Where We Ate: Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, the city where you can get Paella & Sangria on every corner at any hour on any day (actually). That’s just one of the many charms of this city. The food scene in Barcelona is huge, it has to be with the amount of people that not only live here but pass through. We were staying in the Gothic Quarter around the corner from Las Ramblas (which is a street lined with shopping, food, clubs & all that fun stuff). Now because it is a  touristy area, the prices tend to be higher than average, but when we landed we didn’t care, we were starving!

So for our first official meal in Spain it was only right we had Paella & Sangria! DSC04780DSC04781

I’m a sucker for a good market & one of my favourite places in Barcelona is St.Josep La Boqueira. This market feeds all your senses, from the vibrant colours of the produce to the scents of cinnamon, cloves and any other spice you can imagine. There’s locals and tourists conversing over wine and kids running around with brightly coloured ice cream cones, it really is a must see if you’re in the area!DSC04826DSC04852DSC04827Olives & Stuffed Peppers โค DSC04828Cheese is probably my greatest weakness.DSC04847DSC04848DSC04851DSC04845As an indian girl I’m all about my spice, so this stall in particular stole my heart ๐Ÿ˜‰ DSC04831

There’s a few restaurants located within the market, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them (most of their ingredients are bought from the vendors!) But our favourite place, hands down is El Quim De La Boqueria (which just underwent renovations to widen their kitchen & add more stools). You’ll definitely wait a little bit for a seat but it is absolutely worth it! This spot has been located in the market since 1987 (which happens to be the year I was born so I feel like I was meant to eat here). The executive chef Quim Marquez has over 25 years of kitchen experience and alongside his sous chef son, Yuri, they’re transforming the typical market tapas into gastronomic art!DSC04841Their menu is constantly changing (depending on the seasonality of certain ingredients), but there were a few items Albert & I HAD to try. The first one being the Oysters. I love a good Oyster & I feel the best way to serve them is by keeping them simple and that’s just what they do at El Quim. Served on the half shell with a drizzle of olive oil, they really let the ingredient speak for itself.DSC04836This dish was so good we came back 2 days in a row for it, the Bull Tail (think of a giant version of Oxtail). It’s stewed in its’ own juices with potatoes and the meat literally falls off the bone. I’ve never had more tender meat in my life, if you ever see this on the menu, order it.DSC04834We also had the Grilled Sole, flaky & delicious.DSC04839We also tried the Prawns in Garlic with Cava Reduction & the Homemade Meatballs (which we got too excited about and took down before I could snap a picture, sorry – but not really)

Finally we finished with Albert’s favourite fruit, Mangoes!

Barcelona is a great place to push the boundaries of your tastebuds and step out of your culinary comfort zone. Eat all the tapas & drink all the wine, I promise you can’t go wrong in this city, enjoy! โค

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Where we ate: Las Vegas

I’ve been back from my European getaway for a few weeks now, I’m finally past my post-vacation depression (yeah, that’s a real thing). But before I get into those adventures, I’ve gotta share some of the places Albert & I ate in Vegas. We were there in February to check out the one & only Jennifer Lopez in her ‘All I Have’ show at Planet Hollywood. I’ve been a JLO fan since her flygirl days (In Living Colour), so this was a huge moment for me. I won’t get into it too much but what an amazing show! The dancers, the stage, her energy & her body! If you get a chance, check it out.

