Turn right after Waffle House??? These are my kind of directions!
I got lost going to work once (ok twice) because the house that I turn left at took down their white picket fence, so I drove right past it. I still can’t tell you what the name of the street is, but they put their fence back up, so we’re good! Ha.
I thought most of the people flying on Valentine’s Day would be on their way to see loved ones, but the majority of the passengers on my flight were headed to see Bruno Mars. Or at least that’s what their hooligans jerseys led me to believe…
I managed to snap this without getting elbowed in the face by all the asians with selfie sticks. My mom was one of them. Just kidding (she forgot hers at home).
(@ The LINQ Promenade)
I’ll have to make my way back here, if only for Virgil’s Real BBQ. And maybe that cute guy covering Stone Temple Pilots inside.
There are five Shake Shacks in LA, but we still ate here three times during our trip! We even schlepped across town with our luggage on our last day to get one last Shackburger and their limited edition Hot Chick’n when we found out we were flying out of the JFK terminal that doesn’t have a Shake Shack. We’re kind of obsessed.
This was our favorite meal of the trip (don’t let the fact that we ate at Shake Shack three times fool you). Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, the waitress came back midway through our meal to give us a second scrape!
Before we knew it, it was time to fly home. Anyone who knows me and my sister knows that we’re complete opposites. She’s a Potterhead, while I’m more Homicide for the Holidays! But we always have fun when we’re together. I can’t wait for our next trip!
Here’s a little video I put together of our trip. I kept it under a minute to fit the whole thing on insta, so I cut out the part where I fell down and also the part where Shi got pulled over, among other footage! Ha.
“The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears or the sea.” (@ McWay Falls)
It’s impossible to capture the beauty that is McWay Falls in a photograph (we came back three times to try!). It would have been perfect during magic hour, but we opted to test our friendship instead at Pfeiffer Beach. More on that below! Ha.
Across from McWay Falls, we stepped into this magical forest where we were happy to have the sun on our face and wood between our legs.
Beer tastes better when you drink it in a river! Just ask this babe (@ Big Sur River Inn)
You can find this Spirit Garden, a breakfast pizza that tastes like heaven, donuts topped with more donuts, and most importantly, the only cell phone signal you’ll get for miles and miles here (@ Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant)
They say that “nepenthe” is a potion used by the ancients to induce forgetfulness of pain or sorrow… I should’ve had more of these! (@ Nepenthe)
“It’s only 2.3 miles,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said (@ Pfeiffer Beach)
We wanted to catch the sunset at the beach, but the parking lot was full. We parked on the main road with 40 minutes till sunset and started our 2.3-mile trek. It was all downhill from there (figuratively and literally). I was wearing boots that were def not made for walking! I tried to run in them, and my hip flexor failed me LOL. I arrived just after the sun disappeared below the horizon. Luckily, Shi’s hip flexors worked perfectly fine, so she made it there in time and was able to snap this photo. After the sun set, we had to hike those 2.3 miles back uphill to the car. It was pitch black. Every tree looked like a bear. We were legit scared. And cold. And my phone was dead. We had brought scarves and beanies and portable battery chargers in preparation, but they were all in the car! We are the worst road trip duo ever, and it’s a miracle we made it back home alive! Ha.
My trip was cut short due to my grandma’s passing, and Anthony had the time of his life those first few days without me. He hit up the Dirty Sixth with Austin locals he made friends with and ended up giving one of them my Friday wristband. They saw all the bands I wanted to see. I’m bummed I missed Tame Impala and Leon Bridges among others, but luckily I didn’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour on Saturday and wait with him in that 4-hour line for Franklin. Day-old brisket reheated in a hotel microwave and eaten in my chonies still tasted better than any BBQ I’ve ever had in California!
I flew in Saturday night and met up with Anthony at an Irish pub downtown. Fado is the official US soccer bar in Austin, and it’s surrounded by gay bars on 4th Street. My uber driver was convinced he was taking me to see my gay friend once I told him where I was headed LOL. I mean, it would explain so much… After US lost to Mexico, we hit up Firehouse (a cool little speakeasy inside a hostel) and Rainey Street. I loved, loved, loved it there. Rainey Street is a block of old houses converted into themed bars. We stayed till last call, and all I remember from that night is a lot of Ludacris and stanky legs. You don’t realize how drunk you are until you’re walking the hotel halls in nothing but your dress slip looking for a beverage machine so you could wash down some tylenol at three in the morning.
We didn’t wake up early enough to stand in line for BBQ before the festival on Sunday, but we stopped by Torchy’s Tacos before we made our trek to Zilker Park. There was a lot of walking. Like. A LOT. Before, during and after the festival. In nearly 100 degree heat. And in sandals that had 0% arch support (but were 100% cute, obvs). This was definitely not Portland where we had a local friend with a car, ample public transportation, and weather that was 50 degrees cooler. The highlight of my day happened just before BØRNS’ set when the sun disappeared behind the only cloud in the sky for half a minute and everyone cheered. BØRNS, Sylvan Esso and Hozier’s sets were very close seconds. So were those two snow cones we each had.
