I've been adopted as a Southern Californian for just over a month and a half now (which I can't actually believe), so I figured that it was about time to weigh in on some things.
Now for locations.
1. Santa Monica Pier. I came here my first night in LA with Chase. We parked (way more complicated than is worth explaining), walked and dodged through the crowds. It goes without saying but it is 100% a tourist destination. However, totally worth it. We ate at one of the local restaurants which was definitely the way to go. If we hadn't been so tired from the 9 hour drive from Flagstaff that morning, we might've been game to stay all night. Now that I'm more 'local' (yeah 'cause a month and a half changes you) I know that the better spots are a few blocks down, such as where Ocean Ave meets some of the state-named streets like Montana and Arizona. Hint: leave your bike at the top, don't drag it down the stairs.
2. Coral Tree. This restaurant is nestled in Brentwood, and is quiet and casual. It's perfect for meeting a friend or a group of friends. My roommate brought me here the first time after a hike in Santa Monica. You order at a counter and the food is brought to you, so there's no need for reservations and there isn't a long wait. Which in a metro area of almost 10 million people is a (reeeeally shiny) diamond in the rough. It's affordable while being fresh and organic and there are plenty of options. It seems so frequently that restaurants are either guy oriented on the protein side, or more femininely oriented on the lighter side. I always think, could I bring my brother or a guy friend here? The answer is yes. I got the brown rice bowl with chicken covered in a white lemon wine sauce with spring vegetables. I know, if that wouldn't convince you I don't know what would. I'm meeting some girlfriends there tomorrow night and am getting hungry just thinking about it.
3. Santa Monica AMC. I'm realizing this post seems to have a Santa Monica theme...but it's probably because as I've said before, after work you stay in your 5 miles radius. It's the rule. This week I met a friend for the movie A Man From U.N.C.L.E. If they weren't those leather couch seats that literally reclined almost to the horizontal position, we probably would've rolled on the floor laughing. It was filled with witty humor, the acting was impeccable and the cast couldn't have been more perfect. The irony of the super-British actor playing the smooth CIA agent, and the super-Texan (Texas rules) playing the intense Russian spy made it even more comedic. It gets 5 stars in my book.
This is mostly about the theater though; the tickets were really reasonable at $13, and the seats were amazing. I loved that they were assigned, because I was a few minutes late from trying to figure out parking. Story of my new life. No stress of having to save/find seats. Plus, it's located right on the 3rd Street Promenade, with all the higher-end stores (so you feel safe in the area) and the cool ocean breeze that hits you as you approach. It's the atmosphere. All in all, great movie, great theater, and a great friend! A perfect way to wind down on a Monday night after work.
I'll never be able to see all that this city has to offer; it would take me 400 years. So for now, a day at a time.