Restaurant for Two: a feature where I bring a friend to a restaurant and we write a review together. John is a foodie, so we made a date night out of it.
From start to finish, our meal at Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille in Oak Brook was delightful. The service was impeccable; everyone – the hostess, our waiter, the Nutty D’Angelo maker (see below for video) – was polite, friendly, and willing to answer any questions we had. Starting right at dinner time, the lights were turned way down low to set the mood, the wine wall was fully stocked, and the pianist was crooning jazz.
Because we were there for a tasting for this review, John and I were served multiple dishes that were sized down so we could fit it all in. Please note that dishes are smaller in these pictures than they will be when served to you!
Our first course was served with a mini martini trio; the drinks menu offers nearly a dozen options for you to add to the trio. We were treated with Perry’s new Smoky Rita (Hornita’s Black Barrel tequila, fresh-pressed lime juice and agave nectar, with a habanero rim); the Mango Passion Fizz (mango passion Belvedere vodka, peach liquour, fresh-pressed lemon & lime juice, Chandon brut champagne); and the Mai Tai (two types of rum and fresh lime juice with a hibiscus rim and edible orchid).
Continue reading Restaurant for Two: Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille
Known for its laid-back, hippy vibe, Pai is a 3-hour drive from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Most hostels in Chiang Mai can get you set up with a ticket for a mini-bus; some travelers brave the many, many hills, twists, and turns by renting a scooter as well. I was in Pai for 3 days which proved the perfect amount to fit in everything I wanted to see, but there are a lot of people who fall in love with Pai and never leave. I can’t say I was that enamored, though I did enjoy the relaxed feel and yummy street food.
While I did have a nightmare hostel for one night, I moved accommodation and can fully endorse Carrot on the Moon hostel. The service was great and the free breakfast was amazing.
Continue reading Pai, Thailand
In December, I traveled solo for one week to northern Thailand. It wasn’t my first time taking a trip by myself, and I’ve written multiple posts about how much I’ve enjoyed being alone.
And while I met some really lovely people on the trip and enjoyed myself overall, I felt pretty lonely most of the time. When my carefully laid out plans got cancelled (on multiple occasions), I had no one else to turn to and say, “What’s next?” When the first hostel I stayed at in Pai was a nightmare, I texted friends at home and said, “What do I do?!” instead of hashing it out with someone else IRL. When I was tired and couldn’t muster up the strength to leave my bed, I needed someone to shove me out and say, “You’re only here for one Sunday! Don’t miss the Sunday market!!”
Continue reading The Downsides of Solo Travel
Restaurant for Two: a feature where I bring a friend to a restaurant and we write a review together. Thanks to John for joining me at Ixcateco! I’ve eaten dinner at Ixcateco and was lucky enough to try brunch recently as well. Check out my review on their dinner, too!
Ixcateco Grill in the Albany Park neighborhood presents authentic Southern Mexican cuisine. Chef Anselmo Ramirez uses fresh, locally-sourced organic or sustainably-raised ingredients as often as possible. This BYOB restaurant is packed for dinner every weekend, but the brunch crowd was scarce and not because the food isn’t great. Brunch service at Ixcateco is new, so I expect that people will come. It’s not located in the most convenient area, but the fresh ingredients, friendly service, and innovative cuisine make it worth the trek.
Continue reading Restaurant for Two: Ixcateco Grill, Brunch Edition
I have stayed in hostels a handful of times and have always had pleasant experiences. The people I met were nice. The accommodations, while sometimes sparse, were doable. The facilities were clean. Until…December 14, 2016.
On this day, I was faced with the worst hostel I could imagine (well, minus the horror movie type), at Common Grounds, in Pai, Thailand. I knew from the second I walked in that I was not going to be happy there. Reluctantly, I paid $18 for the three nights I’d signed up for (hey, it had good reviews online!).
Walking past the many stoners hanging out on beanbags in the outdoor verandah, the staff led me to my room: a 4-bed room with an in-room bathroom. The room was shabby, and I had flashes of bedbugs in my mind. As I was unpacking, I heard many other patrons being led to their rooms and one piece of instruction was a little different than what I’d gotten:
Continue reading Accommodation Nightmare
I moved back from Hong Kong in 2012. I loved my life there and have regretted very little, though I have slightly chastised myself the past 4.5 years for not being more adventurous with food. Specifically, I wish I had gone to more Hong Kong style local cafes and tried the cuisine for which they’re famous. Sure I ate Chinese food, including yum cha (dim sum), but I rarely went and definitely never went alone. So this time when I visited HK, I made it my mission to try just 2 things I always wanted to have but never did: milk tea and egg waffles. I’m not sure if I didn’t have these when I lived here because I was scared, but this time I was going to conquer whatever it was that held me back and I was going to do it alone, by golly!
So, on my last day in Hong Kong, I yelped the best place for milk tea near me and an indoor market right down the street from my old house popped up. It was a place I’d walked by hundreds of times and never stopped in. I walked in, was the only white person, sat down at a communal table and ordered myself a cold milk tea. I took in my surroundings and sipped away.
Continue reading I Regret Nothing