Adventures in Long Beach
Spending time with friends and family is metaphorical food for my soul. To be candid, I also enjoy eating a lot of food for my tummy too. Although I live in a neighboring beach city (Santa Monica), life can be busy, so when I have the opportunity to travel to Long Beach and enjoy quality time (a whole day!) with amazing friends while also sampling local fare, I feel incredibly blessed.
On this particular day, Betsy, my favorite red-haired gal pal (and one of the most beautiful souls in the world) and I skipped our way through Long Beach savoring cold-brewed coffee, tasty brunch treats, lunch at At Last Café, and fresh cold-pressed juices. Filled with food and merriment, this day was also an opportune time to drive topless (the convertible- not us) through the city. We enjoyed the blue sky, warm air, and fresh sea breeze that fantastically tossed our red hair meshing it together like one abstract painting.
After exploring Retro Row (vintage and thrift-store goodies) and being fully caffeinated with delicious coffee, we stopped by At Last Café for lunch. An absolute gem, this café is quaintly nestled in a residential neighborhood (204 Orange Ave), snuggled between houses and apartments. A few weeks prior, having driven by At Last Café, I remarked to myself, "Aarika. You must eat there!" Betsy, practicing the art of telepathy, took me to this cozy café without me even asking. Did I mention that Betsy is amazing?
Dreamy Beet Salad: At Last Cafe
We sat outside on the cafe's charming patio, soaking up some glorious warmth (while also hiding in the shade as my skin sunburns like a vampire walking about in daylight). Besides indulging in yummy Roasted Artichokes, I could not resist sampling and reviewing the intriguing beet salad saying "Hello!" from the menu. At Last Café has a delicious Roasted Beet Salad with sliced roasted beets, seasonal greens, radishes, goat cheese, and red wine vinaigrette. Featured in the picture, the salad's micro greens are local and vibrant, pairing well with the perfectly roasted and flavored red and golden beets. To my surprise, the beet salad also includes a few crisp croutons, adding a delightful crunch alongside the creamy goat cheese. Chef John McLaughlin (John and his wife Ria started the café) attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), and it is evident that skill and passion exudes from each menu item.
Long Beach locals - have you been to At Last Café? What are your favorite menu items? If you haven't already, stop by with some beet love and try this salad!
Un"BEET"able Juice: Revive Juice Bar
With smiles and full bellies from At Last Café, we continued our sampling of LB fare and stopped by Revive Juice Bar for fresh juice. Revive uses fresh pesticide-free produce daily, and since I am slightly obsessed with visiting different juice bars, I was excited to sample some fresh beet juice. I selected Revive's "Super Immune System" which includes: Carrot, Celery, Apple, Beet, and Parsley. After adding an immense amount of fresh ginger juice (LOVE ginger everything) to the already nutritious ingredients-KAPOW - I was energized! Cold-pressed juice is incredibly energy boosting and immunity enhancing. Yay! Enjoying nutritious juice with one of my favorite gal pals on a beautiful bright day was so lovely (cue sigh of contentment). The little things make me smile with thankfulness.
One of the incredible aspects of traveling is realizing that even within a short drive in Southern California (or long drive depending on Los Angeles traffic), each city is unique in its culture, trends, landmarks, history (The Port of Long Beach is a must see!), restaurants, and more. I adore Long Beach, and I look forward to more friend and food-filled days in the future.
Thanks for being an extraordinary LB local host, Betsy. Brenda (Yes, YOU!) - next time, we are tackling your go-to vegan joints!
If you have not visited Long Beach, I encourage you to add this city to your bucket-list.
Do you live in Long Beach? What local spots should I visit next? What do you love best about your city?
I look forward to hearing from you. Cheers!