Conquering War & Peace

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My book nook

 

 

Mission accomplished. How did I achieve this feat? Discipline, bro. I’m not the world’s slowest reader, but I do zone out/fall asleep/drink a ton of water & then require 12 bathroom breaks  a lottt when I read books. So here are my secrets to getting through it.

Tips for reading read War & Peace

  1. Have ample free time ( like recovering from foot surgery ). Or if you’re a normal person who works, just choose a chunk of time before, after, during work (lunch break) to read.

  2. Commit to a min # of pages (per sitting, per day, per week – you decide) and stick to it.  & always finish the chapter you’re in even if its over that page # you’ve set. This just gives you that small extra jump forward, which helps with such a long book like War & Peace.

  3. Time yourself – smartphones have timers. Give yourself 1 hr. Put yourself on airplane mode if you have to. Then toss the phone far (out of sight, out of mind is a saying for a reason). Don’t touch it until it goes off. When it does, celebrate  & make some tea. Do some pushups while the water’s boiling, then do another hour.

  4. Don’t even try it during the holidays. Way too many distractions/excuses/tv marathons to miss. Unless you have a calm, quiet, docile family that reads together, then do it to it, I guess.

  5. Don’t panic over the number of characters & confusing names. It’s mildly overwhelming in the beginning. It’s a long book- you have a looott of time to get acquainted with everyone.  I made a character list at first, but I really didn’t need it. Don’t waste your time. DO read the character section at the beginning. It explains the Russian name system/tradition & it’s helpful.

  6. Commit. To. It.   The whole thing. Don’t bail after 200 pages, that’s just lame. It’s 100% worthwhile.

  7. Don’t be discouraged if you time yourself & realize that the # of pages you read per hour is tragically low and makes you feel like you’re reading at a glacial pace. You probably are.  It’s fine.

  8. Allow skimming. Only during some of the war scenes. Keep it to a minimum, but know that it’s certainly no crime. I honestly skimmed hard core at one chunk of a battle scene. And I feel good about it. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

  9. Don’t let it go on too long. If you procrastinate too much, you’re going to forget everything you’ve read, which could be like 600 pages. I wouldn’t want to start all over after having come so far. Give yourself a deadline from the start & set a schedule. Even if you know you’ll break it, it will be there motivating you.

  10. Delete your insta, snapchat, vine, whatever your app cup of tea may be. Just re-install them when you’re done.  Shouldn’t you be reading the book instead of instagramming it?

  11. Enjoy it. Tolstoy’s writing is immaculate. Witty. All around delicious. Really sink your teeth into it. Realize how privileged you are to have the opportunity to read some of the world’s greatest literature.

  12. Endnotes….  take em or leave em. A lot of them are interesting but some are just pointless. I was very diligent about them at first, but by the end it was only if it sounded intriguing that i would read it.

Bonus tips

    1. Make note of the parts you love/hate/find interesting for whatever reason. I took pictures of the text…. with the phone that was supposed to be far from me. I started doing this near the end, but I wish I had done it throughout, because there are just so many great quotes/parts that you want to remember and go back to.

    2. Get interested in France. And Russia. & History.

    3. Acquaint yourself with tea. I highly recommend peppermint.

 

 

I loved this story. I highly recommend it to everyone, however I’m not deluded. I know that most of my 23 year old peers are not interested in reading this – at least not right now. But, if you like reading the classics, this seriously is a must read.

 

 

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Muhammad Ali Center

Turns out I never really knew much about Muhammad Ali outside his boxing career. I learned a ton about him that I never really knew before – extremely arrogant once upon a time, almost went to jail, stands up for his beliefs, generous, etc. This place is definitely worth a visit. There is a lot of interesting art scattered throughout, as well.

