Playa Provisions


In June of 2011 Brent and I found out we were moving back to Los Angeles from Washington DC in less than a month. Brent flew out to LA for a 24 hours trip with one objective, find us an apartment. Our plan was to move to Manhattan Beach. Easy 105 access was the goal, but everything Brent found was either gorgeous and WAY too expensive or an affordable dump on the beach. Brent decided to look beyond Manhattan Beach and fell in love with an apartment in Playa del Rey. I was hesitant. I’d never even heard of Playa del Rey. It’s right by the airport and close to the bonfire beach, Dockweiler. I was skeptical but trusted his judgment. I’m so glad I did. Over the years I have become quite the Playa enthusiast and Alaina lives in Playa too!


Not only is Playa amazing for running (I live a mile from the beach path and it goes for about fifteen miles in either direction), Playa has become cooler over the years. It’s always been known as a sleepy beach community, hidden by the Ballona Wetlands. Culver Blvd, the street that runs down to the beach has some great dive bars, like The Shack and Prince O’ Wales. My true love is The Tripel, which has been around since Brent and I moved to Playa, but over the past year great new restaurants have been popping up. You’ve seen my Playa Provisions pictures before, but I wanted to write an official review.

cropped-Playa-Provisions_2014-07-08_11-09-03_IMG_9860_©RyanTanaka2014-11Playa Provisions was once Playa Cantina and Tower 42. Despite a location ON the beach, restaurants kept failing…likely due to it’s massive size. Lucky for us, The Tripel’s Brooke Williamson and her husband Nick Roberts took on the challenge and created an incredible four-concept restaurant. Playa Provisions is split up into Dockside (think nice seafood), Grain (whisky bar in the back), Small Batch (ice-cream stand) and King Beach (counter style breakfast, lunch and pastries). Although embarrassing to admit, there have been days when I’ve been to Provisions more than once. My record is three times. Once for coffee, later for lunch and a post dinner drink. I especially love the bakery. They do all kinds of fun seasonal stuff like Super Bowl cakes, Christmas cookies and Halloween cupcakes. So what do I like to order?

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My Playa Provisions Favorites List:

  • Chocolate Chip Cookie- HUGE chips, crunchy on the outside, doughy in the middle
  • Pretzel Croissant with Ham and Cheese- Ask for it warm
  • Dulce de Leche Biscuit- Buttery Deliciousness
  • Quinoa Salad- Sounds boring but the almond and corn add crunch
  • Corned Beef Sandwich- If you’re really hungry ahh it is sooo good
  • Chicken Salad- I love mayo
  • Kentucky Maid- Light and fresh cocktail
  • Crab Pops- Delicious and cute presentation
  • Lobster Mac & Cheese- Gotta love cheesy macaroni
  • NEW YEARS EVE PRE-FIXE- Collage below

I should probably stop before I list the entire menu. Basically if you live in LA, go to Playa Provisions. It’s great a snack after a trip to the beach, for families, cyclists and runners love it, for a quick drink, or for a fancy dinner. I’m a fan of going after a good workout, sipping on a latte and sharing a bunch of pastries. There’s no pressure to rush, you can lounge for as long as you like, and the location right on the beach is perfection. Anyone in for a Playa Provisions visit this weekend?

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IMG_3092I think you get the point with the pictures. Sadly this is not my entire collection of Provisions photos.


Quick Running Updates:

  • I got bullied into running a 5K on Sunday with the RunMDR crew so I’ll do the rest of my long run miles after that.
  • Beach Yoga is happening on Saturday again. I love beach yoga with Brad!!!!
  • I did the mile challenge at track this week in 5:48. I haven’t run a mile since high-school PE! Excited to improve my time.
  • I say this all the time, but I really need to foam roll more. Maybe I should take my foam roller to work.
  • We’re at $325! Help Ellen and I meet our goal!

I’ll be back Sunday with a 5K update and long run notes!

Great Running Spots in LA + Notes from Long Run #3

There’s always a point on our Saturday runs, usually after a tough two mile climb, when we look out at Los Angeles and the ocean and Lauren says, “Ladies, this is why we live in LA.” Running is so much more than a workout when you’re in great company exploring the beauty of your city. If you’re stuck in a running rut and are lacking inspiration, find trails in your city and explore. It’s well worth the drive. Today I’ll highlight two of my favorite new running spots. They’re also great for hiking too!

This past Monday Marta and I had a sister date day in LA. We started the morning atWestridge off of Sunset in Pacific Palisades. I discovered the trail through Brianna’s instragram feed. She kept posting these amazing pictures from her runs up in the mountains overlooking the ocean. Marta and I tried to capture the beauty, but just didn’t get it quite like her. I’ve done the run twice now and it’s a great shorter tough route. About 3.5 miles gradual uphill, and 3.5 miles down. Be careful on the downhill. It can be tempting to go fast, but it’s tough on the knees. The the trail starts with with a view of the ocean but it kinda disappears early in the run and you’re in the canyon (which I like and makes you feel far away from everything). At the top you end up with a great view of the San Fernando Valley at the top. Check out the elevation and our photos below!

Trailhead address: Westridge Road & West Mandeville Fire Road, Los Angeles, CA 90049. More details on the trail here.

