Driving through the Icefields Parkway

From Banff, we were set to drive through the Icefields Parkway (and stop at all the lakes in between, of course) to get to Jasper. But in the end, due to the weather (rain/snow), we weren’t able to get to Maligne Lake. However, the drive through the Parkway was beautiful, and we got to walk on glacier. Our original plan was to camp out but that was not possible due to the wind and snow, so we ended up booking the Overlander Mountain Lodge at the very last minute — and it was an amazing stay (highly recommended)!!! In September, you need to be flexible with your plans here because of unpredictable weather.

Remember to fill up on gas before you begin the drive.

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Bow Lake

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Peyto Lake

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Mistaya Canyon

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Ice Explorer!

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Walking on glacier (We did the glacier ice walk as part of the “ultimate explorer” package from here)

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Skywalk (also part of the “ultimate explorer package”) – check the weather before you go! We couldn’t see a thing!

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Athabasca Falls

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The whole drive is supposed to take 3 hours to drive without stopping BUT of course, you will stop to take pictures… a LOT. So it really takes up the whole day.

Found this hidden gem in the town of Jasper called Downstream where you can get this ginormous burger: Alberta beef, chicken breast, smoked muscovy duck, double smoked bacon, cheddar and mozzarella.

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I kept finding these coffee+alcohol drinks on the menus in Alberta everywhere… so delicious.

We scrambled to find a hotel that night in the middle of a storm, and all the hotels in Jasper were quoting $350+ that night. Thanks to a staff member at the Jasper Visitor Center, she found us the Overlander — it was beyond amazing.

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View from our room.

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We continued our drive and found some big horn sheep crossing the road.

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Maligne Lake Road Drive was closed due to the snow storm, so we weren’t able to go there. I guess that means we have to come back!

 

 

 

LA: Arts District, Korean ice cream, and finding angel wings (Nov 2016)

Uber and Lyft were SO cheap in LA (compared to NY). If you want to avoid looking endlessly for parking or spending a lot of money on parking garages, just take an Uber. I took one to Downtown LA.

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Chimney Coffee House.

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BEST. BURGER. EVER. They call this the “Rogue”.

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The “Rogue” sandwich has 2 eggs in it. TWO. Scrambled eggs and thai style fried egg, separated by juicy sage-black truffle pork sausage, cheddar crisp (omg crispy cheese), and sriracha yuzu mayo on a toasted house made milk bun. This combo is bomb. I was amazed at how all the flavors complemented each other and surprised my tongue at every bite.

After that, I was stuffed, but I had to get ice cream at Ihwamun.

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I got the citron and ingeolmi (their signature flavor). They’re known for their Korean flavors — try Choco Pie! Their matcha is also really good. Some of the best ice cream I’ve had.

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I always seek out wall murals wherever I go.

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The Arts District Co-Op reminded me of Chelsea market in NY. Lots of vendors selling their own unique clothing and jewelry.

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Finally found my wings.

After that, I took an Uber to Rowland Heights (20 bucks for 1 hour in traffic, crazy affordable right?!?!) and serendipitously found another set of wings.

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Zero Degrees.

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Boba ice cream.

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LOVE the unique bubble tea flavors here, and they come in a glass bottle as an option (+$1.50). Everything is so fresh and they don’t use powder.

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Water drop cake with matcha.

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Next up, Korean food at Junkabok by Mokkoji.

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They offer 3 set menus in addition to a la carte options: the Piglet, the Piggy, and the Pigzilla. I got the Pigzilla, of course.

It comes with: small stew or hot stone + small BBQ dish + seafood pancake + braised pork cartilage. It’s enough food for 3-5 people…

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SOOOOO GOOOOOOD.

Travelogue: Chicagoland – Day 1

My second trip to Chicago was all about eating.

Last January, I flew to Chicagoland for 1.5 days to see my aunt, uncle and cousin. We did all the touristy things and saw all the sights. This March, I had one thing in mind: to eat my way through the heart of Chicago.

First place we went to after we landed: Nhu Lan Bakery.

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They bake their own bread for their banh mi.

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The menu was amazing. I knew I had to get the sugarcane shrimp & pork banh mi.

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And of course, the classic #1. They were the best Vietnamese sandwiches I’ve ever had. Who knew I’d find this in Chicago?!

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They also sell dessert and flan and “Vietnamese mayo”…

NEXT STOP: Hot Doug’s. Alas, they were closed!

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Moving on, we went to Smalls, Smoke Shack & More.

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It’s American BBQ with an Asian twist. Brisket, tiger cry sauce, garlic fried rice!

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The best thing there: flash fried beets. Better than fries, in my opinion.

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There seems to be a lot of Mexican colas here.

After a brief visit to the arcade – Galloping Ghost Arcade – where the games never end (really, you never die), we decided it was time for dinner at Butcher and the Burger in Lincoln Park.

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So you pick a meat (I picked house prime blend), and then a spice blend, and whatever else you want. You can even pick a lettuce bun if you’re not into carbs.

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It’s a small place, and very popular, so expect a wait. We waited for what seemed like an eternity (while watching all of the above burgers come out and being disappointed that they weren’t ours) for this…

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One of the top 3 burgers I’ve ever had. Of course, I added a sunny side up egg. It looks simple, but the burger was just so tasty and perfectly medium rare. I picked “grandma’s onion soup” as my spice.

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Truffle, anyone?