Experiences & Eats in Cali

HI GUYS!

It feels like it has been forever since I’ve hopped on and wrote a post. We are now back from our honeymoon and I am now a married woman! I have a husband which is AWESOME, but I still find it very strange to say “my husband..” LOL. I guess it will be like that for a while.

Matt was born in California and wanted to go back and visit to see what it was like.  I had been to California a couple of years ago for my brother’s senior vacation and loved it. Plus, with everything going on with Hurricane Florence we were thankful that we were going to the West Coast.

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We stayed at LOEWS hotel in Santa Monica for the first two days of our trip.

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The next four days of our trip we stayed at an Airbnb in Venice. While we loved the hotel, the Airbnb was just so zen. Totally California.

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We loved the outdoor space to just hang out or eat breakfast outside. We also loved playing with the owner’s dog. Such a sweet dog!

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Favorite experiences

Hollywood sign hike  

 We hopped on Airbnb to look for different hikes to the Hollywood sign. We thought it would be easier to go on a tour instead of hike it ourselves and we are so glad that we did.

We did the sunset/night hike with photo shoot with Jennifer. She provided history and fun facts about the Hollywood sign. She even brought her dog Ziggy along for the hike. It was about a 2 mile hike up and 2 mile hike down. It was very steep. We stopped every so often to take pictures. My hottie with a body husband and I were thoroughly impressed with the pictures she took. She edited them and sent us to them the next day. Highly recommend doing her hike!

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Needtobreathe concert

Anyone that knows me knows that I love me some Jesus music. Needtobreathe is my favorite band ever! These guys are truly talented and so much fun to watch live. They sound just like they do on the radio. We saw them at the Greek outdoor theatre in LA and we had the best time. I sung entirely way too loud.  We also found a new band we liked, Johnnyswim, who was the opening act for them!

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    Lime scooters   Matt and I loved writing these scooters around LA. They were so much fun! I think Matt now needs one for Kanawha City to ride around lol. They are completely controlled by an app. The thing about these scooters is that you could leave them when you were done riding them. This was convenient, but also when you went to dinner there was no guarantee that the scooter would be there when you came out.

Lime scooters

Matt and I loved writing these scooters around LA. They were so much fun! I think Matt now needs one for Kanawha City to ride around lol. They are completely controlled by an app. The thing about these scooters is that you could leave them when you were done riding them. This was convenient, but also when you went to dinner there was no guarantee that the scooter would be there when you came out.

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  Yoga on the beach   This was so much fun! The instructor even had us put our feet in the water during some of the class. It was a lot harder to do yoga on the beach than on the ground, especially when we were closer to the water because we sunk! Lol It was very peaceful, though.

Yoga on the beach

This was so much fun! The instructor even had us put our feet in the water during some of the class. It was a lot harder to do yoga on the beach than on the ground, especially when we were closer to the water because we sunk! Lol It was very peaceful, though.

  Santa Monica Pier   Have you even been to Santa Monica if you haven’t gone to the pier? Super touristy area, but definitely worth it. It’s so pretty at night!

Santa Monica Pier

Have you even been to Santa Monica if you haven’t gone to the pier? Super touristy area, but definitely worth it. It’s so pretty at night!

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Favorite eats:

 Ll piccolo verde

This place was probably my favorite place we ate at the whole trip. It was super authentic Italian which was why it was so shocking they had gluten-free options. They had gluten-free table bread they brought to the table with olive tapenade.

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 We got a burrata salad and pizza to split. The pizza had pepperoni, mozerella, salami, and basil. Definitely the best gluten-free pizza I’ve ever had.. actually the best pizza I’ve ever had in my whole life. Everything was super fresh and full of flavor.

We got a burrata salad and pizza to split. The pizza had pepperoni, mozerella, salami, and basil. Definitely the best gluten-free pizza I’ve ever had.. actually the best pizza I’ve ever had in my whole life. Everything was super fresh and full of flavor.

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Malibu Farms

Well, first off I highly recommend driving the pacific coast highway. It is gorgeous. You drive it on the way to get to Malibu from LA.  

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 Malibu was so laid back in comparison to LA. We really liked it a lot. We loved this restaurant because look at it! Isn’t it cute? It was all farm to table and right on the Malibu peir.

Malibu was so laid back in comparison to LA. We really liked it a lot. We loved this restaurant because look at it! Isn’t it cute? It was all farm to table and right on the Malibu peir.

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 I got the spaghetti squash lasagna that had kale, marinara, and all the cheeses. Matt got a chicken sandwich with potatoes. Matt said his food was good, but nothing fantastic. I really liked mine and want to try to make it at home sometime. Have you made spaghetti squash like this at home before? If so, drop your recipe in the comments!

I got the spaghetti squash lasagna that had kale, marinara, and all the cheeses. Matt got a chicken sandwich with potatoes. Matt said his food was good, but nothing fantastic. I really liked mine and want to try to make it at home sometime. Have you made spaghetti squash like this at home before? If so, drop your recipe in the comments!

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 The best part about this place was the setting. You have to go to this place just for that. It had gorgeous views and California vines. There were kids in bathing suits and adults super dressed up. We loved it.    Salt + Straw    This place. Where to start? So it literally sounded like a club walking up to this place and the line wrapped out the door. The music was booming and we waited in line for probably 30 minutes or so. While we waited the staff came up to us and the first thing they asked was if anyone had any allergies. As someone with a gluten intolerance, this really impressed me. They were super knowledgeable about what flavors contained gluten and didn’t.  The whole premise behind this place was that they do small batch ice cream, use local ingredients, and have awesome flavor combinations that you wouldn’t expect.

