An Unforgettable Trip To Maui

What can I say about Maui that hasn’t already been said? That it is majestic? That it is Paradise on earth? Relaxing? A beauty?

I had resisted the urge to travel to Hawaii arguing in my mind that I should travel to more exotic and foreign destinations for as long as I can. But then I had a child and things changed.  I fought this change as hard as I could for as long as I could. I tried to go on with things as I had when I was a careless girl in my Twenties with nothing and no one to worry about but myself. So in order to show myself and all around me that nothing had changed,  I packed my family and travelled to places like the Costa Rican jungle when my son was only 6 months old or to hidden bungalows in the Tulum jungle with no running water when he was 9 months and hiking high in the Swiss Alps alongside glaciers when he was 18 months. He’s one lucky boy I know, even though he won’t remember a thing. My husband and I thought that was normal and although my son has been a breeze to travel with, traveling with a mini-human to places with well-water and parasites was not the easiest. But we didn’t know any better  that is until we travelled to Maui last September. It was the most relaxing and easy trip we’ve yet taken and our son fell in love with the island as did we. We didn’t have to worry about brushing our teeth with bottled water or making sure we had enough mosquito repellants to ward off an army of disease ridden bugs in the jungle.  Each one of those trips have been beyond memorable but we definitely had to plan and organize and keep our wits about. But then we went to Maui.

Maui has it all. The comforts and convenience for families with little ones and adventures for solo travelers.

We stayed on the South side of the island in Wailea. It’s a luxury resort area with beautiful hotels and homes. The Grand Wailea is the largest resort with multiple pools, kids waterpark with slides and lazy rivers and many restaurants. So if it’s just rest and relaxation you are looking for there is really no need to leave the resort. But we always like to  travel and explore, and see where and how the locals live so while we stayed at the Grand Wailea we travelled often to Kihei a local town that is 10-15 minutes away from Wailea.  For the first few days it was just relaxing at our hotel and enjoying the conveniences of a resort. The beach at Wailea is beautiful and filled with wild sea animals. Many times a day we would see giant sea turtles swimming by and on many occasions would be caught off guard as one would brush our legs from behind with its fins. It was an incredible experience to be so intimately connected to these beautiful creatures without having to go on some fancy excursion.

When we were finally rested enough to explore the island we set off one early morning to Hana. The drive to Hana was one of the most breathtaking experiences of my life which merits it’s own post. We discovered pools, waterfalls, rain and bamboo forests, cages, black sandy beaches and the world’s best banana bread.

On another evening we stayed at our hotel to experience a famous Hawaiian Luau at Honua’ula at the Grand Wailea. While we also planned to catch a sunrise at the Haleakala National Park we failed to reserve spots in time as there is a daily maximum so in the end we never made it up to the Park. There is always next time. As all things on Maui the dining experience was also exceptional each restaurant meriting it’s own post. But as many who travel to the island will know, Mama’s Fish House was one of the best dining experience we’ve yet to have.

After spending a week in Maui my husband and I were both fully rested and ready to get back to the swing of things. My son was not ready to leave and as a three year old has asked us to go back to Hawaii weekly if not daily. It seems he’s already got a good (and expensive) taste when it comes to travel.

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Kalam Polow Shirazi (Cabbage herbed rice with meatballs)- Iranian Cuisine

Kalam Polo Shirazi (from the region of Shiraz, Iran) was introduced into the family by my father. His love for this fragrant Iranian rice dish dates back to his childhood in Shiraz where my grandmother’s cooking reigned.  Years later when his mother passed away, he had to ask around in order to obtain the recipe. Finally, he got his hands on the recipe which surely had changd over the years. Coming home from school I would often smell the fragrant aroma of tarragon from outside.  I instantly knew he missed his mother… that is usually when he would prepare the dish. He would make it whenever feeling nostalgic or missing my grandmother. I had never attempted to make Kalam Polow until recently I had a major unexpected craving for it. I think I just missed my father and thought by making his signature dish I’d fill the void brought by the distance. Winter time when fresh cabbage is in season is the best time to prepare this dish. And today, I miss my father who happens to be thousands of miles away in Iran for the winter. So I am making this dish in memory of my grandmother and because I just miss my father plain and simple.
Note: if you grew up hating cabbage. Don’t worry as this dish will make you change your mind. I myself am not a big fan of cabbage but when eating it in this dish- it tastes delicious. 
Ingredients (Serves 4-6 ppl): 
 