Clark’s Fish Camp

Where in the world?  Jacksonville, Florida. In the oh so warm, January “winter”  : )

Being one of the largest private collections of taxidermy in the US, dining at Clark’s guarantees a wild experience. Literally. The restaurant is teeming with large bodies of stuffed, wild animals. Name any animal, it’s probably hanging out at Clark’s. Well, no dinosaurs or anything too crazy, but you get my point. They’ve got lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes, rhinos, fish, I could go on… And they are all over the place, so that no matter where you happen to be seated, you’ll have a great view of some incredible taxidermied animals sitting right in front of you (more likely above you). I was astounded at the variety of animals represented at Clark’s, both on the walls, and on the menu.

Their menu is a blend of seafood & cajun, and has your typical seafood dishes, but it also includes some rather unorthodox options as well, like alligator, ostrich, kangaroo, buffalo, turtle.  Whatever’s your cup of tea, they probably have it. Clarks Fish Camp was such a unique, worthwhile, and delicious place for dinner, that we ended up going back a second time when my dad was able to join us. One word of advice: Come hungry.

I ordered the Pointee Coupee Etoufee, a cajun dish laden with meaty hunks of crawfish with shrimp in an AMAZING sauce lying on top of the most flavorful rice I’ve tasted in this country. The second visit, I ordered the Shrab Pasta, basically a shrimp & crab dish with white sauce and angel hair noodles. Both meals were positively delicious, massive portions. The pasta was so much better than I had anticipated. I was very pleasantly surprised with Clark’s overall. Initially, I thought it would be a trashy, hillbilly kind of thing (not really for me), but it was not at all. The atmosphere was very well done- something that I imagine might present a challenge when decorating with animal corpses.

Their website !
Also, if you’re into trying out different, local brews, I loved the Intuition i-10 IPA, by  Intuition Ale Works, a Jacksonville brewery. But perhaps I’m the only IPA lover left on this earth…

hiko-A-mon

Any self-described Modern Japanese Sushi Bar & Fish Market is a place I want to be. Hiko-a-Mon may be confusing to pronounce, but there is nothing confusing about the deliciousness that you are sure to taste here. The dining room is very modern, with a chic wine wall and a bright fish tank. It is an unexpected delight that is nestled in the trendy & thriving Westport Village area. I always have really genuinely nice, smiley servers (probably because they get sushi whenever they want… I’d be grinning like an idiot too).

I insisted that we go here for dinner over the weekend with my parents. Mom dislikes the idea of sushi, but went along when I informed her that they have steak too. Dad & I ordered two sushi rolls to split- the Fire Dragon Roll and the Holiday roll. We each ordered side salads with that crack-infused ginger dressing (you know the one). Everyone was satisfied.

Hiko-A-Mon’s website
Louisville, Kentucky

Note: They have a very worthy happy hour.

St. Augustine

Mother & me (and my 16 month old precious little niece!!) were lured into Pizzalley’s by their free sample handouts of pizza. We tried a sample and knew that we would be back for lunch. I ordered a delicious award winning (allegedlyVenetian Bruschetta pizza. Not my favorite, if we’re talking crust- too fluffy for my liking. I’m a crispy thin kind of lady. However, everything on the pizza was fresh and delicious. I’d certainly recommend it. They have glorious breadsticks smothered with heaps of garlic crumbles also, if you are a carb lover like myself. So delicious. We ate outside on their back patio, which did not have the most breathtaking view – a gravel parking lot. But it was nice sunny weather outside, so I was content, because back home we were getting feet (PLURAL) of snow.

Pizzalley’s website
St. Augustine, Florida

If you’re on the fence about visiting this area, St. Augustine is a great and you most definitely should go. There are tons of cute shops (I don’t even like shopping, but I enjoyed them), restaurants, bars, etc. Not to mention all the warm weather, and of course, the history (our nations oldest city according to the trusty internet, founded in 1565). The area was settled by the Spanish wayy long ago and it is a fascinating place, but I am biased due to my obsession with Spain-related everything. We never got to the beach in this area, which I regret, but when baby says she’s tired, it’s law.

