The Restaurant at the Getty: A Mountaintop Gem

I’m a total museum geek. I’m also a huge foodie. When the two mix, I’m pretty much in heaven no matter what. But when I went to The Restaurant at the Getty Museum during my stay in Los Angeles, I was completely blown away. I ate there with my best friend and my grandma, and the three of us immediately fell in love with this peaceful yet playful foodie paradise on a mountaintop.

What kind of restaurant is it? What’s the price point? 

The Restaurant serves modern American cuisine at moderate prices. If you want to eat at the Getty but don’t want to splurge on a meal, there are also several other cafes and dining carts all over the grounds. But, spoiler alert, The Restaurant is totally worth it.

How’s it look? Describe the restaurant’s aesthetic, any notable features, etc. First impressions.

For those who have never been to the Getty, it’s high up in the mountains. You actually have to take a short tram ride uphill to get to the museum. There are gorgeous views of Los Angeles no matter where you are on the museum grounds, but the views from The Restaurant are some of the best. The designers definitely took note of that and ensured that wherever you sit in the dining room, you can see the stunning landscape right from your table.

Like the rest of the museum, The Restaurant was primarily white and totally immaculate, but decals on the walls and small succulents at each table lent the space fun pops of color that made the whole space seem more fun. I honestly could have sat in the restaurant all day, enjoying the food, the views, and the light classical music playing in the background for hours.

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A Fresh Meal at Santa Monica’s True Food Kitchen

When I was visiting my friend in LA, I asked her what restaurant I absolutely had to go to during my stay. She immediately responded with “True Food.” After just looking up the menu online, I knew then and there I was in love. And once I actually arrived, True Food Kitchen did not disappoint. Here’s the details:

What kind of restaurant is it? What’s the price point? 

True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica is a health-conscious, organic restaurant that serves modern American food, often with a healthy or gluten-free twist. True Food looks to be developing into a small-scale chain, with its newest location opening up in Fairfax, VA (I can’t even express how excited I am), but that doesn’t seem to have any impact on the food. As for the price, it’s pretty average, with dishes ranging from $10-$20.

How’s it look? Describe the restaurant’s aesthetic, any notable features, etc. First impressions.

This place is massive. With high ceilings, oversized lighting, and bright colors, it makes quite the first impression. Despite the slightly industrial look, you’re reminded of True Food’s commitment to fresh, local ingredients in small details around the restaurant. From the fresh herbs and the list of seasonal, locally grown foods used to the bright green plants just about everywhere, the entire space feels refreshing and homey.

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How’s the wait staff? Are they attentive, good with kids, fast?
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Experiencing a Classic Hollywood Restaurant: The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel

When you hear the name Beverly Hills Hotel, most people immediately think of one thing: celebrities. While I wasn’t lucky enough to run into a celebrity while I lunched (because, really, you can’t just “eat” at the Beverly Hills Hotel!) at the Polo Lounge, the whole experience felt quintessentially Old Hollywood.

My California-based grandma joined me for this glamorous lunch during my long weekend in L.A., and we both agreed that this classic Hollywood landmark really lives up to its name. Here are my thoughts!

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What kind of restaurant is it? What’s the price point? 

The Polo Lounge offers classic American fare at sky high prices. Save this spot for special occasions!

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How’s it look? Describe the restaurant’s aesthetic, any notable features, first impressions.

It’s a classic beauty. The hotel is famous for its green and pink motif, and that doesn’t stop at the Polo Lounge. Green is much more prominent, with large circular forest green booths in the indoor seating area and plenty of matching cushions and umbrellas outdoors. We ate on the patio, which was beautiful. The umbrellas and trees overhead provided the perfect amount of shade. The entire area could have easily felt outdated, but it’s managed to hang on to an elegant and classic image. DSCN1398

DSCN1394 How’s the wait staff? Are they attentive, good with kids, fast?

The wait staff was great. All my boxes were checked: kind, funny, fast. No complaints here—not that I’m surprised!

Entree: how’s it taste? If meat, is your meat cooked the way you wanted?
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A Brief Visit to Los Angeles: Santa Monica, the Getty, and Beverly Hills

I just got back from my first-ever trip to Los Angeles and I can easily say I’m in love. Between the beautiful scenery at the Getty, the great little shops in Santa Monica, and, of course, the amazing food everywhere, LA didn’t disappoint. Being an East Coast city girl, the constant driving was the only thing that made me feel out of my element, although it did allow ample time for staring at gorgeous landscapes and some of LA’s famous spots!

Hope you enjoy some of the photos from the trip that I couldn’t resist sharing. Check back soon for more detailed reviews (and more photos!) of the hotels and restaurants I visited.

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The Weekly Favorites: Cat cafés, waterfalls, and cherry pie dip (7/18–7/26)

Another week has passed and it’s time for more amazing articles from around the web. Check out our favorites!