2 cups of rice
4 cups of shredded white cabbage
1 onion (grated)
1 lbs ground beef
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of saffron
Herbs: (May use dry or fresh)
2 cups of fresh parsley  (1 cup if dried)
2 cups of fresh cilantro (1 cup if dried)
2 cups of chives (1 cup if dried)
2 cups of Persian basil (1 cup if dried)
1/2 cup tarragon
1 cup fresh dill (or dry dill)
salt and pepper
olive oil
Instructions: 
 
1. Grate onion into small pieces, remove the onion juice. Mix the onion with the ground beef. Add salt and pepper and turmeric and mix with the meat and onions
2. Roll small pieces of meat mix into meatballs. You want the meatballs to be on the smaller side
3. Cook meatballs in a lightly oiled pan until partially cooked
4. Shred white cabbage into small pieces
5. Saute shredded cabbage in a slightly oiled pan until cooked. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of turmeric.
6. Chop all the herbs into small fine pieces.
7. Mix the herbs with the sauteed cabbage and add to the meatballs. Add 1 cup of water and cook on medium heat until water partially evaporates.
8. Prepare rice and remove from heat when partially cooked.

9. When your rice is ready, remove from pan. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add layers of thinly sliced potatoes. Add one layer of rice and another layer of mixture. Continue layering and gently mix pot to mix the ingredients together. Finish with a thin layer of rice. With the bottom of your spatula make several holes in your rice layer without touching the bottom of the pot. This allows the steam to reach the top. Cook for 40 minutes on medium-low heat.
10. Serve with rice and pickled torshee.

 

 

 

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Condado Vanderbilt Hotel (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

After 5 days spent in the east of the island in Fajardo, we travelled back to San Juan to experience the much talked about Fiestas de la Calle de San Sebastián,- a weekend of celebrations, food and drinks in the heart of the old town. The experience would not have been complete had we not stayed at the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in the chic District of Condado in San Juan. The hotel is everything you expect form a 5-star hotel and more. It was originally build by Frederick William Vanderbilt in 1919 and was the “it” destination for many. It recently went through major $200 million renovations re-opening it’s doors in 2014. As soon as you step through the lobby doors it takes you back in time to the glorious 1920’s with its style, sophistication and service that the Vanderbilt was and is known for.

The hotel is split into two towers: The Commodore and the Biltmore  The one and two bedroom suites range from 750 – 1,500 square feet. Our upgraded suite consisted of granite counter tops, African mahogany wood detailing and custom-designed lighting elements. White Carrera marble floors, dove grey walls, and neutral-toned furniture accented with locally-sourced artwork, touches of turquoise and yellow, and the striking backdrop of the translucent Atlantic. The bathroom was configured with a rain shower and C.O. Bigelow bath amenities.

The hotel has two pools located on either side of the towers, one is family-friendly and the other is adults only. We got to experience both. The West Tower pool area features a 200-square foot mirrored pool with a waterfall, surrounded by chaise lounges and private cabanas – a perfect setting for sunning and socializing while taking in the warm breeze. The West Tower’s , infinity-edge pool is perched on the edge of the ocean, and lies adjacent to an intimate, wooden sun deck, located directly above the crashing waves with only two beach chairs. If you want these seats you have to get up extra early or have it reserved. Either way there is plenty of places to bask in the sun. The other pool located at the east tower was smaller but featured a large hot tub. From here there is also access to a small beach with loungers and service provided by the beach butlers.

