Oahu quick bites

I was lucky enough to get a break from the cold weather this Christmas, visiting my younger brother who is stationed in Oahu. When we first started kicking around the idea of visiting Hawaii for the holidays, the first thing I did was compile an extensive list of places where I wanted to eat (#priorities). And while we didn’t get around to every spot on my list, we did hit many of my top picks and they did not disappoint. We stayed in Waikiki so many of the places I’ll mention below were relatively close to our hotel. One last note before we start talking details, my family isn’t big on fine dining, so many of our meals were spent at quick and inexpensive restaurants.

Here are a few of my favorite bites from our visit to O’ahu.

Leonard’s Bakery

933 Kapahula Ave | Sunday – Thursday 5:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Friday – Saturday 5:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Leonard's Bakery Malasadas

If there’s one thing I’ve been dreaming about since I left Oahu the fresh malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery are it. Two important pieces of information to know about this bakery: there’s always a line and be careful these babies are HOT. Malasadas are Portuguese donuts without a hole and the ones at Leonard’s are made-to-order so they come out piping hot. There are a variety of fillings that you can choose from such as custard, dobash (chocolate) and haupia (coconut). Or if fillings aren’t your thing they also come unfilled but covered in your choice of sugar (the original malasada), cinnamon sugar or li hing (dried plum – which is sweet, salty and sour). You know I love donuts, this probably won’t surprise you but I ate three in one sitting, with the custard being my favorite.

Bogart’s Cafe

3045 Monsarrat Ave | Open daily 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Bogarts bagel sandwich

Fortunately for my health, I did not eat donuts every morning for breakfast on vacation. And when I found Bogart’s, which was about a mile away from our hotel, I think I hit the breakfast jackpot. During our eight-day trip, we came here three mornings for breakfast, including Christmas morning. The first morning of our vacation I had the popular bagel breakfast sandwich, which comes with egg, cheese, spinach and tomato. I added bacon because you can treat yourself on vacation right? And honestly, it rivaled some of the bagel sandwiches I had in New York City.

Bogarts acai bowl

The other menu item that Bogart’s is known for is its acai bowls. These are gaining popularity in Richmond now, but they were all over the place in Hawaii. The acai bowl, which is basically a super thick smoothie served in a bowl, comes topped granola, strawberries, bananas, blueberries and a drizzle of honey. The perfect breakfast when you’re on an island.  Note: Bogart’s is a cash only cafe so plan accordingly.

The Pig and the Lady

83 N. King St | Lunch: Monday – Friday 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Dinner Tuesday – Saturday 5:30 – 10 p.m.

The pig and lady French dip

While my brother and Dad were at the Hawaii Bowl, I treated my mom to lunch at The Pig and the Lady, which serves up Vietnamese flavors, with a bit of a twist. I had came across this particular restaurant on a few lists when I was doing my initial restaurant research and was immediately intrigued when I learned that The Pig and the Lady started as a farmer’s market booth. And this is embarrassing but I had actually never had pho before! We quickly (aka I quickly) decided that we share the pho bac and the P&L pho french dip. Both were extremely flavorful but the french dip stole the show. 10/10 would fly back to Hawaii for this sandwich. Pro tip: Make a reservation online ahead of time if you can.

Marukame Udon

2310 Kuhio Ave | Open daily 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Marukame Udon

After a few days of seeing a line that seemingly went around the block at Marukame Udon — and after seeing that the restaurant has more than 5,000 reviews on Yelp — I couldn’t leave O’ahu without seeing what all the hype was about. This sort of cafeteria style eatery, which is an offshoot of a franchise that started in Japan, serves mainly Sanuki-style Udon, tempura and musubi. Things move quickly, so even with a that snaked around towards our hotel, our wait was about 45 minutes before we were able to place our order. The udon noodles were perfectly cooked, the broth was packed with flavor and the tempura shrimp were surprisingly light and flaky. Oh, and it didn’t hurt that this might have been the cheapest meal of our entire trip!

