David Burke's Primehouse in Chicago
Usually, when I think about hotel restaurants, crappy, overpriced cocktails and tired American fare come to mind. (I’m looking at you, hotel in D.C.!) Generally, they’re the option you turn to out of necessity … or pure laziness. But occasionally, there’s that gem that enhances your experience of a city and feels kind of like a destination in itself.

In NYC, that might be The Nomad or Maialino. In Chicago, it’s David Burke’s Primehouse. View Post

Street in Rome

I can still remember the moment I fell in love with Rome like it was yesterday. Alex, our mutual friend and I were nursing glasses of white wine and sharing a small meal at a tiny restaurant, surrounded on either side by happy, laughing Italians. View Post

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As the boat inched slowly along the blue-green canal and the unrelenting sun deepened my tan, I couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty for being such a tourist. These days, it feels almost taboo to visit a new place and not sniff out all the under-the-radar neighborhoods and local gems (you know the whole traveler vs. tourist debate), yet here I was on a boat tour of the Chicago River – one of several “must-see” activities my mom and I gladly did while in Chicago.

We spent four days there, staying mostly in River North and the Loop, Chicago’s downtown business district, ocassionally venturing further for food, as I do.

I’m sure there were lots of great things I didn’t get to see – and maybe I will on another trip – but I totally loved playing tourist in this perfect summer city. Allow me to share a few highlights: View Post

 

London Edited-17

I’ll say it right now: my time in London was way too short. Sandwiched between a week in Paris and a quick jaunt to Rome, London was my first experience with backpacking and a welcome break from struggling through my limited foreign language vocabulary.

Getting there alone was an adventure — to save money on travel and hotel for an extra night, we opted for a 10-hour overnight bus ride from Paris, which involved the bus itself boarding a boat and us being paraded through customs in Calais.

We arrived without much of a plan and flew by the seat of our pants for the next two days. After fueling up on some English breakfast at a greasy joint near Kings Cross station, our first order of business was to find the nearest Wifi spot  to book a hotel for the night (thank God for Starbucks!) My friend Jusan had been to London a few times, and Alex and I were more than happy to follow his lead, as he took us on an epic walking tour through London, guided mostly by memory and the occasional glance at Google Maps.

As we explored one neighborhood after the other, I couldn’t help making comparisons to New York — from what we saw during the two days, London felt like New York City’s cooler, more mature sister with a distinct European flair. View Post