July 10, 2019

The perfect LA itinerary for out of town guests or a staycation for YOU — Part 1, Eastside

This trip deserves a little explanation — when I went to Italy for almost 2 months earlier this year, I decided to hop on Tinder. One of my friends had done the same and had pretty good luck. Since I was traveling alone for a month of the trip, I figured why not!? Before I departed, I joked that I would return with an Italian boyfriend. I came back having met a guy that I spent 3 wonderful days with. We chatted about him visiting me in LA and kept in touch since we said “goodbye”, and hopefully “see you soon”. Initially, he was going to visit in September but we decided that was much too far away, so the trip was moved up to June! Alas, this wonderful week in LA and a week up on the Central Coast (separate blog post coming soon) made up that trip!

When I started planning, I knew I wanted to show Walter more than one part of LA, so I booked us Airbnbs on the Eastside and Westside as our home base for the few days we explored each area. I had never planned a trip like this, especially for someone who hadn’t been to LA, let alone the US. The pressure was on, not from him at all — he said he’d be happy with anything I planned — but from myself. I knew from planning past trips that the most important part is figuring out the very general itinerary, then booking lodging. From there a lot of it can be spur of the moment. I booked most of our dinner reservations and a couple of the museums ahead of time, because…LA. Definitely decide what places you HAVE to show your guest, book those, then plan around that — or don’t! I’ve found that it’s nice to leave some open spaces in the day to fill in once that time comes — spontaneity can be great!

To Stay

We spent 4 nights and 3 days on the Eastside in an Airbnb in Glassell Park. I found that it was centrally located between all of the places I wanted to show him around. This spot is perfectly cozy, with kitchen essentials and a great outside space.

Day 1 — Los Feliz, Echo Park, Hollywood


Day one started off with a request for pancakes — Fred 62 was the perfect American style diner for our first LA morning.

Our order: Flapjacks, Eggs Squared + bacon

It started out as a gloomy day and the only thing I’d really had in mind was going up to Griffith Observatory after breakfast. I stalled because I was hoping the gloom would burn off before we went up the hill. We headed to Barnsdall Art Park and Echo Park Lake before the gloom lifted and we headed up to Griffith.

Parking pro tip: You can park down the hill to avoid the parking fee at the top and walk up or take a shuttle bus for very cheap that will drive you up. There is a stop right across from the Greek Theatre parking lot.

Mama Shelter is the perfect spot for a cozy rooftop view and an Aperol Spritz. It is right off of Hollywood Blvd, so if your out of town guests would like to see the Walk of Fame, you’re right there!

Parking pro tip: We found a parking lot on one of the side streets that was about $10 for the whole day since we wanted to spend quite some time in the general area within walking distance. There are also meters but they all have a 2 hour limit.

After the ridiculousness of the Walk of Fame, you may need another drink so that’s where Davey Wayne’s comes in. They have their Old Fashioneds on tap and they’re so GOOD. You enter through a refrigerator door, which was a fun surprise to walk up to and have Walter open it up and walk into the 70s living room set up. We got there right when they opened and had the whole outdoor setup to ourselves for a bit.

For dinner we headed to the new West Hollywood Pizzana location. Walter said his only request was no Italian food on this trip, but he trusted me on making an exception for this one. We sat at the counter and watched the dishes get whipped up, while Walter chatted with Chef Daniele. Truly you can’t go wrong with their menu. Daniele’s dough starter is from Naples and has been in his family for 60 years! Their take on traditional Italian dishes in pizza form makes this place a little more LA.

Our order: Diavola, Cacio e Pepe, Burrata

Day 2 — DTLA

Sqirl is ALWAYS a must, but I highly recommend planning this for a weekday! I love the communal aspect of this spot. We sat across from a couple who’d already ordered and sat down. They were visiting from Miami and one of them was a chef there. We got to talking about where they were eating on their trip and they were on the fence about where to eat dinner that night. Basically, I convinced them to keep their Bavel reservation, told them what they HAD to order, and they spotted us sitting at the counter when they finished up their meal and thanked us for the tips.

I am not always the best at starting up conversations with people I don’t know, but I swear it’s so rewarding when I do.

