Chicago: Giordano’s

130 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 616-1200
(Multiple Locations)


In Front of Giordano's

Have you ever flown to Chicago for the day just to get Deep-Dish Pizza? Well, I have and it was one of the best experiences of my life.


I’m obsessed with pizza and will go to great lengths to eat the world’s best pies.

Last year, my friend Carlos told me about some cheap flights to Chicago and how he was going for the day just to get Chicago-style pizza. He encouraged me to do the same.


So one cold October day, my sister, her girlfriend, Anna, and I hopped on an American Airlines flight to O’Hare to spend the day in Chi-Town.

We rode the L, saw The Bean at Millennium Park, enjoyed a few brews at Goose Island Beer Company, had an ice cream cone at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream (see my previous posts about Jeni’s and Goose Island), walked through Wrigleyville, viewed the city from the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building and most importantly, got to experience Chicago deep-dish pizza!


Now, I know everyone has an opinion about where the best pizza in Chicago is but I asked several trusty natives and they told me to go to Giordano’s. It was amazing!


The wait was about 30 minutes but totally worth it. We snapped some photos of the famous pizza joint and enjoyed a Goose Island Green Line Pale Ale while we waited. It only seemed appropriate to have a Chicago brew with our Chicago-style pizza.

Beers at Giordano's


Once seated, we ordered some of the Fried Mozzarella Triangles. They were lightly breaded and served with house-made marinara. It was the perfect way to curb our hunger while we anxiously dreamed about the arrival of our Giordano’s deep-dish cheese pizza.

Fried Mozzarella


The good news is the wait wasn’t that long! Giordano’s takes your deep-dish order when you reserve your table to ensure you don’t wait too long for a fresh pie. Genius!

Although the Fried Mozzarella was good, the magic really happened when the pizza hit the table.


It was a glorious pie with crunchy crust, ample sauce and some of the most beautiful cheese pulls I’ve ever seen. Giordano’s did not disappoint.


The pizza was so good we seriously considered buying a few of their refrigerated take-home pizzas to bring back to Florida in our carry-ons. (We didn’t end up doing it.)

But in case you’re wondering, it is completely okay to bring pizza through the TSA checkpoint. I may or may not have Googled it. 😉


You might think we’re crazy (and we are) for flying to Chicago for the day just to get pizza but I’d do it again 50 times over.

Chicago, we love you and your pizza! We’ll be back soon!

– JK



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Philadelphia: Manayunk Brewing Company

Manayunk Brewing Company
4120 Main St.
Philadelphia, PA 19127
(215) 482-8220


Manayunk Beers

Another city, another brewery. That’s how I choose to live my life.

While in Philadelphia, I made my friend, Vanessa, embrace this lifestyle with me. (Well, at least for the evening.)


We took a little trip into the “hip” area of Philly called Manayunk. There they have a huge brewery/restaurant appropriately named Manayunk Brewing Company.


The building is multi-level with a dining area, sushi bar, private event room and multiple bars throughout the establishment. On the Saturday night we went, the place was filled with patrons in the mood to eat and drink.

We opted for the outside bar, which was a little more secluded and quiet. It had a riverfront view, although it was hard to see amidst the falling snow.


I perused their brew menu for a tasty new beer to try. This was a difficult task, as I’m not a big fan of decision-making.

Fortunately, the solution to my indecision was listed on the top of the menu – a beer flight featuring the nine brews Manayunk was currently offering.