There are several restaurants and bars located in the restaurant and although we didn’t get to try all of them I can attest to the 5-star quality and service of the buffet-style breakfast served pool-side at the Ola Oceanfront restaurant. After staying here for 3 short days we were pampered, rested and ready to head back to reality. However, the hotel quickly made its way to my top 5 hotels that I have ever stayed at. While its not a cheap place to stay, it is worth every penny.

* Condado Vanderbilt is part of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Group.

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From Puerto Rico with Love…

Ooooh I know its been a while but I just just returned from the colorful and magical island of Puerto Rico recharged and ready to take on 2017. Puerto Rico was too good not to share. From the picturesque crystal blue water and white sandy beaches of the coastal towns, sparkling bioluminescence bays,  rainforest and the colorful streets of Old San Juan- Puerto Rico checked off everything on my list of a perfect vacation. And that’s not even mentioning the amazing fresh seafood and the oh so delicious mofongos…and endless empanadas! Guys I’m in love and already trying to plan my next trip.

We started our vacation on the eastern tip of the island in the beach town of Fajardo. From here there are ferries to the nearby Culebra Island which is claimed to have one of the most beautiful pristine beaches in the world (Flamingo Beach). We stayed at the El Conquisitor, A Waldorf Astoria Resort and Spa which had its own private and secluded island, Palomino Island (See Review). This large resort is perched on a cliff and has more than 1000 rooms, a funicular taking guests down to the ferry dock where guests can ride to Palomino Island just 15 minutes away.

The drive from San Juan took less than an hour on the main highway and was a great way to see more of the country. Other options on the east coast is the Vieques island where the trendy W hotel is located (on my list of places to stay). There are large biolumenscent bays where the water sparkles at night time.

After 5 adventure-filled days and 8 mofongos later we drove back to spend the weekend exploring San Juan. We had no idea that we happened to be there on the most exciting weekend of the year, San Sebastian Festival, where old san juan would be filled with colorful parades, dancing, music and street food. In San Juan we stayed at the beautifully renovated Condado Vanderbilt Hotel located in the trendy Condado strip of town. If you are planning a getaway to Puerto Rico and only have time for San Juan make sure to stay at this hotel. The attention to every detail and customer service was beyond 5* making it one of the best hotels I have ever stayed at.

 

Things Not to Miss in Puerto Rico

  1. Hike in El Yunque Forest
  2. Ride the free hop-on, hop-off trolley in Old San Juan
  3. Take a day trip to the island of Culebra
  4. Paddle through the Bioluminescent Bay off Vieques or Fajardo
  5. Partying in the streets of Old San Juan during the San Sebastian Street festival

Foods not to Miss Easting in Puerto Rico

  1. Mofongo
  2. The Mallorca and Mallorca diner in Old San Juan
  3. Tostones
  4. Beans
  5. Arroz con Gondulas
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Johnny Sanchez- CBD (New Orleans)

When you have two celebrity chefs and one restaurant opening the expectations tend to be high. Aarón Sánchez and John Besh’s collaboration brings traditional Mexican cuisine to the heart of New Orleans. If you are going in expecting burritos and enchiladas then you are in for a disappointment. The menu features items such as the ‘coba triadic’ a raw fish ceviche, crispy Brussel sprouts and kale salad (See Menu) alongside several typical mexican dishes such as tacos and enchiladas.

The restaurant is located on Poydras street in the CBD. The decor is cool and hip: Giant graffiti art covers one wall and beautiful chandeliers hang from the high ceilings. The bar is the perfect spot for happy hour drinks and tacos.

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We went early Saturday evening at around 6.30 p.m. Besides a few other patrons the restaurant was still empty. The menu was one page with a handful of small plates, tacos and large plates. We decided to order several small plates in order to try as many dishes on the menu as possible. First up was the Cobia Tiradito, a ceviche consisting of leche de tigre fish, cucumbers, avocado and other vegetables ($16). The flavors were great but it was drenched in rock salt which took away from the overall flavor.

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Next up was the Queso dip ($10) which was good for the first 5 minutes but turned into hard cheese within minutes. As far as queso dips go, this dish was not anything extraordinary. For a healthier dish to counter-balance the quest dip, we ordered the Kale salad ($12). It was the best thing about our meal even though it too was too salty.

