Category Archives: Travel

short trip to Charleston

On the Friday following my 21st birthday night out, my family and I hit the road to pay Charleston a short visit. It was pouring out when we arrived, so we scurried ourselves over to a restaurant that I had scoped out called Cru Café. This restaurant is a bit off the beat-and-path of Market Street, but people sure do know about it. The restaurant is part of a small, converted house and has only a few tables outside on the porch in addition to 10 or so tables inside. The place was packed and we had a 45 minute wait- and this was at 2 in the afternoon, an odd time to be eating lunch.

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The food was well worth the wait. I ordered a smoked turkey sandwich with melted brie and apple chutney. The brie was rich and sweet, and the chutney spicy and tangy. The prices were incredibly reasonable as well. I will definitely be returning here on future visits to Charleston for a casual yet sumptuous meal.

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When we finished eating, it was storming like CRAZY out and because we’re so prepared all the time-not- we didn’t have an umbrella with us. We waited out the storm on Cru’s front porch and then made our way over to Market Street. Which was completely flooded.

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Since browsing through the vendors of the City Market was clearly out of the question we walked over to King Street and did some shopping. I got a few things from Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters. We also stopped in a new shop on King Street, Savannah Bee Company, which had samples of a bunch of different kinds of honeys as well as some soaps and lotions made from their honey. I tried honeycomb for the first time which was delicious! They served it on a slice of apple topped with cheese. What a great appetizer/ dessert idea for entertaining.

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We had dinner at the Noisy Oyster, a seafood restaurant with walls that are open to the outside. I had grilled mahi-mahi with mango sauce… and a mojito Smile The mojito was extremely refreshing. My meal was alright but nothing spectacular… I think the mango salsa that I make is much better.

After waking up on Saturday morning, we drove out to Isle of Palms and took a long walk on the beach.

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We headed over to the Saturday Farmer’s Market, one of Charleston’s finest establishments in my opinion. In addition to plenty of food stands and produce vendors, there are art and craft vendors of all sorts. I sampled flavored goat cheeses at one vendor and couldn’t leave without bringing one home. I got a tomato basil goat cheese and I can’t wait to use it on sandwiches/ wraps.

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My Dad picked up organic dog treats for our neighbor who is watching our horses while they are gone. She has a beautiful golden lab name Moses who is basically Marley from the movie Marley & Me.

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Before heading back to Columbia, we stopped at Paolo’s Gelato and I enjoyed a delicious “lunch” of a combo of pistachio, hazelnut, and tiramisu gelato. This stuff is seriously dangerous.

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Never an unpleasant experience in this charming little city, and I always look forward to going back…

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Montreal

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Montreal is about as close as you’re going to get to Europe without crossing the Atlantic ocean. This city oozes regal appeal and old world charm. It is predominantly a French-speaking city, but just about everybody there speaks English as well.

I stayed at the Marriott Montreal Chateau Champlain, which was in the perfect location and had the most incredible views of the city. There was also a Starbuck’s on the first floor. Always a bonus in my case.

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Our first meal was at a restaurant on Rue Peel called Chez Alexandre. I enjoyed a couple cups of tea then experienced my first plate of l’escargo. Once you get past the texture, there’s really nothing but salt and butter. Not something I would want to eat with any type of regularity, but it’s fun to eat adventurously from time to time.

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We spent the next couple of hours exploring the upscale shops of Rue Peel (aka Peel St) and then found ourselves in the middle of the International Jazz Festival. This event is ranked the largest jazz festival in the world and attracts around 3,000 musicians and 2.5 million spectators every summer.

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I was attacked by creatures on stilts in the process, which was really rather terrifying.

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One of my favorite areas of Montreal was Old Montreal/ Old Port. Saint-Paul Street was made up of cobblestone roads and was home to countless art galleries which we spent a fair amount of time perusing through.

Dinner one night was at a Mexican restaurant called Carlos & Pepes. I got a huge banana daiquiri which did a wonderful job of filling me up to maximum capacity. I guess I got a little carried away with the lowered drinking age in Canada and forgot about eating real food. Oops.

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On our last day, we ventured out a little farther from Downtown Montreal and explored the area known as Plateau Mont Royal. The streets are lined with patisseries (pastry shops), boulangeries (bakeries) and cafes. We had lunch at a boulangerie called Premiere Moisson and filled up a box of delicious pastries to bring home. Much was missing from the box by the time we actually arrived home…. I wonder where it could have gone?

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Masters Tournament 2011

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Besides the fact that my feet are literally swollen from being on them for about 100 hours this week, working the Masters was an awesome experience. I saw Tiger, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, and all the other bad boys of the golfing world. Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet any of them, but my friends (who worked as servers) got to meet Martin Kaymer (became ranked #1 in the world in February of this year) and Rory McIlroy.

I wasn’t able to take many pictures because cameras are strictly prohibited during the tournament except for practice days, which were our busiest days in the golf shop.