Before I knew it, it was Monday and time to check out. Anthony hit up the gym in the morning while I stayed my ass in bed. We ate lunch at Valentina’s Tex Mex where Anthony had brisket tacos and I had a beast of a beef rib with the most beautiful smoke ring. We strolled down South Congress afterwards and drank micheladas for three hours at a bar inside Hotel San Jose. We got to the airport early to watch the Chargers lose, and I asked the TSA guy if the Starbucks was before or after the security gate. He ruined my mom’s life and told me that there’s no Starbucks at all, because Austin is all about supporting local businesses. I get a Starbucks mug for my mom whenever I travel, and she’s just gonna have to be happy with the mug I got her during my layover in Phoenix!
All things considered, I’m glad I was able to take a break from life and escape for a couple of days. I’ll def be back to explore this weird little town again.
I’m doing it partly in preparation for all the BBQ and bad decisions I’ll be making in Austin next week, but mostly because I bet Anthony that I could lose twenty pounds by the time we went to ACL or I’d pay for his BBQ at Franklin. These last five pounds can’t be zumba’d off in a week, so I made a game-time decision to bring my juicer out of retirement yesterday.
I can’t wait to go on vacation! And also eat solid food again.
Six of us were supposed to vacation in Portland, but new jobs, broken water heaters, half marathons and trips to Japan got in the way. Anthony and I obviously have nothing else going on in our lives, so the two of us spent our birthday weekend traveling the pacific northwest without those clowns!
One thing I love about Portland (and pretty much any other city besides LA) is the public transit system. You can get anywhere by light rail, street car, train or bus! The light rail took us straight from the airport to our hotel downtown for $2.50 (I’ve paid nearly $40 for a cab ride to LAX, and I only live 5 miles away!). What I also love about Portland is the food. OMG, the food. They are known for their food trucks, and our hotel was a couple blocks away from a group of like 20 or so of them at Alder Food Carts. I’ve been wanting to eat at Nong’s ever since I saw her on Chopped, and it was the first of many good meals we had that weekend.
Friday was Anthony’s birthday, and he wanted to go to McMenamins Kennedy School for drinks. It used to be an elementary school, but they converted it into a hotel/brewery. We had drinks in the boiler room, and I got sloppy hoping Jordan Catalano would show up to no avail.
Our friend Mark lives in Portland, and we met up with him for some late night eats at Biwa. He took us to some hipster bar called Bar Bar afterwards where we met some of his designer friends. Apparently, there’s a lot of job opportunities up there! Something to consider while I’m sitting in LA traffic…
Saturday was for snoozing. We slept in and hit up the farmer’s market around noon. When we couldn’t find the Pine State Biscuits booth, we decided to have lunch at Lardo, but not before having some pre-meal crepes at C’est Si Bon. The crepes were a mistake. And so were the donuts that followed at Blue Star. We somehow rolled ourselves back to the hotel and were in a food coma for the rest of the rainy afternoon. Everyone in Portland was watching the Seahawks playoff game, and we slept through half of it.
When we woke up, Anthony left to work out at the hotel gym, and I ventured out on my own to see the Portland Stag Sign without telling him. It’s no secret that I get lost easily, so he decided early on that he would navigate and I was to stay at his 8 o’clock at all times. I tried to take the bus by myself, got off at the wrong stop and found myself in BUMSVILLE. I eventually found my way back to the hotel, but not before Anthony returned from the gym. He was just coming to terms with the idea that I had been abducted when I walked through the door with a bag of hot cheetos and this photo. He was not amused.
I passed by Voodoo Doughnut on my way back. This bum in front threw his half eaten donut on the ground and started following me! I barely escaped with my life.
We had drinks at Whiskey Soda Lounge while we waited for our table at Pok Pok that night. FYI if you’re only going to Pok Pok for their famous wings, you can skip the wait and get them at Whiskey Soda Lounge instead. Or if Portland is too far, you can come visit me when they open a Pok Pok LA this spring ;) It definitely was everything the internet promised it would be.
Sunday was probably my favorite day, and we didn’t even spend it in Portland! We took an impromptu trip to Seattle and did every touristy thing we could fit into five hours. We ate the best clam chowder at Pike Place Chowder (and pre-meal empanadas at El Mercado Latino), dodged fish at Pike Place Fish Market, visited the first Starbucks, tested our gag reflex at the Gum Wall in Post Alley, went to the top of the Space Needle, and rode the Great Wheel. And this is where I found out this foolio is afraid of heights. The proof is in the video.
After spending six hours on the train that day, I showered back at the hotel before we met up with Mark and his friends for drinks at Dig a Pony. If I knew we were going to end up at a strip club later that night, I would have waited to shower afterwards! Ha. Apparently, Portland is the strip club capital of America, and no trip is complete without visiting one. Anyway, here are some dollars that Anthony let some girl pick up with her tits while we ate tater tots. No bigs!
Monday was my birthday and our last day in Portland. We had a bloody mary brunch at Tasty ‘n’ Sons, beers at Hopworks Bike Bar, doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut, and coffee at Stumptown. I was really sick that day (Was it all the public transportation or was it the strip club? Who really is to blame???). I’m still sick two weeks later, so it’s taken me a while to get my life together and update this thing.
When we got back to Anthony’s house that night, Pammie and Christine came over with birthday burritos from Lolita’s! It was a great end to what Anthony refers to as “the time of my life.” He wishes!