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The beef flautas ($12) were an epic failure and we left the dish untouched. It was dry, salty and just not what you would expect at a place like Jonny Sanchez.

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Overall, we were left unsatisfied and decided to stop ordering before we were disappointed further. The best part of the meal was the plantain chips and salsa dip although after having the top layers of the chips suddenly the chips became stale leading one to assume that they reuse their chips!

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There is nothing I hate more than trying a new restaurant and being so utterly disappointed. Needless to say, Johnny Sanchez will not be added to our list of ‘must-dine’ spots in New Orleans. With so many amazing places to eat in New Orleans, the competition is tough and restauranteurs need to be on top of their game. The celebrity name can only take you so far when the food is just not good. I hope that this place improves because it is a beautiful restaurant in a spot that lacks other similar options.

 

Johnny Sánchez Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Vanessa’s Dumpling House- Chinatown (NYC)

Finding the best dumpling in a big city like New York is not an easy task. So I took to the internet to see which spots made the cut. Not surprisingly, the majority were located in and around Chinatown. Being deprived of all things Asian in the South I was determined to eat as many dumplings and Chinese food as time and appetite would allow for. And so I set out walking from the NoMad Hotel all the way down to Chinatown in order to get my dumpling fix. It was a long walk but the reward was worth it. Tucked all the way in the depths of Chinatown I found Vanessa’s Dumpling House, a non-conspicuous fast-food joint with a house full of fans. I ordered more food on the menu than I could physically consume but with the cheap eats and aromas in the air I could not resist. Within minutes my order was prepared and I was in a state of dumpling ecstasy. One of the best authentic dumplings I have yet to taste. Vanessa’s Dumpling House definitely made it to my NY places to eat go-to list.

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Vanessa's Dumpling House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The NoMad Hotel (New York City)

Of all the hotels in New York City of which there are many, I have always wanted to stay at the NoMad Hotel- a turn of the century Beaux-Arts building that has been masterfully restored to its original grandeur with interiors by French designer Jacques Garcia. The hotel is located in what I came to discover is the NoMad district (North of Madison Square Park) at 28th and Broadway. Amidst mosques, halal food shops, hair and garment stores lies this jewel of the hotel. Just a few blocks away is Madison Square Park and my favorite foodie destination, Eataly. Another great hotel just one block north of the NoMad is the hipster-cool Ace Hotel which I frequented every morning for coffee from Stuptown Coffee located inside the hotel. 

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The NoMad’s public spaces including a center atrium, library, cocktail bar and dining room include food & beverage by award-winning chef Daniel Humm and restauranteur Will Guidara of New York’s acclaimed Eleven Madison Park. Sydell Group own and operate the hotel, and also developed the nearby Ace New York & Palm Springs. Other collaborations include the hotel’s retail space by Paris-based Maison Kitsune (my favorite), which is its first ever dedicated shop in the US. The Library bar exclusive to guests of the hotel is a beautiful bar located in the center of the hotel. Books line the walls and a spiral staircase allows you to access the second floor books. Rumor has it that some of the books contain surprises. If you manage to find one you may keep it! 

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The entrance is dark and grandiose with bellboys ready to assist. The walls are covered in velvet and dark furniture surround the entrance and front desk. The staff were friendly and accommodating and check-in was a breeze. I was upgraded to a higher floor room featuring a clawfoot tub and views onto the adjacent street (as opposed to the inner atrium). It was surprisingly quiet given the traffic and noise outside. The decor is an ode to old Paris and just lovely. The bed was large and extremely comfortable and lent to a good nights rest. Overall, it was definitely the best hotel I have stayed at during my frequent trips to New York. However, the comfort and charm do not come cheap. At almost $500 per night I certainly would have hoped to have more amenities (including access to the rooftop which is now closed off to guests). 

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One great feature of the hotel is their free bike service which you can take out for the entire day. Make sure to inquire when you check-in! 