Rainbow Drive Inn

3308 Kanaina Ave | Open daily 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Loco moco

One of the most recognizable dishes to come out of Hawaii is the Loco Moco — white rice, a hamburger patty smothered in brown gravy and topped with a fried egg. I tried the dish at the Rainbow Drive-In and while it doesn’t seem like it would be anything to write home about, I have to admit the combination just works. It’s like the Hawaiian version of the Salisbury steak, quick, filling, cheap and delicious. To be honest I’m not sure what else you need in a lunch, maybe a cold beer?

Giovanni’s Garlic Shrimp

66-472 Kamehameha Hwy | Haleiwa, HI | Daily 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The garlic shrimp plate might be my new favorite beach meal. Giovanni’s Garlic Shrimp has been serving up its famous shrimp, in Haleiwa town (on the North Shore) for 20 years now and I don’t think they’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. The truck serves three things, shrimp, hot dogs and rice. There are three shrimp flavors — shrimp scampi, hot and spicy and lemon butter. A full serving is $14 and comes with a dozen jumbo shrimp. Be warned the line to order can be a little long, but once you place your order it won’t be long before they’re calling your number.

Matsumoto Shave Ice

666-11 Kamehameha Hwy Suite #605 | Haleiwa, HI | Open daily 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

One thing I learned in Hawaii is snow cones ≠ shaved ice. Shave ice is so so so much better. Matsumoto Shave Ice has been around for more than half a century in Haleiwa town. Opened in 1951, by Mamoru and Ogi Matsumoto as Matsumoto Grocery Store, today the store just serves shave ice. Unlike traditional snow cones, shave ice never hardens into one solid piece and is not crunchy. Instead, shave ice resembles fluffy, powdery snow.

When you’re ready to cool off from the beach there are more than 30 flavors to choose from. We went with the tropical (lilikoi, guava, papaya).


One final note, I’d be remiss to not mention a small little ice cream shop called Henry’s place which serves up $5 styrofoam cups of sorbet and ice cream. If you’re staying in Waikiki I’d recommend stopping in for a different flavor every day.

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quick trip to new orleans

I recently had the chance to spend a long weekend in New Orleans for a bachelorette party. It was my first time visiting the city and Mother Nature was on our side with sunny skies and perfect temperatures. Our group had a great time celebrating the bride to be, Becca!

Three of us arrived in town one night before the others and we spent our first night in The Saint Hotel, a boutique hotel in The French Quarter. For our second two nights in town, we stayed in a great rental house off of Magazine Street that was full of character and perfect for nine girls. We managed to fit in good amount of sightseeing over the course of just a few days. I’ve included a few of the weekend’s highlights below.

Gumbo Shop

quick trip to new orleans
We arrived into town around dinnertime on Thursday evening, and we decided to check out some classic New Orleans cuisine. We landed on the Gumbo Shop, a spot on Saint Peter Street that according to the restaurant’s website has won the Best Gumbo category in the Best of New Orleans poll every year since 1999. My favorite thing I tasted here was the chicken andouille gumbo, a combination of chicken, andouille sausage, okra and seasonings simmered in chicken stock. Our meals were served with a warm and fresh baguette, and dipping the crusty bread into the flavorful gumbo was a winning combination. I’ve never tried making gumbo at home before, but you can bet I’ll be giving it a shot sometime in the next few weeks with this recipe as my guide.

Brunch at Josephine Estelle

quick trip to new orleans
One of our first meals of the weekend was brunch at Josephine Estelle, a new restaurant housed inside the Ace Hotel. The atmosphere was a great combination of chic and comfortable, and brunch here was the perfect way to kick off an action packed day. Our side of the table started off our meal by ordering a delicious pastry board which came with a delicious compilation of treats that included a massive cinnamon roll, a croissant, and a savory shortbread.

