Tag Archives: Travel Blog

New Orleans: Café Du Monde

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

 

Beignets

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
www.worldofcoca-cola.com

 

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.

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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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Philadelphia: Chubby’s Cheesesteaks

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

 

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
www.wearefoundingfarmers.com
(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
www.fixesouthernhouse.com

 

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.

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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.

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.

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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”.

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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!?

JK

 

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New Orleans: District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew

District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew
2209 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 570-6945
www.districtdonuts.com
(Multiple Locations)

 

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Have you ever walked in the rain just for donuts?

Well, I kinda did. It was more like part walk in the rain, part Uber. But regardless, I did it and it was well worth it.

 

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District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew in New Orleans is worth every calorie.

 

Although I wanted to eat all the donuts there, I gave a piece of my soul away to the Cookie Butter Brudder donut.

Oh. My. God. It was a piece of Heaven, if Heaven is smothered in cookie butter and topped with chucks of chocolate chip and straight-up chocolate cookies.

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Donuts may be the signature item at District: Donut but the other menu items did not disappoint.

To accompany my donut (and add to my waistline), I tried one of their tasty Chicken Sliders.

I ordered mine with the fried chicken, sweet and spicy slaw and candied jalapeño nestled between two waffle fries. It was pure bliss!

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I might have been soaked when I got to District: Donut but I certainly left there dry and with a stomach full of happiness.

– JK

 

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Chicago: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
3404 N. Southpoint Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 348-7139
www.jenis.com
(Multiple Locations)

 

I can’t exactly pinpoint where my love affair with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams started.

I think I stumbled upon an Instagram photo of an ice cream cone from one her scoop shops.

From there, I went to her website and looked it over as a puddle of drool painted my chin. The flavors Jeni’s offers are the stuff dreams are made of. Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam, Brown Butter Almond Brittle and Goat Cheese with Red Cherries – oh my!

 

Their social media guru got me. I needed to try this ice cream, like yesterday.

 

So I found the closest retailer to me, The Fresh Market, about 25 minutes from me. I scooped up my ice cream (pun intended) and it was love at first bite of Brambleberry Crisp.

 

Over the last year or so, my sister, Kerri, and I would fill up shopping baskets with Jeni’s, send pints to our home and hit up scoop shops if we were visiting a city that had one. We’re kind of obsessed.

Jeni, if you’re reading this, South Florida really needs some of your ice creamy goodness. *Hint Hint*

 

A few months ago, my sister, her girlfriend, Anna, and I took a trip to Chicago. Three days before the trip, the magical social media team for Jeni’s posted a picture on their Instagram of one of their Chicago scoop shops. I totally forgot they had scoop shops there. OH. EM. GEE. We’re going to Jeni’s!

 

We took the L to the South Port Scoop Shop.

 

It didn’t even matter that we were from Florida and it was like 34 degrees out. We had to get our cones!

I had a waffle cone with three scoops – Sweet Corn, Gooey Butter Cake (my all-time favorite) and Sweet Potato Eclair.

Although you can never have enough ice cream, the visit was enough to satisfy me until my next tryst with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

– JK

 

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