More information visit their website:  www.thenomadhotel.com

AMENITIES & SERVICES

– Interiors designed by Jacques Garcia
– 168 guest rooms and suites
– Multiple distinct dining spaces with menus by Chef Daniel Humm
– King-sized beds
– European-style bathrooms walk-in shower and water closet in most rooms
– Many rooms with freestanding clawfoot bathtubs
– Exclusive Argan bath amenities by Côté Bastide
– Custom linens, bedding and bathrobes by Sferra and Frette
– Down comforters and pillows (hypoallergenic upon request)
– Custom plush top mattresses and embossed leather headboards
– Mahogany writing desks and television stands
– Bedside tables and velvet and damask patterned paravents
– Reclaimed maple hardwood floors
– Handmade vintage Heriz rugs unique to each room
– Curated art program including Portraits de Villes photographs
– Fully stocked Minibar
– Large flat screen LCD HD television with on-demand movies
– iHome docking station, charger, radio and alarm clock
– Direct dial telephones with speaker and personalized voicemail capability
– In room safe, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, luggage rack
– Steps from Madison Square Park

SERVICES
– 24-Hour Room Service
– Complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access throughout the hotel
– Nightly turndown service
– Daily newspaper delivery
– 24-Hour state-of-the-art Fitness Room
– Laptops and iPads available upon request
– Concierge services provided at the Front Desk
– Multi-lingual Staff
– Bell staff Services
– Valet Parking
– Laundry Service
– LEED certified/Conservation Program

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I Heart New York

It is no secret that I love New York hard. Each trip back to the city reinforces the feelings and brings back nostalgia and distant memories of idealistic dreams of moving to the big apple. You see I fell in love with the city when I was a teenager and as every teenager does, I fell in deeply in love. I love everything about the City. The orderly chaos of the crowds, the traffic, and constant noise that beat through it’s veins. Fast forward 18 years and I found myself back in the city for a week of discovering new hotels, good food and old friends. I arrived on a Wednesday in the afternoon and checked into my beautiful hotel, The Nomad Hotel, located in the Flatiron district. Famished as I always tend to be, I made my way down to Eataly– just a few blocks away from the hotel (see my post on the whole Eataly experience). After sitting down to a nice lunch and a glass of rose, I started to wonder the streets looking through rose colored glasses. There is nothing I love more than walking around New York, getting lost in its streets, discovering new treasures. I walked down, all the way down to Wall Street. Later on I found myself having sake and sushi in Tribeca with old friends, treasuring the mid-summer heat and reminiscing about life and adventures in New York.

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The next day I decided to do what I have have always wanted to do: walk each and every street of the West Village and memorize the architecture, the restaurants and beauty of the brownstone homes. Sometimes I think if I dream hard enough and wish hard enough that maybe it will come true. Maybe, my family and I will be transplanted from our current home in Louisiana to New York where I would no doubt live happily ever after. In New York I feel at home a feeling I have yet to feel  living in the south. Seeing mothers and their children stroll through the streets of West Village and in parks surrounded with other kids, I thought about what a difference it would make to have Baby Nomad grow up in the City where surely he would be exposed to so much more, so many different cultures, languages, faces and experiences. For now, I will continue wishing and hoping and dreaming…

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I visited the High Line, a first for me and fell in love with the concept. So much beauty made of what was surely not the prettiest site to look at. Instead, it has been transformed into a peaceful, serene, green paradise above ground. I started from the top at 32nd street and 1st Avenue and made my way down to the finish line at the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. Next, I visited one of my favorite foodie destinations which seems to get better with time, the Chelsea Market. With so many places to choose from I opted for a classic Lobster Roll at the Seafood Guys.

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I walked through every different neighborhood below 14th street and made sure to visually memorize everything that I could. From the West Village to Soho and Nolita I took each and every inch in. In my short few days I managed to pack in a lot of food and many miles on my fitbit. With new restaurant discoveries and old favorites there was definitely no shortage when it came to dining options. In the next few weeks I will share all my discoveries with my readers. I hope you enjoy.

