My Favorite City in Georgia: Savannah

Washing cars, babysitting, and selling homemade lasagnas, flans, cookies, and chicken. That’s how 12-year-old Cristina paid for her first trip to Savannah, Georgia with her dear Girls Scout troop 133 from San Juan, Puerto Rico. I had the privilege of doing my crossing from Junior to Cadette in the same building where the Girls Scouts founder, Juliette Gordon Low, grew up. While I don’t remember everything from that trip, I remember it being a special place and it remained as such in my heart for years.

Flash forward to today and I am now lucky to live only a 4-hour drive away from this beautiful city. I made my grand return last year for my birthday and since then, I’ve been back two more times. I can’t get enough of this city.

I am excited to share with you what I’ve explored, what we’ve discovered, and what I’ve yet to encounter.

Where to stay in Savannah

Savannah is super walkable so bring comfortable shoes and get ready to explore. I switched back and forth between sandals and my converse and had zero issues. Due to its walkability, where you stay matters. Thankfully, Savannah has plenty of options.

Planters Inn – We stayed here for my birthday and the location was perfect, right next to The Olde Pink House. I found it to fit well within our budget and didn’t have any complaints.

The Perry Lane Hotel – If you have a loftier budget, you should check out The Perry Lane Hotel. I have not stayed there but their bars are great and their interiors look stunning. From The Peregrin on the rooftop to The Wayward downstairs on their building across the street, you’ll find amazing cocktails and even some yummy snacks.

The Grant by Black Swan AirBnb – Short-term homestays are another solid option and this one was in a fantastic location. We were right in the heart of all the action and were able to easily walk in and out of the apartment as needed. It is right across the street from Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken which was perfect for breakfast after a fun night out (nothing helps a hangover quite like a fried chicken biscuit sandwich with fountain diet coke). This Airbnb does not include parking so if you have a car you will have to find street parking or a parking deck.

VRBO by Lucky Savannah – A little further out but still within the historic district, this spot was available for a last-minute summer visit. Street parking was a lot easier here compared to the previous Airbnb option. This property is dog friendly if you are interested in bringing your pup!

Where to eat & drink in Savannah

Here’s a list of all the places we visited last year. The classifications of dinner, lunch, etc. are based on my experience so I definitely encourage you to check each spot to see what else they offer! I highly recommend you make reservations for dinner. Places like The Olde Pink House, for example, book well out in advance.

I also included a list of the spots I still have to try in case you want to check them out too. You can find them at the end of this post.

Dinner

HuskI had been to the Husk in Greenville, South Carolina for brunch but going to the Husk for dinner was a totally different experience. In fact, without really trying, we ended up having dinner there on all three of our visits last year. The food is consistently delicious, even as the menu changes seasonally. I also was able to taste some delicious Georgia oysters. Yes, you read that right, apparently, Georgia has good oysters if you know where to search! Needless to say, this opened up a very interesting dinner conversation with my husband.

The Olde Pink HouseI highly recommend you make a reservation ahead of time so you can eat inside the historical (and allegedly haunted) house. I noticed the menu is the same in the other parts of the restaurant but dining in the main room definitely adds a special touch. Their food was delicious but what really makes the place is the history and ambiance. The downstairs bar had a great vibe and live music playing, perfect for sipping an old fashion or dirty martini.  

Cotton & Rye – This restaurant is a little ways out from the heart of the historic district but still walkable if you are feeling up for it. Pro tip: If there’s a wait, put your name down and walk two blocks up to Tacos + Tequila for a margarita while you wait.

Coco & MossThis spot was recommended for sushi. My friend and I went there for lunch and gravitated toward their bowl options and wow, they were delicious. I definitely want to go back and try their sushi though!

Cha Bella – This one is lower on my list but still wanted to include it as it’s a solid option if a lot of the other popular spots are booked. I really enjoyed their gnocchi.

Vic’s on The River – As you may have guessed by the name, this is one of the nicer spots on the river. I actually got stuck on a work call and was not able to make lunch here but my friends went and said it was nice. She said the fried green tomatoes were mediocre but the rest was good. I feel like it’s probably overrated due to its great location by the river.

