Copycat Benihana Veggie Fried Rice

Anybody as obsessed with Benihana’s fried rice as much as I am? I’m always guilty of wanting more than just the tiny bowl they give you at the tepan table. I paid close attention to the chef last time I was there, so I could replicate it at home. Now, I can eat as much as my heart desires! Not sure if that’s a good thing or bad thing, but for now I’ll go with good! I decided to add zucchini, corn, and green beans, in addition to the classic veggies, to make it a bit more nutritious and flavorful. If you’d like to add protein, I’m sure it would taste great! I would cook your protein in the pan first, and then set aside to add in once your veggies are cooked and eggs are scrambled. Also, if you wanted to make this even healthier, you could add in more veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and snow peas.

veggie fried rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of white rice
  • Soy sauce
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • Butter (Kerry Gold is my favorite for cooking)
  • ¼ OR ½ cup of Diced onion
  • 1 bag of frozen veggies (peas, carrots, corn, and green beans)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • Sesame oil
  • Garlic powder
  • *Optional* bean sprouts, scallions, sesame seeds (I'm not a fan, so I didn't include them!)

Directions:

  1. Start by cooking your rice.
  2. Chop zucchini. I like to cut it in half long ways, then half again so I have four long sticks of zucchini. Then I chop them into pieces about 1/4 an inch wide. 
  3. Dice onion.
  4. Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil in a large pan and turn to medium heat. Then add the chopped zucchini and top with several shakes of garlic powder. Stir/shake occasionally, so the zucchini evenly cooks.
  5. After about 3 minutes, move the zucchini to one side of the pan and add the diced onion to the other. Add the minced garlic to cook with the onions and top with a teaspoon of butter.
  6. Once the onion begins to brown, mix with the zucchini and move to one side of the pan.
  7. You can either crack your eggs right in the pan and immediately mix up or crack the eggs in a separate bowl, mix, and then scramble in the pan. I like to crack mine right in the pan to save time and cleanup.
  8. Once the egg is scrambled, mix together with the veggies.
  9. Add the cooked rice to the pan, 1 tablespoon of butter, and mix all together.
  10. Stir in 1/3 cup of soy sauce. Enjoy!

PS: This was even better leftover the next day!

The Ultimate Bruschetta Spread

This is one of my absolute FAVORITE meals. EVER. It's always a go-to when I need to impress some guests, but don't feel like cooking up a storm. It can definitely be an awesome appetizer, but it can be massively filling and hard to stop eating....so this is a perfectly good entree, as well. When heirloom tomatoes are in season, this is on my menu just about every other week because it's that good. Okay, now that I've talked it up, it's time for you to try it!

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber (I like the little Persian cucumbers, but regular are just fine!)
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Buffalo Mozzarella
  • 3 Large Cloves of Fresh Garlic (Minced)
  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • Balsamic 
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Baguette

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop up the baguette into 1/2 inch thick pieces and place on a cookie sheet.
  3. In a tiny bowl, mix 1/4 cup of olive oil and 4 large cloves of minced garlic.
  4. Using a brush/baster, coat each piece of bread with the olive oil and garlic mixture then transfer the cookie sheet to the oven. 
  5. Cook for 5-7 mins in the oven. Keep an eye on the bread, so it doesn't burn! You want it to be just a little crispy. If it starts to get golden or brown, take it out.
  6. While the bread is in the oven, start chopping up your ingredients. You want everything to be just a tad bit smaller than the size of a piece of toast from your baguette. Assemble on plate/platter.
  7. Drizzle the remainder of the olive oil and garlic mixture on all the chopped food. Follow with a drizzle of balsamic. Then sprinkle on salt and pepper. Enjoy! 

Mushroom, Onion & Bell Pepper Breakfast Tacos

Tortillas and eggs are two staples in my refrigerator and I often combine the two for a quick and filling breakfast.

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Serving Size: 1 (2 small tacos)

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Small Corn Tortillas
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/8 cup of Diced Yellow Onion
  • 1/8 cup of Diced Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 cup of Sliced Mushrooms
  • 1/8 cup of Milk
  • Butter

Directions:

  1. Add a tiny amount of butter, just enough to coat a small pan. Turn to medium heat.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the egg and milk. I always add milk to my scrambled eggs because it makes them fluffier. 
  3. Sauté the onion, mushroom, and pepper for several minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  4. Once the veggies are cooked, pour in the whisked egg and turn the heat to medium low. Be sure to consistently mix the pan around, so your eggs don't burn!
  5. When the eggs are fully cooked, transfer to a plate.
  6. Place your first tortilla in the pan over medium high heat. Flip after 30-60 seconds. Repeat with the second tortilla.
  7. Assemble your tacos and eat! 

