Category Archives: Travel

Travel

Less than 24 Hours in Amsterdam

Hello, I am back! To catch you up, the last 10 days I was traveling through Europe. My dad’s side of the family had a big family reunion in the English countryside, where he grew up.

When planning this trip months ago, we quickly realized that flying from LA to Europe takes a long time, and there weren’t many direct flights that were budget-friendly. Many of the flights we looked at had layovers in Amsterdam, so we decided to make the most of a stop in a city neither of us had traveled to, by spending slightly less than a day there.

After at 10 hour flight to Amsterdam, we couldn’t wait to get to our room and clean up. All of the travel advice I read insisted not to take a nap for jet lag, so we listened, but man was it tough! We were EXHAUSTED, and the comfy hotel bed was calling to us. But we toughened up and set out for a day of sightseeing.
One Day in Amsterdam

Our first stop was the I Amsterdam sign because it was just around the corner from our hotel. We arrived right when street performers were starting a dance routine, which was fun to watch.

One Day in Amsterdam

I expected the sign to be crowded, but I had no idea it would be THIS crowded. We practically had to fight people just to get a photo with it.

One Day in Amsterdam

Next, per the recommendation of many friends, we hopped on the river canal cruise that takes you all throughout the city and allows you to hop on and off as desired.

One Day in Amsterdam

Everyone told us it was the best way to see Amsterdam and they were right! Plus, given how tired we were, we welcomed the opportunity to sit and enjoy the ride, rather than walk everywhere.

One Day in Amsterdam

The architecture in Amsterdam is gorgeous. Some friends and travel sites recommended we rent an apartment or houseboat on the canal, and now I can see why! Since we were only in Amsterdam for one night we decided to just get a hotel that was convenient to the airport and the major spots we wanted to see.

On a side note, we stayed at Hotel JL no. 76 and it was perfect for our needs. It was a modern boutique hotel right in the heart of the Museum district. It was easy to get to from the airport and there was plenty to do within walking distance. The rooms are small, but comfortable, and the prices are very reasonable. I highly recommend it.

One Day in Amsterdam

 

One Day in Amsterdam

In the middle of the river cruise, we hopped off so we could wander through Vondel Park.

(Travis was very excited about the opportunity to use his GoPro throughout the city!)

One Day in Amsterdam

It was a Thursday afternoon, but the park was packed.


One Day in Amsterdam

We saw many groups of friends and families laying alongside the lake. If we had more time, I would have loved to grab a few snacks and a bottle of wine and picnic outside. The setting was gorgeous.

One Day in Amsterdam

After our stroll through Vondel Park, both of us could barely keep our eyes open. 24+ hours without sleep is no joke people! We decided to head back to the hotel to take a quick nap before dinner. We only allowed ourselves about 40 minutes, but it was glorious.

We took the advice of our good friend Meredith and went to a rijsttafel (translation: rice table) for dinner. The concept sounded so intriguing to us: 20(ish) small plates of varying flavors, textures, and colors served with rice.

One Day in Amsterdam

We couldn’t believe the amount of food that we were served for a very reasonable 18 euros per person.

One Day in Amsterdam

One Day in Amsterdam

Look at all this food! From chicken satays, to pickled vegetables and fried bananas, EVERY SINGLE DISH was amazing.

One Day in Amsterdam

With every bite, we kept saying to each other, “Oh my gosh! Try this! This one is amazing!” Every plate was so delicious. If you’re planning to visit Amsterdam in the future, I highly recommend this experience. We loved our meal at Kartika.

Afterwards, we decided to walk off our incredible meal and stroll through the city some more. We both regret not having more time in Amsterdam because there was so much to do, see, eat, and experience. Even still, we were able to pack a lot into less than 24 hours.

We had an early flight to Leeds, England the next morning so we ended up calling it a night around 10PM. More about our time in England in my next post!

 

Have you been to Amsterdam? If so, did you go on a canal cruise? Try a meal at a rijsttafel?

 

Travel

How I Stay Healthy on Vacation

Hi people! I am leaving for vacation in England TODAY! Woohoo, I can’t wait! We booked this trip months ago and I am thrilled that it is finally here.

Before I leave, I wanted to share how I stay healthy on vacation. Personally, I hate reading vacation health tips that encourage you to run at least 3 miles a day or order customized meals of steamed veggies and grilled chicken at every restaurant you go to. I believe you should let loose a little bit on vacation! Heck, if we aim to be our healthiest selves the rest of the year, we deserve a little break once in awhile, am I right?

