Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

LOS ANGELES: Hidden Los Angeles Part 7c - Tracy's Picks

Tracy's last set of picks take us to the outdoors. Because yes, Los Angeles is urban, but we have great weather most of the time, and we also have ways to enjoy it. Check it out:


Serra Retreat Center: Tracy went here for a retreat when she was teaching at a Catholic school, but you do not have to be Catholic to come here. All you need to be is respectful, and you can enjoy the beautiful, serene gardens and amazing ocean view.

Serra Retreat began its life as a family home, and was sold to the Franciscans in 1942. The retreat welcomes group and individuals to its grounds for use as an oasis in the middle of city life. You can wander quietly through scenic walks and gardens and wander over trails and contemplate all of the things you normally don't have time to think about.

Serra Retreat Center
3401 Serra Road
Malibu, CA 90265
(310) 456-6631

Six Man Tournament: This is pretty uniquely Los Angeles. Held in Manhattan Beach, the Six Man Tournament is an all-day, all-night tournaments where players from the best-of-the-best to just whoever, dress up in costumes and go to war on the beach volleyball court. The teams are male and female, many in swimsuits, so there is eye candy for everyone.

Don't believe me? Look at LAist's photo essay, linked above. Get there early, grab a beer and enjoy the sports and the spectacle. The event is part of PubClub's annual Surfest event, so you must be warned that it is also a non-stop drunken party. So come prepared with whatever armor and frat-repellent you need if you are going to brave it, and you're older than 23. The event is held the first weekend of August, so look out for it this year.

Bike/Pub Crawl From Santa Monica to South Bay: I'm going to take Tracy's word on it that this is fun. I haven't been on a bike since a beer-soaked ride through Munich over ten years ago now. I'm not sure what would happen if I got on one now. They say you never forget how to ride a bike, but I'm not so sure. I'm not so good with the two-wheeled vehicles.

But she has done it, so it can be done. Basically, you rent bikes from Perry's Cafe (multiple locations down the boardwalk--they will also come pick the bikes up later if you rent enough of them, so it can be a one-way journey) then you start riding them down the bike path. Tracy has created a route for you marked by bars to stop at that will allow you to drink your way all the way down to Manhattan Beach. It is as follows:

  • Big Dean's (1615 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica)
  • On the Waterfront Cafe (205 Ocean Front Walk, Venice)
  • Baja Cantina (311 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey)
  • The Shack (185 Culver Blvd, Playa Del Rey)
  • Sharkees (3801 Highland Avenue, Manhattan Beach)
  • Hennessey's (313 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach)
  • Poopdeck (1272 The Strand, Hermosa Beach)
You won't catch me on that trail. I prefer to exercise while remaining on the ground. But it sounds like a lot of fun if you like bikes, and you can burn off your beers while biking from place to place.

Perry's locations:

2400 Ocean Front Walk
2600 Ocean Front Walk
930 Pacific Coast Highway
1200 Pacific Coast Highway


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