From the Castle to the Bay

The rest of my California trip was nice and relaxing as expected. I might have turned into a foodie on the way as I managed to visit REALLY good places to keep my stomach happy.

After Hearst Castle we drove to Los Angeles. This was my first time ever at the entertainment capital. Unfortunately, I did not spot any celebrities but did spot a hellota blond women with plastic surgery overkill on their faces. I guess it’s  a requirement if one wants to get permanent residence.

The place I liked the most in LA was Santa Monica where we went to the beach and enjoyed a gorgeous day. I even felt inspired to ride a bicycle on the beach but it was not meant to be. The Brentwood and Westwood neighborhoods were super cute as well!

Santa Monica beach

I had the fortune to visit Hollywood Blvd which was a sort of version of time square. The interesting part was to see what happens to those folks that don’t make it in Hollywood. They apparently take the roles of Spiderman, Wonderwoman, Michael Jackson, etc., and make living of taking ridiculous pictures with mid-america tourists next to the cement starts of the actual success stories. Very sad.

Couldn't resist

Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time in San Diego, but did get to visit Balboa Park which was so beautiful, full of nice museums and installations. Our timing was perfect as we got to listen to a free classical music concert (accompanied by airplane landing sounds from a nearby airport). I love music in the park!

Concert in Balboa Park

Our best was saved for last – the lovely Santa Barbara. This place was a really pleasant surprise for me as my only knowledge of SB was through the soap opera that was hugely popular in Russia (and many other parts of the world or so I hear). Any person with Russian grandparents would know this show as all the grandmas were totally obsessed with it (and probably also women of other ages). We stayed at Montecito, a quiet and quaint area on the outskirts of the town. Immediately upon arrival, we headed over to Butterfly beach which offered beautiful views of the ocean. Caucasian Santa Barbara was a very appropriate term ( I got this one off of a review I read about the place) to describe the local populace, which  was predominantly blond. We tried to have coffee at resort we saw on the beach but were turned away as it was a private club and had to settle for cocktails at the nearby Four Seasons. Life is so tough..  I hope they didn’t mind us significantly lowering the average age of the attendants.

Private club where we were not allowed

California definitely won a place in my heart after this trip. I cannot wait to come back for more!

Favorite places:

Coral Tree Cafe – best iced latte I have ever had (and I am PICKY). Great sandwich options with salads. Cranberry cheese spread with a turkey sandwich – brilliance!

My cousin’s rooftop deck – he is a gardener extraordinare and is growing some special kinds of tomatoes on his roof. I can barely keep a cactus alive, so his results were uber-impressive. Sipping wine on this deck on a warm summer night was just right.

True Food Kitchen – Newport beach. INCREDIBLE healthy food, all made from fresh organic ingredients. As I was eating the edamame dumplings which were so so delicious and drinking cucumber  honey lemonade, I could almost imagine the blood flowing more easily in my veins. Too bad it only has locations in California and Arizona.

This is what I am talking about..

Cocina Urbana – Great restaurant in San Diego. The interior looks like a combination of a spanish bar with an Anthropology store. Very cool ambiance and great drinks.

Four Seasons seaside Cafe in Montecito – beautiful view, beautiful place, delicious cocktails, rich old people that snootily look you up and down. Who would ask for more?