One city that cannot be overlooked for its fabulous fare is Chicago. I chatted with food blogger Kristin, aka the @nom_stop, and she showed us that not only are the eats in the Windy City f'n delicious but they can also be nutritious.
Named in the 1980’s for its affluent inhabitants, the Gold Coast neighborhood in Chicago is filled with foodie finds fit for a king or queen. If, of course, your royal highness is up for a kickass cup of Joe, a grass-fed burger, or a full tray of tacos.
For the Brunch Queen: 3 Arts Club Café, located inside Restoration Hardware. Here, the overworked and under caffeinated (who isn’t these days?) gather for almond milk lattes and brunch fare. The posh dining room alone is a reason to visit; filled with RH’s beautiful furnishings, it is beyond Instagram-worthy.
Since they don’t take reservations, you are bound to encounter a bit of a wait, which comes as no problem when there are four floors of home décor waiting to be explored.
By the second floor, I was mentally packing a suitcase and plotting my move into the place - amazing.
For the Taco King: Velvet Taco. This casual, counter-service taco joint is a must if you’re in the neighborhood. Everything is made from scratch, including the tortillas, which is a major deal breaker for a taco lover like myself.
Among my favorites was #8, a shredded pork taco with pineapple, avocado crema, and pickled onion on a purple corn tortilla, as well as #11, the grilled flank steak taco with mushroom and white queso. Game. Over.
For Your Healthy Highness: LYFE Kitchen. With a menu featuring baked fries, “unfried” chicken, and plenty of vegan options, LYFE has the whole “healthy but tastes good” vibe down pat. I opted for the grass-fed farmhouse burger on a gluten-free bun that did not disappoint.
And while everything on the menu is delicious, the garlic parmesan sweet potato fries absolutely stole my heart. I now live by the motto contained in the name: Love Your Food Everyday. Let’s just say that the Gold Coast left my heart and my stomach full of nothing but love.
Follow along with me as I continue to eat my way through the city in search of the best noms! Too see more restaurant recs right now, head to: http://www.thenomstop.com/lincoln-park-food-cng-part-1/
Get the Overworked Under Caffeinated Tee by Pyknic : HERE.
Get the Hope they Serve Tacos in Hell Tee by Pyknic : HERE.
Get the Nomaste Tee by Pyknic : HERE.
This past weekend we were fortunate enough to getaway to the Catskills of Upstate New York with our friends, Andrew & Andrea of The Marshalletti Project. They had found a very interesting Airbnb in Woodridge, NY called "The Outlier Inn" which was featured on Escape Brooklyn. It's a 12 acre property that has various Airbnb rentals which include a 1953 Spartenette Trailer, a cottage, a guest house, a bungalow, a geodesic dome, a couple tiny houses, and a main home in addition to a farm and recording studio.
Given our affinity for food, one of our favorite aspects of the place was the outdoor kitchen / greenhouse which was a great communal space to both cook and eat al fresco.
The Outlier Inn provided plenty of communal space to enjoy food and one another's company.
Keshini Fiber Farm is located on the property and guests are welcome to purchase fresh greens which include kale and zucchini (pictured above) as well as eggs.
It's also home to various farm animals which include merino sheep, angora goats, angora rabbits, oberhasli dairy goats, free range chickens, and a yellow lab.
We loved that we were welcome to bring along our own animals as well.
Our group had stayed in the heated 1950s trailer. We often fantasize about that time period: the design, the fashion, the culture, and the automobiles. This was a great opportunity to relive that history in a way through a one-of-a-kind experience.
The General Motors fridge and the booth seat in the middle of the trailer was a blast from the past as well as a great way to keep the party going.
It was hard not to notice the large Geodesic Dome on the property that could house up to 25 people.
All the Fall feels.
Everything is better outside including bathing. There was a working bath tub, a hot tub, as well as outdoor showers that offered just enough privacy but were still completely liberating.
It was nice to switch things up and be in the company of some other creative minds, even if just for an extended weekend. We gained some valuable experience and fresh inspiration through a different way of living.
Sarah Loven of ReadyGypsetGo.com is a firm believer that "to travel is live". She and her husband acquired a vintage '72 Airstream, named it "Flo", and took their lives to the open road. The two creatives seek adventure and new experiences as they roam the back roads of America. Inspiration for their photography, cinematography, writing, and music is bountiful.
Sarah feels most at home while on the road where she is free; free from the "normal life" of having a boss and working in a hamster cage of a cubicle or even just having to pay the rent. Since when have these things become the normal expectations of existence in this life or dare we even say, "The American Dream"?