Union Cafe

Among my favorite off-campus places to dine while letting my hangover diminish is a trendy cafe called Union, located on High Street in the Short North. Their Sunday brunch situation is great. Most people get the breakfast buffet, which I certainly enjoyed. Involving everything from a waffle man (the guy was a beginner and burnt a few, not to mention the line I waited in for my waffle…kind of lame) who made me a really scrumptious chocolate-peanut butter crunchy, warm waffle, and really fresh fruit salad that was not loaded with just cantaloupe and honeydew, but rather the good stuff like pineapple, mango (or peach?), and strawberries. The omelet man was efficient and had about 40 different toppings. But best of all, they have a bloody mary bar & mimosas. For cheap. Treatchyoself.

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Union Cafe – Columbus, Ohio

Kuma’s Too

Kumas Too

The burgers are delicious and I didn’t even have one. I mean, I don’t eat meat, but they looked drool worthy. My mac and cheese was legendary. As is anything with sun-dried tomato in my world.
I realize there are hundreds of enticing restaurants in Chicago, but this place was very cool. Don’t go here if: you want an intimate, quiet, healthy, well lit evening. Do go here if: you like loud, metal music, heaping portions of mac n cheese, weirdly named burgers with unique ingredient compilations, and beer. And speaking of which, I still have not had Delirium Tremens, but I’ve had my eye on it for a while. Has anyone tried it before? Thoughts..?

Overnight Layover – Barcelona Airport

 

Not to be dramatic, but I thought I was going to die this night.
It started off alright. We stopped and got some food, a bottle of wine at a restaurant in the airport. Lounged for a while. Then hours later, we got drowsy. It got cold. I couldn’t get comfortable. It was miserable. At one point we tried to sleep in the McDonalds’ soft booths, but they kicked us out (at least I think they did-he was speaking Spanish and I was basically still asleep/didn’t know what he was saying). It was horrid.
Moral of the story: Don’t book a flight with an overnight layover, unless it’s long enough to stay in town and frolic (which I wish we did, since I’ve never been to Barcelonaa).

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Hotel Figueretas – Breakfast

 

I could be giving the wrong place credit (not a good start, I know), but I believe this is the place we had breakfast one morning in Ibiza. No, we did not stay at this hotel, but I think this was where we ate. It wasn’t spectacular, but they served us pretty large portions, and it was inexpensive. Just typical breakfast food. I’m pretty picky about my breakfast foods, so I’m not the best one to judge this. But I enjoyed it all because we had a pretty view of the water, and got to sit in the sun.

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Formentera Cooking

My favorite island. Ever. Definitely go here. Rent a scooter. Explore.

Unfortunately, this was one of the places I found the grocery selection to be rather grim. The market closest to our little dwelling was pretty crummy (maybe just since I’m a veg and have less options). Not a ton of restaurants in our area. But we made pasta one night. It wasn’t great. Actually, it was pretty bad- we used tomato sauce, since they had no pasta sauce. Haha oh, well. Not a crisis. At least there was wine.

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The second night we also made dinner & it was significantly better because we went to a different grocery (right near where the ferries are docked). We made fish tacos, and they were marvelous. In the middle of dinner, we noticed a strange reflection on our window, so I jumped outside to see what it was from. On the opposite side of our house was the most unbelievable sunset happening without our knowledge.
We stood there trying to peek at it over the trees, debating if we should go try and catch it at the beach. Finally, after much deliberation (“should we? we’ll probably miss it, it’s so pretty though, what if the sun’s down by the time we get there”) we hopped on our scooter, drove about two minutes up to a beach inlet, & sprinted down the boardwalk to the sand. We had about two or three minutes of sunset to enjoy, and it was so worth it. With the dark clouds contrasting the sun’s orange and pink hues, it was one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen. Pictures don’t do it justice. But this is one of the perks of making your own dinner- you can flee from the table as you please, without any repercussions, other than some cold food.

