Edible Excursions: Ferry Building Food Tour

When traveling to San Francisco, always come hungry. If you need help figuring what to eat, join a food tour, like Edible Excursions, and discover what the local food scene is all about. 
 


We ate our way through the Ferry Building down by the waterfront. This place is perfect for foodies who want to explore numerous food options. In 1898, the Ferry Building opened as a hub for ferry transportation. When the need for ferries became obsolete, it turned into office space and then into a magical marketplace. Located next to the financial district, the Ferry Building is very easy to get to. This is one of the top places I recommend to all my friends who want to visit San Francisco. It’s spaced out, with lots of room to walk. The building has natural lighting as well, perfect for food photos! When we arrived there was a huge Farmer’s Market going on as well, with vendors selling fresh lavender, sweet fruit, divine olive oils, and more. It seemed like there was an infinite amount of tents and things to try. The Ferry Building offers top quality shops and artisan producers, you’ll see very quickly which shops form the longest line. You’ll know their stuff is good! 


 
The Food Tour

Andy and I were so excited to start our San Francisco trip with a food tour. We’ve visited the Ferry Building before, but only tried one of the sit-down restaurants. Now was our chance learn more about what was offered in the marketplace. Our tour met at the front entrance of the building. We found our guide, Joshua, who was holding an Edible Excursions sign and two baguettes! Here are all 10 vendors we stopped at. 
 


1. Frog Hollow Farm - Here we got a delicious full-sized apricot and cherry tart! They bake with the freshest fruit (they had a produce tent right outside for the farmer’s market) and the crust was flaky and so yummy. They were warmed up to perfection, a great way to start the tour.
 


2. Prather Ranch Meat Co - Joshua told us that this was his favorite chili, and no one can top it. We got a small cup of chili, with sour cream and cheese. It had the perfect amount of heat and top quality meat. Their meat is local, sustainable, and raised ethically so you can definitely taste the difference.


3. Recchiuti Confections - Here we tried a Fleur de sel chocolate piece. This is made of chocolate, sea salt, and caramel, all good reasons to spoil yourself. If you want something sweet and heavenly just in one bite, try some of the amazing handcrafted chocolate here. 
 


4. Boccalone - Two words: meat cone. Yes, a paper cone stuffed with three types of salty smoked meat. It was presented so beautifully like a flower, I had to get a photo before eating it. Boccalone cold cures, meaning they use colder air during the drying process. They also use less salt. So their process takes time, but you can taste the difference.
 


5. Acme Bread - Finally we get to try the baguettes that Josh was holding throughout the whole tour. The bread was made to pull apart easily and pairs perfectly with some good cheese and wine. 
 


6. Cowgirl Creamery - While tasting our bread, we paired it with award -winning cheese from Cowgirl Creamery right next door. The first one we tried was called Mt. Tam, their most popular cheese. It’s made with Straus Family organic milk, this tasted so creamy and buttery! The second one we tried was Red Hawk, a more pungent cheese with a smooth taste. 
 


7. Miette Patisserie - There was a birthday girl on the tour, so Joshua surprised her with a cupcake from Miette Patisserie, such a cute little gift. Here we got to try a strawberry macaron with buttercream filling, so soft and perfect! They also sell a variety of sweets and cakes.
 


8. Dandelion Chocolates - Here we got to sample three different types of chocolate. Joshua had us do a blind taste test and guess the amount of cocoa and what the tasting hints were. We all pretty much failed at guessing, but it was interesting to know that it was all the same percentage. With tasting notes of fruits, tart yogurt, peaches and cream, brownies and toasted nuts, there’s something for every type of palette.
 


9. Out the Door - Super fresh Vietnamese food here! We sampled some shrimp spring rolls and dipped it into creamy peanut sauce. Don’t be afraid of the sauce, be generous and just slather it on! One of my favorite stops on the tour! 
 


10. Humphry Slocombe - Of course we saved the best for last. ICE CREAM! Now, this ice cream stand is a little different, here they serve ice cream for adults! We got to sample all the flavors and then choose one scoop to enjoy. My favorites were the Secret Breakfast (bourbon + cereal) and Beer Goggles (tasted like a Guinness Float). They also had Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee flavor which was high on my list as well! If I could eat them all I could, they were all so good, it was hard to choose my scoop.


I love marketplaces because of the variety of food and drinks. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you can enjoy it here right on the bay. We tasted food from 10 amazing vendors of the Ferry Building and my stomach had never been happier. Joshua was the perfect tour guide. He helped us become SF foodies through storytelling and experiences. Being a chef, his passion definitely shined through while he was conducting the tour and that’s one of the best parts of a food tour, having an amazing guide. Overall, we had a great time and now we know so much more about San Francisco culture, history, and food! Till next time Ferry Building. 
 
Thank you Edible Excursions for having us! Please check them out if you’re planning a trip to San Francisco, you won’t be disappointed. 
 

Sunsuri Phuket // Thailand Resort

After an hour long, 1000 baht taxi ride, we finally made it to Rawai, the southern tip of Phuket, Thailand. On this part of the island, it’s not too crowded, the beaches are pristine and quiet. To our right was a calm lake, and to our left was Nai Harn Beach, which we couldn’t wait to enjoy. We finally saw the entrance sign to our resort, Sunsuri Phuket, and then got dropped off at the lobby. Check in was a breeze, and we were welcomed with complimentary drinks, fruit skewers and some cool towels (it was the hottest in Phuket during our trip). Sunsuri Phuket is the definition of a luxury getaway; if you find yourself trying to plan a Thailand vacation take a chance and drive that extra mile. You’ll find yourself at one of the most incredible resorts.

