Los Angeles Recap

This post is a long time coming. To say I’m a fan of LA is a gross understatement. We loved every minute of our time there, and do really hope to live in California one day in the future. I think the city gets a bad rap sometimes, but we really found everyone to be warm and friendly, and it really is one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S.

We stayed in a few different neighborhoods during our trip (Santa Monica, Hollywood and Beverly Hills), and then ventured out to a few other areas during the day. We had some fantastic food in Echo Park and Koreatown, but I have to say, I just love being by the ocean in Santa Monica and Venice so much. On our last day there, we drove out to Malibu which is something I’ve always wanted to do. The Pacific Coast Highway is every bit as beautiful as I imagined, and we spent the afternoon on the pier having lunch and watching surfers. Perfection!

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EAT:
– Night + Market Song – This was my favorite meal in LA, and we stumbled upon it by accident a couple of hours before our flight home. Easily the best Thai food I’ve had outside of Thailand.
– Animal – We went for brunch, and it was just beyond fantastic. Really creative, fresh dishes. We heard reservations can get tough, but we arrived right when they opened, and had no issues.
– Ostrich Farm – It’s just beautiful and bright in here which I really love. Had a great sparkling rose and shared a snack. I wish we could have gone back for brunch.
– Pine & Crane – Inexpensive, and really delicious. We grabbed some dumplings, and chilled out here for a couple of hours.

DRINK: 
– The Black Cat – We stopped in here for a happy hour, and they made a really wonderful Aperol spritz (my favorite cocktail) so I was sold!
– Cafe Stella – Close to the Black Cat, Cafe Stella churns out some really well-made cocktails. The patio is tiny but really nice if you can snag a spot.
– The Frolic Room – This place is a little bizarre, but in the best way. It’s a no frills, old Hollywood type place that sells cheap beer, and hasn’t really changed in the past few decades.
– Good Times at Davey Wayne’s – This was such a cool spot with a great 70s vibe. It was such a great mix of people which I really loved.

SEE/DO:
– Griffith Observatory – Worth a visit every time. The views are just so perfect, and you can’t help but love LA when you’re up there.
– Malibu – Again, worth it to take the time to drive over, especially if you’re into the beach.
– The Getty – Admittedly, I didn’t get a chance to go this time around but I’m dying to visit next time around, and thought I’d include it.
– Venice Fishing Pier – I’m a sucker for all things ocean related, but this pier was my absolute favorite. The view of Venice from the end is to die for.

Final tip? We’ve always been told what a driving/car-centric city LA is. Save for renting a Zipcar to get to Malibu, we Ubered everywhere, and found it to be way cheaper and easier than renting a car. We talked to a few locals, and found that more and more people are opting for public transit/Uber.

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Girls Weekend in Norfolk

Earlier this year, Garden and Gun sent my sister and I a few hours south to Norfolk, Virginia to experience some of the food and art that the city is becoming more and more known for. I’d not been to Norfolk, but I jumped on the chance to see the city firsthand.

Though the city is relatively small (compared to D.C.!), I was impressed with the food, the sweet locals, and how much there was going on. In talking to those who live in the city, it seems like people are really exciting about the direction Norfolk is taking. There are lots of fun festivals, breweries, restaurants, and shops to be explored making for a fantastic girls weekend.

You can see my full guide on Garden and Gun Field Report, and I’ve also included a list of my Norfolk favorites are at the end of this post. Enjoy!

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TO EAT

Luna Maya – Owned by two sisters, we loved this place. Amazing Mexican food, good drinks, and it was absolutely packed with Norfolk locals.

Cure Coffeehouse and Brasserie – A great little breakfast spot. In the evenings they serve wine!

Handsome Biscuit – There was quite the line to get into this place, but it was easy to see why. The most delicious, gigantic biscuits out there.

Toast – Another one of my favorites in the city. All toast, all delicious.

Field Guide – We stopped in here for lunch and shared one of their bowls. Easy, inexpensive, and really filling!

TO DRINK

Mermaid Winery – This place has a cute little patio where you can sip your rose under the sun. I highly recommend it!

Coelacanth Brewing – Just down the street from Mermaid, this brewery was fantastic. Their flights are pretty big so it’s easy to just share one.

Press 626 – This was easily my favorite spot in Norfolk. Located in an old house, we sat on the front porch and watched a storm roll in. The wines were wonderful, and the staff was great about giving us recommendations.

TO EXPLORE

The Chrysler Museum – An unexpectedly large and impressive collection of art and artifacts.

The Botanical Gardens – I’m a sucker for gardens in general, but these were really beautiful and absolutely sprawling. I think we probably saw maybe 1/10th of what was there.

The NEON District – This area is home to Norfolk’s emerging art scene. There are galleries, public art, and my personal favorite, Glass Wheel Studio.

GENERAL TIPS

– The women at Visit Norfolk told me about F.R.E.D. (Free Ride Every Day), a free transportation service that takes you around the downtown area. Just call the service, and a driver will pick you up. Firstly, I couldn’t believe it was free, and secondly, why isn’t this everywhere?

– There is a hotel with a rooftop bar opening in downtown Norfolk sometime next year. The renderings looked really beautiful, and I’d love to stay there next time!

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On and Around the Farm

Back in January when we visited India, the first few days of the trip were spent around my family’s farm, about four hours south of Mumbai. My dad grew up on the farm ,and my mom is from a nearby town so it made for a really great, special part of the trip. The day before we left we toured the actual farm land, and got to see some of the crops (banana trees, coconut palms, mango trees) which was pretty crazy/amazing. These snaps are from around the farm, and the neighboring cities of Navsari and Bilimora (where my grandparents used to live!).

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Jaipur

Personal photos always seem to take the backseat to everything else, but I’ve finally gotten around to putting together some of the photos from my trip to India. Jaipur seemed like a good place to start – we had a short amount of time there, but in those few days we experienced more than I thought possible to squeeze in. That being said, the city is absolutely sprawling, and I know there’s still lots left to see.

Truthfully, I left knowing I’d want to go back soon just for the sheer amount there is to see and do. The history of the city is astounding, and I left really wishing I had time to see more. Until then, a few snaps!

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Noma’s Saturday Night Projects

I have so much more to share about my trip to Noma earlier this summer, but I wanted to start with one of my favorite parts, their Saturday Night Projects. After a meal that I will truly never forget, we were lucky enough to be invited back to observe the kitchen’s Saturday Night Projects. On most Saturday nights at Noma after a long week, a few of the chefs prepare a dish to put up for discussion and critique by their fellow chefs. The result is Saturday Night projects, a way for the chefs of Noma to exhibit and challenge their own creativity. Watching these chefs work was nothing short of incredible, and I feel so fortunate that I got to be there to experience it and take a few photos.

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