Lunch / Brunch / Baked Goods

Gryphon Tea Room If you know me, you know I love a nice high tea experience. Champagne, little bites with explosive flavors, unique tea selections, and cute tea cups… what is there not to like? While some of the tea rooms that appeared in popular Savannah articles were not open anymore, the Gryphon did not disappoint. Located in a beautiful historical building and operated by SCAD, it was the perfect way to spend my birthday afternoon.

The Public Kitchen & Bar – We walked in for lunch and had a great experience. My husband loved his burger and I found my salad super refreshing.

The Crab Shack Although this is technically in Tybee Island (~25 minutes away from Savannah), I still wanted to include it on this list. It’s such a fun spot to get seafood –it truly lives up to its name. I loved sitting outside and the waiter even showed me how to properly eat a crawfish. Cool experience but will likely not order them again. Too much work for little meat.

Collins Quarter – This Australian Café was great for brunch. We sat outside and enjoyed people (dog) watching while sharing several breakfast plates. Pro tip: schedule a morning tour of the Juliet Gordon Low Birthplace and then cross the street for brunch at Collins Quarter.

Common – The brunch here was spectacular. If you go, please order their Good Morning Mac & Cheese. Your stomach may regret it but your happy soul never will.

Debi’s Restaurant – We stumbled here after trying to get breakfast at B. Matthews Eatery and failing miserably. To be fair, I think we were the last couple seated at Debi’s before a rush of people came through. A simple, homey feel with great food. I had their special which was some sort of lobster omelette and it was delicious.

The Paris Market – This charming boutique has a cute little café perfect for enjoying your coffee with a delicious baked good. I also found some unique gifts while browsing through the store.

Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken – As mentioned above, this spot was right across the street from one of the Airbnbs we stayed in and it was clutch. Fast and delicious, do yourself a favor and try their righteous chicken.

The Little Crown by Pie Society – This spot sells, you guessed it, pies! While I did not grow up with pies, I feel like the musical Waitress really helped me fall in love with these tasty dishes. Their pies did not disappoint. Most orders are made to-go but they do have a few seating options on the back if you want to eat it on the spot.

Drinks

The Peregrin & The Wayward – Both spots are part of The Perry Lane hotel and their cocktails are fantastic. Check out The Peregrin for sunset rooftop cocktails and then go down to The Wayward for a nightcap. Don’t miss the side room with a couple of arcade games if you are feeling playful.

Mint to Be Mojito Go here for some empanadas and you guessed it, mojitos! Stay for the surprise in the back. Warning, there may be some dancing involved for access. 

Bösendorfer Lounge at The Mansion on Forsyth Park – We first sort of stumbled into this bar after strolling down Forsyth Park. Both times we had no issues finding a post and getting a drink before walking over to whatever was our next destination. I’ve heard good things about the hotel’s restaurant, 700 Drayton, but have yet to try it.

Myrtle & Rose This cute rooftop garden is a must when you are strolling down by the river. I can’t vouch for the food or drinks but the view alone makes it worth it.

What to do in Savannah

Contrary to what this blog post may portray, there is more to do in Savannah besides eating. 😉 

River Street – You need to make your way down to River Street and stroll by the river to your heart’s content. As I mentioned above, there are several cool rooftop spots that will give you great views, especially at sunset.

Forsyth Park – After exploring River Street and all its quirks, make your way down to Forsyth Park through Bull Street. You’ll stumble upon a lot of cute little shops along the way. Depending on the weather, you will likely see plenty of local artists in the park showcasing their unique work. I still regret not buying a painting of Forrest Gump sitting on a bench with Pikachu.

Juliet Gordon Low Birthplace Whether you were a Girl Scout or not, I definitely recommend visiting the birthplace of Juliet Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts in the US. You don’t need to be familiarized with the scouting movement to appreciate the history and stories of the house and its past inhabitants. I recommend you check out their site before you visit as tours were by appointment only last year. 

