back in december, joe and i took a trip out to the west to escape the bitter cold in maryland. we visited LA a couple of years back, but spent so little time here we thought it’d be worth stopping by again!
ps. excuse my 5-month delay on posting this.
things to do
lay out on one of the many beaches. venice beach is great for people-watching and is one of the more well-known beaches in LA. i’ve also heard great things about hermosa beach, a little quieter, but beautiful nonetheless. stop by for a sunset – the views are hard to beat!
take a hike at runyon canyon park. unlike us, dress properly (aka do not wear jeans like the tourists we are) because this hike isn’t easy and the sun gets quite hot! it’s all uphill going to the top, but it’s totally worth it for the awesome views. there are 3 ways to enter runyon canyon so perhaps we took the hardest way. the park is also dog friendly so bring fido along for a good workout!
visit urban light. this is probably one of the most iconic places to stop by in LA, with numerous photos of these random lights all over instagram. we saw several prom groups and even a couple taking engagement photos here. this is the free part of the LA county museum of art. i believe admission into the museum costs money, but the exhibits seem interesting. try going on a week night to avoid the crowds!
enjoy the sights at griffith observatory. try going up before the sun sets to catch a glimpse of all the pretty colors over the city before it gets dark! it gets fairly crowded on weekends, but there was plenty of parking closer up to the top on a week night.
what & where to eat
poke poke. i looove poke, but unfortunately, there isn’t a good place in maryland. the fish from poke poke was extremely fresh and flavorful. we opted for the salmon – our favorite! i loved the added seaweed salad and kick of spicy mayo. this little shop is right along venice beach so you can enjoy it while looking out at the water.
korean food. you can find all sorts of korean food imaginable in LA’s k-town. this little neighborhood has several block of korean restaurants and is surprisingly busy, even on weeknights. joe made me take a nap both nights so we could stay out late for korean bbq. if you look on yelp, all the korean bbq spots have at least 4 stars so i’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong with any of them. i do highly recommend trying kang ho dong baek jeong. their pork jowl is amazing and tastes even better when dipped in their house sauce. quarters korean bbq was delicious as well and a nice alternative if you want a more “upscale” korean bbq feel. we also loved hangari bajirak kalguksoo, which offers large korean noodle soups for less than $10.
fantastic donuts. if you’re into cute desserts, this is definitely your go-to! i couldn’t get enough of all their animal-shaped donuts. joe let me get two, considering our food-full agenda…but i secretly wanted them all. :)
milk. speaking of desserts, go to milk and get a (huge) macaron ice cream sandwich! they come in an assortment of fun flavor combinations and are perfect for hitting that sweet spot. this coffee toffee one was yum!
daikokuya. one of the most well-known ramen spots in LA, considering that it has over 6,000 reviews on yelp. my dear cousin took us here and recommended the daikoku ramen and egg rice bowl. the salad also comes with a tasty dressing. it’s a small joint, so you will most likely have to wait for a seat. i was happily surprised with the portion size and the fact that it was cheaper than most ramen places in DC. be prepared – it’s cash only!
pink’s hot dogs. this family-owned hot dog stand has been around since the 1930’s. i personally don’t prefer my hot dogs drenched in sauce or cheese, so i thought they were okay, but i think it’s worth stopping by for the historical sense!
urth cafe. if you’re a fan of the tv show entourage, you should stop by here since several scenes were filmed at this exact cafe. they do serve a good brunch and have a nice seating area outside where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and some good ol’ LA weather.
wurstkuche. hands-down one of the best sausages i’ve ever had. they have a wide range of unique meats, such as rattlesnake and rabbit. you can also add up to two free toppings on your sausage – i recommend the caramelized onions and sautéed peppers. grab a beer + a side of fries (don’t forget the dipping sauce!) with your order, and you’re good to go. joe gobbled his down in record time.
here are some places i’m hoping to stop by on my next LA trip. let me know if you have any other recommendations!
- half & half. my fellow bubble tea-loving friends have raved about these bucket-sized drinks. unfortunately, the closest one was pretty far out to where we were staying, but perhaps we’ll make the trek out next time!
- road to seoul. my cousin recommended this korean bbq place and noted it was by far one of most popular spots with really quick service and awesome meats.
- eggslut. my cousin also suggested this place, if you want to feel the craziness of downtown. there is a really cool spot called grand central market that has a bunch of little restaurants within this huge warehouse, eggspot being one of the most popular destinations. the lines are incredibly long but it’s kind of a cool experience. they’ve got burgers with eggs on them, breakfast stuff, pretty much eggs on everything.
- green zone: this is my cousin’s and her husband’s go-to place in san gabriel. it’s known for it’s hainan chicken, really good curry, and its japanese style noodle soups.
- the broad museum. yayoi kusama’s ever-popular light exhibit is displayed at this museum. you’re only allowed in the room for a mere 45 seconds, but the photo op is worth it! i’ve also heard news that the exhibit might make its way to DC come february 2017.