With Las Vegas being just a cheap flight away from Vancouver I’ve had my fair share of Vegas weekends. However my interests have shifted a bit, I’m no longer 21 and getting away with 4 hours of sleep over 3 days & getting by on 4am McDonalds breakfasts. I’m 29 & I’m a little pickier with what I’m putting into my body and I like my sleep. Don’t get it twisted though, Albert & I still sipped gin & cranberry all day and took patron shots every few hours (I can still keep up ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Las Vegas is filled with amazing places to eat. From 5 star restaurants to hole-in-the-wall burger spots, there’s something to satisfy any craving. There’s so many places I still need to check out but a girl can only eat so much in 3 days! One of our favourite spots is located inside The Hard Rock Hotel (where we stayed). Pink Taco Las Vegas prides itself on its authentic Mexican taste. Their menu offers everything from street corn to fried lobster tacos. We went back twice for their tacos, the meat is tender, tortillas are made in house and the spice is just right (although Albert did double up on their famous ‘diablo sauce’ for some extra kick). We tried the classic pink taco with achiote chicken, al pastor (pork) and baja shrimp. I honestly believe you can’t go wrong with any taco you order from here.tacos1My second favourite spot is Culinary Dropout located once again inside the Hard Rock Hotel. Culinary Dropout has nailed it’s gastro-pub concept, the staff don’t wear uniforms, there’s live music, it’s a very soulful vibe. Although they’re famous for their house made pretzels and provolone fondue, Albert & I opted for their cheddar & potato pierogies with crispy brussel sprouts and black mussels with spicy sausage.culinarydropoutWhen it comes to mussels I’m all about the broth and I swear I could bathe in this. It was light with the perfect hint of spice and garlic, so delicious.mussels3 Look at this perfect little mussel!mussels1_nailWe also checked out STK Vegas located inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel. This is a perfect date spot – dim lighting, an in-house DJ & all the qualities that make up a contemporary steakhouse. Now the price point isn’t low, so if you’re on a budget I’d probably skip this spot, but it’s well worth it, the food is delicious! We started off with dirty martinis (1 turned into 2 which turned into 5…) We both ordered the filet cooked medium rare, mine with chimichurri sauce and Albert’s with horseradish. We shared our sides of creamy yukon potatoes and sauteed mushrooms.STK_steakIf you can only order 1 item off this menu, get the mashed potatoes. They are literally buttery, silky perfection.

Last but not least, we went to LUPO by Wolfgang Puck located inside Mandalay Bay. This is Wolfgang Puck’s first Italian restaurant, they specialize in tableside service and even have a glass enclosed area where fresh pasta is made daily. I love Italian food and if you do too, check out LUPO, you’ll be happy you did ๐Ÿ™‚

We ordered the Pappardelle Bolognese, this is one of those dishes where the quality of the pasta is key. The pappardelle was tender yet firm (as my home economics teacher loved to say, perfectly al dente) and the sauce was rich & flavorful but not heavy (as I find certain meat sauces sometimes are).pasta1We also split the Al Prosciutto San Daniele pizza (prosciutto, mozzarella, wild arugula & parmesan). You can never really go wrong with a wood fired pizza. The saltiness of the prosciutto mixed with the peppery arugula makes for a perfect pair.pizza1

Overall, Las Vegas is a foodie’s dream – eat everything, drink everything & worry about it later (or not at all like me).

Around The City: New York

Alright, now I know I’ve been slacking, but I promise I’ve got some exciting new things coming! ๐Ÿ˜‰

In the meantime I wanted to share the random pictures of Albert & I’s NY adventures! If you’ve been to New York you know that you never really know where you’re going to end up throughout the day & night, that’s one of my favourite things about this city.

On our first day we walked around Central Park and stopped at ‘The Ballfield’s Cafe’ for a few beers, cause, why not?ย dsc04693& then of course we strolled through Times Square and took the obligatory selfie ๐Ÿ˜‰ny

Our second day we decided to check out the Brooklyn Bridge, I had actually never been & i feel like it’s one of those things you’ve got to do at least once!dsc04724You know those pictures you see of people on the Brooklyn Bridge and it seems empty? Yeah, I don’t know how these people get those shots because it was packed! Still, something I feel like you’ve got to experience at least once!dsc04720When you’re first going onto the bridge you’re gonna see a bunch of vendors, one worth stopping at is this woman who sells mango slices. Add a little cayenne and you’ve got a nice little snack while your make your way through the crowd. So yummy and only $5, you gotta respect the hustle!dsc04717dsc04718

On our last day in the city we walked out our hotel and straight into Brazil Days. Brazilians know how to party, it was basically a block party that stretched at least 15 blocks. There was food, drinks, clothing vendors and of course music & dancing. The liquor stores had mini bottles of liquor on sale and a drink cooling station (they really know a way to a girls heart). So Albert & I got some gin, mixed it in our lemonade and joined the party ๐Ÿ˜‰ Of course there was no shortage of meat! Look at these giant turkey legs! They were literally on every corner.dsc04759From there we stopped at Bryant Park to finish our gin & lemonade before heading to the Bad Boy Reunion Tour at Madison Square Garden!dsc04761dsc04762dsc04767