Per usual, I had a hard time deciding what I was going to order for my main course from the menu and was lucky that Laura, the bride’s sister, was having the same problem and deciding between the same two things. We ended up sharing the Canestri pasta, the restaurant’s take on cacio e pepe, and the hoe cakes, which came served with ham, creamed spinach,  a poached egg and calabrian hollandaise. Our dishes were on point – perfectly flavorful and generous portions.

Cafe du Monde


I couldn’t visit New Orleans without building in a stop to the famous Cafe du Monde, and it was so good, I actually managed to go there twice! As you might recall, I’m not a coffee fan so I can’t speak for the cafe’ au lait, but I could talk ALL day long about those beignets. Good thing I was with friends or I could have easily scarfed down an entire order by myself, which would have been especially easy to do considering an order of three of the french doughnuts only puts you back $2.73.

If you go, don’t be discouraged by the long line, as it moves quickly and the service is pretty efficient once you’re seated. Pro tip: wear clothes that you don’t mind getting powdered sugar all over. When they say the beignets come covered with powdered sugar, they aren’t kidding, and there’s really no avoiding it so I recommend just embracing it!

The original location at 800 Decatur Street is open 24-hours a day for your beignet eating pleasure. There’s a great gift shop across the street where you can pick up some goodies to take home, and you know I had to snag a box of beignet mix to stuff inside my suitcase!

Garden District/ Lafayette Cemetery tour

quick trip to new orleans
We did a self-guided version of the Garden District / Lafayette Cemetery tour (shout out to Sarah who acted as our tour guide!) and it was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. It was a great chance to get a feel for the history of the city while ogling at all of the beautiful homes, including quite a few with Hollywood connections, like the residence of Sandra Bullock. The great thing about doing a self-guided tour is that we could call it quits when we were tired, but this was a great way to spend a sunny day.

Piano Bar at Pat O’ Brien’s

Located on Saint Peter Street, Pat O’ Brien’s is one of the most famous bars in New Orleans. When we first arrived we enjoyed a few drinks in their courtyard area before making our way to the piano bar. The piano bar at Pat O’Brien’s is well known for its two copper pianos and the dueling piano players that guide the crowd in signing throughout the night. Our group had a blast enjoying classic tunes and this is definitely a place I would revisit on another trip to the area.

Those are just a few of the highlights of a quick trip to New Orleans. Next time, I’m going to make sure I get to ride on a streetcar!

If you’ve been to New Orleans, I’d love to hear your favorite places to eat and see in the comments below so I can make sure to include them on my next visit!

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Our first full day in New York City was probably proof to all of you that we sure know how to pack a lot into one day, and our second day in the city was no different! We (and we by we, I mean Kelsey — I’m horrible at directions) navigated the subway system quite easily with help of Citymapper, a great transit app that makes navigation a breeze in select cities throughout the world.

We did both manage to lose our MetroCard at least once, but oh well, you can’t win ’em all. We even managed to do one or two activities that were entirely unrelated to food. Shocking, we know! Take a look below at what we did with our second day in the city. -M

Terrace Bagels

We started our morning by picking up breakfast at Terrace Bagels to enjoy outside at Prospect Park, the largest public park in Brooklyn. There is ample seating inside Terrace Bagels, but we wanted to get a head start on enjoying the beautiful weather outside.

bagels-new-york

Terrace Bagels Brookyln

This was the first meal of the trip we didn’t share — Kelsey ordered a breakfast sandwich with Taylor Pork Roll, egg and cheese on an everything bagel, and I ordered my favorite bagel combo, an onion bagel topped with capers, red onion and scallion cream cheese. I couldn’t resist getting a half dozen bagels to take home and freeze, which I’m already looking forward to enjoying on a Saturday in the near future. -M

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Someone (aka me) forgot to check what time our first activity opened (Birchbox), so we arrived about 15 minutes too early. We had scoped out our Google Map before making the trek from Brooklyn to Soho so we knew that the bakery famous for inventing the cronut was right around the corner (like we needed an excuse to try a cronut).

cronut-new-york-city

Inside, the space was a little cramped, but fortunately the line around 10:45 a.m. was reasonable (as in not out the door) and we quickly placed our order. There are a limited number of cronuts made each day and only one seasonal flavor available — which rotates each month and is never repeated. The September cronut flavor was Pear Honey Cream Cheese. As we ordered they pulled out the final tray of cronuts, so take note on weekdays you should definitely go before lunch time — I cannot imagine what it is like to try and snag one on a weekend.

