Los Angeles | Joshua Tree

[huge inhale] “CALIFORNIAAAAAAA HERE WE COMEEEEEEEEE” <—to the tune of phantom planet.


it has been an entire lifetime that i have awaited a visit to l.a.

i’ve gotten all of the opinions on whether i’d like it, love it, hate it, so i decided to check it out when my best travel bud ryan (yes, we are practically attached at the hip now) had a conference to speak at out in palm springs. we got the magical opportunity to see not only los angeles, but also the desert, staying two nights in joshua tree. it didn’t really sink in that we were visiting california until the trip was the next morning. i packed my suitcase hours before the flight (i’m becoming that person) and it hit me then that we were going to be in the places that i’ve been screenshot-ing on the web, and saving to instagram folders for years. i did a lot of on-the-ground exploring and discovering and it was a grand ol’ time.


natural sisters cafe. this cafe is perfection. i’m really not exaggerating. it has huge portions, perfect to fuel you for your adventure through joshua tree national park, which according to the desert oracle, could get you lost or you could die (read this journal its great, seriously). all of the sandwiches are delicious, and the house-made chai is a delicious treat iced in the heat of the desert. come hungry because i’m serious about their portions.

vintage shopping in joshua tree. guys. this is the mother-lode. its all of the dreams you’ve had of eclectic california fashion in one little place. there are so many places to dig through, and so worth it to take a day to do so.


erewhon. this is the food market of my literal dreams. i can’t really even begin to describe this place, but if you are a nature-freak regarding what you put in and on your body, you will love this place. it’s wildly expensive, and the first time i entered the market, i emerged an hour later with just a bottle of water because i was so overwhelmed by goodness. we ate dinner here and it was nourishing in every sense of the word. we had the gluten free mac and cheese, which is actually made in heaven and delivered daily down from the clouds to erewhon’s hot food line. we washed down our hot food bar selection with turmeric milks, and finished the meal with a pillowy refined sugar-free strawberry cake. warning: samples of cbd and dairy free yogurts will line the aisles. try it all.

chez tex. i met the owner of this lovely establishment a couple of months ago in charleston at a conference for women in the food and hospitality biz. we were in the ladies’ room washing our hands, and her wide-brimmed hat caught my eye. i promised if i were ever in L.A. i’d visit, and here i was. we had a delightful meal, the highlights being the crispy quinoa salad, and the chicken on sofrito rice. a must try!


moon juice. this brand has been a fave for a while, mostly for their insanely beautiful branding and simplistic yet colorful packaging. i've tried a number of their blended sachets including sex dust, spirit dust, and beauty dust, but nothing compares to having a cosmic cocoa coffee tonic blended up for you with vanilla bean, reishi, and ashwagandha. i also tried all of the mylks they make because duh. the strawberry mylk with colloidal silver was a standout. i wish i could have it delivered right this minute to sip while i write this blog post.

kippy’s. i tell you, i landed in my food paradise. kippy’s was a post dinner treat. this ice cream is basically made for me, its paleo, so no refined sugars or dairy, and its light and delicious. i know ice cream purists around the world are giving me a unified eye-roll, but i don’t care. sweet dreams are made of th[is ice cream] and i topped my scoops of golden milk and vanilla date with salted caramel honey, cacao nibs, and sunbutter cups. FUCKING YUM.

mh zh. rumor has it that the first handful of guests at mh zh sat on milk crates. actually, more than just the first handful. it was like that for a while until los angelans were like, “no. we need chairs” and so they encircled their sidewalk, craft-paper-covered tables with chairs that had backs. leave it to the israelis to create the most makeshift restaurant ever (i can say this because i’m half israeli, ok.). but as israelis always deliver, the food lives up to all of the hype. we basically ordered the entire menu and everything was a standout. its worth the sidewalk seats inundated by kids selling candy for charity and the occasional fender bender (that happened while we were elbow deep in our meal).

botanica. another meal that will go down in the maya history books. this little cafe transitions from day to night with the most romantic backyard patio, homemade breads and pastries, and a menu that reads robust with beautifully prepared veggies. sip on some wine and indulge in a myriad of plates with your table under the fairy lights and trees.

cafe gratitude. man, this place is a hoot—for an east-coaster-born-and-raised like me. i am a no-bullshit type of gal— although i get down with the potions, sage, yoga, meditation, and various hippie activities, and so that’s obviously why i ended up here. this place is los angeles to the core. an o.g. in the venice landscape, cafe gratitude suggests (read: basically makes you) order your food and beverage in affirmations printed under each menu item. its hilarious in the most amazing way, and really makes you step back and pause. we had the most fun laughing at ourselves reading affirmations to our server who had them memorized.

ryan: “i’ll have the chilaquiles”

server: “you are festive”

ryan: “…yes. and a coffee”

server: “you are courageous”

ryan: “yeah, i’m courageous. and can i add hot sauce? oh, i’m sorry, i am spicy”

^^ literal conversation transcription. i highly suggest the i am content, and the i am serene with a courageous to start your morning. no i’m not going to tell you what they are. look them up.


silver lake. this neighborhood has a great main street filled with the coolest shops. like, if i were a place, i’d probably be silver lake.

abot kinney blvd. what a street! all of the boutiques i’ve ever stopped into ever now make sense. this is the mother lode of beautiful shops to peruse. i ran into sabah’s venice shop, lots of independent designers, and beautiful cafes and smoothie bars. take a stroll.


cow’s end. on venice beach, this place is the real deal old school. i felt like i was back in nyc. the cashier had no time for me to make a decision, and they yell out your order so that the whole line can hear that you ordered gluten free bread with butter on the side of your smoothie bowl (i can’t just eat sweet for breakfast, sue me). a great place to nestle in with a kona dark roast coffee before walking the boardwalk.


Maya OrenComment