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Eddie George’s Grille

 

If you are ever in Columbus near The Ohio State campus area, I know of a lot of places that you should steer clear of. Eddie George’s Grill is not one of them. The atmosphere caters to every sports fan’s wants and needs. There are TVs galore playing just about every game. On football game days, the place is packed, which is actually quite fun, and I don’t even like football. Even if you are not huge into sports, they have very good food for a reasonable price. Their black bean burger is one of the better ones I’ve ordered. The bun, not so much. They also have amazing pizza. You might even be able to snap a sniper photo of Urban & the team (if you’re as stealth as I am).
However, the real reason I love Eddie’s is because of their patio (shocker) and beer selection. They have an glorious patio for day drinking. And their happy hours include a variety of different, quality brews for a good deal. My friend and I would plant ourselves here too many weekdays during spring semester – basked in the sun, had a beer, or three, and “studied for finals”.

I’ll admit, there are loads of better restaurants in the downtown area & Short North, but if you are planted on campus for the day, Eddies is definitely a good choice.
Also, rumor has it, the mens bathroom has a creepy little mirror that looks out into the bar too, so there’s that awkward bit of information.

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Ruth’s Chris

Who – Mi familia
What – Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Where – Louisville, Kentucky
When – Early summer of 2012
Why – In celebration of my dear old brother’s college graduation

Ruth’s Chris is a very nice restaurant, but I am a vegetarian and thus I cannot really appreciate what everyone raves about this place for – their steak. We had great wine. We had great food. But if I’m completely honest, I don’t even remember what I ordered. So it must not have been that impressive. Everyone else at the table ordered steaks, and were oohing and ahhing over them, so I’ll take that to mean they were satisfied. But I personally didn’t think anything extraordinary of my meal. It was probably top notch, I’m sure.
What I was more excited about was the gorgeous view. At the top of the building, right outside the dining area, you are able to walk around outside on the deck. We were able to watch a beautiful sunset from up here. That is what I liked best about our dinner here. And, in my opinion, that is something worthwhile.

 

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Marina Grosseto Ristorante

After a long, cold, rainy day spent exploring the flooding- but still beautiful- streets of Prague, we cleaned ourselves up and met up with friends for dinner at a fun ristorante on the river.

Marina Grosseto Ristorante was lovely. It was one of the more upscale restaurants we ate at during our trip. Located right on the river, the Marina Grosseto provides a stunning view of the castle on the hill just across. The menu has such a wide variety of options, I think our whole table was torn on what to order- everything sounded amazing. I ordered spinach lobster ravioli, or something of that nature. It was fantastic. Everyone’s food looked fantastic. It was one of those times where you want to sneak your fork across to each person’s plate and try all the dishes. I didn’t, but I thought about it.  Marina Grosseto Ristorante may not be ideal if you are in search of traditional Czech cuisine and the atmosphere that would go along with it. However, if you want something that is somewhat elegant, where you are not worried about any misunderstandings with the menu, and above all, a place to enjoy top of the line cuisine, this is a great place to go.

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Tapas Bars of Mallorca

Our hostel in Mallorca (Hostal Apuntadores) was located in a street/alley that was overflowing with the most interesting tapas bars. It couldn’t have been more convenient. In the evening this area is so alive with activity- wonderful music, great smelling food, tanned vacationers smiling and laughing. Mostly tourists I’m sure, but it is such a fun atmosphere, and there are tapas bars and restaurants galore, I think it would be a shame to avoid this area. We had a hard time choosing where to eat, but it was nice just walking around scoping all the places out. During our stay on the island, we went to a few noteworthy bars/restaurants right in this area.

Restaurante La Cueva – My favorite tapas bar in Mallorca. You step down into this den-like atmosphere. It had a lively, yet intimate atmosphere. We sat at the bar. Ordered a few items. What did we order? The best seafood I’ve ever in my life tasted. An octopus, shrimp, and meat dish. I didn’t taste any of the meat dish, but it looked great. The shrimp were still sizzling when they reached us, and were so incredibly flavorful. The octopus, though, was my favorite by far. I think it was for both of us. The flavors with this, too, were unreal. Also, we ordered wine. Never forget the wine. I will go back to Mallorca. And when I do, I’m stopping back here for sure.