The cronut was honestly smaller than I expected, but that wasn’t a bad thing considering that amount of food Meg and I consumed during our trip. I don’t even know how to describe what it tasted like, but all you need to know is that every cronut is fried, rolled in sugar, stuffed with cream and then topped with a glaze. Check the Dominique Ansel Bakery Facebook page so you’ll know what the seasonal flavor is before you go, October’s flavor is Banoffee (caramelized banana and dulce de leche ganache), with salted butter biscuits. -K

Birchbox

Birchbox Soho

Kudos to Kelsey for adding Birchbox SoHo to our list of must-do activities while on this trip. This location is the only brick-and-mortar Birchbox store, and I think we would both agree that it was one of the most fun things we did while in New York. The vibe in the store was extremely friendly and welcoming and as soon as walked through the doors, we were greeted by a BYOB sign of the very best variety — an invitation to build your own Birchbox! We made a beeline for the back of the store and with the assistance of a super helpful Birchbox employee, we each made a customized Birchbox. For only $15, we each chose five items for our box, each from a different category like skincare or fragrance. We’re both equally obsessed with the dry shampoo we picked out.

Though we didn’t take advantage of the store’s beauty services on this visit, they do offer makeup and hair services in store as well as beauty parties for groups. Maybe next time! -M

Eataly

Where do I even start with Eataly?! This was one of our non-food, food stops meaning that neither of us planned on eating anything here, but we were just going for the “experience”. After eating a bagel and cronut earlier in the day we surprisingly both stuck to our word and just spent an hour exploring everything that Eataly had to offer. There were food stalls, sit-down restaurants, fresh pastas, meats, gelato, candy and so much more. It was honestly a little overwhelming. I loved seeing all of the fresh items that you could take home to prepare a meal in your own kitchen and I know that if I lived anywhere near an Eataly I would be a regular customer.

eataly-pasta

Knowing that we still had many adventures ahead of us, Meg and I both stuck to only buying small things at Eataly (aka we didn’t want to carry something heavy around for the rest of the day), we both left we bags of Italian chocolates. And I also grabbed some bucatini pasta (not fresh) for a few recipes I’m wanting to make at home. -K

Luke’s Lobster

I haven’t had a lobster roll since Taylor and I went to Maine this past August, and with good reason — I wasn’t sure one could live up to what I experienced at The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport. I had heard so many good things about Luke’s Lobster, though, that when it ended up being a two minute walk away when I was hungry for lunch I decided it couldn’t hurt to give it a whirl. Besides, if any lobster roll was going to complete with the ones I had in Maine, it would be the one from this spot, as Luke’s Lobster was started by Luke Holden, a Maine native and former lobsterman.

lukes-lobster-new-york-city

I ordered a lobster roll which came with mayonnaise, lemon butter and a touch of Luke’s secret seasoning along with a side of the poppy seed vinaigrette slaw, which was perfectly refreshing and a nice addition to the meal. I’m glad I gave Luke’s a chance, because this lobster roll was one worth writing home about, rivaling the best one I had on my trip to Maine. – M

Levain Bakery

Shocking, I know I picked two bakeries for us to visit in one day. I had recently come across Levain Bakery on Instagram and instantly I was intrigued by these cookies that were served exactly how I like them: warm, and a tad gooey in the center. The question was, would these cookies actually taste as good as they looked?

levain-cookie

The answer is a resounding, YES! I think these actually taste better than they look, which is impressive considering they look, damn delicious in photos. If there isn’t a line (which there probably will be) you walk down a small set of stairs into the tiny bakery on the Upper West Side. Cookies come in four flavors (chocolate chip walnut, oatmeal raisin, dark chocolate chip and dark chocolate peanut butter chip) and they are massive. Naturally, I ordered two flavors (because I have no self-control)— chocolate chip walnut and dark chocolate peanut butter chip — and I don’t think I’ve made a better decision in my life. Dare I say it, these are probably the best cookies I’ve ever had.

