,Our first night in Washington DC, we met my friend and her brother at Pizza Paradiso. The restaurant was crowded, but our wait was short. We got our food after having a very good local beer.
I ordered the "Crositini Fromaggio Di Capra". It is technically an appetizer, but it was a perfectly sized portion. John ordered a pizza that was half "Di Mare" and half "Siciliana". Everyone enjoyed their meals and we had another round of drinks to start our wonderful time in Washington D.C.
Whitlow's on Wilson
Whitlow's was a great spot for our post-New Year's Eve brunch. John and I both had big, juicy hamburgers with the perfect amount of grease to cure any hangover. I chose the chili burger while John had the "Avalanche burger".
Everything we had was great, and the French fries and mac n cheese were the best side items I’d had in a while. We wish we had known about the endless crab leg brunch, because the plates we saw come out of the kitchen looked like a steamed treat.
We found it only fitting, after we'd left Arlington National Cemetery, to go The Tombs in Georgetown. The tight staircase entrance led us down to a wonderfully cozy atmosphere for lunch.
Our table split a "Clyde's Crap and Artichoke Dip" before John and I decided to split "The Confessional Burger". (Tip: order the burger split in half and you'll get an extra egg!) After licking our plates clean and watching the end of the Georgetown Basketball game, we were ready to go see some museums and monuments with bellies full of great food.
All we wanted before the long new year's eve night ahead was chips and queso, so we went to District Taco. I had my usual steak taco, and John got some monster of a burrito filled with just about every ingredient they had.
The three of us tried every salsa available on the salsa bar, but the real winner was the queso. We destroyed the large container before we had even made it home with the rest of our food. District Taco was a great place to curb our queso and taco cravings.
Brooklyn Bagel Bakery
On our way out of Arlington, Virginia, we stopped by Brooklyn Bagel Bakery and grabbed a bite for the road. I had my typical salt bagel with plain cream cheese, while John had a "NY Lox" with salmon, capers, and red onions on an everything bagel.
My bagel was the softest and chewiest bagel I've had since the last time my family and I went to New York. It was a fantastic breakfast to last us through the morning of our drive home.
This is the perfect bar for watching any sporting event. We went to watch a Redskins game on New Years day, and this place was packed with fans. The local news was even there to report and catch reactions. It was crazy!
Somehow we were lucky enough to snag a table early in the game so that we could sit and eat. Our friends promised that this would be the best mac n cheese in the world, but we were a little underwhelmed. It was great but not what we were told it would be. Regardless of that, we had a great time eating buffalo wings with our friends and my family.
Snuggle Inn Airbnb - Roanoke, VA
This quaint house just off the interstate is in an adorable neighborhood. The house has an eclectic collection of art in the yard and an adorable beer bottle walkway to the front door. A light snowfall had started as we arrived, and our hostess informed us this was the first snow of the year.
Fur sheets were were the perfect way to warm up during midnight snow flurries. Sue was very accommodating to our late arrival and early departure. We hope to come back and stay a little longer next time.
View the listing here: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/8489561
Use this code for a discount: www.airbnb.com/c/johnd9471
There are several Huey’s locations around the Memphis area, and Taylor and I have yet to find a bad hamburger at any of them. The atmosphere at Huey’s is alive with patrons' chatter and strong aromas of Huey's specialty hamburgers.
“The Sunshine Burger” is one of my favorites. Fried egg, bacon, cheddar cheese, and grilled mushrooms atop a juicy beef patty make for a succulent bar room meal. Taylor always enjoys “The A1 Burger” with fried onions, bacon, and A1 sauce on top.
No matter your burger preference, Huey's is a Memphis staple that is well worth a try, and if you have time to hang out, Huey's features a full bar and cold draft beer.
Once Taylor and I had finished our two day hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we were starving and determined to have pizza. It's all Taylor could think about after our 15 mile hike.
We stopped at the first pizza and burger joint we found on the Nantahala River in Bryson, North Carolina. We enjoyed the "Lotza Protien" pizza while watching run-away river rafts drift by. It was exactly what we needed to re-energize before our drive back to Birmingham.
The drive to Nashville, Tennessee found Taylor and I with a hunger for Bar-B-Que. The line on Broadway for Jack’s Bar-B-Que was not a quick one, but it was one that I would stand in again. We had a hard time choosing from the vast selection of meats and sides; but we settled on sharing ribs and several delicious sides.
