Posts tagged usa
our final few days...

we spent our last few days in lovely santa monica staying in a gorgeous room we booked on

airbnb

. if you plan on driving in la (which is known as a driving city) then beware! your stress levels will elevate, as will your need to consume vast amounts of alcohol, even with gps. this was our base for exploring hollywood, beverly hills and westwood. we purchased a map of the movie stars homes and basked in the gardens of chateau marmont. we made the most of delicious tex-mexican and the amazing bargains at the citadel outlets. our last evening was spent watching the sun set behind the malibu hills at paradise cove and dining on delectable seafood with desley and ted over some amazing californian sauvignon blanc.

travelling south on highway 1...

the all american road trip is synonymous to most travellers looking for adventure, landscapes and history. weather it be route 66, the avenue of the giants, monument valley or the million dollar highway - most head on some type of road trip through the usa, once in their lifetime. this trip, we headed south on california 1 (highway 1 or the pacific coast highway) and followed the scenic road from san francisco right down to santa monica in los angeles. it was everything we could have imagined.

weather it was pulling over to a vista point atop the plummeting cliffs, stopping to admire the towering red-woods lining the road, enjoying a world famous seafood and clam chowder in a bun and watching sea lions frolic in the surf or enjoying homemade apple and strawberry cider at a road side stall, we basked in every second of our four day journey.

we visited the bigger towns such as santa cruz, san luis obispo and monterey bay and enjoyed the quainter ones such as carmel and big sur (which to be honest, were our favourites). we loved the wine tasting in los olives and watching the sunsetting over an open fire along the ocean front at santa barbara with the lovely desley and ted. an enjoyable trip that everyone must take, at some point. (i went a bit crazy with photos - i hope you enjoy…)

spring in san francisco...

san francisco is breathtaking and could be, after paris, the prettiest city i have been to. ever. arriving (after a 3am start mind you) from new york on saturday, we have been blessed with above average temperatures for this time of year and have been enjoying the glorious outdoors. although a little jet-lagged, on saturday we headed to alamo park with some beers and gourmet snacks, alongside a few thousand san franscians and just sat in the park, basking in the sun. after the cool temperatures of gotham, the sun was a welcome sight.

the past few days have been spent enjoying the jasmine scented air, walking the streets, dining in the outdoor gardens and taking old-worldly trams up san francisco's iconic hills. dining for one is a lot easier in sf, as there are a lot more "traveller friendly" spots to pop in to and they tend to be a little friendlier on your wallet. over the past few days we have taken in the magnificent views at telegraph hill, taken two buses for kurt to get famed coffee in russian hill, walked the castro and its vintage shops and had organic red walnut and dark chocolate ice-cream in the mission.

on sunday morning, mama's in north beach called, unfortunately - the latest review in timeout magazine - also meant that mama's called every other visitor in san fran, so after waiting in line for 45 minutes and not moving an inch, we blew it off. we headed for fisherman's wharf, but got scared of the other hordes of tourists so headed out the fine dining in the ferry building before getting on a street cart to downtown. with a little bit of everything on offer, parks, city, street art, sailing, hiking and wineries, this is a fantastic spot for a holiday.

today we went on a fantastic bike tour with streets of san francisco, and lucky for us, it was our second unplanned private tour of the trip. geoff our guide took us through some of most "iconic" neighbourhoods and enlightened us on the architecture and history of the different areas, as well as of the city. this tour certainly shed a different light on sf - right from the hippy drum circles in golden gate park (that still take place each weekend as they pay homage to the summer of love in 1967) to the painted ladies in alamo park and the history of the "paris of the west" aka. the civic centre. he also took us to an amazing pie shop, where i had a slice of classic apple and cherry pie with twin brothers organic vanilla ice-cream. nom nom.

day five - a day in the life of a ny foodie…

today was the day where calorie counting went out the window and we became "yes men". enjoying some of the oldest dishes and most popular and iconic dishes, today we really enjoyed the new york city experience. mainly focused in the west village, we enjoying mainly italian dishes with a side of architecture. in this case, the establishments and photos speak louder than words, so here goes.

we first enjoyed a slice of authentic italian pizza at joes before heading to o & co to sample hand-picked and pressed olive oil, a three cheese rice ball from faicco's italian specialities, the amazing cauliflower dish at palma (where we also got to see the private dining rooms of the really rich and famous), the classic eggplant rollatini at rafele's, chocolate cookies at the milk and cookies bakery, three different cheeses at murray's cheese shop (i'm in heaven) and a fresh cannoli from rococo's.

todays walking food tour was a real reprieve from the sub-zero winter winds that descended on manattan. with one more day in the big apple, tomorrow will be a busy day.

