48 Hours in LA: Venice Beach

Life’s a beach in California, literally if you’re in Venice. Venice Beach is the California that you see in the movies. Tan, fit people making their way down the boardwalk, stopping at a bar to grab a drink or two outside, or perhaps meeting with a spiritual healer to feel more centered. Nearby is a skate park where skaters, real ones who’ve been living and breathing this lifestyle for decades, not the millennial wannabes who crash into you on the street, are doing some fancy tricks to earn some cash. Seriously, buy a postcard of California somewhere, hold it up against Venice, and the two backdrops will look exactly the same.

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palm trees and sunshine
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can you imagine waking up to this everyday?
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a throwback volkswagen hippie van
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living on the edge at the skate park
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dennis hopper, easy rider
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even the street art is chill
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the scene at venice ale house
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getting our day drinking on with a skate of beers
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cheers!

A few blocks away from the boardwalk is Abbot Kinney Blvd., a picturesque street that is home to interesting boutiques and good restaurants. Intelligentsia and Blue Bottle are both here, but if you want a different caffeine option, try the vegan bullet proof Buttery Brew coffee at Another Kind of Sunrise. It’s an intensely rich brew consisting of raw coconut oil, grass fed ghee and organic coffee that makes you feel like you’re drinking the foamy fat that you skim off the top of soups. Not really my cup of tea. Or coffee.

blue bottle coffee
blue bottle coffee
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looking sleepy and needing coffee at another kind of sunrise
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an intense cup of buttery brew

Where you get your coffee is open to discussion, but your brunch option definitely is not. Without question, you must go to Gjelina, one of the best farm-to-table, seasonal American restaurants that I’ve ever been to. This is the restaurant that makes New Yorkers jealous of LA. The location is prime, the outdoor premises are beautiful, and most importantly, the food is incredible. They absolutely kill it here with the pizzas. The extremely fresh seasonings are literally straight from the farmers market, as was the case with the squash blossoms on our pizza, the cheese is so creamy, and the crust has the perfect chewy, blistery texture about it. I’d also highly recommend the braised pork meatballs, which arrived plump and simmering in a thick and tangy tomato sauce, well seasoned and perfectly crumbly. You can’t have a bad meal here, just sit back, have a beer, and let Gjelina do all the heavy lifting for you. And maybe you might consider moving here permanently so that you can live, and eat, the dream, everyday.

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starting the day at gjelina with a michelada
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crispy sunny eggs with artichokes, asparagus, confit leek, pea tendrils & charmoula
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braised pork meatballs, tomato, parmesan & grilled bread
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pizza with squash blossoms, zucchini and cherry tomatoes
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kale salad

*All photos by Ruoxi Chen.


Gjelina
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 450-1429

Another Kind of Sunrise
1629 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(909) 334-2567

Venice Ale House
2 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 314-8253

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