The table that looks out onto Broadway was the perfect spot to devour every rib we purchased. Although the bar-b-que sauce on our faces turned a few heads, our obvious delight encouraged a few friendly passerbys to join the growing line of customers.
DeSano Pizza Bakery
This is a wonderful Italian pizzeria in Nashville, Tennessee, where you can brown bag your favorite bottle of wine. We each brought our own bottle of wine and split two pizzas between the four of us.
The one I split was half "Bianca" and half "Lasagna". The split provided us a great mix of flavors and toppings. When both the wine and the pizza were gone, we headed down the street toward the bars to keep the good night going.
This is one of my favorite restaurants in the Nashville area. The food is always fresh and the service is top notch. I have gotten different tacos every time I've gone, but I love the pulled brisket taco and the steak taco.
The guacamole is made fresh at the table, and the cocktails are all made with freshly squeezed juices. My only warning is that the cocktails are not as affordable as the food. Other than that, this is a great restaurant in an adorable area that I love going to.
After a very long weekend in Nashville, we were all desperate for some good, hearty food. We found it at a downtown spot called 417 Union. After politely declining the alcohol menu, we ordered waters and a few rounds of biscuits before we ordered our meals. We were soon back to our laughter about the night before.
Once our food came out, all conversations ended, and we finally started feeling more alive. I had a classic bacon cheeseburger with fries. A few others got lunch food with me, but most everyone else had eggs or pancakes for breakfast. This was just the pick-me-up we needed after a crazy weekend.
Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, Rosa’s Cantina is serving up a real dive bar styled Tex-Mex. After few hundred miles on the road, Taylor and I had worked up an appetite that only the famous Texas cantina could satisfy. We played Marty Robbins’s ballad of a jealous cowboy, El Paso, as we pulled up to Rosa’s backdoor.
The delicious enchiladas and margaritas waiting inside re-energized the two of us, while we admired the bar’s decor. Before we left, I purchased a new favorite koozie, and we were back on the road again.
Diamond Belle Saloon
This traditionally western-styled saloon in Durango, Colorado, was an awesome lunch stop on our long journey home from Mesa Verde National Park. The restaurant is set in The Historic Strater Hotel, built in 1887. It looks like very few things have changed since then. The waitresses look just like what I imagine a traditional saloon girl might. They serve food and drinks while the piano player keys a wild, western tune.
We took some time to walk around the hotel and restaurant after we devoured our world famous “Diamond Burgers” with a local brew. There was plenty of history and memorabilia to admire as our burgers settled for our remaining drive home.
Kanela Breakfast Club
After a long St Patrick’s Day weekend in Chicago, John and I grabbed one last bite on our way out of town. We picked a great spot next to the Navy Pier. This local chain has a great variety of breakfast food ranging from sugary sweet pancakes and waffles to savory breakfast burritos and potato pancakes.
John chose the “Chorizo and Eggs” and ate every bite as usual. He particularly loved the spiciness of this breakfast dish. I enjoyed the hearty "Steak and Sunny Side Up" special, even though I was feeling a little under the weather. Both of us agreed that the potatoes were the best part of both dishes and shouldn't be overlooked.
Chicago Bagel Authority
NYE in DC
Chicago Bagel Authority
The Chicago Bagel Authority may sell the most satisfying bagel that I’ve had the pleasure of purchasing. The "Dank ‘N’ Eggs" is nearly beyond description. Bagel purists might consider eggs, bacon, roast beef, two cheeses, and honey mustard on an everything bagel to be sloppy and excessive, but I consider it a treat for the taste buds.
Speaking of bagel purists, Taylor had a pretzel bagel with cream cheese and raved about how much she enjoyed it. Since we were there on St. Patty’s Day, we were able to have our bagels dyed green. All in all, Chicago Bagel Authority is a home run.
Lou Malnati’s was the second deep dish pizza restaurant that Taylor and I visited in Chicago. A table full of friends enjoyed bottles of wine, endless appetizers, and more pizza than we could have ever imagined.
We started with some calamari, an antipasto plate, and mozzarella sticks. The pies are so massive they can be shared among three people. We ordered a sausage, a pepperoni, and a "Malnati Chicago Classic" pizza for the table and passed them around until they were annihilated.
Everything we tried was delicious and satisfying to the last bite, and the atmosphere was perfect for a large group of friends to let loose. Overlooking Lou Malnati’s while in Chicago would’ve been a huge mistake.
