Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

Here are some non-food-related pictures from my time in Austin, Texas. Specifically when my girl Stacy took me on a tour. There were cows everywhere. Not real ones, fake ones with different themes. I feel like we had these in Birmingham, MI one time but in Austin they stepped up just a notch.

Like this one, which was a chia pet:


Stacy also took me to the Driskoll Hotel which was pretty cool. It’s very old-style, there may be no better way to describe it then when Stacy says it reminds her of The Titanic. Well maybe except for this:

A cow chair! For my apartment! YES! Ok, maybe not. But a cow chair!

Also inside the Driskoll hotel bar… can we say Texas?

There is COW HIDE on the back of the chairs. Yes, there is.

Then we took a walk outside:

One of the mottos of Austin I guess is “Keep Austin weird.” Not sure if that’s 100% the word I’d use to describe it, but yes I think they should.

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So… food trucks are one thing, but food trailers are another. And that’s what Austin’s got. They are cool and my next time in Austin I will eat at every single one.

Another thing you need to know: I was once a designer at The State News, the award-winning (had to throw that in there, we were SERIOUS) student paper and for Valentine’s Day each designer created their own Valentine people could print out of the paper. And mine was a cupcake and above it said, “Hey, cupcake.” I made all my friends guess which one I made and all my friends guessed which one was me.

ANYWAY my Dad surprised me in knowing all cool things Texas and said we were going for a “treat” after our lunch. SOLD. So we went to Hey, Cucake and I got a classic cupcake – vanilla with chocolate frosting. My, my.

I should probably be embarrassed by the amount of cupcakes I have tried over my life but I will tell you that this one was one of the best. Perfect cake, nice and moist, and perfect frosting. Hey, cupcake, I kind of love you.

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And now we go to Austin! When I went to Texas to hang out with my dad, we drove ALL over the state and ended up in Austin before finally heading to Dallas for a little Detroit Lions football (WHAT). And my dad wanted to impress me by knowing all the cool places to be. And he did. Which brings me to Jo’s coffee, very popular on South Congress, aka a really cool street. Get ye to Austin, it’s kind of unbelievable. Also, pretty much everyone there has tattoos. So if I ever worry about what I’ll look like in 30 years with these tattoos, I should figure out where all these people moved to so I can blend in with the crowd.

Now, back to Jo’s. We were hungry so we got some sandwiches:

My padre got a pretty nice-looking smoked turkey sandwich and I got the Jo’s deli sandwich with hard salami, cappacola, AND smoked turkey on it.

And, obviously. I got an iced mocha as well. This was actually my only iced moca on the entire five-day trip and I think I deserve some sort of award for that. Maybe my award was that it was very good:

Well hello there, beautiful.

And the other best thing about Jo’s is their iconic “I love you so much” painted on the side of their wall. Which, by the way, I didn’t even realize until my Austin friend Stacy pointed it out later and we got this shot:

Anyway, it’s kinda true. Austin, I can’t say that I love you *so much* because that’s saved for my home, but I can say I kind of love you, because yes I do.

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My first meal in Texas was barbecue. At a gas station. Yes, yes. My dad took me to Rudy’s BBQ and I ended up eating there three times over the five days. Twice were for breakfast – build your own breakfast tacos; I did egg, potato, and brisket. SO GOOD. And the first time was for dinner.

A pulled pork sandie:

It was so good I didn’t even need to add barbecue sauce. Also, everyone at Rudy’s was so nice – another reason we kept coming back. I did not mind being chatted up at 8 a.m. while I was waiting for my breakfast taco(s). And they played good country music and they had ESPN on the TVs and there were a billion long tables with checkered table cloths:

AND they have a “country store” inside. Cause it’s also an actual gas station. THIS PLACE IS AWESOME.

My only question… Rudy’s… why you not tweet me back?! I declared my love for them a few times over twitter and they did not respond. Boo.  I still love them anyway I guess since the food is so good (and cheap, btw – I gotta get me out of New York. Ok not really. At least not today.)