Prohibition MuseumI am not gonna lie, from first glance I thought the Prohibition Museum was going to be super cheesy. To my surprise, however, I ended up learning a ton! From the loss of tax revenue to the hoops people jumped through to get some sort of alcohol, there are some twisted historical facts you’ll see on display. I definitely recommend a visit. We were easily able to walk in during the day on a Friday and just get our tickets at the door.

Pedal Pub I know a lot of cities now have this (heck, I saw one in Augusta, GA!) but I have to tell you, it was a blast. I now have done this twice in Savannah, once for my friend’s birthday (more bachelorette vibes) and once with a couple of friends (more chill). Both times were a blast and given Savannah’s open container laws, it’s a super seamless transition from pedal pub to bar. The pedal pub is a great way to explore new bars and make note of what places you want to return to later. 

Haunted Pub Crawl I am a scaredy cat when it comes to horror movies, ghost stories, etc. but I figured when in Savannah, let’s do a ghost tour! I left the research for this in the hands of my husband and he booked us what ended up being a fantastic tour. If you are interested in a ghost pub crawl, you have to go with Spooky Steve. Not only did we visit a variety of bars all over historic Savannah, but his storytelling is also excellent. I even ended up learning a little bit of history in the process!

Still on my list…

There’s always a next time, right? Anything I should add?

Leopold’s Ice cream

The Grey

700 Drayton Restaurant

Common Thread

Treylor Park

B. Matthew’s Eatery

Hitch

Bull Street Taco

St. Neo’s Brasserie

Rancho Alegre

Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market

Garibaldi’s

Flock to the Wok

Sorry Charlie’s Oyster Bar

Alleycat Lounge

Artillery Bar

Sting Ray’s Seafodd (Tybee Island)

I hope you find this post helpful! I love Savannah and want more people to experience the magic of this city. What are your favorite spots in Savannah?

How I fell in love with Portugal’s wine country and other Portuguese tales [Vol 2. Douro]

cristina nogueras photography portugal douro

I had already shared how I was not expecting much on the wine front from Portugal before our visit. Shameful, I know. You may associate port wine with Porto but did you know that the grapes are actually harvested in the Douro region? In fact, if they are not from there, it’s not technically port wine. The process may slightly vary by the producer but in general, grapes are harvested and transported to Porto where they are stored for aging and eventually consumption. Also, there is a LOT more to this beautiful wine region than port wine, we tasted plenty of other varieties that were just absolutely wonderful.

For our trip, we decided to rent a car in order to travel through all of our stops:

Porto -> Douro -> Fatima -> Albufeira -> Lisboa

I 100% recommend renting a car if you can, as it not only gives you freedom from schedules but you can also explore at your own pace and change things up as you go if you so desire.

cristina nogueras photography portugal douro quinta nova

For our stay in Douro we stayed at Quinta Nova Nossa Senhora do Carmo, which you can see in this photo. When looking at where to stay in Douro, I saw plenty of gorgeous quintas in the region but I wanted to make sure we could stay in a quinta that offered wine tastings and actually had a vineyard. Our stay was short but wonderful. Due to time constraints, we actually did not leave the quinta once we got there and honestly have no regrets.

cristina nogueras photography portugal douro quinta nova wine and cheese vacation

We began our stay with a wonderful spread of ham and cheese and started tasting some of the wonderful selections from Quinta Nova right away. Their reserva was one of our favorites and definitely affordable considering the quality and taste, says the girl that is happy with a $10 bottle of wine at the liquor store, but you get it. 🙂

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My favorite part was walking through the vineyards, just me and Brian. There was not another soul in sight and the weather was absolutely perfect, not too hot or too cold. This region is truly a beauty and the landscape is breathtaking, unlike anything I had seen before. It’s also very calm, the kind of vibes you have to stop for and take a moment to really take it in because it’s a magical experience.

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Quinta Nova offers a delicious dinner with a chef’s menu and of course, dedicated wine pairings. Each course was a unique experience and everything was purely exquisite. Dinner wouldn’t have been completed without an excellent dessert and of course, port wine.

