Another weekend is come and gone, and this was one for the books. The boys in our family each left for the weekend one at a time, starting with the husband on Friday for a retreat, the younger boy Saturday before dawn for a campout, and finally my high schooler in the early afternoon for a band tournament. I call it ‘bachelorette weekend’ whenever the boys leave: the girls and I visit museums or other locales the guys think are either lame or too far to drive then come home for some hardcore scrapbooking and wine while binge-watching movies the guys think are too girly or lame.
This weekend was not much different, except that I had to remember what time each of them was set to leave and make sure they and all their related gear got to the correct drop-off points. But after the morning’s drives, we were able to enjoy a sweet Saturday- just the ladies.
We started our girls weekend with brunch at one of my favorite spots, Magnolia House on Lake Avenue in Pasadena. It was the first time I brought the girls, and they loved it. Sami especially liked the avocado toast, a slice of sourdough with a generous heap of avocado and topped with almonds, pickled onions, and burrata cheese. I was a bit skeptical of her choice (I usually get the huevos rancheros), but it was really good. Our server was very sweet and patient with Sami who sometimes has anxiety over those seemingly minor decisions such as what to eat. I would not call Magnolia House ‘kid-friendly,’ especially for younger kids. It has a really trendy vibe and a full bar with some interesting cocktails (of which I did not partake on this trip since I had the kids), so it’s definitely better as a grown-up girls’ brunch or date night. But Sami, who is 10 at time of writing, did just fine. Brunch was followed by some shopping on Lake Avenue. Emily scored a pair of Steve Maddens at TJMaxx for under $30, and Sami picked up an adorable Halloween costume at Pottery Barn Kids.
The afternoon and evening hours took us a bit further from home. We spent the rest of our glorious Saturday in Malibu. After driving the windy, but beautiful Malibu Canyon Road, we found ourselves at the famed Surfrider Beach, part of Malibu Lagoon State Beach. We were excited to explore the tide pools and observe the sea life that lived among the rocky pools. The girls went between playing in the waves and exploring the area. It was a beautiful, blue-sky day, significantly cooler than the 90-degree San Gabriel Valley- perfect for a day at the beach.
After playing in the ocean for a couple hours, we hiked the sagescrub-lined paths to get back to PCH and headed to the Malibu Pier. The Malibu Farm has both a cafe that serves coffee and snacks and a full-service restaurant, both located on the pier. Reservations are recommended for the restaurant, though we were able to move ours forward. The Malibu Farm, as might be assumed, specializes in fresh dishes made from organic ingredients. I wasn’t really hungry after a really late lunch/snack, and so I went for dessert. Sami ate in the car on the way over and Emily lost her Subway sandwich to a seagull, so the girls were ready for dinner, as well as and especially dessert. After some indecision and much debate, we finally ordered two kids meals with orzo pasta and two desserts, an organic soft serve and the grilled chocolate cake. The kids’ pasta was very good, and not too salty as many kids meals can be. To me, the soft serve tasted like Costco. Though the girls really enjoyed it, I was less impressed, especially when the cheapskate in me remembered that I could get twice as much ice cream for $1.35 compared with $6, organic or not. But the grilled chocolate cake… What can I say other than it was heaven on a plate. The texture was perfection- thicker than your usual cake, but still light enough to just melt in your mouth. It was served over a sea salt caramel drizzle and a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream. For $10 it was a splurge, but it was large enough to share among the three of us, and it was a chocolate masterpiece.
Malibu Farm’s price point is for me on the higher end of my scale, but I would definitely return. The food was delicious and the portions generous. We took home half of Emily’s kids meal, and I was able to share some of Sami’s. There are a few things I’d like to try the next time we go, such as the lemon basil ice cream and the berry meringue. Our server was really great. He made good recommendations and was super friendly toward a trio of indecisive and somewhat giggly (but otherwise well-behaved) girls. And the view of the Pacific Ocean is just spectacular.
This is just a snapshot of what one can do on a visit to Malibu, a city that boasts 21 miles of scenic coastline. There are many dining and shopping options, along with museums such as the Getty, and hiking in the Santa Monica mountains. And while I didn’t do any hardcore scrapbooking, Emily did stay up to binge-watch “Gilmore Girls.”