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California Guide (LA & San Diego)

April 30, 2019 Lex Daddio

Hi friends! I promised I’d share an overview of our California trip so finally getting it up! I’m going to do a separate one of a packing list/ my tips that worked for us with traveling with a 10 month old. We were there for two weeks for work to start and then extended it into a family vacation. We were in Pasadena (only for 1.5 days) LA (for about a day), San Diego (for 7 days), and Newport Beach (for 2.5 days)! We tried to do as many things as we could and cover as much ground as possible. If we went by ourselves, we would have probably done a bunch more, but going with T was such a fun experience and he honestly did so much better than expected!

 

We started in Pasadena, because we went out to work with GoMacro to shoot something fun for them! More on that coming soon and I can’t wait to share 🙂 I’m so honored and grateful to have gotten to work with one of my absolute favorite brands!  It still blows my mind, because I’ve been eating their bars for YEARS. I think probably 6 years now, and they’ve always been a favorite. Getting to work with the company & the people behind the scenes was a dream. Everyone is SO incredibly sweet & honestly makes me want to support them even more. Anyway, moving on to the trip!

 

We were around that area for two days so there wasn’t as much time to explore eat, but here’s our tiny list:

PASADENA:

Copa Vida– We walked here for coffee and breakfast. It was so cute! I would have come back here multiple times. I ordered an americano, Thomas got the drip, and we all shared the avocado toast with an egg (it was huge). It was fantastic and the best avocado toast I had the whole trip. I wish I brought home so many loaves of that bread!

 

Sugarfish– We ended up ordering Postmates (a food delivery) for dinner one night because we were out all day and it was getting late and we needed to get T to bed. I heard great things about Sugarfish and it did not disappoint. It came in little boxes with directions on what to do with everything. Basically to dip certain fish in certain sauce, etc. It was so cute and everything tasted great! We ate it in our hotel bed all together and it was so glorious.

Tender Greens– We walked here for our first dinner in town after we landed around 12pm. It was simple and casual. You order and sit and they have lots of options. Proteins, roasted veggies, grains, fats. Basically like building a bowl. I built a bowl and shared with T and Thomas got one of the salads. Everything was tasty! I would prefer this kind of scene more for lunch, but it was perfect for what we needed.

We went into the L.A. area for the GoMacro shoot and lunch one day and also on our way out to San Diego the next day. We only were able to eat at two places! Other great places I wanted to try but didn’t get the chance: Great White (Venice Beach), Petit Trois, & Honey Hi. I know there are so many others, but those were just some extras on my list!

L.A.:

The Henry– We went here for lunch in West Hollywood and all I have to say is AMAZING. The margarita was insane. Probably the best drink I had the entire trip, and I drank a lot of margs. We ordered lots of appetizers because we were with a big group and everything was fantastic! Especially the pretzel bread, woah. I ordered the cauliflower salad with halloumi cheese and I added salmon. I actually still dream about this salad and need to recreate it. It was incredibly flavorful and the now I’m officially in love with halloumi cheese. Need to buy some stat!

 

Gjusta– HIGHLY recommend. It was insanely busy and hectic, but super worth it in my opinion. I ordered the mediterranean breakfast bowl and it was filled with an egg, hummus, tzatziki, bread, and a vegetable medley. I have to remake it at home, because I loved it so much. The bowl was bursting with flavors, color, and deliciousness. I wanted to bring everything home! They sold jams, honey, gorgeous breads, & baked goods. I need to go back here so many times.

Next up, we headed to San Diego for the majority of our trip. We stayed in an airbnb in Pacific Beach and adored it. It was so close to the ocean and just what we needed. Here’s the link, because I know so many people asked about it! The area called La Jolla ended up being a 12 minute drive where the downtown of San Diego was anywhere between 20-40 minutes depending on traffic. To make things easier for T and ourselves, we found ourselves exploring La Jolla a lot more. It’s also absolutely gorgeous and quieter, and we really loved the area!

A fun little tip that worked for us! We ended up doing coffee and a GoMacro bar every morning around 8am and then did a brunch/ lunch after T’s morning nap to save a little money and because we didn’t have as much time in the morning to go out to a breakfast! So instead we ate out twice a day rather than 3. It worked for us, because it was easier with T that way!

 

SAN DIEGO:

Coffee:

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters– We walked here almost every morning. It was a 10 minute walk from our AirBNB & we just loved the vibe and coffee so much! We’d wake up every morning and walk along the water to get our morning cup. Our favorites were the americano, flat white, and little italy batch brew (we even brought some home)! They also have grab and go cold pressed juices which we loved! I discovered MUSH overnight oats too, which T and I are both obsessed with now. I heard their chocolate croissants are fabulous as well, but we never tried them!