Manayunk Beer Flight


This visit’s beer sampling included:

Light Bohemian Blonde – Light Blonde Ale made with German hops (3.4% ABV)

The Pilgrimage – Belgian-Style Coffee Stout made with cold-brewed coffee beans (6.5% ABV)

American Sardine Ale – Belgian-Style Blonde with notes of lemon zest and black pepper (4.5% ABV)

Brett Monk – Belgian-Style Trippel aged in wine barrels with Brettanomyces and made with pilsner malt and noble hops (9.0% ABV)

Simcoalition – Hazy Northeast IPA made with Simcoe, Citra and Mosaic hops (7.1% ABV)

Dr. Drei – Brett IPA made with the Drei strain of yeast, has notes of mango and pineapple (5.8% ABV)

Cuvée De Yunk – Belgian Style Sour made with apricots, has a hint of vanilla flavor (5.0% ABV)

Crunch – Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter with chocolate and coffee notes (6.0% ABV)

Brotherly Love – Pomegranate-Cranberry Cider (5.2% ABV)


My favorites were the Light Bohemian Blonde Ale and Cuvée De Yunk. (I’m a sucker for sours.) The beers paired well with Manayunk’s complementary house-made seasoned popcorn. So good.


As if the beer flight wasn’t enough, I also tried one of their canned brews – SRP #3. It was a Dry-Hopped Sour Ale (7.4% ABV).

Manayunk Sour AleIt was so delicious, I wanted to export some back to Florida. But then I realized it wasn’t allowed in my carry-on home.


Maybe next time.

– JK



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West Palm Beach: Avocado Grill

Avocado Grill
125 Datura Street
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 623-0822
(Other location in Palm Beach Gardens)


Avocado Grill

West Palm Beach is my home turf. I’ve been here most of my life. With that said, I’d like to think I’ve got the lowdown on the best food here.

Avocado Grill in Downtown West Palm Beach is some of the best food. It’s brunch time perfection. (But really anytime perfection.)


My first date with Avocado Grill was in August 2016. I went to celebrate my friend Marc’s birthday. The food was superb and so were the drinks. It was love at first bite…and sip.


My sister and I were impressed as soon as we got our first taste from Avocado Grill’s menu. We shared the stuffed Zucchini Blossoms.

Zucchini Blossoms

If you’ve never tried a stuffed Zucchini Blossom, I suggest you get adventurous. (We used to eat Squash Blossoms as a kid, so we already had the intel.) They are exquisite and I get them every time I go here.

These bad boys are stuffed with goat cheese, walnuts and mint. They are served with an out-of-this-world tomato jam, it’s the perfect compliment to the blossoms. If you retain anything from this post, it should be that Crispy Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms are a must!


Another must is their AG Benedict. Sure anyone can make Eggs Benedict but this one is far superior to most. It tastes fresh and doesn’t skimp on flavor.

The AG Benedict has smoked salmon, sautéed spinach, avocado, and truffle Hollandaise sauce. The truffle Hollandaise is everything. Get a little of it on the breakfast potatoes that come this dish – it’s scrumptious. Sip on a glass of Rosé with this and it’s the best kind of Sunday morning.

AG BenedictRose


Speaking of drinks, if you like tequila, the Avocado Margarita is highly recommended by my sister, Kerri, and her girlfriend, Anna. (I tried a sip of Kerri’s and I can vouch for its awesomeness.)

It may sound atypical but the Avocado Margarita is a genius libation – a little tang, a little tequila, a little Avocado. So yummy.

Avocado Margaritas


I know it may be difficult with all the amazing bites and drinks at Avocado Grill but I urge you to save room for dessert.

Last time I brunched there, I managed to save a little room for dessert and it was fantastic.

Avocado Grill Desserts

If you like Nutella (who doesn’t!?) go for the Nutella Avocado Mousse. The decadent mousse is served topped with caramelized hazelnuts and espresso whipped cream. Honestly, I could just eat that whipped cream and live my happiest life.

The Dulce De Leche Lava Cake is a fun spin on the traditional lava cake. It’s packed with caramel flavor and plated atop a tangy raspberry sauce. You can’t go wrong with either dessert.


If your crew is looking for the perfect spot for brunch (or dinner), Avocado Grill is where it’s at. It’s South Florida al fresco dining at its finest.

Whether you sit inside or outside, your dining experience will be bright, airy and full of top-notch cuisine and drinks.