There was so much more we did that we just didn’t capture, if you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know I like to put the camera and phones away every now and then & just enjoy the moment. We strolled through Soho & popped into a few art galleries, grabbed drinks and did some shopping. We found random bars to grab late night drinks that ended up playing amazing Dominican music. We met up with friends from Vancouver and took shots at the Ace Hotel followed by late night Truffle Mac & Cheese. Then ended it all with ramen to cure our hangover before our flight. I’ve never had a bad time in this city, my advice (as always) just go with the flow and see where the vibe takes you, trust in the energy of New York & the city will guide you in the right direction ๐Ÿ˜‰

Where we ate: New York City

If you’ve ever been to New York you know there are literally thousandsย of places to eat! Narrowing it down is next to impossible, but we somehow manage. Whenever we visit the city we try new spots and re-visit old favourites! To be honest, in New York, you can’t really go wrong (& hey if you do, there’s always a good NY pizza slice to satisfy your appetite!)

Now there’s one place I highly recommend, Miss Lily’s (Soho or the East Village) If you’re looking for a true Jamaican experience, you’ll find it here. First let’s start with the vibe, the music is alwaysย on point – reggae, soca, dancehall, afro beats (the DJ’s know their sh*t here!) Now let’s move on to the staff, I wanna be best friends with all of them. They’re sweet, stylish and oh my gosh can they move! (seriously, if one of you is reading this, can you teach me how to move my hips like you? It’s ridiculous!) All that is on top of what gives Miss Lily’s its’ great reputation, the food. We always start off with the Jerk Cornย (but let me tell you, I’ve tried many things off this menu & you really can’t go wrong with anything)dsc04736This time around we ordered Curry Goat Stew (boneless curried goat with irish potatoes, peas,roti & jasmine rice) Oxtail Stew – my personal favourite (rich gravy, beans, rice & peas) & a side of plantains which we washed down with some Tings and Lily’s Punch!dsc04744This oxtail literally falls off the bone, it’s so tender and rich, I could eat it everyday.dsc04739Albert’s clearly happy haha ๐Ÿ˜‰dsc04749Whatever location you visit, I guarantee you will not be disappointed! Oh & did I mention that the Chef De Cuisine, Andre Fowles won ‘the Caribbean challenge’ on Chopped (if you religiously watch The Food Network like I do, you’ll know what I’m talking about). Seriously, just go.

When we’re in New York, Albert & I always get a pasta craving (to be honest, I get pasta cravings every other day). We had planned to go to Eataly, but time got the best of us. So I looked on Yelp to see what pasta places close by had the best reviews! We ended up checking out Casa Nonna, located just south of the theatre district. We walked in and it had a great ambiance (candlelight, classical music) If I feel like I’m in a Mob movie then the pasta must be good!ย dsc04770We ordered a couple of dirty gin martinis to start and split the Spaghetti Pomodoro and Porcini Freschi E Ricotta Mezzaluna (I really hope I got that right!). Both dishes were delicious, the spaghetti was al dente & the meatballs were seasoned just right.dsc04771The Porcini mushrooms were SO good (i love mushrooms) so the light cook on them really let you taste the earthiness of the mushroom, mix that with a rich butter sauce, yum.dsc04773

These are just 2 of manyย amazing spots to visit in New York. It’s impossible to satisfy all your food cravings in one trip, but I promise you New York, I’ll be back ๐Ÿ˜‰

Where we stayed: Le Parker Meridien New York

I’m back baby! After a little staycation in Vancouver, Albert & I are back to it ๐Ÿ˜‰ We got back from NYC a couple of weeks ago & it was one of my favourite NY trips to date! We headed to the city to check out the Bad Boy Reunion Tour at Madison Square Garden (I got to see Lil Kim, Mase, Total.. everyone, it was a 90’s r&b/hip hop girls’ dream come true). I’ve always heard amazing things about Le Parker Meridien so I thought it was time to check it out for myself & it did not disappoint!

