In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

California Road Trip Day 2 - LA (Newport Beach, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Malibu)



The other day, I posted here about the planning ofour California road trip. And yesterday I blogged about day oneof our trip hereToday’s post is about day two....LA!




California Road Trip Day Two Itinerary



In preparation for day two I had in a folder the following: an itinerary of our day, hotel info/reservations, printed directions (in case our phones failed us) and menus from the websites of the restaurants we reserved.



6:30 a.m. - wake up and get ready

8:00 a.m. - check out of hotel and drive two hours to Newport Beach

10:00 a.m. - morning stroll on Newport Beach

11:00 a.m. - eat an early lunch at Bear Flag Fish Co.

11:30 a.m. - drive an hour to Beverly Hills
12:00 p.m. - sightsee Rodeo Drive
1:00 p.m - drive thirty minutes to Hollywood

1:30 p.m. - sightsee Hollywood Blvd.

3:30 p.m. - drive 15 minutes (plus traffic time) to downtown LA

 4:00 p.m. - have an early dinner at the Nickel Diner

5:00 p.m. - drive 30 minutes to our hotel in Woodland Hills 

5:30 p.m. - check into Best Western Woodland Hills Inn, clean up and get ready for dinner

6:30 p.m. - Take a scenic drive to Malibu for dinner on the beach

8:00 p.m. - dinner reservations at Paradise Cove Beach Cafe

9:30 p.m. - drive back to hotel

11:00 p.m - try to get a good night's sleep





A few pics of our day…..

We enjoyed the scenic hills of southern California as we started our morning on the road, traveling from San Diego to the beach town of Newport.


Once finding affordable and accessible street parking, we enjoyed walking the quiet beach before the real reason for our stop in Newport opened its doors at 11:00 a.m.


Bear Flag Fish Company was the real reason for our stop:) Since it's on the way to LA from San Diego, it was MUST for us to stop here!


It’s really just a small town fish market, but they are very well known for making and selling fish tacos!


I had read that they had the best fish tacos on the west coast, and Matt and I were anxious to give them a try. As you can see, my husband agrees!!! At $3.50 per taco, the price is also a big thumbs up!


They were soooo good!  The freshest fish tacos I’ve ever had and one of my favorite meals on our trip!  My mouth is watering just thinking about them;)


After enjoying our snack, we made our way to Beverly Hills, Rodeo DriveThe only thing we bought in Beverly Hills was an hour of parking.  Not much to buy if you’re an average middleclass citizen on a budget, but that’s exactly what we anticipated.  Our stop to Rodeo Drive was merely for tourist reasons. 


Surprisingly, street parking was easy to find and affordable.  That’s about the only thing that was affordable though!  I was floored with the prices in all of the stores! 


Clearly these stores are for the rich, the famous and the person with lots of credit card debt.  When my husband looked at the store directory and jokingly asked me which way to Old Navy, I assured him that there weren't any Old Navy's or Target's on Rodeo Drive.  Seeing as how my entire outfit from that day (and most every day) came from Target’s clearance rack, TJ Max and Goodwill, I really didn’t fit in at this place!


After Beverly Hills, we were off to Hollywood!

Hollywood is one of those places that if you're in LA and you’ve never been, you kind of have to go just to say that you’ve been. 

Honestly, it’s not that exciting, or at least I didn’t think it was.  I knew that I would have that reaction about it, so I didn’t plan too much of our day here. 


Parking garages were not hard to find, and they were average parking garage prices.  We didn’t really spend any money here.  We just did the iconic things like walk the stars, take a picture of the sign, walk around the the Highlands Center (also the best place to get a picture of the sign), and photograph the handprints of the stars at the Chinese Theatre entrance.


Now that I’ve seen Hollywood once, I’d definitely skip it next time.



One of the things that we wanted to do on our trip was go to a restaurant that was showcased on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins & Dives.  When I discovered that there was such a diner in downtown LA, just fifteen minutes from Hollywood, I decided to give it a try.  I was hesitant about going downtown, because of all of the horror stories I had heard about LA traffic.  I was certainly relieved to discover that traffic wasn’t that bad at all while we were there!


We were even able to find affordable street parking right across from the restaurant! While I may have gotten luck with traffic and parking, I didn’t get so lucky with our restaurant.  After all of my research I somehow didn’t realize that Nickel Diner is closed from 3:30 to 6:00….and we showed up at 4:00!  Major Bummer!!!  There wasn’t any room in my itinerary to come back later, so we left this diner feeling a little defeated:(   It just goes to show that not everything goes according to plan.


We ended up checking into our hotel a little earlier than planned, so we went across the street where I had my first Jamba Juice experience….and might I say, it was a pretty good one:) The pomegranate pick-me-up was yummo!!! Wish we had these in Indy! 


We had dinner reservations in Malibu, but there wasn’t anyplace affordable for us to stay in Malibu. When researching hotels, it didn’t take me long to know that we weren’t going to be able to rub shoulders with celebrities. We were going to have to stay in one of the neighboring towns about 30 minutes outside of Malibu where normal people live. We ended up staying at a Best Western in Woodland Hills, a clean well-kept area outside ofMalibu thirty minutes away from where we were our dinner reservations were. We didn’t Priceline this hotel, because it was very important that we stayed within a decent proximity to our restaurant. While Priceline may have given us a better price on a hotel, putting the location in Priceline’s hands was a risk that could have given us a much longer drive to dinner than we wanted.




After checking into our hotel and cleaning up, we took a 3o minute scenic drive to Malibu.  The drive was beautiful.  I think it took us a little more than thirty minutes, just because we were taking in the scenery.  It definitely took us longer on the way back, because the roads were windy and not very residential, leaving us without any city lights for the majority of our drive.



Our scenic drive led us to Paradise Cove.


If you’re just coming for dinner, parking is very affordable.  If you’re coming for the day, expect to pay $30 per car to spend the entire day on beautiful Paradise Cove, enjoying the view…..

….and all of the amenities this place has to offer. With amenities like this, it can get crowded during the day.




We just came here to eat dinner and watch the sun set on this little piece of paradise.  If you ever choose to dine at Paradise Cove, be sure to make reservations.   We had reservations for 8:00, but walk-ins were easily waiting two hours or more to get a table.  The place gets packed!  The food is pretty good, but I’d say that the location is what really brings the people in.  The service, well the service kind of stunk and turned what could have been an awesome experience to a mediocre experience. Too many people and not enough staff!  It took forever to get our food, and our waiter had so many tables he couldn’t possibly pay attention to all of us.  Even though the service wasn’t great, the view would bring me back again;)



Day two of our trip was jam packed with fun!  Tonight, I'll post about the rest of our time in LA on day three.

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