los angeles

Bon Appétit Hot 10

[trip style = food & wine] 

It's the third week of August and that means one thing for gourmet globetrotters: the release of Bon Appétit's Hot 10 list of the best new restaurants in America. This annual list is our go-to source for first-rate restaurants from casual luncheonettes to approachable fine dining. When we're looking for a great restaurant in a city we're visiting, we always reference the Hot 10 list, as well as the magazine's list of top 50 nominees from the past few years.

One of my most memorable dining experiences—and my number-one recommended restaurant in San Francisco—was in Bon Appétit's best new restaurant of 2012, State Bird Provisions. At this gorgeous hotspot in the Western Addition, food is served dim sum style off carts rolled past your table by friendly servers. With unique dishes and a great wine list, this restaurant is way more than a gimmick and definitely worth the inevitable line-up!

As a Trip Styler team we've dined at several other hot 10 restaurants: Luce, Ava Gene's and Måurice in Portland, Westward and The Walrus and the Carpenter in Seattle, Grand Central Market Los Angeles and Rolf & Daughters in Nashville. All Trip Styler approved!

Trip Styler Tip: If you can't make it to San Francisco, Seattle, Indianapolis, Austin, Chicago, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Davidson, NC this year, bring these award-winning restaurant meals to your kitchen with these recipes.

What better reason to explore a new or favorite city for a weekend getaway than a few outstanding meals? Is San Francisco calling? Or is it North Carolina? I can't wait to sink my teeth into Austin. Check out this year's Hot 10.

#1 -  AL's Place  / San Francisco

#1 - AL's Place / San Francisco

#2 -  Gjusta  / Los Angeles

#2 - Gjusta / Los Angeles

#3 -  Petit Trois  / Los Angeles

#3 - Petit Trois / Los Angeles

#4 -  Semilla  / Brooklyn

#4 - Semilla / Brooklyn

#5 -  Parachute  / Chicago

#5 - Parachute / Chicago

#6 -  Dai Due  / Austin

#6 - Dai Due / Austin

#7 -  Kindred  / Davidson, NC

#7 - Kindred / Davidson, NC

#8 -  Rintaro  / San Francisco

#8 - Rintaro / San Francisco

#9 -  Manolin  / Seattle

#9 - Manolin / Seattle

#10 -  Milktooth  / Indianapolis

#10 - Milktooth / Indianapolis

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

Related
San Francisco :: Eat
Spotlight :: Miami
Oregon Travel Diary :: Feasting on Portland
LA, Seriously

[top image and photo collages by @heatherlovesit, all other images via bon appétit]

LA, Seriously

AceDTLosAngeles

[trip style = urban + food+wine]

I take Los Angeles very seriouslypossibly even more seriously than it takes itself.

When I descend upon the City of Angels, very little is left up to chance. While I'm all for discovery and strolling through a destination like a bon vivant unhindered by time or money, LA demands a plan. There's too much to see. Too much to do. Too much to take in. {Mostly because the sprawling city surrounded by hills, dusted in glitter and sprayed by the Pacific Ocean offers every trip style in one stay.

And so, instead of becoming overwhelmed by its never-ending neighborhoods and revolving door of what's new, I choose to embrace its spirit of re-invention, keeping a growing list on my iPhone of all the hotels, restaurants and shops I want to make part of my {ongoing} LA Story.

Because seriously, I don't want to leave a visit up to chance. Here are the standouts from my December 2014 LA-tinerary:

Eat

Superba Food + Bread : Because is there anything better than bread on a board {and a treat spread so tempting you  have to  order one of everything}?

Superba Food + Bread: Because is there anything better than bread on a board {and a treat spread so tempting you have to order one of everything}?

LAMILL COFFEE : A reccurring stop on my long-time LA hit list. Think coffee so good you want to stick around for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

LAMILL COFFEE: A reccurring stop on my long-time LA hit list. Think coffee so good you want to stick around for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Hart and the Hunter : Simple, everyday food "updid" with a Southern twang. 

The Hart and the Hunter: Simple, everyday food "updid" with a Southern twang. 

L.A. Chapter : A breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks brasserie bringing a dose of Brooklyn to the Ace Hotel Downtown LA. 

L.A. Chapter: A breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks brasserie bringing a dose of Brooklyn to the Ace Hotel Downtown LA. 