If you don’t live in New York City, Harlem or the Hamptons, you can have cookies shipped right to your door, they just won’t be gooey or warm when you receive them. -K

Serendipity 3

I love a good chick flick, including Serendipity, one of my favorite movies to watch around the holidays starring Kate Beckingsale and John Cusack. Ever since watching the movie for the first time and seeing the scene where they share a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3, I’ve always wanted to go to that restaurant and enjoy one myself. Can I just say how satisfying it is to actually do something you’ve wanted to do for a really long time? I know that might sound silly as I’m talking about a frozen beverage here, but my blogging partner in crime can attest that I looked like a kid in a candy story when we stepped inside the restaurant.

frozen-hot-chcolate

We lucked out with no wait at all, which was great considering it can be hours long during the holiday season. We shared a frozen hot chocolate which was quite generous in size and everything I hoped it would be. It’s worth noting that the restaurant does have an order minimum per person ($8.50), and sharing one frozen hot chocolate isn’t quite enough to meet it, so be prepared to order an extra side or drink depending on the number of people in your party. -M

Superiority Burger

By this point in the trip I was feeling like I needed to eat something that wasn’t completely awful for my health, so I convinced Meg to go on an adventure with me to Superiority Burger before heading back to Brooklyn to get ready for the concert.

superiority-burger

What you might not have gathered from the name is that Superiority Burger is an all vegetarian restaurant. Sadly our dreams of going to similarly named Salvation Burger (which is not vegetarian) were crushed by a kitchen fire earlier this year and this was its burger replacement. So let’s just say the bar was (probably unfairly) set pretty high. And Superiority Burger delivered.

I’m not sure what they put in that veggie burger but I can say with 100% certainty that if I could only ever have this burger again (instead of regular meat burgers) I would be perfectly happy. It was just that good. My one complaint is that the burger is a bit small (think almost White Castle sized), but after all of the bakery visits, I wasn’t I didn’t need large meal. -K

Adele

Finally, the concert! The whole reason for us coming to New York. Adele was incredible in concert, she sounded just like she does on her album and was more of an entertainer than I expected her to be. She LOVES to chat it up with the crowd and even posed for selfies with the concert goers lucky enough to have seats at floor level.

Adele Madison Square Garden

Admittedly Meg and I had nosebleed seats, which is what happens when there thousands of people are vying for the same tickets as you and Ticketmaster assigns you seats, but we still enjoyed the two-hour show. For all of you attending her show in Washington, D.C. you are in for a treat! -K

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New York Trip Planning Where to Eat

Last December, right around Christmas time, I tricked Meg into agreeing to go to an Adele concert with me at Madison Square Garden. And by tricked I mean, I asked her if she wanted to see Adele and conveniently left out the fact that the concert was actually in New York. Hehe, sorry Meg! Well about nine months later we finally made the quick trip north.

Meg’s wonderful cousin offered us free accommodations in Brooklyn, which gave us a little more money to spend on our food adventures (woho!). I’m an early riser and love to conquer the day when I’m on vacation, and Meg willingly indulged my need to see everything we wanted to see and more. My one regret is that some how we did not eat one sit down meal the entire time we were there — I guess there’s always next time!

After getting into New York by train late on Tuesday night, we started our day on Wednesday on a mission to find a few New York food staples — bagels and pizza. Now some might say we went a little overboard, but when you don’t have plans to revisit a city in the near future, you’ve got to squeeze in everything that you can.

