As it’s fairly chilly and snowy here at the moment, I was quite keen to have a fun weekend away. Even better was the prospect of exploring a place I’d never been. So as LA is only 1.5 hrs away by plane I jetted off to see Hollywood, eat ice cream and catch up with friends.
I’m still pleasantly surprised how quick and easy it is to jet off to California for a long weekend. It took me a little while to work out what to cram into my hand luggage as I’ve forgotten what temperatures above 10 degrees feels like! I hadn’t visited LA before and had a few places I was keen to visit. The only thing I know is that it is a large sprawling city, 2nd biggest in the US in fact, that it is full of Hollywood people and it has access to some fabulous beaches.
We have previously visited some of the pacific coast highway when we visited San Francisco last year. So when I arrived on Saturday, the beach was top of my list. Having got my bearings of the vastness of LA we headed up the pacific coast highway to stop at Santa Monica. I loved walking around the main downtown area, which had small streets, vibrant shops and great cafes. We stumbled across a market selling strawberries. That’s right in season strawberries in January. The mind boggles.
We ventured to the pier, and walked along the broad walk gazing at the carousel and admiring the many performers scattered along. It was lovely to sit in the sunshine and seep up lots of vitamin D. We then found an English imports shop where I purchased some Cherry Bakewells and some Malteasers. This was excellent, and then next door was an actual authentic Irish pub serving proper fish and chips, and a cheeseboard with English cheese, pork pies and Branston pickle.
Having filled myself up with yummy foods we ventured onwards to Malibu. This coastline is especially pretty and we stopped at the beach to enjoy a brief walk, the sunset and some amazing ice cream from a local creamery. All in all for the first day LA is pretty awesome!
Don’t you just love it when Friday rolls around, when you have endless possibilities of what you could do with your time. Two whole days to do with as you please. I often like to fill this time with every fun or constructive thing I can. After all life is short, and there are so many things I’ve not done yet. Most weekends I’ve already booked up with something, or made a list of possible activities and ideas to do. This weekend for once my diary was completely clear, with no lists of possible things.
I really should just plan all future adventures around what the best pudding stops are. Its basically what I end up doing anyway. Sometimes I want to re visit New York just for the cheesecake – apparently its the murky water that gives it the delicious rich and creamy taste!
On our recent adventures to San Fran we found some delightful sweet stops. Ice cream was a pretty large feature on the list, with a 1950’s inspired ice cream bar and soda fountain down the road – they make sundaes, their own waffle cones, have awesome flavours all whist accompanied by a cocktail or two. Just walking in you may aswell throw on a vintage dress call me Nancy and bust into a jive. Its happy and nostalgic and did I mention the ice cream? If you are really hungry they do ice cream sandwiches :-) And really really good hot chocolate!
We rewarded ourselves with a mammoth sized ice cream in Sausalito after a loong cycle ride over a rather famous bridge. It was also gigantic and creamy and yummy! It kept us well entertained whilst waiting to catch the ferry back to the mainland.
Our next ice cream stop was the San Francisco creamery – as featured on man vs food with the kitchen sink. We plumped for a bowl of sweet potato fries followed by ice cream sundaes. I eventually settled for the pecan praline on a warm brownie after trying all the flavours possible. I remember going to a Whimpy as a kid- these don’t actually exist any more sadly – they were set up as poor imitations of American dinners and served knickerbockerh glories. I mean what can go wrong with an ice cream that sounds that ridiculous and they didn’t disappoint. I’ve continued my ice cream obsession every time we visit NZ (shout out to hockey pokey!) and regular visits to G&D’s when in Oxford, and Gelato stalls in London – not to mention eating all the champaign magnums this summer!
On the back of some great reviews we visited the local dari fair. A pop up icecream roadside stop that has over 100 flavours! The flavour combinations were interesting. Disappointingly it was actually a whippy ice cream machine that they stick flavours into, all of which taste slightly artificial and are a luminous colour. I was expecting more creamy gelato so this was a sad day.