Photo of the Week: Park Avenue, NYCpark

Travel

A Day in a Cat Café in Seoul, South Korea (Just One Way Ticket)
Any cat lover who can’t make it over to South Korea can live vicariously through Sab’s cat café experience that includes an adorable video documenting all the kitties. Now if only they’d make a dog café…

Stepping Back in Time in Mantua, Italy (Ordinary Traveler)
Whether you’re a Shakespeare superfan, love anything Italian, or just want to look at some beautiful pictures, check out this picture-heavy post on one of Italy’s most historic towns.

Friday Postcards from Snoqualmie Falls (Walking on Travels)
More really gorgeous photos, this time of a waterfall near Salish Lodge and Spa in Washington.

Food

Creamy Cherry Pie Fruit Dip with Rainbow Fruit Kebobs (Oh She Glows)
Yes, this is a thing. Especially good if you have any picky eaters in the family—what better incentive to eat fruit than cherry pie dip?

Mini Quiche Recipe (Add a Pinch)
These adorable mini quiches are great for pretty much anything (especially brunch!) and are easy to make.

Lifestyle

The Culture of Clean: Soap in Art (Into the Gloss)
Attention clean freaks! A look at the use of soap in art and design through the ages, from nineteenth century portraits to soap bubble lamps.

Remote working, Teleworking, Coworking: How to Make the Most of Your Atypical Job (The DC Ladies)
Even if you don’t have an atypical job and unlimited vacation days, this is still an interesting read—we can only hope that this lax, out-of-office style of working will only become more popular!

The Weekly Favorites: Turtles, ice cream, and wine bars (7/10–7/17)

Today we’re kicking off a new series: a weekly round-up of the best the Internet has to offer in the travel, food, and lifestyle worlds. Enjoy!

Photo of the Week

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A watermelon martini from Central in DC, plus some gourmet “cheese puffs.” Heaven.

Travel

40 Genius Travel Tips That Will Change Your Life Forever—Distractify
The article is as helpful as the title sounds. Even seasoned travelers will want to read these innovative tips!

Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys—Wander the Map
Who knew you could visit turtle hospitals? It’s a great story and the facility offers daily tours—as long as there isn’t a turtle emergency, that is! It doesn’t sound like it’s all fun and games, though, as the main goal of these tours is to raise awareness for saving turtles from the likes of boats and pollution.

Discovering Puglia, the heel of Italy—Mrs. O Around the World
Mrs. O’s travels around Puglia and stay in a luxury Italian villa looks absolutely incredible. Check out that pool!

Food

Honey Tarragon Strawberry Melon Salad—A Little Bite of Life
This looks so refreshing, perfect for hot summer days. I would’ve never thought to put tarragon in a fruit salad!

The Inside Scoop—Galavante
I never thought I’d hear the words “cupcake ice cream sandwich” (you can thank Sprinkles for that one). Everything sounds so incredible, but they left off one ice cream sandwich powerhouse: The Meatball Shop.

Paris Idyll—Saveur
The best wine bars Paris has to offer.

Lifestyle

Tribal Maxi—bishop & holland
What can I say? It’s gorgeous.

Why Leighton Meester’s Op-Ed Is The Week’s Must-Read—Refinery-29
Leighton Meester gives some thoughtful insight into audiences’ reaction to the character Curley’s Wife from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, who she currently plays in the Broadway adaptation. If you don’t have time to read the full thing, Refinery-29 gives a good summary.

Sitting Down with Nevin Martell, Author of Travel Memoir “Freak Show Without a Tent”

Nevin Martell Courtesy of Photographer Scott Suchman

Nevin Martell, courtesy of photographer Scott Suchman

 

From Ship to Shore‘s Hannah Josi recently sat down with Freak Show Without a Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations author and prolific D.C. food writer Nevin Martell to talk crazy travel adventures, D.C. food culture, and writing tips.

HJ: Thanks for meeting with me. I really, really enjoyed the book. It was wonderful how it wasn’t just a travel book—it was a coming of age story…Now, you end your book when you’re in your 30s with your dad, but in the chapter before that, you were seventeen. So, in the space in between, what were you up to? You mentioned a couple of trips—did your travel continue into your twenties or did it kind of fall to the wayside?

NM: When I went to college and then moved to New York City I had, at first, fewer chances to travel but that was just because I was a broke kid out of college with his first job trying to make his way in the world. It kind of picked up steam, though, as I got a little bit older in my mid- to later-twenties. I went to Cuba with my father and my sister, and I got a chance to go to Finland, and I had a chance to go to Costa Rica a couple times, and I had a chance to go to Mexico a couple of times. I tried to travel somewhere new internationally at least once, about twice, a year. That was kind of my goal, and, you know, for the most part I was able to follow that philosophy…

My wife and I, when we first got engaged, we ended up in Honduras, in the Bay Islands, and we tried to travel a lot, up until we had our child a year and a half ago—you know, we’re waiting to take our first big trip with him. He’s been to California a couple times, he’s been all over the East Coast, but we’re just gearing up for the right international opportunity. But, um, no, in the in-between years, I would say my love of travel grew and, you know, I was always just looking for the best way to make that happen and the most feasible way…

Now that I’m in this new stage as a father, it was interesting writing the book because I look at the way my family traveled as a kid, and then think like, “Okay, how do I want to do this with my own child and wife, and where would that take us, and would we go to some of the same places that my dad took my family? And, if so, would we do the same things?” Probably not, but how could we do them in the right way for us? So travel is something that’s been super important, and it’s something that I can’t wait to introduce my son to, because travel was always something amazing for me, and I think he’ll really appreciate it, too. I definitely think it’s important for forming a world view.