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The breakfast selection the next day was also delicious but the best part was enjoying it all with a morning view. I mean, how often do we allow ourselves to not only enjoy breakfast time but enjoy it with this kind of view. Good coffee, good food and knowing that the day can only get better. That’s what vacation should feel like.

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You can never have enough of something wonderful, right? I would have loved to stay longer in this region and explore further. If you have the time, definitely recommend you explore other quintas and even take a boat through the river. Even if you are tight for time and can’t stay for the night, Douro is not far from Porto and you can do a day trip to get a taste of the magic (it’s only a little over an hour drive).

Stay tuned for more of my Portugal series and feel free to message me if you are planning to visit and have any questions about my experiences. 🙂

cristina nogueras photography portugal douro quinta nova

How I fell in love with canned fish and other Portuguese tales [Vol. I: Porto]

I want to start this post by apologizing to Portugal.

I must admit, Portugal was our second choice for a trip that for months we had been envisioning as a Greek adventure. I’m pretty sure Brian and I were talking about doing our one year anniversary in Greece when we were still in Thailand for our honeymoon. Disgusting, I know. Timing, flights and curiosity slowly led us to consider Portugal more and more. First it was going to be a second stop in our trip but as we uncovered all the potential we decided we were going to dive in completely and we are so glad we did. (Don’t worry Greece, I’m still coming for you!)

I will be doing a series for every stop we made in Portugal in order to truly make it justice. I will be sharing what we did but also, a lot of recommendations I collected before the trip (and during it) that we were not able to discover.

Let’s start with the wonder that is Porto. Jetlagged as we were and with some time before we could check into our Airbnb, we did not miss a beat and found ourselves having breakfast by theriver. We had no set plans, just a list of choices. What did we do? We propped ourselves outside a local restaurant, drank wine and watched the people walk by. To be fair, we did walk in the church of Saõ Francisco on the way and explored some of its barroque beauty.

Let me tell you, Portuguse wines are so underrated. Maybe it’s because I am not a sommelier but when I hear people rave about European wines, it’s always French, Italian and Spanish wines… but Portugal? Not so much or at all. Sure, we hear all about the wonder that is Porto (the wine) but I was pleasantly surprised to see (and taste) all the different varieties they have to offer.

For our first dinner in Portugal, we went to Wine Quay Bar. This was a place we had seen mentioned in various lists and I really liked that it brought together a lot of Portugal delicacies in a “tapas” style menu. The cheese, meats and olives were superb but oh my goodness… the bacalhau. Not sure how you feel about cod (bacalhau) but I grew up with my grandma’s Puerto Rican “bacalaitos” (cod fritters) and to me cod has always been associated with fried greatness that you should not have too often. Well, Portuguese have been doing it right all these years (sorry, grandma!). The cod we had here was soft and full of so much rich, yet delicate flavor. I don’t think my description can do it justice. 

I knew canned fish was a delicacy in Portugal and I was excited to try it but to be honest, I never expected to fall in love with it like I did. There are currently about 12 cans of different fish varieties in my kitchen. No day feels special enough for us to dig in just yet. Brian wants me to add that he was not a huge fan of the cod but was obsessed with the spicy tuna that they serve (also in a can). The saddest part is that I could not buy the exact cod they had at the restaurant because they ran out. The waitress was telling us about how cod is not as abundant as it used to be. There are issues with over fishing and people respecting sea borders. Really a shame since a lot of people, like them, have grounded their business around cod.

You really can’t go to Porto and not experience a Porto wine tasting. Like I said, we did not have set plans but for this, I recommend you do a little research and look to reserve beforehand. We were lucky to be able to walk in and just get a spot in Cockburn’s Port and had a great experience. First of all, I didn’t know port came in whites! Refreshing to start the tour with a port and tonic, even though I realized once more that I just don’t like tonic.

Did you know that port wine has about 20 % alcohol volume? You feel it. It’s good.