Andy and I were escorted by buggy to our ocean view pool villa, all the way at the top of the hill. The accommodations are spaced far apart and it would’ve been a trek to get up to our room. Fortunately, they had a complimentary buggy service, which we used about 10 times a day. With our key in hand, we walked up the steps and opened the wooden door to our gorgeous villa. Right when we entered, there was an amazing view of the Andaman Sea and to the right was our balcony and private infinity pool. With floor to ceiling glass walls, it was the perfect place to relax and watch the sunset in our living area and then have a good night’s sleep in their comfy king sized bed. To our surprise, they set up two elegant swan towels with flowers spread around the bed (so romantic!). Then we saw the luxurious bathroom; two sinks, big mirrors, a rain shower, and of course the large bathtub that faced the view. We were in awe, and we couldn’t wait to spend the next three days in our cozy retreat.

5 Things to Experience at Sunsuri Phuket

1. Indulge in one of the many buffets

Our first night there we got to enjoy the Asian-inspired buffet at SAIL restaurant. For foodies, it’s basically heaven. There were so many options to taste. My pro tip for going to a buffet is to just take a little bit of each so you have room to try everything! My favorite part was the dessert selection! They had various types of Thai desserts in little bowls and cups. I wish I didn’t get full so I could eat more of those. For breakfast, we had another buffet at SIP, where they made special order eggs and had a yummy selection of juices like pineapple and lychee. We peeked downstairs back at SAIL and they had unlimited Thai Tea! That same day, we came back for dinner, which was, of course, another buffet. After eating a lot of street food, this meal felt so glorious. They had the best Pad See Ewe and they even had a fried banana dessert, which you could pair with ice cream and sweet syrups.

2. Lose track of time at the pool

Set in the middle of the property, there are 4 pools you can enjoy. There are so many things to do while you’re at the pool. Right off the bat, we got to experience water boxing, where you hold your balance while trying to knock down your opponent. If you lose your balance or get hit, down you go into the pool! We used our Muay Thai skills we learned earlier in the day, and I was able to knock Andy off! After that, we ordered some refreshing cocktails to enjoy poolside. I think I spent about an hour just lounging on my new pineapple floatie, pure bliss. For those thrill seekers, they also have a water slide and a diving platform! I faced my fears and jumped off a few times, it was exhilarating! We spent a good 3 and half hours at all the pools, and then realized since that wasn’t enough, it was time to enjoy the sunset at our pool villa.

3. Learn how to cook a 4-course Thai meal

Andy and I are pretty much master chefs now! With the help from Chef Aroon, we both learned how to whip up four new Thai dishes. Suited in our tall chef hat and Sunsuri aprons, we began cutting vegetables and mixing ingredients together. Our first dish was Yam Ta-Lay, spicy seafood and lemon juice mixed together into a refreshing salad. Our second dish was Gaeng Jued Gai Sab, a light chicken soup with vegetables. Our third dish was Phad Kra Prow Nue, wok-fried beef with garlic, chili, and hot basil leaves. Our final dish was a Thai classic, Kluay Buad Chee, sweetened bananas in coconut milk cream. To our surprise, we just prepared a four-course meal in about 45 minutes. When everything was finished, we received a certificate of completion and got to enjoy our delicious lunch on the outside patio.

4. Relax at Nai Harn Beach

The real reason why you visit Phuket is for the beaches, right? We took a 5-minute complimentary shuttle ride to Nai Harn Beach on our last day before check out. When you get there, rent a pair of beach chairs and an umbrella for about 200 baht, you’ll need shade if you want to survive the heat! They have a strip of shops and cafés where you can find some lunch and buy some coconuts to quench your thirst. Check out Sea Breeze Café, a partner of Sunsuri. You’ll also find stores that carry every kind of floatie imaginable! I couldn’t control myself, so I bought a huge pineapple for 250 baht. After sunbathing, we took a dip in the ocean to cool off and do some swimming!

5. Take a private Muay Thai Lesson

Imagine an outdoor deck, overlooking lush greenery and lake. Then add hot weather and Muay Thai lessons, you have the perfect workout to burn all the calories you gained at the buffet! Our instructor Patt, was very informative and patient and taught us the basics of Thai boxing. He wrapped our hands and instructed how to do basic punches, kicks, and a combination of both. After that, it was time to put on the boxing gloves and give it all we got. It was the perfect setting to have a fitness class, to learn more about Thai culture while working out is a huge plus!

Our visit to Sunsuri Phuket was simply amazing. Our two-night stay flew by, but we made so many memories and made new friendships with the gracious staff. We requested late check out, that’s how much we didn’t want to leave! Thank you Fook for having us, you made Phuket a magical destination for us!

North City Hill Resort // Chiang Mai, Thailand

Nestled 20 minutes away from the bustling Chiang Mai center, there is a tranquil resort with world-class amenities waiting for you to enjoy. North Hill City Resort is one of Chiang Mai’s top luxury resorts. This brand new resort is located on a golf course and inspires you to connect with nature. Every guest that stays here is treated like a VIP. We were so excited to arrive at our sophisticated hideaway in Chaing Mai, Thailand.