When I am on vacation, I aim to find a balance. I exercise when I can, eat healthy when I can, but definitely indulge and lounge around when I want to. My point it, you shouldn’t be spending your entire vacation thinking, “Is this healthy?” because that’s no fun!

Alright, without further ado, here are my tips!

 

1. Exercise before your trip.

Tips to Stay Healthy While on Vacation

Whether you’re flying or driving to your destination, I highly recommend squeezing in a quick workout before you leave. When on a plane or in a car, you end up sitting in the same position for hours on end. No fun! If you can swing it, get in an early morning workout before your trip. Your body will thank you before you cram it into a teeny-tiny airplane seat.

 

2. Pack healthy snacks.

Tips to Stay Healthy While on Vacation

Whenever I go on trips, I always pack my own snacks. I wrote this post last summer about some of my favorite healthy travel snacks. I never rely on airport or rest stop food because it’s typically unhealthy and way overpriced. A few months ago I saw a small Chobani yogurt priced at $4 at LAX, and needless to say, I was horrified.

Before we get to England, we have multiple stops and some long stretches of time on the plane. So to make sure neither Travis or I gets too hangry, I packed a boat load of snacks. Coming with us: Homemade turkey sandwiches for lunch on the first leg of the trip, Krave Jerky, Blue Diamond AlmondsKind Bars, Trail Mix, and organic apples.

Bet you wish you were sitting next to me on the plane, dontchya?

 

3. Bring a water bottle.

Tips to Stay Healthy While on Vacation

I don’t go anywhere without a water bottle. In particular, I love my Bobble, because it filters the water as you drink. I never have to worry about filling up my bottle from a random water fountain or airport faucet.

I recommend bringing an empty water bottle with you through security at the airport and filling it up at a fountain near your gate. That way you’ll have water for your flight and a bottle to carry around with you during your trip.

 

4. Pack those sneakers! Exercise when you can.

Tips to Stay Healthy While on Vacation

I always pack a pair of sneakers and at least one set of workout clothes with me while I am on vacation. Check to see if your hotel has a gym. If not, there are loads of equipment-free workouts you can find online. I love the Nike Training Club App.  If that’s not your thing, go for a run or a long walk. You’re in a new city for darn sakes – go explore it! You’d be amazed how many calories you can burn by just walking all day. Get your body moving for even just a small amount of time – it’s better than nothing!

One more tip – make sure to workout in the MORNING before sightseeing or laying on the beach. That way, you’ll get it out of the way and won’t think about it all day long.

 

5. Plan your special meals.

Tips to Stay Healthy While on Vacation

One of my favorite parts of going to a new city is researching restaurants I want to try. While I love a good indulgence, you guys know that I really do ENJOY eating healthy meals. So before my trip, I create a list of restaurants that includes both healthy fare as well as “treat” meals. Remember, balance is key. Enjoy your burger and fries guilt-free, but don’t let the rest of your day consist of pastries, pizza, ice cream, etc. All of that food will just make you feel like crap.

I want to really emphasize that it’s okay to eat “off-plan” or steer away from a super clean diet when you’re on vacation. If you stress yourself out about it, you’re not going to enjoy yourself.

 

I’d love to know how you guys stay healthy while on vacation. Do you do anything I didn’t include in this post? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Note: This post includes some affiliate links. I greatly appreciate your support!

Travel

Weekend in Chicago

I took lots of iPhone photos in Chicago. I was debating whether or not to bring my DSLR camera, and in the end I am glad I left it at home. With all of the rain we experienced, I would have hated lugging it around in addition to my raincoat and umbrella.

So instead of recipe photos, today I bring you a hodgepodge of iPhone pictures from last weekend in Chicago. As you can see, because of the rain, we mainly spent our entire trip eating…

Our first meal of the trip was Thursday night at Nico Osteria. The General Manager was the first person to stop by our table, and after telling him that we had no idea what to order (everything looked SO good!), he suggested letting him order for our table of four. It was the best decision and we felt like we got the royal treatment that night.

Nico Osteria

All of the seafood and pasta dishes were UNREAL, but what really stole the show for me was the complimentary dessert, brought to us by our (amazing!) server at the end of the meal. This cake was one of the best I’ve ever had. It was rich and indulgent, and I savored every single bite. I was glad we got to try it, because the server said they were removing it from the menu that week (they change their menus almost daily).

Nico OSteria

On Friday it rained and rained and rained, which was a bummer because we were hoping to spend the day outside.

Instead, we decided to find a great place to eat! Nearly everyone we asked for restaurant advice told us to go to Au Cheval for a burger. We arrived around 11:30AM on Friday, not having eaten breakfast yet and there was already a one hour wait. So while we waited for our table, Travis and I walked to Whole Foods down the street for a quick snack. By the time we were finished, our table was ready!

