Tag Archives: dating

9 Cheap Date Nights in Los Angeles

13 Sep

What girl doesn’t love date nights in LA? This city has so much to offer but many young couples run out of the funds AND ideas for a night out with their special someone in “la la land”.

Well, you’re in luck! I’m borderline obsessed with coming up with new places to see, cuisines to try, and amazing little gems to visit and take “selfies” at. I just don’t want to miss a thing! So many of my readers find my blog by searching date nights ideas in Los Angeles so I figured this will be a great piece! I’ve compiled several of my favorite things to do when my boyfriend and I have been going on one too many dates in the month and want to keep it a little low-key. Please excuse the word “cheap” in the title… I prefer the term frugal.

 medium_6086563819

 

1. Game Night

Board games are super underrated especially when you’re old enough to drink while playing. My dear friends, Seth and Amanda, invited us over for a big group date night at their house to play trivia and chow down on a potluck dinner. The night was FULL of laugh-out-loud knee-slappin’ fun! Potlucks are huge money-savers and it costs very little to whip up a semi-homemade chocolate cake or caprese salad to contribute as your dish. If you want to up the ante and get a little more rowdy, buy the exhilarating dice game called Left, Right, Center for like $6 at Party City or Target. It costs every player only $3 per game and you can end up winning the whole pot or losing just $3. The game is so exciting that my family has made it a tradition at every holiday to get tipsy and try to take each other’s money playing LRC.

An intense game of Left, Right, Center.

An intense game of Left, Right, Center.

2. Happy Hour

Countless bars and restaurants have fantastic happy hour prices for brews and appetizers so long as you are willing to make it an earlier night out than usual. My favorite spots for delicious discounted bites are Public School 612 in the heart of downtown LA and Dog Haus Biergarten in Old Town Pasadena. I love catching happy hours because you can still enjoy getting dolled up and dining out without the heavy bill at the end. Go to www.publicschool612.com and www.doghausdogs.com for hours and menus.

ps612

3. Night at the Museum

Almost all of our local museums in Los Angeles have one day out of the month when they waive their entrance fee. It’s just a matter of simply visiting their websites or giving them a call to find out when. Take advantage of this and get a little culture in for Free 99. LACMA is one of the most stunning museums I have visited in Los Angeles and they offer free general admission every second Tuesday of the month AND every single day after 3pm with proof of LA County residency. Bet you didn’t know that! Visit www.lacma.org for more details.

The famous lights of LACMA.

The famous lights of LACMA.

4. Date Night at Home

This does not mean sitting in front of the couch and watching TV like you do every day. Create a romantic atmosphere unlike any other night. Yes, get cheesy and light those candles if you have to! My boyfriend and I have been taking advantage of these warm summer nights and have been picking up sandwiches at our local Italian deli and taking a dip in our spa instead of our usual dinner and a movie. Dinner is normally $50+ and a movie these days for two is $40. That’s nearly a $100 night out!

Sandwiches and a $9 bottle of Lambrusco for dinner with our dogs at our feet. Can't beat that!

Sandwiches and a $9 bottle of Lambrusco for dinner with our dogs at our feet. Can’t beat that!

5. Downtown LA Art Walk

On the second Thursday of every month, over 50 art galleries between Spring and Main in downtown open their doors to the public for late-night self-guided tours throughout Gallery Row. The Art Walk has become a must-see for Los Angelenos and it is a perfect place to take a date to swoon over incredible pieces and seem just a little more refined. Visit www.dowtownartwalk.org for FAQ.

medium_4694954623

6. First Fridays at Abbot Kinney Blvd.

In the heart of Venice on Abbot Kinney Blvd, local merchants, artist and musicians come together on the first Friday of every month and throw one huge block party for the community. Entrance fee is $0 and you can come just to grab cheap eats at the food trucks, listen to great tunes, window shop and people watch… sometimes celebrity watch. Affordable and fun! Click on www.abbotkinney1stfridays.com for more info.

medium_7539739860

7. Eat Cheap

Explore the city’s historical food-lover landmarks like Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood and Philippe’s French-Dipped Sandwiches in Chinatown. Best places to fill up on a tight budget!

