Albuquerque Guide

My trip to Albuquerque was very much unplanned and happened with such short notice. With that said, it still ended up being as good as any trip planned weeks in advance. I live in LA, and I'm always trying to find weekend trip destinations. The kind you can just hop in your car and go. Well, I’m happy to let you know that Albuquerque is one of those destinations. It was a 13 hour drive from Los Angeles. We left at 6 am and arrived at approximately 8 pm Albuquerque time.

We arrived on Wednesday evening and left on Friday morning. Technically we only had one full day and I believe that was enough to get a sense of Albuquerque. However, if you do have the time, I think I could spend another 1-2 days and see everything I need to see. I have a feeling I'll be back in Albuquerque this year, that's why I wasn't stressed to see everything this go around. BUT, I've created this guide for you so that you can make the most of your stay in Albuquerque and will continue to update it every time I visit.

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Where to Stay:

 If you are looking to stay somewhere outside of the typical hotel/motel situation, try a bed and breakfast instead. We stayed at the Mauger Estates and get this, it was built in 1897!! Over a century old! Its considered an historical landmark! Because everything is so new in LA, I kind of geek out when it comes to historical buildings like this.

 Our room was very quaint yet fully equipped with everything we needed, blow dryer, iron, mini fridge, AC, heater, tv, remodeled bathroom, etc. There are usually homemade baked goods waiting for you upon arrival in the foyer. Continental breakfast is put out at 7:30 am, and hot plates are served from 8:30 am to 9:30 am. If you have a dog, they have a room to accommodate that too! For bookings, visit their website here: https://maugerbb.com/

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What To Do:

One thing you absolutely need to know is that Albuquerque, besides becoming world famous for being where Breaking Bad was shot, is also known for their hatch chili's. It's all chili errthang. That's why you may want to pick up some chili related souvenirs.

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We stopped at the Chili Addict which has been around for 33 years! We stopped here to pick up some Chili salsa and hot sauce. Grab a pinon coffee too. Pinon is a type of pine nut that is extremely hard to come by and I'm told only grows in Albuquerque. Sometimes, years will go by without a harvest. Which is why they're a little pricey, but if you want something similar to sunflower seeds, then pick up a bag of roasted pinon.

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If you're looking for whole hatch chili's, dry or fresh, pop on over to Chili Konnection. You can get whole dried chili's by the buttload, or ziplog bags of ground chili, various types.

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One very popular thing in Albuquerque are breweries, they're everywhere! The owners of the BnB recommended  a place called Marble Brewery. Apparently, they're the first ones to pioneer the brewery movement in Albuquerque. They have beers to please anyone, even myself who's not a very big beer connoisseur, I was really impressed with their unique flavors. Sours are my favorite so naturally their passionfruit was my favorite. The double white was our groups favorite, named after Walter White from Breaking Bad.

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Where to eat:

 This is obviously my favorite part because...food. But seriously, the two places we ate at were legitimately awesome!

First off, if you're not here to eat New Mexican food, I can't be friends with you. And yes, New Mexican food is different than Mexican food, and they take this differentiation very seriously so don't get it twisted. At first glance, it would appear to be the same. Both have tamales, burritos, tacos, enchiladas. I asked a local what the difference is, they said that New Mexican food is spicier and more characterized by Native Indian Americans. Personally the difference that I saw was that it definitely was spicier and saucier. The tamales, enchiladas, and burritos were doused in chili sauce. Not to mention the presence of green chili stew was different. Tacos were predominantly hard shell tacos as opposed to the corn tacos you find everywhere in LA. I also did not see quesadilla on any menus either. Also, we don't get sopapillas (more on that later).

 Cervantes

 So let's start with our first legit meal in Albuquerque, and that was at Cervantes. Here, we got the works and pretty much ordered a little bit of everything. I recommend you get EVERYTHING we ordered and I'll tell you exactly what that is...

 Order the Combo Plate #2 which comes with Enchilada, Chile Relleno, beef taco (hard shell, duh). It does not come with the tamale like combo # 1 does, but #1 does not come with the Chile Relleno, so we ordered the tamale a la cart.

 Next, you HAVE TO order the green chili stew. Seriously, you cannot come to NM without trying that. Its just a really delicious tasting stew, pretty hearty in its own right. We ordered the large and shared that between myself and husband. Well really we shared everything we got. So this order is for two people who have a VERY HEFTY appetite.

