Sunday, December 4, 2016

Welcome Family & Friends

Hello Family & Friends,

Thank you so much for traveling all the way to LA for us. We put together a list of restaurants and other area recommendations and hope that it will come in handy for your stay here. If you need any additional recommendations, please reach out to us. We look forward to celebrating our special day with you.

Love,

Annabelle & Gilbert

Tips for traveling to Studio City


Studio City is a neighbourhoood in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County, and is located just North of the Hollywood Hills. Here are a few tips for traveling to Studio City:

1. Airports - The nearest airports are Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR) which is 7 miles away (20 minutes via surface streets without traffic) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) which is 24 miles away (35 minutes via highway without traffic). The benefits of BUR is the ease of flying in and out, however, the flight options are rather limited. LAX offers non-stop flights to almost any airport, but with it being one of the busiest airports in the world, always allow for more time to get in and out of LAX. Also, traffic getting to and from the airport can be unpredictable, so always plan for extra traveling time. Click here to search for the best flight options.

2. Ground Transportation - Although LA has public transportation, routes are limited and often inconvenient. So, you will need a car to get around the LA area. Click here to search for rental cars. Carefully read all posted street signs for parking restrictions when parking on both main streets and residential streets. Many main streets require paying for meters, even on nights and weekends, and most private lots are either paid or valet operated. And, many residential streets are permit only.

3. Lodging - We suggest staying in the Studio City adjacent areas (Sherman Oaks, Hollywood Hills, Burbank, Toluca Lake, Universal City). The hotels we negotiated rates with are within 15 minutes of our venue. If you would like to stay somewhere more central, please allow for extra traveling time to our venue as LA traffic can add several minutes to your commute.

As the event is on a holiday weekend, plan to book all travel as early as possible.

4. Things to do - Here are some lists you can read up on for suggestions of things to do in LA:
* Studio City recommendations
* First time visitors
* Family friendly LA
* Musuems and Shows

5. Weather - Studio City has an average of high 70s degrees F (25 degrees C) during the day in late May/early June. However, once the sun sets, temperatures drop to high 50s-low 60s F (15 degrees C).  A light jacket is recommended for the cooler evening temperatures.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Area Recommendations


If you are staying in the Studio City/Sherman Oaks/Universal City/Burbank area, here are some of our recommendations:

Things to do

Universal Studios - Get your tickets online to save a few dollars off ticket counter prices. (location: Universal City)

Universal City Walk - Shops and restaurants aplenty. (location: Universal City)

Warner Brothers Studio Tour - Get to go on actual working sets. (location: Burbank)

Westfield Fashion Square Mall - Get your shopping on. (location: Sherman Oaks)

The Getty Center - Free museum with a beautiful garden and great views of LA. $15 parking/car. (location: Brentwood in West LA)

Hiking - A few good hiking trails in the area with great views of LA/The Valley:
Wilacre Park (Studio City)
Fryman Canyon (Studio City)
Cahuenga Peak (Hollywood Hills)
Coldwater Canyon Park (Sherman Oaks)
Runyon Canyon Park - Great for people watching & celebrity sighting (Hollywood)

Studio City Farmers Market - Weekly Sunday Farmers Market (location: Studio City)

Stahl HouseModernist-styled house designed by architect Pierre Koenig with a great view of LA. See website for tour information & cost (including evening/sunset tour).

Hollywood Attractions - Lots to see including Hollywood Walk of Fame, Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Sign. (location: Hollywood)


Sit down Restaurants

Nata's Pastries - Portuguese food, favourites include Feijoada (meat stew), Polvo a Lagareiro (octopus), Shrimp Mozambique, Chopped Salad, and not forgetting the Natas (Portuguese egg tart).  (location: Sherman Oaks)

Granville - American food with a wide menu - there's something for everyone. (location: Studio City)

Jinya Ramen - A less traditional but still delicious Ramen place. (locations: Studio City & Burbank)