Here’s a recap of everything we ate on our first full day in city — because let’s be real, that’s really the only thing we did on day one. – K

Tompkins Square Bagels

A good bagel is one of my all time favorite foods, and New York has the best bagels of anywhere I’ve ever been, so you know we had to take advantage. On previous trips to New York City, I’ve enjoyed Black Seed Bagels and H&H Bagels, so on this trip we decided to check out a spot new to both of us, Tompkins Square Bagels.

Tompkins Square Bagels NYC

This bagel shop in the East Village offers hand-rolled, kettle-boiled and oven-baked bagels which are showcased on their menu in a number of ways – plain, in breakfast sandwiches and in more savory sandwiches that are suitable for lunch and dinner. We ordered a breakfast sandwich to share, an everything bagel filled with bacon, egg and cheese. We couldn’t resist ordering a side of scallion cream cheese from their impressive cream cheese selection, which proved to be a great choice.

They only accept cash, but they do offer an ATM on site. -M

Dough Doughnuts

If you haven’t heard I sort of have an obsession with donuts, in fact I did a donut crawl earlier this year in Richmond for fun. I personally follow a couple of New Yorkers I admire on Instagram (aka they love donuts as much as I do) I asked for a recommendation on where to find the best donut in the city and I was told to get the hibiscus donut at Dough Doughnuts. This donut shop which started in Brooklyn is known for its flavors inspired by Latin America.
Dough Doughnuts New York

Although we were staying in Brooklyn it wasn’t super convenient for us to stop by the original location so we made our way to the City Kitchen location (700 8th Ave) on our walk to Central Park. After seeing the size of these donuts I came to terms with the fact that it only made sense to order one. The hibiscus icing had a more tart and fruity flavor than I expected — in a good way — and the actual donut was extremely pillowy. It had clearly been fried just earlier that morning and you could definitely taste how fresh it was. I highly recommend stopping at one of the four Dough locations or at Smorgasburg. -K

Joe’s Pizza

Located in Greenwich Village at 7 Carmine Street, Joe’s Pizza was recommended to us by multiple people on Instagram when we put out an ask for New York City recommendations, and we had a feeling they were on to something when we did a little research only to see that in 2009 GQ Magazine named Joe’s Pizza one of the “Best 25 Pizzas on Earth.” We shared a big slice of pepperoni pizza and with one bite, we both looked at each other and nodded like we had found exactly what we were looking for in a New York slice of pizza. Limited seating is available, so we ate our piece of pizza outside watching the hustle and bustle of the restaurant.

Joe's Pizza New York City

Joe’s Pizza does have two other locations, but the one on Carmine Street is the one you want to go if you’re looking for the original spot. It’s a good place to keep on the radar if you’re looking for a late night snack, as the restaurant is open until 4 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Even if you’re not heading to New York anytime soon, you can still get your Joe’s Pizza fix – they ship nationwide. -M

Pommes Frites

Okay, so we didn’t need french fries after eating a slice of pizza, but when famous french fries are only a two minute walk away, you just go for it. Pommes Frites specializes in Belgian style french fries, and I was thrilled to see that they were once again open in a new location after being closed on my last visit to the city.

pomme-frites-nyc

Frites here twice-cooked and available in three sizes, regular, large and double, and the portions are extremely generous. There are a number of different dipping sauces and garnishes on the menu to choose from. We ordered a regular order of frites with frites sauce, ketchup and raw onion on top, which came served in a traditional paper cone. -M

Xi’an Famous Foods

Xi’an Famous Foods got its start in Flushing, Queens but now has locations throughout Manhattan and even in Brooklyn. After being covered by the New York Times and a visit from Anthony Bourdain, you could say this place has become something of a phenomenon.

Xi'an Famous Foods Beef Noodle

The fast casual restaurant is known for its spicy dishes and hand-ripped noodles. I’ll be honest Xi’an Famous Foods is not for those with a weak stomach. If you like the spice in many of Peter Chang’s dishes you’ll love it here.