Au Cheval

We decided to split a burger, and man am I glad we did! Look at the size of this thing! Pro tip: get the fried egg on top – it’s heavenly.

Au Cheval

We were thrilled when the sky finally cleared up a bit on late Friday afternoon. It was the perfect opportunity snap a few photos of Chicago’s amazing skyline.

Chicago

Friday night we went to Siena Tavern and our group of 5 decided to split eight or so dishes amongst the table. That’s my favorite way to order because I get to try lots of different menu items that way.

I honestly loved everything we tried. One of my favorite dishes was this halibut. (Yay for more dark restaurant photos!)

Siena Tavern

Siena Tavern

Saturday afternoon our group took a long walk throughout the city and along the lake. It was a very foggy day, but we were just happy that it wasn’t raining!

Chicago

Friends

We also made an obligatory stop at Lou Malnati’s for a slice of their famous deep dish pizza. This was my second time having Lou’s and man, is it dense! Deep-dish lovers are going to hate me for saying this, but I honestly prefer crispy thin-crust pizza. Maybe it’s because I can eat more slices? #givemeallthefood

Lou Malnatis

Sunday, Travis and I had a few hours to spare before we had to head to the airport. Eataly Chicago was right down the street from where we were staying, so we had to stop in. We’d been to the Eataly in NYC and it was food heaven for both of us. I just can’t wait for Eataly in LA!

Eataly

At the airport Travis and I stopped at Potbelly’s to grab some food for our flight. It always seems like EVERYONE flying out of Chicago Midway also stops here. The line is always out the restaurant. It’s fair because it really doesn’t compare to typical airport food. We decided to split a big sandwich and salad and nearly inhaled them at our gate before our flight.

Potbelly's

We had the perfect food-filled weekend in Chicago, but we were excited to get home to Bessie and sleep in our own bed that night.

 

Have you been to any of the restaurants I visited? Do you prefer deep-dish or thin-crust pizza?

Life Lately Travel

Weekend in San Diego

My parents were in San Diego for a few days last week, so on Friday afternoon I took the train from LA to visit them.

Train

I used Amtrak fairly regularly when I lived on the east coast, but this was my first time taking it out in California. The whole experience was a breeze and reminded me why I love traveling by train so much – no long security lines, LOTS of legroom, bigger seats, no turbulence, and on and on!

Ship

My parents met me at the train station in San Diego and together, we walked back to their hotel. We passed the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier on the way, which was seriously cool to see up close. It was HUUUUUUGE!

Petco Stadium

That evening we enjoyed dinner out in the gaslamp district and some warm cocktails on our hotel’s rooftop bar (which overlooked Petco stadium!).

Breakfast

The next morning we had breakfast at Richard Walker’s Pancake house. My mom ordered their famous German Pancake and we all GASPED when we saw the waiter carrying it over to the table. We couldn’t believe the size of it! I ordered a Mediterranean omelet with a side of buckwheat pancakes – YUM! Just like my mom’s meal, the portions they served me were massive. I wasn’t complaining because it was great fuel for our busy day ahead.

Balboa Park

We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon walking around Balboa Park. It was supposed to rain, but luckily for us it held off the entire time we were outside!

Like LA, San Diego seems to be incredibly dog-friendly and you guys know I am all about that! I got so excited when I saw a large group of Greyhounds walking together through the park. Travis had his rescue greyhound, Tad, with him in college and I quickly learned to love this special breed. The owners walking the Greyhounds said that they meet up weekly because Greyhounds, in particular, love to be with their own kind.

Balboa Park

We also came across a tiny yorkie mix named Ridley, who reminded us SO MUCH of my parents’ yorkie-poo Diesel.  We stayed and pet him for a few minutes – I couldn’t get over how sweet he was.

Ridley

How beautiful is Balboa Park? We saw one couple getting their wedding photos taken by this pond. It was such a peaceful setting. If I lived in San Diego, I know I would spend a lot of time here.

Balboa Park

After Balboa park, we stopped to check out the famous “Unconditional Surrender” statue at the port.

StatueUnconditional Surrender Statue

Just so you get a sense of how large this statue is, I am as tall as the nurse’s shoe!

Hotel Del Coronado

Our Saturday afternoon ended at the famous Hotel del Coronado. When the hotel opened in 1888, it was the largest resort in the world! I couldn’t believe how beautifully restored this old hotel was – the grounds were immaculate and the decor was modern, but you could still feel the old charm.

