Posts in Travel
The Best Places for Healthy Food in Australia - Sydney + Melbourne

I AM SHARING my guide to the best healthy restaurants in both Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. My taste buds are still buzzing from all the fresh and delicious food we ate on our trip down under.

David and I made a bonus trip to the Great Barrier Reef and stayed on Hamilton Island between city-hopping, where we ate some of the freshest seafood and most delicious meals. We just returned LAST weekend and I am already missing the pristine beaches, friendly people and amazing food on this beautiful continent! If you have an upcoming trip to Australia, or are just looking for an excuse to book one, here are my not to miss places to eat.

The yogurt and granola bowl from Porch & Parlour in Sydney.

The yogurt and granola bowl from Porch & Parlour in Sydney.

So let’s get down to it in the down unda! First stop was Melbourne. I absolutely loved Melbourne, it’s kind of a mix of Vancouver and San Francisco with a European flair and amazing food. My list of places to eat food was so long, I thought about having 8 meals a day. But for the sake of my stomach, we settled on a few gems which I share below with photos and what I ordered. I am also sharing my list of the places I wanted to go but sadly didn’t have time to make it. We will need to go back!

MELBOURNE

ARCHIE’S
This was our first stop for breakfast and luckily was just down the street from our Airbnb in the warehouse district of Fitzroy. Fell in love with the menu on first glance. Could have ordered everything on it. David got their homemade cashew milk yogurt topped with house made granola. I was extra hungry and went with their avocado toast - sourdough topped with major avo chunks and dukkah with a side of the most amazing smoked salmon I have ever had. Topped with a big squeeze of lemon and I was feeling it. We also both had chai lattes with their housemade cashew milk. So good!

Loved the curbside tables and vibes

Loved the curbside tables and vibes

From Archie’s, check out that sunflower and pumpkin seed dukkah though!

From Archie’s, check out that sunflower and pumpkin seed dukkah though!

CHIN CHIN
So many people recommended this place, and we were so glad we went! The menu was insane and everything was made with the freshest and tastiest ingredients. The only two drawbacks was the noise (the old lady in me likes more quiet restaurants) and the location. Chin Chin is located in the CDB (central business district) which is touristy and nothing special. If you are from San Francisco, think of Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square combined. No thanks! Come here for the food and then walk it off through one of the many surrounding parks instead of the CBD. Back to the food! We ordered the do it yourself veggie wraps, salmon tartare and their pad thai. I also enjoyed a delicious local sour beer and David had a good local kolsch. NAILED IT.

MARION
This gem of a place came highly recommended by our Airbnb host. We went here for dinner on a night with nice weather and sat outside. Al fresco dining at it’s finest. The menu here is made up of mostly small plates which allows you to mix and match to your heart’s desire. The food was amazing and the service was exceptional. When it started to get dark and the temperature dropped, they kindly moved us inside and made a spot for us in the already crowded restaurant for our dessert. Loved that!

VACATION
Came here when craving a green smoothie and David wanted a chai latte. Cutest interior and menu of fancy toasts, smoothies, teas and coffees. Just what we needed.

CHIN CHIN veggie wraps

CHIN CHIN veggie wraps

Marion al fresco dining

Marion al fresco dining

Kale and Date smoothie from Vacation

Kale and Date smoothie from Vacation

OTHER MELBOURNE PLACES TO EAT AND SHOP
Since we ran out of time to go to all the places, here is the rest of my list if you wanted to check these restaurants out too! I also highly recommend shopping in Melbourne. My favorite stores were Assembly which is an Australian version of Everlane, and Bul which has amazing well made basics with an edge.

Burnside - Coffee
South of Johnston - Breakfast
Cibi - Cool Japanese place
Bar Liberty - small plates
Gertrude Street Enoteca - small plates
Madras Bros. - Indian
Ladro - amazing pizza
Shop Ramen - in-house made noodles
Rice Paper Scissors - Vietnamese (highly recommended)
Aka Siro - japanese

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach

Took a break between Melbourne and Sydney on Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands near the Great Barrier Reef. If you follow me on Instagram (@balancebymolly) you can check out this part of our trip in my story highlights. We stayed at Qualia Resort for David’s birthday and ate lunch daily on their deck looking out on the water. The quinoa salad with roasted carrots, fennel, greens and feta was a staple for us along with the fresh catch of the day.

Qualia Resort Quinoa Salad

Qualia Resort Quinoa Salad

SYDNEY

BILL’S
We only had two nights and one day in Sydney so time was short but our appetite’s were not! Bill’s was so good that we ate here for breakfast and also for dinner. Hey, when it’s good it’s good. They make their own kimchi in house which I added to my avocado toast and eggs (the fluffiest I have ever had!) and their dinner was incredible and a low key and unstuffy environment. Favorite place for sure.

PORCH & PARLOUR
This restaurant was on the other side of Bondi Beach from Bills and such a little gem. I loved the decor, the drinks and delicious food. David got the veggie burger, I took a bite and it was the perfect texture and taste. I heard the green pea pancakes are delightful too.

