Recently, we headed north to the City of Angels for a quick “inspiration” trip for our business. We carefully plotted our trip weeks in advance, researching hip restaurants to try and Instagram-worthy spots for outfit pictures 😉 The primary reason we were in L.A. was for the world-famous Pasadena Flea Market, but it was such a wonderful dose of inspiration to come up a day early and feel the one-of-a-kind energy of Los Angeles. We fell in love with how much style, originality, and creativity were waiting for us.
In this first installment of our 2-part L.A. series, we will focus on a few of the more interesting places we found to share a meal (since we are self-proclaimed foodies) and also give you a little peek into our personnel style.
FASHION: Walking around LA in August means its gonna be warm, people! Flowy tops with denim shorts or a cool tee with soft bells keeps you comfortable. Don’t forget a strappy flat sandal or a fun wedge to add some height 🙂
FOOD: Picture this….You walk into an boutique hotel filled with antiques and rustic furniture. Wouldn’t you just be instantly charmed? We were. Hidden inside the Palihotel is The Hart and the Hunter, our destination for brunch and first stop upon arrival in L.A. Right off the bat, we received great service from the hostess, and the waitress even loved that we were blogging! Must-haves when you come here are the homemade biscuits (warm, flakey, and the perfect amount of sweet) and their thick-cut bacon, which is almost parallel to cutting into a ham steak, YUM! Since we are suckers for “toast,” we tried their spin on the ever-popular avocado toast and it didn’t disappoint. The Hart and the Hunter is a perfect place to fuel up before you hit the stores on Melrose Ave!
Oh West Hollywood, you’re our Los Angeles crush. It’s where luxury, trend, and metropolis grit meet in the middle and produce a one-of-a-kind neighborhood fueled by creators and innovators.
FASHION: After a nice day of wandering and window shopping our way through West Hollywood, we decided to change up our look for dinner. Soft, girly, and summery dresses with heels (with fun accents like fringe or suede laces with feather details) were the way to go. We threw on some pretty accessories (Rose Gold layering necklaces just make us happy) and were off to a fab night at Gracias Madre!
FOOD: VEGAN FOOD SKEPTICS KEEP READING…….The girls at sparkle + toast love fresh seasonal food but are in no way vegetarians or vegans. In addition, we grew up in San Diego, so we have strong views on what restaurants call Mexican or Latin food. Lets just say Gracias Madre blew our minds! First things first: Cocktails 😉 We knew before we got there we were going to order their famous snow cone cocktail that we saw all over social media. It was so perfect on this warm night, and only the cutest drink ever! Still need to cool down? Get the boozy popsicle… Yep a glass with tequila and a fruit popsicle for dipping or dunking. They have just set the bar for adult frozen treats! Oh, we aren’t done with cocktails yet… Scroll down the menu and you find a section called “CDB Cocktails.” As mentioned in their menu, these drinks have cannabis oil added that provide several health benefits (with no THC). Getting some alternative health supplements while we toast to a great dinner? Sounds great to us! Now for the food… We opted for the tasting menu and it was a great choice because we were able to savor tons of the menu items, although the portions are huge so come hungry 😉 Everything from sopes to tamales and even taquitos filled with fresh vegan proteins and vegetables and seasoned to perfection! We have a new found appreciation for cashew cheese! With flavor like this, anyone would appreciate vegan cuisine, even your most carnivorous friends. All those amazing sips and eats were complete with the sweetest waiter who gave us phenomenal service. Bravo, Gracias Madre!
Sweet Treat: If you’re looking for something different when it comes to your chocolate bars check out Compartes. This L.A. based chocolatier mixes high quality chocolate with unique (and delicious) flavors. The “Cereal Bowl” bar has white chocolate with bits of breakfast cereal and mini marshmallows! Their gorgeous packaging makes you want to display them throughout your house like works of art.
We love Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice for all the speciality boutiques and shops, world-class people watching (one of our favorite activities!), and of course amazing eateries.
FASHION: A sunny day in this beach city called for short shorts, and a romper styled with a flowy top and fringy kimono. A perfect get-up for walking around and watching the mix of local hipsters and out of place tourists, lol!
FOOD: If we were to sum up Gjelina in one sentence, it would be “Come with a big appetite and very thick skin.” For the brunch cuisine, we give it a 4 out of 5. The farm-to-table style delights the taste buds with seasonal fresh ingredients that pack a punch of succulent flavor. For brunch options, there’s a great selection of sweet and savory that are great for sharing, with a heavy emphasis on local fresh fruits and vegetables. The Grilled Peaches with Prosciutto and Burrata were a revelation. The Squash Blossom Pizza? Heaven. The space is oozing with the cool factor too. We snagged a table on the back patio and it was an oasis of style and shade off the bustling, busy street outside. Although a tight squeeze we enjoyed sitting out there. The noise level was a little high but nothing that interfered with the meal or the company.
Where our “thick skin” comment comes into play is when we get to talking about the wait staff. Never in our lives have we gone to such a hip, food-critic-favorite restaurant and been treated so poorly. Upon our arrival, the hostess cracked a few smiles but was mostly aloof and even mildly entertained by the fact that we’d be waiting 45 minutes longer than expected. Upon seating, our waiter was no help at all and not at all eager to see us. At our aforementioned “tight squeeze” of a table, we found ourselves quickly becoming overrun with plates of food that came out all at once, which was a major problem since the table was the size of a 3rd grader’s school desk. I believe the actual word that came out of our waiter’s mouth after hearing our request to stagger the plates of food since we wanted to share each dish, was a big fat “NOPE.” I mean, who talks like that to customers paying $60-$80 for brunch? Upon the arrival of the check, our jaws dropped in unison. There it was, staring back at us laughing in irony…20% GRATUITY ALREADY INCLUDED. “Now that explains why our server was the most indifferent jerk we’d ever met,” we muttered.
Seriously folks, Gjelina is a hard-sell for the foodie girls at Sparkle + Toast. We want to be charmed, enlightened, and here’s a thought—happy, when we take time away from our families to indulge in a delicious meal. We left with our bellies full and a sour attitude. If you think we’re exaggerating , check out the Yelp reviews of Gjelina that we probably should have looked at more closely…
STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO OF OUR L.A. ADVENTURE!