DAY ONE

Upon arrival, we entered through the gate and passed through the 18-hole golf course. We were dropped off and greeted right at the front door. It was time to check in to our room, but before that, they welcomed us with a refreshing drink and chocolate mousse, the presentation was amazing! Next, one of the front desk agents got us checked in, confirmed our spa reservation and cooking class details. I was surprised when they handed us our own personal tablet (to borrow during our stay) containing all the information you needed to know about the resort. Then we were led to our deluxe room, only a short walk from the lobby. We were blown away by the modern décor and amenities.

We had only a few minutes to settle in before our spa treatment at GayaRandra Spa, only a short golf cart ride away. We got to experience a couple’s steam, scrub and oil massage, a blissful 90-minute treatment. It was the perfect way to relax after traveling all day! First, we showered to rinse off any impurities, then we entered the steam room to warm-up before our treatment. Next, we were led to the couple's room where we began our body scrub. The heavenly scent of coffee filled the air, as we were buffed with coffee scrub from head to toe. We finished off with divine oil massages, which soothed our sore muscles and let us drift into full relaxation mode.

After our spa treatment, we walked up to the Astro Sky Bar. Sitting on top of the resort building, we sipped our White Russian and Mai Tai’s and munched on some pizza while enjoying a warm Chiang Mai night.

Day Two

We woke up bright and early since we had a morning full of elephant adventures. Our pickup was at 6:30 am and North Hill Resort started serving breakfast at 6 am. We didn’t want to rush our meal, so they let us call ahead and order. Since the menu was on the tablet, we were able to scroll through and order right away. Once we got to Zest, our breakfast was served promptly and we didn’t waste any time. Breakfast is complimentary with every reservation; you can choose either a western or Thai entree. They had the best pineapple juice I’ve ever tasted, and our breakfast was complete with pastries, yogurt, coffee, and fruit. Before we got picked up for the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, they gave us delicious iced coffees for the ride.

We returned to North Hill at around 2 pm, and we were exhausted! We spent the whole morning traveling, and then we got to feed, bathe and play with elephants. It was an amazing experience, but the ride back made me super dizzy. What better way to cure a headache, than some down time at the infinity pool. We suited up and relaxed on their massive daybeds, and then took a dip. The cool water felt so good, the temperature was rising as the sun came up.

After some pool time, we showered and took a quick nap. Then we used North Hill’s complimentary shuttle to get to Chiang Mai Old Town to meet up with our new friends we met at the elephant camp! More on this later, but it was a fun night. We got a shuttle ride back and our luxurious bed never felt better. 

Day Three

Before it was time to leave this magical place, we got to experience North Hill’s Farm-to-Table cooking class. For only 2,500 baht per couple, it’s such a great deal!

North Hill has a lush vegetable farm growing right next to the resort. Our first task was a quick garden tour, where we got to harvest fresh ingredients and smell herbs right from the source. At check-in, we selected 5 dishes that we wanted to cook. Dishes were picked in advance so that the chefs can prep some of the ingredients. When we got to the leaf shaped gazebo, a colorful array of vegetables, sauces, meats and so much more were beautifully laid out on the table. 

For the next hour, Chef Kong was our private teacher, and we learned how to prep, cut, simmer and cook our way to 5-course Thai lunch! Our first dish was called Gaeng Keaw Wan Moo, a green pork curry with coconut milk, served with steamed rice. Our second dish was the famous pad thai, stir fried noodles with prawn and tamarind sauce. This tasted so much better than street food! Our third dish was Khao Phad Moo, Thai fried rice with pork. Our fourth dish, was Pad Preow Wan Gai, chicken mixed with sweet and sour sauce and colorful vegetables. Our last creation was Khao Soi, also known as Chiang Mai curry Noodles, this was my absolute fave and I couldn’t wait to dig in.

An hour passed and I couldn’t believe we created this feast! Everything was plated perfectly and we enjoyed a private lunch in the garden after we took some food photos. We were completely stuffed, there was enough food for a family of four! After we were finished we received certificates of completion and took a photo with Chef Kong. We were now ready to leave North Hill with happy tummies and lots of amazing memories. 

Now it was time to check out, and we were so sad we were leaving this wonderful resort. At check out, we received a framed photo that we took just minutes ago. Such a sweet touch, and something we’ll never forget.

Thank you North Hill staff and Krittiya for having us, we had an incredible stay!

Recap Video:

 

Things to Do in Chiang Mai

  • Visit a Night Market: If you’re in Chaing Mai on a Sunday, visit the market in Old Town. The streets are filled with vendors selling food and souvenirs. This is the best place to work your bartering magic and score some great deals!
  • Get a Massage: There are massage parlors everywhere around the city! If you want to be adventurous, go to the Night Bazaar and work out a package deal for the Fish Spa and Foot Massage. It seems like a crazy idea at first, you put your feet into a tub of small fish that eat away dead skin cells. After a few minutes, you get used to the tickling vibration. Next, get a 30-minute foot massage to pamper yourself. After walking around the city and getting sunburnt, your feet definitely need some care. We spent about $10 for this hour of bliss.
  • Elephant Jungle Sanctuary: About an hour from the city is an elephant camp where you get to feed, bathe and play with elephants rescued from riding camps. This was definitely the highlight of my trip and I highly recommend it! I got to see a baby elephant, it was a dream come true.

