Eating Out in Madrid: DiverXo

So, I started to write up a post with some of our eating highlights from our trip to Madrid last year and quickly realized that first, I had to give DiverXo its own post. DiverXo is a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Madrid’s Tetuán neighborhood, a little ways outside the city center (we used the subway to get out there and a cab to get back). It is the work of quite-possibly-insane Chef David Muñoz, and if you hate those unending dinners with a bunch of little dishes, you won’t like DiverXo. Luckily, I very much enjoy those dinners, so while often bizarre and definitely indulgent, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.


Upon entering DiverXo, you quickly realize what you’re in for. Continue reading


Where We Stayed: Madrid

We actually stopped in Madrid twice on our excursion to Spain and Morocco, once on the way in and once on the way out (we flew in and out of the city). We stayed at two different hotels in two different neighborhoods, and both worked out well, though our second hotel was definitely the more luxurious option. Still, both are worth mentioning, so here we go!

Note that we booked through Chase, and the pricing reflects what we paid – make sure to check on your own.

Artrip Hotel
Valencia, 1128012 Madrid, Spain
$125/night for a Standard Room

The Artrip Hotel, our first stop, was located in the Lavapies neighborhood, a 15 minute walk from the Atocha Train Station and a 15 minute walk from the Puerta del Sol (central plaza in Madrid). Luckily, Madrid is a highly walkable city, so we were able to traverse all the major points of interest from both of our hotels.

The Artrip was good beginning for us – small, modern, and clean, but nothing fancy. Continue reading

Layover Life: 7 Hours in Brighton

I suppose, three months late, it’s time I start sharing some of the adventures from our biggest travel adventure last year to Spain and Morocco. Mind you, I’m not actually starting off with the main event, since I’m still slowly wading my way out of the swamp of photos I took (and by wading my way out I mean editing, culling, and wistfully gazing at), so instead I’ll bring you the first place we explored on the trip – Brighton, England.

Brighton Beach Pier

We got a great deal from Los Angeles to Madrid on Norwegian Air, but it included a roughly seven-hour layover at London-Gatwick Airport. Determined not to miss a minute of potential exploration, we did some research and learned that the seaside town of Brighton was a mere 30-minute train ride away, so as soon as we could get off our plane from L.A. we hopped a train and before long were walking the streets of Brighton. Continue reading

Out and About in Massachusetts: Quarry Dance 6

The Boy and I were in Massachusetts recently for a wedding, and as our services weren’t needed the morning before the wedding we were looking for something to do. As it so happened, that morning at breakfast our B&B hostess told us about Quarry Dance 6, an event happening at the nearby Flat Ledge Quarry.

Flat Ledge Quarry

Note: that’s the last picture you’ll see of the quarry without dancers or a plastic flamingo in it, so prepare to play a little “Where’s Waldo” if you don’t spot them immediately.

Continue reading

Eating Out(ish) in PA: New Year’s Eve Dinner

This year, the Boy and I celebrated the arrival of 2017 with my Mom’s family in Pennsylvania, and instead of eating out we feasted on an incredible nine-course meal courtesy of my talented Aunt Libby, who did the whole thing without help and without the benefit of a kitchen sink, since her kitchen was currently being renovated. Yep. No sink, nine courses. Although those of you who weren’t present will never be able to track this meal down to relive it in real life, I figured I’d be remiss not to brag about it – I mean, share it – with you.

New Year's Eve Dinner Menus

Note that the menus changed a bit from what was written to actual execution, but who even cares…oh, and shout out to Dad for all the wine pairings! Seriously, why do I even bother with reservations? Continue reading

Eating Out in New York: Zenkichi

We were recently in New York for a whirlwind trip to see my dear friend get married, and despite the crazy schedule, we still managed  – as we always do – to sneak in a good meal (or four…but this particular one was outside of the wedding festivities). The place was a recommendation of the bride-to-be herself, and quite a good one. It’s in Brooklyn, it’s called Zenkichi, and woe be to the one who tries to return from a bathroom trip there without assistance from the staff (I’ll explain that part later).