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El Cuerno – Stopped here for drinks. And thank god we did. This is the home of the worlds greatest sangria. I literally think about the sangria we drank here on a regular basis. White wine sangria, with lemons, and who knows what else. We both loved it. Like, we were floored. I was tempted to go back while I was waiting for my friend to deal with a business call just before we left Mallorca for good. I regret my decision not to.

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Bar Cafe Coto – We had dinner here and sat outside on their large patio area, which had beautiful lighting and a great atmosphere. Our food was delicious. I ordered a vegetarian lasagna, with a white sauce and second to the restaurante la cueva, it was the best meal I had in Mallorca. The bruschetta we ordered was marvelous. Everything.

Lastly, a tapas bar right next to our hostel, but we only stopped here for a drink, and by this time I was knee deep in sangria, not paying attention to the restaurant name, like a true vacationer.

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Cube

Who – My travel bud & I
What – Cube.
Where –  Ibiza, Islas Baleares, Spain
When – One evening in May, 2013
Why – Dinner right around the corner from our hotel

This was a very interesting spot we decided to check out in Ibiza. We stopped by for dinner. Had a beer. Ordered a few different tapas. It was all very good. My favorite dish was the Spanish Omelet. This was the very first time I had tasted one. It blew my mind- it’s pretty much just potato and egg cooked as an omelet type dish, and you slice off a piece as though it’s a piece of pie. Kind of like a quiche, I suppose. Anyways it was great.
Our waitress was so friendly, and spoke very good English. She talked to us for a while and was very interested in all our traveling. There was also a friendly little kitty roaming around, whom I adored- I can’t help it. He mosied on up, first at our feet, then eventually warmed up to us and snuggled right inside my purse. He slept there for a while haha. They’re lucky I didn’t steal him.
This bar had such a nice atmosphere- very dark, red lighting, comfortable booth seating with pillows. We were very relaxed. It was such a nice laid back evening after having been running around the island in the sun all day. We were both glad we stopped by.

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Their Facebook page makes me smile. The kitty is in like half of the photos : )

Kis Parázs Presszó

 In Budapest, Hungary, we had been told from friends of ours that this was the place to go for Thai food. Heeding their advice, we tried it out. Shrimp Pad Thai for me, please. So so so so good. The sauce was so flavorful, and the perfect consistency. An extremely filling meal, but we had been walking around the city constantly, we were both famished, and inhaled our food. On a whim, we ordered a dessert- fried bananas. How very wild of us, I know! Honestly, I didn’t like them. They were just fried batter and banana, with honey on the side. I’m not really sure what I expected haha.

Kis Parázs was so good that we went twice. And the shrimp pad thai was so good ( & I was too exhausted to deliberate over the dozens of other tantalizing dishes) that I also order the same thing again 🙂

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shrimp pad thai

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fried bananas with honey

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Kiadó Kocsma

Who – My travel buddie, a friendly Aussie we met at our hostel, and myself!
What – Kiadó Kocsma- a traditional Hungarian restaurant/pub
Where – Budapest, Hungary right here
When – At the end of May 2013
Why – We were ravenous after much walking and exploring. And because it was phenomenal the first time had eaten here. Also, it was close to our hostel 🙂