It was hard to zero in on just what dish to get, because I wanted to try everything, but we settled on the spicy & tingly beef hand-ripped noodles. The beef was flavorful and extremely tender, the noodles were perfectly cooked and the sauce was the kind of spicy that has you coming back for more. Without question, this dish is tied for my favorite thing I ate on our trip. If you are looking for a cheap, meal with a ton of flavor and you don’t mind getting a little messy, do yourself a favor and head to your closest Xi’an location. -K

Momofuku Milk Bar

Our last stop of the day was a trip to Milk Bar, the perfect way to cool our palates down after inhaling a plate of spicy noodles. By this point I think we were pretty stuffed and while I would’ve loved to try ALL of the various sweets (like the crack pie), Meg and I decided to share a small serving of the cereal milk ice cream.

Cereal Milk Ice Cream

If you are unfamiliar, Momofuku’s cereal milk is made by steeping toasted cornflakes in cold milk — which might sound a little weird, but I promise it is delicious. I was pleasantly surprised by how unsweet the soft serve was, as I expected it to be off the charts sweet. And you don’t have to live in New York to experience the joy that is Milk Bar, there is also a location in D.C.! -K

Wait, we did other things but eat?

So if you read through this entire blog post (congrats to you for being awesome) you might have wondered, is eating the only thing these girls did in New York? Well the answer is, kind of? We did squeeze in a few other activities on our first full day in Manhattan.

Around lunch time we made our way over to Central Park to people watch. The weather was gorgeous and after walking from bagels to donuts, taking a break from being on our feet was just what we needed.


After our day full of food adventures we headed over to Dumbo to meet Meg’s cousin Jimmy and his wife Liz at Etsy’s new office (she has a super cool job there). We headed straight up to the rooftop and caught a magical sunset on the last night of summer. The view of Manhattan’s skyline was nothing short of incredible (hint: to our bosses, can we have a rooftop too?).

Once our tour was over we walked over to Photoville, a photography festival organized in stacked shipping containers. Meg’s cousin that we were staying with, Amy, was one of the organizers of the festival and I think I speak for the both of us in saying that the festival was impactful and impressive. There were exhibits covering political issues like the Flint water crisis and the conflict in Syria and a super cute exhibit with rescue dogs wearing flower crowns. And we had a very serendipitous moment when we just happened to come across an exhibit put together by Richmond’s own Art 180. – K

new-york-city-at-night

And that was just day one! Stay tuned for day two of our New York adventures next week. Recapping our first day in NYC brings to light just how much we ate in one day, but to our credit, we did a lot of walking to get from one place to the next and shared at every stop along the way!

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Okay, we’re not actually moving to New York City but Megan and I are finally traveling together, and we’re taking a mini vacay up north this week. I haven’t been to New York in at least five years so I’m extremely excited to see how the city has changed.

We’ve started planning a pretty intense Google Map with all of our key points of interest — including Madison Square Garden for the Adele concert on Thursday (yay!). As you can see we’ve got a couple of pretty important categories of food that are a must have during a trip to New York — bagels, pizza and all kinds of sweets.

And we will admit, Instagram photos have been extremely helpful in supplementing our restaurant research. Here are a few that have piqued our interest!

A photo posted by Roberta’s (@robertaspizza) on

But we know there’s only so much research we can do before our heads start spinning. And we know that some of our readers probably have their own favorite spots in New York, so we’re hoping you’ll send your recommendations our way!

We’re looking for both food and activity recommendations so please leave your thoughts in the comments below, Instagram message us, Facebook us or tweet us. P.S. a best burger recommendation would be greatly appreciated, poor Salvation Burger, which was at the top of our list, is closed for renovations following a kitchen fire earlier this year. P.P.S if anyone can hook us up with Hamilton tickets, we’ll name our unborn children after you!