Garlic Parmesan Sweet Potatoes

These garlic parmesan sweet potatoes are the easiest side dish or an awesome breakfast, if you throw an egg on top! 

Serving Size:

  • side dish = 1 potato per 2 people
  • main dish = 1 potato per person

Ingredients:

  • sweet potato
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • vegetable or canola oil
  • parmesan
  • parsley *optional*

Directions:

  • Wash, peel, and chop your sweet potato.
  • Set a medium sized pan to medium heat and add 1 tbsp of oil.
  • Next, add your minced garlic and chopped sweet potatoes. Stir well, so all the potato chunks are coated with olive oil. Cover and turn to medium-low heat. 
  • After two minutes, stir and cover. Repeat the process two more times.
  • Transfer to plate and sprinkle on parmesan and parsley (optional). Enjoy!

Crockpot Chicken Curry

I think a lot of people are intimidated by a crockpot, but it actually makes cooking SO much easier. I've recently started using mine more and more because of the simplicity of it, lack of time and attention it requires, and amazing flavor it produces! If you don't already know, I am a HUGE fan of yellow curry, so I decided to experiment with it. This chicken curry is one of the easiest crockpot recipes I've made and it's so good that I make a ton and freeze it, so I have easy access to it whenever my craving kicks in (which is quite often). I serve this chicken curry over white jasmine rice.

Crockpot chicken curry

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small white onion or half of a large (chopped in large chunks)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped in large chunks)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp of yellow curry powder
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 cans of coconut milk

Instructions:

  1. Place your cleaned chicken breasts in the crockpot.
  2. Add in the minced garlic, coconut milk, bay leaf, and yellow curry powder. Stir well.
  3. Set crockpot to high heat and set timer for 2 hours.
  4. After roughly 2 hours, give it a good stir and add in your chopped onion and bell pepper.
  5. Cook for another 2 hours.
  6. Serve over white rice and enjoy!

*BONUS* ~ This dish freezes very well!

10 Pictures To Inspire You To Go To The Canadian Rockies In The Winter

When I first decided I would be heading to the Canadian Rockies during wintertime, everyone was trying to convince me that winter is not a good time to go there. I could not disagree more! I've never experienced a more picturesque winter wonderland and it was truly a trip of a lifetime. Of course it's amazing during the warmer months, but I highly suggest planning a trip there during the winter. Pictures honestly don't do it justice, but here's a little taste to get you inspired....

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Banff National Park.

Dogsledding through the Canadian Rocky Mountains in Canmore, Alberta.

Exploring through winter wonderlands in Yoho National Park.

The Emerald Lake Lodge in Field, British Columbia.

This hidden gem in Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park, I found from venturing through a cave.

Snowshoeing through fresh powder in Chickadee Valley. My FAVORITE experience of the trip!

Scenes that look like they are straight out of a postcard! 

Making snow angels in the thickest of powder in Yoho National Park!

Ice skating outside the Post Hotel in Lake Louise, Alberta.

Snowshoeing around Peyto Lake in Banff National Park.

10 Best Game Day Recipes

It’s almost that time of year to eat your heart out on appetizers, dips, and all things delicious. I mean….watch the big game! Let’s be real, you’re reading this because you care more about the food than you do the game. Don’t feel bad about it though because I sure don’t! This year, my roommates and I are hosting a Superbowl party, so obviously I’ve been spending way too much time on Pinterest thinking about all the food we’re going to make. Okay, so here are the top 10 Superbowl party staples!

1.     Spinach Artichoke Dip | Damn Delicious 

2.     Ham & Swiss Sliders | Love & Food ForEva 

3.     Loaded Nachos | The Baker Mama

4.     Chocolate Covered Strawberry Footballs | My Mommy Style

5.     Jalapeno Popper Dip | Spend With Pennies

6.     Mini Football Calzones | What2Cook

7.     Buffalo Chicken Dip | Gimme Some Oven

8.     Touchdown Brownies | The Baker Mama

9.     BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders | Table for Two

10.  Baked Brie | Foodie Meets World (Hey guys!)

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Backroads Travel Company: Review

Travel Review: Backroads Travel ~ Canadian Rockies

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Activities: Snowshoeing, dog-sledding, walking (with ice cleats), and ice skating.

