eat-a-city, places

eat-a-city: MONTREAL

You guys, I really love Canada. Particularly Montreal. I went there last month for a quick trip, and we also went to Quebec City – food tips to come for there! It was my third time in MTL, and even better than I remembered. It’s so clean, people are super friendly, and there’s a really exciting food scene. Here’s where you should eat and drink in this frenchy Canadian city…and, of course, all of these places have WiFi and are highly Instagrammable.

Tommy

I had bookmarked this cafe on Instagram and after a Google maps search once we were wandering through Montreal, I was happy to see that Tommy was nearby. I mean, look at those hanging plants! We went here twice – the first time, just for a cool drink, somewhere air-conditioned to sit, and free Internet access (oh, international travel woes…). We went back for breakfast the next day, where I got my usual avocado toast and sampled some pastries. I highly recommend the pistachio-chocolate croissant.

SUWU

My friends and I went to this bar the last time we were in Montreal for a bite to eat before exploring the nightlife. This trip, we made it to SUWU in time for happy hour, where the house specialty cocktails were 2-for-1. *Side note: happy hour is a major perk of weekday travel.* We all got different drinks, but they were all loaded with fresh mint, which was amazingly refreshing. We also ordered an assortment of stuff from their snack menu – the fried chicken was to die for (it came with three different sauces!), the burger was tasty, and the French fries came in a sharing size that was great for the four of us.

Bistro-Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

As someone who has professionally written a lot about beer and breweries, I’m always eager to check out the local craft scene of every city I go to. We went to this one around lunchtime, and chose it because there were lots of positive reviews about the food. We shared salads and some appetizers, which were tasty, but the real highlight was (no surprise here) the beer.

La Finca Cafe

I needed an afternoon pick-me-up, and we stumbled across this cafe while walking back to our car. The exterior is pretty unassuming, but La Finca was beautifully airy, spacious, and welcoming. They have a quiet patio out back, too. I got a tasty iced matcha latte and some chocolate chip cookies to share that were TO DIE FOR. Flaky sea salt and two kinds of chocolate…my idea of heaven.

Terrasse William Gray

What do you do when you want to make the most of a short trip in a new city but also get a glass of wine? Find a rooftop bar. My sister suggested this one, at the top of a hotel in the Old Port. Since it was a weekday afternoon, we were one of the only groups there, and no one seemed to mind that we took our time sipping. We got a great view of the city (including the waterfront ferris wheel!), had some great cocktails, and shared an order of truffle fries that I’m still thinking about.

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eat-a-city

eat-a-city: REYKJAVIK

I recently checked something off my things-to-do-before-I-turn-30 list: going to Iceland! I went with my friend Klaudia for a long weekend in March, and we had a great time. I’d been wanting to go for so long, and when we were able to score a round trip flight for under $300 (!!!) we just had to go.

As is true with any city I visit, I was eager to hunt out the best foodie spots. I got some great tips from friends who had already been to Reykjavik, as well as questionable recommendations from co-workers who encouraged me to try the whale (I didn’t). I also browsed Instagram for recommendations, and we managed to have a lot of yummy meals.

Sandholt

This was our first meal after arriving on a red-eye. We had time to kill before we could check in to our Airbnb, and this was one of the few eateries open before 9am (so un-American). We settled in for a leisurely breakfast, and enjoyed super flaky croissants, fruit, coffee, and chia pudding.

Flatey Pizza

Neapolitan pizza? In Iceland?? Yes, it’s possible! I did a quick Yelp search for pizza in Reykjavik, since it’s an expensive city and pizza is filling and usually affordable, and when I saw photos of the pizza here, I was sold. It tasted as good as it looked! Mine had pickled peppers, pepperoni, and honey on top.

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BrauĂ° & Co

Two different people recommended the cinnamon rolls at this bakery to me. I was skeptical when I saw them since they didn’t have any icing, but the insane amount of cinnamon made up for it.

Reykjavik Roasters

We stumbled across this cute coffee shop on our way to Hallgrímskirkja, the beautiful church. Teeny iced lattes and a chocolate croissant kept our bellies happy until dinnertime.

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Bergsson MathĂșs

This was my favorite eatery we went to in Reykjavik, mostly for the aesthetics. The restaurant was sooo cute, and the food was affordable and delicious. We actually went here two other times, just for coffee. We had a simple brunch here one day of Icelandic yogurt, soft-boiled eggs, fresh bread, cheese, and prosciutto.

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places

eat-a-city: SAVANNAH

In celebration of my birthday, I took a long weekend trip to Savannah, GA. It seems like kind of a random place to go, but I’d heard good things about the food and the scenery, and with a round-trip flight under $200, my sister (Diana) and I were game. We brought our mom, too. In the weeks leading up to the trip, we scoured Instagram and Yelp to compile a bucket-list of places to eat. These were my favorites.

The Collins Quarter

This place is brunch HEAVEN (and reminded me a lot of Two Hands in NYC). I got my go-to: avocado toast. Was not disappointed. My mom ordered a prosciutto eggs bene, and my sister got some kind of short rib/hash brown combination that was extremely tasty. In an ironic move, cold brew coffee from Brooklyn was served here.