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quick visit to Newport, Rhode Island cliff walk

After a great two days in Portland, Maine (which you can read about here and here), Taylor and I continued our New England adventures by heading down to Newport, Rhode Island to meet my parents so we could all visit my cousin Andrew, who is lucky enough to live in such a beautiful spot. He was a wonderful tour guide and our quick visit to Newport, Rhode Island was filled with sightseeing and, of course, delicious food.

Newport Cliff Walk

quiour quick visit to Newport, Rhode Island cliff walk 2

The Newport Cliff Walk is a 3.5 mile trail that borders the ocean on one side and beautiful architecture, including The Breakers, on the other. The Cliff Walk is open to the public 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset. Before our arrival in Newport, this was the one activity I requested that we definitely try to fit in, and on our first morning in Newport we headed straight for the Cliff Walk. We started near Easton’s Beach and walked a good ways, deciding to turn around once we had a chance to see the exterior of the Vanderbilt mansion in all of its glory.

quick visit to Newport, Rhode Island breakers
The Cliff Walk is one of my favorite things I’ve done on any trip I’ve ever taken, and I’ll give credit to the beautiful setting and good company for that. I’d plan a trip back to Newport just to experience the Cliff Walk again, and it’s now on my bucket list to see it at sunrise or sunset.

Easton’s Beach Snack Bar

By the time we finished our stroll on the Cliff Walk, we were more than ready for lunch. Lucky for us, Easton’s Beach Snack Bar was within walking distance, a casual spot famous for their twin lobster rolls. Per their Yelp page, the twin lobster roll special started when their bread supplier shorted the bread they used to use for their single lobster rolls. They decided to add a bit more lobster and serve twin rolls and they kept it going when guests seemed to love getting two smaller lobster rolls for a similar price as one larger one. After all, who wouldn’t love getting two lobster rolls?

We ordered at the counter and when our lunch was ready, we took our food downstairs where we ate in picnic tables under the shade. It should come as no surprise that most of our group ordered the twin lobster roll special, but the whole bellied fried clams were another item off the menu worth writing home about. The ocean view while we ate our lunch was just the cherry on top.

Del’s Frozen Lemonade


I’m a huge lemonade fan as is, but hand me a refreshing frozen lemonade on a warm summer day and I’m in my happy place. I had heard about Del’s Frozen Lemonade (and even tried the shandy!) before this trip and I knew I was in for a treat, but I think I underestimated just how good Del’s would be. All I can say is that if you’re ever in a place where you have the opportunity to try Del’s, just do it. Heck, get two.

Del’s Lemonade has been a favorite treat in Rhode Island since 1948, and you can read more about the story behind the family affair that is Del’s Lemonade here.

Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant

🎶 And it was all yellow 🎶 😎 (📸cred: @frantron8865 👌)

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As you can see, Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant is charming and picturesque. Located on the famous Thames street, the main strip of shopping and restaurants in downtown Newport, we came here for lunch before leaving town on the recommendation of my friend Sara. Immediately upon walking inside, we were happy with the choice we made. Some restaurants just have a good feel, and between the friendly service and the history of this place that was showcased on the walls of the restaurant, a good feel was easily accomplished here.

The menu is massive and filled with good choices. Any type of eater would be happy here, and it took us a good long while to fully peruse the menu and decide on our lunch order. Somehow we resisted ordering the nachos, which BuzzFeed put on their list of the 30 best nachos in America, but there’s always next time, right? We ordered a few things to share, including mussels from the specials menu and Gary’s Portuguese Littleneck Clams, steamed littlenecks with white wine, green peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil and chourico. These aren’t just any clams — Bon Appétit named this recipe one of the 13 best recipes in the history of the magazine. You can find the recipe here.

On my next visit 


Two days just wasn’t enough time in Newport, and I’ve already made a list of things I want to do on my next visit: explore the Newport mansions, take a boat ride on the harbor and rent a scooter to tour the city, something we saw many people taking advantage of. All in all, our quick visit to Newport, Rhode Island was a great stop on our New England adventure.

What’s your favorite activity you’ve ever done while traveling? We’re always looking for inspiration on where to go and what to do next!

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