The world can tend to fly by past the windows of my car as I rush from one destination to another. In this way, sometimes even the streets I think I know the best can still have more hidden secrets to discover. That is why today I decided to walk all the way down Pico Blvd. and get to know it in a way I never have before. I started at the corner of Pico and Veteran in LA and walked down to the beach in Santa Monica, then back (approx. 10 miles). It was quite the trek and my feet are still feeling the repercussions, but I found several hot spots I had missed while speeding down Pico more focused on my destination than the journey.
The first place is Lo/Cal coffee and market, a shop at 22nd and Pico that just opened this summer. While I didn’t feel like stopping in and grabbing a cup, its reviews on yelp.com are very good and the atmosphere is really cute. It has this whole down to earth feel about the place that makes it a little patch of calm alongside a major road. It has these cold coffee options on tap that come out like beer at a bar (I’d never seen this before and I thought it was the cutest idea). They also have a selection of old fashioned sodas (which are one of my many obsessions) in the “market” section, so there are options if coffee really isn’t your thing. Next time I’m in the area I am definitely stopping here for a nice break and a quick drink.
(Lo/Cal coffee and market)
The next place is a Sweet Rose Creamery. What is this?!! I mean how could I not notice that one of my favorite ice cream shops has a branch super close to the beach? Not only this, but, unlike the Brentwood location, the Santa Monica one also serves pastries and coffee. I am so excited, now! I mean my mouth is literally watering just thinking about their Maggie’s mint ice cream. This shop takes ice cream flavors to a whole new level. Eating the mint chocolate chip ice cream is like eating that crisp, amazing scent that mint leaves give off when crumple them in your hand. They also carry seasonal, unique flavors that will blow your mind like Sugar Cube Melon Chiffon and they have dairy-free options for those who are lactose intolerant, but still want a slice of heaven. (I’m craving Sweet Rose just thinking about their perfection of ice cream).
(Sweet Rose Creamery in Santa Monica)
The third place that I had completely forgotten was on Pico is Shutters on the Beach. Shutters is my absolute favorite hotel in LA. I think it is one of the prettiest places in the city, and better than that it is right on the beach. The whole atmosphere feels like my dream beach house and eating at the Coast or One Pico (some of their dining options) is always a treat. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere is perfect, seriously, I wish they would just let me move in already. It was the last place I hit on the way down to the beach and seeing it just made my whole body sigh out of pure happiness at its beauty. (I’m not joking when I say that if I could design a house for myself it would look exactly like Shutters).
(Shutters at the Beach)
Those were my top places I ran into, but some other cute spots I found to check out are Upper West (a sleek restaurant), Caprice Pastries (a French bakery), Acapillow (a really cute home furnishings store), and LifeFood Organic (a clean healthy eating joint). I had a ton of fun finding places that had been hiding right under my nose! The only downside to this little jaunt was the smog. Pico has a lot of cars and before you reach Santa Monica it can also be a bit of a sketchy walk (railroad construction and homeless men). Now I need to explore Pico above Veteran!
(The chef statue that resides outside of Caprice bakery)