The Masters attracts people from all over the world- England, Italy, South Africa, Australia, you name it. It was awesome to see so many people from so many different places. I also saw a lot of Chanel, David Yurman, and Lacoste. While some patrons were dressed embarrassingly prep-tastic, others really made an impressive statement.

Trend Alert: HATS. I saw hats of all colors, shapes, sizes, and styles this week. Definitely one of the top trends of this season.

Fedoras

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Nordstrom 2-Tone Fedora, $32

Straw Hats

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Tarnish Straw Hat, $38

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Juicy Couture Lurex Striped Straw Hat, $78

Floppy Hats

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Nordstrom Floppy Straw Hat, $48

“Gag” Alert: adorable dresses & skirts paired with… golf shoes? Ew.

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Before heading home this afternoon, I took a couple of hours to walk around downtown Augusta and grab something to eat. It was beautiful outside (but really hot! I don’t mind the heat one bit though). Downtown Augusta has a lot of small cafes and restaurants to choose from.

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I stopped by a little spot called The New Moon Café for lunch on what is known as “Artist’s Row” in downtown Augusta. This block of Broad Street has several art galleries and eateries. I ordered a turkey apple croissant sandwich with a side of Asian slaw and an iced soy chai tea.

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The New Moon Café’s menu had a page of breakfast items including breakfast sandwiches, yogurt, quiches, waffles, and more. The lunch menu consisted of sandwiches, wraps, soup, and salads. They also had a selection of stuffed croissants, muffins, and cupcakes which looked amazing (though I didn’t get one myself). The interior walls were covered in artwork and there were also two couches for customers to relax on. I loved the artsy, relaxed vibe of the café and my food was great as well.

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It felt SO nice to just sit and relax for once. I skimmed through a Natural Awakening magazine (a publication focused on healthy living) and sipped on my iced chai tea while waiting for my food to come out.

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I arrived in Columbia to the most awesome news today. My one and only class today is cancelled! That means I have a full day to recover from my long, tiring week Smile

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Ithaca, NY

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Ithaca is arguably one of New York State’s best treasures. With amazing restaurants, a variety of shops, and plenty of scenic hiking trails, it is the perfect place to enjoy a well-rounded day. Home to the Ivy League Cornell University as well as Ithaca College, this small city is home to countless intellectual and creative minded individuals.

Ithaca in 3 words: earthy, relaxed, serene

Buttermilk Falls State Park is one of my favorite places in New York to go hiking. The trails lead you up through beautiful waterfalls which offer a feast for the eyes as well as a great workout.Buttermilk Falls collage

Make sure to enjoy one of your meals at Moosewood Restaurant while you’re in town. It is literally my favorite restaurant of all time. This local joint changes its menu daily and uses only fresh, local, healthy ingredients. Its menu is geared towards vegans and vegetarians, although there is usually at least one meat option. The veggie meals are so delicious, though, that I highly recommend forgoing meat for just this once.

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Moosewood Restaurant has also published several cookbooks. I own the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics book, which has 350 unique, healthy, and delicious recipes for every occasion.

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Shopping:

Urban Outfitters – 131 East Green St

The Commons – home to several fashion boutiques, art stores, local specialty stores, and good eats. American Crafts offers unique works of art and other creations from artists all over the country.

Sights:

Cornell Plantations – owned by Cornell University are 12 themed gardens and a 150 acre arboretum which are open to the public. This is a must-see, especially in the Spring when most plants are in full bloom.

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Columbia, SC

I’ve been living in Columbia for the past 2 1/2 years while attending the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!) and have had the opportunity to explore its restaurants, attractions, and nightlife.

Where to Eat:

Takosushi– An eclectic menu that combines (you guessed it) tacos and sushi. Sounds like a strange combination, but it is absolutely brilliant. Their happy hour menu is the best. I walked out of this place stuffed with an $8 check, which likely hasn’t happened since about 1996. Their sushi selections are creative although they offer the basics as well. I have also ordered fish tacos ($2 a pop during happy hour) which do not disappoint.

Al Amir– a Mediterranean bistro that offers brick-oven pizzas, wraps, and other Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as tabouli salad, baba ghanouj, falafel, and kabobs.

Mediterranean Tea Room- Fresh, healthy Mediterranean food served in monstrous portions. Be prepared to take home lots of leftovers!

Gervais & Vine– the quintessential “girl’s night out” restaurant. Offers tapas plates, pizzas, and tons of different spreads. The food is great, but the ambiance is what makes this restaurant such a hot spot.

The Gourmet Shop– Located in Five Points, this restaurant & culinary shop has soups, sandwiches, and appetizers and the opportunity to dine al fresco. I love eating here on a sunny afternoon to catch up with friends and people-watch.

Di Prato’s– famous for their hot pressed paninis as well as their pimiento cheese spread, this is the perfect spot for a casual gourmet meal. Enjoy a delectable Saturday or Sunday brunch from 10-2. Try the huevos rancheros for a hearty breakfast option.

