I must say…it was fabulous.
We arrived at Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach around 8:30 pm Wednesday night after a long flight across the country with a couple of crying, albeit cute, babies sitting in front of us. Venice Beach was not kidding about being colorful, from the people to the artfully graffiti-d boardwalk.
Our hotel fit right in. Retro colors, sliding bathroom door, tie-dye robes and an in-room sunglass hut?
Though we briefly explored the neighborhood for food options, we ended up at the hotel’s restaurant, Hash. Sitting in that bar, drinking a strong hefeweizen and sharing a delicious burger (I know, I ate a burger) was when the excitement of this trip really hit me.
The next morning we head out at the crack of dawn to explore. Our first stop was the hotel’s ridiculous rooftop lounge.
We didn’t get the chance to utilize the rooftop during its happy hours, so the amazing views were all we got.
And a photo shoot courtesy of the maintenance man.
For breakfast, we walked to Venice’s primary restaurant/shopping street, Abbot Kinney. We found delicious little egg sandwiches on brioche rolls at 3 Square Cafe + Bakery.
We walked back to the boardwalk for some serious beach walking and people watching.
You really could get anything you’ve ever wanted at the boardwalk, including but not limited to: marijuana from the 420 Doctor, toe rings, and medical enhancements at Botox on the Beach.
That fine yellow building was our hotel, situated smack dab in the middle of the boardwalk facing the beach.
Our friendly concierge hooked us up with a first class taxi to LA’s Union Station. To kill time, we explored the neighborhood around the train station, which surprisingly had a lot of cultural history.
The beautiful Union Station…just a little different than the Union Station we’re used to.
I enjoyed the view from the train while sipping a beer and trying to block out the rather obnoxious group of women next to us.
Once we got to SB, we made hay while the sun shined (since it was supposed to rain all Friday ). We met up with my family friends, Kathy and Rod, who were kind enough to let us stay with them all weekend. First were drinks at Boathouse, then later that night Evan and I went to Jane on State Street for some fine cooking.
A glass of rose prosecco.
An appetizer of smoked salmon over a goat cheese pancake, topped with dill sour cream and yellow caviar – a play on salmon and eggs.
Evan’s avocado burger with Anaheim chilies, avocado and chipotle mayo.
I ordered the seared tuna and broiled prawn Asian inspired salad.
Kathy and Rod live the ideal proximity to downtown, so we were able to see a lot of sights on our walk home from dinner. My favorite being the courthouse.
We were up and out early on a cloudy Friday morning and walked all the way to the beach (2.2 miles).
Down to the end of Stearns Warf, which has surprisingly little guard rails…
Literally, I was sitting on a bench and there was no guard rail or fence to keep me from dropping into the ocean.
From there, more walking.
We went to one of Santa Barbara’s authentic (with a capital A) Mexican taqueria, Superica. While in line, you watch this older Hispanic woman stand behind the counter and roll dough in her hands, drop it into a press and flop the fresh tortillas onto the grill. These tacos are just meat and tortilla with a bar of fresh salsas to pick from – and cheap!
After lunch, we rented a car and drove up into the hills of Montecito to check out the snazzy houses of the rich and famous…until we got a little lost on some precariously steel roads and I had an itty bitty panic attack.
We decided on Arch Rock Fish for a late dinner, as they had a phenomenal happy hour menu starting at 9pm until close.
We split smoked salmon deviled eggs, spicy tuna and salmon sushi roll, fresh guacamole and chips, and Stilton and truffle honey grilled cheese (!) Best grilled cheese of my life…though the one we had on Saturday was a close second.
I was so relieved to wake up to a bright blue sky after all the rain on Friday. Naturally, first thing we did was head to the beach. Hendry’s Beach was the closest beach to my house growing up, and I like to think the prettiest one around.
9 am we checked into the spa for our massages. It was glorious, as I knew it would be. Evan was a little iffy about the whole thing but he definitely enjoyed it.
What would be the next item on the agenda in my perfect world? The farmer’s market. So that is what we did!
Following the market, we stopped in C’est Cheese (get it?) for a gourmet grilled cheese.
A skyline drive on the famous Alameda Padre Serra (APS for locals). Amazing view… and that body of land across the ocean is one of the channel islands – just FYI.
A quick drive by the Santa Barbara Mission in all her glory.
I want to extend a thank you to all of the kind passerby’s that took our pictures during this trip.
A couple of clouds rolled in for afternoon showers that lasted about 17 minutes.
Like all good tourists should, we climbed to the top of the courthouse.
That night I cooked dinner for Kathy and Rod as a thank you for their hospitality. We were up for our bus at 5:30 the next morning to head to LAX.
Evan, what’d you think of the trip?