Tag Archives: NYC

foodie adventures in NYC

travelin pals - foodie international, kirsten alana & epstein travels with lola

i’ll be honest, while i do think i like a lot of different kinds of food, i don’t think of myself as that adventurous of an eater. strange foods scare me a bit. i think i might even have a texture/sensory issue that was never dealt with but that’s another story.

i’ll be traveling to Asia this august and i figured this would be the BIG food exploration experience for me. Asian food really scares me. but, in order to have an adventure of a lifetime, i’m going to get past that. i’m going to be willing to try things i wouldn’t ordinarily choose to eat AND here’s how i know i will…

i ate SCARY ASIAN food in New York at the end of march. it wasn’t intentional. not at all. but there was a formula that led to the scary Asian food eating and here it is:

  • going to a happy hour mixer on an empty stomach & finally eating dinner at midnight = i’m so hungry i could eat a horse!
  • being a little tipsy (ok maybe really tipsy) = i’m drunk enough that it’s a good idea to put something in my stomach
  • dining amongst well-traveled peers = i feel like i’m on survivor and this is a crazy dare that i must take so i don’t kicked off the island!

good times at Kenka - east village - NYC

all of this chow-down took place at Kenka in the east village.

here’s the run down of the crazy-ass Asian food i ate. just typing this makes me a little nauseous but i’m going to persevere just like i will in august.

  • takoyaki – fried octopus balls
  • yakitori – chicken skewers of thigh meat, chicken liver, hearts, gizzards
  • bull penis – bull freaking penis
  • kaeru no kara age – fried frog

it really wasn’t all that bad with the exception of the aforementioned texture issues with the bull penis – YUCK.

like kids in a candy store!

BONUS was DIY cotton candy and cheap big pitchers o’beer! that, and hanging out with three totally cool travel peeps that i’d been dying to meet til 1:30am! thanks miss foodie international, kirsten alana & jonathan epstein for a night i’ll soon not forget!

XO – lola

*cotton candy photo credit to Kirsten Alana – photographer extraordinaire



Filed under New York, travel

the abc’s of travel: miss lola of lola travels

A. Age you went on your first international trip:

I really don’t think crossing the border from South Padre to Matamoros, Mexico for tequila shots & beer at 19 can count! So it has to be when I was 26 and went on a 2 month European Eurail adventure alone.

B. Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:

The MANY lagers I threw back while being “ashed-in” in Budapest & Vienna in 2010 due to the Icelandic Volcano airspace shut down. Lola’s best-tasting vacation evahhh!!


C. Cuisine (favorite):

Mexican – remember I’m a Texas girl at heart! 2nd favorite is French – YUM, YUM, YUMMY!

D. Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:

Favorite: So hard to pick just one but if forced to do it at this point in life I’d pick St. Bart’s in the French West Indies, Caribbean. OMG everything about it is delicious – the people, the water, the beaches, the weather, the food…definitely Lola’s speed.

Least Favorite: Berlin. I know, I know, SO many people love it dearly. I guess Lola needs to go back to Berlin with you!

E. Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:

Many acts of kindness from strangers – it restores my faith in human kind!

F. Favorite mode of transportation:

Airplane – not that I’m flying in a cushy class, mind you. It just gets me to the far off destinations I wish to travel the fastest! Then BOOM, Lola’s out there discovering!

lola's puddle jumper to St. Barts

G. Greatest feeling while traveling:

Besides being incredibly lucky – FREEDOM! That’s an overwhelming feeling I get from traveling AND I love how we as humans are really not all that different. We are all connected in some way. Lola loves this!

H. Hottest place you’ve traveled to:

I grew up in TEXAS – so, hellooo, TEXAS!!

I. Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:

Villa Galicci in Aix en Provence – it’s a Relais & Chateaux property. Their staff was beyond amazing! Other properties have come close but this one remains on the top!!

J. Journey that took the longest:

Up to now, traveling to Hawaii or Greece but soon I’ll be taking a MUCH longer one! Very excited about this longer journey – stay tuned!

K. Keepsake from your travels:

My favorite keepsake from my travels is my gold charm bracelet. I don’t get charms everywhere I go but I do have one for most and when I wear it – it takes me back to the wonderful places in the world I’ve gone. Lola wears this almost daily!

lola's travel charms

L. Let-down sight, why and where:

At this point, I guess I’d say the Berlin Wall. Beyond happy it’s gone but it was hard to really grasp the magnitude in my short visit to Berlin.

M. Moment where you fell in love with travel:

I’ve always enjoyed traveling but I think I really caught the bug my first visit to NYC. You know NYC has an allure about it. I got such a rush from walking the streets, hailing the cabs, doing it on my own that I decided to move there during that trip. Haven’t looked back since! Now I’m always trying to find ways to replicate that “rush” feeling and I get it every time I go somewhere new and undiscovered for Lola.

N. Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:

Probably the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat. It wasn’t Lola’s favorite but it was probably the nicest. Got up graded to the penthouse!  Talk about fancy pants!!!

O. Obsession – what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:

Don’t judge me but when I look at my photos the thing I seem to take the most photos of are Lola’s legs. A close 2nd are cocktails. This must be because Lola’s likes to travel to places that are warm and involve beach & pool time. AND, what can I say, Lola likes a good cocktail!