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Leopold’s Ice Cream

Another frequently recommended place. We were in Savannah for three nights, and I had a scoop of this stuff every night. The peppermint stick was my favorite.

The Paris Market

To be fair, we didn’t dine here – but in addition to a sweet coffee and pastry shop, The Paris Market is an expansive shop with all kinds of home decor and odds and ends. It’s an Anthropologie lover’s dream.

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The Olde Pink House

This iconic restaurant came up on every “must eat Savannah” list I read, but the dinner entrees were on the pricy side. We went for appetizers (blue crab beignets and buffalo shrimp) and drinks, and I was surprised that the food lived up to the hype.

Little Duck Diner

Another brunch spot. Had a breakfast sandwich the size of my face and bites of my sister’s crispy-cheesy-polenta thing. We HAD to get an on-brand cocktail that looks a lot better than it tasted (too much lavender for me!). The decor in here was to die for.

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Sandfly BBQ at the Streamliner

I have no clue how Diana heard about this place since it was a little far from the city center (we took an Uber), but it was SO cheap and SO good. I had a pulled brisket sandwich, and we shared slaw, sweet potato fries, regular fries, and mac and cheese. It’s in this retro diner car, and we could watch the sunset from our window seat.

The Coffee Fox

Solid coffee place. Cute decor and outdoor seating.

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B. Matthew’s

We sort of stumbled across this place on the first night, and ended up going back later. Great service, and even better kale salad! Seriously…I’m still thinking about it.

Mirabelle Cafe

Popped in here for an afternoon coffee (I got a dirty chai) and enjoyed the BEAUTIFUL atmosphere. So pretty. Right across the street from Savannah’s iconic cathedral, too.

Bonus eat: Giant Cinnamon Roll from the Farmers Market in Forsyth Park

I think the photo speaks for itself. We shared it three ways, and it was more than enough.

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All photos by me, 2018.

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stockholm

My weekend in Stockholm was quaint AF, though since it’s pretty pricy, there wasn’t a whole lot of gourmet dining. Our cottage-style Airbnb was stocked with muesli, milk and coffee, so that’s what I ate for breakfast everyday. On our first day of wandering, we stopped into a pub-style restaurant for lunch, where I had fish and chips, on special for the equivalent of $10 or something. Side note: I probably ate more French fries during my semester abroad than I ever have in my life.

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On the second day in Sweden, we went to Skansen, this super adorable Plymouth Plantation-esque attraction. It’s an open-air museum and zoo, set up in historical Swedish style, with employees dressed in 16th century Swedish garb, and lots of replica farm houses and bakeries are open to wander through. Here, I had some kind of cinnamon roll hot from the oven, and a rye bread sandwich topped with cheese and vegetables.

Sweden is one of three countries I visited that had Dunkin Donuts. We stumbled upon one at a modern mall amidst an ATM card crisis, and there was a massive line for doughnuts. Any New Englander knows that our regional obsession for Dunks is with the coffee–I can count the number of times I’ve eaten an actual doughnut from DD on one hand (not worth the calories). I was sooo happy to get my caramel swirl iced coffee, even though it wasn’t as good as back home.

IMG_1426We popped into a local grocery store one night to get snacks–I got my typical bread and cheese, and also a large amount of Swedish gummy candy. I have a major sweet tooth, and the candy selection here was like Ikea on crack. I bought even more when I got to the airport super early, buying these weird candies called Lakerol (unfortunately, I bought the kind in the cutest packaging which turned out to be horribly bitter black licorice), and a ridiculous amount of Anna’s pepparkakor. These ginger-snap cookies are everywhere back home, but souvenir tins of them were on sale at the airport gift shop so I got some to give my mom.

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the latest, Uncategorized

spring cleaning, wallet-style

Spring is finally here! (Knock on wood). It’s almost time to swap out my 8,000 pairs of boots for their open-toe counterparts, swear off hot coffee until October, and retire my (faux) fur coat until next season. Spring is also a great time for…cleaning! Especially cleaning up your finances, now that the holidays are long gone and spring break trips have been paid for. As a college student rapidly approaching graduation, I’ve definitely started feeling pressure to be frugal until I get a job squared away. In the meantime, here are some of my tips for keeping your wallet as full as possible!

1. Turn off auto-reload on your Starbucks card. It sounds brutal, I know, but when things like spending are set to autopilot they become super easy to ignore. Make the most of your Starbucks membership and take advantage of their frequent promotions. My office has a decent coffee machine, so I’ve officially run out of excuses for spending $5 on a latte.

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2. Clean out your closet. Spring is a great time to get rid of shoes, clothes, purses, etc. since you’re probably already swapping winter wear for springtime clothing in your closet. My favorite place to get rid of stuff is eBay, but I’ve heard great things about sites like Tradesy and Poshmark. You can literally post stuff for sale through your iPhone, and drop it in a mailbox once it sells. I’m the laziest person ever and eBay gets my approval for the easiest way to make money.