 

Better Buzz Coffee– So many people also suggested going to this morning. Definitely such a fun, beachy atmosphere. They also had a drive thru, which was super cool! We had their coffee and liked it, but definitely still liked Bird Rock better. Seemed like a good place to get a fancier/ more adventurous coffee drink! Super cute inside!

Brunch/ Lunch:

Herb & Eatery– LOVED this place. We ate here for a breakfast and a lunch and I would have gone back again! It’s very casual, order at the bar, and then sit down. Lots of delicious and fresh options. For breakfast I ordered the hash and eggs with mushrooms and kale and added bacon. Highly suggest it and want to remake it at home. Thomas got the bagel with lox and said it was amazing! I also had the salad with tuna for lunch. All so good! They also have grab and go options too for more of a market style.

 

Parakeet Cafe– Very small, but very cute little cafe. They had lots of great options with very fresh food. There salmon was one of the best I had on the trip! Everything on their menu sounded so good and I saw someone with avocado toast, & it looked amazing. They also have fun coffee drinks, elixirs, etc!

 

Sugar & Scribe– Casual and cute. They have a coffee and pastry section inside with so many little desserts to go. Their menu was mostly salads, soups, sandwiches and it was so nice to sit outside. I tried the BALT (bacon, avocado, lettuce tomato) & Thomas got on of the egg benedicts & we both loved it!

 

The Farmer & the Seahorse– This restaurant was a little further away, but we had the opportunity to enjoy a lunch with some of the Perfect Bar crew and this restaurant was fabulous! I got the bowl with salmon, quinoa, and beet hummus and it was gorgeous & loaded with flavor!

 

The Cottage– We went here for more of a lunch, but I heard their breakfast/ brunch is to die for. Didn’t realize that until after and I ordered the avocado toast with an egg (couldn’t help myself). I try not to order it out too often since I make it at home, but it sounded too good! The bread was huge and delish. We shared the veggies and hummus, also delicious. Super cute place as well! It definitely gets crowded!

Liberty Public Market– This place is the best! It’s so cute and it’s basically a giant market with all the different food options. Perfect for a group too if you all want different types of food. They also have a beer, wine, and cocktail section so you could literally hang here all day! Thomas got a sushi burrito, his friend got empanadas, and I got tacos and everyone was super satisfied. There are also lots of fun things around in walking distance, like the cutest store I’ve ever seen called Pigment.

 

Dinner:

George’s at the Cove- La Jolla. This was our first dinner in San Diego and it was hard to top. We ate on the rooftop and it was the most beautiful view. The drinks were great and everything was ordered was so fresh and fantastic! We actually came back here again when Thomas’ friend came into town because it was just so great. Some favorite apps: beet salad, octopus, cauliflower and entrees: tacos, short rib, & the tuna!

 

Tribute Pizza– Still dreaming of how delicious this was. From the wine, to the bread, to the company. It was such a fun dinner. The bread appetizer with burrata and the spicy salami spread is a must. We ordered the kale salad and it was phenomenal. Full of flavor and perfect in every way. I also don’t think you could go wrong with any pizza. Highly suggest this one!

 

Eddie V’s– Phenomenal seafood and a gorgeous view! We loved this place and it was definitely on the nicer end of our dinners. We ordered shrimp cocktail (the best I had on our trip), burrata salad, and we both got steaks with sides. The brussels sprouts were incredible with pancetta. We topped it off with creme brulee and it was one of our favorite nights!

 

Monello– We definitely love Italian food, since Thomas’ family is Italian. He’d rather cook Italian than go out for it, but either way this place was so good. We ordered the famous pasta that comes out in a cheese wheel. It rotates each week. Highly suggest it! We also ordered a bunch of appetizers and a pizza because we were sharing among 4 people. So good!

 

Volcano Rabbit– You must come here for the carne asada tacos, and the carne asada tacos only. The guacamole was fine, the margarita was okay, but the carne asada tacos were so good. The crunchy things on top were fabulous! Loved it!

 

C Level– This place had the best view on the water, but not my favorite meal. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but it didn’t compare to the other restaurants we went to. It felt more touristy and I’m thinking the food served inside was probably better than the food served outside! Either way, definitely a fun place to go grab a drink and it was still really good! We ordered multiple things and ordered two desserts (beware because they are HUGE). I got the brownie sundae and it was fabulous!

 

Others:

Goodonya– Organic Eatery, Breakfast/ Lunch

Live Beaming– Juice/ Smoothie Shop

Puesto– Nicer Mexican with Organic/ GF/ DF options, Tacos

Buona Forchetta– Italian Food, Wood-Fired Pizza, Homemade Pasta

The Taco Stand– Traditional Mexican Fare with Made-to-order options

Madison on Park– Smaller Plates, Cocktails

Herringbone- Beautiful California Eatery

Salt & Straw- Ice Cream, everyone raves about this but the line was a 45 min wait and it was passed T’s bedtime so we didn’t get to go!

