Our Woodstock Weekend – First Stop: Phoenecia Diner

This past weekend, we went to upstate New York with a few friends and rented an Airbnb to celebrate a few birthdays (mine included)! Mountain house / upstate weekends have *sneakily* become something that we’ve really loved in the past few years, and now that we’re in Chicago, we’ll still make a trip out for it! There is nothing better than a few friends, a house in the middle of nowhere with a hot tub, games, and a few drinks — it’s the perfect time!

This trip we picked Woodstock – a first for both of us. Only a three hour drive from NYC, it’s very easy to get there and a gorgeous town once you are. Our very first stop (before the Airbnb even) was to Phoenecia Diner, which was a few miles west of Woodstock. A quaint little diner seemingly in the middle of nowhere, the food is phenomenal. Breakfast is served all day, but the lunch menu is just as impressive. For later in the day there is a bar attached next door.

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It’s a place that we had heard of through friends, but it really is worth the stop! Plus, the leaves were perfection this weekend, and we took advantage with as many foliage pictures as possible 🙂

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If you go (or have been) let me know what you think! Also, I ordered the BLT (which was BOMB, I think I could literally lick this photo), but if you have a fav I want to hear about it so I can try next time!

xx Jess

P.S. the below pics are of my friend Kelly, but how cute, right??? Gotta love the red hair 🙂

The San Francisco Adventure Continues – Sorrel & Radhaus

Following a food-filled first day in San Francisco, we had dinner our second evening at Sorrel in Presidio Heights (in our Rothy’s, after seeing the infamous Lomard Street, of course). The vibe of the place was fantastic and I would argue that we had the best table in the place — at the end of the communal table right next to the kitchen where we could see all the action. I knew of Petit Crenn before we went the night before, so had high expectations, but I knew nothing of Sorrel and was really impressed. Expensive, yes, but the shared duck plate was truly phenomenal. I will say that there were a few things that were a bit odd (my half of the duck was cooked perfectly while my friend’s was under, and the waiter took my wine glass away before our bottle was finished until we asked her to bring another). Overall, very impressed. It’s not your regular Tuesday night dinner, but a would be great for a date night spot.

I know I said the place was gorgeous, but really, everything was. Make sure to check out the bathroom with some of the restaurant’s first recipes hanging on the wall, some serious floral graphic wall paper, and gold wrapped toilet paper (because that’s normal).

Day 3 was our truly tourisy day. We had brunch at Palm House (overrated from a food / drink standpoint, but the place is cute) and then walked down along Chrissy Field to the Golden Gate Bridge and beyond. We cheated a bit (the walk got seriously long) and took an Uber to Cliff House and Ocean Beach to see the big cold beachfront. It’s a gorgeous walk and coastline and there are so many different paths and trails that you could do some serious exploring in there.

In the late afternoon, we went to Radhaus beergarden, a crazy adorable spot on the water in the Marina District. It’s in one of the old restored warehouses / loading docks and has an awesome vibe – and view – with huge windows overlooking the marina and bay. The weather was cloudy when we were there, but this seems like it would be a great spot to catch a sunset. The beers and food were awesome too, I would definitely come back!

A few more thoughts:

Getting around San Francisco: Uber is your best friend and everyone takes Uber Pool (it’s crazy cheap and not creepy at all). The subway is very easy and super clean, but doesn’t seem to go that many places. There are bike and scooter rental services, but just beware, the hills are no joke and seem to be in every direction so you may find yourself really grinding to get where you want to go.

Bars we visited over the weekend: Horsefeather (good for a cocktail or a date night spot), The Page (dive bar fun for a group of friends or to play games), Anina (great outdoor space for day drinking!). Of all of them, the Hayes Valley area seemed to have a lot going on with a nice outdoor park with art installations and bars / restaurants all around it!

And that’s it! We managed to eat and drink a lot in three days, but let me know if there are any favorite spots you have, or somewhere that you would recommend visiting! Happy wandering!

xx Jess

A San Francisco Adventure – Petit Crenn, Jane on Fillmore & Rothy’s

Oh my goodness, have I been off the grid for a bit! It’s been a whirlwind month (and it’s only the 15th, I know) and I have hardly been home at all. I started off the month in San Francisco visiting one of my oldest friends who just recently moved out there. In true foodie fashion, we immediately proceeded to eat our way through the city.

Quick thing to point out – as you’re flying into San Francisco you fly over these amazing colorful red, green, yellow and orange salt ponds. Make sure to take a peek as you’re flying in!