I asked the frequently asked and very mysterious question of what the correct pronunciation is, fi-leeps or fi-leep-ays. They said both!

I tried to solve the ongoing mystery of what the correct pronunciation is, fi-leeps or fi-leep-ays. They said both!

8. Host Sushi-Making Night

Obviously, I love group dates. After all, it is important to surround yourself with loving, happy couples to contribute to the health of your own relationship. Another way to stay home and save while still keeping it fresh is hosting an interactive make-your-own-dinner soiree. It takes a bit of effort but if everyone brings one ingredient, it lessens the expense and labor of hosting a normal dinner party. You will be surprised how much fun it is to do and it’ll have your friends talking about it for weeks. Don’t forget the sake!

My boyfriend's business associate threw a fabulous make your own pizza party.

My boyfriend’s business associate threw a fabulous make your own pizza party.

What a way to impress your friends by making them homemade pasta right in your kitchen! It's simple, too!

What a way to impress your friends by making them homemade pasta right in your kitchen! It’s simple, too!

9. Invite Yourself Over Your Friend’s Awesome Pad.

Bring a bottle of wine, of course. There’s nothing worse than friends who invite themselves over empty-handed! But ask your friends who have great entertaining houses if you can come over for a little backyard BBQ. Most people are more than willing to have you over but just never get around to planning something. Last minute, spontaneous get-togethers are the most fun.

The view of my boyfriend's business associate's gorgeous home in Newport Beach.

The view of my boyfriend’s business associate’s gorgeous home in Huntington Harbor.

A boat ride around our friends' front yard (Huntington Harbor). One of our most memorable date nights.

A boat ride around our friend’s front yard (Huntington Harbor). One of our most memorable date nights.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/krissen/6086563819/”>krissen</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/degilbo_on_flickr/4694954623/”>Degilbo on flickr</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/30122252@N02/7539739860/”>travelswithtwo</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

The Last Love

9 Jul

I saw this video on Facebook this morning and wanted to share it with you readers! Albeit super cheesy, it gives us hope that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how many failed romances you’ve been through, you will find someone to be your last love– the one that really counts.

Snooping Through His Cell

13 Jun

cell

It starts with a genuine curiosity or a slight inclination of dishonesty. The temptation to snoop through your guy’s cell phone is undeniably overwhelming when he leaves for work and forgets it on the kitchen counter or for some brave souls, just the few short minutes he’s on the porcelain throne.

It seems as though every that-asshole-cheated-on-me story starts with, “So, I was going through his _____.” Text messages, e-mail accounts, Facebook pages—none are off limits to a woman on a mission to find dirt on a guy. Then and only then do women give each other the subtle nod of understanding that silently admits I’ve been there. Snooping is this dirty little not-so-secret of ours that we know is morally wrong and totally embarrassing to admit to. However, the behavior is reinforced when we indeed find incriminating evidence justifying the detective work.

But before you go play Secret Agent (insert your name here), consider these reasons why going through your boyfriend’s cell phone is NOT such a good idea after all.

Respect Privacy. Having anyone go through your cell phone is a dreadful thought; it makes you feel naked and exposed. No matter how many years you’ve been together, everyone needs a bit of privacy.

If you feel guilty, it’s wrong. I’m a big believer while you are in a relationship, you shouldn’t do things you wouldn’t do in front of your partner. Going through your guy’s phone involves extensive planning on where to do it, how much time you have until he gets back, backtracking when you’re done to make it look untouched… One word: ANXIETY. If you feel uneasy, sneaky and ironically dishonest snooping, you probably should not be doing it.

jeal

Your perception becomes your reality. Text messages, in particular, are too often misconstrued; those darn winky faces are so vague! While playing detective, you’re already in the mindset that there is something to find so you are bound to take things out of context and think up an elaborate story as to why it is definitely cheating when it can be a truly harmless conversation you did not fully read or understand. After he explains that Samantha, the winky face sender, is his 12-year-old sister, you’ll feel this small *as I squint my eye through the tiny slit between my thumb and index finger*

It weakens your foundation. Trust is a major factor in a healthy, happy relationship. Duh. But while you think going through his phone to make sure you can trust him is the right move, you are setting the tone for the type of relationship you will have with him—untrusting. He will most likely find out, get mad, go through your phone, hide his, etc. Snooping is just the beginning of a serious downward spiral to the demise of your relationship. If you can’t take his word for it, you’ve got some reevaluating–not FBI work– to do.

