Nashville Eats!

I had some pretty amazing food on this trip, I always use TripAdvisor and Pinterest to make a list of the top rated food stops before any trip and then also check out whatever looks neat on my wandering.

When I landed on Sunday I was so hangry and then took a wrong turn after trying to find a specific restaurant and ended up in the Gulch. I hadn’t pre planned anything in this area of town so I just picked the fist place I found and ended up at Burger Republic. I not a fan of being sat at the bar but that always seems to happen when I travel alone. The service was really great, the bar tender was super helpful in explaining how the menu works as well as suggesting a great burger called the Tennessee and some garlic bacon fries! But the real treat was the amazing chocolate peanut butter milkshake, it was truly in the top 3 of the best milkshakes I’ve ever had! I was also told by multiple people that their adult milkshakes are on point!

On my first day off I had fried pickles and an amazing baked Mac & cheese with Hot chicken at the Stillery. Up stairs they have a first come first serve seat yourself deal going on and while service wasn’t the greatest the atmosphere was fun and I did enjoy the live music. They do have a more formal dinning area downstairs.

Another highly recommended food stop is Edleys Bar B Que. they have several locations and I stopped for lunch at the one in Edgefield. I ordered the Brisket plate a sweet tea and it was mouth watering! SOOOO good! I got there right before lunch hr. and thankfully because the people were lined out the door soon after I arrived.

I have a major sugar tooth and I found some great places to satisfy it!

First stop was five Daughters bakery and their 100 layer doughnuts are more like a cronut which I love! They have a couple locations in the Nashville area as well as one in Atlanta. I loved the adorable design of the shop, fun bright colors and a great outdoor space to enjoy in the sweetness. They offer a wide variety of flavors including some gluten free and vegan options!

A very highly recommended spot was Jeni’s splendid ice cream. I drove by the Hillsboro village one night and saw the enormous line out the door and down the street and decided to pass.  But I happened upon them again at the farmers market with no line, they do have several locations and a brand new one in Charlotte! They have all sorts of flavors including frose and some rather interesting ones like sweet corn. I opted for a fresh in house made waffle cone filled with The darkest chocolate and butter cake and despite the fact that I think more melted and dripped on me then I actually ate, it was decadent!

I visited the Nashville farmers market several times and on Saturday the grilled cheeserie was parked and serving lunch. I had several friends recommend this food truck and it did not disappoint! I actually tried hunting it down again before I flew home! I ordered the grilled pimento Mac and cheese and Oh my goodness it was soooo sooo tasty! I highly recommend them and you. An find out their daily locations on the website!

My last stop on the way to the airport was another doughnut shop because I do love me some doughnuts! This place was called the donut den, I had seen pictures of red velvet doughnuts and I couldn’t pass that up. Unfortunely they didn’t have red velvet when I stopped but they did have an amazing apple fritter!

This is just a taste of what Nashville has to offer, hopefully I can come back soon and continue the music cities culinary experience!

London on the cheap

London is known for being a pricey city to visit but don’t let that deter you from visiting. I spent a couple days in jolly ole London in January and my goal was to spend as little money as possible.

1. It’s always cheaper to travel in the off season, I was there in January so I got a pretty decent deal on a hotel. I wasn’t in the city center but I knew with my budget that was out of the question! I stayed at The Wellington, a neat pub that had several rooms upstairs. It was right next to Waterloo station in the southbank area which is just across the river from city center. I normally book everything through Expedia or hotels.com but they had a special so I booked this one directly from the hotel.

http://www.wellingtonhotelwaterloo.co.uk/

2. Everyone wants that perfect 360 degree view of the city from the Shard but you can get that same view and not pay the £23! The Sky Garden is FREE and offers the exact say view as the Shard. You have to book your day and time a week in advance but it’s tots a freebie! There are two restaurants in the Garden one being a cafe type with coffee and snacks and a sit down restaurant that of course cost money but the garden and the beautiful views don’t cost a pence.

https://skygarden.london/

3. Save some money on transportation and make sure you grab an Oyster card, It knocks the normal £4 something tube rides to just £2 something. You can spend a fortune on transportation in London so plan out your days and activities. The city is also very walkable and most times it’s actually quicker to walk then it is to mess with the tube or busses.