– JK



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New Orleans: Café Du Monde

Café Du Monde
800 Decatur St.
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 525-4544
(Multiple Locations)



If you’re planning a trip to New Orleans and ask for recommendations on where to go, I’m 99.9% sure you’ll be told to check out Café Du Monde. It’s basically a French Quarter staple.

From my experience, it truly is a NOLA trip must!

I am not big on pastry-type sweets (I’d rather save my calories for a big bowl of ice cream) but hot, fresh beignets are AMAZING!!! These little chunks of fried dough covered in powdered sugar are life-changing.


Although the process to obtain these treats is pretty straightforward; walk up and order or sit down and be served, I’d like to share a few pro-tips for doing Café Du Monde right.

  1. Bring cash. If you choose to sit down to enjoy your beignet, table service is cash only.
  2. As Café Du Monde is a New Orleans hot-spot, table-sharking is crucial. Be sure to keep an eye out for parties that are about to leave their cozy little table.
  3. Don’t make the rookie mistake of wearing black to the restaurant. These bad boys are generously sprinkled with powdered sugar and it gets EVERYWHERE!!!
  4. Ask for a to-go bag, beignets are TSA-approved! My sister successfully transported a bag of them back to Florida.
  5. Last but not least, enjoy! (See my sister, Kerri, enjoying below.)


Cafe Du Monde


If you make the trip to NOLA heed the advice of me (and everyone else) and treat yourself to some beignets. People will totally judge you if you go to New Orleans and skip this iconic stop!

– JK



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Atlanta: World of Coca-Cola

World of Coca-Cola
121 Baker Street
Atlanta, GA 30313
(404) 676-5151


World of Coca-Cola

When I plan trips, I usually visit the same kinds of places; trendy restaurants and bars, breweries, state parks, zoos and aquariums. Those are generally my vacation go-tos. So when I planned a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, World of Coca-Cola was the last thing on my mind. (Besides, I’m not even a big soda drinker but if I had to choose, Team Coke all the way!)

When my sister and I were unsure of what to do on the last day of our 2016 Atlanta trip, we stepped out of our vacation comfort zone and visited the World of Coca-Cola. A local we met at Sweetwater Brewery assured us that it was a neat place to go.


To our surprise, we really enjoyed it. It was definitely a little touristy but we learned a lot about soda and pop culture. It was also a great place to take pictures. I mean, who doesn’t love taking Instagram-worthy vacation pics!?

Coca-Cola Statue


It’s super interactive and full of refreshments.

You get a can of cola upon arrival, then you enter a room full of Coca-Cola memorabilia. Expect a little Coca-Cola history lesson.

Coca-Cola Signs

After the trip down memory lane, you are escorted to a theatre to watch a short film called “Moments of Happiness.” It will give you all the feels.

Then, you’re pretty much on your own.


You can meet the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, go into the secret vault holding the Coca-Cola formula (unfortunately, they don’t actually give up the secret), watch the bottling process, learn a thing or two about the History of Coke in the Milestone section, peruse art in the pop culture gallery, etc. There’s so much to experience.

Vault RoomCoca-Cola VaultGiant Coke BottlesCoca-Cola Parlor


My favorite part of the World of Coca-Cola was the Tasting Room. There are over 100 international and domestic drinks to try. It’s pretty cool because the drink dispensers are set up by regions of the country. If you’re in the mood for something exotic, you may like something from Asia or Latin America. If you want to add flavor to a traditional American drink, you can play with one of the World of Coca-Cola’s many Freestyle machines.

Pro Tip: Bring a bottle of water with you, it’s a sugar overload.



The Tasting Room is the last stop in the attraction. When you’re done, you are given a souvenir Coca-Cola in a glass bottle and directed to wander the gift shop.

It’s a pretty neat gift shop. I told myself I wasn’t going to buy anything but how can you not there!? Anything you can imagine, they have there adorn in the Coca-Cola emblem. I walked out with some polar bear Post-Its and a cute tank top.