You will get caught or tell on yourself by confronting him—either way, it’s not cute. No matter how hot you are, getting caught with your man’s iPhone in hand is not a good look. All men and women have insecurities but for some reason, seeing it on your partner is a major turn-off. No one can pull off the psycho girlfriend look very well.

detective

It’s counterproductive to building good communication. This post isn’t encouraging turning a blind eye to valid suspicions, but initiating an open and honest conversation about the issue is a healthier solution. Having a candid discussion with your partner about something that isn’t sitting well with you or even blatantly stating your temptation to go through his phone will be received much better than telling him after you already did it. Surprisingly, a lot of problems in any relationship are caused by lack of communication. Your guy will appreciate your maturity and may even show you his phone willingly.

Honesty is the best policy. After I had been with my current boyfriend for a few months, I felt I had to disclose to him my past experiences with my last ex being dishonest and sneaky. I told him that cheating and lying are my big deal-breakers and all he did was grab a pen and paper. As he was writing, he told me he never wanted me to feel that way while being with him and handed me the password that accesses every account he has. I looked at him in shock, smiled and did the same for him. Since then, neither of us ever feel the need to snoop knowing we’re both an open book. People will sometimes surprise you when you open up and make yourself a bit vulnerable. You might just find out they want the exact same thing.

The truth always comes out. Rest assured knowing cheaters always get caught without you having to waste time trying to catch them yourself.

This topic takes me back to one of my high school teachers, Mrs. Luce, asking the class (and I don’t even remember in what context), “Is ignorance bliss or is knowledge power?” The question stopped me in my tracks being so complex for my then boys-and-cheerleading-focused brain, and searching for the answer to this question still sticks with me today.

I think it’s fair to say I can’t fully commit to either statement. There are occasions when some things are better left unsaid in a relationship and other times when you have a right to be in the know of what’s going on. Unfortunately for our generation, dating in the social media/digital communication era does not come with a handbook. There is no black-and-white formula that works for every couple. So I’ll leave you in saying I believe ignorance is bliss when you are with someone who willingly gives you the power of knowledge.

snooping

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/yggg/2141154996/”>guccio@文房具社</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/65492342@N06/5961512696/”>marsmet463</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/amanky/2143541036/”>amanky</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

The Ex Collection

16 May

blog_ring

Whenever I visit my old room at my parents’ house I rummage through my bedroom drawers to take more and more clothes over to my new home with my boyfriend, Nathan. This afternoon, I came across my bottom drawer which I like to call “the ex boyfriend drawer”. I think a lot of girls have the same weird private collection of old memories from past relationships including pictures, birthday cards, concert tickets and movie stubs. Why do I keep all these things to remind myself of failure and heartbreak? I have no idea. But it’s just there… and has been for years.

I believe a part of me wanted to hold on to these things to remind myself of the good times with my exes. After a constant pattern of break-ups, I thought my dating life would always be tumultuous and unpredictable so why not hold on to the happy moments I once shared with these guys? It wasn’t until I met my current boyfriend that I felt I found someone worth throwing my past away– literally and figuratively.  Well, except the jewelry.

My "Ex Collection" of jewelry from Tiffany & Co.

My “Ex Collection” of jewelry from Tiffany & Co.

I still don’t know what to do with these nice rings/bracelets/necklaces as I would never wear them again—Can you imagine how my boyfriend would feel about me sporting a diamond promise ring from an ex?! But they do hold value and it would be foolish to just toss it out! I’m torn between keeping it for my future daughters to play with and selling them online on http://www.ExBoyfriendJewelry.com. I got a big kick out of watching a news segment on ABC’s Nightline which featured online websites dedicated for girls to sell jewelry from their exes. Genius idea!

The place that makes heartbreak a little less painful.

The place that makes heartbreak a little less painful.