Moon Juice : With juice so good {for you}, you'll make Jim Carrey faces as you sip.

Moon Juice: With juice so good {for you}, you'll make Jim Carrey faces as you sip.

eggslut : Once a food truck { I visited three years ago }, it's now a brick and mortar serving breakfast-fabulous food all day long. Visit early or in off-hours to avoid the line.

eggslut: Once a food truck {I visited three years ago}, it's now a brick and mortar serving breakfast-fabulous food all day long. Visit early or in off-hours to avoid the line.

Breakfast at eggslut

Breakfast at eggslut

DTLA Cheese at  Grand Central Market : A 1917-built ode to food in the heart of downtown LA featuring a smorgasbord of hip chow from eggslut to bakeries and taco shops to pizzerias.  

DTLA Cheese at Grand Central Market: A 1917-built ode to food in the heart of downtown LA featuring a smorgasbord of hip chow from eggslut to bakeries and taco shops to pizzerias.  

Bottega Louie : It's rare for me to visit LA without making a stop at Bottega because of their  macarons , impeccable marble-clad environs and Italy-meets-West-Coast cuisine.

Bottega Louie: It's rare for me to visit LA without making a stop at Bottega because of their macarons, impeccable marble-clad environs and Italy-meets-West-Coast cuisine.

TERRONI Downtown LA : Born in Italy, based in Toronto and bre{a}d in LA. 

TERRONI Downtown LA: Born in Italy, based in Toronto and bre{a}d in LA. 

Commissary : Where a veggie garden had a baby with old-school comfort food at The Line Hotel.

Commissary: Where a veggie garden had a baby with old-school comfort food at The Line Hotel.

A portion of my dinner at Commissary

A portion of my dinner at Commissary

*You may notice many of the restaurants above appear empty... That's because I went midweek during off-hours to avoid waiting because I was traveling with Baby Styler. 

Stay

Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles : My stay for part one of my LA-tinerary. With cool restaurants, a rooftop pool and bar, included WiFi and rooms with their own guitars, how could I refuse? 

Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles: My stay for part one of my LA-tinerary. With cool restaurants, a rooftop pool and bar, included WiFi and rooms with their own guitars, how could I refuse? 

Ace lobby

Ace lobby

Ace room

Ace room

Ace room

Ace room

The Line Hotel : Koreatown's hippest hotel

The Line Hotel: Koreatown's hippest hotel

The Line

The Line

The Line room

The Line room

Shop

There is soooo much shopping I could have done in LA, but my time was tight so I focused on my first love: Purses from  Clare V.  I've worn  one of her bags  for the past five years and since it held its shape and looks near-new after a half-decade, I decided to  add  to my collection.   

There is soooo much shopping I could have done in LA, but my time was tight so I focused on my first love: Purses from Clare V. I've worn one of her bags for the past five years and since it held its shape and looks near-new after a half-decade, I decided to add to my collection.   

The Savvy Traveler :: Leighann

[trip style = urban]

This post is written by Trip Styler fashion and lifestyle blogger Heather.

When I buy clothes I lean towards shopping at boutiques, because how often do you become friends with the salesperson at a large retailer? Leighann Boquist is the owner of Vancouver women's clothing shop Oliver & Lilly's, where she counts her customers as her friends. At her shop, you'll find gorgeous clothing, accessories and lifestyle goods sourced from Tofino to Montreal and Los Angeles to London. Leighann and her husband travel to NY and LA twice a year to buy for the store, but as a lover of trip style = urban, she always makes sure to tack on a few extra days to explore and enjoy the cities she's come to know so well after running her shop for five years. I asked Leighann to let us in on her favorite spots and share how she travels, embodying the effortlessly chic ethos of Oliver & Lilly's.

1/ Bi-coastal accommodations
LA
We always try to stay for a little over a week during our LA trips and prefer booking a vacation rental over a hotel to experience the city like a local. We either stay in Santa Monica, Venice or Silver Lake. Finding your own little gem through Airbnb or VRBO isn’t too tough and these neighborhoods are a great starting point. We always try to ensure we're walking distance to good shopping, coffee and a grocer.