(PS Rudy’s you can still tweet at me now!)

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It’s true. And here is me at the Battle of  San Jacinto monument, which happens to be the tallest monument in the US (taller than the Washington Monument!). I went to the top of it and I watched a 30 minute video on the battle, as well. You betcha. Also, there was a woman working the elevator, sitting on a chair reading a book and sometimes pressing buttons between the lobby floor and the lookout floor and we learned she had been working the elevator for 14 years. FOURTEEN YEARS IN AN ELEVATOR. No, thank you.

We also visited Battleship Texas:

This was pretty cool. I’m not sure if I’ve ever explored a ship before but basically there was NOBODY on it except for us and like one other person and you got free reign to walk around it, climb up a few levels and also go downstairs. It was cool-i-o.

And look at these guns:

I love this picture of my dad. So yeah, like I said. This was sweet. I obviously have some food posts coming up but I just wanted to use this post to tell you… I went to Texas.

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I don’t often speak highly of Chicago, mostly because it’s no New York. But – I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Chicago can be a pretty cool town. Maybe it’s because on this particular trip I did zero things touristy (no Bean, no Museums, no Millenium Mile or whatever) or maybe it was because I was with two of my best friends, but I really enjoyed being there.

I saw some great things and thought to myself that maybe Chicago is not the WORST after all. If you’ve never visited Chicago, it’s time you should. The following posts will hopefully convince you.

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Sharing is caring! And so it was, that I was lucky enough to spend my birthday in Negril, Jamaica, and my birthday dinner at Rockhouse.

One thing cool about many restaurants/hotels in Jamaica is that they will hire a cab or have their own car service bring you there for free. Can you IMAGINE if that were the case in Manhattan? So that was awesome. We took advantage and went to Rockhouse for my birthday dinner. It was raining on and off so unfortunately we weren’t able to sit outside but everything else was perfect.

Say hello to the seafood platter that I split with Nora (after some appetizers, of course!) It included lobster, coconut shrimp, and blackened mahi mahi. Sidenote – I hate when restaurants use the word “platter.” It sounds so unrefined to be like, “Yes, may I please have the seafood PLATTER?” Just gross. But name aside, my seafood combination was fantastic. I’m glad I was able to have some good lobster in Jamaica, since, I don’t know, they catch it right there on the beach, and the mahi mahi was fantabulous as well.

This was Kayti’s rock pot: broth with fresh seafood. But as you can see I’m focusing on the bread. That bread! So think and soft and can you just IMAGINE having it for french toast? So the bread was fabulous for dipping. Oh, somehow I did not get a picture of Andrea’s plate, but she had the snapper, which was a huge thing because Andrea is a strict vegetarian! I appreciated her trying some seafood since we were in JAMAICA and because initially I thought her being a vegetarian might be a bit of a “thing” in Jamaica and she wouldn’t have many options at meals. Well, it turned out to be no big deal at all and she turned out to eat seafood one time, which was fun.

Did I mention this was for my birthday? They sang for me, which was awesome. And us girlies split two desserts and they put a candle in mine.

This dessert was billed to us as “chocolate pudding” but “chocolate pudding” it was not! It was like pudding brownie or something and it was GREAT. ORDER THIS.

And also order this:

Have you ever had coconut creme brulee? Probably not. I am neither a coconut nor creme brulee person but it was pretty fab and my girls who are both coconut and creme brulee basically thought it was the best thing ever. So check it out.

And here’s a semi-blurry picture of us ladies standing by the water:

Uh okay, I meant *really* blurry.

Also, if you’re wondering what Rockhouse looks like during the day:

Uh, yeah. I realize this post is extremely photo-heavy, but this was Jamaica, dang it. So basically Rockhouse is beautiful since it’s on the cliffs. We actually considered staying here and I’m glad we didn’t, just because it seems like much more of a romantic getaway kind of place instead of a four girls want to hang at the beach kind of place. But I am glad we chose Rockhouse for my birthday dinner and I’m glad we went back to see it during the day.