For someone who isn’t big on soda or “touristy spots,” it was worth the $17 admission. It’s a sweet and cheery way to spend your morning or afternoon in Atlanta.

– JK



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Chicago: Goose Island Beer Company

Goose Island Beer Company
1800 W. Fulton Street
Chicago, IL 60612
(800) 466-7363
(Multiple Brewpub Locations)


Goose Island

I’ve been to many breweries but Goose Island Beer Company now takes the reigns as my favorite.

Goose Island Beer Company makes some delicious brews. I’ve always been a fan of the 312 Urban Wheat Ale and the Goose IPA. They’re the best beers to drink while watching a ballgame at Marlins Park!


The deliciousness I’ve always known grew exponentially when I visited the brewery.

Goose Island Taproom

BeersThe Le Gardein, Juicy Double and Old Man Grumpy danced gleefully atop my taste buds in the tasting room. Check out what they’re all about below:


Old Man Grumpy – Dry Hopped American Pale Ale, light bodied pale ale with a tropical flavor, made with Huell Melon and Mosaic hops (5.8% ABV)

Juicy Double – West Coast Double IPA, fermented with with orange juice (8.3% ABV)

Le Gardein – Bière de Garde, French style farmhouse ale brewed with pears (5.9% ABV)


My sister, Kerri, her girlfriend, Anna, and I drank these fantastic libations in Goose Island’s Fulton Street Brewery & Taproom. It’s a hip urban watering hole.

The décor is very fascinating. There are maps and cityscapes featuring iconic areas in Chicago. I’m a sucker for cool bar art and Goose Island certainly delivers. Their duck logo on everything is so cute too.

The handcrafted wood art and dim lighting make you feel like you’re drinking in really cool Midwest-cabin. If I lived in Chicago, I’d probably happy hour there all the time.

Goose Island Decor


As hitting up breweries is kind of our thing, we had to reserve a spot for Goose Island’s brewery tour. It’s $12 and well worth it.

You get a cool souvenir pint glass, a pair of nerdy-cool goggles to wear on the tour, tasty samples along the way and a lesson in the beer-making process exclusive to Goose Island.

Beer Tour


If you’ve been on a beer tour before, you know the drill; you go learn about the ingredients, the production process, how they bottle their product and you try samples of the brewery’s staple and limited edition beers.

Sure, Goose Island did all of this but in my opinion, their tour went above and beyond.

Our tour guide, Nick, was so knowledgeable in all things Goose Island. He gave us background stories on some of the beers, went as far as to explain about the farm where the hops come from, showed us the barrel-aged vault and described the lengths people go through to get their hands on the special releases. (Think Black Friday-esque lines at the liquor store.)

Beer Vault

It’s always nice to go on a brew tour where the guides are passionate and, pardon my French, know their shit.


In case you were wondering, on the tour we sampled:

Sofie – Barrel Aged Saison, a Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale aged in wine barrels with orange peels (6.5% ABV) *Also great for Beer-mosas!

Green Line Pale Ale – American Pale Ale, has a bright hop aroma and citrus flavor, notes of biscuit and toasted malt (5.4% ABV)

Matilda – Belgian Style Pale Ale, fermented with wild yeast Brettanomyces giving it a spicy flavor, with fruit and clove aromatics (7.0% ABV)


After my experience at Goose Island, it’s going to take a lot of impressing to change my mind about my favorite American brewery.

Goose Island Sign


So if you know of something that tops beers like the Juicy Double and Matilda, city-themed woodwork decor, a sweet duck logo and bubbly staff – I’m all ears.

– JK



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Austin: Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden

Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden
79 Rainey St.
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 386-1656



I’ve been back from my Texas trip for almost a month now and I still cannot stop talking about how awesome Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden is. I literally want to go back this very second.


It’s so cool for multiple reasons…

First off, the ambiance is chill. Banger’s reminds you of a backyard BBQ, only way bigger. There are picnic tables, strings of white lights galore, a stage for local musicians to entertain on and of course, good cooking and great beer.

