Travelogue: Atlanta (Dec 2016)

Long weekend means road trip time! We flew into Atlanta and began there.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

I’ve always wanted to go to the largest aquarium in the U.S. — the Georgia Aquarium.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

It reminded me of the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, which to this day remains my favorite (for blog post on that, click here).

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Next to the aquarium is the World of Coca-Cola.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

With the admission fee, you get a “free” coke at the start of the tour:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Here you can test out all the flavors of Coca-cola products from all the continents in the world.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

After loading up on excessive sugar, we went to eat some BBQ because Atlanta.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Twin Smokers BBQ

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

The brisket was good but the BEST part was their DINOSAUR RIB!

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

The picture does not do it justice. And also the corn souffle (SO GOOD):

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

 

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Ponce City Market reminded me of Chelsea Market in NYC, with lots of food options and retailers selling hipster things:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

The “Beltline” also reminded me of the Highline in NYC, attached to Ponce City Market like the Highline is attached to Chelsea Market.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

I saw a lot of people riding bikes here.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

And of course, the main reason for coming here was for the wall murals nearby:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Dinner at King + Duke:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

My chartreuse!

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Bone marrow and amazing steak.

After dinner, we went to the Ivy for drinks and met up with a friend from college.

Of course I had to do a long exposure night shot of the city skyline:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Next morning, we went to grab some amazing banh mi for $3 (SO FAST AND SO CHEAP):

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

GET THE BANH MI DAC BIET!!!!!!!!!

It’s located inside an Asian shopping center which means lots of parking space and bakeries.

Tea House Formosa for bubble tea:

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

And that was it for Atlanta! It was a fun 1.5 day(s?) there, lots of good food and wall murals, kinda rushed because we were short on time. We could’ve eaten more fried chicken there. Next, we head to Chattanooga on the way to Nashville, Tennessee!

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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?

Travelogue: San Francisco (Day 2 of 4)

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We woke up bright and early to grab a quick breakfast before we met our bus driver in front of our hotel — I booked a Muir Woods + Sausalito tour through Viatour. It was a half day tour, from 9am to approx 1pm.

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The bus dropped us off at the central Viatour place at Fisherman’s Wharf, where we switched to another bus that would bring us to Muir Woods. They gave us our vouchers and tickets there. After that, it was pretty much a self-guided tour, about an hour or so.

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I enjoy the sounds of wind sifting through leaves and the occasional birds. Once you reach the fourth bridge, you know it’s time to turn around and rummage through the gift shop for souvenirs.

After that, the bus took us to Sausalito, a quaint little town full of shops and cafes. I could’ve spent the whole day here sipping on coffee in front of an ocean view.

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This boutique is owned by a very nice lady who handpicks every item in her store; scarves, clothes, jewelry. My scarf still gets compliments to which I can reply, “Oh this? I got it from Sausalito/San Francisco!”

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On the way back, the bus driver paused at this lookout for us to take pictures. Very thoughtful. It was my mom’s dream to see the Golden Gate Bridge!

Tempura Udon
Tempura Udon
Tanin Don: barbecued marinated ribeye with egg over rice
Tanin Don: barbecued marinated ribeye with egg over rice
Sashimi Salad
Sashimi Salad

Early dinner was at Sushi Boat because we were tired of walking… 

My mom rested at the hotel while my friend picked me up to go running.

And guess where we ran?

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It’s about 1.5 miles one way — we ran across to Sausalito side and walked back to take in the sights.

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I have a thing for running bridges in other states/countries. Mission Accomplished!

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Art pieces at the park.

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She took the scenic route to show me the bay.

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Top left: Roti bun at Honeyberry.

I wanted to try pho in San Francisco since everyone keeps telling me it’s the best in the entire world except for Vietnam. So we went to Pho Phu Quoc. They’re famous for their 5 spices chicken and I can see why!