HJ: So once your son does grow up a little bit and he is able to travel more, do you think that you’ll kind of go the route of your father and try to go to these really exotic, authentic, crazy places—for those who haven’t read the book, Nevin’s been to Fiji, Venezuela…all over. Do you think you’ll go that route or are you going to play more by the book?

NM: I think it’s going to be somewhere in the middle. I’m certainly not going to be a pre-packaged, Club Med kind of guy, ever. You know, that doesn’t really have any appeal for me…But by the same token, do I necessarily want to take my son fishing for piranhas and things like that? Maybe not. I would love to show him some of the far corners of the world, and I would love to introduce him to some really lesser-known elements of the world, but I want to do it in a way that—no offense to my dad—is a slightly saner way to doing it.

For example, top of the bucket list are like Morocco—I would love to do that. But really top of the bucket list is my wife’s home country Ghana, which I haven’t visited either. So, I would love to take him there, introduce him to his relatives…spend some time in West Africa. But then I would like to do some crazy things, like…since I was a little kid I always wanted to go to Stonehenge, for example. I think that would be something fun. I’ve always wanted to go to Easter Island, which I know is not the most practical of destinations because it’s literally the most remote point on Earth, but I think, again, it’s something he would really enjoy. I think it’s going to be somewhere in the middle, probably closer to my dad than I’m probably thinking, but as I say in the book, more airbags, more seat belts, more helmets.

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HJ: When it comes to actually going out there, finding the right spot to vacation, finding that nice balance between authentic but visitor-friendly, do you have any advice?
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Looking Back at Arles, Van Gogh’s New Home

My trip to France was the biggest fourteenth birthday present I could ever imagine. My dad and I went on a 7-day whirlwind tour of Paris and pretty much all the major cities in Provence, plus an unexpected layover in London that left me yearning to return for a proper visit.

Paris was cool, Nice was incredible, but what really stuck out was Arles, a medium-sized city in Provence. The town is rich with history and an old-world feel. A large Roman amphitheater and obelisk remind visitors of its Roman past. Boulangeries and small French bistros lining the winding stone streets make it seem like a storybook. For a town like that, it comes with no surprise that it has been a major destination for artists, most notably Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Picasso.

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My dad had long been obsessed with Van Gogh, so much of our time in Arles was spent retracing his steps. While many of the most famous landmarks in his paintings were destroyed during World War II, we stopped by the recreation of the yellow awning from Café Terrace at Night and the vacant lot where the apartment he shared with Gauguin once stood. We walked along the Rhone River, which might sound familiar thanks to the beautiful Starry Night Over the Rhone (although it’s not the Starry Night), and visited the small center dedicated to his life in the town.

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When we got to the aforementioned center, we were expecting to see a Van Gogh painting or two—it was, after all, a space dedicated to his life and his work in France, and it only seemed natural for a painting to be there to represent such an important, penultimate phase in his career (just a year after he left Arles, he committed suicide). But there was nothing.

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8 Products that Will Turn Your Bathroom into a Luxury Hotel Spa

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Staying at a luxury hotel and spending a day at their world-class spa sounds like the ultimate vacation. Sadly, not many of us will get to experience this more than a few times, if at all. Not to fear! With just a few products, it’s easy to transform your own bathroom into a mini spa, perfect for that one day when you just need to relax and forget the outside world.

The lovely ladies at Bellacara in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia helped us find just what we needed. Bellacara’s walls are lined with high-end products, from Kiehl’s to Clarins to Kevyn Aucoin, so we figured they’d know a thing or two about having a luxurious at-home spa day. Definitely check it out if you’re ever in the area.

Now on to the products!

M. Steves RHSO Power-Packed Reviving Exfoliator and Ultra-Nourishing Boost
When I asked the girls at Bellacara what they would suggest for an at-home spa treatment, this was the first thing they directed me to. Using these two products together pretty much gives you the same results as a pricy luxury facial—the exfoliator is even called a “facial in a jar.”

Fresh Black Tea or Rose Face Mask
I’m going to cheat and count two products as one since both are beautiful. Both hydrate the skin, only the black tea mask claims to have instant results while the rose mask emphasizes toning. But really, it all boils down to whether or not you like the smell of roses and are willing to shell out the extra money for the black tea mask (it’s $30 more!).

MaskerAide Sheet Masks
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly but equally effective option, the Bellacara staff were quick to sing these sheet masks’ praises. They’re only $5.99 a piece and come in a variety of options like “Weather Warrior” and “All Nighter.”

Fresh Sugar Lemon SugarBath Cubes
They’re sugar cubes. For your bath. These cubes aren’t just adorably whimsical, though. The brown sugar inside helps to hydrate the skin while a bicarbonate of soda creates gently exfoliating bubbles.
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