Yoghut– I average about two trips a week to this new fro-yo locale. It’s self-serve with a variety of different toppings, and funky neon furniture to chill out on. Some of my favorite flavors are Acai-Blueberry, Original Tart, Green Tea, Raspberry Tart, and Pumpkin Cheesecake, although flavors change daily.

Get Outdoors:

Columbia Canal & Riverfront Park– This is my favorite place in Columbia to go running. The path is completely flat and runs between the canal and the Congaree River. With much to look at, including an old ampitheater, and plenty of green space to sprawl out on this spot is also great for a picnic, fishing, and biking.

West Columbia Riverwalk– Just on the opposite side of the Congaree River is West Columbia Riverwalk. Almost entirely shaded by trees, this is a great place to go running once the weather starts to get brutally hot.

Nightlife:

FIVE POINTS

Dr. Rocco’s for the infamous Everclear slushie which is dangerously delicious

Red Hots if you wanna get your groove on

Beye’s: one of Columbia’s “chill” bars with couches and often live music

Pour House because everyone you know will end up here at least point in the night

Saloon for country music and karaoke

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Portland, Maine

Last summer, my dad and I took a trip to the coast of Maine and stayed in the city of Portland. The city is a very up-and-coming culinary locale and a perfect place for the foodie- like me. I wish I could have stayed longer and tried more restaurants, but I was extremely satisfied with the places we did have a chance to visit.

Our first dinner was at Portland Lobster Company. I wanted to try one of Maine’s famous lobster rolls, and my dad ordered a full steamed lobster dinner. My lobster roll wasn’t everything I thought it would be, but then again I’m not a huge lobster fanatic in the first place. At this restaurant, you ordered your food inside a small building then went outside to claim a picnic table. There was live music playing, as well as a full bar. It had a very fun and laid back atmosphere and sat right on the water.

Next day consisted of some shopping followed by a trip to the Portland Museum of Art. I’m more of a fan of contemporary art than I am of historical art, but the museum had some great exhibits and served as a chance to get out of the summer heat. I went in several fashion boutiques but spent my money at a Stonewall Kitchen store instead. Stonewall Kitchen lets you sample all of their products, which is extremely dangerous!

We had dinner that night at a restaurant called Havana South and I had one of the best meals of my life. We started off with a corn empanada and a ceviche dish, then shared a plate of “jumbo scallops.” The atmosphere was upscale and eclectic, and the building was situated on a beautiful no-cars-allowed cobblestone road.

Later that night, we stopped at a small cafe called Mornings in Paris. I ordered a big ol’ mug of chai tea for “dessert” and tested my French language skills while flipping through some French magazines that they had laying around.

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Rochester, NY

Where to eat:

Jine’s– a casual family restaurant on Park Avenue in downtown Rochester with a huge menu and food that has never disappointed. My favorite dish is the tabouli salad, although I’ve gotten the broccoli burger which is AMAZING (especially when you add cheese.)

Aladdin’s Natural Eatery– I’ve been to the location in Schoen Place in Pittsford, NY which sits on the canal in a super-relaxing atmosphere. You can dine outside when the weather is nice and look out at the canal. Their menu of mediterranean dishes has great prices, and food comes in huge portions. Try a huge pita pocket with a side of the most refreshing gazpacho soup you have ever tasted.

The Owl House– One of the best vegan options in Rochester, NY. A restored house hosts fresh dishes and vegan options like the buffalo-spiced tempeh burger.

Dinosaur Barbeque– Hands down, the best barbeque I’ve ever had. This rustic, biker restaurant has been in business for almost 25 years and is virtually impossible to compete with. Once you fall in love with this place, you’ll be happy to know that their sauces are sold in supermarkets around the country.

Where to Shop:

Eastview Mall– Located in the suburb of Victor, NY, this is the central locale for shopping in the greater Rochester area. You will find all of your basics plus more at this mall. Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Sephora, Francesca’s Collections, Lord & Taylor, and White House Black Market will serve all of your fashion and beauty needs. Other specialty stores include Apple, Pottery Barn, William Sonoma, and much more. Dining options include the sports bar Champp’s, the Italian eatery Biaggi’s, P.F. Chang’s, and Camille’s Cafe.

Park Avenue– arguably the trendiest neighborhood in Rochester, Park Avenue has fashion boutiques such as A Step Apart and Dado Boutique, various spas and salons, and some of the best restaurants around. Make sure to stop at Parkleigh which offers gifts of just about every category- chocolates & sweets, cards, furniture, home decor, culinary gifts, and tons more. I rarely spend less than an hour moseying around this shop. After shopping around, Jine’s, Cibon, and Piranha are all great restaurant choices to stop for a bite to eat.

Schoen Place– sitting along the canal in the suburb of Pittsford, Schoen Place has several great dining options in addition to several craft and gift shops.

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