4. If you’re a foodie like I am but don’t like to spend a ton on meals than the many markets London has to offer are going to be your best friend. Camden and borough markets are both great spots for some amazing food and pretty cheap. I really enjoyed Camden Market not only for the great Mac and cheese but it’s just had endless allys of shops and goodies, this is also home to the Cereal killer cafe and chin chin labs. Borough market was much smaller but I got some great pastries and local honey that is so yummy!

5. Most museums throughout the city are free! Take advantage of some amazing art and history without emptying your wallet. Tate modern, V and A, the natural history and many more are waiting to be explored. This is a great way to spend an afternoon or get out of the weather.

6. It’s not permitted to take pictures in Westminster Abby whatsoever so in my opinion it’s silly to pay to tour. Instead attend a prayer service, they are free and most nights at 5pm. You get to sit and enjoy the choir and prayer and admire the main chapel. The only disadvantage is that you don’t get to tour the entire building but when on a budget the main chapel makes the cut and it’s breath taking.

7. Another great way to save money but see all the main attractions is to get the London Pass. One price gets you into everything and at a fraction of the cost if you did them each individually. Check it out!

https://www.londonpass.com/

Careful planning and schedules can save you time and tons of money when traveling in London!

One day in Paris

So unlike most peeps Paris has never been a huge bucket list must visit, it wasn’t evening my top 10! But since I was heading to London I decided to go at least see Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Booked a $50 flight with Vueling though Expedia and a random hotel with Hotels.com. I didn’t plan anything in advance and I honestly wasn’t even that excited about going. Plus I know absolutely no French and I just knew that would cause issues.

I landed at 10am and caught the train into the city, thankfully my hotel was able to store my bags so I could head out and explore, I had about 5hrs of sunlight left and had a super early flight the next morning so i hadn’t planned on being out all night.

I decided to skip the metro and walk the city, I didn’t have a plan so I just walked and happened to run right into Notre Dame! The bells were ringing and there was hardly a line to go inside, it’s actually free to tour the cathedral. They were actually having mass so I hit pause on tourist mode for that, how many people can say they had communion in Notre Dame? The cathedral it’s self was gorgeous, huge ceilings and beautiful stained windows. It was pouring rain and it’s free to enter so unfortunately it was slam packed with people just trying to stay dry.

I wandered my way randomly though adorable little Parisian streets and along the not so pretty river seine. I next happened upon the louvre museum, I of course had to get a picture of the glass pyramid. I’ve never been into art and I was on a budget so touring the museum wasn’t a “must do” I have also heard for many travelers that they were disappointed with all the hype around the louvre and the Mona Lisa.

From there I walked down though the mini arch, the gardens and to the Paris version of the London eye. It was pretty cheap so I decided to jump on. I lucked out being alone, none of the couples wanted me as their third wheel in the little cabins so I scored a cabin to myself even though it clearly said no single riders! It was a spectacular view of the city and I could finally see the tower! Up until then I had yet to catch a glimpse of it and was beginning to think it didn’t exist lol

Since this was my only day in Paris I broke my no tourist attraction spending and jumped on a hop on/off bus. I really like these tours, it’s normally a great form of transportation and fun facts along the way. I would suggest booking online ahead of time, they normally offer a little discount. Just remember to print the tickets before you leave, they don’t accept email receipts and while in NYC last year I had to find a copy place so that I could print them out.

I hopped off at the tower, I unfortunately had only grabbed my rain jacket before I left the hotel since it had been so warm compared to London but apparently a cold front had arrived and it was windy and freezing! I stood shivering in line and went though security to only find out that due to wind they had closed the top of the tower. Talk about major let down! It was still pretty neat to stand under it and I got some great tower pictures but I decided to add “going up in the Eiffel Tower” to my bucket list. I did however grab a tasty doughnut while there.

Not doing any planning or research lead me to being surprised on how many things are in Paris, I totally forgot about the arch de triumph and many other neat shops and museums.

I did leave for Paris with a list of foods to eat, #1 being macaroons!! They have been my favorite little treat to indulge in recently and I had this dream of walking down a Paris street munching on macaroons lol I found a little shop that happened to be one of the most famous places bakeries to make them. They had so many flavors and colors and huge ones to the typical size. I wanted to try them all but these little things can be so pricey! I thought they were a rip-off till I made some myself this summer. They are a pain to make and take forever so I can sort of justify the price now. I won’t about €19 on 6 regular and one giant macaroons. I went with vanilla, coffee, strawberry, passion fruit and chocolate! They wrapped them all up and put them in a fancy little bag! I also stopped at a bakery to grab some croissants that were melt in your mouth delicious!