And if I haven’t sold you on Jamaica yet as a destination, I’ve still got two more posts. ;)

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Sooo one thing I have never done as a tourist in NYC is visit the Statue of Liberty. And I have done many touristy things. When they opened up the crown to the public again, I had to do it. You have to get tickets months ahead of time because they only allow a certain number of people into the crown every day so it’s the first thing I checked when Miss Michelle booked her tickets here.

When we first walked up to go through security (for the second time) to go through the crown, we showed the guy our tickets and he goes, “You have crown tickets!” It felt like we had golden tickets to the Willy Wonka chocolate factory. Except not. We did have tickets that allowed us to climb a bajillion narrow stars though. That was crazy! They were twisted so hard I was literally leaning against the stairs while walking up then. A little freaky deaky. But as you can see from the above photo, we made it. And the crown is tiny! There’s room for maybe six people to stand up there at a time. And you can hear the wind blowing all around and look outside and see the bottom of the torch to your right and it’s just crazy crazy! Also, the stairs on the way down – scarier! I kept thinking I was going to slip!

The best thing though, was going in the winter. A great idea. Especially because this particular day was a clear day but even more especially because it felt like there was barely anyone there on the island! We had so much room to take pictures and walk around on all the different levels outside and there was like NOBODY there. So that was awesome. We were very glad we did this. Maybe one day I’ll go to Ellis Island too, but we had a lunch date we couldn’t miss so we may be saving that for next time.

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Goodbye, Prague! So… four our last dinner we wanted something delicious and goood so a fellow traveler in our hostel suggested Kavarna Slavia. So thank you, strange traveling man! We called him “O.G.” for “Old Guy.” He didn’t know that though.

So Kavarna Slavia was the isssh. It was cute and there was an old man playing piano in a suit and the food was AMAZING! Say hello to my mushroom goulash!

Does that look gross? I don’t care! It was amazing! But Nora’s dish was actually the best. EVA!

She had farm-stewed chicken with paprika sauce, gnocchi, sour cream and lemon. Oh MA Goodness. We all tried it and we all agreed it was the best. So if you go, get this. Man I wish I was there right now.

Here is Nora about to go to town:

Get it, girl.

And here is when I talk about desserts again. They had a whole ice cream menu with crazy sundaes but D said it was stupid for me to get a sundae so we went for the more traditional Czech desserts instead: pancakes.

D’s was just okay. Mine had ice cream on it. I would have rather had ice cream by itself. But oh wellie! I love Kavarna Slavia. I love Prague, too.

We took a stroll over the Charles Bridge one last time.

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I am sorry for being so ridiculous to STILL be posting pictures from my latest trip to Europe. Already feels like ages ago but after this post, there is one goody left (a delicious one, at that) and then it is back to the normal City Mitten. But what can I say? Traveling is too fun. But seriously this already feels like it was ages ago. Guess I should look at some more flights (oh wait, I spent all my money…)

Btw, I was the Map Girl in Prague. Basically I think I’ve got a pretty good sense of direction these days. Also you should know that being the Map Girl translates into D calling you “bossy” because you’re always, duh, telling everybody where to go. It’s true, I like to make decisions and some people (not mentioning names, of course) never made suggestions and never “knew what there was to do” so I laid out the options and we picked. So that’s what’s up. And I’m not going to lie, every time he called me bossy (because he knew it was making me mad) a certain Lindsay Lohan jam came to mind and I went with it. I like Lindsay Lohan.

Moving on…

And this is the “Dancing House” by Frank Gehry. My little sister’s favorite building… which is also a segway to the fact that it was my big sister’s birthday yesterday. Happy Birthday, Emily!

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