Curious About LA – 5 Days in La La Land (DAY ONE)
Photos: Curious Coco | Soho House
“LA is not a town full of airheads, there’s a lot of wonderful energy there” – Alan Rickman
Having never visited before and know several people who hate it, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. LA seems to do that, be one of those places you have a strong feeling about, a bit like [my guilty pleasure] the Kardashians, who happen to reside in Calabasas, LA (and yes I squeezed a brief visit in, read on). So, with an open mind and open guidebook, I scanned the pages and trawled Insta for interesting places and had so much planned I was super excited to go.
Searching & creating a list of places in Google maps is super handy for geographical based itineraries, because you’ll have directions and exact distances between places.
Fresh from a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that boasts a hospital grade air purification system that apparently reduces jetlag and dehydration. (Whether subliminal and because I wanted to believe it, or perhaps because it actually did what it said on the tin – I didn’t suffer any jetlag – bliss. More than can be said for Norwegian Air’s vegan/veggie food offering…Thank the lord for Pringles. Plus if you do happen to fly with them, don’t forget your own headphones, or you’ll have to purchase a pair to hear your fave films!).
A family owned gem with amazing food described as “American Regional Cuisine” – they’ve taken the best American dishes from around the country and interpreted them at their best with the freshest local ingredients.
We did have a little wait for the table, but it was peak time on a Friday night, so we were happy to have a drink while we waited (around 20 minutes). People travel to Rock’N Fish just for the legendary Navy Grog rum cocktail and the coconut shrimp is magic.
Malibu – Getty Villa – Calabasas – Beverly Hills – Bel Air
Malibu – we hired a Mustang (what else) and drove the Pacific Coast Highway to the breathtaking setting that is Malibu Pier for brunch, on a beautiful sunny morning – LA has blue skies and sunshine 300+ days a year, even when the temperature drops. If you’re familiar with Daylesford Organic based in Kingham and Notting Hill, you’ll be more than at home on Malibu Pier – the shop is a stockist.
The restaurant and cafe at the pier end are divine, with a menu that proves meat eaters and vegans can cohabit peacefully. Suppliers include goodies grown at nearby ‘One Gun Ranch’, owned by Alice Bamford and Ann Eysenring, whose book of the same name is a tome for healthy living.
Getty Villa – next stop was a short drive to the beautiful Getty Villa, also on the Pacific Coast Highway, made particularly interesting if you’ve recently seen the movie All The Money In The World or TV series Trust. No spoilers here if you haven’t, other than to say they’re both based on the real life kidnap of JP Getty’s grandson.
The villa is a near replica of the Villa dei Papiri, a luxurious Roman residence in Herculaneum, Italy that had been buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. It was commissioned by Getty to house his antiquities collection. Grab a bite to eat at the cafe, or enjoy ‘Tea by The Sea’ afternoon tea (booking recommended. Note: Villa is closed Tuesdays. Note also that The Getty Center is a separate venue – spectacular and worth a visit for stunning views, gardens, architecture and art).
Calabasas – a short drive inland via scenic Old Topanga Canyon Road took us to the very quaint Calabasas and a spin around breathtaking homes nestled within beautiful hills. But you won’t be able to see the home featured on The Kardashians for 10 seasons, it’s actually located in Studio City, or get close to the real homes of the clan, who reside in heavily secure gated communities both here and in the nearby ‘Hidden Hills’. It’s still worth a drive if you’re a fan.
Beverly Hills & Bel Air – if you love residential architecture you will be in heaven cruising around here. The tree lined streets are so pretty, the homes enormous and the once gated Bel Air features the last home of Michael Jackson and current home of Beyonce + Jay-Z. Note that Bel Air has a lot of security cameras and if you linger a little too long you may be politely asked to move on.
Also take in Beverly Hills Hotel (Beverly Hills Cop), then Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills Wilshire (Pretty Woman) at the foot of Rodeo, and Panache Bridal – location for that scene in Bridesmaids.
Grab dinner at Cecconi’s, on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Robertson Boulevard. A modern day classic Italian restaurant owned by Soho House (not Madonna as one tour guide pointed out). Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week (booking recommended).
One Gun Ranch, Malibu: Biodynamic Recipes for Vibrant Living
Good To Know
1. The best times to visit LA are March to May and between September and November, when the air is more breathable and the crowds are less oppressive. Average temperatures during these months range from the low 50s to low 80s, which makes walking around and visiting outdoor attractions much more comfortable.
2. Planning an itinerary is particularly important because LA is sprawling, covering some 500sq miles, with a population of nearly 4 million.
3. Include some layers for evenings, which can get chilly.