 Our order also came with a basket of sopapillas, another MUST. These were puffed fried dough in a triangular shape and meant to be eaten with honey. So simple yet so damn delicious. To be honest though, I did end up taking these back to the hotel and ate them with nutella...omg game changer. But try it traditionally first.

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Now, because my husband are fat f*cks, we decided to order another plate of enchiladas. For a normal couple, I would recommend stopping right here and you'll be just fine. But everything else, you must order.

Combo Platter #2

Combo Platter #2

Enchilada

Enchilada

Tamale

Tamale

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Chili stew

Chili stew

Frontier Restaurant

Frontier Restaurant is an Albuquerque landmark, often referred to as the "college student restaurant" because it is parked right across the street from the University, and offers really affordable food. Now, I have to admit, hearing that made me thinking it was fatty, greasy, and poor quality. It was anything but those things. I was impressed yet again with delicious NM food all over again. This time we ordered chicken enchiladas, two beef tacos (I wanted a whole one to myself), a carne adovado burrito, green chili stew, and a green chili hamburger.

And of course, you cannot go to frontier without ordering one of their sweet rolls which is essentially a cinnamon roll. The best cinnamon roll I ever had was from the city of Windsor, Canada where I grew up, but this is a classic and it's what they're known for so you kinda gotta get it just for novelty of it. Plus, I don't often see freshly baked cinnamon rolls like I used to so this took me back to my childhood. The only thing missing was the pecans on top (insert crying emoji). P.S. I recommend everything I ordered. But their fries also looked sooooooo good, I just didn't have the heart to order them.

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A few other things to note is that they make their own tortillas right in front for anyone to watch which was kinda cool. Also, this place was surprisingly massive! It consisted of three very large rooms. And people would literally line up by the herds which can be disappointing at first because we really didn't want to wait a long time as we were wanting to get on the road, but as soon as I stepped in the line, it was basically my turn. They move REALLY fast!

Overall I was really impressed by the food in New Mexico. It wasn't greasy at all. Everything was super fresh and had a very homemade quality to it. If you ordered everything I ordered at a restaurant in LA, I bet you there will be at least one item that simply is not up to par with everything else. That was not the case here. Both times we went out, I would order everything all over again and definitely recommend you order it as well.

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I got a lot of recommendations from you guys. Because this was such a short trip, I couldn't get to everything but I'll definitely be adding to it each time I travel there and will try to hit up new places every time. Hope you enjoyed reading, if you try any of these places or have any other suggestions leave them in the comments section below!

LA Fashion Week!

LA Fashion Week!

Food and Fashion, the perfect combo if you ask me. That's why I was absolutely thrilled to attend Day 1 of LA Fashion Week this year. There were three tiers of tickets one could purchase. General admission which started at $70, and $250 for the VIP ticket to have access to both the after party and dinner. The event was held at the Petersen Automotive Museum, you're probably more familiar with it if I say 'that big red and silver building on Wilshire Blvd.' Oh, they also hold some of the rarest and most valuable cars in the world, no biggs.

The Kitchen at Atomic, Las Vegas

Atomic Liquors is the oldest free standing bar in Vegas. Been around since the 40's. During the wartime, people used to come here to watch bombs go off. It was later bought out from the son of the original owners, and during remodeling, they located a secret safe. It ended up being full of receipts, no cash, but still he overall history is actually quite fascinating. It was frequented by celebs like the Rat Pack, Clint Eastwood, and Barbara Streisand who wanted to get away from all the attention from being on the strip.

Morels, Las Vegas

Morels, Las Vegas

When in Vegas, do as the Veygans do, they dine at really nice steakhouses. And what better way to do than then by going to my favorite hotel in Vegas, the Palazzo and eating at Morels Steakhouse.

But I do have to say, the real reason I came here, what excited me so much, was actually the cheese and mushroom soufflé. I love chocolate soufflé, and I think the only thing better than a chocolate soufflé is a cheese soufflé. This is a must order! But keep in mind they only serve it at certain times like brunch and/or lunch possibly so call ahead to be sure.

Cabanna, Tijuana Mexico

Cabanna

Tijuana, Mexico

I must have traveled to Mexico at least 10 times so far this year. During each visit, I try to venture out to try different restaurants or taco stands.  On one visit, I tried Cabanna, a restaurant that everyone was raving about.  It was honestly so good that I have to share it with everyone.  I know that navigating Tijuana might be difficult, especially if you don’t know where to go or what to do there, but I highly recommend taking a day trip just to hang out by the beach and try something new. At night when you are looking for a nice place to eat, Cabanna is THE place to go.

