The hubster and I went over to Chinatown for a date night tonight and decided that we would check out Juke Fried Chicken. This restaurant does not take reservations. There was a bit of a crowd waiting outside which I usually take as a good sign. We were told it was about a half hour wait and the wait was exactly a half hour. We were seated in the center of the restaurant. There’s a good vibe in this restaurant. Everywhere I looked people were smiling – the staff and the patrons. The cocktails seemed to be named after songs (Juke Box?) which is an awesome conversation piece. Chris and I went through the cocktail menu seeing what songs we recognized. I ordered a “starboy” and it was very tasty. For dinner Chris ordered the fried chicken and I went with the spicy boyz, which is fried chicken drenched in hot sauce. Each order of fried chicken comes with a side of Asian slaw. We also ordered some fried brussels sprouts to share. The food came out to us quite quickly. Juke’s chicken is free range chicken with a gluten free batter. Ohhh ehhhm geee, this chicken is sooo good. The batter was super crunchy and the chicken was juicy. We had ordered the honey mustard and ranch dipping sauces on the suggestion of the waitress. We barely used the sauce. The chicken is great on its own. The Asian slaw was topped with peanuts. It was different from any slaw I’ve had before and it’s inspired me to add peanuts to slaws I make at home in the future. It was just delicious. The brussels sprouts were good also, but in my opinion nothing too special. I will mention that because it is a small restaurant, the seating is very close together. It almost felt like we were seated with the couple next to us as we could hear their conversation and vice versa I’m sure. There was a hip ambiance and the service was top notch. By the end of the night Chris and I were debating whether or not it was the best fried chicken we’ve ever had. I’m going to have to go with yes. We learned that Juke’s also serves brunch. I loved dinner so much that I can’t wait to come back and try brunch very soon.
Working so close to this place is both a blessing and a curse. It’s perfect for when you’re needing a delectable sweet treat and more often than not for me, it’s also the strong, relentless craving that I must give in to. The donuts here are so good . They melt in your mouth and are some of the best donuts Vancouver has to offer. Cartems offers creative flavors as well as changing “monthly specials” which in the past have included flavors such as pina colada, amaretto kiss and strawberry apple turnover. They offer gluten free, vegan options. It can be thought of as pricey for a single donut as you could get multiple donuts at the franchise competition for the same price as one – that being said, they are handmade rings of heaven.
Who doesn’t love a good Taco Tuesday? While we were in Arizona, we decided to have Tuesday evening dinner at the Barrio Queen. A cute and colorful restaurant with kick ass day of the dead decor. I instantly loved the vibe. We were told about the hundreds of different types of tequila they offered and were happy that the Taco Tuesday specials were so awesome. We had delicious margaritas and shots of smooth tequila. We also ordered some guacamole that was made table side. It really was the best guacamole I’ve ever had in my life. It was very different as they added cranberries to it. I was a bit weary, but yum! It was fresh and delicious. Our tacos were authentic and delectable. The service was great, the food was so freakin good and the prices were moderate.
My second time to Cuba, i really wanted to show Chris the beautiful island of Cayo Blanco so we booked a tour.
We boarded the giant catamaran and grabbed a cocktail. We laid out at the front of the catamaran to sunbathe while taking in the beautiful view.
There was a short stop in the middle of the seas to do some snorkeling. The waters were calm and you were able to see a few fish, but a couple people on our tour were stung by jellyfish so we quickly got out of the water and back on to the catamaran.
Our next stop was over to Cayo Blanco for lunch. I’d been there last almost 7 years ago and it was an untouched paradise. I brought Chris hoping to show him what I saw. When we arrived, it was completely different. They’ve commercialized it more. Many other catamarans stopped at Cayo Blanco at the same time as us. It seems that there’s a steady rotation of tourists coming in a few hours at a time. They’ve built a new undercover area where they offer a buffet lunch. They funnel everyone from the catamarans to this area to stand in line for lunch (which takes up a bit of your time on the island), then you take time to eat. In Cuba, unless your eating authentic Cuban food, the day to day food at the resorts aren’t always the best. The buffet food here was pretty good. They had a variety of options. There were bars set up on the beach which is also a new addition. Even with all these changes the beach itself is simply stunning. Chris hadn’t seen it before and having nothing to compare it to, he was blown away by it. It really is unreal. The downside to it is that I feel that the tour doesn’t leave you enough time to explore the beach. When you’re at a beach so beautiful you want to be there for more than just a few hours (especially when most of the time gets eaten up by standing in line and having lunch). It was time to leave before you know it.