Hotel Del Coronado

We enjoyed a late lunch together overlooking the hotel grounds and ocean. I ordered a roasted turkey sandwich with homemade white BBQ sauce on delicious brown bread. After all of the days activities, I didn’t even realize how hungry I was. I devoured everything on my plate in no time.

San Diego Beach

When the sun began to set, it was time for me to head back to LA on the train. My parents were catching a red-eye back to Boston that night as well. I was sad to leave them but thrilled that we got to spend a good 24 hours together while we were on the same coast! Unfortunately for them, my parents were heading home to even more snow in Boston! Eek.

 

Eats Lately Life Lately Travel

Holiday Recap in Numbers

1 Stop at a vista point on our little road trip to Santa Barbara.

Vista Point

Vista Point

6 Failed car selfie attempts to get all three of us in the shot.

Selfie Attempts

7 Wineries and tasting rooms visited in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez.

Pali Wine Tasting

Les Marchands

 Unlimited amounts of beauty in Malibu during our drive back to Santa Monica on Christmas day.

 Malibu

Malibu

 2 Fortune cookies opened on Christmas Day. (Why are these never accurate?)

Fortune Cookie

1/2 of a Pastrami sandwich on rye consumed by me at the famous Langer’s deli in Downtown Los Angeles. We’d been meaning to check it out for over a year now and we finally got around to it on Saturday. It definitely lived up to the hype.

Langer's

Langer's

P.S. Mom, your Matzoh ball soup is better…but you probably knew that already!

Langer's

(Approximately) 27 Licks given to us from our first ever foster dog, Wally (also known as Killian on the blog). After our lunch at Langer’s we swung over to see him because it had been almost a year since our last visit!

Wally

We’ve been so lucky that we are able to remain part of his life! His mom sends us lots of photo updates and if you love cute doggie pics, I highly recommend you follow his Instagram account. Even though we now have a dog of our own, I will always have such a strong attachment to this little fluff ball.

Please note the hilarious Christmas onesie he is sporting – it is from Target and it comes with legs and all!

Wally and godparents

48 Degrees in both Santa Monica and Newton (home) on Sunday morning. Initially I thought there was something wrong with my iphone app, because this never happens.

Temperature

1 Beautiful sunset walk overlooking the Pacific ocean with Travis and Bessie on Sunday evening – a very special way to end a wonderful holiday week.

Sunset

Travel

Vacation in Boston

Hi friends!

The past two weeks I have been home with my family in Boston. I had some time before starting my new job, so I was able to spend a few weeks at home relaxing. I haven’t been home for that amount of time in over two years, so I felt very grateful for the time to relax and catch up with lots of family and friends!

Now that I am back, I am finally catching up on my blog. I decided to take a good detox from social media while I was home, so I could truly embrace every second there. Here are a few pictures from my time in Boston (and Maine) to catch you up:

Recipe Book 1

Recipe Book 2

My mom found this “resepy” book I must have made when I was in preschool. The recipe I chose to include was homemade peanut butter, so clearly nothing has changed.

School Book

The same thing goes for this journal entry I wrote for class when I was in first grade. Guess I’ve always been a good Jewish girl!

Dunkin Donuts

I always know I am home when I see glorious Dunkin’ Donuts everywhere. Dunkin’ is expanding to the west coast and they are opening a new location only a few blocks away from me in LA this month! Wahoooooo!

Farmer's Market

My dad and I took a trip to the farmer’s market in Kennebunk, Maine. Everything was so colorful and fresh. We brought home two big bags of fresh produce to cook with. There is something about farmer’s markets that makes me so darn happy.

Dinner by Dad

My dad turned some of what we purchased into a few delicious meals. It was such a treat to be cooked for and occasionally just play sous-chef.

Rococo Ice Cream

My family stopped at Rococo Ice Cream in Dock Square, Kennebunkport. We heard it was one of top ten ice cream shops in the country, so we had to try it!

Rococo Ice Cream

They had unique flavors such as “Smokey Blueberry,” “Molasses Ginger Snap,” “Strawberry Basil,” and “Speculoos Pretzel” (shown in the cone above). If there hadn’t been a long line behind us, I would have asked to sample every flavor. Everything I tried was outstanding and I can definitely see why it was voted one of the best in the country. If you find yourself in Kennebunkport, Maine you must stop here!

Taza Chocolate Factory

On one of my last days at home, I took a tour of Taza Chocolate Factory in Somerville, MA with my friend Amanda. My mom found a deal for 2 tickets for only $8 and after reading raving Yelp reviews boasting unlimited chocolate samples, I knew I had to do it.