MOMOFUKO SEIBO
Made a reservation here (I am a big David Chang fan) and then cancelled because we were so tired that night and not that hungry to splurge on a fancy dinner. Back to Bill’s. hahaha.

OTHER SPOTS
We didn’t make it to these but were on my list:
The Nines - Bondi Beach
The Paddington
Yellow
Anason - open-air and waterfront
UMU - Bondi Beach
Lox, Stock and Barrel - Bondi Beach

Breakfast at Bill’s in Bondi Beach with housemade kimchi

Breakfast at Bill’s in Bondi Beach with housemade kimchi

My 6 Tips To Stay Regular And Avoid Constipation When Traveling

We have all been there. Day 4 into vacation and you haven’t been able to go to the bathroom. It’s uncomfortable, embarrassing and just plain awful. When we travel or go on vacation, our natural rhythms are thrown off by air travel, time zones and being out of routine. Many off us struggle with digestion and regularity when we travel, but it doesn’t have to always be a thing! Staying on our normal routine can be helpful, but I have 6 of my top tips to “keep things moving” below so that you can relax and enjoy yourself.

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1. HYDRATE! Probably the most important but one we often forget about. Drinking enough water starts the day that we go to the airport and get on our flight, not just on the airplane (although that is very important)! Be conscious of how much water you drink the day of your flight. My rule of thumb is drinking enough water on a travel day so that I am using the restroom every two hours beforehand. I bring a bottle of water with me to the airport and drink half on the drive there and the other half while checking in/in the security line. I bring a stainless steel SWELL BOTTLE with me so I can immediately refill again before boarding my flight.

Don’t be shy to ask for as much water as you want on the flight, select an aisle seat and maintain every two hour bathroom breaks (except if overnight flight so you can catch some Zzzz’s). I always ask flight attendants to refill my stainless steel water bottle and I also ask for hot water for tea. This is my go to GINGER TEA to drink on flights and also while traveling to help with digestion.

2. Magnesium. My go-to supplement for traveling because it helps to reduce water retention (with the help of compression socks too), is a natural sleep aid and also relaxes your intestines to keep you regular. Triple threat! I like to take Magnesium nightly (400-500mg) and will start this ritual 1-2 days before my travel in the time zone I am traveling to. For example, if I am traveling to New York from San Francisco and my usual bed time is 11pm, I will take magnesium at 7pmPST (11pmEST). This help to get me on schedule so my natural biorhythm catches up quickly. Here is the magnesium supplement I take which is the best for regularity and constipation relief, in my opinion.

3. Digestive Enzymes. When we travel we tend to try new foods that we don’t typically eat at home and also eat our a lot more than usual. Add this on to any time changes, plus eating outside of your normal routine, and this can cause digestive upset and backed up pipes. Here are the digestive enzymes I take when I travel. I keep a few in my purse and take two right before each meal with a glass of water. I notice such a big difference.

4. SLEEP. Getting proper rest and good sleep while you travel is important. Start the night before you depart with at least 8 hours of restful sleep. When you are traveling across time zones on long flights, time your sleep on the plane for the place you are going to. This will help you adjust better when you get there. I always use a sleep mask to block out any light. This is the sleep mask I have used for years and love for travel and using at home too.

Using magnesium for sleep on the plane as well as melatonin can be helpful. For melatonin I recommend no more than 3mg to 5mg as your body naturally doesn’t promote more than this on it’s own. Here’s a good quality melatonin I use.

5. Move! Sitting on an airplane for more than 5 hours at a time will slow down any “movement” on the inside. Take breaks to walk up and down the aisles. On larger trans-atlantic planes I have always found a little nook by the doors of the plane where I can do simple squats or jumps to get my blood flow going without the whole plane seeing me! Upon arriving in your destination, rather than going straight to the beach or to sleep, I suggest going on a 15-20 minute walk to get things moving. It’s also a great way to explore the new city you are in and check out what is near your hotel or Airbnb!

6. Drink a Smoothie. Yup, if you know be by now you know I love smoothies. They work wonders for digestion as well as constipation. Check out my tips on How To Make A Perfect Smoothie. I suggest having one the morning of your flight using a tbsp. of chia seeds or ground flax for added fiber. You can also bring a blender bottle with you to make your own smoothie. When you get to the airport, order a steamed cup of almond or coconut milk from a Peet’s or Starbucks. Add this to your blender bottle with an individual packet or prepacked scoop of chocolate protein and an individual packet of coconut oil. This will melt right into the steamed milk and lubricate your intestines for regularity. Plus it tastes like hot chocolate! I love these two chocolate protein powders: collagen protein and vegan protein.

Last but not least, remember to enjoy yourself on your vacation and to not stress about the small things. It’s not always about choosing the healthiest thing on the menu, but rather enjoying yourself and trying a few new things! Balance this out with one veggie heavy dish daily, or find a local smoothie bar and grab a green smoothie for breakfast!

72 Hours in Palm Springs Guide

I get a lot of questions on how to travel healthy and choose/find restaurants when taking a trip or vacation. Therefore I always try to put together a guide for each of the cities I visit.

