Beginner’s Guide to Portland, OR

Beginner’s Guide to Portland, OR

After Austin, I figured that I had to go to the other U.S. city that had the motto of, “Keep _______ weird,” so I went up to Portland, OR with one of my best friends Before deciding to go to Portland, I had never really considered visiting the Pacific Northwest, and I really don’t know how or why I ignored this part of the country, but once I went to Portland, I instantly fell in love with it.

When I went to Portland for the first time in July 2016, I was still recovering from my stress fracture, so I wasn’t very mobile. Despite this setback, Portland is an easy city to get around without having to do too much walking. There is a train system, Lyft and Uber are there, and there are trolleys that can take you around different tourist areas within the city. We stayed at an Airbnb in Historic Kenton Area and it was a nice part of town. It was close to a MAX train stop and there was a little area that had a few shops and restaurants.

Day #1

To start off our first full day in Portland, we went to Cup and Saucer for breakfast and I got French Toast- it was perfection. My favorite way to start off the day is with a delicious breakfast that usually consists of comfort food, and French toast is that for me.

Once we finished, we took the train to Downtown Portland, and headed over to the meeting spot for the Pink Trolley. This trolley takes you all around the city and to a lot of the main tourist attractions, and it was an affordable way to see a lot of different parts of the city without walking. The two stops that we spent the most time in were the Rose Garden and the Arboretum. Both areas are beautiful and I loved being outdoors and just being able to explore a little- not being able to walk for three months really makes you appreciate the outdoors.

Once we finished with the trolley tour, we headed over to the Pearl District and went to Powell’s bookstore- this was heaven for me. I LOVEEE books, and I just loved being in a bookstore that was so historic and has such a variety of books in it.

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After a long day of exploring, we headed over to The Hairy Lobster for dinner. We started off with beers because you have to try local beers when traveling and the Parker House Rolls with lavender whipped honey butter. For dinner, I got the caramelized lamb served over potatoes and sweet potato mash, and it was delicious. However, for the price, I was a bit surprised at how small my meal was, but it was okay because we were heading over to Salt and Straw for dessert.

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We all know that I have an obsession with Salt and Straw in LA, so it’s no surprise that I had to go to one of the original locations in Portland. When we arrived at Salt and Straw the line wasn’t horrible- at least in comparison to the location I go to in LA, so we decided to wait. As we got closer and closer to the door, I got more and more excited. The décor in the shop was very different from LA, so I really enjoyed that. Since I knew that Portland has some different flavors than LA, I knew I had to try at least one of the local flavors. I got the Stumptown and Burnside Bourbon and Cinnamon Snickerdoodle in a waffle cone- this was a splurge because I usually just get a cup!

Day #2

The next day for breakfast we wanted to try a local donut place, but since I had already been to Voodo Donuts we decided to go to Blue Star.  We got four donuts including: real maple bacon, The O.G., chocolate almond ganache, and a blueberry bourbon basil. All the donuts were DELICIOUS! I LOVED the donuts! I think it was the fact that they weren’t greasy and the flavors were unique that helped a lot. To go with the donuts, I got a carton of Stumptown coffee with milk – best breakfast combination ever!

After breakfast, we walked over to a cute Saturday market near the water. There were a lot of unique and eclectic sellers, which made it easier to find some cool gifts for people! We spent a few hours meandering around the market and then decided it was time for lunch.

We went to Deschutes Brewery for lunch, and I really enjoyed it. My friend and I split a sampler of the different Deschutes, and I really enjoyed most of the different beers. To eat I got the chicken wings, and I thought that they were perfect. It was definitely more of a unique type of chicken wings, but I enjoyed them.

After lunch, we were signed up for a brewcycle tour of Portland. The tour we picked was the Old Town tour and we went to PINTs Brewing, Old Town Brewing, and Fat Head’s Brewing. I thought it was fun way to see the city and we got to explore different parts that we hadn’t visited thus far. I really enjoyed trying new beers and touring the city, so I highly recommend this as a way to explore any city!

