Keepin’ It Weird in Austin

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If you know me, you know I am not one to follow the crowd or do something just because everyone else is doing it. So, when it came time to decide where I was going to spend my senior year spring break (basically the end-all of totally vacation freedom before I’m forced to become a functioning member of society /slave to the man), my true-to-self mantra did not waver.  While most of my peers set their sights on the classic party crowd-pleasers, like Cancun, I had something a little bit ~weirder~ in mind. My chosen spring break promised land was Austin, Texas.

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NEW ORLEANS: Must do activities!

In my previous post, I gave you a peek at my favorite places to dine and drink in New Orleans. Although, a majority of my trip was consumed with doing just that, we did spend our time experiencing the beauty of the city in other ways… besides eating.  SO here are some of my must do activities while visiting the Big Easy!

THINGS TO DO:

BE A TOURIST & drink your way down Bourbon Street

French Quarter

Yes, yes Bourbon Street is very touristy and gimmicky, but it is something you can’t pass up on a trip to NOLA, especially if you haven’t been before. It is unlike any place in the world.

Tip: Being lovers of karaoke, The Cat’s Meow was our place! The tacky drinks at Tropical Isle with collectable plastic cups and witty names like the Grenade and the Horny Gator are a must, what’s not to love?

Walk the Garden District & shop Magazine Street

Garden District

If you’re heading to District Donuts (featured in my last post), you might as well spend the day in the Garden District shopping, viewing the beautiful homes and of course, seeing some local art.

Tips: Check out Free Tour by Foot for free walking tours in many neighborhoods of New Orleans, including the Garden District. While in the area head to Antiques on Jackson to see where Simon of New Orleans, an artists who’s work is showcased throughout the city, makes his work and maybe you’ll even get the chance to meet him! Also, if you’re a fan of American Horror Story, parts of Season 3 (Coven) were filmed in this neighborhood!

Spend a night on Frenchmen’s Street

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If you know me, you know I love hip artisan flea market as much as the next local hipster, so when I came across the Frenchmen Street Art Market, I automatically put it on the itinerary. Not only does it showcase many local artisans, Frenchmen Street is widely known for having some of the best jazz in the city. So while you’re shopping for some handmade jewelry and one of a kind wall art, pop into one of the local spots, like the Spotted Cat, grab a drink and listen for a while.

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NEW ORLEANS: Top Picks for Food & Drink

It is a known fact that I love LOVE LOVE the planning and researching that comes along with traveling, especially when it comes to finding places to eat and drink. So in preparation for my trip to New Orleans to celebrate my 21st birthday in August 2015,  I looked to Yelp, Thrillist, TripAdvisor and even sourced friends of friends who live in the city to get a more local perspective. Even with all this planning, we continued to take recommendation from people once we arrived and watched our plans evolve in the best way possible. With a combination of these resources, the trip was beyond successful! So here are some of my top pick/recommendations for food and drinks from my recent NOLA trip!!

FOOD & DRINK :

Erin Rose & Killer Poboys

French Quarter

This was our first stop after landing in New Orleans. Famished from our hours of travel, we had po-boys on the mind. From my research and recommendations, Killer Poboys was the place to go. Located inside the Erin Rose, a bar just off Bourbon Street, these Bánh mì style po-boys (pictured on the right) did not disappoint.

The Erin Rose, a dive-ish bar, became our go-to spot. Whenever we wanted to get out of the heat and grab a drink, we headed to to Erin Rose. Unlike many other gimmicky bars in the area with their tacky drinks and florescent colored cups, Erin Rose provided that classic bar feel and was fairly affordable, which was a plus.

Tip:  They have great happy hour everyday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Try their frozen Irish Coffee, maybe get an extra shot of Jameson if you’re feeling it…

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Celebrating 21 in the ~Big Easy~

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It’s crazy to think that almost six months ago I turned 21 & celebrated in one of my favorite cities! Despite visiting New Orleans in mid-August, during their hottest season, the trip was even more than what I had expected and would not have wanted to spend my first week of being ~of age~ any other way!