National Parks visited: Banff, Kootenay, and Yoho

Lodging: The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Emerald Lake Lodge, the Post Hotel. All three of these had their own, unique charm. 

Trip Leaders/Guides: For our group of 16 adults, we had two amazing trip leaders: Heather and Sarah! They were a perfect match and we were shocked to find out that it was their first time leading together. Both of them went above and beyond to make sure everyone was having the best possible experience, and they were happy to do so. I honestly do not think the trip would have been as incredible as it was without them.

Overall Review: Five Stars. This was surely a trip of a lifetime. The one word that comes to mind when I try to describe it, is “magical”. My expectations were pretty high to begin with, yet they exceeded them by a landslide. Backroads COMPLETELY blew me away.

For a detailed itinerary and more information on this trip, please visit: https://www.backroads.com/trips/MCNI-9/canadian-rockies-winter-snow-adventure

Disclaimer: I would like to state that this is not a sponsored post and does not contain any affiliate links. This is entirely my own opinion and experience.

10 Pictures To Inspire You To Go To Paris

Paris seems to be a destination that is on everyone's bucket list and that comes as no shock! Paris is an incredibly romantic place, but as a single girl who's been there twice, it's not just for lovers! Both times I went to Paris was with a group of friends. There is so much to explore and SO much to eat. Speaking of food....that seems like a good place to kick this thing off!

Healthy Chicken Enchiladas

Not only is this one of the easiest recipes ever, but it’s always a favorite for my friends and family! It’s a great way to feed a crowd or have yummy leftovers to freeze. These enchiladas pair perfectly with my FAVORITE chicken flavored rice. (*I use the water from the boiled chicken to cook the rice, plus a couple other ingredients) Yummy rice recipe COMING SOON!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 cube of chicken bouillon
  • 1 28 oz. can of Las Palmas red enchilada sauce
  • Corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil
  • White rice
  • Cotija cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cut the onion in half and add to the water. Then, add in the chicken breasts.

  2. When the chicken is fully cooked, take out and let cool. (Save the boiled water if you plan on making my yummy CHICKEN FLAVORED RICE)

  3. Set your oven to 325 degrees.

  4. Once the cooked chicken breasts are cool, shred them into chunks using two forks or simply your hands! Make sure you don't shred them too thin, so it's all stringy and not thick enough.

  5. Add a couple drops of vegetable oil to a plate and spread around with your brush. Place a tortilla on the plate and lightly coat both sides with vegetable oil.

  6. Line the chicken up in your tortilla and roll it up! Add it to your baking dish and repeat until you've filled up the baking dish.

  7. Pour the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. I normally go through almost the entire can of sauce. If you want them to be super mild or dryer, I suggest pouring less. Use your brush to make sure the tortillas are fully coated with the enchilada sauce.

  8. Crumble the cotija cheese on top and then they're ready to go into the oven!

  9. Set your timer to 25 minutes.

  10. The cheese should be slightly brown on the top. That's how you know they're done!

  11. Serve these enchiladas with sour cream (optional) and my chicken flavored rice (recipe coming soon!). Enjoy!

These enchiladas freeze really well. If you have leftovers, that is! I wrap groups of 2-3 enchiladas in parchment paper and then foil to stick in the freezer. Thaw them out and stick them in the microwave or the oven to heat them up.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

You will never buy frosting again after making this. It is SO easy to make and tastes amazing! So delicious and beyond simple to make. I did my best to keep this recipe on the healthier side....healthier than other homemade frosting recipes that is!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (quality matters!)
  • *Optional* food coloring (I used a few drops of red to turn mine pink)

Directions:

  1. Using a kitchen aid mixer (or bowl with electric mixer w/ whisk attachment), beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Next, add a pinch of salt and gradually add in 1 cup of powdered sugar, continue to beat after each addition.
  3. Then, add 2 tablespoons of milk and the vanilla extract and mix well.
  4. Add in the 2nd cup of the powdered sugar, gradually.
  5. Finish by adding in 1 tablespoon of milk (if needed), based on desired thickness. Also, if you are adding food coloring, now is the time to add it in. Don't forget, a little goes a long way!
  6. When completely mixed, put in the fridge to set for about 20 minutes before beginning to frost. Enjoy!