After the tour we headed to dinner, and we decided on sushi! We went to a sushi restaurant in the Pearl District right near The Hairy Lobster called Yama Sushi and Sake Bar. I ordered the love joy roll and my friend got a cucumber roll and the sunrise roll. We both thought the food was really good and there wasn’t a super long line for anything which is always a perk. Once we finished dinner we went back to the Airbnb, so we could both pack up because we were leaving the next day.

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Day #3

For my final meal in Portland, the next day, I went back to Cup and Saucer and I got a chai latte and a quiche. Everything was delicious and I need to go back sometime!

 

I loved Portland so much, that I ended up coming back a few months later! That blog post will be up soon 🙂

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Beginner’s Guide to Austin, TX and Oklahoma City, OK

Beginner’s Guide to Austin, TX and Oklahoma City, OK

When I started looking at all of the places I have left to travel to I realized that I haven’t been to the Southern States, and I decided to ease myself into venturing to this new area of the country by visiting one of my best friends in Oklahoma City (OKC). I had already been to OKC before, but that was two years ago, and a lot can change in two years. We figured out that neither of us had been to Austin, TX (ATX), so we decided that I would fly to OKC and then we would road trip down to ATX. I’ve always liked road trips, and then it allows you to hang out with a friend and see new parts of the country.

Day 1
When we first arrived in Austin, we checked into our Airbnb- I think that Airbnb’s are a great way to see a city and interact with local residents. After we settled in we headed over to Uchi, for a delicious sushi dinner. We started off the meal with drinks and for our main course we decided to get the signature tasting option- it is five courses which is a good amount split between two people. This allowed us to try a lot of different things. To start off we tried was the Hirame Usuzukuri, which is flounder with candied quinoa, and olive oil. The second course was the Machi Cure, which is smoked yellowtail, yucca crisp, marcona almond, and Asian pear. For the next course, we had the Maguro & Goat Cheese, which is one of the most unique sushi dishes that I have ever had. Then we had the Hamachi Nabe, which is yellowtail, koshihikari rice, soy broth, and an egg yolk. To conclude our dining experience, we had the Walu Walu which is oak-grilled escolar, yuzupon, candied citrus, and myoga. The food was delicious, well prepared, and truly unique. I think that Uchi has some of the best sushi I have ever had, and the unique dishes makes it worth the price.

After dinner, we went back to our Airbnb to relax and plan for the next day.

Day 2
To start off the day we had a relaxing morning and a quick breakfast and then headed downtown to the Austin Visitors Center. We walked around the center and got to learn more about the city, and then we boarded a bus for the Austin in 90 minutes tour. Some things that you see on the guided bus tour are the 360 Scenic Overlook, Graffiti Park at Castle Hills, Bullock Texas State History Museum, and UT- Austin.

Later on, in the day we had an early dinner and did a Bat Cruise. Fun Fact: The Congress Avenue Bridge is home to the largest urban bat colony in the world. During the Bat cruise you get to experience all of the bats leaving the bridge to go find dinner as the sun sets. It is possibly one of the coolest thing you’ll experience in Austin and I would never have guessed that so many bats could fit under the bridge!

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After the cruise we headed to the “Dirty Sixth” or 6th street to go listen to some live music and enjoy a drink. Eventually we wanted a snack so we decided to head to Voodoo Doughnut Austin, and I got a Maple Bacon donut. It was tasty, and I was excited to try Voodoo because it is originally from Portland, OR and I was going there in a few weeks, so it was like a mini preview of Portland.

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Day 3
After our long day 2, we decided to sleep in a little and then grab breakfast at Whole Foods. Now I know that sounds funny, but considering that Whole Foods was founded in Austin and the original location has a lot of eateries, so we figured it was a good way to see the store and grab breakfast. I went to Taco Alley and got a breakfast burrito and it was divine.