I made my way back to my hotel to check in and I was pleasantly surprised. I had booked it very last minute and I liked the price so I grabbed it. The receptionist was so great, he had held my luggage all day while I explored plus given me a larger room then I had originally booked. The room it’s self though small was perfect! It was cozy yet elegant, clean and had those huge European windows I live so much! I finally did some research and found out the hotel was named after Louis, price of Condé. Most people would be like “ummmm ok” but this was super exciting because I loved the show reign that while not historically correct at most times followed the story of Mary queen of Scotts. Condé was one of my favorite characters from that show so it was neat to stay in a hotel named after the real Condé. The hotel was even on the rue of Condé.

I was silly to think that one day would be enough in Paris, I totally fell under the cities spell and can’t wait to book a flight to come back and dive deeper into its alleyways and history! I do plan on learning a little French though, while most people spoke English it was obvious that they were not a fan of speaking it. It did help to start with “bonjour” then ask if they spoke English and always end with “merci” the locals seemed more willing to help that way. I also ended up with an uber driver on the way to the airport that didn’t speak a single word of English and was very new to France as well which made it very difficult to communicate but I made it safe and on time to the airport so all good!!

Chilis on point 

You guys, I just need to point out that Chilis has stepped up their game. 

I mean 😱😱😱 I love me some tacos and they hit a home run with that street corn too! Far superior to any other non Mexican restaurants tacos! 

Toronto Eats

First of all, I’m a pretty picky eater. Im always up to try things but unfortunately my mouth just rejects it all haha 

Toronto is known as being the most diverse city in the world, with less then 50% of actual Canadians. Making the city a huge melting pot of all sorts or ethnicitys, cooking styles and ingredients. 

While I haven’t been to Asia yet, walking thru one of torontos 3 China towns and Korea town transported me there. To me It seemed way more authentic then NYCs china town, but again I’ve never been so I’m just going off of my imagination and National Geographic. So many smells and sensations, from actual restaurants to the herb shops and markets. I hate to say I didn’t actually get to try any Asian dishes this trip but it’s at the top of my list for the next time! 

Another great Mecca of everything delicious, is the awesom St Lawrence market. I say it over and over but I really dislike the fact that we don’t have markets in the states.(I have a post all about the market, go check it out!) while there were an abundance of food options one particular restaurant was brought up in multiple conversations as well as other travel blogs, Paddingtons Home of the Oink. While they have many different options ranging from salads and soups to burgers and fish. Only one item was recommended by everyone, the peameal bacon sandwich. It’s peameal bacon, pork loin with a crispy crust on a kiser roll. Pretty tasty! I had cheese added and I also dipped it in the house honey mustard as recommended by the waitress. It came with coleslaw an amazing thick sliced pickle and perfectly crispy French fries. If in the market make sure you stop and grab one of these!!

My next food adventure was deserts, I’m a sugar fiend. Sooo I depend on Pinterest for almost everything haha especially for travel activities and food. My first stop for desert was Sweet Jesus, an ice cream joint. I’m a sucker for red velvet anything so if course as soon as I saw the red velvet milkshake I was sold. I hate to say though it was a bit anticlimactic after the blogs had hyped this place up😕 my milkshake was decent but nothing outstanding and it was a bit overpriced in my opinion. The raspberry sauce was what killed it for me and I like a thick milkshake and this was pretty melted but it was a fun little hangout spot and easy to find. 

My second day sweet treat was a beaver tail, another highly recommended Toronto treat. I stopped for one on the water front at a cute little red building that was half a gift shop and half a desert shop. 

I had never heard of a beaver tail before I started planning this trip. It’s a flattened fried pastry shaped like a beavers tail and you put whatever toppings you like on top. I chose the most Canadian topping they offered, maple 🍁 sauce and also some drizzled chocolate. 

Oh my gosh this was sooooooo good! It was hot, melted and ahhhhmazing! I want to bring this down south, people would love these. What made the whole experience was the view while enjoying the treat.

If you visit Toronto make sure to bring your appetite and your sense of adventure! I can’t wait to visit again and drive into their tremendous diversity and unique food options!