Travel Guide: Bali, Indonesia

What To Do

  • Greenbike bike tour – Definitely recommend this to anyone. You don’t need to be in great shape for this because the biking is 90% downhill and they give you the option to go the harder or easier route for the last 10%. You start the tour with breakfast that overlooks a beautiful volcano, then visit a local coffee plantation. Sampling the different coffee flavors was fun (I liked the vanilla and coconut). The view is also gorgeous! You end the tour with lunch in these cute little huts overlooking rice fields. Also, take advantage of their shuttle service. We had them drop us off in the city center after, so we could head to the monkey forest!

 

  • River rafting – Gorgeous scenery! It looks like you’re floating through a jungle and you may even spot some unique wildlife if you’re lucky! Fun, but not as challenging as we expected. I heard from others that the river rafting was actually pretty scary in Ubud, so maybe it depends on the time of year and the weather. We went in the summer and the water was extremely low.
  • Monkey Forest – We got lucky and a guide basically took us under his wing (for the price of a large pack of bananas). We were pretty afraid of the monkeys because of how aggressive they were, so it was nice to have someone help us who knew what they were doing. As you can see from these blurry GoPro pics, the monkeys and I really bonded....

 

  • Surfing – Take a surfing lesson if you go to Kuta Beach. Just walk down the beach and people will ask you if you want a surfing lesson. Make sure to bargain for a good price! Also, they should offer you a rash guard to wear and absolutely wear it! Believe me when I say you will regret it if you don’t. If you happen to take your surf lesson in the afternoon, hang around the beach for a gorgeous sunset!


  • Yoga Barn – I was SO bummed that we didn’t get to do this. I had so many recommendations to go there, so of course we went and tried to make a reservation two hours before the class. It was first come first serve, so the receptionist told us to come back twenty minutes before the class started and said we would definitely get a spot. Well, we showed up twenty minutes before and the same receptionist told us there were no more spots. Yes, I still recommend going because everyone I talked to loved their experience, but go there EARLY!!!!

10 Pictures To Inspire You To Visit Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is the island where the famous Full Moon Parties take place in the Gulf of Thailand. As fun as it is to decorate your body in neon colored paint and dance the night away (literally....until 7am), partying isn't the only thing this gorgeous island has to offer. I had my absolute favorite Thai food here. So good that I ended up eating at the same place for THREE meals in a row and another place for dinner TWO nights in a row. Island vibes are in full effect here with light sand beaches and clear blue water. You'll want to spend your days soaking up the sun and pretending to be a mermaid.

Tortellini Soup With Tomatoes & Spinach

This is a recipe that you can literally just throw everything in the pot and voila! You have yourself a meal. Also, it's a recipe that can easily be altered to make it vegetarian friendly.

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup of baby heirloom tomatoes halved (cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes are fine)
  • 1/2 small box of prewashed baby spinach
  • 2 cups of cheese tortellinis
  • 1 cup of shredded chicken 

Instructions:

Start by filling a large pot with your chicken (or vegetable) broth and bring to a boil. Add in the tortellini and then the shredded chicken. Next, add the halved tomatoes. Make sure not to overcook the tortellinis. When the tortellinis have about 1 more minute to cook, add in the spinach. Salt and pepper to taste, as well as Italian seasoning (optional). Grab your ladle and serve! 

If you're a vegetarian simply switch out the chicken broth for vegetable broth and skip on shredded chicken!

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Foodie's Guide To Barcelona

Honestly, the food overall in Barcelona kind of sucks. Luckily, I was able to find some pretty good places while I lived there!

Bo de B – The best sandwiches in all of Barcelona. Their salads are also amazing, but you can really only get that if you eat there and there’s not a whole lot of seating. Best thing to do is get a sandwich to-go and eat it on the beach, which is just a short walk away.

CDLC – This is a restaurant by day and club by night, located right on the beach. It is by no means inexpensive, but such a cool place to go. Get a pitcher of sangria and absolutely try the dip they give you for the bread….then ask for more. Their sushi is definitely up to par, as is their filet minion.

Brunch and Cake – Pretty self explanatory.

Rosa Negra – Mexican restaurant on Via Leitana. Great drinks and definitely get the nachos.

Da Greco – Fun place to go with a big group of people. Really good Italian food! Make a reservation.

