Jun 28, 2016


Life in Venice California. Without sounding unhappy at the fact that I am currently in Paris typing this... TAKE ME BACK! #SecondHome

For one month, B and I were living smack in the middle of an epic epicentre of awesomeness!! We felt it, and have also had it confirmed by a local. There are 4 main roads in Venice and it’s the space in between them all where magic happens! And we were living in the middle of it all ~ a very cool, lengthy, synchronistic tale as to how we nabbed the place we did as well. Added bonus, is that these 4 roads are the hippest places for food, coffee, and shopping in Venice, and they are all walking distance from where we were living on 6th Ave.

1. Rose Ave - This once sleepy street is quickly becoming the smartest place to eat, drink and be merry. Cafe Gratitude, Wholefoods, GroundWorks Coffee House, Yoga Collective, and the local Laundromat of course!

2. Abbot Kinney - What isn’t on this strip? Epic eateries, coffee shops, restaurants, ice cream parlours that always have a line out the door, gorgeous clothing stores, and Robert Downey Jnr lives here. And prior to his fame in Marvel films when Hollywood didn’t want to know him, you can see why he lived here. It’s definitely his kinda tribe. Abbot Kinney is a mesh of vibes from Byron Bay + Enmore Sydney inner city chic. THE place to be seen on the weekends with an ice cream, coffee or juice in hand. Oh, don't forget to wear your felt hat though!

3. Lincoln - This kinda feels like Sydney’s Pacific highway, where some parts are dead and other parts are bustling hot spots. This road seems to ‘seperate’ one side of Venice from the other at the north.

4. Main St - Everything is along here. Unlike Lincoln, the entire Main St which runs from Venice all the way to Santa Monica is lined with shops, stores, cafe, restaurants, you name it… and includes Kippys Dairy free Ice Cream, and Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Cafe - two of our fav’s.

ABBOT KINNEY - Image from here

Having grown up in Sydney (and the point I’m trying to make here is that it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world) I’ve kinda been blessed in that the cost of everything in Sydney is "my normal”. Which is why I find Cairns a cheap place to live. Everything costs less for what you get. It also means that whenever I travel, most places are going to cost me less than being in Sydney.

However, as I am a health nerd seeking out the coolest and best health supplements, products, services, places and people I can find over in LA, and the exchange rate is not in Aussie’s favour right now, I can say that LA is proving more expensive right now.

Did that stopped me? Well kinda yes and kinda no. If I want something, I have a very hard time not getting it. It’s a trait both my mother and my father have (even though what they choose to spend their money on may differ considerably), and one that my sisters also have.
I’m also very good at justifying what I spend my money on (but aren’t we all?).

So here I really want to share what I have learnt, found out and discovered being in and around parts of LA for 2 months, on how to do cool epic shit whilst keeping spending reasonable... and then add in a few extra awesome-sauce bits and pieces that you can take or leave.

My Fav Cheap-As-Chips Bits:

+ Farmers Markets. I’m sure they are everywhere but as we’re living in Venice I only know our local ones. But I think that markets across the globe have to be the cheapest, the most fun, the freshest and the most economical way to buy produce. I do it in Cairns. I did it in Sydney. I did it in LA. Next up is Europe.
> The Venice Farmers Markets on a Friday 8am-11am are small but it's a little goldmine. Be sure to try the Korean food - black bean tempeh, daikon radish and her veggie broth were our weekly staple. One large organic stall has the best greens around, and the best organic berries ~ we spent $50US most weeks on the berries alone.
> Santa Monica Markets are on Main Street every Sunday til 1pm. You can grab produce here too as well as local meats, eggs, jewellery and a few other things, but it's very popular as a Sunday lunch spot with mates in the sun (after a beach sesh). Mexican, pancakes, omelettes, burritos, fresh juices, vego and vegan and gluten free options, churros, you name it! Enjoy the live music sitting on the grass.

+ Venice Beach Pier to Santa Monica Pier Path. Walk it or bike it! Be sure to stop at either end for a juice or lunch.

+ Trader Joes. Yep I'm listing a supermarket on here. I absolutely love this place but the closest to us was a drive away (which seems so unusual for us walking and riding lovers). It’s a grocery store and super cute; they hand write and design their fruit and veg labels and they are the cutest. Prices are good. Organic and conventional. Much smaller than Wholefoods so easier to whip around real quick.

+ Kippy’s Ice Cream. Organic, Dairy free and sweetened with coconut sugar or honey. And you can get the whole shebang like you did when you were a kid too - crushed nuts, cacao nibs, fruits, chocolates, caramel or chocolate sauce… And again, all certified amazing for you!

+ Groundworks. Organic coffee. Iced or hot. Plain and simple. Cheap prices if you like to go out for your daily cuppa joe. They are as popular as Starbucks over here so you'll find them everywhere.

