Words by, Igee Okafor
Photographed by, John Schell
Last month, I took a one man trip to California for the first time. Even though it was a short lived one with only three days to make the most of L.A fantasies, I did my best to capitalize on the opportunity. Here's a brief but wholesome look into my trip.
Touched down at LAX around 10:00am. A few hours later thanks to my very personable Lyft driver, I arrived for check-in at the hotel that would be my home for the next two days, The Ace Hotel DTLA. Walking into the hotel, I was a bit taken aback by how contemporary and artistically the hotel was designed. This was a downtown hotel for sure and it had the "cool" factor. I say this because of how young and stylish its employees were and how the decor in the lobby looked like a rockstar had decorated the place.
Checking into my room, I immediately fell in love with its unfinished/industrialized aesthetic. It was not overly furnished or too polished. It had all the essentials elevated with a bit of color on the bed and that was enough.
I was a bit under the weather during the day and because of this, I decided to minimize my activities. I ended up exploring the neighborhood by walking around for a bit and spending time at the hotel. There, I visited to the bar for a Willow's Rickey. For dinner, I took advantage of the hotel's restaurant in the lobby.
Day II was quite eventful. I spent the morning driving around the city with California resident, John Schell. During our drive, I learned more about California's culture and was able to physically see why so many people have fallen in love with the state. We shot some photographs around Leo Carillo State Park and had lunch at In N Out Burger.
My evening consisted of Drinks at Perch (recommended by a friend), and dinner back at The Ace Hotel DTLA. There, I tried the best pan roasted chicken meal I had eaten in a long time. I'm talking citron pommes puree, fava leaves, spring aliums and ramp chimichurri.
Day III was my favorite day in California. The entire day exuded everything I thought California would be. It started with brunch at Redbird with Dathias Godfrey - an amazing content creator who also happens to be one of the first people I met in my industry when I was new to New York City.
I decided to have brunch at Redbird because of a recommendation I saw on MR PORTER. The restaurant's decor was clean, beautiful and classic. There was definitely an upscale aura to it.
What I ordered: Brioche Donut, Smoked Fish w/ potato galette, pickled vegetables, dill creme & caviar.
After brunch, we headed to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Truth be told, I only wanted to visit to grab take photos at the iconic lamp post exhibit. Interestingly enough, as beautiful as the installation was, there weren't that many tourists there.
Moving on, we visited Santa Monica Pier - the beach is divine. Then we walked a bit over a mile to Venice. So much character at Venice Beach. It was exactly like I had imagined resulting from what I had seen in photographs and videos. Visiting Venice Beach especially at sunset made me feel like I had completed my California experience.
We ended the night walking around Abbot Kinney Boulevard visiting the shops.
Thank you for reading!