La Boqueria – This is a famous stop in Barcelona and definitely one you don’t want to miss.  It’s basically a huge farmers market that has everything you can imagine. Huge meat assortment, fish, veggies, olives, cheese, fruit, juices, and a candy lover’s dream.

Wok to Walk – Asian noodles and rice. Pick you noodles/rice, sauce, protein, veggies, and any other add ons. This is located just outside of La Boqueria and also makes great leftovers.

Zion – This restaurant was right next to my apartment and my roommates and I went there practically every other night. All of their pastas were so good, but my favorite was definitely the vegetable lasagna. Definitely different than what you would expect lasagna to taste like!

Milk – This is a trendy lunch spot in the Barrio Goticco on Gignas 21. It’s a little bit hard to find, but worth it. Their potatoes were really good! Make a reservation here.

Starbucks – I’m actually not joking with this one. I got their egg and cheese breakfast sandwich everyday before class and they use real eggs instead of an egg patty, so it’s quite the delicious lifesaver after a night at Opium.

Hotel Review: The Lokha Ubud in Bali, Indonesia

So you're going to Bali....

Now, you have to figure where in the world you are going to stay. Don't worry, I got you on this part!

Stay at The Lokha Ubud. It's located in Ubud, Bali (which is the center of Bali, and really close to the Ubud city center). This is the jungle experience you're looking for with a resort off the beaten path, surrounded by the most gorgeous nature and luscious greenery.  It is absolutely worth every penny.

Very helpful staff who got us discounts on every activity/tour we did (all we had to do was ask for a discount and we got pretty big ones!) The staff just so happens to be so incredibly nice, as well, which truly makes all the difference when you're in a new place. The hotel is off the beaten path, so you can’t wander outside the hotel at night, but they do offer a shuttle service to and from the city center. Make sure to reserve your spot on the shuttle the day before. Breakfast was hands down the best one we had in all of Southeast Asia. It's a breakfast buffet, but the food and juices were amazing and tasted so fresh! Also, they have an infinity pool that overlooks the jungle and it's so picturesque. Plus, they have warm showers right outside the pool for when you get out. They have several bikes that are first come first serve, but they were always available when we wanted them. Take a bike ride during the day outside of the hotel and past all the rice fields. Turn right out of the hotel and you will have yourself a beautiful bike ride. If you turn left, you’ll be getting yourself in trouble (like we did) by having to carry your bikes up stairs and big hills. There is a beautiful temple and gorgeous views about 10 minutes down the road to the left, so I suggest walking there to take a look. The hotel also offers a complimentary afternoon tea (from 4:00-6:00pm if I recall correctly), which was nice to come back to after a long day of touring.

Guide To Mastering The Perfect Omelette

Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Shredded Cheese (I like the thin Mexican blend)
  • Chopped White Onion
  • Sliced Mushrooms
  • Chopped Bell Pepper (yellow, red, or green)
  • Chopped Asparagus
  • Chopped Zucchini
  • Spinach

 

 

Instructions

  1. Start by getting all your veggies chopped and ready to go. 
  2. Add a thin slice of butter into your omelette pan and put over medium heat.
  3. Once the butter is melted, add in your chopped onion. Make sure to remember to stir everything around throughout the cooking process, so everything gets cooked equally.
  4. After about a minute, add in your mushrooms. I love the flavor that mushrooms and onions produce, so I normally let that cook for about a minute.
  5. Then, add your zucchini, asparagus, and bell pepper. I like my veggies pretty well done, so I keep the heat on medium and cook them right before crisped.
  6. One the veggies are cooked, I add in several handfuls of spinach. Remember that the spinach will really shrink down once it’s cooked, so I always add quite a bit. When the spinach is in and everything is stirred up, I place a lid on the pan and lower the heat to medium low.
  7. While the spinach cooks down, mix up your eggs with a large splash of milk.
  8. After a minute, I open the lid and stir everything around and then place the lid back on for another minute.
  9. Once the spinach is done cooking, I mix up the veggies one last time before I pour in the egg and milk mixture. Then, I put the lid back on and let the omelette cook. The lid helps hold in that heat and moisture, which helps cook the omelette all the way through, as well as making it nice and fluffy. I’ve tried making an omelette without the lid and it takes way longer to cook and the side against the pan burns.
  10. When your omelette looks done (eggs fully cooked), add your cheese to one half of the circle and use a spatula to flip the other side over. Turn off your heat and use the spatula to slide it off the pan and onto your plate. I like to eat mine with Cholula and/or salsa for an extra kick of flavor. Enjoy!

