Hi mingos! I wanted to share some foodie highlights & healthy travel tips from a recent trip I took to Los Angeles, California with my college roommate and forever bestie, Emily (OMG Em I miss you much). We had been tagging each other in lots of LA restaurant and coffee bar posts on Instagram for far too long and finally decided it was time to take a trip of our own to visit them all in person! ha, how millennial is that!?
But seriously this best friend girl’s trip came at the most perfect time. Emily graduated from UT a semester before me and moved to Seattle, Washington to work at an ad agency and to be closer to her family. It pretty much broke my heart because her friendship was hands down the greatest gift that could have ever come out of my time in Austin. We shared our whole lives together like a freakin’ married couple! We clicked the instant we met (the day we moved in together LOL that could’ve been so bad but thank God it wasn’t!) and every moment after that was too good to be true. We even got to the point where she would cook dinner for us on my long days and I would cook dinner for her and I when she was working late! It cracks me up!! But since her big move back to her childhood city, our times together post-graduation were few and far between (we were able to sneak in a few surprise trips to visit each other though!! Like the time I flew into Seattle for 24-hours to be there for Em’s engagement! Read about it & see STUNNING photos (by Molly!) from that day here!!) But for now, here’s a little teaser!
Y’all seriously Em makes the best travel companion!! We both have the exact same food allergies (dairy, gluten, and eggs) which makes traveling with her that much more of an adventure. We’re always having to scout out creative options and fun things to try while on the go. I gotta give her major props too cause she planned this whole trip! Thanks Em!!! We split every meal and went to the healthiest (mostly vegan & plant based!) restaurants we could find. Neither of us are fully vegan, but it was fun to try new takes on classic food items.
This trip was special in every way. Em flew from Seattle and I came from Dallas on my birthday weekend! She met me at my baggage claim and then we were off to the races!! Here are all the places we went… But first!
Tip #1: The biggest and best thing you can do to stay healthy while traveling is to stay hydrated! Naturally, when you fly at a high altitude your body gets dehydrated. You might even feel it in your skin too. As soon as I pass airport security, I buy (or fill up!) a water bottle. It also helps to eat hydrating foods like cucumber and other fruits and veggies. Tea is a great choice too! I like stopping by Starbucks to get a large unsweetened iced green tea & a cup of fruit.
& Tip #2: If you can, always choose (it’s a choice!) to take the stairs. It’s hard to fit full workouts in when you travel so I like to add constant movement into my days (little changes add up big time!).
Alright alright back to the FOOD!
DAY 1: Beverly Hills / Hollywood
After getting our rental car, we drove straight to Carrera Cafe (mostly because of the pretty pink Paul Smith wall next door but nonetheless)! It’s the cutest place and they can even take a picture from your phone and make it into latte art. Fancy! We both got a Greek salad and lemmie just say I’m not much of a salad girl but this one made me want to be! Yummmmm
We took pics, hung out, and fell asleep for a quick lil nap in our rental car before booking it to a nail appointment at Olive & June. Okay is this place (pictured above) not the cutest!? We even got to meet the owner! It was a perfect way to get girl’s weekend going strong and I got the prettiest mauve gel color on my toes that I never wanted to take off. Ah, take me back!
Onto dinner! These vegan nachos at Cafe Madre were the GREATEST thing and tbh completely life changing. Cashew cheese and guacamole to die for. What!!! SO good! Me and Em split these, a drink, and another appetizer I forgot the name cause we ended up just ordering a whole other thing of nachos — they were that good. Pro tip: go during their weekend happy hour! Each app and drink was $7. You can’t beat that in LA!
We spent the rest of the evening driving through Beverly Hills and venturing to The Grove. My favorite recreational clothing brand had a lil pop up shop and I got a fun LA-inspired beach towel. Em took a few pics of me outside their fun store and then we listened to live Jazz music, watched the stars trickle in, and devoured these frozen Pressed Juicery custards. We each got the Chocolate flavor which has blended almonds, dates, cacao, and sea salt. Yummy yummy yummy. Emmy got hers with an almond butter drizzle and I got mine with as much fruit I could fit! It was a perfect summer night complete with stringed lights, a full belly, and the best conversation with my girl. Day 1 in LA complete!!
(ah, currently having friend & travel withdraws)
DAY 2: Los Angeles
We got the quickest to-go breakfast at some restaurant I don’t even remember the name of on our way to the Ban.do warehouse sale!! Have you ever been to a warehouse sale!? It seemed like a fun LA thing to do! The wait was incredibly long and probably not something I would ever want to do again (lol) but it was a crazy fun experience! Of course I stocked up on a bunch of yoga mats that made flying back to Texas v difficult. They now sit proudly next to my office desk in a cute woven basket as a reminder of our trip.