Taza Chocolate Factory

Amanda (who is such a sport for allowing me to take a picture of her in our required hair nets) and I took the hour-long tour and learned all about how Taza chocolate is made. Taza is stone-ground Mexican chocolate, so we were shown the stones as well as all of the various machines used throughout the chocolate-making process.

My eyes lit up when I saw our tour guide passing out samples within the first five minutes of the tour. This was my first time trying Taza chocolate, and after one bite I was hooked! Taza’s chocolate has a gritty texture that I can best compare to a crunch bar. You can see tiny crystals in the chocolate, which gives it a unique texture and taste.

Taza Chocolate Factory

Taza sells most of it’s chocolate in round disk form, which is very unusual compared to the typical American bars of chocolate. I sampled so many flavors such as coffee, salted almond, orange, cinnamon, ginger, chile, super dark, and more!

Taza Chocolate Factory

I brought home a few samples for my family to try and they loved it, too! None of us are ones to typically reach for a chocolate bar (if I am going to have chocolate, I usually prefer it in cookie or cake form), but we are all big fans now! You can find Taza at any Whole Foods across the country, but if you’re a Boston local you must check out this factory tour!

Bessie

Now I am back in LA with my favorite girl, Bessie. Travis brought her in the car to pick me up from the airport and she went NUTS when she saw (or smelled?) me. She basically hasn’t stopped wagging since. I’m just as happy to be back with her 🙂

 

I will be back later this week with a new delicious recipe! Remember to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for regular updates! You can use the easy “follow me” buttons on the right!

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Travel

Hawaii Vacation Part III (Final Recap!)

Hi guys!

I am back today with the final recap from our amazing Hawaii Vacation in Maui. We left off last time after a delicious and romantic dinner at the Ferraro’s restaurant at the Four Seasons. On Thursday Travis and I had plans to go on a zip line tour. There are lots of zip line companies in Maui, but we found that Kapalua Zip Lines had incredible reviews on Trip Advisor and it was the only course that had parallel lines so Travis and I could zip side-by-side. Neither Travis or I had ever zip lined before, so we knew were in for a treat! Kapalua Zip Lines is located in Lahaina, which was about an hour from where we were staying in Wailea. We were instructed to arrive by 8AM, so that morning we had to wake up very early in order to arrive on time. The 7-line course was AMAZING – we had the time of our lives. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to share with you because we chose not to bring a camera or phone with us for fear that it might fall while we were zip lining. Some people brought GoPro cameras, which I bet made for some awesome video footage!

I was by far the smallest person in our 10-person group, which invoked a lot of laughs throughout the tour. Some of the zip lines were LONG and the instructors on the tour (who were all hilarious and made the experience a blast!) kept joking with me that I might not make it all the way across because I was too light! They were kidding, of course, but on the longest line I actually did get nervous because I started slowing down dramatically and I thought I was going to get stranded in the middle of the zip line! NO. THANK YOU. I am pretty sure that has never actually happened to anyone, but I can be pretty gullible…

The tour lasted until about 1PM. Afterwards, Travis and I were really hungry so we decided to hang out in Lahaina for awhile and grab some food. One of the waitresses at our resort had recommended the Cool Cat for great burgers and drinks, so we decided to check it out on our way back to the hotel.

Pineapple Cocktail

I started with this delicious Pineapple-Tini. The pineapple in Hawaii is soooooo fresh, so I felt obligated to eat it any chance I could get! Our burgers were both really good, too. I was so hungry that I completely forgot to take a picture when it arrived!

Unfortunately, in the middle of our vacation I caught a very bad cold, so we kind of laid low for the rest of the week. I guess if you are going to be sick, laying by the pool in Maui isn’t really the worst place, is it? One of the final highlights of our trip was the luau we attended on our last night. After hearing many family and friends recommend that we attend a luau close to our resort (because all luaus are buffet and open bar, so you mind as well enjoy it!) we decided to reserve seats at the luau at the Marriott because it was walking distance from our hotel.

Maui Luau

Around 4PM on Friday we walked the path along the ocean between our hotel, the Andaz, and the Marriott. When we arrived we were greeted with beautiful leis and got our picture taken in front of the ocean.

Maui Luau

It was VERY hot out, so Travis and I decided to hang out in the shade as we waited for the show to start. About an hour later the buffet opened up, so we walked over to get in line.

Maui Luau

To be perfectly honest, the food at the buffet was not so great. I read a few negative reviews beforehand that mentioned that food was poor, so I knew not to go into it with high expectations. I didn’t really care because I was more there to see the show and just enjoy the overall experience. This was my first luau, so I just wanted to soak it all in!

