O’Brien’s Irish Pub
I don’t usually go out to bars, but when I do, the one bar I always go to is O’Brien’s. Now there are two O’Brien’s, one on Wilshire and one on Main St. The one on Wilshire is where I go if I’m looking for a calm evening, but the one on Main is the place I go for a crazy time. But I love them both, they’re super chill and I like everybody there. My favorite drink there is the Pink Bitch—it’s really good despite the name.
Zengo is this little Latin-American fusion restaurant in Santa Monica. It’s all really, really good. There are small plates, so there’s a lot to choose from. There’s a place next to it that’s the same owner, La Sandía, which is more like a Mexican restaurant. The name of the place means watermelon in Spanish, and I’ve always wondered, what does this place have to do with watermelon? I’m not sure. But they do have a good watermelon drink. They have good crispy tofu, too, so there’s still some options if you’re a vegetarian.
3rd Street Promenade
I love it, all of it. I love going and getting coffee and sitting anywhere, and I love people watching, because there are always people walking around. There are always street performers, too — some that might make you uncomfortable, but there are some that are just really, really talented, from musicians to gymnasts, everything really. It was one of the first places I went when I visited Santa Monica, and it was what made me move there. So thanks, 3rd street!
Pretty standard, but it’s great. Some people think it’s a little too much, but I love it. They have great coffee and great juices. It’s one of those stereotypical L.A. places, so some people really don’t care for it, but I love the atmosphere. They have a nice outdoor back patio, and sometimes when I want to work outside, I’ll head there. They have lots of coffee, so that’s very important.
True Food Kitchen
This is just a really cool mash-up of very authentic food—Asian food, Mexican food, Indian food—it’s really cool to just walk around down there. There are little shops, a farmers’ market. It gives you a sense of the cross-culture, the melting pot of what L.A. is. There’s a little bit of everything there.
They have an all-natural skin care line that I found a few years ago, and I’ve used their stuff non-stop. They also do really great all-natural skin facials. It’s one of my favorite places to go and pick up products. You can also go online and pick it up too. Some of it’s a little more costly, but the best thing is to go in, get a facial, and just see what you like. The employees are really nice and helpful every time I go. My first time, I bought a travel sized version to make sure I liked it, and I didn’t look back. I’m done, I’m sold.
Miakel Bishay Salon
One of the things I needed to find when I moved to L.A. was a place to get my hair cut, and I was worried about it. I had a friend who started to work here so I went to try it out and I haven’t gone anywhere since. They’ve always been very nice and my hair feels great afterwards. There are little coffee shops around there; it’s a perfect setting. You can go in, get your haircut, and then you can walk to the beach right afterwards.
I first found this place just walking around, but they have very high-end coffee and tea. The inside is crazy, with little pipes and intricate décor. They have things that are ridiculous, like $100 for a cup of coffee. They have this process where the coffee will take 20 minutes to brew. I haven’t been there in awhile, but it’s one of my favorite places to go—just to check out the coffee.
Another place that I had to find when I got here was a good place to get my nails done, and this was one of the first nail salons I went to. It’s hard to find a nail salon that will do what you want, but they will do whatever you need. Sometimes I just want a nice color, or a simple gloss, and they’re ready to do it. It’s still the same people and they’re all really cool.
I love a lot of juice places, especially this one. It’s really good, and they have all kind of juices to mix-and-match as well as pre-made combinations. They even have a juice cleanse that you can go in and pick up or they’ll deliver to you. I tried it once, though I still drank coffee during it, so I kind of cheated. But after I’ve done it, I still felt refreshed. It’s definitely worth trying.
Photographs courtesy (in order): (1) obriensonmain.com, (2-5, 9) facebook.com, (6) arcona.com, (7) miakelbishaysalon.com, (8) flickr.com/yoppy, (9) flickr.com/sebi ryffel (4)lalive.com, (5) grandcentralmarket.com, and (10) kreationjuice.com