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The next activity for the day was to go on the Deep Eddy Distillery tour. We got the tickets that have the shuttle to and from, so we avoided drinking and driving. The ticket is $25, and it included the round-trip shuttle ride, the tour, a cocktail and 20% off all merchandise. I really enjoyed learning about how they make their vodka and eating and drinking after the tour. They have some food trucks there, so you can get snacks while drinking and I obviously had to get BBQ. It is definitely a fun place to go, and it would be a great place to spend an afternoon with friends.

Once we got back to downtown Austin, we headed to the Roaring Fork for dinner. I got the Cedar Planked Salmon- its oven roasted with Teriyaki BBQ sauce and a Chilled Green Bean Salad. It was the perfect meal after spending a lot of time outside in the heat.

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After dinner we headed back to the Airbnb to hang out and go to bed early. Since we were heading back to OKC early in the morning to beat traffic.

Day 4
After a 4-hour drive, we arrived back in OKC and it felt great to get out of the car. We relaxed, ate dinner, and then we went to the OKCLA game (OKCLA is the minor league team for the Los Angeles Dodgers). I love baseball, so it was fun to get to see a good minor league team play.

Day 5
After a good night’s sleep, we woke up and went to breakfast at The Red Cup. I got a Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich and a Chai tea to drink. It was the perfect breakfast for a hot day. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant and all of the art.

After breakfast we took a water taxi ride around downtown and we got to see some murals and sculptures.

For lunch we went to Big Truck Tacos, and it was amazing! I got the Okie-Wahoo and Rita’s Chicken Tacos. It’s an affordable and delicious place- highly recommend if you’re ever in OKC!

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Once we were done eating, then it was time for me to head to the airport and go back to LA. It was a great trip to Austin and OKC, and I definitely want to return to both cities.

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Beginner’s Guide to Boston

Beginner’s Guide to Boston

One of my favorite regions of the United States is New England. I love the history, seasons (Yes, I said seasons. Growing up with them and then living in LA is weird!), and the food! I ventured across the U.S. to visit various friends from college and my friend Sarah aka the 207 Foodie came down from Maine.

Day One

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Well I landed in the afternoon, so the first task on hand was to find food! My friend and I went to Shabu Zen in Chinatown, and the food was delicious. It was the right balance of meat, veggies, and soup. Then we ventured over to Boston Common and got to see the Massachusetts State House all lit up. Then we decided to head over to Fenway Park- this was a bucket list item for me. Even though it wasn’t baseball season, I just wanted to see the historic park (if you can’t tell, baseball is my favorite sport). From the outside Fenway looked magical, and sometime I need to head back so I can go to an actual game.

The next stop on our evening tour of the city was Mike’s Pastry in Cambridge, which is phenomenal! I am not a huge dessert person, and even I could appreciate a delicious cannoli. We explored Cambridge a little, and I got to see some of Harvard’s campus.

Day Two

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The best way to start your day is with a good cup of coffee and an East Coast bagel. To me, there is nothing better. But the real adventure of the day was leaving Boston, and heading to Salem, MA. While psychics and witches are not really something I’m interested in, I can appreciate the history of the town. One of my favorite books in school was the Scarlet Letter, so I thought it was really cool to see where Nathaniel Hawthorne was born and grew up.

There are a lot of really interesting sculptures and art pieces around the town, and they reflect the history of the city. We also went to the Salem Witch Museum– a must go when in Salem. After exploring the town all day, it was time for a snack, and we choose macaroons at Caramel. We got a variety of flavors and they were all delicious. We made a detour up to New Hampshire so we could do some exploring, and so I could mark it off my list of states to visit. Next stop was dinner at Legal on the Mystic, where I tried Clam Chowder for the first time (another must do when in New England). We also got Oysters to share and I loved the Mignonette Sauce- seriously amazing!

Day Three

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There’s nothing better than being in Boston for St. Patrick’s Day, so we headed to The Bell in Hand Tavern to celebrate. The Bell in Hand Tavern is the oldest tavern in the United States- it opened in 1795. We spent the day here just hanging out and enjoying ourselves.

