Last weekend, we had the pleasure of traveling to California to attend the wedding of two very near and dear friends of ours. Having the opportunity to celebrate their marriage was a gift…and having the chance to explore new parts of California was a big, fat bow on top of that gift!
We began by leaving our home at 6:00am and drive westbound for Chicago, Illinois. After a few hours of worrying about whether or not we’d get on a flight or not, we boarded our Southwest flight at 8:45am and were ready for our vacation to begin. The service on our flight was great and the snacks provided were fantastic (considering what you get on other airlines these days).
…4.5 hours (and 3 timezones) later, we landed at the infamous LAX airport. The airport was older than I remembered, but we got out of there in no time. The weather outside was sunny, but slightly chiller than we had hoped. After heading to National Car Rental (where we also had some great service), we hopped into our rental car and headed to Venice for an amazing lunch at Wurstküche. Now, for all you brat lovers out there, this is a MUST if you make it to LA (they have two locations—one in Venice and one in downtown LA). We have now been to both locations and can say that both are wonderful. Great service, knowledgeable staff and the most incredible menu you could ever imagine. Our order this time was: Lamb with Mediterranean spices (← our favorite); Rabbit, Veal & Pork Seasoned with White Wine; Sante Fe Jack Cheese & Jalapeno Peppers; and one small order of fries with Chipotle Aioli dipping sauce.
We had more than enough food to eat and we enjoyed every last morsle. Practically stuffed, we headed over to the Blue Dog Tavern in Sherman Oaks to meet up with a close friend and up and coming director Joe Begos. We chose to sit indoors, but the outdoor patio seemed lovely and included heat lamps and a cozy atmosphere. Once inside, we noticed lots of framed pictures of dogs all over its wooden walls and even on the ceiling! It had quite a lot of character and we would definitely come back for food some other time (remember, we had just stuffed ourselves full of exotic brats at Wurskusch!).
After some great conversation, we hit the road and headed towards Santa Barbara. The ride was smooth and the traffic wasn’t too bad. We arrived around 7pm and checked in to the Montecito Inn. Santa Barbara’s finest luxury boutique hotel, the Montecito Inn was built in 1928 by Hollywood legend, Charlie Chaplin (cool, right?). We arrived and immediately were greeted with kind staff. After valeting our car (for only $8.00!), we were given our room key and we headed to room 204. When we opened the door, we saw a cute little room, with a queen sized bed, a nice clean bathroom and a fully stocked mini-fridge. Although we would have loved to relax in our room, we were in a hurry to get to dinner and then meet up with the bride and groom. So once we settled in, we gathered our things and took a stroll down Coast Village Road where we passed lovely some nice little shops, cafes and a few restaurants.
What we ended up deciding on was Cava Restaurant and Bar. The food here was delicious, the service impeccable and the music lively, yet soothing. We ordered the Fresh Halibut Ceviche (served on a crisp corn tortilla with lime, avocado, guacamole & salsa fresca) and Burrito Asaso. The portions were large, the food was fresh and the presentation was nice. We highly recommend this restaurant if you’re in the mood for latin food and want to get a good for a great deal.
After dinner, we called for a taxi to take us to the Four Seasons Biltmore where we met up with the bride, groom and other wedding guests. The décor in the hotel was festive. Located at the Four Seasons was the elegant Ty Lounge. It was a nice large room with high ceilings and plenty of seating. For a Thursday night, we pretty much had the bar to ourselves, which was nice. The service, as expected, was good and the drinks, but a bit pricey (Chris’ beer was $15.00!). After a few hours with other wedding goers, we headed back to our hotel, which was the perfect end to a great day.