Touring President James Garfield Memorial in Cleveland, OH

As I was researching things to do I came across Lakeview Cemetery as a popular attraction. I thought it was an unusual destination especially since Cleveland is known for the lively Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but many reviews commented on the spectacular architecture and stainless glass windows so I decided to make a it a pitstop on my Midwest Roadtrip.

James Garfield Memorial Photos

My friend and I drove into the cemetery and headed towards Section 18. While the cemetery was vast and had many elaborate tombstones spread across the plot of land, we found the memorial site fairly easily as it was the tallest building there. There were three floors and two narrow spiral staircases for patrons to climb. The artwork inside and outside were very ornate and because it was a sunny day we were able to see the vibrant colors shine through. My friend and I paid also our respects to the president in the crypt.

James Garfield was our 20th President; however his term was short lived as he was assassinated 6 months into his term. Nevertheless, he was an important figure in history as he was one of the first sitting members of Congress to be elected to the presidency. The exhibition is a great place to visit as it’s both educational and free!

Have you visited Cleveland? What’s a cool attraction you’ve seen?

XOXO,

Rockstar

Trying one of Granada Hill’s Best Kept Secret

It’s not often that I travel to this part of Los Angeles, but when my friend bragged about this place in great detail I decided to see what it was all about. On Yelp FurnSaj Bakery and Restaurant is one of a few restaurants with a perfect 5 star rating and with over 700 reviews I figure it was certainly worth a trip to see for myself.

Lamb Gyro Plate ($12.99)

The restaurant is situated in a strip mall and while on the outside it looks like any typical shop this casual bakery has a great selection of Lebanese food for all to enjoy. My friend and I shared a lamb gyro plate ($12.99), which included succulent slices of lamb, two sides and saj bread. we could barely finish half and I ordered another cheese bread with honey ($3.99) because I was curious to test it out. There was way too much food, but everything was prepared on the spot so it was all delicious!

Cheese Labneh Honey ($3.99?)

For less than $20 and two people can enjoy an affordable and tasty meal with ample leftovers. I can’t wait to come back and try some of the other labneh combinations.

 

FurnSaj Bakery and Restaurant

11146 Balboa Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 91344

 

Have you tried Lebanese food? What’s your favorite item?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Venturing Beyond LAX and Trying Homemade Vegan Food in Inglewood, CA

I recently came back from a work trip to Michigan and while the food scene consisted of  lots of hearty American cuisine, I came back to California wanting something more light and natural. I found this Ethiopian place near LAX called Emma Habesha Restaurant and I was eager to try a beautiful platter of food filled with herbs and spices. On the outside the restaurant blends in with the building surrounding it and my friend and I actually drove past it (and it’s pretty easy to miss); however, once you enter the building you’ll realize that you’ve stepped into an African oasis.

Decor near the front

The interior of the restaurant had bright colors and while cozy and warm, the intimate setting was great for friends to chow down. The menu consisted of nine main entrees all served with injera – a sourdough spongy flat bread. After thoughtful consideration and seeing another patron enjoy a colorful vegan platter my friend and I were intrigued and decided to order that in addition to a lamb stew that was recommended by the waitress. Neither of us are vegan, but we were excited to eat with our hands and sample many different lentil, beans and vegetable flavor profiles.

Combined entrees

We knew the entrees were made fresh and enjoyed conversing with one another as we waited for our healthy meal. Since it was our first time I think they combined the two into one large platter. The Vegan Agelgil Fitfit (vegeterian plate $12) and Ye Beg Alicha (Lamb stew $13) were both wonderful, though the vegetables were definitely the stars! If you’re looking to incorporate more greens and non-red meat items into your diet the price-point is very reasonable and the flavors are incredible here.

After a long flight, what kind of food do you crave?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Wandering through the Piñata District and Grubbin’ on Authentic Cheap Street Food

Earlier this month my friends and I tried out the Alita Experience, a pop-up escape room in Los Angeles (see that adventure here!) . However, we arrived at downtown LA a tad earlier than our scheduled reservation and decided to explore the area a bit. As we drove through Olympic and Central we saw what looked like a vibrant and festive street fair. Turns out we were in the Pinata District and even on a Sunday it was poppin!

Pinatas for sale!

We found free street parking and made our way through the district. There were many shops selling various party favors including candy, decor, and of course pinatas! There were also other miscellaneous vendors selling t-shirts and electronics, yet we were most interested in the food carts/stalls!

