One week, two feet, three cities. This was not only my first time traveling to the East Coast, but also my first time traveling alone. Have you ever tried not fully planning out the details of a trip? Well that's exactly what I did this trip and I had the most amazing time!
New York, NY
Unintentionally, the first day of my trip and my landing in New York happened on 9/11. After taking a Lyft ride to my Airbnb, I went straight to the train station to get myself a metro card. The funny thing was that at first I couldn't figure out how to use my card since in San Francisco you insert your card and it comes out the other side, but in New York you swipe your card and pass through! I was amazed by the amount of people, skyscrapers and black trash bags on the street!
After eating dinner at Hu Kitchen (see my Eats tab) that night, I started walking around the city without a plan and no particular place to go. A few blocks later I came across the Empire State Building and decided to go all the way to the top! That picture above is a view of the entire city from the top of the building. It not only made me feel so small, but it also made me realize how unimportant so many things in life are that make me upset or stress me out for no reason! It allowed me to set a positive intention for the rest of my trip and feel super blessed and thankful for everything I have in my life.
The next morning I made my way to the bagel shop for a quick breakfast before heading to the Statue of Liberty. Surprisingly they had gluten-free bagels! Since I have a very sensitive digestive system and haven't had gluten in a long time, I went with the gluten-free bagel, but of course the breakfast version with avocado and BACON!
I'm sure you know by now that I'm a BIG foodie. Breakfast/brunch is my favorite meal of the day and of course I was always on the lookout for a new delicious spot to try out. After a nice long stroll through Columbia University and Central Park, I found my way to this cute little cafe on the Upper East Side. Bluestone Lane (see my Eats tab) was definitely my favorite brunch spot, and maybe restaurant/cafe in general in New York! They have gluten-free avocado toast, almond milk matcha lattes and lots more! It's definitely a must if you are in the area.
New York definitely took my breath away and opened my mind to much more than what I was used to while living in California for most of my life. So much walking to do in this city and so much to see. I tried to avoid taking the metro just so I could see more of the city, so much so that one day I walked almost 12 miles! My favorite part of the city, however, was definitely Greenwich Village. Although I didn't get to explore it much and ended up at a comedy show there, something about that part of the city made me feel like there were lots of friendly faces and delicious places to eat. Whether walking through the park, looking out on a rooftop or just starring at a Monet painting at the Metropolitan Museum, I was thankful for every minute of it.
My next stop on my trip was Baltimore, Maryland for Natural Products Expo East. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this city, but I can honestly say that I never expected to like Baltimore as much as I did. Sunset at the Inner Harbor was absolutely breathtaking. The whole town felt very different than what I was used to, especially coming from New York. The people were so friendly and would say hi to you or ask how you are doing as you walked past them on the street, which definitely made me a big fan of this city!
I had made a promise to not restrict myself at all this whole trip, food wise, and enjoy each city for what it is and what they are known for. I think of it as going to a sushi restaurant and ordering a hamburger, now that's just ridiculous! So first thing I tried in Baltimore were their world famous crab cakes and the next day I had the Captain Crunch french toast at a local cafe for breakfast! Probiotics were definitely my best friend on this trip and helped me avoid many of the symptoms I would have experienced from all the food I ate that my body wasn't used to (gluten, dairy, refined sugars). I was most symptomatic from the refined sugary foods/desserts (headaches, nausea, etc.) since my body is no longer dependent on them, but that sure didn't stop me from enjoying my trip!
I had to snap a picture of this bench because it truly captured how I was feeling at the moment.
This city reminded me that it's not about where you go, but who you are with. Chicago was full of skyscrapers, sunshine and delicious food! I definitely did not see much of the wind in the windy city. Although I didn't get a picture, I had the best burger of my life here at Au Cheval. It was a double grass-fed beef patty with bacon and a fried egg! If you are ever in Chicago, this place is an absolute MUST!
Despite the breathtaking views, food food food is always on my mind. The next morning, blackened fish tacos at Seven Grand for brunch were definitely a fantastic idea! Afterwards we walked around for a bit, my favorite thing to do in a new city!
My last night here we went on a twilight river boat architecture tour cruise. It was the most beautiful night, with the most perfect weather and every single building was as beautiful as the next. Some looked like New York while others looked like Madrid! Cruising along the water, we found our way to Lake Michigan and eventually back around. Last thing I did that night before going to bed was get a Chicago Dog! It was a MUST and although it didn't feel like anything special, just a regular hot dog with some strange toppings, I had to try it for myself!
One week, two feet, three cities later, and I was back home in Los Angeles!