United States

18 things to eat, see & do in New Orleans

Can you believe it’s been five years since my first blog post about a road trip to New Orleans? Since then, I’ve been back twice. I wanted to update the blog with some of my favorite stops in one of my favorite cities in the world. 

St. Charles Street Car: ride the oldest continuously operated street car in the world and see views of historic New Orleans homes as you ride from St. Charles to Bourbon & Canal! 

Frozen Irish Coffee at Erin Rose: it’s as tasty as it sounds and I never miss this when visiting NOLA. If you get a large, it comes in a souvenir cup you can take home. 

Elizabeth’s: this is a cool spot in the Bywater neighborhood, and EVERYTHING on the brunch menu is delicious. Think Bloody Mary, chicken and waffles, French toast burrito, praline bacon and more!

Dr. Bob’s Art: after your stuff yourself at Elizabeth’s, walk down the street to find Dr. Bob’s for some cool local pieces large and small. I’ve taken one home and love it!

Cafe du Monde: seat yourself and enjoy iconic beignets and cafe au lait in the French Quarter. Cash only!

Walk along the Mississippi: after chowing down on French donuts, take a walk with views of North America’s second longest river.

Charbroiled Oysters at Drago’s: they taste like butter – yum! Great introduction to oysters for the newbies, too.

Pimm’s Cup at the Carousel Bar: head to the bar at Hotel Monteleone and wait to snag a spot at the carousel – it’s worth it! There are tons of fresh cocktail options, but I love the Pimm’s Cup because, when in NOLA…!

Hand grenade on Bourbon St: gotta try it at least once.

Hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s: it tastes like punch and you get a pretty glass to take home.

Pool day at Ace Hotel: go during happy hour to enjoy discounted cocktails from the rooftop pool.

Jazz Brunch at Court of Two Sisters: make a reservation, and try to go earlier in the day to beat the crowd and spend less time in the buffet line and more time drinking mimosas.

Johnny’s Po Boys: you won’t regret chowing down on seafood gumbo and a fried shrimp po boy! Cash only if I remember correctly.

Swamp Tour: get out of the city and up close and personal with some ‘gators!

Umbrella Girl: see if you can find this famous street art by the mysterious Banksy.

Italian on Frenchmen at Adolfo’s: class it up and stuff your face with delicious pasta. Plenty of jazz bars down the road for after-dinner entertainment.

Eat a Praline: seriously, do it. And remember that Louisianians pronounce it with a soft “a” like prah-leene.

Willie Mae’s: I’ve never been here but have heard from a trusted source that this is the best fried chicken you will ever eat. Plus, I wanted to make this list an even number.

Weekend in Portland, Oregon: Hiking, Tiki Bars, Shopping and Coffee

The Pacific Northwest United States is one of my favorite summertime destinations (after Colorado). I recently spent a long weekend in the Portland, Oregon area and want to share some highlights!

Wander Opal Creek Trail

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That’s my mom in orange. We found a great spot to eat lunch by the water!

According to AllTrails, Opal Creek Trail is 6.4 miles out and back and rated easy. Take a relaxing hike through lush forest trails, explore an abandoned saw mill and stop for lunch or take a dip in emerald colored pools. This was a fun and easy hike. After about 4 miles, we veered down to the creek for a relaxing lunch near some falls. I couldn’t believe the color of the water! We arrived to the trail parking lot around noon on a Friday. There was plenty of parking lot and the trail was not crowded at all.

Have Dinner at a Tiki Bar

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So, Tiki Bars aren’t really a thing in Dallas (where I live now), but they totally are in Portland. I’m not mad about it. We had dinner and drinks at Hale Pele and it did not disappoint! They have an overwhelming cocktail list with  more than 50 exotic choices. Honestly, I don’t even recall what I ordered but I don’t think you can go wrong. We ordered an array of small plates for dinner – I loved the wings, tacos and Hawaiian bread! The atmosphere is fun and intimate – I won’t give away all the surprises though!

After Dinner Coffee

Weird = awesome. And Rimsky-Korsakoffee House is totally that. They only serve coffee and dessert (not even booze) and don’t open until 7 p.m. It’s intimate, weird and fun with delicious coffee. We came on a Saturday night and there was live music which was nice! I had a cappuccino with hemp milk. If you’re in Portland – go here for your after dinner drinks!

Eat Oysters at EaT: An Oyster Bar

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I had a blast at EaT: An Oyster Bar – not to mention delicious fresh oysters, fried oysters and maybe a couple oyster shooters! Whenever I’m in a region with fresh seafood, I love to indulge. This is the perfect place for that and in an adorable neighborhood in Portland.

Sprinkle in Some Shopping, Coffee and Lunch on 23rd Street

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I spent the morning and afternoon exploring 23rd street with my mom and had so much fun! I started the day off with a cortado from Barista and some treats from Blue Star Donuts. The injectable creme brulee donut was fun, and I LOVED the lavender and pear fritter. Yum!

Then we shopped around the numerous boutiques – I really liked 3 Monkeys, Ipnosi and Hip Hound. Hip Hound is a pet store that also has a coffee bar called Java Hound, how cool is that? They have a great selection of flavored lattes with house-made syrups and will add CBD oil to any drink. Probably the most Portland thing ever. If you bring your pup and get a drink, he/she gets a free puppaccino!

We took a break between shopping with brunch at The Fireside. They had a cool atmosphere, great menu, tasty food. It was a little overpriced in my opinion, but hey, I’m on vacation.

That was my whirlwind of a trip in Portland. I’ll definitely be back, so let me know what you recommend for next time in the comments below!

 

4 things to do in Colorado that aren’t hiking or skiing

About exactly a year ago, I went on my first summertime trip to Colorado and fell in love! I’m reminiscing now and hoping to go back in August but wanted to share the other things we did in Durango, Colorado that weren’t hiking. If you’re into hiking, click here for 4 must-see trails in Durango! 

Wine Tasting

We had a lovely time at Four Leaves Winery in downtown Durango! They have a wine tasting option on the menu which I strongly recommend. Between four people, we sipped through almost the entire list. They have a big selection of fruit wines which were delicious and so fun to taste. You also have the option to make your own blend and take it home!

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Dinner and a Show

For a fun and family friendly evening, complete with singing cowboys and food on a metal tray, go to Bar D Chuckwagon! I had never been to something like this but it was pretty fun for a relaxing night out! Click here for reservation and ticket information.

Good Coffee

Duh. Be sure to visit 81301 Coffee Roasters. Their cold brew on tap is some of the best I’ve had! We bought a bag of beans to brew while staying in Colorado and another to take home. Great coffee!

Train

We planned to ride the Durango Train for a fun rest day and some photography opportunities. However, we all opted for MORE HIKING instead! This will be part of a future itinerary of mine. However, I’m including it here because it looks like a fun way to see some gorgeous scenery without the hike. Check out the website for details, schedule, ticket pricing and more.

Do you have anything to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Here’s a bonus picture of my dog… because he’s the best!

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