I recently went to LA and mostly stayed in Topanga Canyon, a village-like community nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains. While I was visiting, the cops found 5,000 tons of marijuana plants growing in Topanga State Park, probably not far from where we hiked that same morning. I don’t think anyone in Topanga was surprised, there’s kind of a green haze floating over the entire place. Maybe that’s why once you’re up there it’s hard to leave. When I did go down the hill, here are a few things that I would recommend doing (most of them scouted out in advance by my bff).
Eat breakfast at Old Place
I love a man behind a bar with a husky voice and good arms. It’s all the more fitting when he’s serving me coffee in a tin cup in a restaurant that resembles an old western saloon. Old Place was converted from an old country store in the 1970s, and it feels like a time capsule in the middle of nowhere (or more specifically the Santa Monica Mountains). The beer tap in front of me was made with some kind of animal horn, country music played in the background, and the 20-foot bar runs parallel to a number of wooden booths hidden by their high partitions. The porch outside feels weathered. The food isn’t amazing, but it’s good and worth the experience. The granola comes in a giant bowl of fresh berries and melons, tasty almonds and pecans, and creamy yogurt, and it would easily serve three people. The fritata, which came out in a mini cast iron pan, was fine. The bacon was super thick, but wouldn’t cowboys want it that way? Go early to avoid a wait.
You have to walk down some steps, cross a slightly hairy bed of rocks, but it’s worth it. Point Dume is a quiet strip of beach past Malibu hidden by the dramatic cliffside above it— from the top all you see is blue waters and the view doesn’t change too much from the sand. There were a few wet dogs running around, a couple playing early 90s rock (could have been worse), but otherwise the crowd was minimal and low key.
Shop at Melrose Trading Post
$3 gets you in to this antique/flea market that doesn’t feel much different from any other antique market in California except that it’s smaller and more manageable, and amongst the booths of dyded cutoffs and costume jewelry there are actually some good deals.
Grab an ice cream sandwich at Coolhaus
Outside of the Trading Post is an ice cream truck, which isn’t normally my thing, but I was hot and the bullshit green juice I had at some pristine salon-looking juice shop wasn’t satisfying me. The gluten free coconut almond cookie was chewy and soft but held up well as I ungracefully munched my way to the chocolate cointrea ice cream.
Get some sample dresses at Shopaholic Sample Sales
This one is for the ladies. Find beautiful, affordable, samples from a range of designers. They had a huge selection of dresses from formal to casual, and some great leggings and casual tops. It’s a small store so it’s not so overwhelming, but every time I went back to the rack I was damned to find something new. The dressing room is one big shared room, so remember to wear cute underwear.
Old Place, get there early
Point Dume There’s a sign and a small parking lot on top of a cliff, best to park in the residential area. This should get you there.
Melrose Trading Post , Sundays from 9-5, $3 entry
Coolhaus , Follow on Twitter for locations
Shopaholic Sample Sales