Ziplining Through Chiang Mai with Flight of the Gibbon

Our visit to Chiang Mai would not be complete without some gibbons and ziplining. I’ve only been zipling once before, on Catalina Island, while it was an amazing experience it didn’t compare to the scenery and thrill of Flight of the Gibbon’s zipline. This company is one of the top rated, people from all over the world recommend it, so we couldn’t wait to try it out.

We were picked up promptly at 6am from our hotel, and we drove for about an hour in a nice air conditioned van. On the way up to the headquarters, you pass small Thai communities and start to see parts of the jungle. Once you get to HQ, you can use the bathroom (no bathroom breaks while ziplining), sign a waiver and then get a locker to stow away your belongings. After that, you put on your safety harness and helmet, and as a souvenir, they give you a free branded bandana to keep!

Once we were all suited up to go, we drove for about 5 minutes to the first line. Our guide, Jason, spoke great English, and was very helpful in explaining the rules of ziplining. They genuinely care about everyone’s safety, so they made sure to thoroughly demonstrate the proper way to zip line.

Now off to the first line, my heart was racing, even if I’ve done this before, it still got that feeling in my gut. Jason hooked me up to the line and reassured me that I was here to have fun! After I leaped off that first line, it felt amazing. Flying through the lush green jungle of Thailand was incredible. We hiked for about 10 minutes to see the gibbons hanging out in a tree, then it was off to the longest line.

For those who love variety, this is the perfect activity. We finished in a couple of hours and got to experience lines from different lengths, we got to glide like superman (facing the ground and catching on to a net at the end), cross suspension bridges made of planks of wood and wire, and belay down a super tall tree! They also had a zipline where you can go down as a couple, being the only couple in the group they made us do the honeymoon pose, kissing while flying like a monkey haha.

15 lines later, we were all done. We were offered some refreshing herbal iced tea at the bottom and then it was time to head back to HQ. After you return your gear, you can purchase your photos (they have a photographer) and then head over to lunch. Included in the ticket is a Thai lunch that is served family style with the people in your group, it was super satisfying after an action packed morning. They also had live music playing in the background. One our way back to the hotel, we got to stop at a temple and small waterfall.

If you want to experience ziplining through Chiang Mai, I highly recommend booking with Flight of the Gibbon. Tickets are 4,199 baht and they include transportation, ziplining, a meal and fun memories. Experiencing the jungle in Thailand is definitely something you don’t want to miss, it was one of the highlights of my trip! Don’t forget bug spray and sunscreen!

Thank you Flight of the Gibbon for having us!

Bangkok Food Tours // Thailand

Traveling to a foreign place can be scary sometimes. New modes of transportation, language barriers, and food choices can cause a lot of confusion. Even if you’re winging your plans, I highly recommend booking a walking food tour. On our second day in Thailand, we got to experience the Historical Bangrak Food Tour. Our meet up spot was one of the Skytrain Exits, making it easy to get there. Our guide was Moh, she spoke great English and was super funny.

Our tour consisted of Mom & Pop restaurants, where recipes have been passed down for generations. Bangrak is full of diverse flavors, many that have mixed with Thai influence. I love that this tour supports small communities like this one.

Our first stop was a street cart, where we got to try yummy jackfruit. Jackfruit is yellow on the inside and has similarities to Juicy fruit gum, it’s totally edible though! The outside is large bumpy peel.

Our next stop was an eatery most known for their roasted duck. At this stop we had FIVE dishes to taste, we were getting so much right off the bat. The first dish was roasted duck on a bed of rive with a side of cucumber. We topped it off with a honey, sugar, vinegar dressing, and it was amazing! The second dish was a common Thai dish, papaya salad. It was so refreshing in this hot climate! We even got to see how they made it. Next we tried some sticky rice, and our guide suggested that we put some of the papaya salad dressing on top for some flavor. Next was Nam Tok Moo, pork mixed in with spices and mint leaves. The last dish at this stop was a chicken mushroom soup, which was kinda spicy for me. In Thailand, I’m able to test out my spicy tolerance, and I know I can’t handle Thai spicy level yet.

Next, we walked to a temple and learned about some Thai etiquette. While our guide explained temples and 5 rules, she let us try this colorful coconut candy. It was so good, she even had extra and let us try more.

Our next restaurant stop was a Muslim Thai place. Here our guide explained different types of curry. The dish we tried was an egg naan flatbread with cucumbers, and panang curry which had noodles in it! This place was a fusion of Thai and Indian, it was so unique and delicious!

After, that we walked over to Miss Lee, a small hole in the wall restaurant known for their fish ball soup. On the wall, it said a bowl was only 50 baht (about $1.50). Here you can choose which type of noodle you’d like. The soup was a pink broth, a mix of ketchup, fish balls, fried tofu and some vegetables. It was so good, one of the kids on our tour and asked for another bowl for himself!  The perfect pairing for a spicy soup, a cold refreshing bottle of coca cola. For some reason, it always tastes better in a glass bottle.

We walked down Silom for about 15 minutes and passed by a Buddha tree, where local wrap colorful fabrics and offer Red Fanta, apparently, the color red is lucky! A local also splashed us with water since it was day 2 of Songkran.