day four - ahhh the cobblestone streets of little italy…

today has been pretty manic. we woke to blaring sirens and billows of smoke coming from uptown and upon turning on the news, found out the two buildings had exploded on park avenue and that all train lines heading north were suspended until further notice. the scary thing for new yorkers is that the first thing that comes to mind is a terrorism attack and that was exactly the first thing off the tip of most peoples tongues this morning. we now know that there was a major gas leak and there were some fatalities.

our day today consisted of meandering the old worldly streets of soho and little italy before heading into china town for a peak around and in search of some dumplings. little italy really is everything you would imagine and more. tables and chairs line the streets and sleek italians greet you as you walk by, ciao bella are you ready for lunch. its idyllic and i hope that one september we may be in town to attend the san gennaro feast - where restaurants take to the streets in a three day festival with authentic italian foods, wine and entertainment all the while, soaking up the last of the summer sun. divine.

china town was pretty similar to any other china town you may find around the globe. stores, restaurants and markets all flow from one another with various herbal medicine stores and some fake bag stores thrown into the mix, make for a crazy and smell-ified experience. smells come from every direction, good, putrid and interesting. unfortunately we were unable to find any dumplings so headed on back to soho to nosh on some pizza and beer for lunch.

although our feet were screaming at us to stop, we headed uptown to see times square before the weather takes a turn for the worst in the coming days. it was just as hectic was one would imagine with people, billboards and cars thickly lining every street. tonight we are heading to a comedy club. greenwich village is famous for its comedy clubs as well as jazz and blues clubs, so thats on the agenda for tomorrow night.

we are thoroughly enjoying exploring the restaurants around soho and the west village, as well as the shopping spots that pop up when you are on your way from one place to another. this morning we stubbled upon a great little store called oatmeals. a restaurant where all food on the menu (apart from the coffee) is based around oats, and its amazing. i had a four fruit oatmeal bowl with almond milk and organic honey and kurt treated himself of a mama-bear bowl of banana, peanut butter and honey oats with full fat milk. delicious.

day three - lunching in central park...

the only way to convey how much walking we have done the past few days is to tell you that the blisters on our feet are so deep and painful, that i am weighing up wearing my havaianas out tomorrow. with the forecast saying a low of minus 5 and rain, with possible snow flurries… you know its bad. not even the "fashion is pain" mantra is registering, i am so far past caring.

it was a glorious day in gotham today. i pose this question to you - is there a better way to spend a sunny spring day in new york than checking out the view 86 stories above the city, at the empire state building. from all points, north, south, east and west - the iconic spots, parks and even the statue of liberty were on display and shining in all their glory.

then further uptown we waited in line at the shake shack on the upper west side to get our hands on their famed cheese burgers and home made lemonade. we then took our delicious lunch to central park to check out the sights and take in the sun. central park really holds a special place in the hearts of new yorkers, it really is a special spot in the midst of such chaos.

with spring well and truly in the air, we have noticed new yorkers going a little crazy for the warmer weather, especially today. tables were out on the side walks with locals wining and dining, people were picnicking on any available lawn space and the squirrels were busy at work. we were even lucky to see a movie getting shot in the southern end of central park this afternoon and while heading toward fifth avenue, barack obama was seen shopping in gap as we passed by.

day two - getting artsy in midtown...

sitting here watching sex and the city and enjoying a glass of vino, it seems somewhat surreal to be in new york city. today we headed toward midtown to make our way through some of the neighbourhoods that make this city famous. first up was chelsea. after getting off the subway, we headed to the high line; an elevated railway track that has been converted into a community park that runs from gansevoort street in the meatpacking district to west 34th street. while not in full bloom at the moment, the park proved a great vantage point for seeing the skyline and some great street art.

we then headed to the chelsea market for some lunch. essentially a giant block of gourmet eateries, fruit and vegetables stores, wine cellars and freshly baked goods, this market which sits alongside the hudson river is only 15 years young but already an iconic spot for lunching new yorkers and hungry tourists. after a few months of spanish-inspired foods and now burgers, pizzas and fries, it was nice having asian inspired food to chow down on.

after doing some window browsing of the art galleries that line the gorgeous streets of chelsea, we slowly made our way back to greenwich village and soho through the gorgeous west village. with a walking tour along the famed bleecker street locked in for later in the week, we opted for greenwich avenue. a picturesque tree-lined street with restaurants, florists and bookstores all billowing out onto the street. we saw three seasons in one day today - waking to snow flurries, which then turned to an overcast winters day before the sun came out in the late afternoon. i can safely say that it was easy to see how people fall in love with this city.

p.s. we popped into dash (soho) this afternoon and i was amazed at the amount of young girls harassing the poor staff members about the kardashian family… speaking of - a few girls we passed in the street were pointing out brody jenner in an art gallery today, so maybe we can do some start spotting later this week.

p. p.s. i thought i would add a few pictures of our

amazing apartment in greenwich village

. also pose the question… where else can you find punnets of fresh raspberries for $2?