Our order: Crispy Rice Salad, Famed Ricotta Toast (w/ jam rainbow)

Be sure to go online to book your visit at The Broad Museum ahead of time! Give yourself AT LEAST a week. Tickets are free, but this will save you a spot in line at the specific time you would like to go.

Pro tip: If you would like to go inside the Infinity Room, right when you walk into the front doors of the museum, look left, you should see a line against the windows with Broad employees at the beginning of it. You will give them your phone number and they will give you an estimated wait time. You will receive a text when it’s your turn to get in line for the Infinity Room.

It was almost impossible to coordinate having friends meet up with us on this whirlwind trip, but we were able meet up with one of my best friends in DTLA at the rooftop of the Freehand Hotel. Broken Shaker has a tiki vibe and ridiculously delicious food!

Our order: Guacamole (comes with peanut salsa, which I’ve literally dreamt about since I had it the first time months ago), Exchange Burger (ALSO THIS, one of the best burgers in LA — it will be included in my best burgers of LA list…coming soon), Tuna Tostada

If you’re an Old Fashioned fan, you HAVE TO go to Golden Gopher. From opening every day until 8pm, they have one on happy hour for $8 and it is one of my favorites in LA!

The Last Bookstore is great for many reasons — they’ve got SO MANY great used books to choose from, a bunch of instagrammable corners, as well as many places to take a seat and rest for a few minutes in the middle of your jam-packed day.

Bavel is one of those restaurants that EVERYONE in LA has raved about but actually lives up to the hype. Be sure to check for reservations AT LEAST a month out.

Our order: Duck ‘Nduja Hummus, Chicken Liver Paté, Rose Cured Pancetta, Grilled Prawns, Oyster Mushroom Kebab, Cardamom Apple Prune Cake

Day 3 — Pasadena

You may or may not know that I grew up in the Pasadena area, so this day was pretty special for me to share with W. To kick it off we had to go to Lincoln. This spot has been a favorite for my mom and me since it opened.

Our order: Almond Brioche Toast (I am convinced you can’t go wrong with any of the pastries from the case), Caramelized Onion and Bacon French Toast (This was a special — I love choosing from the Specials, because they’re always SO inventive. It’s also awesome, because they have the same specials all week long, not just on the weekends.)

The Huntington Library & Gardens has a special place in my heart. My family has been members for awhile and my dad used to work there. His favorite place on the property was a bench under grapevines near the main gallery (we were sitting on the bench when I took the bottom left picture above). This day we mostly spent our time wandering the grounds because the weather was perfect. We tend to enjoy staying outside on days like that, even when given the option to check out a museum or gallery. We did the same thing when he took me to Florence — contemplated going into a museum, but decided to wander and explore, soaking up the perfect day instead.

There are a whole lot of Museums to choose from in LA, but I have found that I always gravitate back to the Norton Simon. I enjoy museums but tend to quickly get overwhelmed and am much more interested in browsing than feeling like I need to read a lengthy description next to each piece. The Norton Simon is the perfect size, has a TON of pieces from famous artists and always has a special collection downstairs. Be sure to head outside as well. We spotted some new ducklings while we walked around. They also have a cafe if you get hungry.

We grabbed dinner with my mom at Fleming’s which is definitely my favorite steakhouse in the area. The quality of steak, delicious sides and great wine list keep bringing me back for more!

Our order: Ribeye, Fleming’s Potatoes (au gratin), Roasted Rainbow Carrots, Roasted Asparagus, Chocolate Lava Cake (MUST ORDER)

After dinner in Pasadena, we headed to Hollywood for a show at Groundlings. This spot has been around for multiple decades in LA putting on improv and sketch comedy shows as well as training many of Hollywood’s funniest comedians. It a fun activity that not everyone knows about or would think of doing!

Day 4 — Off to the Central Coast

Next we headed up to the Central Coast (blog post coming soon) but had to grab some fuel first. Some people claim that Proof Bakery makes the best croissants in LA. Either way, you cannot go wrong with anything in that delectable pastry case!

If you’d like to see the Westside itinerary, click here!

Happy Travels,

Corey, Miss Foodie Problems

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, I love to have a home base in such a food-focused city. Whether I am traveling out of the country, around the US, or exploring the culturally diverse expanse of LA I feel at home while meeting new people, eating new foods, and expanding my outlook!

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