Burgers - Lots of good burger joints in the area:
* Stout (Studio City)
* Umami Burger (Studio City & Burbank)
* Laurel Tavern (Studio City)
* The Counter (Studio City)
* Blue Dog Tavern (Sherman Oaks)

The Front Yard - American food with a really cute patio. Also, $12 bottomless Mimomas at weekend brunch! (location: Studio City)

Blu Jam Cafe - Brunch spot, order the Crunchy French Toast and Brunch Carbonara. (location: Sherman Oaks)

Sugarfish - A Omakase (Chef's choice) style sushi restaurant. The most popular is the "Trust Me" set meal. (location: Studio City)

Le Pain Quotidien - French style cafe. (location: Studio City)

Bea Bea's - Breakfast place. (location: Burbank)


Order at the Counter Restaurants

In N Out - This doesn't need an introduction. Click here for the secret menu. (location: Sherman Oaks & Studio City)

Mendocino Farms - Sandwiches, salads, and great healthy sides. (location: Sherman Oaks)

Take a Bao - Asian fusion, Baos, small plates and rice dishes. (location: Studio City)

Porto's Bakery - This Cuban bakery has sandwiches, cakes, pastries and fresh squeezed orange juice. Lines are long but don't be intimidated, they move pretty fast. Must order are the Cheese Rolls, Guava Cheese Rolls & Potato Balls (filled with meat) (location: Burbank)

Spitz - Mediterranean food with a twist. (location: Studio City)

Aroma Cafe - This has a really big menu with endless options of breakfast, salad, sandwiches, coffee,  drinks, and a display case full of large portion desserts. (location: Studio City)

Poke - Hawaiian Style Sashimi Rice Bowls:
* All About Poke (Studio City & Burbank)
* 8 oz Poke (Sherman Oaks)

Joan's On Third - Sandwiches, salads, and much more. (location: Studio City)

Lemonade - American style upscale, with everything from salads, mac n cheese, sandwiches, fish, carved meat, dessert, and of course, Lemonade. (location: Studio City & Toluca Lake/Burbank)

Pizza Rev - Made to order pizzas with customized toppings. (location: Studio City)

Zankou Chicken - Mediterranean Rotisserie Chicken. (location: Sherman Oaks & Toluca Lake/North Hollywood)

For the Foodie


Los Angeles is full of good restaurants, here's a list of our favourites:

Upscale/Trendy dining

Bestia - This is currently at the top of our list! Highly recommend the Roasted Bone Marrow. Only open for dinner. Once, we were in line behind Jake Gyllenhaal to check in with the hostess. Tip: Make reservations on opentable exactly 2 months ahead (when it opens up). (location: DTLA aka downtown LA)

Animal - Our previous #1 restaurant. Our go-to dish is the Loco Moco. Tip: Make reservations a month ahead. (location: Fairfax district)

Redbird - This restaurant has a lovely patio, with a retractable roof for warmer days. Both the food and cocktails are delectable. (location: DTLA)

Sugarfish - A Omakase (Chef's choice) style sushi restaurant. The most popular is the "Trust Me" set meal. There are several locations in the LA area but since they do not take reservations, go early.

Pizzeria Mozza - By Chef Mario Batali, the pizzas are all so good. However, save some room for dessert, as their Butterscotch Budino is to die for. Next door is Batali's other restaurant Osteria Mozza, another great spot. No time for a sit down? There's also Mozza To Go. (location: Hancock Park)

Republique - Great for both dinner (table service) and brunch (self service, go early to avoid a long line). (location: Hancock Park)

Bottega Louie - Great pizzas, Portobello Fries, Chocolate Souffle, and the display full of Macarons. (location: DTLA)


Casual dining

Kogi Food Truck - The original Korean Tacos from Chef Roy Choi. Check the schedule for where the three trucks will be. Alternatively, they're served daily at Alibi Room in Culver City.