Once most people had their food, the show began to start. The outfits and dancing were both beautiful.

Maui Luau

Yet again, I couldn’t get over the amazing colors in the sky as the sun began to set over the performance. I loved how the women’s dresses matched the gorgeous pink sunset behind them in the picture below.

Maui Luau

The fire show at the end was also very impressive. As someone who is pretty much scared of lighting a match, I was in awe of how this performer was able to manipulate these giant torches.

Maui Luau

Maui Luau

I am so glad I got to experience an authentic Hawaiian luau! I know it is something I will remember for a long time.

On our final day in Maui, I was so congested and sick that I basically didn’t want to move. I felt terrible because Travis really wanted to drive the Road the Hana, the full day road trip that takes you on a narrow winding road to the beautiful town of Hana, but I just couldn’t imagine being stuck in the car all day with that awful cold. Instead we decided to have a slow morning around the hotel. Once it was time to check out, we packed up our bags and sadly said goodbye to our amazing room and staff at the Andaz. I didn’t want to leave!

Since we had a few hours to kill before our redeye flight back to LA, I told Travis we should do a little bit of the drive to Hana just to see what it was all about. We had already said multiple times during our trip that we had to go back to Maui soon because there was so much more we wanted to see, do, and eat! The first stop on the Road to Hana is the Twin Falls Farmstand, which we read had delicious smoothies and banana bread.

Road to Hana

IMG_4786

Travis and I waited in line and scoped out the menu. While the majority of people around us were ordering smoothies and coconuts to sip on, we opted for the banana bread. It was the perfect mid-afternoon snack.

Road to Hana

We walked around for a little bit and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, but we headed back to our car before too long because there were signs everywhere warning us about car break-ins. Since we had ALL of our luggage and belongings in the car, we wanted to be extra cautious!

Road to Hana

We continued for a few more miles on the Road to Hana, but eventually had to turn around because we wanted to grab a bite to eat before our flight. I read that Flatbread Company in Paia had some seriously delicious pizza, so thought it would be a perfect pre-flight meal.

Flatbreads, Paia

We actually had three hours before our flight, so we told our waiter we were in no rush and would probably be there for awhile. All of the staff at Flatbread Company were so chill (think surfer-dude level chill), so our waiter definitely didn’t care that we just wanted to hang.

Flatbread Company, PaiaI have to admit that my taste buds weren’t exactly on point that day, but everything we ate really hit the spot. We started with their Organic Salad which was served with a Maui Pineapple Vinaigrette. Flatbread Company actually has locations all across the country, but every location serves food based on what is local to that particular location – I love that!

Flatbread Company, Paia

For our flatbread, we ordered half Margherita and half Punctuated Equilibrium, which had kalamata olives, goat cheese and other fresh veggies. They made a mistake and made the flatbread half cheese instead of the Punctuated Equilibrium, so they said they were going to bring out another WHOLE pizza for us in a few minutes. All of a sudden we had so much pizza on our table and we didn’t know how we were going to eat all of it! We even offered a few slices to our waiter, but he turned us down (admittedly, he probably can’t eat on the job).

IMG_4813

IMG_4817

Everything we ate was SOOO yummy and I was in carb heaven. Before we knew it, it was time to pay our check and head to the airport. Luckily, the airport was only 10 minutes away from the Flatbread Company and since the Maui airport is tiny, we were through security in a matter of minutes. We decided to grab a drink at the airport bar, hoping it would knock us out on our flight home.

Our waitress was a little….kooky….and she kept telling me I looked waaaaay too young to be over 21 even after she checked my ID. Every time she passed our table she made a comment about it. Usually this is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. I am small. I look young. I get it. Now bring me my glass of wine, please! But surprisingly it didn’t bother me this time because I was on vacation mode!  Travis and I just kept laughing about it all the way until we boarded our plane.

Sunset, Maui

I was so, so, so sad to leave Hawaii. It is a magical place and I hope I get to go back soon and experience it all over again! I hope you liked my vacation recaps. I will be back to posting recipes soon! Aloha!

Travel

Hawaii Vacation Part II

Hi guys! I am back today with Part II of our Hawaii Vacation recap. I was hoping to have this post up at the end of last week, but unfortunately my blog was hacked 🙁 I apologize if you were trying to access this site last Thursday or Friday – it was down for maintenance in order to fix the mess caused by a not-so-nice web hacker. Nevertheless, we are back up and running now!

