Flag's Day

Kicking around Los Angeles, it becomes easy to believe that this city belongs to the highly pampered pet canines at the end of everyone's leash.  If you're not dodging the Golden Retriever in Nordstrom's, you're stepping over one on the way to your table.  There's an organic/raw/handmade dog food store on every block.  Pet hotels in every neighborhood, because the notion of a kennel is too uncivilized.  We love our dogs here in the city of Angels.

This Memorial Day weekend we found a rare opportunity to catch up with our friends Megan & Ian, whose busy professional lives often keep them not only away from us, but away from their rescue mutt, Flag.  Flag, who you'll note, is perhaps the most quintessential dog of all time.  The Platonic ideal of a dog.  Flag, who is eponymously named after their native city of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Saturday took the five of us to Malibu Farm Pier Cafe, the farm-to-table QuaintFest which sits at the end of one of Malibu's most iconic structures.  Santa Monica to the left of us and legions of surfers to our right, even on this May Grey-iest of mornings this Cafe bleeds SoCal charm.  It comes replete with the most small business of backstories.  

But.  Despite a call ahead to verify, we discovered that dogs are technically "not allowed" at the Cafe, due to the fact that the pier is managed as a State Park. We were emboldened by how quiet things were early Saturday morning - we arrived around 10 AM avoiding any anticipated brunch rush - and we were welcomed accordingly when we presented with Flag at the end of her leash.  We snagged upstairs outdoor seating to avoid the gaze of any roaming park rangers and settled in.

Perfect egg scrambles, stunning views and warm beverages started our day off right, as these photos will attest.  Swing in the next time you're cruising the 32-mile stretch of beach town heaven that is Malibu, CA.

In addition to the Cafe which is a place your order at the counter and they'll bring it out to you sort of situation, there is also a more formal dining establishment at the entrance to the Pier called Malibu Farm Restaurant.  In either event, it seems one can't go wrong with this stop on your next trip up the PCH.

After a few hours, we snuck Flag back off the pier and headed out to hike a 5.5 mile loop to the summit of Red Rock Canyon above Topanga.  We tried Topanga State Park, but were turned away at the gate.  Dogs are natural predators and scare away all the local fauna, so the signs say.  This might be true, as Flag did take great pleasure in chasing all the lizards off their sun spots.

They kindly handed us a sheet of dog-friendly trails in the area and our momentary deterrence took us to a beautiful stretch of red rock we didn't know existed.  We were later also turned away at Rosenthal Winery, and a slew of local restaurants, before Coral Beach Cantina was able to arrange a dog-friendly section of patio seating for us so that we could stuff ourselves with guacamole and margaritas.

We returned to our Mid-City abodes (after the requisite stop into Milk) as the marine layer creeped back across our neighborhood. Exhausted and sun-kissed, we found ourselves with renewed respect for the ingenuity of the city's dog owners.

-- Addie & Andy