We checked in around 11pm, from the jump the staff was friendly and helpful. We were starving when we checked in, the front desk agent suggested we try the burger joint located in the hotel lobby. Now this place is actually called the Burger Joint! Normally there’s a ridiculous line up, but we got lucky with only 4 people ahead of us. Now walking into a nice hotel like Le Parker Meridien, you’d think this would be an overpriced, stuck up restaurant, but this was the complete opposite. It’s hidden in the corner, down a hallway, with a illuminated neon sign guiding your way. I loved the vibe, the walls were covered in classic NY movie posters and customers signatures. We ordered 2 medium rare cheeseburgers with fries to go and headed up to the 27th floor to check out our room & eat!

Yum, all I really need to say! Well seasoned meat, 2 kinds of cheese, onions, pickles..all the elements of a great burger with some crispy fries!dsc04685

Once we ate we finally looked around our hotel room! Let me tell you, if you’ve been to NY you know how hard it is to find a 4-5 star hotel for a reasonable price that’s not the size of a shoebox! Le Parker Meridien did not disappoint! Let’s start with the bed – king size, firm pillows and a down comforter. It must have been comfortable because we slept past noon everyday (we had some late nights!)dsc04688

Onto the washroom, I need a bathroom with space. Albert takes longer than me to get ready (sorry boo, but it’s true!) so our bathroom prep time usually overlaps. I don’t mind as long as there’s space! Again, was not disappointed, I loved the clean look & the rainfall shower head (my one wish would be a little more water pressure) But we both fit comfortably while getting ready so that’s a winner for me ๐Ÿ˜‰ dsc04686

I’m all about the details (it’s the little things that count). So I really appreciated the shot glasses and bergamot scented products ๐Ÿ™‚dsc04687

Le Parker Meridien is known for it’s penthouse pool and panoramic view. So we headed up to (i think) the 42nd floor to check it out! We didn’t actually swim but the pool was beautiful and surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows with picture perfect views of Central Park. We headed outside to the tanning deck to get a better look at the view. It was (as you can see) beautiful.dsc04750albert_ny

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Overall our experience at Le Parker Meridien exceeded our expectations. The hotel was well kept, the location is ideal, the rooms were modern & clean and every staff member we encountered was super friendly (especially the girl who was working at the pool when we checked it out, I wish I got her name because she was absolutely lovely!) If you’re debating on where to stay (there are thousands of choices, literally) I highly suggest Le Parker Meridien.

‘Now I know you’re used to suites at the Parker Meridien, trips to the Caribbean, but tonight, no ends’ – Notorious B.I.G.dsc04691

Center of Gravity Festival – Kelowna

I’ve been M.I.A. for a few weeks, my apologies! I’ve been enjoying the summer in Vancouver (I take full advantage of these summer days). But I’ve got plenty of local activities to catch you up on, starting first with theย Center of Gravity Festivalย in Kelowna!

This is the Okanagan’s biggest sport & music festival. The backdrop to this festival is beautiful, you’re literally surrounded by lakes & mountains. For those of you who don’t know where Kelowna is, it’s about a 4 hour drive from Vancouver. Albert & I took a little road trip out there July 8th as he was one of the featured festival DJ’s! The line up was full of heavy hitters, think Ice Cube, Kid Ink, Skrillex, Machine Gun Kelly, Afrojack & more. Roughly 20,000 people came through, I’m not a huge crowd person (i like my space) so I luckily got to enjoy the festivities from the comfort of backstage! Complete with a private bar, bathrooms, snacks and wi-fi (this is how I do festivals). It also gave me the opportunity to meet the artists, everyone was super nice but I definitely had a fangirl moment when I met Ice Cube (who wouldn’t?)ย IceCube

Kid Ink had a great set & he was super chill so I liked it even more.DSC04527KidInk

Albert (aka DJ Icy Touch as you can see) opened up day 2 of the festival!DSC04558DSC04578This is why I liked my backstage perspective hahaDSC04598Overall it was a great weekend filled with good music and good vibes. We’ll definitely be back next year! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Around the island: Koh Samui, Thailand

I’ve posted about where we stayed in Samui, what we ate & our island hopping. But there’s so many more things we got up to that don’t necessarily fit into one of my ‘categories’. So this is my random post of sh*t we got into around the island!