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A Foodie’s Guide to Lafayette, Louisiana (the Capital of Cajun Country)

It’s that time of year. Festival season has arrived in Lafayette! While having spent the majority of my time in New Orleans at the Jazz festival in the past few years, this year I am staying put in my new hometown of Lafayette to attend Festivale Internationale de Louisiana.  So I am preparing this guide for those out of town visitors and locals alike looking for some local gems to dine at and to experience cajun cooking (and the occasional non-cajun meal).  As a caveat, my followers will know that I am not cajun, nor am I even from here but having spent the past two and a half in this town and being an avid foodie, I’ve tasted my way through town and can confidently list my favorite places to dine which is quite personal to my taste. I hope you enjoy my picks.

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1. Dark Roux |3524 Kaliste Saloom Road | (337) 504-2346

Dark Roux is Lafayette’s newest farm-to-table restaurant focusing on serving local foods and telling the story of Louisiana foods. The menu features local farmer’s and suppliers such as Gotreaux Family Farms, Mary Mary Markets and Bread & Circus Provisions. Favorites include boudin balls for appetizer and boudin benny for brunch. The restaurant also has a bar and pantry stocked with local products. On weekends a live band plays outside making it the perfect place to brunch or have a romantic dinner with your loved one.  (see menu).

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2. Bread and Circus Provisions | 258 Bendel Road | (337) 408-3930

It all started with a condiment and charcuterie stand at the farmer’s market at the Horse Farm in Lafayette and evolved into a restaurant last year and brought with it a breath of fresh air to the local Lafayette dining scene. This hip restaurant features local favorites with a modern and unique twist. (see menu).

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3. The French Press |  214 E Vermilion St | (337) 233-9449

Chef Justin Girouard spins out some delicious local fare with his own personal touch. He makes his own boudin (not blood sausage as in France but Louisiana’s version of boudin: a mix of sausage of pork, rice, and cayenne).  A great place for brunch and lunch. Everything on the menu is delicious but an all time favorite  is the Cajun Benedict (see my post dedicated to the Benedict…because it is that good)!

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4. Bon Temps Grill | 1312 Verot School Road | (337) 706-8850

Bon Temps Grill is where we take our out-of-town guests for a good local meal. Bon Temp Grill serves “Swamp Edge” cuisine in an urban Cajun atmosphere.  The restaurant layout is cool and the food is fantastic. Favorites include the tuna tartar served with a side of potato chips and the buttery bbq shrimp. Don’t leave without tasting the bbq shrimp, it is absolutely to-die-for! And if you are bold enough try some of the frog legs.

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5. Pamplona Tapas Bar | 631 Jefferson St | (337) 232-0070

While it is hard to find any other types of authentic foods in Lafayette there are a few hits that should not be missed. Pamplona Tapas Bar is our favorite go-to spot for tapas and wine. The restaurant features Spanish cuisine en par to many tapas we’ve tasted in Spain. The cocktails are unique and delicious as are the large variety of spanish wines. So if you are looking for something other than your traditional cajun, hit up Pamplona located in the heart of downtown Lafayette.

6. Saigon Noodles |2865 Ambassador Caffery Parkway |

One of the few authentic vietnamese restaurants in Lafayette, Saigon serves up some of the best vietnamese dishes in town. Located in a strip mall the place can easily be missed. Favorites include the bbq short rib meal served with rice and salad and the large variety of pho to slurp through. Saigon Noodles recently opened a sister restaurant on Johnson street called Blu Basil Wine & Grill.  

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7. The Saint Street Inn |

The Saint Street Inn was founded by Nathan Stubbs and Mary Tutwiler, two journalists turned chefs determined to keep the cooking local. Seafood from the Gulf, produce from Acadiana’s farms and innovative cooking set the table for an inspired menu.  Nestled in the heart of one of Lafayette’s oldest neighborhoods, The Saint Street Inn also plays host to a variety of community events, from benefits and fundraisers to live music events and cookoffs. Both the kitchen and bar stay open late and there’s always a spot on the big front porch to sip a local brew and watch the sun go down.