Our last stop was a nicer restaurant called Kalpapruek. Here, we tried a flatbread that you can dip in green curry. Our last taste was a scoop of ice cream, they saved the sweetest for last. I got young coconut and Andy got tamarind. Our guide suggested that we mix the two flavors to create an amazing combination.

Everything we tasted was “aroi mak”, meaning “very delicious” in Thai. I think the best way to get to know a city is by their food, and through their food you can learn more about their culture. What was great about this tour was that we got to taste unique dishes instead of the common Pad Thai and Thai Tea that we all know and love. Their pricing is totally reasonable, considering all the food you get. After 4 hours of walking and eating, I was full and my stomach was happy. Thank you Bangkok Food Tours for having us!

Day in Downtown LA





Finally all the rain storms have passed! This weekend was the perfect time to have an adventure in downtown LA, clear skies, lighter traffic, and of course our reservation date for The Broad was finally here. A lot of the stuff we did today was totally spontaneous and we only had planned the museums and our friends birthday party later that night. Follow along and see what stops we found ourselves at throughout the day!

We woke up early to get to The Broad by 10am. We lucked out a found a parking structure on Olive, right across the street for $9. Since it was all day parking we decided to leave our car there instead of paying for parking again at another structure. I absolutely loved walking around The Broad museum, there were so many art pieces to observe and of course take pictures in front of. Out of all the installations, my favorite was the Infinity Room. I didn’t know a tiny room can transport you to different world. We only got 45 seconds to admire the lights and the space we shared, time definitely passed too fast.


We exited the museum, hungry for some lunch, but we didn’t know where to eat. There were a few food trucks lined up in front so we quickly decided to try out Bool BBQ, Korean Mexican fusion really hit the spot. Andy got the Bool Bowl and I got the Taco Mix, both were absolutely delicious.



After, we walked a few minutes down the street and went to the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art). This was a quick browse, and we finished it in an hour. They have very interesting pieces, like videos and a large anti-war installation. Take to time to read all the descriptions, it helps to understand what you’re looking at.




After the MOCA, we decided to take a short 20 minute walk to Little Tokyo. Walking around and exploring isn’t too bad, plus you get to save some parking money. We stopped by a grocery store in the heart of Little Tokyo, admired all the super cute food and bought a small refreshment. Then we stopped at Tea Master for yummy matcha soft serve. This light dessert was delicious, it had matcha powder sprinkled on top.



Once we were done, we were so excited to see that Angel City Brewery was right across the street! The entrance was through the back and I was blown away by how big their space was. There were two floors, room for corn hole, a gift shop in the middle, and tons of board games that are available to play. Andy got a Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, and I got the White Nite, a nitro ale with hints of coffee. Both were so good!



After playing a game of Battleship and enjoying our beers, we walked a few minutes to EightyTwo, a popular barcade in the Arts District. They have a ton of old school arcade games and pinball machines that you can play while you drink. We didn’t drink anything since we were going to a friend’s birthday in a few hours, but their drinks are game themed and they sounded delicious . We spent only a few dollars on a couple pinball machines, but we had so much fun trying to get that high score!

We Uber Pooled back to the parking structure and it only cost about $5, then it was off to Abbot Kinney! Parking isn’t too bad, just find a spot about a block away from the main street in the residences. We walked down the street, browsing stores we can’t afford. Window shopping was fun, but we were getting tired from exploring LA. Then we spotted Blue Bottle Coffee, and got the Iced New Orleans Coffee, the perfect pick me up. We also browsed a small art and craft fair, with handmade accessories and unique furniture. There were so many cute dogs and people had amazing style. Abbot Kinney definitely had a chill vibe, I loved it.

Then it was off to our friends birthday party at Mom’s Bar, a very popular Dive Bar with $7 drinks! We ended the night with good friends, and went home to sleep and rest after a long day. Another LA adventure for the books!

What are you favorite stops in LA?

3 Days in Portland, Oregon // #traveljournal

This past Labor Day weekend, Andy and I explored Portland, Oregon and enjoyed what the Pacific Northwest has to offer. We spent three days eating our way through the city, getting taster flights for everything, hiking along the gorge, and shopping tax-free! Here is our itinerary for all the spots we visited and dined at.

Stay:Crowne Plaza Portland Downtown

Only a few minutes from downtown, this hotel has many amenities to make your trip easier! I’m a Spire Elite IHG member so we got complimentary drinks at the bar at arrival. The front desk agents were very accommodating and worked out a few kins we had about transportation and the room. They have a hot tub and pool on site, which was the perfect way to wind down after a long day exploring the city. The best part was the complimentary shuttle service that takes you anywhere and picks you up within 3 miles of the hotel. This saved us a ton of money since we didn’t have to uber much!

Day .5 - Night

Base Camp Brewery: We tried the Taster Log which consisted of 6 beer samples. My favorite was the S’mores Stout! They added a marshmallow garnish to the rim of the glass. It tasted like the perfect blend of smoke, chocolate, and campfire goodness.

Voodoo Donuts Too: Definitely had to try the hype! This location is on the other side of town so the lines were a lot shorter. They have a huge menu listing all of their confections, if you need a tip on which to get, try the Voodoo Doll, Captain My Captain, Double Bubble, and the Bacon Maple Bar. If you go towards the back by the parking lot, there’s a mural perfect for taking photos with your new treats!

