It may seem like ages ago, but the holidays marked our family’s first trip back to the States since the move. We divided our time between “home” (Chicago suburbs: cold!) and California (LA/SF: sunny + warm!). For January, my picks feature the tried-and-true stops from our holiday travels.
photos arranged clockwise, from top L
Chicago (Northern Suburbs)
1. Firkin, Libertyville Firkin is a suburban pub that feels like it should be in the city (but I’m so glad it’s not). Eclectic-cool decor, excellent food (order my favorite, shrimp tacos) and an extensive, ever-changing beer list make this a must-visit whenever we’re in town.
2. Miramar, Highwood Highwood, nestled between Highland Park and Lake Forest, is home to a plethora of restaurants, but I always choose Miramar. I love the cozy decor, the Cuban-French themed menu, and the service, which is attentive and friendly, but not intrusive. We had dinner with both sets of parents and everyone left happy. Success!
Los Angeles / Santa Monica
3. Cora’s Coffee Shop Cora’s, located right up the hill from our base of operations, Casa del Mar (we usually stay there or at its sister property, Shutters) is our go-to spot morning spot for coffee (cafe au lait) and pastries (blueberry muffins and apple tarts). This year, we added a lunch stop to our Cora’s repertoire and I’m so glad we did: eating a croque madame under the bougainvillea-covered arbor was a delight, and well worth the short wait for a table.
4. The Little Next Door The Little Next Door is an über charming café on LA’s Third Street. I highly recommend stopping for lunch on the patio, with a glass of champagne to set the mood. This trip, we were content to stop for some LND “oreos” as we walked and shopped the street. (Third Street is home to some of my favorite LA shops, including Noodle Stories, Le Labo, Joan’s on Third, new discovery Wittmore and OK.)
The Carneros Inn (Napa area)
5. Boon Fly Café The Inn’s on-site café can be found in the adorable red farmhouse easily spotted from Carneros Highway. Here’s all you need to know: Boon Fly makes the world’s most delicious doughnuts. If you’re feeling guilty, add a fruit salad for the breakfast of kings. (If I were king.)
6. Farm after talking about it many times, we reserved a spot at Farm’s New Year’s Eve tasting menu dinner, choosing the earlier seating to ensure we could stay awake. It made for a special evening for our table of three as we worked our way through the courses + wines. And after dinner, the delight continued as the walk back to our cottage was brightened by a sky lit with twinkling stars. I’d forgotten how bright (and enchanting) stars can be.
7. The Mill We visited SF on New Year’s Day. After a long walk through the Presidio, we headed to The Mill for coffee and oh-so-trendy toast (which was delicious, btw). So glad it was open on the holiday as the coffee break turned into an impromptu Instagram-friends meet-up.
8. March Oh, March: the source of so many of my obsessions. I just can’t get over the white tile; the clean typeface for branding; the carefully selected, perfectly utilitarian luxe product range. So please forgive me for my “I know you’re closed but I just need to take 1,000,001 pictures” visit. I’ll be back.
photos, layout and type by jane potrykus