Banger's Welcome Sign


The atmosphere even extends to fur-friends. As a dog lover, it’s pretty cool that you can bring your 4-legged best friend with you for grub.

They offer a Woof-Wurst with pork, beef and veggies for the pups. I know my chihuahua nephew, Tucker, would be excited about that!



Secondly, the food is so memorable.

My sister, Kerri, and I started our dining experience with a bang (pun intended) by ordering the Poutine.

As a self-proclaimed poutine connoisseur, Banger’s take on this fry dish was superb; the fries were crispy, well-drenched in gravy and amply covered in cheese curds.



Banger’s sausages are made in-house and they are long links of perfection. They have fun flavors like Buffalo Chicken, Rabbit & Mushroom, Jalapeno Cheddar Bratwurst and a vegetarian Shiitake Manchego. (My vegetarian sister loved it!)

Although the decision was difficult, I went kind of traditional with the plain Bratwurst served with sauerkraut and grain mustard.

To accompany my brat, I chose the ying to the bratwurst’s yang; the Hot German Potato Salad. It was warm and full of bacon-y flavor. It was like a gift from the food Gods to my mouth.

Bratwurst & Potato Salad


The third reason Banger’s is amazing is the beer.

Banger’s boasts the largest tap wall in Austin. And it really is big and banging.

My sister and I had trouble deciding on a brew but our server was so helpful in steering us in the right direction with their sour selections. Odell’s Pyrus and Prunus and Independent Brewing Company’s The Illustrated Man Dark Sour (both pictured below), were the perfect libations to go with our meal.


Lastly, the staff was top-notch. As mentioned above, our server, Clinton, was kickass at helping us pick out beers. He also answered all our questions about the menu and helped Kerri find vegetarian options. So much Southern Hospitality in this place.


I cannot say enough good things about Banger’s. My only regrets were that we didn’t get to try the Fried Cheese Curds (they were sold out  *insert tears*) and that we didn’t get to experience brunch and Manmosas. (Banger’s, if you’re reading this, maybe you could FedEx some cheese curds to Florida!?) Okay, that’s totally unrealistic.


I guess, I’ll just have to start planning another trip to Austin…

– JK



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Philadelphia: Chubby’s Cheesesteaks

Chubby’s Cheesesteaks
5826 Henry Ave.
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 487-2575


Chubby's Cheesesteaks

I recently took a 24-hour trip to the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. With that said, in my limited time there, going for a cheesesteak was non-negotiable.

But choosing the right place to experience my first real cheesesteak was the tough part. So I consulted with my best friend, Vanessa, whom I was visiting and asked her where her go-to cheesesteak spot was. She told me we were going to Chubby’s Cheesesteaks.

Chubby’s is little diner in suburban Philly and they make a damn good cheesesteak!

Normally, I’m a chicken on a wheat sub with provolone kinda girl but since I wanted the authentic cheesesteak experience I did it the “right way.”


I got myself a huge, mouth-watering Cheesesteak with peppers, onions and Cheez Whiz. It was everything I hoped it would be. I even wrapped up half of it and put it in my backpack to bring back to Florida. (In case you were wondering, cheesesteaks are TSA-approved!)


People may tell you to go to Geno’s or Pat’s but you don’t have to brace the crowds to get a good cheesesteak, Chubby’s knows how to do it right!


PS – Do not call them “Phillys,” they are Cheesesteaks. I learned this the hard way after Vanessa corrected me about 20 times.

Also, putting Cheez Whiz on your hoagie is not the “right way.” Word on the street is that this is a common debate amongst Philly-natives.

– JK



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Washington, D.C.: Founding Farmers

Founding Farmers
1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 822-8783
(Multiple Locations)


Founding Farmers

If you have never been to Washington D.C., you’re missing out because it is one of the coolest cities. There’s so much history, iconic monuments, great restaurants, clean public transit and the Smithsonian museums.