Day Four

We started the day off by walking around Boston, and we stumbled upon the memorial for Paul Revere and where he’s buried. Since Boston is filled with American history, it’s easy to stumble upon it everywhere you go. The next stop on our walk was the Boston Public Garden, so I could see the Make Way for Ducklings statues. I thought this was the coolest thing ever, because I was obsessed with the books growing up.

This was absolutely one of the best trips out East that I’ve ever had. It was a perfect balance of history, relaxation, and hanging out with good friends. Everyone needs a trip like this.

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Food Guide: Portland, ME

Food Guide: Portland, ME

One of my favorite things to do is visit my friends in the cities they now reside in. My very best friend, 207 Foodie, resides in Portland, ME and I thought that the winter time was the perfect time to escape Los Angeles. To start off my trip, she had an ugly sweater party, so obviously, I had to scour Amazon for the perfect ugly sweater.

Day Two

The next day, we decided to walk to brunch in downtown Portland. We went to brunch at Sur Lie, and it was delicious. We had mimosas, the Golden Potato Hash Brown, Croquettes, the Fat Boy Breakfast, and Apple Cider Donuts- all were heavenly. The next time I’m in Portland, I must eat at Sur Lie again*.

One of my bucket list Portland destinations was L.L. Bean. I mean as someone that loves outdoor gear, L.L. Bean is like heaven. While at L.L. Bean you must take an obligatory picture with the boot outside the store- if you didn’t’ take a picture, did you really go?

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Another bucket list item was getting an authentic lobster roll. I know that winter isn’t the best season for lobster, but the lobster roll I had at Linda Beans was still delicious. I decided to get a cold lobster roll because I’ve only ever had a hot lobster roll; so, in Portland, I decided to try something new!

After spending the day at L.L. Bean and eating lobster rolls, we went on to have a quintessential New England evening at an outdoor ice skating rink, called The Rink at Thompson’s Point. It was a nice rink with a bar inside. They also had a food truck called PB&ME, that served fried cookies, so I got the fried chocolate chip cookies. They were the perfect addition to outdoor ice skating, beer, and good friends.

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Day Three

The next day we wandered down to the Old Port downtown to try an amazing sushi restaurant called Miyake. I got the pork belly, chef’s pick bento box, and chocolate cake with miso caramel sauce and it was great. Some of the items in the bento box I definitely wouldn’t have ordered on my own, but that’s the joy of the chef picking your menu- you get to try new things. The food was super fresh, and I loved the sushi. My friend and I also split the chocolate cake, and it was heavenly. After this delectable lunch, we walked to a different part of the city and went to Shipyard Brewing Co. We learned about the different beers and got to try a few. To finish a great day, we ended up at happy hour at Bar of Chocolate, and we got the Chocolate Martini and Hot Chocolate.

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Day Four

One of the things I hoped would happen while I was in Portland was that it would snow, and I got exactly that. There was enough snow that I was nervous that I might not be able to leave the next day, but luckily it stopped. Once it stopped snowing, we went to lunch at Pai Men Miyake, which is owned by the same people who own Miyake.  We split the pork buns and tuna and salmon rolls, and I got the Ramen as my main course. To finish off the day, we went to trivia at a local restaurant, and I got Beer BBQ wings.

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Day Five

To round off the trip, we went to lunch at a great place called Little Tap House, and I got the Beer for Breakfast Sandwich; the sandwich is comprised of two fried eggs, bacon, beer cheese fondue, grilled bun, and house chips. Then I was on my way back to Chicago. One thing that I’ve learned since graduating college is that visiting your friends is one of the best ways to relax and just allow yourself to be carefree. Being Bicoastal Besties can be hard, but trips together make it seem like time has never passed. Also, I definitely want to visit Portland during the Fall or Summer, so I can try different foods in the correct season!

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Comment below with your favorite trip you’ve taken with friends!

