Eating Our Way through Santa Monica

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This weekend, my fiancé and I spent three days in Santa Monica, California. In town for a wedding, we happily ate our way through some of the best restaurants there. Headed to this lovely beach community soon? Below are some of the best places we went over the long weekend:

  • Ivy at the Shore. The Ivy is a Beverly Hills institution, and we hit this more casual location for lunch. Think colorful decoration, the famous Cobb salad (I enjoyed mine with lobster), attentive waiters, and refreshing berry champagne drinks. The outside seating area filled up quickly, and we loved having a leisurely lunch before strolling down to the touristy Santa Monica Pier.
  • The Penthouse at the Huntley. We joined some friends in a snazzy private booth here for dinner, and what a meal it was! We started with a delish charcuterie plate and marveled over the pâté. For my main course, I selected the truffle lobster macaroni and cheese–to die for!–and shared some of the chocolate panna cotta with my friends for desert. The views were incredible, and the service was excellent.
  • One Pico at Shutters on the Beach. This hotel is gorgeous and worth a visit itself, but I will happily recommend their Saturday brunch. We enjoyed tasty bubbles and their heavenly array of breads in this open and airy space directly next to the beach. Since I was still in a food coma from the previous day, I had a light mealof fresh corn soup with a zesty Caesar salad.
  • Sonoma Wine Garden. This fetching wine bistro sits atop of Santa Monica Place, and their Sunday brunch boasted six unlimited day drinking options (think elderflower mimosas) and noshable treats. Make sure you stake claim on your umbrella quickly, as these were in high demand on a sunny afternoon!
  • Casa Del Mar. This hotel, also directly on the beach, is another Santa Monica staple, yet we were finished stuffing our faces and only enjoyed a glass of wine overlooking the ocean. The atmosphere was quaint, and this was absolutely the most delightful way to cap off a lovely weekend.

The wedding we attended was at the nearby Viceroy–and it was pretty swanky. I would have loved to luxuriate by its cabana-covered pool, and they did a wonderful job with the wedding. We stayed at the Le Meridien Delfina, and while the hotel was not my favorite SPG property, the staff was pleasant, and the spicy truffle popcorn was addicting. It’s a good thing that we danced the night away at the wedding reception and walked all over town, or we would have gained a lot of weight eating our way through gorgeous Santa Monica!

Santa Monica Beach Scene from Casa Del Mar

Santa Monica Beach Scene from Casa Del Mar

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Things To Do While You’re Alive

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Several years ago, I came across an advertising campaign that inspired me to travel more and live life to the fullest more. Since then, I’ve lived abroad, traveled as much as time would allow, and have opened myself up to new possibilities. While I can’t recall the product that the five ads below were selling, I can still be inspired by these lists of things to do while I’m alive. While “go to the Kentucky Derby” is very much still on my bucket list, I have bargain hunted in Marrakesh, seen a Broadway show front and center, taken my mom on a vacation, and driven on the autobahn. What is on your list of things to do while your alive?

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Homage to a Cocktail: Verbena

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In honor of an upcoming staycation in Las Vegas–and my very first time to stay at the glamorous Cosmopolitan–I thought I’d pen a homage to my favorite cocktail on the Strip: the Verbena. Off of the menu at the glitzy Chandelier Bar (which is worth a trip alone), this delectable drink has a ginger-y, margarita-esque taste. What makes it unforgettable is the buzz button, which amps up this cocktail to a tasty explosion. When one chews this edible flower with the delicious drink, the palette of flavor becomes that much more intense!

Since I am a travel blogger and not one to wax eloquently about cocktailery, I will leave it at that. One doesn’t need a reservation to feel luxurious at the Chandelier Bar–and the Cosmopolitan as a whole…it’s one of my favorites!–and spending the approximately $15 for this incredible elixir will make you feel like a million bucks. Or like you are drinking nectar from inside of a chandelier…which you are. Let’s just hope my upcoming visit is as spectacular!

Chandelier Bar

Chandelier Bar

And in case you missed my first post about this wonderful city, you can read Las Vegas Like a Local here. And if you want more to drool over, why not check out this incredible TV spot from the Cosmopolitan: Vice and Virtue…can you tell I’m obsessed?