Last February, my mom and I went on a little getaway to D.C. As always, I did some thorough investigating for our trip itinerary. In my search, I came across a cute restaurant called Founding Farmers.

We waited until the last day of our trip to check it out because we were a little directionally challenged. We underestimated how close to Founding Farmers we actually were. It was located on Pennsylvania Avenue, about a 10 minute walk from where we were staying.


We went there on a Monday during lunchtime and the place was popping. My Mom and I ended up snagging seats at the bar.

The bar itself was pretty cool, fully stocked with unique spirits and the bartenders were ready to make craft cocktails. There was hip vibe all around.


Speaking of drinks, I enjoyed a refreshing Farmers Fizz. It was an exquisite mix of Beefeaters Gin, St. Germain, Orange Bitters and Sparkling Cava. It made for a nice afternoon buzz.

Farmers Fizz


For lunch, I had one of the house favorites – Fried Chicken and Waffles served with Green Beans and Mac & Cheese. Pretty much all my favorite things. I must say, Founding Farmers’ Southern cuisine was on point.

Fried Chicken
I’d like to think that we saved the best for last, ending our D.C. trip at Founding Farmers. It was truly the perfect send off!

– JK



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Austin: Fixe Southern House

Fixe Southern House
500 W. 5th St.
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 888-9133


FixeIf I had to describe Fixe Southern House in one word, it would be EXTRAORDINARY! From the food and drinks, to the atmosphere and impeccable service – it was everything you’d hope for in a dining experience. In fact, I’m not exaggerating when I say it was some of the best food I’ve ever eaten.


When you walk in, it feels like you’ve entered either your best friend’s backyard gazebo or an upscale, antique shop. It’s rustic and homey, in the most perfect way. The restaurant is full of soft, white strings of light, beautiful woodwork, vintage parlor chairs and eclectic décor.




My sister and I decided to get a complete Fixe experience, from drinks to dessert.

As Fixe was the first stop on our trip to Austin, it only seemed appropriate to toast to our 5-day vacation. We choose to clink glasses of the Fixe 75. It was the perfect mix of fizz and tang; made with gin, lemon, housemade simple syrup and sparkling Rosé.

Fixe 75


Just as we were about to skip the starters and head right to the main course, our server convinced us that we HAD TO try the biscuits. After all, it’s what Fixe is known for.

We were soooo glad we did. They were hands down, the BEST biscuits I have ever eaten. (And my sister makes some damn good biscuits.)

I’ll tell you about them but I guarantee my description won’t do them enough justice.

The made-to-order biscuits were toasty on the outside and warm and buttery on the inside. They were fluffy and crispy and accompanied by an array of spreads. There was whipped Steen’s butter, homemade apple butter, local raw honey and a savory pork sausage spread. I truly could have died happy after eating these biscuits.



For the main event, we shared the Lobster & Crawfish Pot Pie and the Smoked Oyster Fried Rice. They were both rich in flavor and delicious in their own ways.

The Pot Pie was filled with juicy Maine Lobster, Louisiana crawfish, mushrooms and a sweet corn béchamel. The filling was made just right – flavorful without being overpowering, as seafood entrees can sometimes be. The crust was perfectly flaky.



The Oyster Fried Rice was a decadent blend of Carolina Gold rice, kimchi and lardo. It certainly wasn’t your typical Chinese take-out fried rice, it was full of crunch and unique flavor. In my opinion, the kimchi gave the dish a nice “pop”.



For the finale, we had just enough room left for Fixe’s Carrot Cake ‘Tres Leches.’

What a way to end the dining experience! The cake, made with a carrot jam, was appropriately moist. (Sorry, I hate that word too.) Alongside it was a candied pineapple and a scoop of creamy goat milk ice cream. It gave my taste buds all the feels.

IMG_0665Fixe Southern House really holds the bar high for Austin cuisine. About three hours in to being in Austin, I was already beyond impressed.


Now will you all please do me a favor and go eat some biscuits from Fixe!?



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