Tacos and Arepes

There were many stands selling traditional street food and everything smelled soooo amazing. Grandmas were hand-making fresh tortillas, sons and daughters were carving and/or cooking meats and many things were made to order. After browsing though a number of the carts/stalls we decided to dine-in!

Different Stands in the Pinata District

I was most interested in the bean and cheese arepe as I saw the woman mold and create each one. That stand also had a self-serve condiment bar with super fresh guacamole with the pits still in the mortar and pestle bowl and a ton of other toppings to customize your base. Man… with the melted cheese, freshly fried dough and textures of all the toppings it was a perfect meal and for a bargain. I think I spent like $3 and because it was the end of the day and they were getting ready to shut down the owner also threw in a free drink (Many stands were closing shop around 5:00pm)! I got the horchata while my friends got lemonade with chia seeds. Two thumbs up and I will definitely be back for both the food and party supplies!

When a piñata pops what kind of candy do you rush to grab? Krackle and Crunch are my go tos!

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

How much is that loaf in the window? Trying the Inland Empires Best Banana Bread

I love finding hidden gems whenever I travel and after some extensive research I found this business that sells homemade biscotti and award winning banana bread! Recognized as a neighborhood favorite Linda, The Biscotti Lady, is a retired healthcare provider turned entrepreneur with some serious baking skills.

Wall Motivation

On my visit I made sure to go bright and early at 8am to see the assortment. There were muffins, biscottis, loafs of banana bread with and without walnuts (also chocolate chip option available), and ample samples of all her products for guests to try. I really loved the banana bread and bought 3 loafs ($5 a piece) as they were super moist and had that homemade (not mass produced) feel. While the products are certainly worth a visit, I especially love Linda’s business approach. She bakes and opens shop part-time to keep the spirit of her hobby alive and doesn’t allow the business to consume and blind her from all the other things she enjoys like traveling.

Banana Bread Options

If you’re interested to see one of Inland Empires best kept secret you can follow her on The Biscotti Lady’s Facebook to see her schedule. For 2019 Linda informed me that she’ll opens at least once a month on Saturday morning and that she’s open for business TOMORROW (2/2) from 8am – 2pm (PST) or while supplies last. Pick up a loaf or two from 1102 N Euclid Ave, Ontario, CA 91762) If you’re looking to bring home a winner for Superbowl Sunday I think the honey jalapeno cheddar cheese cornbread muffins would be a hit!

What are you eating/bringing this Sunday for the Supperbowl?

XOXO,

 

Rockstar

 

 

Indulging in a truly Sublime treat in Atlanta, GA

If I had a choice between sweet and savory, I would always opt for the later. However Sublime Doughnut was a recipient of the Bake Magazine’s America’s Best Bakery of 2012 and earned multiple endorsements from Food Network and The Cooking Channel, so naturally I had to see for myself if I do or do-nut agree with the critics.  :p

Box of doughnuts!

There are two locations in Georgia and one in Thailand, so I went to the original brick and mortar store near Georgia Tech (535 10th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318). On the outside it looked like any other donut shop in a strip mall; however, one inside you can’t help but feel kawaii and in need of something sweet.

Selection!

After looking at the selection my friend I decided to share three: Chocolate Banana Fritter, Orange Creamsicle, and Fresh Strawberry n Cream. All three were really airy and light, unlike many doughnut shops and before I knew it the box was empty. Although I do think I have a slight preference towards chocolate banana fritter – yum!

Do you have a sweet tooth? Where do you go to curb your sweet craving?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Tasting flavors from around the World at the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta, GA

No visit to Atlanta would be complete without a trip to the World of Coca-Cola museum and as a first time visitor to the great peach state I made sure to pay them a visit. It’s for all intensive purposes the state drink and as an educator I’m always interested to learn about the origin of something so iconic.

Coca Cola decor and photo opts

Shortly after purchasing the tickets, my friend and I were greeted in the lobby then escorted to a theater highlighting Coke’s campaign for making memories. The short clip had me teary-eyed at the end and we were released to explore the various rooms. There were many digital and interactive experiences as well as ample photo opportunities. One of the rooms also had the original formula tucked behind a highly protected vault.While I don’t regularly drink carbonated beverages in general one of the highlights of the trip was sampling coke products from around the world. They divided the drink areas by continents and my favorites were definitely the drinks in Asia and Latin America, as they leaned more fruity. The Beverly in Italy certainly left an impression on me and I know why the Coke employee was so smug when recommending  this “popular” drink.  Regardless if you drink coke products or not, the museum is pretty fascinating and I admire the entrepreneurial spirit behind coke brand.

