The Best Way To Brunch in Manhattan Beach

Though I’ve lived in Los Angeles for almost two years now, I’ve come to realize that I can’t quite master the sights as easily as I could in my small hometown. There will always be a little pocket in a neighborhood or some new restaurant hidden in an alleyway for me to explore. This is what I love about the company AmazingCo— they do the exploring for me.

This company hosts mystery picnics all over the world. The night before your experience, they’ll send you the first clue to solve, so you can plan the timing right on arriving at your first location.

On Wednesday morning, my siblings and I embarked on a mystery picnic in South Los Angeles. After solving the first clue, we still weren’t quite sure where our journey would end.

A Beginning in Hermosa Beach

I pulled into the lot of Cultured Slice in Hermosa Beach and walked through the babbling chorus of the real housewives enjoying brunch on the patio.

“Hello! How can I help you?” the cashier beamed.

“Hi! I’m Raven, we’re here for the mystery picnic,” I replied as he promptly handed a brown bag over the counter.

Running back to the car, excited to see what we scored, I opened the paper bag. Two massive charcuterie boards equipped with olives, pickles, crackers and dried fruit glanced back. Even if this was all the picnic had supplied us with, I would have been over the moon. However, we were no where near finished yet. After collecting a fresh kale salad and chicken salad from The Source Cafe, we were on our way to Manhattan Beach. We soon found out that this is where the rest of our day would be spent–but first, we had to take in our surroundings.

This Must Be The Place Mural
This Must Be The Place Mural

Welcoming in Manhattan Beach

AmazingCo recommended that we go and check out the pier first. It was a bright and sunny day–perfect for the beach. We strolled along the sea green railings and watched as the fisherman stared out at sea intently. The sun shone brightly through the clear blue skies, glinting back at us as each wave broke on the shoreline.

Manhattan Beach Pier
Manhattan Beach Pier

Our next clue led us back into the beach town. We strolled down the boardwalk and over to 1121 Manhattan Ave, using the mural outside of Skechers to solve a riddle. You may even be able to to do this one without the mural, or maybe it just looks easier now that I know the answer.

AmazingCo Riddle
AmazingCo Riddle

However, with a name like Sweet Lady Jane, I knew I was about to get some desserts–and not just any dessert. Oprah Winfrey herself actually featured the cherry pie from Sweet Lady Jane’s on her “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list in 2015.

An Unexpected Surprise

Sweet Lady Jane was just a few blocks up the street. For being such a well-known place, I was surprised at how local Manhattan Beach felt while walking around. I watched as people bumped into others they knew on the sidewalks and exchanged laughs over coffee at the pier.

“I feel like we’re in a luxury campground community,” my sister said, glancing over as a family cruised by in a golf cart, waving to their friends at lunch.

As the walk sign turned on, we began to cross the street just as a man climbed up on top of his golf cart and his assistant drove him to the center of the intersection. A camerawoman ran to face the beach.

“And, GO!” she said, as he leaped into the air with purses and landed back on top of the cart with a thud.

“I don’t know why I had this idea,” he shouted, laughing with his hands on his knees.

And I don’t know how the top didn’t collapse with that jump,” we thought to ourselves.

Apparently it didn’t end up as cool as he thought it would, as his incredible photoshoot was never posted on Hammitt (the luxury accessory brand in Manhattan Beach). However, I snapped this gem just for you guys, so enjoy the exclusive content.

Golf Cart Photoshoot
Golf Cart Photoshoot

Completing The Picnic

We arrived at Sweet Lady Jane Bakery faster than the photoshoot ended. Since there were three of us on this mystery picnic, we were allowed to pick out three different desserts to have with our lunch. My mouth was watering looking at the display case and narrowing down our choices was difficult to say the least. However, we ended up with a lemon meringue bar, a salted caramel brownie and a dark chocolate cherry bar, which reminded me of my summers up in Door County.

There was only one thing left to make this picnic complete: Drinks. We solved the math heavy equation for Archie’s Bakery and picked up a baguette and some sparkling waters just across the street.

AmazingCo Riddle
AmazingCo Riddle
AmazingCo Riddle List

The Light Gate

On our way back to the car, we came across this beautiful sculpture in front of the library. It’s called the Light Gate for a very specific reason. Though the view through the keyhole to the ocean is gorgeous no matter what, something special happens here twice a year. On November 14th and January 27th, the sunset hits just right, acting as a key to complete the sculpture. As the round figure fills in the top, the sun glints off of the ocean below, finishing the masterpiece. It sounds like a magnificent sight and I’m already planning to race the sun here next fall.

The Light Gate
The Light Gate

The Best Beach in Manhattan Beach

Now, with all of our fixings collected, it was time for the moment we’d been waiting for: The picnic itself. Arriving at Bruce’s Beach, I was delighted. Compared to the sandy adventure on my last mystery picnic in Malibu, this was heaven. I spread my blanket out on the grassy hill overlooking the ocean. The view was spectacular.

I adorned a slice of manchego cheese on top of the sourdough flatbread and took a bite. It’s buttery wonder melted in my mouth as I closed my eyes, inhaling the salty sea. Washing it down with sparkling water, I moved onto the next course. The chicken salad sprang my tastebuds to life. This was probably the freshest salad I’d ever had, even after carrying it around Manhattan Beach all day.

By the time I got to dessert, I was stuffed. However, it was Oprah’s favorite, so you know I still had to take a bite. The lemon meringue ended up being my top contender, as I snuck another bite before heading down to the shore.

If there’s one thing better than a good meal, it’s having the chance to walk it off after. We had the beach to ourselves, besides a few lone seagulls, who, by the looks it, did not get as good of a picnic as we did.

The salty water splashed on my bare toes, tingling as the icy foam settled in. After a long walk along the beach, I finally made my decision: There’s only one way to do Manhattan Beach, and it’s with AmazingCo.

Know Before You Go:

  • Make sure you bring items they recommend with you, like water, a beach towel, a cooler, etc.
  • Some of my stops were far enough away from each other that I wouldn’t walk from one to the next. This might just be the location I chose, but check with them beforehand to see if you should bring your own car to the experience.
  • Tell them any allergies you have beforehand (like vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free) AND any food you may not have an allergy to, but just won’t eat.
  • Last, but absolutely not least, depending on your location, you may need to watch out for the beach sand when picnicking. No one likes a sandy salad.

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