As the Pacific Coast Highway reveals itself, you put the windows down without realizing your hand is moving. You don’t feel your left forearm burning, because, well, the view. When it comes to scenic drives in the good old U.S. of A., the PCH, with its stunning ocean views and hillside mansions, is hard to beat. We took the 2016 Audi Q3 for a drive down the iconic highway as we stopped in L.A., Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice Beach over the course of two days. Here are some highlights we’d recommend when you’re in the area:

STAG Provisions

One of our favorite menswear stores now has a Venice outpost. Located on the ever-crowded Abbot Kinney Blvd, STAG Provisions stocks well-made goods with a classic American feel. Brands like The Hill-Side, Rogue Territory, and Save Khaki line the shelves and sing a siren’s song to your wallet. Don’t forget to head upstairs for an entire space dedicated to Faherty, a surf-focused brand that feels right at home just miles from the beach. Link


When Michael Voltaggio won the sixth season of Bravo’s Top Chef, he pretty much dismantled the competition with innovative dishes that didn’t sacrifice taste for ingenuity. You can experience his delicious insanity at Ink, his L.A.-based restaurant. Highlights include: Egg Yolk Gnocchi, each of which hides a creamy egg yolk like a mint with a liquid center; Corn, which includes a house-made version of a Cool Ranch Dorito; and the Pork Shoulder, which comes with pig ears. If you’re in a rush, hit up Ink Sack, his sandwich joint located next door. Link

Café Gratitude

It’s easy to roll your eyes when you walk into one of Café Gratitude’s locations—there’s a daily, soul-cleansing question for you to ponder; menu items sport names like “Elevated” and “Open-Hearted,” and you’re instructed to order each by saying “I am” beforehand; the most used ingredient seems to be cashew cheese (which is a thing that exists)—but dig in and become convinced. The 100% organic plant-based restaurant makes food good for your mind, body and taste buds. They also happen to serve up some of the best coffee in the area. I am impressed. Link

Phantom Carriage Brewery & Taproom

A short drive from the L.A. area is a brewery that’s a complete hidden gem. When you think California breweries, a lot of big names come to mind—Stone, Russian River, Ballast Point, etc.—and a lot of smaller ones, too, that you’ve at least heard of. Well, you probably haven’t heard of Phantom Carriage, a tiny brewery/haunted house in Carson, and their beer is worth discovering. Phantom Carriage does wilds and sours, so get ready to pucker up. Link


Muji has opened outposts in the United States in two different areas—New York City and the California coast. If you happen to be in Santa Monica, a stop at their shop there is recommend. For the uninitiated, Muji sells the most basic of the basic, items devoid of branding, crazy colors, or flare of any kind—and that’s what makes the pieces great. Whether you need a new button-down or some desk supplies, and you don’t want some brand logo slapped on the front, Muji’s your spot. Link

Intelligentsia Venice Coffeebar

Intelligentsia started in Chicago, but there’s one good reason to hit up the Venice location—the Iced Angeleno. A Cali exclusive, the Iced Angeleno includes four shots of Black Cat espresso, milk, agave nectar and ice. It’s exceptional. The hip little coffee bar look’s like a chemist’s lab, lined with slim counters, chrome machines and plenty of porcelain. Stadium seating in the back can give you a view of the baristas as they whip up some of the finest caffeinated beverages you’ll ever taste. We wouldn’t knock you for getting a regular cup of joe at Intelligentsia—it will be fantastic—but on a hot day, that Iced Angeleno is perfection. Link

2016 Audi Q3

You know how you’ve heard L.A. traffic is bad? Yeah, it’s worse, which made the new Audi Q3 a welcome addition to our trip. The crossover, which looks and feels a bit more nimble than the Q5, is easy to maneuver around the 405, and the interior appointments—panoramic sunroof, impressive Bose surround system, exceedingly comfortable seating, and more—keep you from getting antsy when you’re not moving. And when you’re driving the slower streets around Santa Monica and Venice, Audi’s MMI Voice Recognition System allows you to keep your eyes on the swimsuit-clad groups jumping in and out of crosswalks instead of clicking through menu buttons. Link


For our money, there’s no better experience than food fresh off the grill. But when it comes to burgers, veggies and everything else, the flattop is king. That’s where this Steelmade Flat Top Grill comes in. Designed and built to combine all the best aspects of a regular flat top griddle with an outdoor grill, this smooth, flat cooking surface lets you cook anything from steak and eggs to burgers and stir-fry–without having to worry about costly setups or exhaust fans because it sits atop your existing propane or charcoal grill. Get yours today.