LA Recap + Noteworthy Places

I spent last week in Los Angeles. I enjoyed time with my best friend from college (we were able to spend our first NYE ever together) and I was able to explore some new parts of the city as well. After three days in the city, my Mom came up for two nights of fun girl time and then my Dad and Brother joined us! I wanted to share with you a few favorites of the things I/we did during our time in LA! These are all noteworthy and I would highly recommend each one next time you're in La La Land!

Ok ok, so if you like sushi and you've been to LA you've probably heard of Sugarfish... Let me tell you, it's all it's cracked up to be. The sushi is amazing (I mean, melt in your mouth, amazing) the service is great and the experience is fun. They serve you in courses bringing only a couple pieces at a time, it's called the "Trust Me" menu. I'd highly recommend it.

Now, we're staying in the sushi category (if you know me you know I'm a sucker for some good sushi) but in complete contrast from Sugarfish, my Mom and I hit the goldmine with Sushi Gen. It was a total accident but boy, am I glad it happened. We were headed to a meeting in DTLA and needed some fuel. I looked on the map to find something close to where we were headed and when I saw sushi I thought, bingo. Little did I know, we hit the jackpot. We walked in and they said there was over an hour wait but the sushi bar (a la carte only) was available. We sat quickly. We looked around and noticed that we were the only white people in the place. We took this as a great sign. Authentic. Good, I like it. We got the menu (no descriptions, prices in Japanese) and started ordering. It was like we had our own private sushi chef. As we ordered, he whipped up our requests and literally, handed them over the counter to us. The food was amazing. We didn't stop ordering until we literally had to run out to make it to my meeting on time.... All I have to say... GO HERE. It's located in the Arts District which I'll talk more about... keep reading!

I had been here before but my Mom had not. Seeing as a large part of the fashionista in me is due to her I had to take her to Melrose Place. It's the most beautiful shopping street filled with stunning stores, cute coffee shops and lots of greenery. We're talking, a pool in the middle of The Row store (yes friends, there is a The Row store and it's the perfect place to go and drool and touch all the amazing fabrics. If you feel like being a dare devil, look at a price tag, sigh, have a little giggle and move on), an amazing cactus/succulent garden in front of Isabel Marant... you get the picture. If you're looking for a high end shopping experience but want a more boutique experience than Rodeo, this is your spot.

Let's start by saying that the Arts District completely changed my opinion on DTLA. I was never a fan before I came here. I remembered it as dirty, ugly and a little sketchy. Flip that and reverse it and you have the Arts District. Galleries on galleries, clean streets, cool shops, great restaurants and bars... The Arts District is a great spot to spend the afternoon into the evening. If you like to stroll, look at great art and have a craft cocktail, you're in the right spot. I visited the arts district with three friends and was just smitten. We stumbled upon the most amazing restaurant (we just stopped in for a drink) but it was so cute and so quaint I'm giving it it's own section (below).

While we were walking through the Arts District, we walked through the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel Gallery. A beautiful space filled with museum quality exhibitions, a sculpture garden, book store, open air courtyard complete with amazing murals and to our surprise, Manuela. We had no plans to stop for a drink but Manuela was so inviting we couldn't help ourselves. We stayed here chatting for a while. We kept coming back to how cute this place was, how much we loved the art, the light fixtures, and the fact that there were blankets on the back of each outdoor chair in case you were cold... We happened upon this place mid afternoon and unfortunately none of us were hungry but after seeing plates delivered and now reading reviews, I wish we would have sat for whatever you call a meal at 4pm... Linner? I don't know about you but next time in LA I'm going back there!

As I'm sure you've gathered, I love to shop. It's rare though that I stumble upon a boutique filled with a curated selection much different than most boutiques one would stumble upon. Satine in Venice is one of those gems. First off, it's on Abott Kinney which is one of the cutest streets out there (a must walk through) and they have an absolutely gorgeous selection. It ranges from high end to VERY high end and each piece is more beautiful than the next. If you're someone who likes to walk out of a store with 3 big shopping bags, this is not your place. But, if you're someone who likes to admire gorgeous clothing and hopefully find a treasure that you're willing to splurge on this is your spot. From casual wear (I'm a total sucker for their collection of vintage tee's) to gorgeous gowns, you can find it all here.

If you like diamonds and wholesale prices this is your spot. XIV Karat in Beverly Hills is the place to treat yourself to something beautiful. If it's good enough for Beyoncé, the Kardashain/Jenner clan and Gigi, it's good enough for me! It's family owned and they're very good at what they do.

Last, but definitely not least, the Porsche Experience Center. If this sounds familiar, you may have recently seen THIS clip on Ellen. If not, you should watch it (HERE)! It's hysterical (because well, it's Ellen) but it also shows you pretty closely what our day was like... Honestly, this one probably deserves it's own post, but since I'm writing about noteworthy places in LA, this definitely qualifies so here we go!

My Dad is a huge car guy. He raced when I was young and to say he's a freak when it comes to cars is an understatement. My little brother inherited this from him. They know everything about every car, I'd say just ask them anything but I should probably warn you that the answer will be much more than expected... Anyways! When my Dad called me a few months back and asked if I wanted to go to Porsche driving school while we in LA... My first question was, is Mom doing it? When the answer was "yes" I said, "why not"!

I knew this was going to be a fun day but honestly, I didn't know what a treat I was in for. We started off with lunch. Complete with a perfect view of the course and what we had to look forward to we sat for an unreal meal. Sure, the menu sounded good but we didn't know we were in for such a treat. The first thing that clued us into how great the meal was going to be was the butter... served on a slate block shaped into little Porsches. We all got a kick out of it. 

After lunch, we split up and each got into our own car with an instructor. We had 1.5 hours of one on one instruction and it was WAY more fun than I expected (and I knew it was going to be fun). I drove a 911 Carerra S (whatever that means) and had an awesome instructor who taught me so much. I drove the handling circuit (for us non-car folk that's the race track) and learned how to handle the car in slippery situations (this comes in handy living in Chicago/Madison) on what they call a skid pad (refer back to Ellen video). My favorite part? The straight away leading into the carousel (again, Ellen video)! I drove 117mph and couldn't wipe the smile from my face! If you're looking for a fun, unique experience, this is a MUST! I would 100% go back again! Thank you for having us, Porsche!

Anything I missed in LA? Would love to hear about your favorite places and any recommendations for my next visit! Just leave them in the comments!

xx Ali