New York City – Lower East Side ramen/donuts/art/beer/Tenament Museum

After multiple visits to NYC, I’ve finally gotten around to checking out other areas of island that aren’t Midtown. My friend had just recently gone to the Tenement Museum and loved it. I hadn’t heard of it, but I trust her recommendations and Yelp also had tons of great reviews. I decided to make a day out of being in the area.

Like everything in NYC, this itinerary is walkable. It’s also pretty cheap, except for the Tenement Museum tickets, which are about $25 each.

1. Start your day with some lunch at Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle. It’s a tiny ramen shop with only 4 tables and there’s barely a sign outside the door. That’s how you know it’s freaking delicious. They speak some English and it’s cash only. However, me and 3 friends went, stuffed ourselves, and the whole bill was $26, which is basically what brunch costs per person anywhere else in NYC. Who wants to feel like a baller and cover the whole bill?! Here’s a picture of the outside so you know where to walk in.

Lam Zhou Outside Entrance
The awning has no lettering anymore

 

2. There’s always room for dessert. Make your way to the Donut Plant. They highly recommended the creme brûlée donut, which I had and pretty much saw new colors after eating it. I also had the hot chocolate with a giant handmade marshmallow cube in it. This hot chocolate was basically like drinking a delicious creamy, chocolatey cloud. Check it out:

Beautiful donuts!
Beautiful donuts!
It's amazing
It’s amazing

3. On the way to the museum, there’s a really cool bar/liquor store called Top Hops Beer Shop. It’s basically a bunker full of an insane number of craft beers and all goods/services beer-related. You can also get/bring a growler to fill up full of wonderful beer. It’s a pretty heavenly place.

Over 600 different beers here
Over 600 different beers here

4. Ever thought there could be a bakery that’s vegan, gluten-free, and good? Me neither. But then we went to BabyCakes. This place is rated very highly by a lot of people, including Martha Stewart.

And here we see a fresh baby being dropped off to be made into cake
And here we see a fresh baby being dropped off to be made into cake

5. You’ll run into a lot of art galleries on the way. They’re free, but there’s a range of what’s good and bad.

6. The final stop was the Tenement Museum. We did the Shop Life tour. This was a really unique museum experience because it’s guided and interactive and you see replica/restored rooms that are historically accurate. I was skeptical about how much fun it would be, but all the Yelp reviews convinced us. Even my friend who doesn’t really like historical museums really enjoyed herself. Definitely check it out.

 

Walking directions in LES
Walking directions in LES

 

 

 

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Chicago – Get fancy in River North night

This itinerary is about 6 hours long and is best for going out a celebrating something, like a birthday, bro-night, or friends in town. This is kind of similar to the Get Extra Fancy in West Loop itinerary, but a little cheaper and good for red/brownliners.

This will cover dinner, fancy drinking, and clubbing in River North. Everything is walking distance for guys and pretty walkable for the girls in heels (if they’re able to walk 3 blocks). Each place is spaced about 3-5 minutes away from each other.

1. Eat some of the best sushi ever at Sunda for dinner. It’s Michelin rated and is pretty reasonably priced. The cocktails here are also pretty excellent. Everything there is delicious.

2. Walk a few blocks southwest to the Gilt Bar Library. You’ll most likely need a reservation to get to the library downstairs, but it’s perfect for actually being able to talk to your friends while having expertly crafted cocktails and good food too.

3. If you’re down to go out drinking and partying, go to these next few places – Untitled, American Junkie, and Social 25. Untitled is big and awesome. It has multiple rooms, which include a whiskey room, a dining room, and a dance floor. American Junkie has a retractable roof and really hot bartenders. Social 25 has two floors, has great dance music, AND is open until 5AM. It does get hot though, just a warning.

Screenshot 2015-01-10 22.28.12

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago – Get extra fancy in West Loop

For Red or Brown-liners, the West Loop can seem like the next state over. But the West Loop has some of the coolest/fanciest places in town. I like going here when I’m trying to show off the best that the city has to offer. This itinerary for the evening is about 5 hours long, but can extend to all night if you want to go clubbing afterwards. Dress to the 9’s and prepare to eat, drink, and dance at the best venues in Chicago.

A word of warning when following this itinerary: it is $$$$, but it’s incredible. It’s also best for those with lots of energy.

1. Start your night off at Moto. Its concept is beautiful, sustainable, molecular gastronomic creations. You can choose between an 8-course or 16-course tasting menu with a beverage pairing option. Make a reservation long ahead of time.

2. Continue the molecular gastronomy theme next door at the Aviary. They literally have a guy whose job it is to make ice. There are apparently 36 different kinds you can make. One of these drinks comes out in basically a chemistry set. One of my favorite drinks is the ice ball in a whiskey glass that disintegrates and becomes the drink when you break it using a weight on a rubber band. If you go early enough, you can walk in, but reservations are recommended. Outdoor seating is first come first serve. For even more exclusivity, make a reservation at their hidden downstairs speakeasy, The Office. You need to be invited and be given the number to call. Both areas have food too.

3. To keep the night going, go party at The Mid. It’s two floors with multiple rooms, really hot bartenders (of course), and really good DJ’s. People actually dance here. Just don’t go outside once you’re in because they won’t let you back in most of the time.