Our next stop was to a barge for a dolphin attraction. Cameras and phones are not permitted in this area. They have us go down to where we meet a dophin. In this case we met adorable Oscar. Oscar gave us kisses, high fives and had a number of other interactions with us. It was pretty cool. For a few extra dollars, you have the option of swimming with Oscar. Chris opted to do this and wouldn’t stop talking about it for weeks afterward. It was a highlight for him.
Following the dolphin attraction we all boarded the catamaran one last time to head back to the pier. The captain and the rest of the staff on the boat were so awesome. The cocktails were flowing and they had every last one of us dancing.
The whole day was so much fun.
When we were in downtown Las Vegas, we popped into the mob museum. Three floors of awesomeness. I wish we were able to spend more time there, but we had a plane to catch. A big highlight for me was the courtroom on the 2nd floor. So cool. You think you’re walking in to just watch a video, but instead you get an unique interactive experience. I don’t want to give away too much, but it was a pleasant surprise. Other interesting parts throughout the museum were the electric chair and the blood stained wall from the St. Valentine’s massacre. My husband’s favorite part was the tommy gun that you could shoot. I loved reading the true stories behind mobsters that we’ve seen in many movies such as Casino. I had a great time. I would love to go back and explore it further.
For one of our date nights this past summer, we made our way over to try out the Holy Crab. Excited about the new-ish restaurant that opened in the area that offered “louisiana seafood boil” options, we were ready for a down and dirty seafood meal. I’ve always heard about the restaurants where they dump the seafood on the table for you to dig into, but I hadn’t seen or experienced it in downtown Vancouver before. I welcomed a new kind of dining experience happily. The restaurant offers a casual vibe and decor. I loved the chalkboard walls with instructions for de-shelling your seafood. There were throw away paper tablecloths and meals were offered in parchment paper. You’re presented with plastic gloves and for camera happy people like myself, they offer selfie sticks to make it easier to take photos in all your messiness. We ordered beers, bisque, lobster rolls, corn and some crab legs. We thought it would be plenty (especially for the prices), but we were a bit disappointed when we received three crab legs for the very high price. We made our way through and ended up ordering lobster as we were still starving. The service was awesome, the food was delicious and it was a fun vibe that made for a great, albeit messy, date night. I wouldn’t recommend it for a first date, but it was awesome. The downside is that I didn’t think the prices matched the vibe. I found it to be too expensive for the casual atmosphere offered.
During our trip to Las Vegas, my husband and I booked a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon with Pappillon.
The tour began pretty early in the morning. Pappillon arranged shuttle pick-up from our hotel to the airport for us. After a pretty long ride, we arrived at the airport. Following our check in, we were directed to a corner nook to watch a short safety video. We had some time to kill after that so we wandered around their gift shop and grabbed some coffee while we waited. Our call time seemed to come fairly quickly and we were introduced to our pilot Brandon.
We were taken outside and shown these beautiful red helicopters. Chris and I paid an extra free to be in the front so we hopped in next to our pilot. Brandon was knowledgeable, friendly and outgoing. He even played the theme music from Top Gun while we were flying through the sky. Chris really got a kick out of that.
Paying the extra fee for the front seats were well worth it. We got the best views of everything around us and it did seem at times that the passengers in the back were struggling to get good pics. We were taken down to the floor of the grand canyon to explore and have a bit of a picnic. I was in complete awe when we got out of the helicopter. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, this was one I’ve always wanted to check off the bucket list. To sit down and picnic and toast champagne with my husband while taking it all in was a once in a lifetime experience that i will never forget for as long as I live. Incredible.
The picnic provided was super cute – a little sandwich, apples, chips, cookies and a glass of champagne.
Although this tour is a bit on the pricey side, this is sooo worth it. I can’t stress enough how amazing it was.
