There are few things better than a Saturday. I love waking up knowing that the stress of the work week is behind me and another full day of rest is ahead. Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve been taking full advantage of Saturdays, exploring little pockets of the city that I didn’t have a chance to get to during my briefer visits over the past year and a half. And, having lived in practically Arctic climates for the past 24 years, I have to say that it’s been such a luxury to be able to do so without gearing up in a parka, ski mask, gator, and hot hands.
Speaking of Antarctica, last weekend we hosted the best Chicagoan guest: John’s sister, Kate! Visitors are rarer now that we’re on the other coast, but as I’ve told / continue to tell everyone, it’s just a plane ride away and we’d love to have you! Kate gets some major bonus points for being the first family member to take us up on the offer. We loved every second.
Believe it or not, the weather hasn’t been *great* here for the past few weeks… I type this very cautiously, seeing snow days in NYC and 10°F highs in Chicago… but we totally lucked out last weekend. In the midst of endless rainy weeks, we got a 2-day window of sunshine for Kate’s visit and took full advantage. After showing her around our neck of the woods in Venice on Friday night, we thought it would be fun to rent a car and give her a taste of LA’s east side on Saturday.
Silver Lake is a hipster pocket of heaven (or the “Williamsburg of Los Angeles” for my NYC crew) located east of Hollywood and northwest of DTLA. From a can’t-miss food scene and coffee shops to vintage clothing and game-changing views, it’s the perfect destination for a Saturday well-spent. We walked, we thrifted, and we ate a lot, all starting with a visit to the famed, Sqirl.
Sqirl has been on my bucket list for years after reading / hearing about it from everyone and their mother. I’ve been to so many Insta-famous food disappointments, and let me tell you, this was certainly not one. What started as a local preserves company has turned into an east-side sensation that, lucky for us, now serves breakfast and lunch.
I read that the line can be crazy long, but was pleasantly surprised when only had to wait about 20 minutes to order. Since it was my first time, I decided to go with Sqirl classics: the Sorrel Pesto Rice Bowl, their “Greensicle” matcha latte, and a piece of the Famed Ricotta Toast to share. If the fancy dish names don’t do it for you, just let the taste do the talking. It was modern American diner meets California farmers market in all the right ways. The jams, by the way, were next level, and I may or may not have looked into becoming a member of their Bi-Monthly Jam club…
Here are the deets on my order:
Sorrel Pesto Rice Bowl // Kokuho Rose Brown Rice, Sorrel Pesto (Nut Free), preserved meyer lemon, lacto fermented hot sauce, watermelon radish, french sheep feta (I got mine without feta but John and Kate said I missed out!), and a poached egg
Famed Ricotta Toast // Brioche toast with house ricotta, seasonal jam (get yours “rainbow" style so you can sample the seasonal jam selection!)
Some of the seasonal jam options: Seascape Strawberry, Blood Orange Hibiscus, Peach and Lemon Verbena, Mission Fig & Sumac
Enishi–No–Shiro “Greensicle” // Matcha shaken with almond milk and honey
The hype is real, people!
Farmer’s Markets and Vintage Shopping
After Sqirl, we rolled ourselves back over to Silver Lake’s main drag on Sunset Boulevard for some thrifting and farmer’s market meandering. There are two great markets open on Saturdays: the Silverlake Flea outside the Micheltorena Street Elementary School and the Silver Lake Farmer’s Market at Sunset Triangle Plaza. If you’re into vintage clothing, you’ll definitely want to check out some of the stands. They carry items for every budget.
As for the rest of the Silver Lake shopping scene, it ain’t cheap! Despite the grungy / hipster vibe, this neighborhood has quickly blossomed into a second home for the stars, and with this status bump there is a fleet of high-end boutiques and coffee shops to follow. We stopped at Kate’s favorite, La Colombe, for an afternoon pick-me-up, but don’t worry, there are plenty of other options to get your bougie coffee fix!
Shopping // Claire Vivier, A.P.C., Undefeated
Coffee // Dinosaur Coffee, La Colombe, Intelligentsia, Alfred Coffee, Blue Bottle
We followed shopping with a little hike up one of the “secret” staircases of Silver Lake, the Micheltorena Stairs, a.k.a. some of the most Instagrammed stairs in LA. They’re a lot of fun to climb and a great way to make some room for your next meal of the day. Before heading to our final stop, we also did a quick drive around Echo Park, a vibrant neighboring area surrounding Echo Park Lake. On a nice day, it’s really fun to rent paddle boats or go for a walk around the lake path.
We saved the best for last with an early dinner at one of our all-time favorite spots in Los Angeles, Pine & Crane. It’s super casual and ridiculously tasty. If you’re into Chinese-Taiwanese food, this is some of the best money can buy. From scallion pancakes to dan dan noodles, it’s hard to go wrong with the menu. I also love seeing their selection of seasonal vegetables, many of which are sourced from owner Vivian Ku’s family farm. Apart from the food, the restaurant vibe is incredible. The staff couldn’t be friendlier and the service is excellent. I’m sad we don’t live closer because we’d be here every weekend!
Menu Favorites: Scallion Pancakes, Spicy Shrimp Wontons, Dan Dan Noodles, Three Cups Chicken
And after a full day of sunshine, eating, and exploring, we hopped back on the 10 and made it home just in time for the sunset in Venice. No parka necessary.