Sunday In Malibu

It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and the sun was beating down on Los Angeles, heating it up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It was one of those weekends, where it’d be a sin not to spend it on the beach. However, Sunday afternoons almost always call for brunch, so we decided to combine these serendipitous ideas.

I’d come across a company called AmazingCo, which hosts different experiences all around the world, like Girls Night In, Weekends away, and, our choice, the Mystery Picnic. On Saturday night, I received an email full of clues that I would be using to find my way around Malibu the next morning. The company recommended that I solve the first clue before heading out. Grabbing a notebook and pen, we deciphered the code, revealing a local restaurant.

Malibu

Our First Stop

Heading into Nicolas Eatery, I was a bit nervous. I was almost positive the host was going to look at me with confusion and I would have to explain the company and how they claimed the restaurant was supposed to hand over some food without me paying them for it. Walking up to the worker, I said, “Hi, I’m Raven…I’m here for the Mystery Picnic.”

“Oh! I’ve got your order right here,” he claimed, grabbing a to-go box set to the side, and handing across the counter, “Do you need any silverware or plates?”

“Oh! Sure, that’d be great.”

We opened up the mysterious box and I was shocked. Four different kinds of sliced cheese lined the edge neatly next to a row of sliced French bread. There was fresh fruit and greek olives glistening beside the candied cashews. If this charcuterie board was the only thing I received all day, I would’ve went home more than happy. However, there were plenty more clues to solve…

A Viewpoint Along the Way

We sat down, decoding our next stop, which was just up the coast at no other than Malibu Pier. I’d been here before (I mean, it’s the most iconic stop in Malibu, of course I have) and I think the company expected this, so they gave us another option. If we didn’t want to check out the pier, there was a fun, surfer-hippie clothing store called Aviator Nation just across the street with free parking. They had me at free parking.

Pulling in the driveway, we stepped out into the dusty, desert parking lot and strolled into the store. Retro colors of teal, peach and harvest gold exploded off of the walls. Surfboards lined the surfaces while sayings like, “Locals Only,” and “Rock and Roll,” danced over the apparel. Stepping out of the 70s and back into the 21st century, we figured we’d use the free parking to our advantage and take a stroll down Malibu pier anyway.

The sun glinted off the waves as they rolled into shore with the surfers on them. Couples walked hand in hand, as families stood in line for brunch at Malibu Farm. I have to say, though this spot is known, it never does get old. By now, we were getting a bit hungry and figured it was time to solve the next clue.

Malibu Pier

Restaurant Number Two

This stop was much further than the two before, but we didn’t mind much, as Pacific Coast Highway has endless views of surf, sand and mountains to keep one entertained on the journey. We ended up at Malibu Country Market, a sort of outdoor boutique mall. Even though our clues led us to a specific restaurant inside to grab our next surprise, I figured we should enjoy the stop as well.

We swiveled into a chocolate shop, taste-testing truffles until our mouth watered enough to give into a sea salt dark chocolate. We spun through local clothing stores and ogled at a psychic selling crystals and spiritual books. Leaving the open market with a fresh greek salad seasoned to perfection, we made our way to the main course.

Le Cafe de La Plage

Completing the Picnic Basket

This stop was much busier, filled with locals grabbing fresh sandwiches much like us, but we didn’t mind. Sundays in Malibu are meant to be spent on island time. With our picnic basket now filled with a charcuterie board, greek salad, turkey sandwich and drinks of our choice from Le Cafe de La Plage, there was only one thing left: Dessert.

SweetBu Candy Co. is a land where childhood dreams are born. The walls were lined from top to bottom with rainbow arrays, boasting every type of candy a sweet tooth could dream of. The owner handed us a mason jar and said, “Fill it to the brim with whatever you can fit from the wall.”

It is safe to say that I was overwhelmed. There must have been over 100 kinds of sweets to choose from! In the end, we collectively decided that there was no such thing as a wrong answer and filled the jar with peach rings, blackberry balls and sour fruit strips.

Picnic on the Beach in Malibu

Alas, we were ready to enjoy the fruits of our labor (literally). We were directed to a nearby beach to enjoy our mystery picnic. However, if we for some reason didn’t want to spend the rest of our perfect day on the beach, AmazingCo gave us an option for a grassy park that we could picnic at instead. With our minds set on the beach, we tiptoed barefoot through the sand and set up our tapestry in front of a dune on the ocean. It was about 3:00PM now and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of cheeses we had scored.

The Beach Set-Up

I opened up each of the boxes and we both grabbed a fork, diving in as if it was Thanksgiving dinner. The asiago melted into a creamy texture in my mouth, complimenting the toasted bread perfectly. I took a bite of the fresh greek salad, as kalamata olives exploded on my taste buds. It was just what we needed on this hot day. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not agree and just as I went in for my fifth bite, a huge gust of sand blew across the surface of the beach, dusting my salad as if it was pepper.

“Oh, nOOOOoooooooo!”

Beach Time

Finding The Silver Linings

It’s safe to say, I was devastated. The food I had hunted and gathered for the afternoon was gone to the wind in minutes. I couldn’t help but think, if only we’d moved closer to the shoreline, or further from the sand dune, or maybe even covered the food unless we were actually eating from that box, that we could’ve saved our beautiful beach bounty. I guess the park wasn’t such a ludicrous option after all.

However, not everything was destroyed in the sandstorm…Opening the mason jar, I put a peach ring in my mouth. It reminded me of outdoor movies on a hot summer night as a kid. I was content. By now, the sun was only an hour and a half away from setting thanks to the clocks changing to winter hours.

Zuma Beach

We began to walk with our toes in the sand down Zuma Beach. The water splashed at my ankles, as footprints proving I had a day well-spent lined a path behind me. Beautiful Malibu houses propped up on the sand made for dreamy moments. Dogs ran by, eagerly chasing tennis balls into the ocean and proudly bringing them back to their owners. Families were laughing, holding hands in flowing, white dresses in front of well-equipped photographers. We walked further.

A Sunset On The Ocean

Reflections

The houses were now engulfed in exotic palm trees, shaking their leaves in the light breeze. A glassy sheet of salty water covered the shoreline, reflecting a mirror image, so we could see the serenity twice, just in case. After a while, we reached the point, marking the end of our walk. The caves here twisted along the walls and the ocean floor. I didn’t feel like I was in California anymore.

The sun was almost below the horizon, causing us to reflect on our afternoon at Aviator Nation with its teal, peach and harvest gold sunset colors. I don’t know how many times I can say this day was perfect, but it just was. It was complete; it was exquisite; it was perfect.

Running In The Sunset

I saw places I’d never been before in a place where I thought I’d already seen everything. I saw restaurants and viewpoints and a stunning beach sunset. This is an experience I would recommend to everyone, everywhere (just beware of that beach sand!). In Los Angeles alone, there are a number of mystery picnics to explore in different neighborhoods. However, AmazingCo does mystery picnics in 30 different cities in the United States, and in four other countries besides that. I, for one, know my adventures with mystery picnics have not ended with my first afternoon in Malibu and I can’t wait to see what neighborhood I will get to explore next.

A Few Tips Before You Book:

  • Make sure you bring items they recommend with you, like water, a beach towel, a cooler, etc.
  • 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. For me, that was the mustard on my sandwich (LOL).
  • Last, but absolutely not least, watch out for the beach sand when picnicking!

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