I think I’ve said numerous times that Koh Samui is one of my favourite places. Here’s one of the reasons why, Chaweng Beach. This is literally a never ending strip of white sand beach lined with restaurants, hotels, bars, clubs…literally everything!DSC03268DSC03267When you’re in Samui you’ll probably have a few people tell you to check out Ark Bar Beach Club, & you should listen to them. Ark Bar is a hotel/bar/restaurant/club/hookah bar all in one. We spent a bit of time here (smoking hookah while drinking a vodka pineapple in the sun and munching on chicken satay, umm yes please). The music got a little intense for me at times, I’m not a huge electronic music fan, but it created that party vibe that so many people look for in Thailand. There’s a daily pool party, DJ’s & fireworks. The crowd is generally people in their 20’s & early 30’s but because it’s on a busy strip of beach there are people of all ages enjoying a drink or two & some delicious food!DSC03281DSC03287These guys were walking up & down the beach with their owners, I asked to pet one & this happened.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Chaweng Beach @ night!DSC03305I was pretending to be a mermaid…DSC03334He was pretending to be in Baywatch?.. haha ๐Ÿ˜‰DSC03517There’s vendors walking up & down the beaches all day. They’re selling jewelry, clothes, cold drinks, henna tattoos & more. I normally smile & say ‘no thank you’ but after a few drinks a girl can’t help but want a henna tattoo on her hand. Although in my head I was having a Rihanna moment, my henna tattoo turned out a little simpler! Not what I was hoping for but the kid doing them was young & I wanted to support his hustle! ๐Ÿ™‚DSC03469DSC03466This is my guilty pleasure. I don’t like to admit this, but this picture is too good not to post. I always have a late night or two that I get McDonalds. I feel like I need to taste the difference. Does the 2 cheeseburger meal taste the same here as it does back home? (yes, this is a question that I’ve genuinely asked out loud after a few drinks). Now you know my little secret! ๐Ÿ˜‰DSC03475There are many experiences to be had in Samui. My advice is to relax & go with the flow. Do what you feel & the good times will follow, that’s what we did. ๐Ÿ™‚

Where we ate & drank: Los Cabos

Los Cabos has some amazing places to eat & drink! My friend Ashley & I had plans to check out a few different spots, we ended up spending most of our time in our pool at our 5 bedroom condo in Cabo Bello (can you blame us?) We basically lived off tequila, avocado, watermelon & corn tortillas for 3 days. Howeverย a couple of our local friends took us out one day to check out a couple of spots!

Our first spot was ME Caboย (think day beds, bottle service & EDM music). Now this wasn’t exactly our scene, but the view was beautiful and the drinks were delicious, so why not.DSC04257

After sitting & sipping in the sun, we were starving.ย Ashley grew up coming to Cabo with her family so we went to one of her favourite restaurants,ย Las Guacamayas. The food here did not disappoint! If you want authentic Mexican, this is the spot to go!DSC04260We started with this beauty! This is simply cheese fried to crispy perfection. Yum.DSC04264This is what Guacamaya’s is known for, their stone bowls. This is flank steak, chicken, cheese, avocado, grilled onions & cactus served in a hot stone bowl so it creates a delicious crust as you dig in. Served with warm corn tortillas, this was beyond tasty. The meat had a perfect spice while the cheese & avocado cooled your palette. It was a perfect mix ๐Ÿ™‚DSC04266

That was pretty much it for our food adventure! We hit up Costco the next day and stocked up on snacks and tequila & spent the rest of our time in the pool (look at where we were staying, you would do the same!)DSC04274DSC04277DSC04394DSC04441We got to split our time between the Hyatt Ziva and a private condo, 2 very different but beautiful experiences. However you like to do it, Cabo is definitely a destination to add to your list! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Where we stayed: Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

I got back from Mexico a week ago & I feel like I’m still recovering! My friend (and fellow travel agent) Ashley & I headed down to Cabo last week to go check out the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. This property is stunning, it was completely renovated after the hurricane in 2014, it’s basically a brand new resort. A lot of people aren’t fans of All Inclusive Resorts, i get it, but it’s all about the property you choose to stay at. The Ziva is great because you can leave the property and go check out some local spots, you get to experience a bit of everything.