Day 1

Multonamah Falls: If you only want to explore these falls, I highly suggest you buy a ticket for the Columbia Gorge Express online. It’s super affordable, and it takes you straight to the falls from downtown! The falls were beautiful, and you can take a 1 mile hike to the top (consists of 11 switchbacks). It’s worth it if you want to touch the water, it’s closed off at the bottom.

Brunch at East Burn: They have a few swinging chairs available, try to snag those if you want a unique dining experience. We tried out their Brunch Cocktail Flight, mini glasses of mimosas, coffee shot, greyhound, and a bloody mary!

OMSI: We ended up going on a $2 admission day, so check out the specials they have ahead of time! This museum is a coolinteractive place for kids and kids at heart.

Keep Portland Weird Sign: Pics at this wall mural is a must! Photo moment to document all the weird stuff you did in Portland haha.

Dinner at Portland City Grill: If you was a good deal and an amazing view, go here for happy hour. You can see Mt. Hood and perfect sunset skies.

Deschutes Brewery: Definitely hit this place up if you’re walking downtown, it’s one of the popular ones so it does get crowded. They have a lot of good brews on tap! And a taster flight as well.

DAY 2

 

Salt & Straw Ice Cream - Get an ice cream flight to share, you get 4 kids size scoops for about $9. We tried the cocoa coffee cocanu craque, honey lavender, almond brittle salted ganache, and strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper. They have so many unique flavors available, ask for samples! My favorite was the honey lavender, so refreshing!

Next we took an Uber to The International Test Rose Garden. Admission is free! There are rows and rows of roses in different shapes and colors.

Shopping in downtown near Pioneer Place: Portland is tax-free so take advantage of shopping!

Food Carts: There are a lot of food carts lining the streets of Portland, some were closed on the weekend, but we were able to try out two. The first one was SawasdeeThai, which had yummy and a surprisingly sweet pad thai. The second one was The Grilled Cheese Grill, where we got the glorious Cheesus. Two grilled cheese sandwiches as the bun, ⅓ lb burger patty, lettuce and tomato.

Ground Kontrol: Next was this super cool barcade, perfect for all the video game lover. They have a bunch of retro arcade games and pinball machines! Drinks are reasonable and games start at 25 cents. Such a fun place to kill some time.

Bailey’s Taproom: So many craft beers on tap here. I tried out the Sasquatch Watermelon Degeres and the Mother Earth Cali Creamin. Great place to hang out!

Ex Novo Brewery: This non-profit brewery blends craft beer and social change! We ordered a flight, and they had an $8 special for a beer and a whisky shot.

DAY 3

Brunch at Tasty N’ Sons. The food here is simply amazing, it’s one of the popular brunch spots in Portland so try to go early! Our starter was the Potatoes Bravas, next we ordered the Shasuka and the Burmese Red Pork Stew! Everything was so flavorful and delicious. We got to sit at the bar overlooking the kitchen, it was so cool to see your food being prepared fright in front of you!

Nike Factory Store: Bought some Nike Free Runs for $70 and no tax! If you have a little bit more time to shop, check out this oulet store for deals on shoes, clothing and accessories.

New Orleans, LA // Travel Journal

This travel journal post is long due, but New Orleans, Louisiana was one of my top favorite trips this year. Walking through this city felt like I was at Disneyland, I definitely want to go back! I’ve always wanted to cross this place off of my bucket list for one yummy reason; the food!  However, there are a lot of other things to experience in this bright and colorful city.

Where to Stay: Crowne Plaza , New Orleans – Take advantage of IHG Points, we got a free upgrade to a suite! This hotel is located right on the most exciting streets in downtown. Set on the corner of Bourbon and Canal street, you’re very close to many great restaurants, bars, and of course the famous Bourbon Street. During our visit to New Orleans, we didn’t have to rent a car, call a taxi, or bike anywhere, everything was within walking distance from our hotel. Spoiled with upscale accommodations and access to a top floor balcony during the Mardi Gras parades made this hotel the right choice!

Places to Go

Jackson Square – Surrounding the square are a ton of local artists and musicians displaying their work, it was such a cool atmosphere to hear jazz playing while walking the streets. Here you can see President Jackson’s statue right in the middle of the square. You can purchase beignets from Café du monde right across the street, and then hang out in the grassy areas near the statue.

Mardi Gras – We were lucky to catch the last few days of the Mardi Gras season. There were non-stop parades going on and a lot of people were dressed up in creative costumes! My favorite memory was coming out of our hotel and there was a parade passing right through! During Mardi Gras, people on the parade floats toss so many things and beads at the audience! Be prepared to collect a ton of goodies, bring a large tote bag or a backpack to carry everything back to your hotel after the parade. There is a parade schedule online when the season comes, make sure to plan your day accordingly.

Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo – If you watched American Horror Story Season Three, you’ll be fan girling when you step through this shop. If you don’t plan on purchasing anything, it’s still a cool shop to browse through. You can’t leave New Orleans without visiting a voodoo shop. This tiny store is filled with random things from books, dolls, incense, rabbit feet, dream catchers and stones.

