Posts from the TRAVEL Category

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So, Brussels. A city I’ve always had my eyes on. I had some weird interest in Belgium as a teenager. Maybe something about smaller cities or Flemmish men, uh hem…. But really. Even after meeting Louis we had one shared interest if we had to leave Paris: go to Brussels. Why, you ask? I don’t really know. Good beer, a smaller more spread out, less pretentious city. I find that it has a more simple charm I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it’s the pastel couple story buildings, the residential pockets, or the good beer everywhere. OH, and the fact that there is flea market every single day. Looking at these pictures I’m already so anxious to go back and discover more about the city and more about Belgian beer culture.

Anne and I made it out there for one weekend, I just ended up liking it even more. A short train ride from Paris, we went from city center to city center, and were immediately ready for fries and beer. Thanks to many recommendations from various travel bugs, we kicked off our 2 day trip with soft boiled eggs and tea at a fairytale café situated in the Ixelles neighborhood. Roaming the streets seemed so calm compared to Paris, with the hills and wider sidewalks with long stretches of beautiful doors before pockets of cute shops or cafés. The flea market and vintage shops were obviously up on our list, so under the blazing Spring sun we headed to the city center where I succeeded in buying too many random trinkets. Needless to say had we come by car I would have gone bonkers at the flea market. We made our way to LLB’s reco for lunch, Les Brassins, which was just amazing with the local Brasserie de la Senne on tap (Don’t forget, you pay for water in Belgium!).

Seriously, this was the longest but one of the greatest days of all time in my eyes. We were staying at the Pantone Hotel – which by the way was a great deal and location – so we relaxed a bit before hitting up the renowned Delirium Bar. It was super crowded and pub-like, as suspected for the biggest beer bar ever on a Saturday night, but a must do. I recommend the tap bar, give draft a try before opening some bottles. Marissa and her Brussels-encyclopedia-of-a-boyfriend recommended what ended up being my favorite place in Brussels (aside from the flea market): Monk. A spaghetti bar in the back of the place with an epic beer list? Yes please. So simple and so spot on. Our dishes were paired with a bottle of the delicious Avec Les Bons Voeux.

Our second and last day started with breakfast out in another suburb. The trams were so adorable, and often the old-fashioned cars, just one more thing I really enjoyed about this city, gah. We made our way to the Wiels Contemporary Art Centre (the industrial and stunning space is actually a former 1930s brewery) to check out their current exhibitions — one actually involved a moving-slowly-with-grace-quartet. It was quite impressive. Anne had knew the folks behind an awesome place called Living Room on the other side of town, so we trammed and trekked to another suburb out East. The Living Room, though. Holy moly. Located near the Parc Cinquantenaire, it’s a tasteful design and furniture store with cakes, teas a healthy and colorful lunch menu. The cherry on top, turns out we were right by the reputable Friterie Maison Antoine. I still don’t understand some of the sauces.

The end of our trip was spent at Beer Mania, a beer shop I had been eyeing, amongst the millions there probably are in that city. The guy at the shop was just the best, and told us the story about the Westvleteren beers. We indulged in a perfectly chilled Westvleteren 12. I was a happy girl. To rub it in, read more about how epic that beer is.

BRUSSELS PLACES:
Beer Mania // Beer shop
Delirium Café // Nighttime beer spot
La Mercerie // Salon de thé
Gaudron // Eatery
Les Brassins // Belgian Restaurant
Living Room // Eatery + Design and Furniture shop
Maison Dandoy // Sweetshop and Waffle Haven
Monk Bar // Restaurant, spaghetti bar + cocktails
Wiels Contemporary Art Centre // Museum

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My twin sister lives in Boulder. My brother works in Boulder. A human I adore is from Boulder. I didn’t realize until after I got back from my trip how much I’m actually linked to Boulder. I even took Louis to a high school friend’s frat party on New Year’s Eve there in 2010 for the perfect first-time-in-America experience. Ha. Oh, Boulder. I always hated driving up there in High School for orchestra stuff, hiking or whatever, because of all of the pedestrians! Ah!

This time it was a different kind of spin by Boulder. One where I got to get off the beaten path for some snazzy places, awkwardly spread out, which I secretly really like… we had delicious beer and the best Mexican in town. I’m anxious to get back there next time I’m home.

AVERY BREWING // Home of deliciously crafted beers, get a flight or two

BRU // Restaurant and handbuilt ales

EFRAN’S II // Best Mexican in town

THE KITCHEN NEXT DOOR // Friendly and casual spot on Pearl Street

SANITAS BREWING COMPANY // Try their black IPA

UPSLOPE BREWING COMPANY // Try their Thai Style White IPA

 

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In April of this year, Louis and I took our first trip together (like actually relaxing trip) since June 2013. I KNOW. We wanted to go somewhere not too far, with a beach and nice weather. The Canary Islands seemed like the perfect option in terms of distance and ticket prices. Plus, I had heard nothing but great things about the islands from pals.

We did one of those all inclusive hotels on a beach with a pool and food and the works which is pretty hilarious, but you know what… it was perfect because basically all we wanted to do in reality was lay around in the sun somewhere and do nothing. As much as I would have liked to find a charming little AirBnb and all and cook ourselves every night and go out and about to discover cute towns (la prochaine fois…) – let’s be honest – trips can be pretty damn expensive. I’m still grumpy about how much my ticket home for Christmas in Colorado cost me, oy vey. This trip was a be-lazy-and-lay-around-and-soak-up-the-sun type of trip, and not an adventurous-cutesie-discover-the-culture-and-whatnot type of trip. Ever feel the need for that kind of escape?