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*Unfortunately, they no longer do brunch 🙁

2017 Goals: February Update

2017 Goals: February Update

So I realize this is a bit late- more like half a month (whoops!), but here are my 2017 Goals update for the month of February:

*Goal 1: Exercise more and get better at Cardio

In the month of February, I exercised 12 times! This is by far the most I have ever exercised in one month, so yay me! Along with exercising more I definitely noticed that I’m getting better at cardio and weight training, and I’m really happy about this. I am working really hard to be present mentally and physically during the entire 60-minute class, which has been difficult after a long work day. This is probably going to be my biggest test for 2017 in terms of perseverance and working hard to achieve a goal.

*Goal 2: Go to all 50 states before I turn 30

I booked my trip for state 39- HAWAII for May! I am so excited to go on this trip. I won this trip back in December 2015 and it has taken over a year to book it. I have never been to Hawaii before, and I am so excited to explore and experience it. If you have any tips or recommendations for O’ahu, please comment below with them! After May, I’ll only need 11 more states to accomplish my goal, which is crazy! I’ve really enjoyed exploring the United States and seeing all the different parts and cultures within it.

*Goal 3: Budget and Save Money

Well I did pretty well saving money, but the whole budgeting thing failed. I am going to have to put together a new plan of attack for how to deal with this and be successful. Seriously, this is a major goal for this year and I am really working on achieving it. Two things I did learn about in February were Ebates and Ibotta. Ebates is a website and web browser plug-in that gives you cash back when you shop online at certain stores- so you’re basically getting free money while shopping! Ibotta is an app that allows you to earn money on grocery store purchases (certain items), some restaurants, and stores. If you’re interested in Ebates, make sure to subscribe through the link or button on the right and you’ll get $10 for just signing up! If you’re interested in Ibotta, use the referral code onjumjl for $10. This post is not sponsored by either company, but I think they’re really great tools for earning money on purchases you were already going to make.

*Goal 4: Be more politically active

This is a goal I need to figure out how to achieve or work on. I’ve considered volunteering for an organization or working on a political campaign, but I haven’t figured out what the most effective technique is here.

Stay tuned to see how achieving my goals is going for the rest of the year!

P.S. I promise to post March’s update on time 🙂

Beginner’s Guide to Nashville

Beginner’s Guide to Nashville

This past weekend, I escaped Los Angeles and headed to Nashville for the long weekend to celebrate my birthday with 207foodie. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we had a great time the five days we were there.

Here are the must- dos for visiting Nashville:

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Pork Sandwich and Fries
  • Try BBQ! Seriously, how can you go to the land of BBQ and not have some?! We went to Edley’s Bar-B-Que, and I got the Pork Sandwich, basket of fries with the most amazing seasoning ever, and to drink I had the Oh Honey. All of them were amazing, and the pork sandwich might be the best pulled pork sandwich that I have ever had.

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  • YOU MUST BRUNCH! We had no idea that brunch was such a big deal in Nashville before our trip, and by the time that we left we were brunched out. On Saturday, we went to Biscuit Love, and it was AMAZING! We split the Bonuts, East Nasty, and Egg Plate…all of which are to die for and will make you have the highest brunch standards for future brunches…nothing will live up to your brunch expectations once you go to Biscuit Love. I also ordered an Iced coffee which rounded off the most perfect meal ever. There typically is a long line on the weekend, but it really does move fast, so don’t get discouraged.

On Sunday, we went to Urban Cookhouse for brunch. This time our goal was a filling brunch, but not as intense as Biscuit Love. We both ordered the pancakes, a cup of fruit, and the Strawberry Lemonade Mimosa. It was simple, but delicious. They have a nice porch to eat on, and it was relaxing to be able to eat outside and just enjoy the Sunday morning weather.