Where to begin. Kiado Kocsma was really, really wonderful. An interesting interior with a lot of character. Somewhat dim atmosphere, rich warm colors and wooden paneling. An upstairs balcony area that you can sit at. A impressive bar area right as you walk in. Very small tables, considering the heaping portions they serve you. We came to this restaurant twice because it was so good. The first, I ordered a beer of which I don’t recall the name. But it was Hungarian and delicious. And for dinner, I had a massive dish of gnocchi- I usually don’t like gnocchi (I’m not even sure what prompted me to order it). But it was heavenly. I think it had sundered tomatoes, which I never say no to, parmesan, and other deliciousness. I had a ton of leftovers, which I took back to our hostel fridge and ate the next day (None of the drunken fools ate them to my ultimate shock!). The guys ordered goulash, which they said was great- but not as good as the goulash in Prague. On our second visit here, I was not very hungary (we had a lot of snacks throughout the day from the wonderful SPAR Szupermarket – including my biggest weakness, chocolate milk), so I only got a piece of carmel apple cake. Oh. Sweet. Baby. Jesus.  It was perfect. Moist, soft, cakeyness, none of that artificial processed nonsense that I am used to getting from restaurants in the U.S. This was amazing. Dare I say, better than my mums apple cake (it was). Kiado Kocsma, I highly recommend.

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My beloved chocolate milk! 

IMG_1881The cake. ❤

 

ZÖLD TEKNŐS BARLANGJA – NATIVE TEAHÁZ

This teahouse in Budapest was incredible. It is like Alice in Wonderland in there -the further you go inside, the further down the rabbit hole you go. You completely forget about what is outside the walls when you are inside here. It was fabulous.

Their menu offers hundreds of teas to choose from, as well as a hookah menu which coincidentally isn’t my cup of tea (see what I did there). We tried two different teas, and at the time I wasn’t a big fan of tea-strictly coffee for me (although I have recently become obsessed with tea for unknown reasons), but the tea was a great pick me up. We stopped by this teahouse mid-afternoon, after having been at the Terror Museum for a very long time (which I also recommend). It was the perfect way to relax in a very tranquil, native themed environment shrouded in warm tones, bringing us away from the depressing vibe we had just acquired from the museum, as we sipped our tea and chatted. It was a completely unique experience, taking you into an entirely different atmosphere than the streets of Budapest. It reminded me of the Rainforest Cafe, except not touristy, and much more calm, quiet, and private.

If you are a tea lover, I highly recommend Zold Teknos Barlangja. It is such a fascinating little (actually it’s quite big/cavernous) place, and I’m venturing out on a limb saying this, but I think if you have kids, they would love the atmosphere. However, if the idea that they have hookah areas throws you, then maybe not.

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Amadip Esment

Amadip Esment. An amazing restaurant on the gorgeous island of Mallorca, just off the coast of Spain. Mi favorita!

In search of somewhere unique to eat, my travel bud & I walked around for a long time. To his dismay, I’m sure, I refused to settle for something average, and I insisted that we find somewhere with a cute patio/outdoor area. I suppose I’m just difficult like that. Just as my friends’ patience was wearing, we rounded a street corner, and like a mirage in the desert, Amadip Esment appeared before our eyes. The outdoor seating & cute umbrellas caught my eye, so we crossed the street and walked up.
Our waitress was so welcoming, and happy to let us sit where we please on the perfect, sunny patio, only to explain to us it wasn’t quite lunch time yet. Well, I was perfectly content to order an espresso and bask in the summer sun on the patio. So that’s just what we did.
Having sensed my comrade’s hunger, I think our waitress felt bad, so she brought out a basket of delicious bread, olive oil, & salt. (Side note: I am currently reading War And Peace, & according to the book, it was a Russian custom to welcome guests by serving them bread and salt. So, I’m wondering if this is also true in Spain. I had never been served salt with bread before this, but it was lovely.) I was so incredibly happy at this moment. She helped us navigate the menu, working with our pathetic language barriers. We enjoyed our lunch here so much thanks to our wonderful waitress, such delicious food, and the beautiful patio atmosphere.

Interestingly, I just discovered that this is actually a non-profit restaurant run for/by mentally handicapped men and women. I had no idea. I’ve been raving about this place ever since we left. It makes me so happy to think that what made my lunch so fantastic was what makes any restaurant experience fantastic- the sincere, earner to please service and perfectly assembled dishes. It had nothing to do with the idea that I was doing some act of charity, or something (not that that’s bad at all). It is just the fact that these individuals are so talented and capable, and that they have the opportunity to let their gifts be appreciated like everyone else despite whatever disability they face. As it is such a great cause, I’m glad that I now have yet another reason to convince you all to eat here.