Smorgasburg LA - A Sunday flea market, with rows of mostly pop-up food stands (that don't operate brick & mortar locations). Bring cash to save a little (most don't charge tax when you pay in cash). (location: DTLA)

Grand Central Market - Located in the middle of DTLA, there are so many good options, but here's our go-to's:
* Sticky Rice - Order their Panang Curry, BBQ Chicken & Pad See Eew.
* McConnell's ice cream
* G&B Coffee - Pricey but delicious G&B Shake (Coffee Milkshake).

Din Tai Fung - We make the trek to the San Gabriel Valley just for their Xiao Long Baos (Soup Dumplings).

Tara's Himalayan - Similar to Indian food, must order dishes are Yak (a mountainous herd animal) Chili, Lamb Korma and Momos (dumplings). (location: Culver City)

The Boiling Crab - Cajun style seafood served in plastic bags drenched in awesome sauce with the paper lined table as your "plate". Put on a provided bib and eat away - don't forget to lick the sauce off your finger.  (multiple locations)

Porto's Bakery - This Cuban bakery has sandwiches, cakes, pastries and fresh squeezed orange juice. Lines are long but don't be intimidated, they move pretty fast. Must order are the Cheese Rolls, Guava Cheese Rolls & Potato Balls (filled with meat). (locations: Burbank, Glendale & Downey)

Wurstkuche - Exotic hotdog meats that include rattlesnake and buffalo. Not that adventurous? They have a lot of other "safe" options. (locations: DTLA & Venice)

Thai Town - The only designated Thai Town in the U.S., located in Hollywood, there are a ton of great options (most of them are cash only):
Ruen Pair
Thai Patio
Pa Ord Noodle - Order the boat noodles
Red Corner Asia

Korea Town - The options in Korea Town are limitless, here are some of our favourite spots:
Kyochon - Fried Chicken Wings
Road to Seoul - AYCE (all you can eat) KBBQ (Korean BBQ)
Moodaepo II - AYCE KBBQ
BCD Tofu - Spicy tofu soup

Japanese - Options are plenty in LA! Here are our favourites:
Hurry Curry of Tokyo - Japanese Curry & Spaghetti (location: Japan town, West LA)
Curry House - Japanese Curry & Spaghetti (multiple locations)
Orochon - Spicy Ramen (location: Little Tokyo, DTLA)
Daikokuya - Ramen (multiple locations)
Furaibo - Japanese small plates (location: Japan town, West LA)


Dessert

Yogurtland - Can't go wrong with self-serve Froyo especially at Yogurtland.

Blockheads Shavery - Taiwanese style shaved ice. Our favourites are black sesame or strawberry shaved ice with condensed milk topped with mochi. (location: Japan town, West LA)

85 Degrees Bakery - Brioche Bread, Taco Bun, Egg Tarts, and a whole lot of other options. (multiple locations)

Milk - Macaron sandwich ice cream, ice cream cookies, cakes. Often has long lines but it's worth it. (locations: Fairfax & Silverlake)

Donut Friend - Our current top donut shop. Lots of creative flavours and the donuts are light and melts in your mouth. (location: Highland Park)

Blue Star Donut - This Portland chain was our favourite before we discovered Donut Friend. (location: Venice)

Salt & Straw - Another Portland import with unique ice cream flavors. (multiple locations)

Iconic LA restaurants


If you have a limited time and want to check out the iconic LA restaurants, here's a short list of must eats:

In N Out - This doesn't need an introduction. Click here for the secret menu.

Roscoe's Chicken and Waffle - Like the name suggest, the Chicken and Waffle is a must order.

Philippe's - Known for their French dipped sandwiches, they're open early for breakfast at 6am till 10pm. Tip: Ask for the sandwiches double dipped.

Langer's Delicatessen - Must go for Pastrami sandwiches.

Pink's Hot Dogs - There's always a long line at the original Hollywood location at 709 N. La Brea Ave, but it is a must stop for visitors.

Tito's Tacos - Famous for their crispy hard tacos.