HIGHWAY ONE ROAD TRIP – BIG SUR

Big Sur is a stunning stretch of the central California coast where the Pacific ocean meets the Santa Lucia mountains.

Stunning doesn’t quite cut it.

This is a place of rugged mountains, ocean sunsets, glorious redwoods and bubbling streams.

Did we mention the gorgeous beaches and the eagles? They’re pretty amazing too.

‘Big Sur’ is a translation from the original Spanish description for this coastline when it was known as ‘the big south’, being the area south to the city of Monterey.

Stretching from San Simeon to Carmel in the north, this 90 odd miles of coast is easily the most scenic and iconic part of the Highway One drive.

 

 

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HIGHWAY ONE ROAD TRIP – THE TINY BEACH TOWN OF CAYUCOS

Cayucos. A charming, tiny beach town two hours north of dreamy Santa Barbara.

We completed the drive to Cayucos at night, so it was certainly less scenic than the earlier leg of our day’s drive. Less scenic, but no less eventful.  

When Archer, Miss A and I are in a vehicle together you can pretty much guarantee 3 things will happen –

  1. We will blast every hip-hop/ rap track our little iPods can contain;
  2. I will consume my body weight in raw cashews and/or almonds; and
  3. We will find ourselves in some sort of police incident.

There we were, happily cruising into the night down Highway 1 when it happened.

First the flashing lights, then the confusion – ‘us!?’ ‘do they mean us?’ ‘what did we do?’ ‘it can’t be us!’

Then came the loud-speaker, helpfully clearing up any confusion – ‘PULL OFF THE HIGHWAY ONTO THE DIRT’.

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HIGHWAY ONE ROAD TRIP BEGINS – HELLO BEAUTIFUL SANTA BARBARA

And we’re off! After a final supplies stop at the glorious Wholefoods Venice mega-store we leave the bright lights of LA in the rear view mirror of our rented Kia Sportage and hit the road.

Not just any road. Perhaps the greatest of road-trip roads there is. Highway 1.

 

The first leg of this stunning drive takes us out of the city via Malibu, which you will reach in about half an hour.

 

From here you’re a bit over an hour to Santa Barbara. Also know as the American Riviera for its gorgeous Mediterranean style and architecture.

Naturally, for a run down of what to do in Santa Barbara we got in contact with the amazing Ellie from Have Some Decorum. Not only is Ellie a super courageous human and blogging legend, she has style in spades and tons of great local recommendations.

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CAFE GRATITUDE

Café Gratitude is a bit of a Venice institution and with good reason. If you’re looking for a healthy meal with a healthy dose of good vibes, get down here pronto.

Everything on offer is 100% organic, plant based and 100% delicious.

You could, and probably should (you’re in L.A!), kick things off with a wellness elixir.

I had the vitamin-c shot which included orange juice, carrot juice and goji berries. It was pleasant with a bit of a kick to it and only $4.00.

You could go all-out and get a $25 probiotic shot containing Progurt, which promises to deliver 1 trillion live probiotic microorganisms. It comes with seasonal juice and is supposed to stay in your system for about a week.  Our gorgeous friend Miss A tried this and she did feel great afterwards, though that could also be a side-effect of being on a Californian road-trip with your girlfriends, right?!

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ABBOT KINNEY BOULEVARD

Welcome to Abbot Kinney. The most stylish block in Venice.

Here you can leave the bright lights of Hollywood (and chaos of LA traffic) behind you for a true taste of laid-back Californian style.

Named in honour of the property developer responsible for creating the famous Venice canals in 1905, Abbot Kinney is home to chic boutiques, bars, restaurants and art galleries.

Mr Kinney had a bold plan to recreate Venice Italy right here, near the beach. You can read more about his fascinating ideas for the area here. His plans didn’t exactly turn out as intended and in 1929 the majority of the canals were built in for roads. Today only about one-third of the original canals remain. They are really pretty though!

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EP & LP WEST HOLLYWOOD

Looking for a great place for dinner in LA? How about a few great cocktails on a chic rooftop bar with your night out?

