It shouldn’t be too surprising when I say that the seasons are pretty non-existent in Los Angeles. Sure, the wind picks up and we get a few rainy days as Fall approaches, but it tends to stay a pretty mild temperature year-round. Because the seasonal changes are less apparent here than in my Northern California hometown, I’m always looking for ways to remind myself of those cozy autumn months spent in Mendocino County.
Here’s how I’m faking Fall this year:
Filling my apartment with seasonal candles
My favorites include Woodwick’s Warm Slumber (pictured, $15.99) and Cinnamon Chai because they crackle and flicker as they burn, and smell amazing.
Ordering ciders and stouts instead of usual ales
I’m excited to try Elysian Brewing Company’s Night Owl Pumpkin Ale and Horse & Plow’s Farmhouse Cider made from Sonoma County apple varieties.
Picking up seasonal goodies from Trader Joe’s
My favorites include TJ’s pumpkin waffles ($1.99), pumpkin seed brittle ($3.49), Halloween Joe Joe cookies ($2.99), and the butternut squash soup ($2.99).
Escaping the city and heading to Big Bear
For those who live in Southern California, mid-October to early November has been said to be the perfect time to enjoy Big Bear’s Fall colors. The thousands of evergreen trees surrounding the lake help bring out the gorgeous colors of the aspens, cottonwoods, and oaks; rust-colored ferns carpet the hiking trails and Big Bear Village stands out with vibrant red maples. I’ve read that Mill Creek Road, The Pine Knot Trail and Castle Rock Trail are great hikes to observe the foliage. It may be two and half hours away from me, but it’s much closer than going home up North. I’m ready to breathe in the fresh alpine air!
Drinking more reds than white wines
La Crema Pinot Noir ($19) and Bogle Merlot ($9) are two wines that can be found in most grocery stores. The former has baking spice aromas and flavors of Bing cherry, cola, cranberry, and black tea. Bogle is an easy-drinking Merlot that has a hint of anise on the nose and flavors of Bing cherry and vanilla mocha. I am partial to Wild Thing Old Vine Zinfandel ($19) not only because the wine is made from my family’s grapes, but because it has such luscious flavor. On the nose are aromas of black cherry, plum and raspberry that combine with subtler hints of vanilla oak, cigar box, and graphite; I love the long, jammy finish! Jordan Winery, which is strictly a Cabernet and Chardonnay winery, makes a fabulous Cabernet Sauvignon ($55). Although it is notably pricier than the former wines, it’s reminiscent of an elegant Bordeaux and Jordan is known for the consistent quality of each of their vintages.
Visiting a nearby pumpkin patch
Nothing beats my home county’s pumpkin patch, which is spread across several acres of farmland and can easily turn into a half-day event, but the Tapia Bros. Farm in Encino looks like a great alternative. It’s one of the last farm-to-stand spots left in the Valley and visitors can say hi to the resident chickens, goats, and rabbits while searching for the perfect pumpkin to take home.
Making mulled wine using day-old Cabernet I haven’t finished
These Williams-Sonoma mulling spices make the process deliciously easy! I make several trips to Williams-Sonoma during the holidays – one before Thanksgiving and one before Christmas – because they offer samples of their apple cider, hot chocolate, and peppermint bark. If you’d rather make mulled wine or cider from scratch, you can also follow Barefoot Contessa’s recipe here.
Giving cozy sweats another try (even though I’m more of a yoga pants girl)
Brandy Melville’s ‘Rosa‘ sweatpants ($35) come in gray and pink and are ridiculously soft!
Listening to moody playlists on Spotify
I like “Rainy Day,” “Darker Days” and “Your Favorite Coffehouse” playlists.
Celebrating Oktoberfest at an L.A. biergarten
I’ve read great things about Alpine Village’s Oktoberfest which began on Sept. 9th and runs until Oct. 29th.
Going to a few hockey games (preferably Kings vs. Sharks or Kings vs. Ducks) at the Staples Center this season
I know football is the classic Fall sport, but I enjoying watch hockey so much more! It’s still pre-season but once October and November roll around, I’ll be ready to watch the Kings tear up the ice.
Watching classic Fall movies
Love Story (1970), When Harry Met Sally (1989), and Good Will Hunting (1997) have the perfect Fall backdrops.
How are you enjoying Fall this year?