Where to Eat

If you plan to make this an epicurean trip, I highly suggest booking a food tour for New Orleans. Having sample tasting of food while learning about culture and history by foot is the best way to eat your way through the city. We booked a 3-hour tour with Destination Kitchen and were able to sample about 8 items, and to our surprise the portions were pretty large. We were stuffed by the end of the tour, by food and knowledge haha.

French Market – One stop on the tour was the French Market, but we decided to come back and visit to try other options. The French Market is composed of little cafes with countertop seating. One of the things we had to taste was Alligator jerky, a very unique meat. Near the Market was also a sweets shop with the best Pralines! The yummy, buttery melt in your mouth candy was something to die for! 

Sucre – This was another stop on our food tour, this cute little dessert shop with a modern interior creates delicious French macarons, gelato, and decadent sweets.

Acme Oyster House – this was the last restaurant we visited before heading to the airport. We definitely saved the best for last. There was a line forming on the outside, so I suggest going during a non-busy time like 11am or 2-3pm. We ordered a dozen oysters, which tasted so fresh, some gumbo, which was perfect over rice, and Fried Oyster Po -Boy, which has so many flavors.

Beignets – If you can wait, Café du monte. We didn’t have time to wait in line for these famous beignets, so we went to another café on Bourbon St. Beignets is must have dessert while you’re in NOLA. It’s a deep-fried piece of dough, fluffy on the inside, topped with powdered sugar. Eat it warm and enjoy!

Red Fish Grill – This was our first restaurant we tried on first night in! One dish to highlight was the BBQ oysters! This is a must order, if you plan to stop by. Freshly shucked and fried with a dash of hot sauce and house-made blue cheese dressing makes the perfect combination of New Orleans flavors.

King Cake – Your Mardi Gras trip is not complete without trying a King Cake from one of the bakeries. Colored purple, yellow and green this traditional cake is made with cinnamon, sugar, and pecans!

Where to Drink

Bourbon St. – This street is the hot spot for night life. cheap drinks, good music, and bead throwing makes this the perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras. It’s literally lined with bar and bar with drink specials, jello shots, and of course pizza for those late night munchies!

The Beach – This open-air bar had the best music! There is also a back house with a dancefloor and a stage where you can dance.

Hand Grenade – A top drink to try out while you’re on Bourbon St. is a Hand Grenade from Tropical Isle. A tall green souvenir cup with the bottom that looks like agrenade. This drink is definitely a creeper drink, it doesn’t taste that strong, but you’ll feel it!

Laffitte’s – Head all the way down Bourbon St and you’ll reach Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. Supposedly this bar is haunted, so when you go late at night it does get a little creepy. It’s one of the oldest bars in America and it’s lit up with candlelight. The bartenders here make the best Hurricane drink, so try it out, plus you get a souvenir plastic cup.

Resurrection Drink – Stop by Spirits on Bourbon, home of the Resurrection mixed drink. We ordered two Resurrections and it came in these awesome skull shaped plastic cups with a blinking light on the bottom. With liquid inside it made the whole drink look like a glowing ball! There was an option to put jalapeno slices on top as well if you want a spicy kick!

Carousel Bar – Visit Hotel Monteleone to see the famous Carousel Bar & Lounge. You’ll be reminiscing about your childhood days if you get a seat on the revolving bar.

Wish we could’ve stayed longer, but here is our short list of places we visited during our stay! Till next time NOLA, definitely need to visit the swamps and do a Graveyard Tour.

First Beach Trip of the Summer!




Took some time to relax today and visited the Huntington Dog Beach with Andy and Jackson. We were pretty prepared today with our awesome new rainbow beach umbrella! There were so many cute dogs, Jackson kept visiting other families. With all the puppies to play with and amazing weather, I think more beach visits need to be scheduled! I seriously need to go more, I live within driving distance to so many beaches.

Just wanted to share some of my beach essentials that I took with me today.

1. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Sunscreen
LOVE LOVE LOVE this sunscreen product from Hawaiian Tropic. The combination of moisture and sunblock is very important to me! I'm darker skin too, so it's nice to find something that doesn't make me look like a ghost! It applies nicely and evenly, and it doesn't leave a greasy feeling at all. The scent is so wonderful, coconut and vanilla swirled into a bottle, it's like your transported to the Hawaiian islands on a well deserved vacation. It definitely gives you protection from the sun with 30 SPF.

2. S'well Bottle
This S'well bottle keeps liquids cold the whole day! Perfect for a day at the beach. Since the bottle doesn't sweat, you won't have sand sticking to the sides, and it seals up pretty tight. I got mine at pointe discovery at Terranea.

3. Ray-bans  
My favorite pair of sunglasses. These are Ray-ban Erika style in rubber black. Light weight, durable, and they protect you from UV rays. It's the perfect essential for the beach. I got mine on Ditto.com, a sunglass subscription service where you can get unlimited eyewear for just a monthly fee. You can get your first month FREE by using my code STYLERAIDERS at check out! So worth it.