Side Note: You can always add in other ingredients like bacon, ham, or tomatoes to change things up!

Travel Guide: Malibu, California

Accommodations

  • Stay at The Malibu Beach Inn. It is located right on the beach and next to the Malibu pier. It’s also about a five-minute walk to the Malibu Country Mart. This is a pretty expensive place to stay, but I can assure you that you will not be disappointed here. It’s a pretty small hotel, with a homey feel and friendly staff. This is also a perfect spot for a romantic weekend getaway. My parents have actually gone here quite a bit for their anniversary and they really go out of their way to make your stay special. Obviously, if you are planning a trip to Malibu you can expect some higher expenses.
  • If you can’t afford to stay here, you can always stay at a hotel just outside of Malibu in Agoura Hills or Westlake Village. Even still, it is going to be hard to find a very cheap place to stay, since the surrounding areas are all pretty nice. 
  • There is also the option to camp at Leo Carrillo State Park.

Food

  • Malibu Farm Café – This is one of my favorite spots to eat. It is located at the end of the Malibu pier, so the view is spectacular. I highly suggest the breakfast sandwich and their watermelon juice (served in a mason jar). This is a very trendy, popular brunch spot.
  • Malibu Country Mart – Pretty much all of the food here is amazing. My favorite is hands down the tuna melt from the country mart deli (located next to the Starbucks, by the movie theatre). Tom’s Garden is also a great choice if you’re looking for something fresh and healthy. Tra Da Noi is the Italian restaurant that has amazing pizza and pasta. Their pasta with vodka sauce is to die for! Sunlife Organics just recently opened there and they offer acai bowls that are amazing, as well. I normally get my food to go and eat at one of the tables around the park, for some good people watching. If you would rather enjoy your meal in a restaurant, there is delicious Greek food at Traverna Tony’s, as well as pretty diverse menu at Marmalade. Honestly, it just depends what kind of food you’re in the mood for because all of the food options are pretty impressive.
  • Lily’s – The ultimate Malibu local spot. If you want a tasty burrito this is where you should go. They’re located right by Zuma Beach, so you can either eat there or grab it to go and take it to the beach! Everyone loves their fish burrito, as well as their chicken burrito. I’m a big fan of their breakfast burrito. Also, get an orange jarrito to drink. It’s like a Mexican orange soda. Straight sugar, but so good! Call in your order though or you’ll have to wait about 25 minutes for it to be ready.
  • D’Amores Pizza – Located in the same center as Lilly’s (right by Zuma Beach). They also have another location on PCH closer to the pier. Their thin crust pizza is definitely my favorite in the area. I don’t even eat ranch dressing with their pizza….which says a lot. The plain cheese is totally satisfying, but you should try their pizza bianco if you’re open to try something new. Not feeling pizza? Their baked ziti is the best you will ever have.
  • Nobu – Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard of this popular place. Good for lunch, dinner, or happy hour. They have some really unique cocktails to choose from. My favorite includes pomegranate seeds is a pretty pink color! Their portions are very small here, so expect to order more than just one plate. If you like sushi and fish, this is definitely the place to get it. For dessert, get their spring rolls! It sounds kind of weird, but I promise you they are mind-blowing. 
  • Plate – Smaller portions and a great place for dinner if you’re looking for a fresh and healthy meal.
  • Grom – this is a gourmet gelato spot located by the movie theatre and country mart deli.

