Living in a big city with warm weather is amazing because typically, you’re never at a loss for things to do. Champagne brunches, lazy days on the beach, outdoor shopping, dive bars you can fall into on any day and be treated to strong drinks and live music…really, the possibilities are endless. However, what I find is that because there is SO much to do, I can get a bit spoiled and find myself doing the same things at the same places over and over again. So last weekend I challenged myself to spend some time in a city I rarely hang out in and dine at some places I don’t get a chance to.
Armed with my bestie by my side we took one full Saturday to eat our way through the South Bay.
If you’re unfamiliar with the South Bay, it’s located in the southwest corner of Los Angeles and stretches along the southern shore of Santa Monica. It contains 15 cities and among them, the ones closest to the beach are El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance which is where I chose to spend my time.
Being a Long Beach native you’d think I’d frequent these places as they are closest to my home, but that’s where my big city living dilemma comes into play.
But after my weekend here that’s surely going to change. Check out my first stop.
Rock’n Juice is located in a small strip mall directly across from the Del Amo Fashion center. However it’s kind of tucked away so if you didn’t know it was there you’d probably never wander in from the street… Thank God I knew it was there.
If you’ve got a full day of shopping ahead of you ( I mean come on it’s located across from one of the biggest shopping malls in SoCal) and you’re looking to fuel up without that heavy feeling a big breakfast brings, than this is your place.
Refreshing and satisfying with a wide array of smoothies, juices and acai bowls they’ve got everything for the health nut and those just wanting a quick pick me up.
I have never had an acai bowl and honestly didn’t know if I was even pronouncing it right (I mean is it “ah kyi” or is it “ah sah e”?) But it literally ended up being my favorite thing on the menu.
Acai can best be described (by me anyway) as a refreshing, smoothie/frozen yogurt textured bowl with various toppings.
I was a little intimidated by all the “stuff” on top of the bowl but I have to say, every single topping complimented what was inside.
I’m such a sucker for cute spots to fall into and I rarely like eating in fast food joints for this reason, but Rock’n Juice was the exception.
Although small, it had a really welcoming feel to it and I felt like I could sit there and enjoy my meal without being rushed or crowded by other patrons.
After some shopping and a wardrobe change, we were off to The Rockefeller for a boozy brunch.
Rock’n’Juice was to fueling up what The Rockefeller is to burning it away. Don’t get me wrong, there are light options on the menu, but this wasn’t the place I would be saving my calories on.
A few feet from the beach The Rockefeller has 3 kinds of bottomless mimosa’s (orange juice, peach and guava… holla) and an indoor /outdoor patio for prime people watching.
This my friends is the stuff brunch dreams are made of…
I know that I’ll stay loyal to a restaurant when I feel like they will do whatever it takes to make me happy, The Rockefeller is that kind of place. My glass was never empty, and even when they didn’t have the exact thing that we wanted on the menu they found a good substitute. Oh and the FOOD? Yes everything tasted EVEN BETTER than it looked…
Pictures truly do this place no justice, it’s perfect for that lazy Saturday/ Sunday when you want to watch the game (they’ve got multiple big screen t.v.s) and scream at the television with your peeps and not worry about anyone telling you to “keep it down”. Come directly from the beach in your cover up and still be treated like you have a 3 piece suit on.
After a much-needed mimosa infused nap, we headed out for dinner at Primo Italiano in Torrance.
From the artificial (hello Olive Garden) to the authentic, I am a sucker for Italian food, so Primo Italiano was the perfect place to enjoy dinner. With roots from the region of Campania on the Almalfi Coast, this family owned eatery boasts traditional and fresh Italian cuisine.
Walking into Primo you’re greeted with live music and an open floor concept with diners littered at the bar, bar tables and in booths across the floor. For such an open concept you’d think the restaurant would be loud but the noise levels are perfect for its laid back vibe.
Anyone who can make a good Moscow mule in the traditional copper mug holds a special place in my heart, and this place not only did that but they also had a very smooth rosé.
Perfecting a charcuterie platter was just the icing on the cake. All that cured meat on one plate was the stuff of carnivore dreams!
If I keep eating good Italian like this I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to the mediocre kind!
We followed our drinks and apps with spaghetti Alla Carbonara, and the most perfectly cooked and seasoned steak my mouth has ever tasted! No seriously! It seems as though when I eat a great steak and I declare it the best steak I’ve ever had, it’s like the universe is trying to one up me! So if you’ve been a loyal reader to my blog and I’ve said this before, blame the universe cause it keeps throwing mouth-watering steaks my way! For the record Universe, I ain’t complainin.
And since you can’t have Italian without cheesecake we went ahead and did THAT too, now, while you may be asking yourself “yeah what’s so special about cheesecake? Once you’ve had one you’ve had them all!” I have to tell you I’ve never had a cheesecake where fluffy white cake was the center and not cream cheese! To top it off shaved almonds and chocolate were drizzled throughout.
Another little gem about this place is this cute little back room they use for private parties. I went exploring and found it situated behind the main dining room. Perfect for small intimate dinner parties, Primo Italiano also uses it (at no additional charge) for large parties on busy nights.
The Standing Room
Can you really call a day complete without a few cocktails to top off the night? The answer to that would be NO by the way…
Our last stop of the night belonged to The Standing Room in Hermosa Beach. We walked right in, no pompous velvet rope to a house band playing all the latest jams. It was that perfect mix of crowded but not so crowded that you couldn’t easily walk to the bar for a drink or find a spot on the floor to dance. The drinks were strong and the bouncer didn’t even mind taking a picture for two tipsy chicks.
The perfect end to the perfect weekend!
So tell me party people, what are some of your favs in the South Bay? I’d love to know in the comments below!