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We then went to the epic Beach Yoga with Brad class in Santa Monica. Brad rocks. Go to his class. It’s not super intense (although you can make it harder if you’re looking for a good workout) and the perfect post run stretch. My favorite part of class is when we do downward dog in the wet sand looking out at the ocean. $10 a class. Also, maybe it’s kinda cheesy, but it was MLK day and he emphasized staying peaceful and calm when it’s most difficult. I appreciated the connection. Marta, Brent and I went to Playa Provisions after for lunch.

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This morning Lauren took us on an adventure to Will Rogers Inspiration Point. It was quite a hike up from our Ocean & Alta meeting spot, but was well worth the trip. There were incredible views of Catalina Island, Palos Verdes, the ocean, Malibu and even Downtown. We added on with beach running afterwards to get to our mileage which felt so boring after being up in the mountains overlooking the city. Check out our pictures and elevation for the run.

Trailhead address: 1501 Will Rogers State Park Road, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. More details on the trail here.

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Now it’s time for Marta’s FAVORITE part of the post…LONG RUN NOTES!

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Friday Dinner: Terrible long run prep dinner. I didn’t prepare much because I was “only” running 14 miles. Today reminded me that 14 is STILL a lot. A corona, two glasses of wine, a slice of bacon gouda pizza, fried brussel sprouts, butternut squash, baked brie and cheese, cookies. No wonder my stomach felt a little blah during the run. The food was good though, and Laurel Hardware was a fun spot for drinks and food in West Hollywood. Maybe a little trendy for my taste.

Friday Sleep: 7 hours. Not the greatest sleep. Maybe too much wine?

Saturday Breakfast: Too big of a bowl of granola and Kashi cereal with blueberries and almond milk. Felt it on the run. Sips of water, no coffee.

Long Run Fuel: Nothing. I wasn’t prepared and I was too full from breakfast.

Long Run Hydration: Water fountains. Not enough water. It was super hot and the Santa Ana winds were blowing.

Long Run Outfit: Lululemon shorts, So Cal Ragnar race short sleeve, target sports bra, cheapo socks, Nike visor. Good call on the visor. It was super sunny out.

Post-Run Snack: Currently heating up my picadillo! Again, not prepared and no snack right after.

How Did It Feel: Honestly, this run didn’t feel great. The view from inspiration point was AMAAAAAZING, but after that I just didn’t feel like running. I didn’t prep for it well. Nice reminder that 14 isn’t a walk in the park.

Other Notes: We stretched and foam rolled with our yoga mats for a good 15 minutes after our run today! Anna joined us after her hike at Westridge this morning. It was nice to relax on the lawn after a difficult run.

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Happy Saturday!

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

“If you want people to perform better, you reward them, right? Bonuses, commissions, their own reality show. Incentivize them. … But that’s not happening here. You’ve got an incentive designed to sharpen thinking and accelerate creativity, and it does just the opposite. It dulls thinking and blocks creativity.” -Daniel H. Pink

As part of my School Director Fellowship I am working through the following books. (Alaina, notice something in the picture?!)photo (2)

I’ve read many of these over the years, but like I tell my students, there is power in re-reading books. We always find something new, and especially reading them with the lens of knowing I am going to be leading a school this fall, I’m getting a lot out of them. I’m lucky to be in a position where I can read at work right now, and I’ve been listening to books on tape (when I’m not listening to Freakanomics or This American Life) during my commute.

Apart from one of the books that was a little too “I’m saving the world, I’m so great” and “I never spend time on myself, 100% of my time is devoted to the success of my students,” I’ve really enjoyed being reminded that team beats individual, leadership should be humble, and greatness is built. From the entire collection, the book that has been most inspirational is Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. It was like nothing I ever read at Columbia or through other leadership programs. We all know intrinsic motivation is better than extrinsic, but I was amazed to discover that incentives really do block creativity. It was fascinating to read and think about how I will motivate and inspire students at Equitas Academy #3. We’re not going to rely on systems like paychecks and class points to excite students about learning. This is all great in theory, now I need to figure out how to put it into practice and create a school culture that praises effort and creativity vs. compliance.

A few quotes that stood out to me:

“Goals may cause systematic problems for organizations due to narrowed focus, unethical behavior, increased risk taking, decreased cooperation, and decreased intrinsic motivation. Use care when applying goals in your organization.”
― Daniel H. PinkDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

“As Carol Dweck says, “Effort is one of the things that gives meaning to life. Effort means you care about something, that something is important to you and you are willing to work for it. It would be an impoverished existence if you were not willing to value things and commit yourself to working toward them.”
― Daniel H. PinkDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

“When the reward is the activity itself–deepening learning, delighting customers, doing one’s best–there are no shortcuts.”
― Daniel H. PinkDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Take 18 minutes to watch the following TED talk. Seriously, just do it. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Another reason I love Daniel H. Pink…he decided to put a runner on the cover of his book, even though the book is NOT about running. In his book he talks about how runners exemplify Type 1 (a life built around intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivators) behavior. We run for a greater purpose, testing our limits and attempting to seek mastery while knowing there is always room for growth.

Click on the photo:Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 11.21.08 AMI’ll be back tomorrow with a long run update!