We were in our rental car by 8AM and headed right to Pasadena. The weather was hot, but dry. Perfect, with the sun shining and warm breezes. Our first stop was unbeknownst to me, my husband likes to surprise us a lot. We thought we were headed for coffee then to the Gamble House, but instead he took us on a self guided tour of the Back to the Future houses first!!
A little back story: I am a HUGE Back to the Future fan, like ridiculously huge. I can watch that trilogy over and over and not get bored. The week before we left for California we went to Boston’s Fan Expo, where I got to meet Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Tom Wilson. Uhm, I had the biggest crush on Biff as a kid, so naturally I sat there like a mute when I met Mr. Wilson. So sad. If I had the chance to meet Crispin Glover..I think I would’ve fainted!! But back to our day. My husband took us to the street where Marty’s parents lived. We got to see George McFly’s house, the tree from where he fell from in front of Lorraine’s house which was actually across from Lorraine’s house. It was so cool to see these houses! Lorraine’s house was painted a different color so it took me a minute to see it, but wow! These houses are all beautiful and definitely a must see if you are a fan (or just like architecture!)
After the BTTF houses, we decided it was time for coffee and breakfast. We went to Intelligentsia Coffeebar at the heart of the center. Which I just heard recently opened near my office in Boston (score!). We grabbed some pretty strong espresso here and lots of delicious pastry, that we shared. When I say coffee is strong, I mean you will be awake for three days from a sip. This stuff was S T R O N G!
After we ate we headed to the Gamble House, which opened at 10AM. My husband studied furniture design, along with architecture, in college, and we both follow the designers/revolutionaries in design. So, the Gamble House has been on our list of ‘must sees’ since we met. My gosh. This house is amazing and perfectly preserved as it was when the home owners lived there. Originally built for Mr. David Gamble of Proctor & Gamble. The house and furnishings were designed by the firm, and brothers, Greene&Greene in 1908. A HUNDRED AND TEN YEARS OLD! Greene&Greene designed a lot of the large bungalow style homes in the area, which we went to go look at too. What talent. I have never seen so much house porn in one area, ever in my life! The best part of all this for my husband was that between all the streets of famous bungalows, along the corner of a smaller street, was a concrete creation by one of his favorite architects, Frank Lloyd Wright. This house was crazy patterned in concrete, super cool sight!
We spent a good amount of time in Pasadena, but we had more to do! From Pasadena we planned to visit the Eames House in Pacific Palisades. Charles and Ray Eames were a married couple who were some of the leaders of modern architecture and furniture. And seeing this house has always been something my husband wanted to do. BUT before we got there, we decided to make a stop along the Pacific Coast Highway to Venice Beach first. Giving the girls some place to blow off some steam and finally see the beach!
Venice Beach is a fun area; the whole vibe is absolutely so different from the beaches from home. Just like we see on TV, the beach is pretty large with the boardwalk. The boardwalk is so inundated with stores and food shops, and people, and people, AND PEOPLE! Funky people. haha Then there is muscle beach. Literally, the buffest guys I have ever seen, just sweating and working out in the sunshine…and flexing….
After getting my thrills at muscle beach, I mean, getting over all the questions my kids were asking like, “why are people working out on the beach?”, we took off to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to the Palisades. My husband and I had done this drive, without stops, back when we first were married. It has changed a lot but the views of the ocean are still perfect. We had some slow traffic that granted us a lot of fantastic large crashing wave sights. Super cool, really.
We made our way up to the Eames House, which is now their foundation. You need a reservation to see the house, and adults are $10 each to be on the grounds. The interior is off-limits unless guided on a different tour, but there are a lot of restrictions like no photos. This was a case study house, which they built for themselves in 1949, and is important in the design community. The house is amazing to see in person. The foundation left it as close to exact as when the designers lived there. They lived in the house till their deaths, Charles died in 1978 and his wife, Ray, in 1988.
We spent a lot of time at the house. There was a blanket set up along the grass with the Eames designed House of Cards, which we own but never touch haha. So our daughters hung out there a long while on the blanket playing as we perused around the grounds. It was kind of surreal being there because the house in today’s standards isn’t such a big shock, but to think about in the 1940’s how “out of the box” this was is mind-blowing. For me, this house is by far my favorite in the modern movement. And the view from the house of the Pacific Ocean at Malibu was spectacular!
After the Eames house we had reservations for dinner at the Malibu Farm, right on the pier in Malibu. This. Place. Was. Gorgeous. The restaurant is at the beginning of the pier, with views not just of the pier but the beach below. The waves crashed all night, keeping the girls entertained. And my husband, too. They kept going to the glass partitions for a glance of who was getting slammed by waves below and who could surf on the beach to the right. I thoroughly enjoyed the views all around, and the sunshine turning to sunset. We had great service and were able to hang out without being harassed for a couple of hours, which was great. I love not being rushed, especially when the cocktails are good. The food was delicious, too. We started with a small nacho to split. My husband got the fish tacos. I got off menu, the best burger I have ever had. And the girls each had a crazy huge dish; one had the grilled chicken with pasta and the other grilled salmon with pasta. We enjoyed the evening on the water walking the pier. At this point of the night, the traffic pushed us into a long drive home so we decided to surprise the girls with an ice cream at a place I was dying to go to, SomiSomi in Koreatown!
SomiSomi is an ice cream shop, and THE place in LA for taiyaki, koi fish-shaped cake/waffle. The flavors of soft serve aren’t your run of the mill flavors. They offer ube (purple yam), matcha (green tea), milk and black sesame, and each week they vary the flavors you can twist together. But the fun is also from the flavor options you can choose. Like the filling, which they line the inside of the cone. You can choose either nutella, custard or red bean. Then you can choose a topping, like Oreo cookie, cocoa pebbles, fruity pebbles, etc. Also, they top it off with either a strawberry or macaroon cookie. Everything is listed pretty clearly for you.
Their ice cream is yummmayyyy! We all got different flavor combinations, which I have declared mine as the best one! 🙂 Milk soft serve with nutella and topped with cocoa pebbles, adorned with a pink macaroon. How can anyone say that isn’t the best!? If you get a chance to go, please please try all the flavors. Some may sound odd to you, but believe me they were all amazing and unique in their own ways.
This place was lit! Holy moly, how busy it was! And we were so glad we got there when we did because it looked like a fleet were just dropped off to get an ice cream right after we got in line. The line went all the way to the escalator by the time we left! The whole vibe in Koreatown, by the way, was just awesome. People were everywhere!
We made it back to our hotel to find a pretty large Latin jazz concert, La Marisoul curates: The California Feetwarmers & Hermanos Herrera, happening on the plaza. Luckily, the music was rocking and good, and stopped within a handful of minutes so the girls could pass right out. 🙂
Day 2 was pretty great, right? I loved this day immensely.
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