8. Johnson’s Boucaniere | 1111 Saint John St| (337) 269-8878

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Johnson’s Boucaniere opened in 1937 in Eunice, La and relocated to Lafayette some years ago.  Boucaniere which means ‘smokehouse’ in english is a popular spot for lunch in Lafayette. At JB they smoke all of their speciality meats which include pork sausage, pork and turkey tasso and beef jerky. They also serve plate lunches from their in house made smoked meats which are made fresh weekly. Make sure not to miss this one.

9. Pop’s Poboys | 740 Jefferson Street, Lafayette, LA 70501 | ((337) 534-0621)

I’ve never been a fan of Po-Boys (shocking!) until I tried Pop’s. Pop’s Poboys opened in April 2015 and is located in beautiful downtown Lafayette. Chef Collin Cormier and team bring eclectic flair to Louisiana’s favorite sandwich and beyond. Their twist on the traditional poboys are out of this world delicious. Favorites so far include the Banh Banh shrimp and the Hot Hot for all those fried chicken lovers out there.

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Photo courtesy of Pop’s Poboy website

For desserts and coffee these three are my go-to in town for quality coffee and sweets:

10. Carpe Diem! Gelato-Espresson Bar | 812 Jefferson St, Lafayette, LA | (337) 534-4155

If you crave real gelato and dreams of being back in Italy make your way to Carpe Diem located on Jefferson street to get your cravings fulfilled.

11. Reve Coffee Roasters | 200A Jefferson St, Lafayette, LA 70501 | (337) 534-8336

Reve is a micro-coffee roaster servicing the greater Acadiana area (and beyond) in the retail and wholesale of freshly roasted, specialty grade coffee beans. Be careful as their coffee is addictive!

12. The Lab | 1042 Camellia Blvd. #6, Lafayette, LA | 337.889.5782

The Lab handcrafted coffees creates delicious coffee flavors that are hard to find around here. Not to mention their delicious baked good and house-made gelato. Located in the beautiful River Ranch neighborhood the Lab is definitely a treat.

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Have I missed any of your favorites? Please feel free to share as I continue to eat my way through Lafayette!

(Please note some of the photos are taken from the restaurant’s online gallery: French Press, Johnson’s Boucaniere, Saigon Noodles, Jolie’s, Olde Tyme Grocery + Bread and Circus).

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Authentic Tiramisu Recipe

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Serves: Approximately 12 Servings

Ingredients:

– 6 egg yolks

– 1 cup white sugar

– 1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese

-1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

– 2 cups of espresso (cooled off)

– 2  packages lady fingers (approx 24 lady fingers total)

– 1/3 cup alcohol of your choice (grand marnier or rum)

Topping extras

– 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (dust)

– 1 (1 ounce) square semi sweet chocolate (shaved)

Instructions: 

  1. Chill large bowl in the fridge.
  2. Combine the 6 egg yolks and 1 cup of sugar in the top of a double boiler.
  3. Reduce heat to low.
  4. Stir the egg yolks and sugar for about 10 minutes. (This step is to coddle the egg and prevent eating raw eggs). Remove the mixture from heat and allow it to cool.
  5. Once cooled, beat the mixture until light in color and thick.
  6. Add the mascarpone to the whipped yolk-sugar mixture. Blend well.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix until thoroughly combined.
  8. Whip the whipping cream in the chilled bowl until stiff peaks are formed.
  9. Gently fold the whipping cream into the yolk-sugar mixture and set aside.
  10. Split the lady fingers in half.
  11. Mix the expresso and alcohol and pour into flat dish.
  12. Dip lady fingers and soak in espresso mixture for less than 5 seconds until soaked. (Not too long or it will become too soggy).
  13. Line the bottom and sides of your serving bowl with the lady fingers.
  14. Spoon half of the filling over the lady fingers.
  15. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers and top with the filling.
  16. Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder and chocolate curls.
  17. Refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.

Total prep time: 30 minutes

 

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