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Crepino Stand

The streets of Prague. The very rainy streets of Prague (so rainy that they day we left, the city was enduring lots of flooding & everyone was stuck there- no trains, planes, etc. We made it out just in time).

I do not have much to say about my crepe stand experience other than that it was great. A little touristy, in my opinion, however I am an advocate of the crepe so I gave in. I got a crepe filled with blueberry preserves, or something of the sort. The lady pours the crepe batter freshly in front of you. You watch her make the it. And voila. A delicious crepe that not even the rain could ruin.

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The Trdelnik Stand

It rained the whole. entire. time. we were in Prague. And yet, I loved the place. Probably because of the marvel that is the Trdelnik (pronounced – tur del knee k ). This beauty was my lunch one day. I ordered it with Nutella (duh), and watched the nice Czech woman slice a hunk of sweet, crispy dough off of the stick upon which it had been roasting. She rolled it in sugar and cinnamon, then lathered the hollow inside with Nutella. I just stood there & I drooled. No one noticed, thanks to the rain.
I’m legitimately melting as I write this. 

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She handed the sacred trdelnik to me on a napkin. It felt deliciously warm in my frozen, wet hands. As the rain continued, I stare at my lunch in awe- how does one approach eating a trdelnik? So, like a barbarian, I pulled off a strip of the warm sugar textured dough, letting the silky nutella drip down my hands and wrist as I placed the piece in my mouth. As if I cared- I’d let the rain deal with the mess I made of myself.

Delectable.

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Trdelnik stand!
Prage, Czech Republic
City centre-ish

Nancy’s

Also known as Nancy’s Bagel Grounds, this is and has been (& always will be) a favorite of mine since my high school days.

Why? They’re just bagels, you may be thinking.
False.
Nancy’s is marvelous for a variety of reasons.

1. A great gal. Nancy herself is nearly always there, right behind the counter running things. A sure sign that you’re bagels are in good hands.

2. Location. Nestled in a lovely area on Frankfort Avenue, which is in my opinion, the 2nd best street in Louisville, Nancy’s is in a great location. Frankfort Ave is home to a zillion other awesome restaurants that I’ve been eyeing, as well as cute boutiques, pubs, & antique stores. It is also just a short drive or bike ride to the waterfront and the downtown area in general.

2. Nance knows her regulars by name. She’s so friendly that this is completely what you would expect, but only when she gets your name does it actually hit you- Nancy knows me. As if she’s some celeb or something. What an angel.

3. Fond memories. I would sleep over at my friend Katie’s house every Tuesday night during swim season. We would wake up for practice at some ungodly hour, and instead of actually going, we’d skip the horrendous a.m. swim practices & go to Nancy’s instead. Katie’s dad happened to stop by Nancy’s one of these mornings & set us on stealth mode. He completely overlooked us, & we both died laughing.  This is just one of dozens of memories I have of Nancy’s.

4. Tradish. (meaning tradition…) Whenever my friends are back in town from school, we always make a point to go to Nancy’s to catch up & get some bagels. It’s a crime if we omit an invitation to someone. But we wouldn’t dare. Nancy’s is sacred.

5. Art. The main wall in the seating area features work done by local artists. Talented local artists. Usually paintings & drawings. They are consistently impressive pieces of art. It is always a display of some truly talented individual’s work. I love this idea.

6. Sun-dried Tomato Bagel. Obviously the bagels are good. Otherwise I wouldn’t be such a fanatic. To be truthful, Nancy’s bagels are the best. I almost always order the sun-dried tomato & herb bagel with cream cheese on the side. No joke I could eat three of these. But I don’t. I eat one. And think about the other two for the rest of the week. Varieties of cream cheeses- fantastic cream cheese (really, I don’t even like cream cheese, but I loveee Nancys’), bagel sandwiches, wraps, salads. All of them delicious. But the sun-dried tom bagel has my heart.