Porto (technically Gaia) houses all the port wines for aging but the grapes are actually harvested in the Douro Valley region. Just like champagne is not champagne if it’s not from Champagne, France – port wine is also only port wine if it comes from this region. Lucky us, Douro Valley was our next stop! More to come on that in an upcoming post.

So yes, this is a Francesinha (missing the fried egg on top). It’s a signature plate in Porto that I feel I have no authority to criticize. Essentially, this plate is available in almost every restaurant that serves Portuguese food but I was being such a brat that I didn’t want to order it if it wasn’t from the places “the internet” said are the best. The way our day ended up flowing, we were not near the famous Cafe Santiago when it was time to eat so Brian convinced me to let it go and just order it where we were. It was alright. Plot twist, we ended up having the best Francesinha in Lisbon from a restaurant with a chef from Porto. I will share more on that when I write about Lisbon!

The whole thing was so silly and has really got me thinking about the way I want to travel. I don’t want to miss out on the good stuff that other people have discovered but I also want to take my own chances and discover for myself  the wonders that are out there. We worry too much about what other’s have lived that sometimes we forget to make adventures of our own.

This was the case for our anniversary dinner. We tried to get reservations in some of the popular places but they were all full. We ended up walking by this small and cozy restaurant that was playing live Fado – exactly what I wanted for such a special evening. I was hesitant to trust our anniversary dinner in a restaurant that was unknown to us but Brian ignited the explorer in me and we went for it. I am so glad he did, as our dinner at Terreirinho Restaurant was the most special dinner of our entire trip. Who would have thought?

And that, my friends, was the view from our AirBnb. It was affordable and with a great location, here’s the link if you are interested!

Here are some other food spots we did not get to try but totally encourage you to consider. If you do end up going to Porto and trying some, let me know what you think!

Any Porto food recommendations you think I should add? Let me know!

You can see more from my Portugal travels on my Instagram. 🙂

[Dinner] Sorellina’s Twist On Some Classics

Finally made it to Sorellina, a nice recently opened spot in Hoboken. Happy to report back that I was not disappointed! It was not too crowded, but then again, temperatures were below freezing so I would still recommend you check out Resy for a reservation, we had no issues.

We started off with some appetizers and if you know me, you know I can’t say “no” to burrata. In addition, we went for the roasted cauliflower and it was absolutely amazing. The charred onions and the breadcrumbs gave it the perfect crunch.

As for the main course, I went for the Cacio e Pepe Conchiglie. It’s not your average Cacio e Pepe as it has milk-braised pork and it features a different type of pasta. Still, I took a chance and it was very good. If you are craving Cacio e Pepe and are 100% set on it, order something else but if you appreciate what makes Cacio e Pepe amazing at the base and are open to exploring something different, go for it!

Brian went with the Bucatini Genovese and he was also very pleased although I must be honest and say he kept trying to eat off my plate. 🙂

Overall, I definitely want to go back and try different plates to keep tasting their unique flavors and fusions.

Have you been yet? Any recommendations?

[Lunch & Dinner] Charlie Bird

If you know me, you know I have a slight obsession with Charlie Bird‘s farro salad. Why obsess over a salad, you ask? Because it’s delicious, fresh, intriguing and somewhat guilt-free.

Charlie Bird NYC Farro Salad Beaches & Brie

This salad helped me appreciate pistachios in a brand new way because YES, it has pistachios! The parmesan shavings on top just add another level of saltiness greatness, making each bite come to life a bit more.

I have yet to recreate this salad at home but NYT Cooking and All Day I Eat have some great ideas on how to start!

Charlie Bird Cacio e Pepe NYC restaurant Beaches & Brie

Another Charlie Bird favorite? Their Cacio e Pepe. Creamy but so good, I mean, just look at it! They also have a prix fix lunch menu during the week where you can get a small plate (think: farro salad)  AND a pasta for $32. Not super cheap, I know, but it’s worth treating yourself to a nice lunch if you are in the area, especially if it’s a nice day out and you can take advantage of their outdoor seating.

gnocchi Charlie Bird Beaches & Brie

The gnocchi is also another solid option. Try starting with the burrata option, another great pick, but NEVER as a substitution to the farro salad. Promise?

charlie bird burrata nyc beaches & brie

[Thailand] My Friends, The Elephants

elephant jungle sanctuary cristina nogueras beaches & brie thailand

I can’t remember who was the first person to tell me to watch where I was going to see elephants in Thailand, I just remember knowing that I needed to educate myself instead of just showing up somewhere random. I knew I wanted to see these beautiful animals, I just wanted to do it responsibly so that I wasn’t contributing to their pain.