  • Go out! Nashville night life is like no other city I have ever been to. The first bar we went to was McCabe’s Pub, and they have a great late night happy hour and beers are super cheap! Another bar we went to was The Gold Rush, I got a cider and chicken tenders and fries. The food was good, the bartender was really nice, and the kitchen is open late! This is a huge plus because we skipped dinner and sometimes you just need a late-night meal.fullsizeoutput_9b9
  • Go to the Grand Ole Opry! Even though I’m not a huge fan of country music, and I definitely don’t know older country music; I appreciate experiencing historical places and learning new things. The Grand Ole Opry is the longest running radio show- the live show is played over the air and the host really makes it sound like you’re listening to the radio even if you’re in the audience. Hearing the different types of music was cool, and I’m glad I went and learned more about the history of country music.

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  • Take pictures at the murals around the city! There are TONS of murals around the city, and you can find the addresses for the more famous ones online, but you definitely stumble upon cool ones while you’re walking around. The Gulch and 12 South have some unique ones, and it makes walking around more fun because you’re taking in everything the city has to offer.

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  • Do a Nashville Peddle Tavern tour! I think that doing peddle tavern tours is a fun way to explore a city, and experience the night life. Peddle tavern tours usually take you to three or four bars, and you have to peddle from one location to another. This way you get exercise and experience the city! They usually take you to historic or off the beaten path bars, and you get to experience places that locals usually go to and not tourists.

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  • Finally, hit up the restaurant scene! Nashville has a diverse restaurant scene, and you can find basically anything you want. We went to Fin and Pearl for seafood, and it was amazing! We loved the Dip appetizer and salmon entrée, both had amazing flavors. Another restaurant we ventured to was, Marsh House. I loved the three types of oysters I got for an appetizer, the Sweet Jesus, Wellfleet Petite, and Bama Beauty, and the Squid Ink Garganelli was an amazing entrée too.

We stayed in an Airbnb and I think that they are great way to experience a city, you get a feel for that specific neighborhood and what’s around it. I suggest trying to walk around the city as much as possible, because it allows you to notice things you wouldn’t see in a car (like hidden murals!). There are tons of Uber and Lyft cars in Nashville, and the drivers are super friendly and the rides are cheap (compared to Portland, ME and Los Angeles, CA). If you’re looking for a great weekend getaway, then Nashville is a great city for you to visit!

Bon voyage!

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Chicago’s Hidden Gluten Free Cafe

Chicago’s Hidden Gluten Free Cafe

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When you think of food in Chicago, you typically think of meat and potatoes, not a gluten free café. When one of my friends took me to Wheat’s End in December, I was in awe that such a place existed and that it was absolutely delicious. Before I went to Wheat’s End I knew that certain brands of gluten free products were good, and that items on a restaurant menu could be decent, but I never expected to crave gluten free food. I have a pretty sensitive stomach and I recently decided to cut out as much gluten as possible to see if that helped keep things calm; I also can’t have a lot of dairy or rich foods.

When we went to Wheat’s End, I decided to have a yolo moment and order and eat anything I wanted to. To start off our feast I ordered a mimosa and a soy latte, because you can’t have brunch without a mimosa and coffee. Next we each got a Popover with mushroom gravy, which was AMAZING! I couldn’t tell that I was eating gluten free, and the gravy perfect- it wasn’t rich and had the right balance of mushrooms and gravy. We split the breakfast potatoes and nitrate free bacon (probably some of the best bacon I’ve ever had). To top off our meal we split a pumpkin cinnamon roll, which hit the spot. It tasted and had the same consistency of a non-gluten free cinnamon roll, and the pumpkin flavor made it the perfect cinnamon roll.

During this meal had more food than I typically eat in two meals, and I didn’t feel stuffed or like I over ate. The food was amazing, and I have been dreaming of it since December and I can’t wait to go back in April! If you’re gluten free and live or are traveling to Chicago, then you definitely need to go to (or live at) Wheat’s End!

Five Things to do in Los Angeles

Five Things to do in Los Angeles

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When visiting, or living in Los Angeles, there are so many different and unique events and activities going on that it can be overwhelming.  One thing I always appreciated were recommendations from friends and colleagues about different activities, and I hope this list can help you navigate what to do in Los Angeles. Here are five of my favorite activities to do in Los Angeles:

-LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

LACMA is in Mid-City and has a lot of unique and engaging art exhibits. My favorite exhibit that is now permanent is the Rain Room. The Rain Room is an interactive exhibit where you get to walk through the rain. Another popular exhibit is the Urban Lights, which are outdoor street lamps that are organized in a particular order and look super cool at night. LACMA is probably the only art museum I’ve been to more than once.