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3. Cancel any & all magazine subscriptions. As someone who works in the magazine/digital publishing industry, this is a bit painful, but I can’t remember the last time I had a magazine subscription, let alone time to read one. Transition yourself into online content, which is way more fun to read anyway, and take advantage of student access on sites like the New York Times. If you’re a magazine aficionado, or travel a lot and find yourself spending $5 a pop on mags at the airport, definitely look into Texture, an amazing app that has the digital version of (basically) every magazine, every month. It’s $10/month, but could totally be worth it.

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4. Make your credit card work for you. I get the most points back on my credit card for groceries, so that’s primarily what I swipe that baby for. Large credit card companies always have great promotions going on…I know I’ve gotten cash back for registering my Amex in programs like Small Business Saturday and Restaurant Week. If you’re traveling, definitely look into hotel add-on offers, deals on car rentals, and flight promotions. Companies like Credit Card Insider have tons of information on how to get the most out of your credit cards!

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What are your suggestions for financial spring cleaning? I’d love to hear!

All gifs from giphy. 

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stages of a monday morning

As someone who had been lucky enough to have three-day weekends almost every semester of college, having to go to work on Monday is a total downer. I finally know what my mom means when she says the weekend is never long enough…

1. The sound of your alarm.

Pressing snooze. Hearing the alarm again…and repeating this cycle until you muster up the energy to roll out of bed.

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2. Getting ready.

That first look in the mirror? Yeah, probably should have taken off my make up last night. Probably also should’ve picked out an outfit yesterday, when my eyes were fully open.

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3. The breakfast debate.

Do I have time to eat? Oatmeal only takes a minute, but I’m really feelin a bagel. Should I even bother eating? Well, I’ll regret it later when I’m hungry on the train. Whatever, I’ll just have coffee.

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4. The commute.

The icing on the cake that is my Monday commute? The crowded train. Which runs ten minutes late almost every Monday. Major key = remembering your headphones. At least I have the second season of Serial to catch up on.

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5. Getting to the office.

Knock back a few cups of complimentary coffee, answer some emails, and let the day *actually* begin. Hopefully the deli gets my salad order right at lunchtime.

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places

a (broke) american in paris

Is there any place quite as idealistic as Paris? I grew up believing it was the chicest place on earth–convinced the poodles grew cotton candy colored fur and everyone wore fabulous clothing (guess I watched Madeline a few too many times). And while there were many well-dressed Parisians, I didn’t catch a glimpse of any pastel pink pups. More so than other places I’ve traveled this semester, Paris felt very temporary. It didn’t feel like a place you could make a home, and it seemed to me that it would be difficult to assimilate into French culture. People say the Dutch are rude, but I couldn’t wait to get back to Amsterdam after my brief weekend.

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That considered, Paris is full of amazing things. There’s art everywhere, stunning buildings, and crepe stands on every corner. It’s literally a tourists dream, and there was WAY too much to even attempt to do in just one weekend. I’m on a tight budget, so I did what I could to see the things I’d always wanted to while spending as few euros as possible.

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Day 1. Arrived at lunchtime and ate bread and cheese ($5) while strolling along the Champs-ÉlysĂ©es. Visited Notre-Dame (free). Climbed to Sacre Coeur (free) and refueled with a $3 Nutella crepe because ~when in Paris~. Strolled down a flower market, posed for pictures in front of Moulin Rouge (another film that can be blamed for my disillusionment). Visited the Louvre after 6pm when it’s free for under-26 guests, and I saw the legendary Mona Lisa.

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how (not to) assimilate into french culture 101

Day 2. Kinder buenos for breakfast set me back $2, and then the day was spent at Versailles. We tried desperately to convince the ticket desk to let us in for free (there wasn’t even a student discount!) but were unsuccessful and forked over €15…I’d say it was worth it. Luckily, for 3/4 of the days we were here, public transport was free! I don’t speak French so I’m not sure what the reason was, but I’m definitely not complaining.

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the hall of mirrors had me feelin like marie antoinette

Also on this day I walked 13 miles, so the gnocchi I had for dinner (€10+complimentary Pinot Grigio) was devoured without a guilty conscience. We frolicked around the Eiffel Tower after dark, watching it sparkle in awe. Before going to Paris, I thought that the Eiffel Tower was way too hyped up and overdone, when, in fact, it was stunning. It was amazing that something so industrial was so beautiful. Definitely a great spot to pop champagne.

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Day 3. Went to a Flea Market that was super hyped up, but it was really just a less aggressive version of Canal Street. Two new pairs of shoes for less than $20 made me a happy girl, though. Afterwards, we made our way to Pont Neuf and browsed the book and souvenir stands, and I splurged for some Babar the Elephant paraphernalia. My roomie and I put a lock on the Love Lock Bridge, reassuring the lady who took the photo below that we’re friends, not lovers.

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Day 4. The morning before my train left, we went for brunch and crepes and leisurely enjoyed the sunshine.

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pont neuf

When I pictured myself in Paris, I imagined I would sit in a cafe drinking black coffee and smoking a cigarette, perhaps while wearing a beret. While none of those things happened, I still loved my time in the city of light. There are many more things I would love to do in Paris, and I will definitely be back someday, hopefully when my checking account balance is a little less depressing.

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sacre coeur, or the day i climbed a hill in heels

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