7. Fresh without fail. The bagels are always fresh & usually still warm when they reach my lips. Toasting is often unnecessary. While you wait in line, you can see the minions working in the kitchen because the wall has a peek through. The fact that they let you watch them create your food is something many eateries curiously shy away from.

8. It’s always clean. I’ve never dealt with a vile looking table. Maybe a few crumbs on occasion, but you can merely blow them away. The place is typically spic and span. Which I do appreciate, since they’re serving me food.

Essentially, it’s the most quality bagel joint in the world. At least of the bagel joints I’ve been to so far. I really cannot rave about Nancy’s enough.

If you’re ever in Louisville, the only two musts I declare are to go to Nancy’s & then go to the Muhammad Ali Center. That is all.


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summer bagel

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espresso

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winter bagel

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I’d love to hear about any bagel joints that could perhaps rival Nancy’s. Do you have a favorite?
I hear New York has some baller bagel places.

Mallorca Picnic

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Mallorca.

A place I insist everyone should visit sooner than later. And perhaps never leave.

While on this perfect, perfect island, we had a beach picnic or three. From the nearest grocery (which was not far), we purchased our necessary foods for the day – strawberries, tomato, cheese, turkey, baguette, pineapple juice, y agua.
Then plopped down on la playa & basked in the warm summer sun together. No towels needed. Just bury your butt in the sand or use your tshirt. Cheap lunch with a priceless beach view. My heart aches for this. Take me back.

Side note-These may have been the best strawberries I’ve tasted in quite some time.

Buddha Bar

The photos I have from Buddha Bar suck, so I’m only including two.

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The restaurant had very dark red lighting, as you can see via my selfie. So not exactly conducive to food photography. But regardless, this was the best sushi I had while in Europe over the summer. We ordered a variety of rolls and they were all great. Spicy tuna. Salmon. Eel. Etcetera. All perfect.

Buddha Bar is not only a restaurant, but also a hotel. And about 200 times nicer than the wretched hostel we stayed at in Budapest. Oy vey.  Probably 200 times the price as well. Located right near the river, the Danube if I’m correct, Buddha Bar was one of the fancier restaurants we ate at. I loved the atmosphere inside. Like I said, very dim & warm. Interesting little nooks and sectioned dining areas gave the inside some character. Fancy water pitchers. Wine out of wine glasses. You know, all the things college students aren’t accustomed to.

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Katalina’s Cafe

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Located on a quaint, quiet street in Victorian village, Katalina’s Cafe first caught my eye via a friends instagram post. When I saw the caption “Nutella Pancake Balls” my heart nearly stopped. Nutella. Pancake. Balls. Gasp. I must find the place they call Katalina’s, said I.

So, on a fresh, beautiful day- one of the first real spring days upon the expiration of the imprisonment that is a Columbus winter, a pal and I set out to Katalina’s. The adorably decorated interior had us nudging each other with expressions that said “we’re in for a treat”.  And we absolutely were.

Needless to say, I ordered the pancake balls Nutella style, although I could’ve had my choice of other flavors. Despite the fact that I typically don’t like sweet things for breakfast, I am a nutella fiend, so I definitely loved these bad boys. The order comes with six, very rich, pancake balls, & is something I would order to split with a group next time.

My brunch companion ordered the Chorizo Mac & Cheese, and in her words, it was “the best ever”.  Make of that what you will.

I’ll also add that we ventured back to Katalina’s at a later date, where I ordered the breakfast tacos (sans chorizo for myself). They were were almost perfect. My only sadness was that the corn tortillas got soggy on me because I eat all food at a glacial pace. I did have somewhat of a mess on my hands. Literally.

Overall, our experience here was great. But, for me, any restaurant with beautiful, outdoor seating gets my vote.

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Nutella Pancake Balls. Need I say more?