-Night on Broadway

Night on Broadway is a free event in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). It is a one day art and music festival, and it has some of the coolest exhibits and performances that I have ever seen. My favorite performance was Flambé; they have people eating fire and a fire dunk tank. I had never seen anything like it, and it probably had the largest crowd. The was also a ferris wheel and food trucks up and down Broadway. The crowd is large, but it is spread out enough that it is manageable.

-Paley Fest

In my opinion, one of the coolest events in Los Angeles is Paley Fest. The festival goes on for a few weeks, and holds different panels and screenings of your favorite shows. A few years ago, I went to the Scandal Panel, and this year I am going to the Grey’s Anatomy one. They have different passes that you can buy depending on how many panels/screenings you want to attend. I typically pick one show that I LOVE and just buy a ticket to that.

-Show Tapings

One of the coolest things to do in Los Angeles is going to a taping of a TV or talk show. This way you get to see the behind the scenes of how a show is recorded, and you usually get to see the episode a day early! One perk of going to a taping is that they’re FREE- yes, you read that correctly. Going to see Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel, and TV shows is free, and sometimes they give you incentives to go or even prizes.

-Sporting Events

My final favorite thing to do in Los Angeles is going to a sporting event. Even though, I’m not from Los Angeles and I don’t root for Los Angeles teams, I still love attending a good game (especially if one of my Chicago teams is playing them). There are so many different sports and levels of sports (professional vs. collegiate) that you can pick from- USC, UCLA, Dodgers, Clippers, Lakers, Kings, etc. Depending on what sport and who they’re playing prices can vary for tickets, but usually they’re fairly cheap.

I hope my suggestions of things to do in Los Angeles helps you, and feel free to comment below if you want other types of activities!

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Let’s Talk About Goats

Let’s Talk About Goats

2016 was a big year for the City of Chicago and goats. The Cubs FINALLY WON THE WORLD SERIES, breaking the curse of the Billy Goat, and it was the year I discovered Girl and the Goat and Little Goat.

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During my time home, I went to Girl and the Goat with my BFF and her BF, and it was probably my favorite foodie adventure with her. When we initially sat down, it was 10:15pm, and we were just eating dinner. Seriously who eats dinner at that hour- my parents thought we were crazy, but the craze about this restaurant was worth the late dinner time. I immediately noticed the vibe of the restaurant, modern but comfortable, and I knew I was going to like it. Our waiter was probably the most helpful waiter I’ve ever had, he thoroughly walked us through the menu and marked his favorite dishes under each category. This made the experience for two newbies much more pleasant and less overwhelming.

We ended up ordering the Sautéed Green Beans, Roasted Cauliflower, Escargot Ravioli, Pig Face, Goat Belly, and Caramel Corn and Malt Balls and the Dark Matter Pot De Crème for dessert. All the food was AMAZING! Every bite is designed to please each taste bud, and balance each type of flavor (sweet, salty, bitter, etc.). I have never enjoyed each bite of a meal like this before, so it was worth it to wait until 10:15pm to eat. For the amount of food, we ordered and one drink per person, the bill was quite reasonable- which surprised us! Since I loved this experience so much, I made it my goal to go to Little Goat when I came home for the Holidays in December.

Little Goat

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Flash-forward a few weeks, and I’m back in Chicago, and ready for my next exciting dinning adventure. This time my friend and I went to Little Goat, which has more of a rustic diner feel. We arrived a bit early, and went to the bar on the other side of the restaurant to wait. I got the Moscow Goat and my friend got a Pinot Noir. The menu at Little Goat is even more overwhelming/expansive since they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I knew that we had to get the Tempura Mashed Potatoes, but really had no idea for how to tackle the menu. We decided to each find an entrée and then we found some sides that we were intrigued by and just selected three. We ordered the Bi Bim Bop Breakfast Bowl, Bull’s Eye French Toast, Tempura Mashed Potatoes, Goat Chili Cheese Fries, and the Hot Crab Dip.

