California Dreaming

sealbeach.jpg

In mid-August Patrick and I took a week off and had a summer vaycay! It was glorious. We spent the first half of the week in LA visiting my dear college friends Heidi and Amy, and the second half of the week in San Diego.

We did so many fun things!

Heidi and another friend, Andrea, did an open water swimming race, and we got to go cheer them on! It was a nice throwback to our old swim team days. They both did great! In fact, Heidi won her age group, beating out a former Olympian! What a badass.

 Heidi, Amy and Dre

Heidi, Amy and Dre

That evening we went to the Hollywood Bowl to see Iron and Wine, the Head and the Heart, and Glen Hansard. Wow, the Hollywood Bowl just might be my favorite place to see a show. The Hollywood Bowl’s beauty and acoustics are unrivaled, and possibly best of all, they let you bring in your own food and drinks. Our friends put together an amazing picnic, and we enjoyed great music as the sun set and the Super Moon rose over Los Angeles.

Jen, Sam Beam and Amy
Patrick and Jen
Hollywood Bowl

The next day we went downtown and ate lunch at the newly revitalized Grand Central Market, which is one part farmer’s market, one part fabulous restaurant row. Patrick and I both selected plates from DTLA, specializing in cheese and salads. Our lunches were delicious (not that you could ever go wrong with burrata cheese), but Heidi and Amy were was the big lunch winners. Heidi got a brisket plate from Horse Thief BBQ. She graciously let me have a bite, and it was the best brisket OF MY LIFE! Amy got the daily curry from Sticky Rice, and it was also mind blowingly delicious!

DTLA
DTLA

We went on a little walk after lunch over to The Last Bookstore, which was such a unique space. The main level was normal bookstore, but the upstairs was a “labyrinth” with a book tunnel, a book wall with a window, other fun displays, and artists’ studios.

The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore
Heidi and Amy

My favorite part was that they organized their used books by color!

The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore

That night, Amy and her fiancé Brad had us over for Brad’s famous tri tip. Patrick made Manhattans, and we sat in the backyard and talked and laughed until dark. Good friends.

Amy and Brad

Our last day in LA, Heidi took us on a nice bike ride from Huntington Beach to Newport Beach and back. After our ride we treated ourselves to waffle sandwiches, which were completely delicious!

Jen and Heidi

Afterwards we went to Venice, or as Heidi calls it, “the Portland of LA”…very true!

Venice
Venice

As we left for San Diego, we were so sad to say goodbye to our friends, but also so happy that vacation was not over yet.

We checked out nearly all of the San Diego beaches, and concluded that Coronado Beach was our favorite relaxation spot. Sparkling beach, beautiful historical hotel, tropical drinks, completely idyllic.

Coronado
Hotel del Coronado

We also had a fabulous anniversary dinner at a newish restaurant, Juniper & Ivy. One of my favorite parts of Juniper & Ivy was the open kitchen. It was fun to see how well the crew worked together.

The next morning we drove up to La Jolla to go sea kayaking. Unfortunately the water was too rough to go into the La Jolla caves (or take any pictures!) but we still had fun.

That night we found an excellent speakeasy-style cocktail bar called Noble Experiment. It’s sneakily hidden in plain sight, so feel free to email me if you’d like directions on how to find it. The bartender, Megan, was top-notch and also incredibly nice.  

On our final day, we took time to explore the parts of Balboa Park surrounding El Prado. The architecture and gardens were both so lovely.  

Balboa Park
Balboa Park

We spent our last hour before heading to the airport at Queenstown Public House in Little Italy. The space was light and airy, the food was excellent, and I could have happily spent more time there!

Queenstown Public House

Alas, it was time to head home. We’ll be dreaming of you until next time, California!

Although my last few blog posts haven’t reflected it, I have been sewing quite a bit. I’ll have a new quilt to show you in my next post!