BRENTWOOD

Brentwood is one of the quiet, affluent neighborhoods where you REALLY spot celebrities: Tom and Gisele, Ben and Jen, and Reese Witherspoon all reportedly have homes in the area. Cozied between Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades, and just a few miles from Bel Air, this neighborhood is famous for its SoulCycle (“It’s the one where David Beckham works out!” we’ve heard again and again), the Brentwood Country Mart, and upscale restaurants like SugarFish and Tavern. Brentwood is certainly NICE, and it’s a great place to play like a movie star – take a spin class, sip on a gluten-free juice, and browse high-art at the world-famous Getty Center.

And although it’s one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, it’s also notorious for the O.J. Simpson murder (the high-speed chase ended at his Brentwood mansion), and though it can seem hard to scratch the surface (is it REALLY all Lululemon and Reformer Pilates classes?), there are some great nooks and crannies to be explored in Brentwood.

Stop 1: Kinetic Cycling

Brentwood may be home to the world-famous SoulCycle, but our favorite pedal to the metal Saturday morning class will always be Kinetic Cycling. Loud music, aspirational quotes from the grinning guy leading the class, and disco lights – all while sweating it out on a bike. We totally buy into every calorie-burning second.

(11740 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles)

Stop 2: Acai Nation

Several weeks in Brazil last year left us with some serious acai-cravings.  And well, Los Angeles hasn’t always delivered – many of the acai shops serve less-than-creamy versions of the Rio treat. But not Acai Nation.

(Acai, for those who don’t know, is a super-fruit full of antioxidants, often blended with other fruits and topped with granola).We love this spot after a serious work-out, mostly because we feel like we’re treating ourselves to a healthier version of ice cream. The Dragon Fruit Bowl #7 is always on the rotating list of choices.

 (11740 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles)

Stop 3: Alfred Coffee

Just like most everywhere else in Brentwood, Alfred Coffee is a stylish and pretty place (think $10 lattes and a space right next to trainer-to-the-stars Tracy Anderson’s fitness studio). But the coffee is damn delicious – we ordered an almond milk latte, an iced dirty chai latte, and a nitro-cold brew with no ice (as recommended by our trusty barista). The chocolate scone was also yummy, and we loved the non-chain atmosphere.

(11908 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles)

Stop 4: Mama Hong's

Finding great Asian food on the Westside can be tough, especially outside of the Sawtelle Corridor. Finding great Vietnamese good is even more difficult – it’s virtually non-existent. Enter Mama Hong’s, an offshoot of the popular Burbank restaurant, that serves home-style Vietnamese food with a few delicious Americanized twists. We started with the Shaken Beef Tenderloin French Fries (yes, you read that right!), which were addictively delicious. Could. Not. Stop. Eating. Next came the Sriracha Hot Wings, Pork Bahn Mi Sandwich and a Combination Vermicelli bowl. The meat was seasoned perfectly, and the fries alone were enough reason to come back. Brentwood’s best kept secret.

(11819 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles)

Stop 5: Brentwood Country Mart

A trip to the neighborhood just wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Brentwood Country Mart (right, Reese Witherspoon?) It’s the central spot for all things Brentwood.

Although many of the shops are a little pricey for our taste, we always love strolling through FARMSHOP – a market, restaurant and shop with delightful items like peppermint drinking chocolate from Belize, organic and local honeys, all kinds of cheeses, and a La Mill Coffee counter.

Another must-stop is Edelweiss Chocolates, an LA tradition for almost 65 years (the store even inspired the idea for that famous “I Love Lucy” episode!) All of the ingredients are fresh, and handmade daily in their Beverly Hills store.

If you’re a book lover, diesel, A Bookstore is a charming shop with thoughtfully-selected adult and children’s books. Sweet cards, creative kid’s books, and all the usual NYT Best Sellers.

(225 26th Street, Los Angeles)

The Details:

Brentwood is a pretty walkable neighborhood, especially along San Vicente Boulevard. From the Westside, the Big Blue Bus (#15!) will get you there.

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