Notch 8 has these wonderful themed Afternoon Teas. I’d heard about past ones such as Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale Themed Tea and Game On Board Game Themed Tea. When I heard that the next one was “Silver Screen Hollywood” (ahhh-maa-zing!) , I jumped at the chance to check it out. Once I arrived, I was led into this “tea room” at the back of Notch 8 that I never knew was there. It was decorated super cute with old hollywood movie posters up, retro popcorn machines and a screen playing black and white movies. I was seated at a lovely decorated table and greeted by the waiter while I waited for my friend to arrive. The menu was already on the table and everything on it sounded delicious. My friend arrived and we chose our teas. Not long after, our waiter brought out an impressive three tiered stand filled with beautiful mini sandwiches and h’orderves, fresh baked scones and adorable old hollywood themed desserts. I ‘d like to think that I’m a bit of a “high tea” connoisseur as my mom and I have been going to high teas all over Vancouver together for years, but I haven’t experienced one quite like this. Notch 8 really get into their themes and it’s just awesome! Our waiter was telling us about ideas for future themes and I can’t wait to check out future afternoon teas with them. As far as the food goes, it was yummy and I loved the creativity of the items provided, but I will say that although it was the most expensive high tea I’ve ever attended, it wasn’t the most delicious I’ve had. It was still quite yummy and the experience was great so I would recommend it. I’m hoping to take my mom to one in the near future.
This past year I was lucky enough to cross the Yi Peng Festival off my bucket list. For those who are unfamiliar, Yi Peng is a festival that takes place in Chiang Mai, Thailand in November each year. We ventured away from our hotel and headed over to the area where the festival is held around 5 p.m. As soon as we pulled up there were crowds everywhere, people selling lanterns, vendors selling trinkets, and tons of street food. There was a sectioned off area that resembled a carnival of sorts for children. We wandered around sampling eats and purchasing our lanterns. Yi Peng coincides with Loy Krathong which is another festival in Thailand where locals set off candlelit decorated baskets into the river. We also picked out a floral basket to light up and release into the water during this time. It was a lively scene and you could feel the excitement in the air. At around 7 p.m. thousands of people gathered on to Nawarat bridge to light their lanterns and release it into the sky, releasing with it all the negativity from the past year and making their wishes for the future. Right before 7 p.m. there were just the odd few lanterns being lit and released. Some people were letting their lanterns go way too quickly and the lit lanterns were falling into the crowds as people pushed them back into the sky – the crowds cheering as the lanterns made their way to take-off. As 7 o’clock hit, people began to release their lanterns into the sky. Lanterns were also falling into trees and burning, falling straight into the river and the ones that were being let go in the middle of the bridge rather than the edge of it were making their way right into people. It was quite scary at times, with lanterns coming from every which way there were several moments were lanterns were heading straight into me. I also left the event with a slight burn on my forehead from a lantern that burned into a tree above me. The ash fell straight from above onto my forehead…ouch. Chris and I took a bit of a break in the middle to have some dinner and drinks as it seemed to be straight chaos and we wanted to get out of it. When we left the pub, the sight before us was unbelievably beautiful. It had gotten even darker and the lanterns completely filled the night sky. The river was loaded with illuminating floral baskets. It was so stunning. One of the most gorgeous sights I’ve ever seen. Chris and I went to the edge of the bridge and lit our lanterns one by one, made our wishes and released them into the sky. We watched as they slowly floated above us and joined the thousands of others. We wandered the streets afterwards taking photos and videos (none of which do the experience any justice), talking to people and just taking it all in. The night ended with a gorgeous display of fireworks. I felt like I was in a dream. I feel so blessed to have had this experience in my lifetime. It’s one I will definitely always look back on as being one of my fondest memories.
I booked a spa day for myself and two of my girlfriends at the lovely Absolute Spa at the Century Plaza Hotel. We were booked in a room for three which was a unique experience. After we arrived, we were taken on a quick tour of the spa then were asked to change and meet in the relaxation area. Our RMTs greeted us promptly then we were taken upstairs to the room for three. I’ve had treatments done in a “couple room” at spas before, but this was my first time in a room for three. We had a good giggle about it at first, but it was pretty awesome to spend the afternoon at the spa with two of my best girlfriends from start to finish. My massage was heavenly. I’ve had plenty of massages in my lifetime, some great and some pretty mediocre. The massage I received here left me relaxed with my knots well worked out. I was a happy girl. Following the massage we were led into a room to have a light lunch that was included in our service price. We were served a delicious chicken salad. I was told on the phone that we would be getting a “snack” so this was much more than I was expecting. It was such a perfect, relaxing day with my girlfriends. I left feeling very pampered. The service we received went above and beyond and I will be back.