 

West Loop Fancy Night Map
West Loop Fancy Night Map

New Orleans to do list

City Park
Zoo
Sculpture Garden
Museum of Art
Voodoo Museum
French Quarter
Crescent City Farmers Market
Algiers Point walking tour
WWII Museum
St.Louis Cemetery
Pat O’Brians – dueling pianos
Old Absinthe House
Cat’s Meow
Cafe du Monde
Lefitte’s Blacksmith shop bar
Hand Grenade
Acme Oyster House
St.Louis Cathedral
Jazz Fest
Warehouse District – food
Delmonico’s
Commanders Palace – Monday 25 cent martinis for lunch
Twelve Mile Limit – best cheap cocktails
KJean
Big Fisherman
Pascal’s Manale – bbq shrimp
Hansen’s Sno-Blizz – sno-ball
Sazerac Bar or Tujague or Galatoire
Dookey Chase – fried chicken (slightly fancier)
Willie Mae’s Scotch House – fried chicken
Allways Lounge – burlesque
Bar Tonique
Bacchanal Wine
Blue Nile – blues/jazz
Tivoli and Lee – whiskey
Saturn Bar – hipster girls Mod Party Night
Half Moon – late night food cheap drinks
Mimi’s in the Marigny – pool and soul
Kajuns – karaoke
Capdeville – great food/bar
Peno’s Piano Bar

frenchman street – blues and jazz. Really fun on Saturday night

Bachenal – far away. Bar and wine and cheese shop

Cochon – GET THE SANDWICH

Elizabeth’s – brunch. Marigny. Bywater

Crescent park- walk around

Dinner- Horn’s. Marigny

Cafe Amile – French quarter. Get to it by going through a gate. Courtyard. Brunch or dinner

Dat dog – drunk food. Frenchman

Galatiore’s – must go. Traditional southern. French quarter.

Court of two sisters- French quarter

Spitfire coffee – espresso. French quarter

Bacchenal – they’ll pair cheese

St.Louis to do list

The Arch
Union Station
Busch Stadium
Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour
Schlafly Brewery tour
City Museum
Broadway Oyster Bar – cajun
Botanical Garden – Japanese festival
Fox Theater
Pageant Theater
Powell Symphony Hall
Lumiere gambling
Bellefontaine Cemetery
Contemporary Art Museum
The Loop
Tower Grove Park
The Pin-Up Bowl
The Moolah Theater – couches and drinks
Cathedral Basilica
Forest Park – bike, blade, run, etc
The Muny
Art Museum
Zoo – one of the top in the country and free
Jewel Box
Boat House
Butterfly House
History Museum
Six Flags
Laclede’s Landing
Central West End
City Garden
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Grant’s Farm
The Science Center
Blueberry Hill
Old Courthouse
Repertory Theater
Frontenac indie movies
Tivoli  – indie movies
Moonrise Hotel rooftop
Urban Chestnut Brewery
360 at the Hilton
Harlem Tap Room
The Dubliner
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company
Dressel’s Public House
Silverleaf Lounge
The Royale
Sanctuaria
Rigazzi’s
Milo’s Bocce Garden
O’Connell’s Pub
Planters House
Jack Patrick’s Bar and Grill
Sub Zero – vodka
Bailey’s Chocolate Bar
Ted Drewes
Imo’s Pizza
Lulu’s – vegan
Mescrum – Ethiopian
Mangia – raspberry dessert
King and I
Mandarin House
Blue Elephant
Corner 17
Thai Nevas
Mai Lee – best Vietnamese
Steak and Shake
Sportsmans Park
Guo Bin
House of India
Rasoi
Tony’s – best in STL
Bar Napoli – fancy
Bar Celona – tapas
Crown Candy – best malt
Everest cafe. Only for lunch
MoKaBe’s
Historical soulard farmers market sat morning
Tropical moose

Salt and smoke

Blood and Sand

Gamblin whiskey house

Taste Bar

Sasha’s wine bar

Crown ridge tiger sanctuary and crown county winery

Miami to do list

South Beach Ocean Dr. walking – Friday best people watching
Wet Willie’s
The Delano
The Raleigh pool
Key Biscayne North beach
Joe’s Stone Shack
Mango’s Tropical Cafe
LIV
Vice
Mansion
Story
Mokai
Nikki Beach – Sunday
Rusty Pelican
Wine and Food festival – February
Art Deco district
Lincoln Ave – shopping and food
Books and Books
American Social
Lure Fishbar
Abuela’s – 17th and Jefferson
Cortadito
Bodega
Marsh Harbor
Abaco
Nippers on Great Guana Cay
11
Loews Hotel – pineapple pancakes
Monty’s – PK3 and raw bar
Fritz and Franz
DRB – democratic republic of beer
Graziano’s – Argentinian
Merrick Park – shopping and food $$$
Oishi Sushi
Pollo Tropical – chop chop with yellow curry
Bulla Gastrobar
Pardo’s – Peruvian
Miracle Mile – shopping and food
La Carreta
Versailles
Venetian Pool
Botanic Garden
Seaquarium
Rent a catamaran
Monkey Jungle
Miami Zoo
The Biltmoore
Versace Mansion
Vizcaya
Star Island
Santas Enchanted Forest
Columbus Day Regatta
Ultra
Calle Ocho festival – March
Art Basal – first week December
Dandy Donut – FTL
Aphrodisiac Ice Cream
W, the Dutch – fried oyster sandwich

Atlanta to do list

Coca Cola
Anne’s Snack Shack – ghetto burger
NaanStop – fast indian
Food Stoppe – cajun
Wrecking Bar
Holeman and Finch
Imperial Fez – Moroccan with belly dancers
Ormby’s
JCT
Loca Luna
Octane Coffee
Antico Pizza
Don Antonia – gluten free pizza
Yeah Burger
Pacific Rim Bistro – gluten free
The Sweet Auburn Curb Market – lots of stores; Arepa Mia, Sweet Auburn Bakery, African, Soul, etc
The Curb Market
Arepa MIA
Sweet auburn bakery