It took me having to find someone I couldn’t even dream up to let go of my past. I can’t even say Nate is the man of my dreams because after years of dating in Los Angeles, I couldn’t imagine that guys like him (honest, loyal AND kind) even existed. Our relationship is not perfect by any means but I am able to speak so highly of him in my blog because of what being with him has taught me; that I deserve the best. Not only being treated the best by a man but treating myself with high regard. He inspired me to confront the fears and insecurities that resulted from failed relationships in order to be emancipated from the burden of always expecting the worst from men. Before I made the decision to let it all go, I was a prisoner of my past.

My only regret is that I did not realize this sooner and on my own. I allowed myself to not only hold on to physical things but the emotional pain from my past. Although I’m glad it finally happened, I wish it didn’t take me having to find a great guy to realize my worth. My hope for my readers, single and taken, is that this post gives you the courage to throw it all away, the emotional and physical baggage in your ex boyfriend drawer— except the jewelry! 😉

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdickert/2372131488/”>ilovebutter</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/skarpetka_/3321961367/”>skarpetka86</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

The Wedding Date

15 Apr

blog_kohler1

I had the privilege of being a “plus one” to an intimate Los Angeles ranch wedding last night. The early evening lighting was picture perfect, the deep love of a beautiful bride & groom in the air, and the drinks were flowing with a handsome man by my side— how much better can a date night get?

I was inspired to write this post because I’ve attended many weddings in this city as the wedding date. Being asked by your guy to accompany him to a friend or family member’s wedding is kind of a big deal. Most bachelors who are casually dating without a special someone would rather go stag and scope out the cute bridesmaids. The commitment-phobia guys are the number one offenders of dateless weddings. They like to avoid taking girls to weddings because all single girls—yes, all—are inevitably fantasizing of their own dream wedding to come. There’s nothing scarier to a label-fearing guy than the girl he’s sleeping with suddenly struck with wedding fever!

So, here are a few wedding etiquette tips to help you get ready to attend as your man’s special lady and +1.

 

DO show enthusiasm and appreciation for the invitation from your guy in a newer relationship. Inviting someone to a wedding during the early stages of a relationship takes a bit of courage.

DON’T leave him hanging. A wedding is an event with a required RSVP for a reason, not just for him but for the marrying couple. Being a no-show to a price-per-plate dinner is tacky.

DO help him pick out the wedding gift. Most guys need a little direction when navigating through Crate & Barrel’s gift registry. And yes, always shop specific to the registry.

DO have fun getting ready together. Weddings are like proms for adults. It’s just so much fun to get your hair done, finally wear the special occasion dress hanging in your closet, and maybe put together a subtle match of colors with your date.

My wedding date and I decided to make a fun day of getting ready! First, I had to take him to one of my favorite stylists to tame his mane.

My wedding date and I decided to make a fun day of getting ready! First, I had to take him to one of my favorite stylists to tame his mane.

Then we had a nice, quiet lunch at the delicious Italian eatery, Mi Piace in Pasadena. We even caught a magic show on the sidewalk afterwards!

Then we had a nice, quiet lunch at the delicious Italian eatery, Mi Piace in Pasadena. We even caught a magic show on the sidewalk afterwards!

...And we're off!

…And we’re off!

DON’T wear a white dress. This one’s a no-brainer. I hesitate to even wear beige. White is for the bride ONLY.

DO wear waterproof mascara. Watching couples exchange nuptials gets me every time.

DON’T overdo it. Dress for a wedding as if you were having dinner with Oprah. You don’t want his friends whispering about your cleavage—think flowy and sweet. Modest dress + statement necklace= golden.

DO come prepared to answer the “Are you guys next?” question. When you get to a certain age and have been together for enough time, people are naturally curious when you’ll take the next step. Keep your responses brief, optimistic, and light-hearted. Now is not the time to pour your heart out and tell guests how long you’ve been waiting for him to pop the damn question already!

blog_doobs1

DO bring cash to tip the bartender! Many weddings have an open bar with complimentary drinks but make sure you’re carrying enough change to take care of your server.