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The first evening, I arrived we were lucky enough to snag a spot at Petit Crenn. I’ve been watching a lot of Chef’s Table on Netflix, so knew it was not to be missed! The restaurant is small, cozy, bright and adorable. Since I’m dairy free and my friend doesn’t eat red meat, I was a little nervous that we would really be throwing off a tasting menu, but the tasting menu at Petit Crenn is all seafood and dairy really wasn’t an issue. There were only two dishes that they had to modify slightly for me, and it wasn’t a problem at all — I’m sure they’ve received harder asks! The food was absolutely delicious– incredibly fresh, light and airy, but also completely satisfying. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a tasting menu as much (often, I find them to a be a little contrived).

Day 2 we started with brunch at Jane on Fillmore. Frankly, I thought it would be better than it was. The food was good, but not great, honestly. And certainly not worth the incredibly slow service, lack of table service (we sat there with dirty plates leftover from the people before us for a good 15 minutes). The place is also packed and you’re constantly getting bumped and shuffled by everyone trying to get around, so it’s not the most relaxing experience. If you went at an off time, it would be better but I would say to stay away when it’s crammed. ALSO, their “claim to fame” are their highly Instagrammable tables (cute black and white) but they have these really obnoxious pieces of white paper under the glass of the table saying that you can’t just park there with your laptop for hours…. i.e. no pics.

ROTHYS-high-res-5_preview (1)A short walk from Jane on Fillmore there is a Rothy’s brick and mortar store! Whoa. Yes. Rothy’s. We went in and of course I ended up buying a pair (even though I said I wouldn’t). There was actually a wait to get into the store, mostly because it’s so small, but it also kept it from getting too crowded. If you’re getting a pair, my recommendation (from the woman working in the store) is to go up half a size. Also, find someone that will give you a referral code  — if you refer a friend, you get $20 off (honestly, I’ll give you my code if you want it: www.talkable.com/x/QvtdbI).

The material is actually made from recycled plastic bottles and then 3D printed to make the shoes all in one piece (no rubbing seams!). And the best part: you can wash them in the wash machine. I repeat — the wash machine, yes.  I got the leopard print in the pointy toe flats and let me tell you, I have never had as many recommendations on a pair of shoes! I’ve also washed mine twice and they are completely fine! I’ll be going back to get one of the Flax color because I won’t be nervous at all about them getting dirty! In all honesty, since they are made of plastic, my feet do sweat a little, so the washing is important. But I really don’t mind. It’s impossible to find a good pair of flats and these look great, feel amazing, and are the cutest ever. Can’t recommend them enough!

If I haven’t convinced you to eat at Petit Crenn or buy a pair of Rothy’s at this point, you can abandon ship, but I’ll be back with more on my San Francisco trip for those of you that want to stay tuned!

xx Jess

Here we are, let’s do this!

If you know me, you know this isn’t my first, second, or fifth blog. But there’s just something that keeps coming back to me, so here we are!

My (new) husband and I just moved to Chicago. The kitchen is nice. I let him pick the apartment without me seeing it, but that was a requirement (and good lighting!). It’s the kind of kitchen where you just can’t help but want to cook, and I find myself plotting different recipes to make each weekend and through the week. Now that we’re also back in the Land of Farms, as I like to call it, I find that the grocery stores are also AMAZING. We were coming from NYC where grocery shopping was literally one of the worst things to happen to you. Between that and some pretty stellar kitchen-related wedding gifts, I honestly find myself wondering what kind of kitchen madness I can get up to on any given day.

Apart from cooking (or really, the two are related), we love to eat. And explore. There are three components to making a really great trip, whether it’s to the other side of the world

  1. Wander – truly, truly wander. With no plan. Maybe with a map (or maybe not). Go wherever the mood takes you. Enjoy the sights, sounds, smells. Be a kid and enjoy just being there.
  2. Eat – the food, the wine, the coffee, everything. Eat and savor everything you can get your hands on. For me, part of this is cooking too. Cooking a meal and savoring it in a new place is one of my favorite things in the world.
  3. Sleep – Airbnb is my jam, but I LOVE great hospitality no matter where it is. Whether you’re staying in the ritziest resort, boutique hotel, authentic hilltop Airbnb, or a shoddy hole in the wall hotel that you mistakenly booked (or not, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do), soak it in. It’s part of the experience and each one is worthwhile.

It’s become a bit of a life motto: wander, eat, sleep. If I can live my life appreciating and doing those things, I will be forever happy. The above also breaks down the categories of this blog for you: Wanders, Cooks, Eats, (and eventually) Sleeps.

“It’s become a bit of a life motto: wander, eat, sleep.”

I have a lot of stories and will live my life forever collecting more. With this blog I hope to share some with you, and to share my kitchen explorations and thoughts, as well as some of our wanderings. Follow along with me, let me know what you’re liking (or not), and let’s wander together.

Enjoy!