Have you tried coke products abroad? What’s your favorite?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

Earthy Cheap Beer and Affordable Hangover Food That’s Great Eaten Sober in Las Vegas, NV

I visit Las Vegas annually with my family and while I’ve heard of Ellis Island Hotel, Casino and Brewery I’ve never actually visited The Village Pub. Friends have often posted photos of the cheap eats there so this year I decided to check it out as it was walking distance from my hotel.

Posing in front of the Ellis Island Tree

Upon entering the building, the casino has an old school charm to it, the restaurant had multiple plaques indicating awards it’s won in the past including: Best Microbrewery and Best Cheap Eats. My friend and I decided to share the Steak and Eggs ($11.99 – I’m sure cheaper if we played with the Players Card), a pint of rootbeer ($2.50) and a pint of their seasonal beer ($2.50).

Steak and Eggs

I wasn’t expecting much, but to my surprise out came a what appeared to be a filet cut chunk with my two over-easy eggs. The steak was cooked perfectly medium rare and tasted as if it was from a fine-dinning restaurant – you could have fooled me! The sourdough toast was a nice touch and while the potatoes were forgettable, the overall meal was a hearty-one. The beer was surprisingly very VERY good. I even liked it more than the housemade root-beer that my friend ordered for me. lol I thoroughly enjoyed my experience here and for less than $20 this establishment is a great place to catch up with friends and enjoy a warm meal for cheap.

What do you eat for a late night snack?

XOXO,

Rockstar

Biting into Explosive Flavors at the Best Deli – Zunzi’s in Atlanta, Georgia

My friend and I were conversing with some Atlanta locals on their favorite restaurants and one gushed about Zunzi’s, a counter-served eatery highlighting South African inspired sandwiches. The concept seemed foreign to me, but with a Laotian restaurant standing as one of my top picks (Snack Boxe Bistro Post) in Atlanta , I was excited to see what Zunzi was all about.

Menu and Drinks

While the sandwich shop highlights flavors from South Africa, the first brick-and-mortar location started in Savannah, Georgia (about 4 hours away). With an instant cult following, Zunzi branched out with a second location in Atlanta and I was informed that the masses have yet to discover the legendary sandwiches. On my visit, I was able to order within minutes of my arrival. Works for me!

img_1805-1
The Conquistador with avocado (extra)

There were 5 sandwich options and my friend and I decided to split one of their most popular one – “The Conquistador” with smashed avocado. To the eye this french bread and chicken sandwich seemed very ordinary, but the “Shit Yeah Sauce” was definitely anything but. It really heightens the sandwich experience and in many ways reminds me of Ike’s Place’s Dirty Secret Sauce. The combination of a slightly crunchy exterior and fluffy interior, with the creamy avocado, and tangy sauce gave so much dimension to the chicken and produce. Everything just worked so well together and my friend commented on how quiet I was during the entire meal. Lol

As of today there are two locations, but the manager of this location informed me that they’re planning to expand and potentially move out west. The establishment is the real deal, and if they open up a location close to work I probably would go here once a week, but you heard it here first!

What your go to sandwich order?

 

 

XOXO,

 

Rockstar

Seeking Thrills at Six Flags Over Georgia

I’m a huge DC Universe fan so shouldn’t be surprising that I’d be a Six Flags season pass holder.  The new Justice League ride at the Magic Mountain location (post here) inspired me secure an annual pass, but one of the best perks is that I’m able to visit any of the Six Flags across America! I’ve never been to The Peach State and Six Flags Over Georgia sounded like a great destination!

Six Flags Over Georgia 

Six Flags Over Georgia is located about 30 minutes outside of downtown Atlanta and during the week of my Georgia visit they had special evening hours. Unlike Magic Mountain where thrill seekers could enjoy the park during the morning hours – afternoon hours, Over Georgia had afternoon – evening hours (4pm-10pm). Unexpected, but with the holiday lights and decor it made for a festive evening.    

While this Six Flags was much smaller (in terms square footage), the lines were much shorter and my friend and I were able to ride 7 thrill rides in about 3 hours. Dare Devil Dive is a one cart coaster that does one of the scariest drop (but man was it fun!), Superman: The Ultimate Flight is similar to Tatsu where you fly on your belly, and Twisted Cyclone – wow this was Uh-MA-ZING – hands down my favorite ride perhaps because I was expecting the drops to be so drastic, the car design was so deceptive! It didn’t look like it’d be a thrill ride.

Are you spending your holidays locally or traveling?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar