Local places we know.
We will tell you about our favorite restaurants nearby in this Guide.
For a gourmet Italian experience, you should head "Over the Hill" to Beto's Italian Bistro. Located at 2325 Kuehner, in Simi Valley is 6 miles via Box Canyon and 8 miles via Topanga and the 118. This is definately one of our favorites and they offer a Monday night dinner for 2 preset menu special!
We just love Sushi. One of our favorites is Honshu at 10166 Mason. It's quiet at a table and the Yellowtail Collar appetizer and Heart Attack rolls are the best! We also love Hikari all-you-can-eat Sushi at 21230 Devonshire. The Nichelle rolls are to die for! For a great and authentic Japanese meal, head to USA Sushi, at 9800 Topanga; it's the most intimate, closest and the most pricey of these three recommendations.
For fun and Mexican food, Los Toros at 21743 Devonshire, is a long standing and colorful restaurant with 2 bars and complete Mexican menu. From 6:30a.m. to 3 p.m. Nat's West Cafe is great for brunch. For a breakfast order big enough to split in 2 go to Country Deli, 9901 Topanga, where you will also find many options for American and International style lunches and dinners.
There are also numerous chain restaurants nearby and take out at Ralphs and Vallarta Markets.
Across the valley, for real "Dining" there are Roy's Fusion Hawaiian 6363 Topanga, (we splurged at Roy's the night we closed on our house!) Fleming's 6373 Topanga, Morton's 6250 Canoga, and Monty's 5371 Topanga. The latter 4 being steak houses. Right in that part of Woodland Hills (6 1/2 miles away) there is a lovely mall called the Village with numerous date night options!
Sometimes going out from here and living it up just makes it all the more enjoyable when you get back to the quiet and private Hideaway. If you order food for delivery, the services can be met at the gate.
Julia came to California when she was one, from Illinois. Her father was an architect. At age six her parents, her older brother, younger sister and Julia moved to the small coastal community of Briones. She got a big black horse which she named Gypsy that she rode every day bareback, until she saved up her own money and bought an English saddle, built jumps and taught her horse to jump.
Julia graduated from Tam High in Mill Valley and began a life of adventure. In California she sailed, climbed mountains and backpacked, and explored Mexico by train, returning in a 36' foot sailboat to Sausalito from Yelapa, Mexico. She also traveled to Brazil and started her own career as a tailor and designer.
In '85 she bought a one way ticket to Maui, and took her bike, her sewing machine and 1400 bucks. From there she and an old friend traversed the globe stopping in Hong Kong, Thailand, Burma, Singapore, Bali, Italy, France and Spain. It took 4 months, and was great! After that she went to live in Paris and studied fashion for 10 months. Upon returning to the bay area, her technical career started as a patternmaker at North Face, they trained her to use the best pattern design CAD software. During those years Julia worked at several clothing companies and lived in Berkeley, then in Sausalito. She also danced a lot:) Ballet, jazz, nightclub Motown, rock and roll, salsa, samba and lambada were all a great part of the years.
Julia started sailing again in San Francisco Bay races with her ski-club girlfriends, and went with one of them on a 48' beautiful fast yacht from Fiji to Vanuatu. They climbed an erupting volcano under a full moon with only a 10 year old boy as their guide!
Julia spent her birthday in 1999 on a sailboat delivery trip in the Caribbean, where she met Michael Kastendiek, from Santa Monica. They started a long distance relationship, got engaged in ’01, and were married at the Presidio yacht Club in Sausalito in ’02. They honeymooned in the Pelopponese, Greece, then lived in Santa Monica and Topanga. Julia took trips to India and Switzerland during these years.
In 2011 they bought Cliff House and Julia designed the remodel transforming it into a Poquito Hacienda. In 2016, Julia and Michael bought the 1954 Spartan Manor trailer and built the Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway, which launched in January 2019. In photo, that's us in Avalon, Catalina! One of our favorite places! Feel free to yarn with Julia anytime!
Elope at the Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway
There's something about the Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway that is just so romantic. It's quiet, private and absolutely uncommon.
Our impressive 180 degree view is photogenic in the extreme! Wedding couples reciting their vows, enjoying celebratory champagne and taking photos will have this special memory making time in a truly unique location. Nearby towering sandstone cliffs, surrounding nature and the valley far below add to the mystique. Sunsets here are so expansive! Our desert location 1 hour from Los Angeles gets very hot in mid-summer, be forewarned!
Couples can relax on their chosen day of elopement with no fear of intrusion. You, your fiance and up to 6 other crew and family (8) total will be able to enjoy all of it for the whole day, plus the advantage of the owners assistance for anything as needed.
Each one-of-a -kind piece of included decor and furnishings is selected or custom built to add to the charm of the beautiful 1954 vintage Spartan Manor trailer and surrounding terrace. Of course the bridal parties addition of decor or flowers are welcomed:)
The open-air double bed concealed with billowing curtains and further veiled inside the curtained shade structure is a relaxing and completely furnished outdoor room.
For dining al fresco a beneath a tall shady umbrella, tile table with four chairs, vintage tableware and 1950's Winfield hand-painted dinnerware contribute to the feeling of a forgotten time, when falling in love had its graciousness and sparkle still to discover.
Please note that there is NO LAND LINE up here!!! Excellent cell reception, however. Likely no streaming or Zooming<><>
Please see more photos and read our reviews and about our amenities as listed on Houfy.
Included in 750.00 Elopement fee:
2 nights lodging for 2 people
Owners assistance to elopement group as needed. Our residence is 50 yards away.
Enjoyment of Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway by up to 8 people on the full day between the 2 nights selected. Our inimitable "Gypsy" the 24 foot Spartan Manor trailer, free parking, vintage dinnerware, vintage tableware, linens, full kitchen, 1 small equipped bathroom with shower, outdoor dining for 4, a 13 foot smaller trailer perfect for a dressing room, all patio furniture including 2 chaises, loveseat, 2 armchairs, 2 umbrellas, and an outdoor room with double bed.
There is a 500.00 damage deposit required and a release of liability form to sign by all visitors.
RULES: No smoking. No open flames of any kind. Vaping ok outside. No pets. No children. We require our guests to be respectful of the surrounding neighborhood at all times.
There's just something about our Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway that is just so romantic. It's quiet, private and absolutely uncommon. Couples can relax with no fear of intrusion whatsoever. They can prepare meals, enjoy cocktails, hang out, have their special memory making times in a truly unique location. The decor and furnishings also are one-of-a -kind, each piece selected or custom built to add the charm of the mid-century palace on wheels and surrounding terrace. The sleeping cabin double bed, with luxury 100% cotton Ralph Lauren linens, and light as a cloud goose down warm duvet just invites you for snuggling.
The open-air double bed concealed with curtains and further veiled inside a curtained gazebo can be enjoyed night or day for lounging or sleeping. The designer made specialty pillows and backdrop, furnishings and lighting within are just perfect for tender dreams. The soft rug, coffee table, chair and small table make this shade structure a relaxing and complete outdoor room. Listen to your music through our Blue-tooth stereo system or watch a Netflix movie outside!
The large comfortable chaises with extra pillows and blankets on the edge of the view facing patio are also prime spots for chilling out and burying oneself in a fine novel from the library or the Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway a.k.a Tiny Tiki Trailer Zone handbook. Become mesmerized by the red-tailed hawks, crows and buzzards that hunt through the area on the afternoon breezes. Imagine the hiking up into the sandstone boulders overhead that you will partake in the next day with your hosts and Bella their beautiful gazelle like dobie. Watch the squirrels and bunnies watch you.
For dining al fresco a tall shady umbrella, teak table with four chairs, vintage tableware and 1950's Winfield hand-painted dinnerware contribute to the feeling of a forgotten time, when falling in love had its graciousness and sparkle still intact. The cushy loveseat and swivel armchairs are perfect for repose and leisure, while enjoying the spectacular surroundings and the company of the love of your life.
All about our vintage trailer.
When you arrive at the Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway, you may be flabbergasted at the view, and the memory of driving up the steep hill is still fresh in your mind. When your host opens your guesthouse for the next few days you may not really be paying attention. But the specialness of it will sink in soon and so the curiosity will rise, because it's unlikely you have ever been inside a trailer like Gypsy.
"Gypsy" our 1954 Spartan Manor was built at Spartan Aircraft Company, a retooled aircraft factory in Tulsa Oklahoma. J. Paul Getty owned the factory and spared no expense in design and construction. At that time, when need for post war housing skyrocketed, a fine trailer like this cost nearly 1/2 as much as a house; but, it had an advantage: you could tow it to your next job location, and live in comfort in a trailer park community.
Gypsy is one of the smallest trailers built by Spartan, and is one of the most rare and collectible. At 24', 3" or total 27', 2" with the tongue, it weighs 5280 lbs and cost new 3748$. Nowadays a 24' trailer on craigslist starts at 10,500$, and goes up to 27,000$.
Julia and Michael purchased Gypsy in New Orleans, Louisiana. Michael and the seller towed it with an F-250 to Chatsworth in 2016. It was remodeled and restored with much care by Julia, until opening as a guesthouse in 2018. Of its life previous to California, little is known, except that 2 elderly gentlemen lived in it at different times in the last 20 years. Wouldn't it be nice to know where else Gypsy rested and gave classy shelter to her inhabitants?
The Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway experience is one of a kind. While building, we always attempted to restore the original fixtures and finishes as built in 1954 at the modern, efficient converted aircraft factory in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The trailer itself is a fine example of a long lasting build with many, many years of service in mind. i.e. not disposable! Our Gypsy has survived well, and we are just caretakers on her long journey. We wish to share this -unusual space - tiny house on wheels - aluminum palace- with friends, family and guests!
Did you realize it also has many green energy factors built into it? We have a grey water system for showers and sink runoff, and on-demand hot water. Although we provide the luxury of heat and air conditioning, the Hideaway is well equipped for passive temperature control. Just adjust the many windows, move yourself inside or out onto the patio, raise a huge umbrella, or use the quilts provided if it's chilly.
All of the entirely irreplaceable custom built furnishings are sourced from recycled, reclaimed and repurposed materials. For example, the beautiful custom settee that fits perfectly under the window in the observation lounge was built (by Julia) using recycled foam, and a "Tiki" mid century coffee table sourced from craigslist. The outdoor curtains and upholstery fabrics were all purchased after market at Julia's work during an excess fabric sale and the green silk was repurposed from a 2nd hand store purchase. The special sized end table was built using a "saddle" type stool and the old non-original flop down table top constructed by the previous owner. In the sleeping cabin, the side table is original and the custom bedspread is custom sewn using 1950's vintage barkcloth from France, which was purchased on Etsy. The amazingly compact vanity in the bathroom utilizes the legs from the old table and all tiles were purchased on craigslist.
The collector's item textiles and vintage ceramics were collected and utilized by Julia with a lighter carbon footprint in mind and for real mid-50's wow factor. The beautiful mid-century dinnerware was hand-painted at the Winfield China factory in Santa Monica Ca, and the silver plate service came from Michael's family. These items we just love to show off and get the guests to use! The outdoor bed had a previous life, with a palm fringed roof, on a terrace overlooking the sea in Malibu. Now, inside the restored shade structure, the Tiki Bed is lavished with a custom moon blocker, curtains all around and handmade specialty pillows.
Once guests settle in we encourage them to stick around and take it slow, unwind, decompress and enjoy nature. Everything you might need to lighten your carbon footprint and make fabulous memories is right here!
If you come to the Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway, you will meet a resident princess who watches over her domain with pride. You will also hear her defending it from occasional walkers by, rare motorcycles and numerous coyotes. Sometimes the Neighborhood Canine Brethren Chorus can be quite vocal.
Bella is the 1 in a million Really Red Doberman, with natural tail and ears. We say she's the result of a purebred queenlike Mommy and a scoundrel Daddy. This is a dog, that while riding around in the car, other drivers roll down their windows to say "what a pretty dog". She is a little large for a female dobie at a svelte and sleek 75 lbs, but looks and acts just like a Doberman Pinscher. She might be part Rhodesian, Lab, or Greyhound, it's anyone's guess, as she is a rescue. Her capacity to love, intelligence and loyalty are of the highest in dogdom. Her vocabulary is very good, she knows the names of all her toys and the difference between coyote, bunny, squirrel and mouse. She has been trained in rattlesnake aversion for her safety, and has not approached it but called out with a special bark when she saw one near the house.
When you pass down the short trail from the Tiny Tiki Trailer Zone, aka Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway, Bella will let us know you are at our gate, showing great enthusiasm and rambunctiousness. She might plant a surprise smooch upon your cheek without touching you with her paws. It is just her lips and a little tongue. Of course, if you like we will keep her out of your way completely.
She reigns over 1/2 acre with our house inside of her fence. She chases away red tailed hawks, but cares not about the crows or doves, unless she is bored and they are on the birdbath. Where she digs a nice hole, we plant something.
Inside, we give her the run of the house and sleep with her.
We should be so lucky as to have the life of Bella. Every day she is taken on a spectacular trail hike up among the sandstone boulders, where she is off leash, showing her beauty, agility and love of life. Her diet consists of expensive salmon and sweet potato kibble, served with boiled chicken and warm broth, and a raw beef back bone as appetizer. Her coat is gorgeous, shiny, soft as satin and miraculously never dirty. Due to her diet, her teeth are perfect and likely will never need cleaning.
It's a tough time every year when you can never let your guard down and live in constant terror of a spark becoming a conflagration. It seems to go on forever, from May well into Christmas time and January, these yearly weeks of apprehension, which is heightened by high winds of 45 mph or higher.
As far as fires go it is different to have been so close a witness to a famous one. On November 8, 2018 as I got into my car at work, I saw a text from my girlfriend Raphye in Florida--"Are you ok with the fire?" !!! After calling my husband I found out there was indeed a fire near us in Bell Canyon, only 1 1/4 miles away and downwind from our house. The desiccating Santa Ana winds had been building and blowing hard for days already.
By the time I got home there was visible high flames on the skyline, dramatic columns of smoke, road closures and multiple helicopters coming and going from the water storage areas below us. That night as I tried to rest, I was kept awake and nervous. Then I realized the choppers were flying over me, UPwind of us. There was a spot fire up on the 118!!! But luckily for us the brave fire heroes put it out quickly. The big fire downwind had gotten completely out of control in the raging winds and was tearing through dry tinder filled parklands and over quickly evacuated neighborhoods where the fight was on to save homes. That night the fire traveled across the grasslands over whole towns and jumped the 8 lane 101 freeway. I started to fear for and write to my friends in that direction.
The next day was completely surreal. Over and over again huge columns of smoke billowed high into the atmosphere. Friends arrived to watch the terrible spectacle from our cliff-top vantage point. I packed up my car with those precious items. I said goodbye to my Gypsy. We ferried our extra vehicles down into the city. Hourly we went to the end of our little road to see how far the flames had encroached towards us against the wind. We stayed up until very late. At night the firestorm became more visible as homes burned brightly and great fireballs turned white with their own heat and exploded before our eyes less than 5 miles away. Meanwhile the leading edge of the Woolsey had climbed the Santa Monica Mountains and all of Malibu was being evacuated. The only thing that stopped it was the Pacific Ocean more than 25 miles (37 mile drive) in a straight line away.
The next morning there was a new firefight right below us, we could watch it on tv or with our own eyes. Often, when a fire passes, there are hotspots that flare up and must be found and extinguished in time. This post raging wall of flame threat became the downfall of many grand mansions in Malibu that day and the day before.
The Woolsey fire burned 96,949 acres, destroyed 1643 structures, caused 295,000 evacuations, and 3 people and numerous domestic and wild animals perished. At one point on the 3rd day, our area was evacuated because of another new fire to the north, off the 118. But they put it out in time. You will never want to see smoke coming at you from upwind again.
Stoney Point, an LA city park, is part of the mostly sandstone Simi Hills in the Santa Susanna mountains, and is only a 15 minute drive from the Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway. It is one of the most historically important rock climbing locations in the greater Los Angeles area. With a towering crag, chutes, canyons, scrambling and boulders, this famous outcropping offers a climbers feast.
Right here in Chatsworth is a park that is available for those experienced in safely climbing outside. Once that basic is granted and understood, climbers of different ability levels can find over 190 routes here, from scrambling to v1-v3 and 5.9-5.10 and above difficulty levels. If you love to climb and hang out with fellow local climbers, this is the place for you.
World renowned climbers Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard, Bob Kamps, Ron Kauk, John Long and John Bachar all climbed and trained at Stoney point. 50 years ago, Robbins and Chouinard ruled the place. On weekends, noobies and veterans alike take part in the same addiction. New or non-local enthusiasts are always welcomed.
On your way south from the 118 freeway to the Hideaway you drive right past this stunning iconic ancient rock formation. Free parking on Topanga Canyon Blvd.
A fun hike around the base to watch the climbers is a local treat.
There are several trails leading out from the Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway. You can come with us on our daily hike. We are surrounded by private property, so please do not go out nearby by yourself for any hiking, rock climbing or scrambling.You can drive a short distance to the starting points of Santa Susanna Pass State Park trails, Rocky peak trail, Hummingbird trail, or Stagecoach trail. We might facilitate with a car transfer if you only want to hike downhill!!:)You may see a few people on all trails, and you will see incredible down valley and up rock-wards views that are breathtaking. Near us there is an old cabin where they filmed "Zorro", and sandstone cliffs called "The 12 Apostles", where we witnessed an avalanche from the top!!!!
Always bring water, a hat or sunscreen, and wear tennis shoes and long pants. Keep your eyes and ears open for wild animals. Tracking them is fun to do! But if you encounter a rattler do not disturb it!!!