Extraordinary Desserts– All the dessert options

To Do:

Liberty Station– This place was so cool! It’s an area with Liberty Public Market (lots of food options, gifts, etc) and restaurants all around the area. This is also where Stone and the store Pigment are located. Such a fun area to walk around and explore.

Stone Brewery– One of our favorites breweries with some of our favorite IPA’s. It’s huge with lots of outdoor setting and a fun environment. I’ve also heard their food is delicious.

Pigment– cutest store of all time. Plants, baby items, books, all the best gifts ever & it’s beautiful!

Little Italy– Just walking around here was so nice. Lots of restaurants, things to do, etc.

La Jolla Shores (The Cove)– We went here multiple times, but it would be such a cute place for a picnic. You can walk along the water and check out the sea lions too!

Sunset Cliffs– Absolutely beautiful. We went here a little earlier than sunset, because of timing but it was the most gorgeous view.

Wanted To Do/ Go:

San Diego Zoo– Want to bring T here one day! Didn’t end up going but I heard it’s amazing!

Torrey Pines– Hike

Balboa Park– Great place to wander around and walk

Coronado Island– Great place to go walk around and there’s a ferry that can take there. They also have the Hotel Coronado over there, which I heard is beautiful.

Descanso Gardens– Good walking area and beautiful.

Ballast Point Brewery– We love beer and especially IPA’s. We drink their beer at home sometimes so would love to go here for the fun of it.

I’m sure there are million other places we missed and that people would suggest but this is our current list from San Diego! Definitely plan on going back and exploring more eventually! Next stop: Newport Beach. Obsession! Had so much fun there and loved the food. Literally walked to Lido Village almost everyday and basically just ate there. We didn’t feel like venturing out too much at this point, because it was the end of the trip. So here are the places we went and loved and an extra list of a few places we wanted to go. My sister actually used to live in Costa Mesa so I’ve done a lot in Newport and it’s such a beautiful & fabulous place!

NEWPORT BEACH:

Breakfast/ Lunch:

Sidecar Doughnuts– I had been here awhile ago and I knew I had to come back and bring Thomas. We ordered the huckleberry doughnut, the cinnamon crumb doughnut, and two cappuccinos. The cinnamon crumb was our favorite, but we both loved the huckleberry too. The cappuccinos were one of the best I’ve ever had, because they use Stumptown coffee beans which I love. It’s a must go if you can! Their doughnuts are freshly made and they were still hot when we ate them!

 

Honor Coffee– Bright and white! We walked here every morning, because it was a 7-8 minute walk. Loved their space and their coffee was delicious. Also picked up some of the of the chocolate they sold to bring back home! Their pastries looked gorgeous too.

 

Malibu Farm– So obsessed with this place. The design, the food, the drinks, the view. Everything was just so dang good and beautiful. My cocktail was fantastic and I got the egg sandwich and it did not disappoint. Thomas ordered the kale caesar with chicken, bacon, and avocado and we want to recreate it at home, because it was fantastic! I would have gone back here like 5 times.

Porrovita– Decided to try this place, because I planned on eating so many acai bowls while we were in town. Since we didn’t do many breakfasts, I literally had one haha. It was good, but not the best ever. The ones I’ve had from Banzai Bowls in the past definitely top it. I ordered the Kona bowl and it was tasty!

Bear Flag Fish Co– Another spot I could have eaten on repeat. We actually went twice. I got the build-your-own poke bowl one of the times (highly recommend) and then one of the to go plates of salmon, mixed veggies, brown rice, and I ordered seaweed salad on the side, because yum. We learned that they actually have a boat and go out and catch all their own fish, so to say the fish is fresh is an understatement.

Dinner:

Farmhouse at Roger’s Garden– This place is insanely beautiful. They did such an amazing job! The food was good, not incredible, but super good. We couldn’t get over the whole atmosphere though. That’s what made it for us!

Zinque– We actually did takeout from here on our last night. I heard it was great for breakfast/ lunch/ and dinner. It’s a coffee and wine bar technically but their food was delicious!

Others:

Banzai Bowls– Best acai bowls! Had them forever ago and didn’t get the chance to go back.

True Food Kitchen- Organic. Super Good Food. I went here awhile back & loved it!

San Shi Go– Sushi

Kit Coffee- Coffee/ Toast/ Breakfast.

Cafe Gratitude– I’ve been here a long time ago. It’s vegan, but you’d have no idea!

A & O Kitchen– Burgers/ Bar Food with a pretty view

Okay, that is everything! Looking back, I’m dreaming about California all over again. We all three miss it so much. Such a great trip and a gorgeous state. I’ll be posting our packing list for you soon 🙂

Xoxo,
Lex

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