Through research and personal accounts of people living in Thailand, I found The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. The elephants in the sanctuary have been rescued from riding camps or other places where they were treated unfairly and abused. There, they are provided with everything they need within a safe space. Some may argue that they are still not in ideal conditions, but it’s better than what they had before. Also, as one of the volunteers argued, they have been captive for so long, they are not fit to survive in the wild on their own. Elephants are not meant to be ridden, it’s not natural for them.

We arrived to the sanctuary on the back of a mini truck, well aware that we were in for adventure and that we were going to be in the throws with the elephants.

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We started by changing our shirts and wearing the traditional karen clothing so that the elephants would feel more familiar with us. In order to really win their friendship from the start, we fed them lots of bananas. Literally banana after banana, after banana… they can really eat!

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We walked around and brought them sugar canes for them to eat. Again, impressive to watch these beautiful beasts eat. This one even tried to eat my GoPro.

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I must admit I was a bit scared. They are beautiful, yet intimidating beasts. They were gentle and friendly and to me, it was scary to think they could be so friendly that they could hurt me without realizing so. For example, being together on the river, a quick playful roll could have basically killed me. Maybe it was just me being cautious, but those thoughts were always in the back of my mind.

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Still, I was able to enjoy and admire them up close and in their natural habitat. We literally got into the mud with them, I went in barefoot to a pile of God knows what. I legit probably stepped on their poop more than once but hey, I did not come all the way to Thailand to stay clean and watch from afar, right?

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The mud made jumping in to the river 10 times more amazing. Sure, the elephants still pooped on the water there, but hey, at least I could clean myself! It was really an experience like no other. The closeness with nature (think walking barefoot through the jungle) and the majesty of these animals (think huge elephant running around like a puppy) was just absolutely incredible.

elephant jungle sanctuary cristina nogueras beaches & brie thailand

elephant jungle sanctuary cristina nogueras beaches & brie thailand

This day really made me want to continue exploring ecotourism. It was interesting, yet not surprising, that the group was composed of people like me from around the world (mid/late twenties all the way to mid/late thirties) hungry for meaningful experiences that do not cause harm and help you learn about the awesome world we live in.

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[Dinner AND Brunch] Welcome to the neighborhood, Union Hall!

In case you missed it, Union Hall finally opened up its doors last week. I was skeptical going in but very hopeful that I could potentially find here my new favorite spot.

Spoiler alert: it did not disappoint.

The vibe is super chill and all their menu is based on small plates. I didn’t know this going in, but it’s the same owners as Brass Rail and Stewed Cow. The chef was also in Chopped and well, to me that’s pretty cool. Staff was super nice and you can tell they are excited to work there, which is always a plus.

Enough about people, let’s talk food.

Or wait, let’s talk drinks for a second. They have $5 martinis on Wednesdays! Their dirty martini is actually pretty darn good. I would have liked to have some blue cheese inside my olives but that’s ok, I’ll let it pass. They have great specials every day of the week including $2 Union Brew mugs every. single. day.

Ok, now for food, for real.


They may look like hush puppies, but these are actually french onion soup mac and cheese balls! They even come with their own little broth on the side, delicious. Tip: don’t be afraid to embrace the broth! (Did I say these were great?)


They had three sliders that you could order individually, but we decided to go all out and try the 3 of them out: veggie, turkey burger, and lobster. Brian and I both agreed the veggie slider was the best because the sauce was so good.


