal favorite.
- Put Pedaler’s Fork on your Malibu Hills bike route breakfast, lunch, dinner or just for healthy pastries and maple lattes in Calabasas mid-ride.
- Stella Barra for souvenirs of the cookies-the-size-of-your-face variety. The flourless chocolate + vegan chocolate chip are strong favorites of mine.
- Order online for take-out from Gjusta and pick it up on your way to LAX. Order everything again, and maybe make it all a double so you can still be enjoying all those bites in the morning.