9:00 AM: Breakfast
I wake up to a brisk morning in Los Angeles, hungry and tired. I immediately check if my roommates want some sweet treats. If anyone is craving donuts or a quick sammy, head on over to Birdies or Spudnuts. Both of these donut joints are unconventional with unique donut flavors and savory sandwiches to order on the side. For a more sit-down setting, Jacks N Joe serves killer pancakes and egg dishes.
Spudnuts is a classic place to go for USC students and any one who lives close to Figueroa Street. The line is sometimes long, especially in the morning. It is always worth it. From Maple Bacon donuts to Doughssants to French Crullers, Spudnuts has any type of donut you are craving. The chefs utilize a special potato recipe, and the sweet treats are so fresh. Open 24 hours a day, the donut shop can always combat your midnight hunger too.
The sandwiches at Spudnuts are second to none. Like out of your mother’s kitchen, they are made to order with fresh eggs and meat. My personal favorite is ham, egg, and cheese on a croissant. The egg is gooey and delicious on top of the homemade croissant and grilled ham or bacon. If a croissant is too much, sourdough is a great option. You can order a fresh strawberry banana smoothie, boba, or iced vanilla latte to wash it all down. To top it all off, Spudnuts also serves ice cream.
Birdies is a must-visit if you are anywhere close to LA. Located on the left of Olympic Boulevard, this wonderful establishment is small but full of unmatched flavor combinations. Birdies prides itself on chef-driven food and it delivers big time.
Artisanal donuts are baked hourly and the free range chicken sandwiches are prepared by order. The quality is present in every heavenly bite you take. Donuts range from outrageously sweet creations to light concoctions. Favorites are Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Candied Bacon Maple, and Lemon Thyme Pistachio. They also serve Blueberry Lemon, Triple Dark Chocolate, and an Horchata Twist with Dulce De Leche. Each trip you make, I suggest trying a new flavor. You can’t go wrong.
On top of all the donut madness, Birdies offers some of the best chicken in all of Southern California. The menu allows you to order individual pieces of legs and thighs or a family style with fries and a side. The best sellers are the sandwiches: Birdies Breakfast Sandwich, Birdies Original, and Birdies Spicy. My personal favorite is the Birdies Spicy which comes with a generous piece of fried chicken breast, cole slaw, ghost pepper mayo, Tillamook pepperjack, and cured pickles. The meal is nothing short of a tantalizing explosion of sweet, salty, and spicy flavors coming together in the best way possible. I could never get tired of a hardy snack at Birdies. It always leaves me satisfied and ready to come back next time for more.
Jacks N Joe is one of the best breakfast places you will find in Los Angeles. With outstanding pancakes from classic Jack’s Banana Pancakes to chocolate chip (Roo’s Favorite), to even bacon-filled (“Fight-On”), most customers order a full stack for themselves or to share. The French Toast is also a favorite with fresh Hawaiian sweetbread.
The omelettes are all extremely tasty, each with its own unique flavor. My favorite is the Boulder, Not Denver which comes with peppers, ham, onion, and cheddar cheese. Others include My Big Fat Greek, Maui Wowie, Adams N’ Fig, and Eat Your Veggies. Each omelette is served with potatoes and toast. The servings are big and a lot customers walk out with some left-overs.
11:00 AM: More L.A. Spots to Explore
There are so many incomparable attractions in Los Angeles; the Hollywood Hills (home of stars such as Halle Berry and Kanye West), the Staples Center (for Lakers and Clippers games), and the nearby Disneyland in Anaheim. In one day, however, I recommend visiting a beach, checking out the incredible stores in the famous Beverly Hills, and walking through LA Live. The three spots that are best checking out with family and friends are Santa Monica Beach, Rodeo Drive, and Downtown LA Live.
Santa Monica Beach
A 30-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica is a beautiful and close place to visit. The sand is smooth and the water is light blue and not too cold. The middle of the day is a perfect time to enjoy the sunshine and waves. Bring a volleyball or some spike ball and enjoy the serene landscape.
In addition, the Santa Monica Pier is open 24 hours a day and has rides, arcade games, and food for everyone to enjoy. Bubba Gump is a classic and fun family place to get some grub if still hungry. Rides on the pier include a roller coster, a ferris wheel, a drop zone, and many more. The pier has “Twilight on the Pier” every Wednesday night from 7-10 pm and Sea Star feeding from every Friday from 2:30-3:00pm.
The sunset on Santa Monica Beach is an a must-see too. Orange and yellow colors combine as the sun goes down over the mountains to the right of the beach. It never gets old.
LA Live is the entertainment capital of Los Angeles and probably the United States. I have stayed at the LA Live JW Marriott on multiple occasions when my family bought tickets to watch the Rose Bowl on New Year’s day. The headquarters of ESPN are located right across from Microsoft Theatre which is home to many award shows including the Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, and American Music Awards. It houses one of the largest indoor stages in the United States. I ran into Neil Everett, SportsCenter co-anchor, while outside of ESPN!
Directly across the street is Staples Center, home of the LA Lakers and Clippers basketball teams. Several music stars have multiple concerts at the Staples Center too. There is always some event taking place. The Grammy Museum is also in LA Live and features a Backstreet Boys floor and many other attractions. LA Live is a place for anyone who is a fan of sports or popular culture.
7 PM: Dinnertime
Los Angeles has some of the best dinner options. Different flavors can be found around every corner. I used to look forward to every time I came to L.A. just so I could end up at the The Ivy. Now that I am a permanent resident of LA, I can drive over anytime to enjoy my all-time favorite place for a meal.
The Ivy is special. Several stars take their family here to enjoy the outrageously flavorful food. Whatever you are craving, The Ivy has almost any option on their diverse menu. In addition, the ambiance transports the customer to Italy with a classic white picket fence and beautiful ivy lining an old brick house. The Ivy has both a breakfast menu and a lunch and dinner menu.
The Ivy has a host of appetizers, including classic seafood such as oysters and calamari. My family usually orders the Caesar salad to share. Other good salads to share are the Ivy Cobb Salad and the Fresh Dungeness Crab Salad. For the main course, my personal favorite is Ricky’s Fried Chicken. Their most popular dish has seasoned creamed spinach, grilled corn, and a mango chutney to go along with a generous chicken breast fried to delicate and buttery perfection. My family usually orders the Rack of Lamb or the Fresh Wild Lobster. You can’t go wrong with any pasta or risotto either. The Banana Split and Creme Brulee are must-try desserts to cap off the dinner of a lifetime. With the bill, all customers get fresh shortbread cookies too.
I could eat my way through LA. any day and look forward to discovering more places as I settle into this wild coastal city.
Have you been to L.A.? Where’s your favorite place in California? If looking to explore more of the state, check out this post about Road Trippin’ California or California’s Mammoth Mountain for All Seasons.