DON’T get wasted if you’re the plus one and you’re not too familiar with his group of friends yet. Save yourself and your date the embarrassment.

blog_doobs 2

DO become familiar with formal place settings prior to the wedding. The trick to all those utensils? Work from the outside inward. And your bread plate is always to your left. Also, holding your fancy glass from the stem is considered the proper way to drink.

DO mingle with strangers at your assigned dinner table. You want your date to be confident in choosing a social, friendly gal as his date.

DON’T worry about that weird superstition where it’s bad luck to say, “Best wishes” to the groom and “Congratulations” to the bride. Showing happiness and well wishes is always appreciated– no matter how it’s said.

CHEESE!

CHEESE!

DO take lots of photos. I grew up in a family where home videos and family photos are cherished. Life is not only too short but too beautiful to not capture.

DO enjoy being in the presence of true love.

blog_kohler7

 

THANK YOU READERS FOR HELPING LIVE AND LOVE IN L.A. REACH OVER 5,300 VIEWS! I’M SO HAPPY TO KNOW YOU LOVE “LOVE” AS MUCH AS I DO! KEEP THE REQUESTS COMING!

LOVE, JOYCE

The Bright Side To Being Single

27 Mar

blog_bright

Everyone has that friend who doesn’t know the right thing to say when you’re down and out. My favorite panic-mode sympathy line is, “Well, look on the bright side….” Then, they proceed to tell you a bunch of lame reasons you should be happy in a shitty situation.

Well, this blog post is not going to be that. Sure, it’s a look-on-the-bright-side theme but it’s a list of actually awesome reasons why staying single in Los Angeles really IS something to be celebrated.

I turned to two of my best single girlfriends, Chanel and Rachel, for some input on why being a 20-something single girl is flirty and fabulous!

1. You didn’t settle. Be thankful you’re alone rather than being like your girlfriend who’s miserably with her broke, rude or cheating boyfriend who she can’t seem to break up with.

2. YOU TIME. Your weekends aren’t shared with anyone unless you want them to be. You can pick and choose when you want to be around your friends, go on a date, or just take a bubble bath at home on a Friday night. No obligations.

blog_bath

3. You learn independence. All women, single and taken, need to learn how to fend for themselves.

4. Ladies Night! Being single gives you ample time to spend with the people who understand you the most, your girls. When you have a boyfriend, it’s inevitable to disappear a little in your little cloud of love. As a taken woman, my occasional girls’ nights are such a breath of fresh air. I love my relationship but there’s nothing like a little girl talk over a glass of wine.

5. You don’t have to shave your legs if you don’t feel like it (the best reason, in my opinion—by Rachel).

6. You save money. Having a boyfriend can get expensive on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Being single has you spending only on family, SOME friends, but mostly yourself.

blog_money

7. Guilt-free flirting. There’s something about not having anyone to report to. You can go out, talk to as many guys as your little heart desires and give out your number as many times as you want.

8. Nobody is judging you. I’d be lying to say I do whatever I want when I want while being in a relationship. My boyfriend gives me the evil eye when my weekly online shopping packages arrive. Whenever he comes around while I’m browsing the Hautelook iPhone app, I quickly press the button to the homepage and pretend I’m just checking my e-mails. This doesn’t happen when you’re single.

9.  You don’t have a mother-in-law.

10. You can do weird things with no one looking. Come on, girls, we all have strange rituals we like to keep to ourselves.  I purposely watch reruns of Full House while my boyfriend is at work. Shhh! #dontjudgeme

11. Your decision to go to a wild weekend in Vegas with the girls doesn’t start with, “Babe… I was wondering… if maybe… I could possibly…”

12. Giving your heart a break. The ups and down of romance are sometimes just too much to endure. Flying solo= no fights, no bickering, no heartbreak.

13. No one is counting your cocktails. During a night on the town you don’t have the constant whisper, “Is that your third Cosmo?”  You’re single and you’ll get shitfaced if you want to!

blog_drinks

14. It’s more fun to laugh at couples’ dramatic Facebook posts or Tweets when they’re fighting if you’re single. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s pretty entertaining regardless!