Well cease your search my friends we’ve found a place, EP & LP in West Hollywood, that ticks all the boxes.

Open just last May, this hot new venue is has a lot of Aussie talent behind it with Chef Louis Tikaram, formerly of Longrain, at the helm and owners DJ Grant Smilie and David Combes having moved to LA to run things.

It’s a smart venue featuring modern Asian food which is something done so well in Australia, but is more light on the ground in LA.

The Aussie influence continues to the interiors with Projects of Imagination (think Chin Chin in Melbourne) responsible for the cool aesthetic.

Image by Daniel Collopy

So what is this EP/ LP business?

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THE POLO LOUNGE – BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL

In today’s style post we visit the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Lucky us, as this is truly a gorgeous spot.

This ultra beautiful hotel dates back to 1912 and was originally designed in Mediterranean revival style, as were a lot of properties in California at the time. The pink exterior was an addition by owners in the 40s. As someone who grew up in a pink house, I’ve got to say I love a pink exterior!

To our delight the hotel still features its classic dusty pink and green tones today.

The Polo Lounge itself is steeped in Hollywood history. It was even a favourite dining spot of the Rat Pack.

Today, it’s still known as a spot where Hollywood types talk business over breakfast. There must be some truth to this rumour as we did hear the people at our neighbouring table casually discussing the progress of their album.

More importantly, we also saw the President of NBC on his phone making a deal! Well, OK, we actually saw Bob Balaban who played Russell the President of NBC on Seinfeld, although this is even better right?!

OK, back to the design (and the breakfast, for those interested).

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IVY AT THE SHORE


Sometimes life gives you troubles. Sometimes you gather your closest girlfriends and treat yourselves to lunch at Ivy at the Shore. Well, for accuracy, it was a slightly jet-lagged but ever generous Miss A who picked up the tab on this one. Thanks lovely!

There is so much to love about this place. From the champagne on arrival and cookies on departure to the perfect execution of the most perfect pale pink walls. This is happiness for the eyes and happiness on the plate.

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

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Palihouse Santa Monica

Much like the never ending and consecutive seasons of the Block, or a Vogue Living subscription that  never seems to arrive, LA traffic is a nightmare that is very real.   As a visitor, the fact it might take an hour to drive five miles is a little annoying, but to have to deal with it every day would be next level crazy.  The way around that is to pick your neighbourhood.

Splitting your LA trip into districts works a treat.

We chose West Hollywood to start and then centred our outings around WeHo for the first half of our time in LA.  Then we split.

And maybe it was the fact that we’re Australian and we were craving the ocean or maybe it was the fact that we discovered an all (amazing) Hip Hop radio station, but the drive down Santa Monica Boulevard to our next stop in Santa Monica was super liberating.

Palihouse Santa Monica is like entering the Grand Budapest Hotel in its prime, updated to the year 2015.  It’s so beautiful, so colourful, so unique and yet classic at the same time. You could easily think that Wes Anderson must have been the involved in the design. Warning – this post is going to be heavy on the visuals!

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The Getty Center

Forget ‘get him to The Greek’ (sorry Russell, sorry Jonah) if you come to LA, even for just a few days, get yourself to The Getty, a privately owned and all sorts of amazing gallery in LA.

Before we get to the art, let’s talk about The Getty Center itself.  Now, even if you’ve never been to LA, you’ve probably heard of The Getty.

The Getty Center exists because of of J.Paul Getty, a very interesting American oil billionaire and art collector. He was involved in a fascinating hostage negotiation when his grandson was kidnapped in Rome. Amazing stuff – definitely google it (right after you finish reading this riveting post, of course).

After Getty’s death in the 70s, his entire collection was left to The Getty Trust. Architect extraordinaire Richard Meier was commissioned to create The Getty Center and after much hard work, it opened to the public in 1997.

We did a free guided architecture tour, meeting our guide on the bench outside the main entrance door at 3pm. We very much recommend this. You get to stroll the beautiful grounds in the afternoon sunshine and learn the story of how this amazing place came to be. Perfect.READ MORE