LA - The City of Dreams

I don't normally write about travel on my blog, but I thought seeing as though it's a subject I enjoy and I hope to do a lot more of it in 2019 that I should probably give it a go. And seeing as though I've still got holiday blues after visiting Los Angeles (a month ago) it's nice to reflect on the good times there instead of looking out at the miserable weather in Manchester.


So what's the big deal...

At first I thought the same thing, my family and other people had bigged LA up to me and when I arrived I couldn't get past the idea that it reminded me of a larger and more built up Spain. And just to get it out of the way now, Hollywood is a rich man's Blackpool. Of course you have to go, you see the stars, visit the Chinese Theatre and rummage in the $5 shops that are everywhere. It's definitely not the best part of the city and it feels a little sleazy, but Hollywood has a certain charm to it and you can't avoid it on your travels.

However, after a day or too things really started to set in for me, I've always had a negative perspective of America, no idea why but it soon started to fade. The thing about LA is that no two places are the same, you visit Venice Beach and it's full of characters roller-staking and dancing about, Beverly Hills is like another world, hosting the shopping central for the rich and famous, and then a drive away you feel like you're in the desert up in the hills. It's definitely a place to go if you like a change of scenery.



The Beach

Santa Monica beach is something like you'd see in an American film, a beach with a long pier filled with rides, food and a whole lot of people. It's got a real buzz about it and of course not forgetting, Bubba Gump Shrimp (if you know you know). So you can either choose to stay here or take a walk along the boardwalk down the rest of the beaches. You'll pass the Santa Monica muscle beach where there's a load of ripped guys climbing ropes and swinging from things, whilst roller skaters and cyclists wizz past you on the path, your eyes honestly won't know where to look.

From here you'll pass by Ocean Beach which probably feels like the most laid back of the beaches with not too much going on apart from plenty of volleyball. If it's a quieter spot your looking for then park yourself here and enjoy the rays. Or if it's a bit of madness you want then you need to keep going until you get to Venice beach. I felt like I was living in a dream, I cannot describe to you in words how whimsical and insane, but totally amazing the place is. There is a large row of shops offering anything from cheap t-shirts to marijuana, just what you need on a day out to the beach! Plus there are plenty of character for you to see, including the guy with the boombox on roller-skates, be sure not to miss him.



The Hikes

With it being surrounded by canyons and hills, there's an endless amount of walks you can find yourself on and never get bored. I took a family walk on the Fern Dell Dr path from Griffiths Observatory down to the drive, a fairly easy walk and suitable for families and beginners (unless you had whining children like we did). You end the walk at a small park which is a way to entice any young people you have with you. 

Next on the list was Runyon canyon, a favourite of most tourists who wish to get a glimpse of the hiking scene over there. If you get it on a good day (which is most days), you'll have to most spectacular view across LA, from the Griffith Observatory, to the Hollywood sign and downtown LA. It's really not to be missed and so worth the sweaty walking you have to do to get there. 

Finally, just before we went home, I had to try and make a trip to the Hollywood sign, unfortunately I didn't quite make it there but got pretty close. We hiked from the Griffith Observatory to the sign, which is pretty damn far, took a few wrong turns along the way but eventually made it just below the sign. I'll have to admit, after 2-3 hours hiking in the blistering sun we decided to take an Uber back down... cheating I know, but SO worth it. 



Everything In-between  

Obviously there is a lot more to LA than just the beaches and hills, they were just my favourite parts, but there is an immense amount of things for anyone and everyone to do, one being shopping...

Los Angeles is the place to be if you want to splash some cash and if you really do have the cash then take it to Beverley Hills and roll down Rodeo Drive. If not, just take a walk down there, it's a beautiful part of the city and there's more than enough to admire. Hollywood is also a great place for shopping, especially the typical tat that we all buy, but my favourite place has to be Melrose Avenue, if you're from Manchester then you'll know what I mean if I say it's the Afflecks of LA. The avenue is filled with quirky shops where you can find almost anything and everything, varying in price range. 

If shopping isn't your thing, then there are more than enough tourist things to do, such as visit the walk of fame, the Dolby Digital Theatre, the Chinese Theatre, Madame Tussaud, Universal Studios (get to Hogwarts) and the Los Angeles zoo. I'd recommend you take one of the hop on bus tours and just see what all the different parts of the city have to offer, because they're plenty to see! 

Cya!
Eryn 




Dive, Not Just a Bar

I find no greater joy in life than eating out, why? Because you get to sit and socialise with friends and family, eat good food and most importantly, you don't have to wash up. So when I get invited to go and review a restaurant it's like a Godsend. A few weeks back I was asked to review the food at Dive Bar in the Northern Quarter, Manchester, surprised at first that they actually served food, I was even more taken aback when it tasted so good...


Set back from the main road on Tib Street, Dive bar is located next to Afflecks Palace, hidden downstairs like a seedy 1930s speakeasy. More commonly known to be a late night club on the weekends, Dive are actually open from early afternoon, serving American style diner food, big burgers, burritos and all kinds of fried chicken. If it's a big 'scran' (as we call it in Manchester) you're looking for then they've got everything you need, and I can vouch and say the portion sizes are more than sufficient. Plus they've got the craziest cocktails going, like my favourite parma violet, so you're sure to walk away with happy tastebuds and a full belly. 


Seeing as though I've been holding back on the meat a little recently, I thought it was time to splash out and over indulge. Simon opted for 'The Big Cheese' whilst I went for 'Chicken and Waffles' (chicken, the obvious choice every time). As you can see from above, the burgers were pretty hefty and it was more than a task trying to bite into that. A double cheeseburger patty with salad, cheese and burger sauce, with a side of fries and slaw. Mine was fried chicken and waffles topped with gravy (on the side for me) and maple syrup. 

I can't say I'm the biggest fan of the sweet, savoury combination, however there was minimal syrup on the waffles so it wasn't too sweet. Plus, the waffles complimented the chicken quite well, making it seem no different than having a savoury carb with your meal, definitely something I'll be trying again in the future. 


I feel like you may be a little disappointed in me as I didn't get a dessert, who goes to review a restaurant and doesn't get dessert? Well unfortunately the large meal topped off with a Kopparberg just tipped me over the edge, and at the time with an oncoming holiday I wasn't willing to sacrifice weeks of gym effort and blow it on a 10,000 calorie meal I'm afraid. But, if you want to try them out yourself they offer brownie, banana split, strawberry sundae and chocolate crunch, a vanilla and chocolate ice cream with dulche leche (OMG), crunchie, cream, chocolate sprinkles and brownie.... I needn't say anymore.


If you want to try it out yourself, check out the website and book here

Cya! 
Eryn