15. Finally, the most important upside to being single is learning to love yourself. I’m a firm believer that you can’t fully love someone until you truly love yourself; who you are, what you stand for, what you love to do and how you treat others. Self-love is something no man can ever fulfill.

So, while you wait for your knight in shining BMW, learn to appreciate all that single life has to offer. It’s pretty fun and fabulous!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/66126733@N04/6388029897/”>Rising Damp</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/thelotuscarroll/5604394083/”>Lotus Carroll</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanschertzer/6884422115/”>Carsten Schertzer</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/feastguru_kirti/2571928895/”>Kirti Poddar</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Foodie Fridays: Mind-blowing Munchies

12 Mar

Thanks to my blog host, WordPress, I’m able to track which of my posts are viewed the most, what countries my readers are from (shout-out to all you awesome foreign country readers), and what search terms are put into Google to find Live & Love in L.A. My favorite findings are the search terms; everything from your typical “why didn’t he call after our first date?” to “what to wear on a blind date” and “why guys are such assholes”—Yes, someone actually found my blog typing that in. However, the most views come from people searching “ideas for Los Angeles date night.”

So, I thought it was the perfect time for a Foodie Friday feature on the most mouth-watering bites I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in Los Angeles. I know it’s not Friday but give me a break! I’m in nursing school, bartend part-time, co-own a bar catering company, and blog my little heart out. I’m constantly a hot mess—but I try my best to post once a week. 🙂

Here are 3 must-try date night spots with mind-blowing munchies in Los Angeles:

1. Animal

435 N. Fairfax Ave.

Los Angeles, CA. 90048

323.782.9225

1414

1415

Animal Restaurant is insane—in the best way possible. It’s a true nightmare for vegans but Heaven on Earth for us carnivores. The entire menu is dedicated to outrageously bizarre bites made from parts of animals most food amateurs would cringe at. My palate, on the other hand, is adventurous, to say the least. Whenever I visit the Philippines, my cousins constantly dare me to eat weird things like balut (fertilized duck embryo) and fried baby chick fetus on a stick… from shady streets carts… and I do it– happily. Animal is much more refined than a Filipino street cart but their cuisine style isn’t far off. You won’t be the same after sinking your teeth into their rich chicken liver toast or scraping out the marrow right off the bone and spreading it onto a perfectly crunchy buttered toast. After dining here you won’t even correlate bacon with pork anymore—instead, crunchy pig ears! Basically, you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten at Animal. My basic rule for good eating: try everything once.

2. Picca

9575 W. Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA. 90035

310.277.0133

1516

This trendy Peruvian gem brings Los Angeles the best:

Antichuco -amazingly tender meat skewers

Causa -basically Peruvian sushi—picture delicate piles of spicy albacore on a bed of yellow mashed potato in perfectly bite-sized squares

Ceviche -everyone knows what ceviche is but Picca’s is with the high-quality halibut or seabass with sweet potatoes for that Peruvian twist

Choritos– last but certainly not least, the most incredible mussels dish I’ve ever had. Ever. Swimming in Amarillo butter.

I love that you can snack on comfort food with an upscale twist in a high-volume, sexy atmosphere. Everything from the eye-catching entrance to the wildly talented mixologists whipping up Pisco Sours behind the bar, Picca is sure to put the WOW factor into your dining experience. *If you’re really feeling brave, ask for the Avocado Project cocktail.*

3. CaCao Mexicatessen

1576 Colorado Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA. 90041

323.478.2791

I don’t want to be criticized for being “too bougie” and only suggesting fancier, pricey places. So if you’re on a budget but still want to impress a date with a restaurant selection, go straight to CaCao in Eagle Rock. It’s 1,000 times better than your typical Mexican cuisine and has “unique” written all over it! Under their “favorites” menu lays their famous duck confit and fried duck skin tacos which both are a must. Although, my #1 pick and what I will continue to come back for is the Elote de la Calle—corn on the cob covered in cotija cheese, drizzled with a light cream and finished with powdered chile. Thank you, food gods. Oh, and their drinks hold their own, too! Delicious Corona Micheladas rimmed with spicy chili salt and for a liquid dessert, Abuelita’s hot chocolate. YUM.

1421

1420

1419

1418