F45 Venice do a 2 week free intro
The Yoga Collective do a $49 month (for newbies) 
Buy a bike if you’re here longer than a week. Or get a local hire place to do you a deal. You will always be able to sell the bike when you leave. It is the easiest way to get around when most things are just that little bit too far on foot if you wanna “duck down to the shops”
Uber and Lyft. The only ways to get around LA if you don't have your own car.
+ Little further a field… drive to Topanga Canyon for free hiking, magnificent views of the ocean and day outta the city crowds


My In-Between-Go-Here-A-Few-Times Spots:

These are perhaps not your daily go-to’s, but can definitely be frequented more than a one off!

+ Cafe Gratitude, Rose Ave. Incredible food. Beautiful staff. Ridiculous raw treats and amazing elixir tonics. All vego. All organic. Some raw. No place like it!

+ Whole foods. An institution it seems, although hardcore organics fans and are longer Wholefoods fans it seems, as they like to portray they are all organic when in fact they are not. So be sure to know what you’re buying here. Having said that, their stores are HUGE and if you’ve never been in, make sure you do. If you’re a fan of food, allow 2 hours to get through it all. I’m not joking, you will want to look at, read, discover, taste, try and buy everything.

+ Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. Fancy a bit of retail therapy? This is a strip of stores and shops, cafes and restaurants that is bustling with people on weekends so if you don’t love crowds, go during the week. H&M, Lululemon, Zara, Apple, Urban Outfitters, Athleta, Cotton On… you get the gist.

+ Bulletproof Cafe, Main St. Ha! We went pretty much everyday! If you're a Bulletproof coffee fan and also happen to be a cool social guy who loves meeting like minded people, grab a coffee, take your laptop, and sit at what we termed The Boardroom Table... we easily met a good 9 of out 10 of our close Venice mates here. Hot coffee and iced coffee (yes, I don't know how they do it iced without lumpy bits of butter, but it's unreal!). Their food menu is delicious as well.

+ Soul Cycle, Santa Monica. DO IT! It's no secret I love a great workout class! Music pumping, group energy rising, good vibes, happy sweaty faces. And this was on my bucket list to do in LA as it ain't in Oz. It's essentially a glorified spin class that will cost you more, but you've gotta try it once! First timers are $20US a class. After that it's $30US a class. Like I said, just try it once.

BULLETPROOF CAFE JAMS - Main St, Santa Monica (Venice border)

My Creme-de-la-Creme Places I Am Absolutely In Love With:

+ Erewhon, LA/Venice/Calabasas. Most people have heard of Wholefoods and any Aussie health nut I know loves it. But if your health regime is a notch up from just eating “healthy foods” and serious health is your jam, Erewhon is the Disneyland of health nerds. You can very easily drop a couple hundred bux in here, and I dare you to only buy what you went in there for! It never happens (a trip for bananas cost us $80). We were here on the daily and came good friends with all the staff. I also grabbed a few new supplements from here as the range is literally the creme de la creme!

+ Dragon Herbs, Santa Monica. If you’re a Traditional Chinese Medicine fan I’m talking to you. These are the most incredible herbs on the planet and for years I have wanted an entire collection of these tinctures lining my kitchen bench (one day, just you wait!). The entire range of herbal liquids, capsules, teas, and herbs can be found in store (you can also buy drinks from the elixir bar at the Beverly Hills location). If you have any health stuff going on, I recommend popping in and chatting to one of the very well educated staff in here and walk out with some of the best Chinese herbs available to you.

+ Cryotherapy. Another thing that was on my bucket list. Touted as the new revolution in sports therapies, professionals are ditching the iced baths in favour for this, due to new research proving them ice baths are not the best, and cryotherapy is safer, gentler, quicker, and much more effective. Now I'm no athlete, but the benefits of getting naked (with booties and gloves on) and standing in a nitrogen chamber at temperatures between -110 and -140 degrees celcius, could be great so why not give it a go! Initially I was ok. Of course a tad chilly. But as time passed by slowly, the entire 3 minutes I was in there felt like an eternity, as I almost didn't last. My entire body was shaking, not just shivering, and my ass went numb! It was a fun experience and I did feel fresh and alive afterwards... not sure I'll ever do it again though :)
There are different types of cryo chambers - some head down pods and some full body rooms. Prices vary too but everywhere I saw did a first-time special. Expect to pay between $35US and $50 for your first 3 minute go!

+ Lunch at The Ritz, Marina del Rey. Their menu is organic and local (and so freaking delicious) and you can sit right on the marina, or inside by the fireplace… And if you’re celebrating anything, their champagne list is extensive (and expensive) and sure to add pizazz to any celebration.

SANTA CRUZ CRYOTHERAPY - You can find them all over LA as well though

That's about it from me and my health foodie and fit foodies guide to Venice, California.
Keep your eyes peeled for another post on the road trips we did throughout Cali, as well as foodie-Euro versions in the next month or so as I find my way around the food spots here as well. 

But before I go... Have you been to Venice or California before and have your own fav food spots? Fitness spots. Health must haves? Please let me know in the comments below!

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