With Zika wiping large swaths of beach destinations off the babymoon travel map, D and I planned a pretty spontaneous Labor Day getaway to Southern California. We split up our trip into 3 nights of pure relaxation and bliss at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara, and then 2 nights in the City of Angels itself.
The Four Seasons is such a dream! We went through a travel agent to book it, which I can highly recommend as she got us some fun perks like free breakfast and access to the beachside lap pool. Our three days were spent lounging by the pool (they actually bring free smoothies around every hour at the smaller pool!), sipping on mocktails (well, cocktails for D) and playing tennis (I am so rusty - wish there was an easy way to keep playing here in NYC!). In true babymoon fashion, I also did yoga in the mornings to start the day off relaxed and fresh for me and Minimay.
By the way, I am excited to announce my bump is finally showing a tiny little bit! We are now just about at halftime (a little over actually!), so I'm sure I will be in full whale-mode in no time at all, but for now I'm gonna be over here getting excited at the little things.
Fun fact: D and I haven't been on a vacation that wasn't either visiting family or someone's wedding basically since I moved to New York. And before that, it was always one of us visiting the other (we were long distance between Germany and the US for 2 years). So this one was really special - just the two of us, no agenda. I haven't been this relaxed in forever!
This might be a controversial subject over here in the big apple, but I actually LOVE LA. People give it a lot of crap, but let's be real - the food is amazing (more about this below), the weather is legitimately always perfect, wine country is near and the ocean is at your front door. What's not to love?
We stuck to Koreatown and Malibu this time around in LA. Koreatown is said to be one of the most newly developing areas of town for nightlife and dining, so we checked ourselves into the Line Hotel, which is right in the heart of it all. You guys, that place is literal instagram porn. It is so trendy it hurts. But in a good way. (For all of you following me on snapchat, you know whaddimtalkinbout.)
A night of meat sweats brought to you by Korean BBQ and the most delicious mocktail I ever had in a secret bar was followed by an awesome breakfast (see below for our recommendations) and a day on the beach in beautiful Santa Monica.
I am already mentally planning a trip back to California with our little man next year!
Santa Barbara in a nutshell
What to do:
Mostly nothing (that's the beauty of it!)
If you absolutely must be active (my dear husband is one of those people who shockingly get antsy when lounging in the sunshine for 8 hours a day), go for a walk along the beach in Montecito (where the Four Seasons is) - it's gorgeous and you'll have the ocean on one side and beautiful hills with beautiful homes on the other side.
The Mission in Santa Barbara is also worth seeing - it has a rose garden, and I have never been in a place that smells better.
What to eat:
At the Four Seasons: If you are lounging by the hotel pool and need a bite, try the veggie wrap (it is actually a salad wrap, which they don't tell you). DEFINITELY get the truffle fries!
For tacos: Shoreline Beach Cafe. The shrimp tacos were my fave! Pro-tip: call ahead to get a table on the sand so you can stick your toes in the sand while you munch on your tacos. Pro-tip #2: order fries. They are amazing!
For burritos: Freebirds. Order a quesadilla (quesorito? The word "quesadilla" doesn't do the sheer size of that thing justice!). These are the best burritos I've ever had.
For dessert: McConnell's Ice Cream. It's right around the corner from Freebirds. You know I'm not one to shy away from wildly overeating and I hold strong in my belief that there's a second stomach for ice cream, so trust me when I say you may want to split a Freebirds burrito/quesadilla with someone if you want to fit in dessert.
For a nice dinner: Anywhere in the Funkzone. We tried out the Lark, which was pretty good. The area is cool to walk around in and features lots of cute wine tasting rooms.
L.A. (Koreatown and Malibu) in a nutshell:
Where to stay:
The Line Hotel - make sure you grab a drink on the 2nd floor outdoor terrace and leave some time to take a dip in the pool. They have foosball too (I beat D, obviously.)
What to eat:
For breakfast: Sqirl. You have to try this place (check out my instagram for a visual)! It's a quick drive from the Line Hotel (about 2 miles away). For my New Yorkers, a word of wisdom: Brunch starts early in LA, and by early I do not mean 11am. We showed up at 9:30 on a Saturday thinking ourselves the greatest early birds that ever lived, only to find the line snaking around the corner. Not to worry though if you do encounter a line, it moves fast and is very worth it. Get the sorrel bowl and also the ricotta toast. We gave the horchcoffee a try - iced horchata with coffee - it was awesome. Gold stars for creative drinks!
For lunch (in Santa Monica): Tacos por favor. It's an unassuming taco place on an unassuming street corner, but boy is it good! Order practically anything on the menu.
For lunch (in Malibu): Malibu Farm Pier Cafe. Mostly because you'll be sitting on a pier in the ocean enjoying an amazing view, and because they have these adorable white and green striped straws.
For dinner: Korean BBQ at Yang San Bak. Super delish, authentic and affordable experience (vetted by the 3 Koreans we went with). They serve some delicious (non-caffeinated) iced tea with dinner instead of water, which I loved! (Also it is around the corner from the Line Hotel, so if you fall into an instant food coma, your friends won't have to carry you far.)
For after-dinner drinks: The Walker Inn. Again, right around the corner from the Line Hotel. Call ahead and make a reservation in the secret room (disclaimer: I'm not actually sure it's called that, but there is a sign on the door that says "secret door"). Their cocktail menu changes every two months (I think), but if you are going to be there soon, get the tropical drink they have. I got the mocktail version and am still daydreaming about it! Also try to get the corn ice cream without the "Great Plains" actual drink - the corn ice cream rocks, but the drink itself is meh.