In the middle of our super duper lazy island getaway, we rented a car and roamed the island. We started by wandering up the northwest coast of the island, with the endless white sandy beaches, then up to the northern tip at Corralejo where we had some typical Spanish grub and the most enormous servings of food I have ever had in my entire life at Avenida followed by some local ice cream at La Cremeria.

Part of what was so beautiful about Fuerteventura was all of the different landscapes: white beaches, volcanic beaches, seaside towns with white stucco, flat desert roads, infinite red hills, cliffside nude beaches, windy mountain roads with chilly breezes… we genuinely had no idea when we decided to take a tour around the island just how many different astonishing views we would see. And come on, it’s not like the island is huge, you can drive around it easily in an afternoon. Anyways, heading back down South that day we found ourselves amongst goats in Betancuría (goats are EVERYRWHERE) on the highest of hills with nothing but grades of red hills as far as you can see. It was surprisingly refreshing to not have a GPS and to just go through little towns and follow signs towards the towns we recognized or that were printed on the shitty map our hotel gave us. The next day was devoted to the very very southern tip of the island, that is called the Jandía peninsula. Some pockets are definitely more touristy, but we found a very lovely little nude beach called Playa del mal Nombre that I highly recommend if you’re looking to just lay around (there are goats there, too). If you’re feeling crazy drive up in the Parque Natural Jandía, but fudge it was scary with the little roads that swirve up mountainsides and when another car comes you’re worried one of the cars will roll off the steep hillside. It was serious offroading.

Bref, a week well spent.

MY FUERTEVENTURA TIPS:
Playas on the northeast coast of island, facing the Parque Natural Corralejo
Hills of Betancuría and surounding little mountain towns
Playa del mal Nombre
El Cotillo Lighthouse
Eat garlic shrimp everywhere
Drink honey rum on the rocks

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When flying through Dallas home for the holidays last year, I knew I had to make a pit stop in Dallas to see my doll and favorite Texan, Annie, with whom I went to Uni in Paris. Depsite the super duper early morning flight after a snow storm hit Denver that previous evening, I was perky as can be and so stoked to finally go outside of the DFW airport walls.

Annie was one of my main partners in crime in Paris, the girl is passionate about good food with quality ingredients and homegirl knows her history. It was damn exceptional to finally get to her hood and see her fav’ spots. Our day was a quick one: around 9am to 4pm when had to be back at the airport. We kicked off the morning right: with coffee and breakfast tacos in the Deep Ellum neighborhood. Super wide streets bordered by brick buildings and precious storefronts and colorful street art… damn, in my eyes Dallas is incredibly charming! Downtown we made a quick pit stop so I could buy some cowboy boots (when in Rome, right?) before heading up for pie and a stroll in the Bishop Arts District. I was rather intrigued by the deserted areas with bail bond shops and supersized billboards and Texan flags blowing in the wind… it was the perfect speedy tour of Dallas. The southern draw truly brought a smile to my face. Of course, the trip couldn’t wound off better, as we headed to chill a bit at one of Annie’s favorite places, the Katy Trail Icehouse in Uptown. This magical venue is an outdoor beer garden with fried jalepeños. We sipped Deep Ellum Brewery’s IPA and chatted away until I had to head back to the airport to get my bum back to frogland. Le sigh, next time for more than just a layover, Dirty D.

All Good Café – Deep Ellum – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Magic
Emporium Pies - Bishop Arts District – Pie Stop
Katy Trail Icehouse - Uptown – Beer Garden Hangout/Lunch/Dinner/Late night

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One of my closest girlfriends, Ana Clara, moved to Munich with her honey for work. Naturally I just had to make it over there to see her life there one weekend. Don’t forget that Munich is freakin’ cold. A February weekend in Munich was a brave choice on my part. Going when it’s balls cold made me even more excited to pop by when the sun is out and we can stroll through the English gardens.

Back to the point: I had been to Munich before twice, once when I was studying abroad for a year in France when I was 16 for a couple of days, and again during my Bachelor’s for Oktoberfest (obvs). This time was more about actually seeing the city. I’m a lucky lady cos Ana eats sanely and loves adorable places with quality products, so every place she took me was just wonderful. Did you know that Germans are super open to vegetarians and vegans and that faux sausages exist all over the place? Even at beer festivals?! High five for the Bavarians.

Ana Clara and Yann-Yves’s close group of friends in the city were so precious and organized a traditional Bavarian brunch when I was in town, which did involve include Witbier before noon, wurst, pretzels and the works. These fine people then accompanied us to the local Starkbierfest that was that exact weekend, ha, which made for the most Bavarian day possible. If you’re planning a trip to Munich and like beer and beer culture, definitely check out if there are any small beer festivals going on, nothing like a liter of beer and pretzels and men in Lederhosen!

Strolling through the Munich streets, I was constantly in love with the pastel buildings, and the wideness of the streets and spaciousness of the interiors. Something about it was just so charming. For a city that had been basically rebuilt, even the modern buildings keep their original architecture, which I though was pretty cool. BTW, don’t jay-walk in Munich, apparently it’s a no no.

Boogie Donuts – Donuts To Go
Daddy Longlegs – Healthy/Coffee/Breakfast/Lunch/Snack
Dallmayr – Specialty Shop/Chocolates/Tea
La Taquéria – Mexican/Lunch/Dinner
Joon – European/Dinner/Bar/Cocktails
Wirthaus Hörreshof – Traditional Bavarian/Lunch/Dinner