Next stop! A hip vegan place called Cafe Gratitude (wow just now realizing that every place has Cafe in their name haha). I actually forgot to take pictures because we were so hungry and tired and desperately in need of a long nap but we split sweet potato fries and nachos (yes, again!) because we could not stop craving last night’s. They were great! Maybe not as incredible as the day before but maybe it was just our low energy????
There was a place called Lemonade right across the street that looked like they had really delicious plant-based options too. We were so full from Cafe Gratitude that we didn’t eat anything but we did get some blood orange lemonade and it was the perfect pick-me-up. We sat outside for a good chunk of time and Emily asked me to be her bridesmaid with this beautiful box of me-to-a-T goodies. It was so special!!! (I said YES obviously!!)
Y’all Alfred Tea Room is hashtag goals. It’s a small lil tea shop and I wish no one was in there so I could have taken pics of the inside but still ya gotta go!! We got the pink drink with coconut milk and boba. They have a sister coffee shop (Alfred Coffee) just down the street within walking distance that was so so cute but we were too full to order anything else. PS the tile & colors of this staircase were so inspiring (right next door to the tea room). Perfect photo opp!
Tip #3: Be mindful of your sugar intake. When I travel, I want to enjoy food and treat myself but then sometimes I feel so guilty for completely going off the wagon and punish myself later with mean thoughts. Have you ever been there? Choose foods full in fiber (veggies, whole grains, quinoa) and healthy fats (avocado, olive/coconut oil, nuts, seeds) that will sustain your energy throughout long travel days. Sugar is yummy but can cause inflammation & give you that crash-and-burn high that keeps you from truly enjoying your trip.
DAY 3: Venice / Santa Monica
We had been drooling over pictures of The Butcher’s Daughter for the longest time. Their boho-jungle-too-cool-for-school-plant vibe is the stuff of dreams. I started with their Golden State Latte — a turmeric drink that’s calming and great for reducing inflammation in the body. Their Gluten Free Avocado Toast was fluffier that I could have ever imagined and I got a side of potato hash cause potatoes are my favorite thing in the whole world (definitely not the most healthy but idc!!). Wow I could seriously go for that breakfast right now… my stomach is actually growling just thinking about it!! Em got the breakfast pizza (not GF but she took the chance!) with vegan cheese. It looked and smelled incredible, oh my goodness.
The Venice strip on Abbot Kinney Blvd had some of the coolest places to shop and take pics by. I bought a pricy leather big-girl purse as a birthday gift to myself at the most beautiful store and found a lil special something to take home to each person in my family at shops along this strip. PS there’s this fun wall by Happy Socks (my dad’s favorite store!).
We took pics on a rooftop, walked alongside the beach, trickled our way through Santa Monica, and found ourselves at Flower Child. I used to go all the time when I lived in Austin — mostly because they have kombucha on tap and the best vegan/GF chocolate pudding of all time. Em & I always get the Mother Earth bowl. Veggies and foods that are good for my insides make me happy.
FINAL DAY: Arts District
Before saying goodbye and checking into our flights, we had breakfast at Amazebowls and got the Coconut Amazebowl (they were AMAZing – yikes sorry had to). You get less filling because the coconut bowl is so thick but it makes for a good pic that’s for sure!! You can add all sorts of healthy toppings like chia seeds and GF granola. The flowers and dried pineapple crisp were my favorite visually!
Side note – there are lots of cute walls and corners in this part of town! If we weren’t in such a rush to get back to the airport, we would have stayed longer to bop around. But check out this fun tattoo from Rifle Paper Co. and these best friend enamel pins we got from the Ban.do warehouse sale!
Tip #4: It’s really fun to take pics and stage food photos but there’s nothing like unplugged time to simply be in each other’s presence. Have moments where you put your phone down and take everything in with your senses. See it, smell it, feel it, notice all the special things that stand out, listen hard to each conversation, ask lots of questions, get to know a stranger. Insta pics are cool but they are never cooler than the people you’re with!
Thanks so much for reading. I hope this post is a fun guide for your next visit to LA!
Last Tip! Los Angeles is really big and can be overwhelming but go to one part of the city each day. You won’t have to drive around as much and can knock out lots of places on your list within the same vicinity. It pays to plan things out so you don’t lose time stuck in traffic.
With lots and lots of LA love,
PS special shoutout to Emily! She took almost all of these photos. Her Instagram is incredible! GO GO FOLLOW HER ASAP!!!