I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen plenty of pins on Pinterest and videos on Facebook about the wonder that is cauliflower fried rice. I’ve been meaning to cook it at home but I’m always too lazy. Union Hall is the first restaurant I’ve been to that offers cauliflower fried rice as part of their menu. It was probably the best part of the meal. Plus, it comes in this cute little take-out style box so, totally recommend it.

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Source: Union Hall

We also got a hanger steak with blue cheese that made me think why I don’t order more steaks with blue cheese. I love blue cheese or any cheese for that matter, I guess.


That may look like a tall shot of something creamy but it’s actually a mini milkshake! The waiter explained how they have different special milkshakes every day and the day we went in it was fruit loops. I must admit I was waiting for a mini version of those Black Tap shakes that can give you diabetes so I was a little disappointed when it didn’t have an actual fruit loop in it, but boy oh boy, it was SO good. It tasted like those last drops of milk from the fruit loop bowl.

Noooooooooooooow… BRUNCH!

First, they have $2 mimosas! Can’t tell you how they were because I didn’t have one (stupid, I know) but I will be back and can update based on the verdict. Again, $2 mimosas!


Breakfast tacos for the win. Get them with bacon, it was actually quite perfectly crisped. I can get picky about bacon and there’s nothing worse than a soft piece of bacon. (That’s what she said? No? Ok, sorry.) Their avocado toast was ok, but not something to die for. (You should never die for an avocado toast, anyways.) It’s a nice side to share but by no means it should be one of your main plates.


Their skillets were actually really good. If I hadn’t been so full with the breakfast taco I would have killed them all but thank goodness I brought Brian along. We had one inspired by eggs Benedict and the other one had goat cheese and some other great stuff.

There’s still so much I want to try over at Union Hall so stay tuned on my Instagram for future posts. I’m determined to try everything on their menu so let’s see how it goes. 

P.S. Their coffee was pretty good too!

 

 

[Dinner] Casa Apicii

Do I try a new restaurant for a chance of greatness or do I go back to a restaurant I already know and love?

This is hands down my biggest challenge when deciding where to go eat. Sometimes I feel defeated by the realization that I will never be able to eat at every single restaurant in NYC and just opt for a classic spot, but more times than not I go to my ever-growing restaurant bucket list and just pull the trigger. 

Last week I went to Casa Apicii and despite the heat inside their back dining area, had an amazing meal.

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Let’s start with their house cocktail, the Casa Apicii. Their online menu says this drink is made with vodka, crème de peche, aloe, lemon and bitters… but I could have sworn the menu at the table said something about ginger. I love ginger. Still, whatever it had, it was absolutely amazing. Not too sweet or too bitter, and super refreshing.

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Next, the burrata. I mean, burrata by itself is already all my little heart needs but for it to come served on top of a pea purée with some crunchy, yet super thin bacon strips? Perfection. All the flavors came together nicely and took the burrata to the next level. Yes, such a next level exists.

pasta cristina nogueras beaches and brie

Last but not least (because let’s face it, am I really gonna have space for dessert?) … pasta! Now, before you go ahead and judge me for what looks like a very plain dish, let me tell you that the pasta was insanely good. It is as thick as pasta can be before it crosses the line to being too thick. It was also perfectly and evenly cooked. I don’t think I had ever enjoyed a pasta this thick. The sauce was not super heavy, yet it was loaded with flavor. Can’t go wrong with a classic! Brian had the pasta alla carbonara but was too hungry to let me take a picture of his plate. Ah, marriage.

Oh yeah, I got married. 🙂 (How about I tell you more about that soon?)

Back to Casa Apicii. Great meal, but come prepared to spend a little bit as things add up pretty quickly. Afterwards, you can enjoy a stroll through the neighborhood and admire the gorgeous buildings. Or you can be like me, get on the Path back to Hoboken and accidentally stop by Insomnia Cookies. 🙂

[Lunch] Italian Patio Vibes in Greenwich Village

In the hustle and bustle that can be New York City, I am always delighted to find a little oasis that makes you feel like you’ve traveled elsewhere, even if it’s just for a moment or in this case, a meal. Romagna Ready 2 Go is an authentic Italian restaurant, you can taste their commitment to quality food from your first bite.