The tale of my love affair with NOLA:

The first time I visited New Orleans was during my junior year of high school on an alternative spring break to work with Habitat for Humanity aiding neighborhoods still devastated by Hurricane Katrina.  Aside from being one of the most rewarding and eyeopening experiences, my trip allowed me to developed a deep passion for New Orleans, from the history to the culture and the food and art, among others. I promised myself I’d be back. So five years later, when my 21st birthday was quickly approaching, I knew it was my time to return to the ~Big Easy~.

Back in the beautiful city:

During my time in New Orleans, I stayed in the French Quarter, at the Bourbon Orleans, only steps away from from Bourbon Street and Jackson Square. Wanting to experience the city to its fullest, I visited as many neighborhoods as I could from the Treme to the Garden District to Marigny and beyond. Throughout my journey, I ate some amazing food, drank at a plethora of bars and sipped on dozens of specialty cocktails, heard unique music, and met some awesome people. I am grateful to have been able to experience New Orleans in two diverse ways throughout my different trips. My love for the city continues to grow and I wouldn’t be lying if I said I’m in the midst of planning my next trip back!

Stay tuned for my next post where I fill you in on my favorite picks for food, drinks and thinks to do in New Orleans!

Don’t Play With Your Food…

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Avocado, cream cheese, cucumber & watercress toast from Bread Alone (Rhinebeck, NY)

I am 100% guilty of being that person who says “WAIT, let me get a picture of this!” as soon as food is brought to the table, ultimately holding up the rest of my party from eating. My friends know to expect it, as it’s kind of ~my thing~.

Tofu Taco from MOGO Korean Fusion Tacos (Asbury Park, NJ)

But of course, there are plenty of people who argue that social media and the rise of the “foodie” culture has gone too far. I can’t say I agree. Many times I have friend and even acquaintances ask me where/what I was eating after a simple picture posted on social media, which is actually a pretty cool aspect of the high-tech society we live in.

Summer Rolls from two tablespoons (NYC)
Summer Rolls from two tablespoons (NYC)
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All veggie sandwich from a random place in NYC

I love being able to instantly share my dining experiences and I encourage others to do the same. However, sometimes the picture I take never leave my phone. So this post is dedicated to all the deliciously photogenic food I’ve eaten. You may be gone, but your beautiful memory lives on throughout my phone’s Camera Roll.

The Fruits ( & Veggies) of My Labor

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This summer I decided to get a little crazy and make a long time dream of mine a reality. This dream was to have my very own garden. Now, this may seem like a very menial task, how difficult can it really be to plant a few plants and water them regularly? LET ME TELL YOU, having a garden is no easy job. From digging up a plot, laying down the soil and actually planting the plants to watering, weeding and tending to it day in and day out, this garden was like having a needy child.

Although it was a ton of work, it was well worth it to see the garden flourish! I planted 3 types of tomatoes, 2 types of eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, jalapeno and bell peppers, basil and sage, which were all in abundance throughout different points of the summer. There were weeks where I was eating strictly Japanese eggplant (which I’ve formed a love-hate relationship with because they grow like weeds but really aren’t that impressive) and other nothing but zucchini grew.

All of this fresh food at my fingertips allowed me to experiment with new recipes that I had been dying to try. From homemade sauce and pesto to zucchini bread and a variation of different stir-fries and ratatouille, just about as much time as I spent gardening, I spent cooking and preparing food with my garden ingredients

Check out some of my personal favorites below (recipes linked)

FullSizeRender~ Eggplant Parmesan ~IMG_2480

Zucchini-Basil Soup ~ 

She’s Back~

Hi everyone! I know you all have been hungry for my food and travel adventures while I was on my summer ~hiatus~, BUT I needed to go out there and live a bit so I could have something to write about. Do not fear, I am back and ready to feed your souls with stories of my spicy summer adventures.

Here a sneak preview to hold you over: I started a garden that became my child this summer, turned 21 & appropriately celebrated with an New Orleans, did some traveling around the east coast and ate like a king, of course.

Be on the lookout for new posts in the coming weeks with more details for my summer adventures!!!

~Stay hungry~