Friday, 23 January 2015

LA From Up High

Sorry in advance for the endless photos in this post, but when you put me in front of an incredible view like the one from the Griffith Observatory I just can't help myself snapping away, even if most of the photos look identical because they're of the same view each time!

The Griffith Observatory has almost 360 degree views of LA. There's a hike that you can do all the way to the top and when you eventually get there, it's breathtaking. I recommend starting the hike around 4:15pm, which takes about 30 minutes to walk (or double that if you're like me and stop to take photos every 5 minutes!) so that you reach the top before sunset. This way you see the views in the light and then in the orangey, red tones of the sunset. 

The roads look like a grid map up here and you can see Downtown perfectly as a silhouette against the setting sun. And what would a view of LA be without the Hollywood sign! There are telescopes dotted around so you can take a closer look and spot things in the distance - the shop I bought a dress from, the cafe I drank a coffee at, the park I walked around. I could spend hours up here. 

The huge telescope in one of the domes (by huge, I mean HUGE - just take a look at the photo below!) is shut during the day to prevent people blinding themselves from the sun. Wise move! But it is open after sunset so next time I'll have to stick around because I only found this out after we left.

This is my last blog post from my trip to California! I hope you've enjoyed coming along with me on the journey...

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Laguna Beach

Since being in LA, I've wanted to explore a few different areas that I've never been to before. It's easy to just go back to the same places again and again but going to new places feels like you're exploring an area for the first time even if you've been hundreds of times.

This day it was time to discover The Orange County. I've been to Manhattan beach and Newport Beach before but never Laguna, so we headed down to Heisler Park. It's a beautiful park to walk around and look down on the views of the Ocean and watch the surfers. You can even head down to the beach to stroll along the rock pools with your toes in the water.

After running around the beach and exhausting ourselves, we took a short drive to The Ritz to chase the sunset. We got there just in time for the best seat to still be available (which we obviously sprinted over to, to get it!) and ordered a couple of cocktails to watch the sun go down.

I would love to come back to Laguna in the Summer to spend a real beach day here. Yes, yes I know I said it's good to explore new places but I really want to come back again!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Best Coffee | San Francisco

While in San Francisco, there's one thing I noticed that everyone has a passion about. The coffee. There isn't a huge coffee culture in the UK, sure people drink it, but there isn't that passion behind finding where the best coffee is so I found it interesting listening to people talking about their coffee so passionately here.

There was this one place in San Fran that we heard was hands down The Best Coffee In Town - I think that deserves capitals as it's such a bold statement! Hearing that, we just had to try it. I'm not the biggest coffee drinker in the world so I'm still at that stage where I can't tell the difference between good coffee and really good coffee, but I still wanted to taste it.

It's called Sightglass Coffee and provides the coffee for all the major businesses in the 'Startup' district including Twitter. Well, it must be good!

The place has an industrial feel to it with hundreds of sacks of coffee beans waiting to be ground in the huge machinery that's dotted around. It has an understated and fuss-free decor, relying simply on The Best Coffee In Town - and the word has definitely got out. The place was packed with workers on their lunch break grabbing their trusty coffee. 

I ordered the recommended Macchiato. It's an expresso with a small amount of milk (I went for almond milk) and it tasted incredible. It puts my Nespresso machine to shame (sorry Nespresso Machine!). I think from now on I may become a bit of a coffee snob after tasting that Macchiato!

If you find yourself in San Francisco searching for The Best Coffee In Town you can find Sightglass in the SoMa District (South of Market) on 7th Street. It's a bit of a strange area to go if you're just visiting San Francisco with not a lot of sightseeing to do but it's a startup district where many of the now huge companies started out including Twitter, Airbnb, and Pinterest so it's interesting walking around looking at the buildings! And if after the coffee you feel a little peckish, walk to Source, a vegan Mexican restaurant about 15 minutes away. I recommend the Dosadillas! 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Breakfast in San Francisco

The first day in San Francisco started early, to say the least. Marcus and I are visiting San Francisco for a couple of days for work before we head down to Los Angeles for a while. On our first day the jet lag really kicked in and we woke up around 5am absolutely starving! Of course no where was open at that time so we patiently waited for the city to wake up too.

We'd had a recommendation from a friend to try out a place called The Plant Cafe Organic, which turned out to be a 10 minute walk from our hotel. Perfect. The walk itself to the cafe is just beautiful, there's so much to see walking alongside the Bay Bridge and the Ferry Building. It certainly builds up an appetite (that we already had anyway!).

The Plant, although sounds like a vegan restaurant, is actually a healthy restaurant that caters for everyone including meat eaters, vegans and gluten free-ers (is there an official name for that?!). We've been having breakfast (and sometimes dinner) at this place every single day since being here, so I think that gives you a small indication that we like it here!

My favourite is the Sambazon Bowl that's similar to the açaí bowl that I make at home - it's a blend of açaí berries and various fruit, topped off with homemade granola. Marcus' favourite is the basil tofu, which is equally as delicious. Oh and the juices and smoothies are a must too!