Cabanna is not your traditional Mexican restaurant. It definitely had some Japanese influence with the sushi options, or rather their sushi had Mexican influence. Regardless, it was amazing.

Specifically, there were 3 dishes that were to die for. The first one was their Atun Azul, in other words blue tuna. It was basically their not so basic cubed tuna, marinated in their oriental sauce, atop a crispy wonton, topped with my favorite part of the dish…fried green onion.  Can we say YUM!?

My second favorite dish was the Kesitos Cabanna taco.  This was unlike any other taco I’ve ever had. First of all, the cheese they use is Chihuahua cheese, very common in Tijuana, and so delicious.  When melted, it becomes almost cream-like.  This was mixed with shrimp, and possibly egg to create this really creamy and delicious omelette type patty (although I can’t say with certainty that they used egg), topped with their homemade secret sauce. Ah! So good!

Last but not least was their Pirata…fresh shrimp sushi, marinated in their mango and jicama sauce. The shrimp…fresh as ever. But the best part was the mango jicama lime sauce, with chunks of real mango and jicama in every bite. Very tangy and fresh from the lime, with a subtle sweetness to it from the unripened mango. Absolutely Perfect in every way!

I swear, it is totally worth making the drive to Tijuana to hang out for the day, enjoy the beach at Rosarito and then swing by to Cabanna for a really classy dinner with amazing food. I can’t wait to go back!

Kesitos Cabanna

Kesitos Cabanna

Atun Azul

Atun Azul

Salmon & Jalapeno

Salmon & Jalapeno

Pirata

Pirata

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Lou Malnati’s, Chicago

Lou Malnati’s

Chicago, IL

www.loumalnatis.com

I’m not saying this is the best pizza ever, but I can tell it’s probably my favorite Chicago style pizza.  This was my first time trying it, and I ended up going to the one place that everyone recommended…the iconic Lou Malnati’s.  I’m actually quite happy I did so. Lou Malnati’s has been around since 1971, using the same recipe handed down for generations. Each pie, being made from scratch, is made with only the finest ingredients. We did wait quite a while for our pizza, but I knew its because they don’t just make pizza, they create an experience for their customers. Each and every single pie is special and made with extreme care.

We ordered the Malnati’s Chicago Classic, made with sausage, extra cheese, and their signature Buttercrust.  The crust had a combination of crunchy, flaky, and buttery deliciousness.  But surprisingly, I wasn’t overwhelmed by it. I’m not a fan of really thick pizza bread, but this actually had a perfect balance.

The sauce was fresh and perfectly seasoned.  Our waiter recommended we get extra sauce on top because we ordered pepperoni and pepperoni dries out the pizza…and of course I opted for more sauce because I always ask for extra sauce.  In addition, we ordered onions and hot giardiniera peppers to give it that extra kick. Now, the sausage totally took me by surprise.  Normally, I wouldn’t even order sausage because I’m not a fan of fennel seeds (which a lot of sausage have), but this one was totally different!  No fennel, just a really good tasting meat.  All in all, I was thoroughly impressed with Chicago deep dish pizza and I would totally order this again if I go back.

Malnati’s Chicago Classic

Malnati’s Chicago Classic

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Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago!

What a way to start my personal food quest in Chicago by going to the 35th Annual Taste of Chicago, a food festival where popular restaurants from all over Chicago come together to showcase their goods.  Its a free festival, but you have to purchase tickets in order to get food.  It cost $8.50 for 12 tickets, and each sample of food required anywhere from 4 to 5 tickets.

I traveled from one end to the other in search of the best food and I honestly am so happy with my choices.

Homemade Popsicles

Homemade Popsicles

Fried Catfish

Fried Catfish

Pierogi’s at Kasia’s

Pierogi’s at Kasia’s

But the BEST food in the entire festival has to go to La Bomba, a Puerto Rican Restaurant for their Pork Shish Kabobs.  I meannnnn…..Hello! This was hands down the tastiest thing in the entire festival. It was so good we ordered 3 of them. OH, and their secret ingredient is such an odd one, (I saw them add it to the boiling pot), but it makes all the sense in the world. Sorry, can’t divulge that. You’ll just have to try them out whenever you get a chance. This is somewhere I would definitely seek out the next time I’m ever in Chicago.

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