We spent 3 nights here before heading to a friend’s condo on the other side of Cabo. I definitely could have spent more time here, but in those 3 days at the Ziva we snuck in plenty of eating & exploring ๐Ÿ˜‰

As soon as you walk through the lobby, this is your view. How could you not be happy looking out at this?DSC04213Beach views ๐Ÿ™‚DSC04205The waves were huge! Now the only thing about this location is that the beach isn’t necessarily swimmable. I was a bit intimidated by the waves so I never jumped in, but Ashley, she jumped right in ๐Ÿ˜‰ย DSC04192How pretty! The staff at this resort work so hard to maintain the property & it absolutely shows ๐Ÿ™‚DSC04210DSC04206Our room had the perfect view of the adult-only pool.DSC04177Now there’s always one day that you spend too much time drinking in the pool. You know that pool where everyone’s at the swim up bar, there’s techno music mixed in with a ย little hip hop & all of a sudden you find yourself dancing on the bar taking down your 12th double vodka soda. Well this pool’s not one of those ๐Ÿ˜‰ This is the adult only pool. It’s calm, quiet & see those chairs and white boxes? They’re movable! You can catch the perfect amount of sun all day. Ashley & I spent a solid 8 hours here, sipping mimosas and eating coconut popsicles ๐Ÿ˜‰ย DSC04225One of my favourite spots at the Hyatt Ziva is Coco Loco, the poolside snack bar. They serve burritos, tostadas, ceviche and my personal favourite, tacos. Whatever your preference, pork, beef, shrimp, fish, you can try 1 or try em all (like we did!)ย DSC04214Our last night we hit up the Japanese restaurant, Dozo. It has a full sushi bar and Teppanyaki Grill (which is where we’re sitting).DSC04240Overall the Hyatt Ziva is the number one place I recommend to my clients when they’re planning a trip to Cabo. It’s got 5 restaurants, 2 buffets, 2 pools, 7 bars and lounges & much more. We ate, we drank, we tanned & clearly, we had a great time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Where we stayed: Melati Beach Resort & Spa, Koh Samui

There are many resort options to choose from in Koh Samui, you can’t really go wrong with any of the 4-5 star options, but I did my research and the Melati stood out to me for one key reason, they have aย private beach! (This is major in Thailand!) The overall layout of the resort was beautiful, very lush & well maintained and the service was amazing!

If you want to stay in the hustle & bustle of the island then I’d suggest staying somewhere on Chaweng Beach (the Melati’s about a 15 min drive, but they have a shuttle that takes you back & forth!) I personally like to escape the chaos & the Melati is perfect for that!

Our room was stunning, they welcomed us proper with rose petals and champagne waiting!DSC03244This bathroom though…oh my gosh, it was huge! The rainfall shower was like a dream, & yes it was big enough for 2 to shower! ๐Ÿ˜‰ย DSC03245We also had our own private bathtub on the deck!DSC03246DSC03248This is the private beach! Now if you’ve ever been to Koh Samui then you know that usually you’d see a busy beach with vendors selling you everything from clothes to henna tattoos, not much privacy. There’s none of that here! ๐Ÿ™‚DSC03512DSC03513

There’s a couple of restaurants in the resort, not gonna lie, it’s a little pricey (as hotels usually are) but right next door there’s a little restaurant run by locals, it’s got authentic Thai food for a low price, so that’s your best bet for food on the property! Also, they have insanely cheap beer! ๐Ÿ˜‰DSC03532They’ve also got a couple pet dogs (I’m a dog person!) hanging out in the restaurant and lazing by the beach, I loved them! (as you can clearly see by the smile on my face)DSC03549DSC03544

On our last night we indulged a little and spent about $3500 Thai Baht to eat at the Beach Bbq the Melati was throwing, it was money well spent. The food was fresh & delicious, they had everything from salmon & prawns to freshly caught barracuda! It was quite the spread ๐Ÿ˜‰DSC03422DSC03434The Melati is a perfect spot to stay if you’re looking for a little romance & relaxation! I’ve already sent 2 of my clients here since I’ve been home & I’ve heard nothing but amazing things! It’s an overall great experience & I highly recommend staying here ๐Ÿ™‚