NY
In New York we stay at a boutique hotel in Murray Hill called Park South. It's central enough to everything -- buying appointments, subway stations, restaurants, etc. There’s just something so perfectly Manhattan about a historic boutique hotel with a top-hatted doorman and a lobby lounge filled with jazz music.

2/ Go-to spots for food & fun
LA
Cora’s in Santa Monica is our brunch spot. Great pancakes and a short walk to Venice Beach. Our favorite way to lunch is at local food trucks like Kogi BBQ. There are usually a few trucks parked along Abbot Kinney in Venice. During our last trip, a good friend introduced us to a cool restaurant in the Arts District called Church & State as well as this awesome little coffee joint a few doors down called The Daily Dose. For dinner, Little Dom’s (Los Feliz) or Cliff’s Edge (Silver Lake) -- they have the best fries and the space is breathtaking. We try to hit up some concerts when we’re in town. Before we leave, we check to see if our favorite bands are playing or we scout out the marquees at venues in Silver Lake. Our cottage in Santa Monica is close to the Aero Theatre, so we always take in a film or two while there. You can often catch special screenings with director’s Q&A. And wherever we go, we search for bookstores; our latest find is The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA.

NY
In the mornings, we get a coffee and oatmeal or a bagel on the street from a local deli. For lunch, Le Moulin à Café on the Upper East Side is lovely and for dinner we totally crave Café Habana in Nolita -- the Cuban corn on the cob is drop dead delicious. My favorite thing to do in NY is visit the art galleries -- large and small. Grab a coffee and browse around the neighborhoods, shop at local haunts, stroll through Barneys and walk up Fifth Avenue to check out the department store windows. Two must-stops are ABC Carpet & Home and The Strand Bookstore.

Trip Styler Tip: Leighann's husband lines up with the locals at a little neighborhood grocery store called 21 Crosby Deli (corner of Crosby & Grand). They serve a mean -- and budget-friendly -- Reuben and he usually gets a "bonus" BLT to go. When in SoHo...

3/ Perfect travel wear
Well, I pretty much have a uniform and am function over form -- not much changes when I travel. On the plane I’m usually in skinny jeans, a cashmere sweater and flats or sneakers. In my suitcase you’ll find the same pieces with a few additions: coat, scarf, blazer, leather pants, boots and yoga gear. I use my Clare Vivier La Tropezienne bag as a carry on with a Heidi Merrick clutch inside that stores all my grab-and-go items: wallet, chapstick, iPod, hand towelettes and notepad.

Trip Styler Tip: Leighann always travels with Herban Essentials Towelettes. These individually wrapped, made in California, essential oil towelettes come in great scents like lemon, lavender and peppermint. Find them in her store or check here for a retailer near you. {$20 for 22 towelettes}

5/ Destination on your radar
We’re pipe-dreaming Paris right now for Fall '14, so stay tuned.

More Savvy Travelers
Carolyn, Pro Wanderer
Jesse, I'm With The Band
Jackie, Paris Is Always A Good Idea
Lori, A License To Move

{If you know anyone who should be featured in our Savvy Traveler series, drop us a line!}

[photos by @heatherlovesit]

Fashion Friday :: Summer Style With Heidi Merrick

{Editor's Note: One of my fave things to do in Vancouver is attend the Vancouver Art Gallery's seasonal FUSE events, and this summer's edition is going to be BIG: think dance, DJs and world-class art... Matisse, people! Comment on any Trip Styler post -- and like us on Facebook if you're not already a fan -- FOR A CHANCE TO WIN two FUSE tickets for Friday, July 6th (8pm - 1am), a $50 value. Contest open Friday June 29th to Wednesday July 4th at noon. Winner must be from Canada or the US, be over 19 and respond to the email with winner details by Thursday July 5th at noon.}

Summer: Hey you! I'm here now! Me: Finally, you little tease. Summer: I come at the same time every year... Me: I know, I just wish you were here all the time. I was ready for beach days, iced coffee and shorts forever ago. Summer: Well then move to California, why don't you? Me: Touché, Summer, touché.

It's officially summer. Unless, of course, you live in the Southern Hemisphere, but I digress. What was it the Fresh Prince said about Summertime? "The weather is hot and girls are dressing less". True that, Will Smith.

