Tuesday, September 29, 2015

New York City: A Love Letter (DAY 2 + 3)

As you know by now, our trips usually revolve around food ;) and trying new restaurants in whatever city we are visiting.  But -- we had such an amazing meal last time we visited in November, that we once again found ourselves at Asiate on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental. 

SUNDAY -- DAY 2:  We had Sunday Brunch and both the food + view were amazing, as usual. I had Duck and Waffles this time.  Again, highly recommend this restaurant {for a splurge} if you find yourself in NYC. Below is the view from our table at brunch: 

After brunch, we walked around Central Park to the Bethesda Fountain which is quickly becoming my favorite area of the park -- that and Sheep Meadow!

After Central Park, we headed to The Empire State Building for a quick trip to the top.  Always amazing views to be had up there! I think next time we'll check out Top of the Rock so that we can actually see the ESB in our photos. I think Top of the Rock has a better view towards Central Park too. There is always next time!

MONDAY -- DAY 3:  I mentioned that we stayed in Chelsea this time and I absolutely loved it! We stayed at Hotel Americano and it really exceeded all of my expectations. I love the modern minimalist, unfussy vibe and the service and restaurant were both great as well.  

Jake and I woke up early and hit the High Line to check out another section that we hadn't been on before. 

We were even able to walk via the High Line from the hotel to our brunch spot -- The Cookshop {also in Chelsea} where I had delicious pancakes and a watermelon {whaat???} mojito! I still think about that mojito. So good! Then it was a quick shopping trip to Brooklyn Industries and then back to the airport we went. Peace out NYC, you know we'll be back soon! 

Travel Fully,

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New York State of Mind (DAY 1)

Over Labor Day Weekend, we took a quick 3 day trip to NYC! It still felt like Summer. We got lucky and the weather was gorgeous -- almost too hot, if that's possible.

As you might have guessed New York City is one of my favorite places in the world. One thing I love about it is that you can visit the city several different times and each time is like a whole different trip. For instance, we stayed in Chelsea this time and it was actually very quiet, which was nice. We prevously stayed in the Meatpacking District and East Village and I must say that I liked Chelsea better than East Village. I think Meatpacking was my favorite neighborhood because of all of the constant electricity. It really made me think that the city never sleeps.

One of my favorite things that we did on this trip was to allow time to wander. As much as I like to schedule what we're going to do each hour of each day, it's nice to go with the flow and stumble upon things as opposed to planning, planning, planning.  Some Greenwich Village impromptu discoveries below: 

You. Guys. I finally tried Avocado Toast. and it was delicious! The end.

After attempting to visit the Statue of Liberty on each previous trip to the city, we finally made it! And we picked a gorgeous day to do it! It is quite an ordeal to get there, so you have to allow 3-4 hours total. But, it was totally worth it. and I would do it again.

After the SOL, we headed to dinner at Claudette in Greenwich Village. I'm starting to notice a pattern here. I think Greenwich Village might be one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city. Anyway, dinner was scrumptious and I don't even have any photographic evidence {ok...maybe a few dark grainy shots}. I always have this idea that we're going to go out for drinks after dinner {this is New York, c'mon.....} but it never happens. Sleep always wins. I guess my future self will thank me.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

South End: The Gallery

I was invited to check out a new space that recently opened in the South End neighborhood, near our apartment.  It's called The Gallery and it's a really unique spot that doubles (triples?) as a coffee shop, a wine bar and an art gallery.  

One of my favorite things about the space is how light and airy it is. I love the modern white walls and how uncluttered and unfussy it is. While I didn't get to try the desserts this time, you bet I'll be back soon!

Another fun fact is that all of the art is done by the owner's husband. I love the abstract bright colors, I think it's a great addition to the otherwise clean white walls. And did I mention the concrete floor? I am drooling! Jake and I dream about having concrete floors in our next home. The look is so modern and streamlined with an industrial twist.

I also got to meet some other local Charlotte bloggers which is always fun! Here's to making friends and having fun in the process.

Live Life Fully,

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Quick Trip: Asheville

Jake and I took a spontaneous quick trip to Asheville for 4th of July weekend. I know this recap is a little late since it's September already {p.s. how did that happen}? But I think I was so excited to post about the Blue Ridge Parkway last month that I kind of skipped over blogging about this trip. 

Anyway, we arrived in the city and the first thing we did was stop at Nine Mile for some delicious, simple Caribbean food. So good! Highly recommend if you haven't been before.

We had also been wanting to check out the Grove Park Inn and instead of staying there, we decided to have lunch there the next day which was a win, win experience. We got to check out the amazing view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and explore the hotel grounds which are pretty amazing if you haven't been. Get the Lobster Cobb salad if you grab lunch there! 

We laid low for the rest of the day and on our way out of town, we stopped at Chimney Rock for some true Americana. We did a hike to the top of the observation deck and it was the ultimate thigh burner. There were over 500 steps to the top!     

We had to take a quick selfie once we reached the top of the summit!

Pretty fitting for a Fourth of July trip, huh? Gotta love that gigantic American flag.

Travel Fully,

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

PDQ Shake-off

The craziest thing ever happened last week. I got an email from someone asking if I wanted to participate in a fun, exciting blogging event and so I responded asking for more information. The blogger wrote back saying that the event would be in Charlotte, and we would be taste testing milkshakes for a local restaurant and the winner would be featured on their menu as a seasonal flavor.  I was thinking, this sounds right up my alley! So, I said I would love to participate. We exchanged social media accounts and I discovered that we lived in the same apartment complex after stalking looking at a million photos on her on Instagram. OK, what's the big deal, you ask? I told her which building we lived in and she responded saying that she also lived in that building (there are ~20 buildings in our complex). Isn't that the craziest thing ever??!? Such a small world! Here's to making new blogger friends!

So, onto the event. Last Wednesday, we went to PDQ in Concord for our taste testing duties. We got to grab dinner beforehand and let me just say that the food was really good! You may be wondering what PDQ stands for. Don't worry - I was too. It stands for People Dedicated to Quality. PDQ is a fast casual restaurant but it's nothing like the ones you're used to. They have no freezers or microwaves. Everything is made fresh on the premises. That really piqued my interest. The have a bunch of delicious home made sauces on the menu and we got to try some of them.  Below is the Spicy Buffalo Tenders Burger which was my favorite! 

After the Spicy Buffalo Tenders burgers, my other favorite item was Apple Slices and Toffee Dip. This stuff is so good, like one of the most delicious things I've ever tried -- especially the super secret Toffee Dip. If you go to PDQ, you most definitely should try it!

Other highlights: I tried Cheerwine for the first time too -- I had never even heard of it before moving to Charlotte, but it's BIG in North Carolina and it was good! Reminded me of cherry coke, but better. 

Onto the shake tasting. Every year, the members (employees) come up with different flavors that they would like to see on the menu and actually create small batches of the proposed shake flavors. That's where we come in. We tasted ten different flavors and voted on a scale of 1-5 which was the best. The winner will be featured on their menu as a seasonal flavor.

We are still awaiting the results, but one of my favorite flavors was the Coffee Cookie -- I'm hoping it wins. If anyone ever needs help taste testing, consider me your girl. Oh and we already went back to PDQ for dinner tonight. It was that good!

Signing off,