We left off last time at the end of our first day of vacation. The next morning, Travis and I decided we wanted to spend the day just hanging around the hotel and relaxing. We woke up bright and early (due to the time difference) and decided to head straight to the beach. After about only 10 minutes of laying on our respective beach chairs, we were both getting a little antsy. There were lots of people paddle boarding, swimming and kayaking, so we decided to rent a 2-person kayak and hit the waves. Having been a coxswain (the little  person who steers the boat and commands a crew) in high-school and college, I put myself in charge of steering us and mainly relied on Travis for his strength to move us through the big waves. We had a blast and went pretty far out into the ocean. We even saw a GIANT sea turtle, which was the highlight of the day! In fact, we rented a kayak two days later just to see if we could find him again.

After a pretty serious workout on the water, we were getting hungry, so we hopped into our rental car and headed to a nearby spot for lunch. While I was researching before our trip, I found Coconuts Fish Cafe on Yelp. They have very high ratings and are known for their delicious fish tacos.

Fish Tacos

We ordered the fish tacos and coconut shrimp to share.  After my first bite, I knew immediately why this place had such rave reviews. Everything tasted so fresh and the flavors were out of this world! Check out that incredible mango salsa in the picture above!

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

The coconut shrimp came with a delicious sweet dipping sauce. I wish I had asked for the recipe because I would love to recreate it at home. We ordered the perfect amount of food because neither of us felt too stuffed and we were more than ready to hit the waves again after lunch.

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the beach and pool.  That night we had an early dinner reservation at Ferraro’s at the Four Seasons resort nearby. I read online that on top of it’s delicious Italian food, Ferraro’s had the best sunset views and it was considered a very romantic dinner spot. I knew it was a must-do for us!

Travis and Rachel Dinner

I booked a 5:30PM dinner reservation to ensure we would already be seated by the time the sun began to set. Our hotel, the Andaz, had a complimentary courtesy car that will drive you anywhere within a mile or two of the resort. It was a great amenity that we used multiple times during our trip. It is very helpful if you plan to have a few drinks with dinner so you don’t have to worry about driving afterward.

That night we had the courtesy car drop us off at the Four Seasons. The main entrance and lobby area was so grand – the klutz in me was nervous I was going to trip and break something! We walked down the stairs and through the pool area to the Ferraro’s entrance. We were actually the first to arrive for dinner that evening, which was strange for us. We are not used to being such early birds!

Ferraro's Four Seasons

I am so glad we came early, though, because we got the BEST seat in the restaurant with a perfect view of the ocean and the gorgeous Maui skies.

Ferraro's Four Seasons

The service was amazing at Ferraro’s. Our meal started with warm hand towels. The waiter poured warm water on these tiny towels and we watched them expand before our eyes. So cool!

Ferraro's Four Seasons

To start, I ordered wine and Travis had a beer.

Rachel Ferraro's

Travis Ferraro's

We browsed the menu for so long because everything looked delicious! We decided to order a few plates to share. We asked the waiter to bring our dishes out slowly so we could maximize our time enjoying the sunset. He did a great job and we ended up sitting at the restaurant for a little over two hours.

To start we had the Maui tomato and burrata salad. Whenever we see burrata on a menu, we have to order it. We can’t get enough!

Ferraro's Four Seasons

Next we had the bruschetta trio: roasted red pepper, kalamata olive, and Maui tomato all on buttery grilled ciabatta. I would have happily ordered another round of these if we didn’t have our entree on its way!

Bruschetta Trio

As we dug into our bruschetta appetizer, the sun began to set. It was simply stunning!

Sunset Ferraro's

For our final course we had whole wheat pasta with a braised lamb sauce. This was my favorite item of the night! The fresh pasta melted in my mouth and I never wanted it to end.

Pasta with lamb - Ferraro's

By the time we finished our meal, the sky looked magnificent with hundreds of shades of pinks and purples.

Sunset Ferraro's

After our meal we decided to walk around the Four Seasons for a bit before calling the Andaz’s courtesy car to pick us up. We were so happy and just in vacation dream land (OK, maybe that was the wine I was feeling…) It felt so nice not to be in any rush to go anywhere. Best yet? We had a car that would come pick us up as soon as we called! Now that is the life…

Four Seasons Maui

Part III of my Hawai recap to come!

Travel

Hawaii Vacation Part I

We had the most incredible Hawaii vacation and I am so excited to share it with you guys!

Hawaii

We set off bright and early on Monday morning. I was hoping to sleep on the plane, but I was so darn excited that it was impossible. After a five and a half hour flight I was more than ready to get off the plane. I was very pleased when I realized the Maui airport is actually quite small because I was able to get my checked back in under five minutes from stepping of the plane! I am pretty sure that is record for me.