DeSano Pizza Bakery
NYE in DC
Lost River Cave
After our wonderful tour of Mammoth Cave National Park, we headed on over to Lost River Cave in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Lost River Cave came up on almost every internet list of fun things to do in Bowling Green, so we thought we would check it out and kayak the cave.
The tour started with our guide telling us some interesting history of the land and how the cave was discovered. The area open to kayaking is only about the length of a football field, so we ended up kayaking around the cave a whole bunch of times before our time was up.
The water was only about 3 ½ feet deep. I found that out the hard way; I tried to pull John's kayak closer to mine for a picture and flipped out into the freezing water! The very kind workers and instructors were immediately in the water to help me out. They also opened the then-closed gift shop so that I could change into dry clothes.
The limited area open to kayaking is no reason to skip out on this quick adventure. We had a great time leisurely exploring the cave and trying to spot eyeless cave fish.
Giordano’s in the Millennium Park Plaza had Taylor and I’s favorite pizza in Chicago. To be fair, the only other sample we had was from Lou Malnati’s, but the pizza at Giordano’s lived up to all the hype that surrounds a Chicago style, deep dish pizza.
It was truly a pizza-pie. Both "The Special" and the "Meat and More Meat" are pizza casseroles that forced me to rethink everything I thought I knew about pizza.
Giordano’s was well worth the wait--an hour and a half for the table and another hour for the pizza--, and we will definitely be back for another enormous pie.
Urban Stack in Chattanooga, TN, builds a burger that won’t disappoint. The restaurant looked, at first, to be a step above what Taylor and I had dressed for, but we quickly realized a casual, relaxing atmosphere inside.
The burgers that would follow were large, juicy, and cooked exactly as we’d requested. Taylor's burger with pimento cheese and bacon was a hit, and my dressed "Strauss Burger" was exactly what I expected. It was a deliciously thick turkey burger with avocado, blue cheese, and a handful of other toppings. After a few local brews to help wash it down, we left with nothing but smiles and fully bellies.
The Chattanooga Brewery sits across the street from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s football stadium. Taylor and I were looking for a quiet place to sit and let our meals from Urban Stack settle.
We ordered our usual beers; pale ale for Taylor and dark malts for me. Taylor got the TriStar Pale Ale and I got the Chickbock Maibock. The brewery provided a great atmosphere for a competitive game of Knowledge while we enjoyed our well-brewed beverages.
One Night in Chattanooga
Weekend in Nashville
Weekend in Bowling Green, KY
One of my favorite stops in Chattanooga, TN, is a tiny breakfast diner named Aretha Frankenstein’s. Here you are greeted by the theme of Aretha’s long before we reached the door. The faux spider webs, skulls, and various other Halloween-styled decorations gave you an idea of what you're in for, but nothing will prepare you for what is inside.
A wall of vintage cereal boxes, a skeleton on a skateboard, and a plethora of concert and album posters were perhaps the most memorable aspects of the decorations. The more you look around the more quirky items you continue to find.
As for breakfast, they serve the largest pancakes that I have ever seen and the taste of these formidable flapjacks is nothing short of undeniably delicious. Their breakfast burritos are also delicious, along with just a traditional breakfast of eggs and bacon.
When three of us girls ate here we split a large stack and each got a breakfast item to go with it! Regardless of your style, Aretha Frankenstein’s is a Chattanooga must.
On our way to Smoky Mountain National Park we stayed one night in a charming Airbnb in an up and coming neighborhood just outside of Chattanooga. It's too bad that we didn’t have time to explore the area, because it was adorable.
The couple was super nice and very accommodating to our late arrival and early morning departure. They let us be and had everything we needed, including maps and history books on the city of Chattanooga.
The only downside to this Airbnb is that it’s a little bit outside of town. Downtown is approximately a 15 minute uber ride, so if you are hitting the town like we did, be sure to plan a little ahead. Read more about our night in Chattanooga here!
Use this code for a discount: www.airbnb.com/c/johnd9471
View the listing here: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/12652663
Blue Moose Café
During our incredible “Spring Breck”,we had the chance to grab breakfast at a local favorite, the Blue Moose Café. The pancakes here are are as big as your face and as fluffy as a cake.
John got the “Mintrum Loop” breakfast that came with pancakes, two eggs, and a choice of bacon or sausage links. I had a couple of chocolate chip pancakes with a nice cup of coffee.
It was a great place for us to grab a quick breakfast before hitting the slopes. We give the Blue Moose Cafe a 5 star rating!
Crepes a la Cart
Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!