What To Do

  • The Beach (obviously) – Zuma is the go-to beach in Malibu. You don’t need to pay for parking (unless you go during an extremely busy time), just park on the street for free. Make sure to read the signs though, so you don’t park in a tow area. You can also park at Malibu High School for free if you’re up for a little walk. Point Dume is another spot that is popular with the locals, specifically the teens.
  • Surfing – If you want to see a lot of surfers, go to the beach right next to the Malibu pier. Across the street they offer rentals and lessons. Paddle boarding is also really fun!
  • Malibu Country Mart – Not only is it filled with good food, but it’s also filled with the best people watching in Malibu (in my opinion). This is where people go to “be seen.” It’s expected to see celebrities here, as they even have a paparazzi free zone. If you’re looking for some seriously good shopping, this is definitely the place. Don’t expect cheap prices though, that’s for sure! A fun store to look in is Kitson, which is located in The Lumberyard section. There is also a great park here if you’re looking to entertain kids! 
  • Hiking – As you can imagine, there are some beautiful hikes in Malibu that lead to some breathtaking views. Point Dume: starts at the beach and ends at Paradise Cove. This is a 4-mile hike that takes about 2 hours. This is a pretty moderate hike, as far as difficulty goes. It’s also a popular spot for proposals! Escondido Canyon and Falls is another hike known as the “hidden gem” of the Santa Monica Mountains. This is also a 4-mile hike and if you’re looking for some Instagram worthy pictures, you will not be disappointed here! You will be leaded to the stunning 150 foot Escondido waterfall.
  • Paradise Cove – Great spot for lunch and to hang at the beach!
  • Wine Tasting - Malibu Wines is a trendy, outdoor tasting room and my personal favorite. They have picnic benches to sit at, but they are mostly always packed. Bring a large blanket to sit on and a picnic if you'd like to eat while you drink. I suggest a "make your own cheese plate" type of picnic, but I am also not against bringing a box of pizza. Across from Malibu Wines is Malibu Family Wines (Both owned by the same family, but technically under separate ownership within the family. They also both serve the same wine which is produced at Malibu Family Wines. Side note - I interned there, so I got the inside scoop!) Malibu Family Wines offers beautiful vineyards, events like weddings and parties, and a gorgeous barn filled with horses and other wild animals. You can actually take a safari tour there that will take you around the property while you sip your wine!
  • Leo Carrillo State Park – Camping spot and one of the only dog friendly beaches in the area.

 

Foodie’s Guide to San Diego

This could be an incredibly long post because I’ve been going to San Diego multiple times a year since I was little, plus my brother lives there so I’ve got the inside scoop on local eats! I’ll do my best to sum up my absolute favorites.

Pacific/Mission Beach

  • Rubicon Deli – Their spicy tuna sandwich is to die for, but I also just recently tried something new there (FINALLY) and got the Rubicon Special and I highly recommend that as well. Their sandwiches aren’t the only delicious food they offer, their cookies are delicious and their soups are great.
  • 976 Café – Get the good morning bagel! It’s an open-faced bagel with pesto, tomato, and mozzarella cheese and obviously add cream cheese and make it a “deluxe” bagel because yum….also they have a wide variety of coffee drinks which are pretty good too!
  • Baked Bear – Cookies + ice cream = best sandwich combo ever. Get whatever your heart desires here and your tummy will thank you.
  • La Playa Taco Shop – If you don’t already know by now…I LOVE BACON. I’m weird though because if it’s not fully crispy I’m practically repulsed. Anyways, I got the breakfast burrito with bacon and forgot to order the bacon crispy (never happens) and my burrito was the best breakfast burrito I’ve ever consumed with perfectly crispy bacon! Also, their salsa is the perfect addition to burritos.
  • World Famous – If you like bacon, benedicts, and a good blood mary, this is the place to go. They also have a great happy hour here with a huge menu to choose from! Not to mention it’s literally right on the beach….
  • Hoboken – The go-to pizza place in Pacific Beach.

Downtown/Gaslamp District

  • Bottega Americano - Delicious gourmet pizza and salads and they have some pretty interesting cocktails. Their cucumber & watermelon drink is amazing! (This is where the picture for this post came from)
  • Searsucker – Awesome place for dinner and drinks.
  • Roy’s – It’s location right on the harbor makes it a gorgeous dinner spot. Make a reservation so you can get a table outside because the view is amazing. I’m not a fan of potstickers, but their lobster potstickers are so good! Also, their appetizer of the wood-smoked szechuan BBQ spare ribs are enough for a meal and if you’re not going to get them then you might as well not even go. JK…kinda, but seriously they’re my favorite!
  • RAMA Restaurant – After going to Thailand, I can honestly say that RAMA offers some pretty good Thai food. Their yellow curry was definitely up to par.
  • Snooze Eatery – This is located just outside of Downtown SD in Hillcrest, but worth the drive. If you’re a big fan of brunching (like me) then you don’t want to miss it. I don’t even like breakfast sausage, but I got their breakfast pot pie and have been dreaming of it ever since. They also have a good bloody mary assortment!
  • Little Italy – This is actually a small part of downtown SD that you should definitely go to for dinner. Honestly, every restaurant looks pretty good when I walk by (and stare down everyone’s plates), but I’m loyal to Buon Appetito. I’ve been going there for years and I am way too obsessed with everything I’ve ever tried there. First of all, start with the “Mellanzane All’ Almafitana”. It’s basically eggplant parmesan….my dad and I devoured this in about 3 seconds. Their spinach and ricotta ravioli is hands down one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever eaten. That’s saying a lot, considering pasta is one of my favorite foods. Also, their gnocchi tastes like you’re dreaming on the fluffiest pasta pillows ever, so you won’t be mad if you order some gnocchi.