Three Days in Vegas

Finally, a much needed break from work. My boyfriend took his Engineering License Exam in Nevada, which meant that I wanted to tag along, I could have a mini vacation in Vegas! Of course I couldn’t say no. All planning was up to me since he was studying non-stop for his test. We flew out on a Thursday using Southwest, yay companion pass. My favorite part of the flight was how short it was. It only took 50 mins from LAX to Las Vegas. Landed, and called a Lyft to bring us to our hotel, Delano, which is part of Mandalay Bay. I absolutely love this hotel, the aura when you walk in is so calming. Lights are dimmed, and the music gives it a sexy vibe. Checked in, got upgraded to a strip view king suite, thanks to a connection from work, and made our way to our suite. With plush white and gold accents everywhere is the room, I felt like a queen! The bathroom had black marble and amazing mirror with perfect selfie/makeup lighting. I wish I could’ve stayed a lot longer. We realized we were super hungry so we walked to the food court in Mandalay Bay. Luckily we got to one of the food booths before they closed so they gave us extra food. Then it was off to sleep, wished my boyfriend goodnight and good luck then it was lights out.

DAY 1

Woke up at around 10am , and since my boyfriend was at his 8 hour exam, I had most of the day to myself. I didn’t feel like leaving the hotel so I went down to the gym for an hour and got a panini from the coffee shop in the lobby. Then I decided to treat myself and buy a spa day pass for The Bathhouse.  For only $30 you get full access to spa facilities, and it was so worth it! Once you change into your bathrobe, you first enter the welcome lounge with yummy snacks and drinks. This is not your ordinary spa, the interior looked like a modernized cave, with dark grey and black slate walls, a cold water fall wall and multiple pools. There were a few lounge chairs lining the main hot pool, not guilty to say that I stayed here for a few hours. There were two steam rooms, one with eucalyptus scent and the other with a vanilla green tea (not sure exactly but it smelled like it). My skin felt so pampered and soft after my spa day, it felt so good to just have some quiet time to myself.

My boyfriend got back from his test, and felt great about how he did. So I decided that we go up to Skyfall Lounge  at the very top floor of our hotel and toast with complimentary champagne provided by Delano. To celebrate, we got ready to go to Light Nightclub . We got in for free with the help of a promoter, and I also got three free drink tickets! Bass Jackers were DJing that night and they kept the crowd vibing.

DAY 2

It’s dayclubbing time! We got in to Daylight at Mandalay Bay and surprise, Bass Jackers were performing again. Unfortunately we got pretty tired and left before they came on. After that pool party we went to the beach at mandalay and chilled in the wave pool and the lazy river. 

Then it was time to get ready for our show! I got some hookup tickets for The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil and every single minute was amazing. The show really made me love The Beatles a bit more than I already do. There were  many talents brought into the show and the use of technology was so artistic. Before that we ate at Cravings Buffet  in the Mirage. They offered unlimited wine and beer so it was a nice pregame before the show. We got so full though, I was saving space for all the delectable desserts! After that we walked around till we got to OMNIA, the newest nightclub. It took forever to get in, but I finally got to see the moving chandelier in person. Next time I’ll try to hit up that club on a Friday.

DAY 3

We were exhausted on our last day. So we decided to tone it down and get unlimited brunch from Border Grill and a FAT TUESDAYYYY! I brought my cup from my last trip so that saved us $2 dollars. We walked around the casino, and we found a few machines with left over credit on them. Andy and I have never used a slot machine ever in our life so we decided to take the credit ( enough for one spin) and try our luck. With only enough for one bet, we pressed the button and instantly we won $9 from our 40cents. We decided to cash out before we lost it all, but we were on such a high haha. Then it was off to the airport to fly back home.

Till we meet again Vegas…

Seattle, WA | Travel Journal




First edition of Travel Journal on my new blog! It's been a while since Andy and I's last trip to Seattle, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Flying up through the pacific north west was beautiful from my little plane window. We were so lucky that the typical Seattle weather cleared up for our weekend vacation, our last day we can see the reflection of the sunrise beaming on a building across our hotel. Our stay at the Motif was amazing, we got upgraded to a Bay View King room with a lovely welcome amenity. I'm so proud to be part of the Destination Hotels family. Only one downside though, I wish I recorded more shots of our food and other experiences! Next time we'll try to document every experience we encounter. Four days in Seattle filled with coffee, city skylines, and new friends, was the perfect break from work. Our list of things to do in Seattle will be up soon! Enjoy the video!


Big Bear / Snowboarding Pro

This past weekend, I got to join this amazing group of engineers on their Big Bear trip. Even though I wasn’t part of their club and they were all friends, I was welcomed. I felt like I was in school again, meeting new people, partying, doing random things; it sucks to be back home when everyone is still studying. I also tried snowboarding for the first time, and at the end of the day I was exhausted and hurting, but it was definitely worth it. 

For my first run ever, Andy made me go down an intermediate slope. The first part was steep as fuck and when I looked down, I was kinda freaking out. Of course I started off wrong and fell pretty bad, but I got up and tried again. We did a few more runs together, maximized our meal vouchers, watched/listened to Sean Kingston perform, did a run with Steph and Izzy, and then we went on a new slope that was a bit harder, but I ended up doing it twice. It was quite a big accomplishment for me, and it meant a lot to hear my boyfriend say he was proud of me and that I was a pro. 

After that we went back to the cabin, and they cooked so much spaghetti. Then drinking round two, basically to sum it up: korean drinking games, friend shots, massages, Andy hurting himself, beer pong team, serious heartfelt talks, old school dance music? The weekend went by too fast, and I can’t wait to come back. Big thank you to Andy, who invited me to come and stayed by my side the whole weekend.