The best part about this place was the setting. You have to go to this place just for that. It had gorgeous views and California vines. There were kids in bathing suits and adults super dressed up. We loved it.

Salt + Straw

This place. Where to start? So it literally sounded like a club walking up to this place and the line wrapped out the door. The music was booming and we waited in line for probably 30 minutes or so. While we waited the staff came up to us and the first thing they asked was if anyone had any allergies. As someone with a gluten intolerance, this really impressed me. They were super knowledgeable about what flavors contained gluten and didn’t.

The whole premise behind this place was that they do small batch ice cream, use local ingredients, and have awesome flavor combinations that you wouldn’t expect.

 I tried the almond brittle with salted ganache and the white chocolate roasted strawberry. The almond brittle with salted ganache won the taste test for me. I love chunks and pieces of things in my ice cream so I loved the chocolate ganache pieces in this one.  Matt tried the chocolate avacodo. Yes, you read that right. He said it was weird, but good. He ended up getting the gooey chocolate brownie and vanilla. Classic.  We loved this place, but if you go, expect a line. The guy working there said in summer months the line wraps around the building and down the street.

I tried the almond brittle with salted ganache and the white chocolate roasted strawberry. The almond brittle with salted ganache won the taste test for me. I love chunks and pieces of things in my ice cream so I loved the chocolate ganache pieces in this one.

Matt tried the chocolate avacodo. Yes, you read that right. He said it was weird, but good. He ended up getting the gooey chocolate brownie and vanilla. Classic.

We loved this place, but if you go, expect a line. The guy working there said in summer months the line wraps around the building and down the street.

   Cha cha chicken    This place is a whole in the wall, but the flavors are outstanding. It is Caribbean food.. a mix of Jamaican and Hispanic cuisine. Everything was delicious. We loved the fried plantains so much. Matt said they were almost as good as his moms but I’m not supposed to repeat that.  I got the jerk chicken combo which was an enchilada, tostada, and plantains with sour cream.  Matt got the rope veija which was skirt steak in a garlic sauce, beans, rice, plantains, and corn tortillas.  I could go on and on about the places we ate at, but that would be a very lengthy post, so I thought I would just highlife a couple of our favorite places.  While we were in California I couldn’t help reflect on how I was in such a different place in my life than the last time I was in California. I actually got to enjoy my food and not over analyze everything I was eating and if that matched up with my exercise routine that day. I will never forget going to a burger place that had gluten-free buns and not getting a gluten-fee bun. I remember my brother saying “I thought that’s why we came to this restaurant.. because they had buns you could eat.” It was but I didn’t get one, and now looking back that makes me sad.  This vacation I got to take everything in and be fully present. I am so glad I’m no longer missing out on so much.  Kyle from Immaeatthat wrote a blog post recently about vacation eating vs non vacation eating . I recommend you checking that out. I totally related to it. “I remember food less and less. I remember especially excellent foods and desserts, but food doesn’t overpower my thoughts and memories from trips.”  As we come to an end of vacation season, remember this for next summer. Vacation eating and normal day to day eating doesn’t have to be different. Diet culture tells us that vacation is a cheat week, but all that does is lead us in a binge-restrict cycle that is not healthy mentally or physically for our bodies.    I’m grateful for our honey moon and this life that God has given us together as one. It really is beautiful.

Cha cha chicken

This place is a whole in the wall, but the flavors are outstanding. It is Caribbean food.. a mix of Jamaican and Hispanic cuisine. Everything was delicious. We loved the fried plantains so much. Matt said they were almost as good as his moms but I’m not supposed to repeat that.

I got the jerk chicken combo which was an enchilada, tostada, and plantains with sour cream.

Matt got the rope veija which was skirt steak in a garlic sauce, beans, rice, plantains, and corn tortillas.

I could go on and on about the places we ate at, but that would be a very lengthy post, so I thought I would just highlife a couple of our favorite places.

While we were in California I couldn’t help reflect on how I was in such a different place in my life than the last time I was in California. I actually got to enjoy my food and not over analyze everything I was eating and if that matched up with my exercise routine that day. I will never forget going to a burger place that had gluten-free buns and not getting a gluten-fee bun. I remember my brother saying “I thought that’s why we came to this restaurant.. because they had buns you could eat.” It was but I didn’t get one, and now looking back that makes me sad.

This vacation I got to take everything in and be fully present. I am so glad I’m no longer missing out on so much. Kyle from Immaeatthat wrote a blog post recently about vacation eating vs non vacation eating. I recommend you checking that out. I totally related to it. “I remember food less and less. I remember especially excellent foods and desserts, but food doesn’t overpower my thoughts and memories from trips.”

As we come to an end of vacation season, remember this for next summer. Vacation eating and normal day to day eating doesn’t have to be different. Diet culture tells us that vacation is a cheat week, but all that does is lead us in a binge-restrict cycle that is not healthy mentally or physically for our bodies.

I’m grateful for our honey moon and this life that God has given us together as one. It really is beautiful.

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Whitney Carney