La Jolla

  • Roppongi – This is an Asian fusion restaurant that’s been around forever, right in the heart of La Jolla. Craving sushi? This is your place!
  • Cody’s – If you’re looking for an impressive Instagram picture to go along with a delectable brunch, Cody’s will not let you down. Their drinks are as good as they look, too!
  • Herringbone – Killer happy hour and a super trendy place!

Del Mar

  • Brigantine Seafood Restaurant – This is the spot that everyone goes to before the races. It is completely packed hip to hip! Great brunch and an impressive drink menu.
  • Jake’s – Located right on the beach, this makes for a romantic dinner spot. Definitely go with the surf and turf here!
  • L’Auberge – This is actually one of my favorite places to stay in all of San Diego, plus they’re dog friendly! This place has the most gorgeous views of the beach and the sunset views are picturesque. You could really go here for any meal of the day or even drinks and appetizers. I’ve had it all and I can’t decide what my favorite is. They have some great cocktails and appetizers and even a variety of games, which makes for a fun happy hour! Also, they have live music in the evening and they are always so incredibly talented! Their Greek salad for lunch was pretty amazing too, and I don’t normally rave about salads. If you eat on the patio, you’ll be looking out onto the ocean!

Travel Guide: Penang, Malaysia

Accommodations

If you want to be in the city or if you’re on a budget, Georgetown is the place to be. If you want to be close to the beach and are willing to spend more on a hotel, definitely stay close to Batu Ferringhi (the most popular beach).

Food

  • Absolutely go to the Long Beach night market. There’s another one right next to it, but even the locals will tell you that Long Beach is far better. There is such a variety of options to choose from and it’s all delicious! It’s located just inward from Batu Ferringhi and you can definitely walk from the beach in no time. If you’re with a group of people, get a little of everything to try! Tucked in the back is a tiny Greek food stand with the most amazing potato pockets! I had them two nights in a row they were so good….
  • If you happen to have time to spare in the airport, there are some cool places to eat! There is a full mall, grocery store, and food shops, plus an amazing restaurant inside! I cannot remember what the restaurant is called, but it’s the only vegetarian one there. If I could replicate their noodle soup I would be forever happy!

What To Do

  • Bora Bora Bar – This is located on Batu Ferringhi and is the perfect place to grab a beer and watch the sunset. Also, it is prime seating for some hilarious entertainment, watching people take off and land for parasailing. Spoiler alert: SO many people eat it into the sand, especially on landing.
  • Water Sports – There are numerous water sports to choose from on Batu Ferringhi, but whatever you decide to do, DON’T FORGET TO NEGOTIATE! The prices were so high it was almost comical, so bargain hard! Trust me, regardless of what they say, their prices are absolutely not set in stone. Tubing was definitely a highlight for me, and it’s right next to Bora Bora Bar. If you can get a group of 4, you’ll be in the tube that allows for a much wilder ride….I highly suggest that!
  • Hiking in the National Park - This is something that I would NOT do solo. It’s not exactly a regular hike….expect lots of wildlife, no obvious path, and a seriously good workout! Before you hike, be sure to sign in at the office so that they have all your information just in case anything happens….like I said, this is not a regular hike! There are two different hikes to choose from: one leads to monkey beach (yes there actually are monkeys there, extremely aggressive ones might I add, but it’s pretty) and another hike that leads to a more secluded, prettier beach. You can only swim at monkey beach though. I did the hike that lead to the more beautiful beach and got extremely lucky and ran into a park ranger about 15 minutes in, who we followed for the next two hours till we made it to the beach. Don’t forget to sign out at the office on your way out!
  • Street Art – Penang is famous for their intricate street art. It’s very creative and a lot of it is pretty old!