Instead of starting with an appetizer, me and my friend decided to split a piadina. It resembles a panini, but it’s not quite the same. The stracchino cheese used was excellent and left me wanting for more.

For the main event, we went with two of the classics: the traditional cannelloni with ricotta and spinach and the lasagna. Both were made with fresh pasta and the combination of ingredients was the perfect culmination to our meal.

Romagna Garden

Just like the food, the space is full of little authentic Italian treasures, like the owner’s grandfather’s racing bicycle straight from Italy. Even if you are not in the mood to stuff your face with fresh Italian food (which if you are not, I’m judging you) the vibe at their outdoor patio is always welcoming and perfect for anything from a business lunch to meeting friends for a drink after work.

 

* Thank you to Romagna Ready 2 Go for a great meal and lovely service. Opinions are my own.*

Where I Ate (Stuffed My Face) In Nashville

They say Nasvhille is the new Vegas when it comes to bachelorette parties. This post has nothing to do with that.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be in Nashville for business. Work all day meant dinner was my way to get to know this awesome city, and boy did I eat…

Below I share my main meals in Music City, there’s really something for everyone. Please follow along in chronological order of my trip and no, I am not including Panera meals during the event, sorry.

Biscuit Love

This was the main place in my list. Not only did it come highly recommended by several trusted food sources, but they honor biscuits which is one of the best things in this earth. I went straight to business and ordered the fried chicken biscuit with gravy.

We were told, however, we needed to order the signature plate…

Just by looking at that picture I swear I lose my focus. These little babies are made of fried biscuit dough, lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote. We got to meet the owner and it turns out this was a special recipe her husband use to make her all the time. Talk about true LOVE.

The Standard at The Smith

We stumbled upon this place our first night in Nashville. We were hungry, had no reservations and just wanted to have a nice meal before a busy day ahead. A little off the hustle and bustle from Broadway, The Smith is the only grand townhouse remaining in downtown Nashville. As you walk in you are immediately transported back to an era where sophistication and good quality reigned.

I am not usually a dirty martini fan, but my colleagues said The Standard’s iteration was the best. Blue cheese-stuffed olives? I can get on board with that. Oh, and also, red velvet cookie for dessert.

Martin’s BBQ

I may not be a bbq connoisseur, but my oh my, this may have been the best bbq I’ve ever had. Just thinking back to it makes me salivate again. Fortunately, my coworkers also take bbq seriously and we ordered the Big Daddy Sampler: half a rack of ribs, half a pound of pork, half a pound of brisket, half a chicken, six wings, cole slaw, mac and cheese, french fries and baked beans. Oh, and bread. Safe to say we did some serious damage.

Union Common

Nashville Food Smoked Chilled smoked mussels. At first we were confused at the thought of something that is both chill and smoked. It turns out they smoke the mussels to give them that authentic bbq taste, then they are served chilled with a special hot sauce. The result is an explosion in your mouth that your brain can’t put together. Is it bbq? Is it sea food? It’s a total experience.

Chuy’s

Chuy's Taco Salad

Funky, chill and delicious. That’s how I would describe Chuy’s. This wouldn’t be my first stop in Nashville because it’s a chain, it’s the kind of food that I can find elsewhere and it’s not even from Nashville, HOWEVER, it did not disappoint. It was a nice break from all the smoke and bbq, the ambiance in itself makes it a great night.

The Southern

The Southern Nashville Food Oysters

We ended the trip with one of the places that was on my list to begin with. We definitely recommend reservations. My favorite part? They fly their oysters in fresh every single morning. I personally love that kind of commitment to sea food! They had a nice selection of cocktails, definitely try something a little bit out of your element, you might be surprised!

Due to lack of reservations and time, I was not able to hit all the places in my list. Etch, Husk, Acme Feed + Seed, Loveless Cafe, Pancake Pantry and Rolf & Daughters were also recommended and they will be top of my list next time I am in town!

Here’s to country music, nice people and cowboy boots!

Nashville