"Once I get a good idea in my head, I have to go for it. And I'll be damned if someone tells me I can't. The moment you listen to everyone else, you lose your purpose."
When we set sail for Hawaii the itinerary most importantly called for native cuisine. A general rule of thumb is that if you are going to the right places there is nothing fancy, gimmicky, or pretentious about it, just honest food and hardworking folk. Once this belief becomes part of your “eating ethics” you will realize that food culture is the best out in Hawaii.
There are highly touted eateries on the island, primarily in the resort areas like Wailea, with award-winning chefs from “The Mainland” creating their pricey takes on local dishes but that is not what we were after on this adventure. That is not what you should be after either if you are reading this and frequent our website. Sure “Maui’s Best” Italian Restaurant, Tommy Bahamas, or Outback Steakhouse might be a great occasional option for an actual Maui inhabitant (ok, well maybe not the latter) but none should be a suggestion for a hungry guest of the island. Quickly this trip could take a turn for the worse, closely resembling ostentatious Las Vegas white-cloth dining that resorts are trying to force-feed tourists. This is not Hawaii and if something you read or someone tells you differently, take a few steps back and proceed to run away. No cost of a meal can buy authenticity, always keep that in mind.
Wailea is primarily a luxury resort community which is great for the beach, hotel, golf, and other various amenities but when it comes to food you are going to have to leave the confines that keep out the local eateries & businesses.
Stella Blues Cafe - Kihei, HI)
A short 5 minute drive out of Wailea on South Kihei Road leads to the Stella Blues Cafe, a great first spot for breakfast. "Stella Blue" sound familiar? ‘The Dead’ inspired the name of this cafe as well as some of the interior’s decor, down to the tie dye shirts worn by the wait staff. The 'Deadhead’ family originally opened the first bagel shop on Maui but no one knew what a bagel was. They moved on and opened “Stella Blues Cafe” to fill the gap between low and high end dining.
A full stack of Buttermilk Banana Macadamia Nut Pancakes are the best way to get warmed up for the Hawaiian flavors to come in a week-long excursion. These light, fluffy cakes the size of your skull are full of fresh banana slices, chock full of macadamia nuts, and come with two servings of the smooth, sweet coconut syrup.
Stella Blues also has vegetarian options on their menu such as the Tofu Scramble. When you order they have to warn you that there are no eggs, presumably because some who have ordered were disappointed to find the scrambled sans the eggs. The half-inch tofu cubes have replaced the egg with its similar yet near-perfect consistency in this sautéed mix also including green onions, broccoli and mushrooms. The Tahini Sauce and Monterey Jack cheese becomes the flavorful glue that binds this scramble together.
Sunrise Cafe (Lahaina, HI)
Breakfast appetizers do exist at the Sunrise Cafe, a small joint sitting just between a surfer beach and Front Street in West Maui. When you first walk the vibe is like walking into a family’s home kitchen. In fact, there is even an old, white double door refrigerator you will pass when finding your own seat/table in the back room. Do your parents have an credit card machine in their kitchen? No. So make sure you bring cash.
It’s highly suggested that you start with the giant, warm homemade cinnamon roll. It is covered in icing, maple syrup, and macadamia nuts. Balance that out with a healthy and fresh half papaya with cottage cheese & granola filling and you now have most of the food pyramid covered. Now that you have laid a nice base and expanded your stomach, be brave and take on the giant breakfast burrito. Eggs, rice, cheese, papaya, and salsa are somehow contained in a tortilla and are prepared to become your breakfast and lunch.
Sunrise Cafe and most cafes offer the fresh half papaya. It can be served with cottage cheese or yogurt filling sprinkled with granola or just plain with wedges of lime. The squeeze of lime on the papaya really brings out a terrific sweet-tart tropical flavor. It is so simple that it’s stupid.
Kihei Caffe (Kihei, HI)
Eating outside is liberating, especially when you are on a sidewalk in a sunny paradise fronting the beach and eating the “Best Breakfast 6 Years in a Row” according to various Maui publications. The Kihei Caffe serves breakfast all day including these thick slices of bread that went swimming amongst egg & milk then came out on the other side as “Heaven on a Plate” or simply Pineapple & Coconut French Toast and Banana Macadamia Nut French Toast.
When you are so used to mainland diners and their diluted, “muddy” water, poor excuse for coffee (I could go on) they serve, the coffee at Kihei Caffe is going to rock you down to your caffeine yearning core. Rather than serving a Folger’s (or whatever looks passable as brown in a coffee mug), Kihei Caffe treats its guests with a local Maui Oma blend made specifically for the establishment.