Before we knew it, we were in our rental car on the way to our hotel!

Hawaii

It was fairly cloudy out by the time we landed, but I still thought the scenery was beautiful.

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Travis and I did a ton of research before our trip. Hawaii has always been on the top of my list of vacation destinations, but I’ve always been put off by the steep prices on all the islands. A few months ago we saw a hotel and flight deal for the Andaz at Wailea, a new beautiful hotel, we knew we couldn’t pass it up. The Andaz opened last September and all of the reviews we read raved about the beautiful property and impeccable service. We spent so much time researching because we wanted to prioritize what we were going to spend our money on.

When we pulled up to the Andaz entrance, we were greeted by friendly valets who took our car and bags and handed us each a beautiful lei. I received the tuberose lei and they gave Travis the traditional Kukui nut lei. Unfortunately, I forgot to take close-up pictures of them! When we entered the lobby, we were met by one of the lovely staff members, who sat us down on a large couch overlooking the pools and checked-in on an ipad (I think that was a first for me!). They also gave us warm hand towels and fresh lavender lemonade – I felt like royalty!

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Next, we were taken to our room and I loved how bright and beachy it was! The room looked out onto the property’s gardens and we had our own private balcony where I sat every morning to enjoy my coffee and read.

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After we dropped our bags in the room, we were more than ready for some lunch, so we set out to explore the hotel and find something to eat.

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You can almost see our leis in the above picture.  Please note Travis’ “I am so excited to eat” dance!

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We decided to stop at Bumbye Beach Bar, which was next to one of the hotel pools. I ordered a glass of pinot grigio and Travis ordered a local Maui beer to kick off our vacation. For lunch we ordered the chicken “popsicles” and a grilled chicken kale salad to share.

IMG_1586Some hotel food can be overpriced and lack imagination, but everything we ordered so fresh was delicious! I knew that was a good sign that the rest of the food throughout the hotel would be delicious as well.

After lunch we decided to take a stroll on the beach. The wind and waves were crazy, so there was barely anyone left laying out by the ocean.

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After our walk, we went back to the room to rest for awhile until dinner. We had reservations at Ka’ana Kitchen, a farm-to-table restaurant at the Andaz. Before dinner, we freshened up and went downstairs to grab a cocktail and watch the live entertainment they have by one of the pools every evening. The performer sounded so much like Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, a Hawaiian singer whose music I’ve always loved. It felt so peaceful listening to him as we enjoyed our drinks.

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Our meal at Ka’ana Kitchen was incredible. I was enjoying it so much that I forgot to snap some photos. I did, however, make sure to capture the gorgeous sunset we watched during our meal. Look at these colors! I took pictures of the sunsets every night during our vacation because I just thought each night was more beautiful than the one before it.

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After dinner, we were wiped from a long day of travel and the three hour time difference, so we passed out pretty early. I was so eager to wake up for our first full day on the island!

Hawaii Part II recap to come later this week…

 

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Travel

Healthy Travel Snacks

We are off to beautiful Hawaii! I can’t believe this trip is finally here! photo

We have a long flight ahead of us, so I knew I had to pack lots of snacks to hold us over until we land in Maui. This girl can’t handle being cooped up on a plane with a hungry belly…and let’s be honest — plane and airport food usually suck, so I prefer to always be prepared with snacks I love to eat.

 

What I packed:

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Blue Diamond Raw Almonds

Banana and Justin’s Maple Almond ButterJustin (whoever you are), you have my heart. Your almond butter tastes like heaven. I love these little squeeze packs for traveling!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Zing Bars – We’ve loved these bars ever since we sampled them at Whole Foods a few years ago. The are Gluten-Free, Vegan, Non GMO, and they taste DELICIOUS. They also have 4g of fiber and 10g of protein! They aren’t the cheapest, but luckily they were on sale this week, so I snagged a few for our trip.

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein Kind Bars – noticing a trend here? Think someone is a little too obsessed with nut butters?

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I prepped my Overnight Oats in an almost-empty Justin’s Almond Butter jar to eat on the way to the airport. I threw in a handful of frozen blueberries that should thaw by the time I eat this in the morning. This is a perfect meal to pack on-the-go because I can just throw away the jar and the plastic spoon once I am done. Hopefully this protein and fiber packed breakfast will hold me over for a few hours, but even if it doesn’t, I know I am prepared.

Posts will be limited while I am away, but I will have lots of updates when I return! Aloha!