Tag Archives: Travel Blogger

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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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: 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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New Orleans: District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew

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



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.



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.



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!


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
(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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