Zenkichi Menu

The restaurant is located behind an unassuming fence, and the inside is dark, with many winding hallways leading to individual booths enclosed by roll-down screens. It’s cozy and romantic, and gives the feeling that you might be outside at night.

Continue reading

Eating Out in SF: To-Go Dim Sum at Good Mong Kok

As I mentioned, the Boy and I headed up north to celebrate his birthday earlier this summer. We ended up having one afternoon to spend in San Francisco before we flew home, which we mostly spent wandering as it was quite a gorgeous day. True to form, our wandering involved food, because what’s a vacation without it?

San Francisco's Chinatown

We had dallied with the idea of dim sum, but we knew it would probably be tricky given our tight-ish timeline and lack of a reservation (it was a Sunday). However, Yelp soon enlightened me to the existence of something I had never heard of before – to-go dim sum. Continue reading

Playing Lighthouse Keeper: A Night at East Brother

For someone who is wholly stressed out by planning surprises, it seems I do plan quite a lot of them – case in point: This year, I decided to do a “surprise” trip for the Boy’s birthday. Hey, if there’s one thing that makes the stress of a surprise worth it, it’s doing it for someone you love. Now, I say “surprise” because the Boy knew we were going somewhere – I had to get his frequent flyer number, after all – and he know it was somewhere not far away. Eventually, he figured out it was the Bay Area, but not until we got within sight of the East Brother Light Station did he realize that the true surprise was our hotel – which was, in fact, a Victorian-lighthouse-slash-B-&-B located in between the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays.

Lighthouse Panorama

Now, we had a great time on the gorgeous little windy island with our wonderful B&B hosts, but I still have a few warnings for you should you choose to undertake this journey yourself – and oh, it is a JOURNEY. Continue reading

The Best Gumbo in New Orleans

Let me preface this post by saying that I am not a gumbo expert. And then, let me also preface it with a quick tale of over-ambition and complete disregard for how long it takes to do something. The quick version is that the Boy and I got an idea into our head to start another blog, one where we would try to find the “best” versions of food and drink in a given area. In other words, an excuse to eat a bunch of stuff. In the planning for this blog, we came up with all sorts of rules – we had to try at least five of something, they couldn’t necessarily be the five most convenient to us (some wiggle room there), etc.

We also, after much back and forth, came up with an elaborate and completely unscientific ratings system of 150 total possible points:

  • Taste (worth 50 points)
  • Value (worth 30 points)
  • Texture (worth 20 points)
  • Creativity (worth 20 points)
  • Presentation (worth 20 points)
  • Convenience (worth 10 points)

To get to these point totals, we would rate each item on a scale of 1-10 and use multipliers, i.e. Taste had a 5x multiplier, Value a 3x multiplier, and so on. Whew. Summary of this story is we realized it was going to take us WAY too long to get enough posts ready to launch this separate blog, so instead any related endeavors would be housed here (foodstuffs) or on the Boy’s blog Boozy Newsie (drinkstuffs).

And without further ado, let’s get to rating the gumbos of New Orleans…noting, of course, that on our trip we did not have time to try every gumbo available, so we may have missed a hidden gem. Continue reading

Eating Out in NOLA: Café du Monde & Morning Call

One guess as to what was number one on my New Orleans bucket list (take a look at our Solvang trip to get a clue)…yep, you guessed it: beignets! Good old fried dough and powdered sugar combined into one gloriously decadent sugar pillow. Or three, which is apparently the standard order in New Orleans. We tried beignets from two places, and I’m here to tell you which was deemed superior and which was, well, good (I mean, fried dough and sugar people, there is no bad here!).

Café du Monde Sign

First up, the famous Café du Monde, which is located just off of Jackson Square in the French Quarter. It can be a bit of a madhouse, but we didn’t have much trouble at the takeout window, where we got three beignets for $2.73. Apparently the coffee is famous too, but neither of us drink coffee. Continue reading