Killer Santa Monica Coffee Spot & Cocktails with a View in Malibu

So my gorgeous sister just got married in So Cal and you know even despite the full week of family events and parties, I got in my fair taste of food and drink. Since I planned the bachelorette gathering, finding hip but chill locales was in order… here were the best from this trip:


Caffe Luxxe

Caffe Luxxe

Caffe Luxxe: My favorite LA taste this year (besides Pizzeria Mozza, which I wrote about in May) – and the very best coffee/espresso I’ve ever had in LA – is a Caffe Nico ($4.25) at Santa Monica’s Caffe Luxxe. How I shall say this? As I walked away, I felt the irresistible urge to turn right back around and order another. Worse still, I awoke every morning for a week thereafter, the memory of that perfected Italianate espresso still on my tongue, taunting me sadistically. With a menu of essentially no more than espressos in a pristine, little shop, Luxxe intrigued me from the get-go, but once I tasted crema-rich espresso mixed cleanly with candied orange peel and a splash of half-and-half, I knew I’d be forever spoiled. I have only two questions: why don’t LA friends I talked with know about this place, and, more importantly, when can I get back there?

COCKTAILS with a view (or a scene)

Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Chapter 8: My sister’s bachelorette gig was enhanced by a random lounge in the Northernmost part of LA County: sleepy, suburban Agoura Hills. While I have to say cocktails were average at best, Chapter 8 went above and beyond in the atmos department to give us an unforgettable setting. It’s “Vegas meets retro lounge meets glitzy bordello”. You can see by the photo that the amount of red means dress up, slink around, watch old movies on the flat screens behind the bar, or groove the night away in the dance room or outdoor patio. Take photos in the weird vinyl “tunnel” between the bar/restaurant and dance room. This place will transport.

Moonshadow's Malibu

Moonshadow’s Malibu

Moonshadows’ Malibu: Cocktails here are average and at big city prices (around $12; the culinary cocktail renaissance has, sadly, yet to explode in LA), but Moonshadows’ Malibu beachside setting, again, more than makes up for it with the outdoor deck literally hanging over crashing waves on rocks below. What a place to take in the sunset or a warm night! Heat lamps, vinyl beds, cabana-like tables/booths and an outdoor tiki bar create a vibe that’s fun but chill (not obnoxiously wild, at least not when I was there – weekends are different, I hear). The blue lighting off of white vinyl cast a magic glow as the moon rises over the Pacific.