When I think of summer style, I think of Heidi Merrick. Raised in Carpinteria and based in Los Angeles, this true Californian creates beautiful clothes that are summer personified. Her spring 2012 collection is an homage to the glamour of 80s pro surfing, a culture that embodied her upbringing since her father made surfboards and her mother owned a surf shop. Her clothes have a breezy west coast ease to them, but always with a special touch -- a little somethin' somethin' that sets them apart. Bonus: they're made in LA within walking distance from her studio.

Here's a mini Q&A with Heidi, who believes that when dressing for the beach, you should dress to honor the beach. {I love that. Thanks Heidi!} And what better way to honor the coast than by rolling up in a pair of black lace shorts?

What does summer style mean to you? Summer is when everyone tries to look like Californians and Californians are their most cool and natural! I love to wear something beautiful, like exquisite, to the beach. Because the coastlines are the most beautiful settings the world has and they deserve it. Besides you only wear the clothes for a hot second of greetings and kisses, then you're off in the water.

What's your summer uniform? Right now {at work} it's the La Paz shirt, any pant and sandals.

What's your next summer travel destination? I think my next stop is Scorpion Bay.  A girlfriend of mine has the coordinates tattooed to her gorgeous body so I'm guessing it must be amazing!

*Heidi Merrick is available at heidimerrick.com as well as online and in store at {the lovely/must-visit} Oliver & Lilly's in Vancouver. Traveling to Los Angeles? Make an appointment to visit Heidi's studio in downtown LA. I mean COME ON -- how awesome is that?

{Fashion Friday posts are published on the last Friday of every month by fashion blogger Heather.}

More Fashion Friday Oh Mr. Sun Spring in San Francisco Spring In Your Step Scarf Tying 101

[collage by @heatherlovesit, images from heidimerrick.com]

LA In A Flash

[trip style = sun + urban + beach}

It all started with a canary yellow 2011 Camaro. The next 30 hours in LA blazed by at the speed of light, partly thanks to our rental car's 312 horsepower engine. In row K, stall number 871 we expected to find a Toyota Matrix, but instead there was a barely driven Camaro. I wasn't sure whether to be excited or horrified. Seriously, yellow? C'mon.

Trip Styler Tip :: Like airlines, many car rental agencies are moving towards self check-in terminals. It takes 5 minutes or less and you can avoid waiting in line!

With my iPhone stocked with TomTom's GPS app in one hand {my top travel app for US travel} and an envelope full of suggestions from Trip Styler contributors in the other, we set out to conquer corners of LA we'd never seen---a pretty easy task in a sprawling and coastal cool metropolis embracing the next trend like Kim Kardashian's latest paparazzi photo op.

First stop: Venice Beach

Heather, Trip Styler's Fashion Friday writer, told us that if we're staying at LAX {more on this in Friday's Roam+Board}, it was non-negotiable, we had to explore Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice and eat at Gjelina, a corner bistro too cool for a sign {pictured above}. Cruiser bikes were attached to every street pole, and home decor, vintage and minimalist boutiques and galleries lined the street; we came for bit and stayed for awhile. How could we not? Venice is part stroll-worthy and part beachy-keen. The closer to the beach we drove, the more hanging wetsuits and upright surfboards we saw on every balcony. And then, the pièce de résistance, the California sunset you dream of: beams of orange backlighting palm trees and lifeguard stations as if they'd been stamped on an image. Perfection.

Second stop: Silver Lake

Continuing the quest for quintessential LA before jetting back to Vancouver, we drove to Silver Lake based on a suggestion from Lauren, Trip Styler's Travel Beauty writer. After 30 minutes of weaving through six-lane interconnecting highways, we arrived at LAMILL. Sitting al fresco and staring at palm- and midcentury modern home-covered hills, I sipped a coffee topped with vanilla bean panna cotta and brunched on a gruyere, egg and bacon breakfast sandwich. The modern glam eatery is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner was busy every second. More than worth the drive from LAX!

Yes, the brighter than bright, yellow Camaro commanded attention---the kind we didn't want with people trying to race us at stop lights---but I realized it's LA, and everything commands attention. In retrospect, with only 30 hours, perhaps the flashy muscle car was the perfect method for muscling our way through LA traffic to explore the city in a flash.

Related
LA Stories
LA {shop & stay}
LA {food & fun}

[photos by @tripstyler, except for yellow camaro & indoor shot of LAMILL sourced from web]