Everything at Little Goat felt more like eating creatively made and presented comfort food. It was delicious and we definitely over ordered for two people. I would say my two favorite items at Little Goat were the Bull’s Eye French Toast and the Goat Chili Cheese Fries. I loved the combination of flavors in the Bull’s Eye French Toast- sweet, salty, and savory all in one bite. As for the Goat Chili Cheese Fries- I a) had never had goat on fries before b) loved how all the flavors just made one amazing bite. Little Goat is also affordable- just make sure you don’t over order 🙂

If you’re going to be traveling or live in Chicago- I highly suggest that you make reservations at one or both restaurants. If you want to go to Girl and the Goat at a normal time, then you definitely need to book it months in advance. Both restaurants have amazing food, and I suggest that you pick one based off either your desire to try something completely different or if you want more unique comfort food. Happy Eating!

NorCal

About two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be able to visit one of my friends from Chicago, who just moved to Palo Alto for graduate school. When I first arrived up north, we immediately toured Stanford, so she could show me where she goes to school. I was truly impressed at how beautiful the campus is and how large the school is.

After we explored campus for hours, we ended up at a great sushi place in Palo Alto called Fuki Sushi. We shared the Albacore Tataki (1), which was delicious and the perfect appetizer. Then I had the Chicken Teriyaki (2), which is a staple in Japanese Food. Then to top off the meal, I had the Scallop Tempura Roll (3). All of the food was delicious and the service was excellent!

On Saturday, we went into San Francisco and wondered around the entire city. We started at the Ferry Building, and we explored the market and all of the different stands. We ended up going to the Craftsman & Wolves stand, and we tried the Rebel Within (1). The Rebel Within is the most unique muffin that I have ever tried; there is a soft-boiled egg in the center and green onion, sausage, and Asiago mixed into the dough. The Rebel Within is served with Tabasco salt, but I am horrible with spicy things so I did not try it. It was simply delicious and definitely worth a try if you are in the area. Then we tried a bunch of different fruit samples that different stands were handing out, and they were all refreshing and yummy. When we decided it was time for lunch, we stopped at the Hog Island Oyster Co. stand and got some oysters (2). They were reasonably priced and very fresh.

The Rebel Within                                      Oysters

While we were at the Ferry Building, I could not help but notice how beautiful it was outside and I ended up taking a picture of the Ferry Building. Seriously, I am a sucker for crystal blue skies, so I take tons of pictures that show off the sky.

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Once we finished the Oysters we headed to Chinatown and we meandered in and out of stores, restaurants, and museums. Chinatown in San Francisco is completely different from Chinatown in LA, Chicago, or New York City. I love how it incorporates actual grocery stores, and it isn’t just a tourist destination for dining on authentic cuisine.

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For the rest of Saturday, we walked around Union Square and went to a wine bar to relax. We ended up sleeping in on Sunday because we walked over 20,000 steps gallivanting around the city. When we finally decided to get up, we went to an Israeli restaurant called Oren’s Hummus Shop for brunch. Since I have been fortunate enough to go to Israel four times, I have high standards for Israeli food and Oren’s Hummus Shop exceeded all of my expectations. The pita was amazing and the hummus and tahini sauce were scrumptious. I felt as if I was in Israel at a hummus shop off Ben Yehuda Street in Israel. For the main course, we had the Greekstyle Eggplant, Moroccan Carrots, Chicken Skewer, and Labane. All of the sides were amazing and the chicken was cooked perfectly. We also ordered mint tea, which was the perfect way to complete our meal.

After we finished our feast, we walked around downtown Palo Alto and then headed to the airport. It was the perfect weekend trip 🙂

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