I can hardly believe it – Matt and I have been dating for two years! In truth, it feels like longer than that (and not just because we were “together” for a few months before officially dating). It truly feels like I’ve known Matt for my whole life, but also our time spent together has gone by in the blink of an eye.

Our anniversary last year was spent on a staycation at the W Hotel in Hoboken, so it felt fitting to be on an actual vacation for this time around. Matt’s work trip just happened to match up with our July 8th anniversary, so we did some research ahead of time and chose a dinner spot to celebrate at that night.

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We spent the day of our anniversary in Malibu, and after going back to the hotel to rest and clean ourselves up, headed downtown.

We found ourselves at The Craftsman Bar & Kitchen for a pre-dinner drink. This spot is a gastropub with a cool rustic-chic vibe. As per usual, I got a Blue Moon and Matt got a Corona. We enjoyed our drinks and people-watched outside until a bee decided to attack my head, at which point we decided to move inside where we enjoyed the unique, trendy ambiance (and no bees).

After we finished our drinks, we headed over to the restaurant that we had a reservation at, but we were a bit early so Matt showed off his scooter skills to kill some time.

Before arriving in California, I had no idea how big these scooters were. For those of you who don’t know, companies like Bird and Lime supply cities with scooters that you can ride around for a fee, similar to the Citi Bike system in New York. Unlike Citi Bike, though, you can leave these scooters wherever you want, although it is asked you leave them off to the side to avoid damage. You’re also legally supposed to wear a helmet, but almost no one seemed to be abiding by that law.

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After a short wait, our table at North Italia was ready. Close to the Third Street Promenade, North Italia is a really cool, very open Italian spot with indoor and outdoor seating. We opted to be seated outside to enjoy the warm weather, which was finally cooling down a bit thankfully.

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In honor of our anniversary, we ventured out of our comfort zone drink-wise – well, sort of. I got some sort of red sangria and Matt got some variation of a Moscow Mule, but Italian (somehow). The drinks were delicious and it was wonderful to be cheers-ing our anniversary in a new, exciting place.

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Speaking of delicious, possibly the best thing we ordered was the white truffle garlic bread, topped with house-made ricotta, mozzarella, grana padano, and herbs. It was SO GOOD. Probably the best garlic bread I’ve ever had. I mean, look at it!!! It was a meal in and of itself.

I would possibly go back to Santa Monica again just to have this garlic bread, I am that passionate about it.

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Our main course was great too. I got the bolognese, with traditional meat sauce, tagliatelle noodles, and grana padano cheese while Matt went the seafood route and opted for the diver scallops with sweet corn risotto, asparagus, crispy shallot, and pancetta gremolata.

It was safe to say that after this decadent meal (we also had Caesar salads which I forgot to mention – too flustered about that garlic bread) we were much too full for dessert, so we headed back towards the pier to watch the sunset.

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It truly was a magical anniversary, and I am so happy that I got the opportunity to travel to Santa Monica with Matt while celebrating our two years together.

Even though we primarily worked for the reminder of the trip, these two days that we got to spend exploring the LA area and enjoying being together were so special to me, and it’s an experience I know neither of us will ever forget.

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