Curacao legs

Miami legs

NYC cucumber martini

Vegas dark n stormy

P. Passport stamps, how many and from where?:

3 passports later – I have 28 stamps. So many are repeats: the US, Canada, Bahamas, St. Martin, St. Barts, Curacao, Bermuda, Ireland, England, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands. (technically the US, Switzerland and the Netherlands shouldn’t count as they were just points of entry) Places not listed that should be are Hungary, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Greece. Soon to be added: Monaco!


Q. Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:

The Wax Museum in Dublin. I H.A.T.E. Wax Museums in theory and this one proved my theory was correct!

R. Recommended sight, event or experience:

The Acropolis in Athens! I feel everyone should see this once in their life. It is overwhelming and pictures DO NOT do it justice!!

The Parthenon - Acropolis - Athens, Greece

S. Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:

My gold charms for my charm bracelet – duh!

T. Touristy thing you’ve done:

I pretty much always end up doing some of the “touristy” things when I travel. I am sorry but I think that’s probably part of why you are visiting the place you’ve gone…am I right?!

U. Unforgettable travel memory:

When traveling in Europe for those 2 months alone I had many unforgettable moments.

In Italy: After taking an overnight train to Rome where there was a strike taking place upon arrival,  an Italian man in my car took pity on me, bought me a coffee, gave me correct money and sent me on my way with directions to Rome!

In Barcelona: At the pensione where I stayed that the owners didn’t speak a lick of English, when I left, they hugged me goodbye! (maybe this was out of pity too?)

In Vienna: A cabbie picked us up to go to our train but we had failed to realize daylight savings had occurred. nevertheless, he rushed us there probably breaking all kinds of laws and when we didn’t have enough money he said to go on anyhow and RUN!

V. Visas, how many and for where?:

No visas needed as of yet but i have a BIG trip this year where I’ll need 3!!

W. Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?

At the Chateau de la Chevre d’Or in Eze – the French Riveria. If you’ve had the good fortune of also going there, I think your answer is exactly the same!

X. eXcellent view and from where?

So hard to answer, I have several…I guess top two would be from The Caesar Augustus Hotel in Capri and from the Acropolis looking out over Athens.



Y. Years spent traveling?:

What are you getting at? Is this a trick question so I confess my age? Cumulatively or, as in, since I started traveling, how many years has it been?  Without giving too much away let’s just say it’s been awhile!

Z. Zealous sports fans and where?:

Barcelona, Spain. Football. During the World Cup. Really, need I say more?!

This was a fun exercise, I must say! Thanks, The Lazy Travelers for tagging me to play! I can’t wait to read what my travel friends and idols write whom I’m tagging next.  You’ll want to read their ABC’s too!

Leah of Leah Travels

Rease of Travelated

Lindsay of The Traveller World Guide

Kirsten Alana of Aviators and a Camera

Angie Orth of Angie Away

OK ladies…take it away!  TAG!! You are IT!


Filed under travel

Bright Lights, Big City: perceptions & misconceptions

like i said before –  NYC – you were once home to me.  still, one has perceptions about you – some of which are true, some that were once true and some that were never true at all. here’s my list as an ex-New Yorker now visiting NYC.


PEOPLE ARE GRUFF: when i lived in NY people were not as friendly as they now seem to be. have you gone soft NY? maybe it was me and the daily grind? POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE

TAXIS ARE DEATH TRAPS: cabbies still drive like total MANIACS and you have reason to fear for your life. TRUTH

IT’S A CROWDED ISLAND: it still feels very crowded on the streets and i now know i do not care for this. it was the first thing i noticed when i left NY – i had room to spread out my arms when walking the sidewalks. it was the first thing that made me feel claustrophobic when i was visiting. TRUTH

NYC IS VERY EXPENSIVE: you can eat at some top-notch places and not break the bank. i always thought of NY as expensive in every way but really the restaurants are priced the same as other major cities. POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE

THERE’S A LACK OF CUSTOMER SERVICE: i appreciated the attentiveness of the restaurant managers where we ate out Friday and Saturday nights. at some point of the meal at each restaurant the manager came by to make sure we were happy and enjoying ourselves. this stood out to me because it’s not typical at most places but perhaps it now is in NYC. nicely done! (you hear me Boston?) POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE BUT I’M GONNA GO WITH NEVER TRUE AT ALL

NYC IS VERY EXPENSIVE: drinks on the other hand seem to be exceedingly expensive EVERYWHERE or was it that i just went to fancy spots with fancy drinks?  hmmm… TRUTH

IT’S A MELTING POT: always has been always will be one of the best places on earth to people watch. TRUTH

THE SUBWAY IS GROSS & SCARY: the subway is still the fastest, most efficient bargin to getting around. NO, it’s not flithy & people DO smile and look at each other in the eye. that said, probably not somewhere you’d want to hang out all day long or stay overnight! POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE

NEW YORKERS ARE RUSHED & RUDE: if you ask for something, there’s a better than good chance you shall receive it. everytime i asked for something during my visit – i got it. that’s 100 for 100! not too shabby for a tough little city like the  BIG APPLE. *wink wink* PROBABLY NEVER TRUE AT ALL

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Filed under New York, travel