ALL THE BRIGHT LIGHTS: Megha's guide to LA
My wanderlusting took me to the most Instagrammable city in the world, where the sky is always the perfect filter of fabulous. I found the most charming spots in LA while being shameless tourists and curated a little #Bivainity guide for our fellow wanderlusters. My four days in LA gave me barely enough time to eat, shop, hike and tourist my way through town but I think I did just swell and left enough appetite for seconds :)
Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice CA
CHARIOTS ON FIRE
Like strolling down the quintessentially Californian Abbot Kinney Boulevard wasn’t a treat enough, I happened to stumble upon this pristine design store, Chariots on Fire. Each objet de désir was handpicked from around the world and curiously curated for the ultimate design experience. I didn’t want to leave COF without having owned every single object on display.
The selection was a harmonious coming together of the Orient and Occident; from German designer Pia Wüstenberg’s mix media vases, to Juba Tenshin’s Japanese ceramics. I was especially marvelled by Swiss designer Oscar Zeita’s Tafla mirrors that were hand painted by Makoto Kagoshima for a special COF commission.
Come here for some incredibly special collector’s pieces and you will at the very least leave with a bar of French soap, wrapped in the most scrumptious hues of handmade paper.
SALT & STRAW ICE CREAM
I don’t remember the last time I screamed for ice cream but I’m telling you, this stuff evoked all that shrieking, freaking and feet stomping that you would expect from your four year-old self, together with pure ecstacy! The creamiest, most indulgent, hand-made ice creams in the most inventive flavours, truly blew me away! Since this is a judgement-free zone for kind people, I’m happy to share that I was fortunate enough to try the Avocado & Oaxacan Chocolate Fudge, Black Olive Brittle & Goat Cheese, the Silence Black Tea & Coconut Stracciatella and the double-fold Vanilla and walked out an insatiably happy camper.
I’d say, skip the Avo toast brunch and head to S&S for the Avocado & Oaxacan Chocolate Fudge
Leave behind the real world for an entirely whimsical experience as you take the funicular 900ft above sea level and enter the world of J. Paul Getty. The Richard Meier-designed buildings ebb and flow over sprawling gardens, transporting you to this architectural wonderland. One doesn’t really go to The Getty for its notable art collection or history but just the pure architectural delight of it - from the cascading layout and grand scale of the estate, to the theatrical play on skylight and shadows illuminating and casting most dramatically on the this hill-top haven.
Enough said, words just cannot describe the visual respite of The Getty museums that you should carve out some reflective time for, but take my word for it!
This California-grown chocolatier will have you stocking up for cheat days. We know the feeling after I stocked up for at least 2 seasons past the next winter.
Make a quick Uber-stop and pile up on the most surprising yet nostalgia inducing Americana flavours of chocolate bars we’ve ever come across.The elaborate selection has something for just about every mood you’re in. The illustrations on the wrappers and the truffles make these truly gift-worthy.
Kelly Wearstler was commissioned to do poetic justice to the store and collections, and justice she has done! The collaboration is pure visual candy!
KELLY WEARSTLER SHOWROOM
Speaking of Kelly Wearstler, a design aficionado’s trip to LA will be incomplete without a visit to KW’s flagship store on Melrose in WeHo. Yes, I speak fluent LA now ;)
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the sprawling showroom is curated to utmost perfection in true KW style with unique pieces of furniture and juxtaposing accent pieces in bold, Bauhaus-y shapes. I’m sure I've spent hours browsing countless Instagram and Pinterest images of the designer’s astounding commissions but its quite something else to see it in real life. You can browse through just about everything from her wallpapers to the iconic brass hand seats. Do make an appointment so someone can attend to your whims at this whimsy palace!
California is the closest you can get to authentic Mexican fare without crossing the border and I for one couldn’t leave without my mole fix. Mercado is always buzzing and lively be it a partially al fresco dinner or happy hour drinks. The bar area is terribly cool, and they whip up countless craft cocktails and seasonal margaritas. Stiff ones at that.
Everything from the salads and street corn to the tacos and steak is crazy good! The guacamole with pepitas and the carnitas stood out but honestly, nothing on the menu was unremarkable. Wind down at Mercado for supper and drinks after a stroll around the festive “Grove” and famed farmer’s market where you can buy local California nuts and treats.
The swanky new Nomad LA, is the epitome of chic. How can it not be? It’s designed by the famed Jacques Garcia (think Parisian glam, i.e. Hotel Costes), it’s housed in the iconic Giannini Place building in downtown, and it’s poised to be the sassy new sister of New York’s hippest hotel for millennials. Nomad LA has all the ingredients for glory, and it only helps that every little corner of the hotel is high-quality Instagram fodder.
The lobby and bar, sprawling in jewelled toned, plush velvets and bold Mathew Williamson prints are signature Costes style while the rooms are refreshingly restrained. The Venetian style coffee bar has to be our favourite part of the hotel, unabashedly sophisticated and Euro-cool! And of course no respectful LA hotel is complete without a Hollywood style rooftop pool and deck with spectacular views. All in all, Nomad LA is another very beautiful feather in the hat of Mr.Garcia!
LACMA AND THE BROAD
If it’s your first time in LA, it would be a shame to miss the most revered museums in LA. The Lacma houses the largest collection of art on the west coast and can be a nice respite in the afternoons from the blazing sun. It’s also quite a pleasure to see the iconic Urban Light installation – 202 restored cast-iron antique street lamps that light up Wilshire Boulevard in the evenings. So choose your hour and make the most of it! You can also see a part of the Berlin wall on display at the miracle mile, also known as the museum row.
Another newbie on the scene is The Broad, showcasing the stunning private collections of philanthropists Edythe and Eli Broad. The contemporary art collection boasts major names like Jean‐Michel Basquiat, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons amongst a sea of masters. The featured showcase of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms is otherworldly and incredibly Instaworthy!
If you’re a health and wellness junkie, LA is your Mecca. The city is inundated with matcha madness and there are more yoga and wellness hubs than there are people so you’re in luck. Moon Juice is a household name in New Age wellness and I can promise you it's as cosmic of an experience as the name suggests. You can buy the best supplements and clean beauty products on the market here but most of all you want to come here for the in-house smoothies. I personally love love love the matcha pearl. They show you some extra celestial love by adding adaptogens to your teas and smoothies too. My mango lassi was blended with some sex dust, rose water and cardamom and my taste buds really did rocket to space and back!
And until we have more to dish out, stay cosmic ;)
Megha @ Bivain