This time around it was a weekend trip to Palm Springs! My mom retired to, and now lives in Tucson, AZ so we try to link up for girls trips by meeting in the middle. October is the perfect time to visit the desert and surrounding areas of Palm Springs. I equally love Palm Desert, Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley but this post is just about Palm Springs proper. I’ve got the goods on where to eat, relax/sleep and hike. ENJOY!

Museum Trail Hike

Museum Trail Hike

Natures Health Food and Cafe Veggie Wrap

Natures Health Food and Cafe Veggie Wrap

FOOD

Breakfast
We stayed in an Airbnb so brought our own ingredients to make smoothies in the morning. Although the first two lunch places I recommend have great breakfast options and amazing juice and smoothie menus.  If you are craving a croissant, Peninsula Bakery is amazing and everything is baked from scratch with good ingredients. For an incredible sit down and fancy brunch, check out The Holiday House. 

Lunch
Palm Greens Cafe. This place has a menu packed full of nourishing ingredients - whole wheat, quinoa, veggies galore, hummus, free-range chicken, etc. It’s a sit down restaurant but also has prepackaged salad samplers (with their delicious yam salad).

Nature’s Health Food and Cafe. Taking up one side of a health food store, this small cafe packs an extensive menu of vegan food. Skip the fake meats and order one of the big salads, the Azteca Plate or the veggie wrap. The shakes and juices are stellar too. If you have time, browse the store, it’s pricey but has some goods that make great healthy snacks. 

The Barn Kitchen at the Sparrow Lodge. LOVED this place. They host Saturday night dinners outside at a communal table but we were too late on reservations, so we came the next day for lunch. Thank goodness we did, the menu was amazing as was the scenery. Tucked away in the back of the lodge it was a nice respite from the sun and hustle bustle of downtown. Every ingredient is sourced fresh and made in house. We enjoyed the little gem salad with green goddess dressing and chicken plus the hummus which was homemade and delicious. We heard chatter from other patrons that the avocado toast was to die for. We also ordered the fresh baked cookies and they were baked to order! So amazing. Go here!

Gem Salad and Hummus at Barn Kitchen

Gem Salad and Hummus at Barn Kitchen

Barn Kitchen Menu

Barn Kitchen Menu

Dinner
Counter Reformation at the Parker Hotel. A tucked away gem. It’s just a bar with 20 seats, but this Jonathon Adler designed hotel doesn’t skimp on the beautiful touches and atmosphere.

Counter Reformation Menu

Counter Reformation Menu

The best part is that there was no wait at 7pm on a Saturday night, we got a seat right away, and the food and wine menu was KILLER. I enjoyed a glass of white wine that was from an organic winery. The menu consisted of “small bites” although we ordered two and were stuffed. We had the short ribs as well as the prawns that came with a side salad and the most amazing dressing. Everything was absolutely delicious and made with fresh and organic ingredients. 

Azucar. The decor in this place alone is enough to put you in the mood to relax and enjoy good food. The octopus and guacamole then steps it up to another level. There are tables but as you can tell, I prefer to always eat at the bar for easier conversation between two people and a more mellow evening. 

HOTELS

If we didn’t do an Airbnb, I would have stayed in one of these places. I’ve been to the Ace Hotel twice before and will choose between one of these for next time:

The Sparrow Lodge. Expensive on the weekends but deals during the week. This place is build like a lodge in the mountains in the middle of the desert and is done really well. The ground are beautiful, the food is good and the rooms are spacious. I would splurge and stay here. The pool scene was amazing too. 

Arrive Hotel. We stopped here for the coffee for mom (which was the best coffee according to her), and stayed for the scenery. The pool area was beautiful with floaties to choose from for maximum chill, and connected to an indoor/outdoor poolside restaurant with healthy bites. Mom got friendly with the manager who showed us the ground which were lovely too. The price is also moderate if you were looking for a smaller but equally cool option to the Ace. 

Sparrow Lodge

Sparrow Lodge

Arrive Hotel

Arrive Hotel

HIKES

If you aren’t visiting in the summer months between May and September, then the weather allows you to explore the beautiful landscape of the desert on some hikes all within a 10 minute drive of the city center. Here are the ones we did:

Araby Trail: A 4-mile loop with a really scenic mountain trail and views of Bob Hope’s mansion. There was nice easy parking and clear signs marked for the trail. Although we bypassed the actual trail entrance, hiked up the paved street for a little more work on our buns and squeezed through the gate at the top. Not advised, but mom and I like to break the rules ;)

Museum Trail: Accessed via the parking lot right behind the Palm Springs Museum in town. This hike is a 2 mile steep climb right up the side of the mountain to the very top for stunning views of the city. Wear shoes with grips, there are some twist and turns that require holding on to a few rocks. 

Araby Trail and Bob Hope’s Home!

Araby Trail and Bob Hope’s Home!


72 Hours in Washington D.C. - Weekend Guide

I have never been more excited to write a weekend guide for a city. I am absolutely over the moon about Washington D.C. after returning from a weekend trip with friends. It is such an amazing city, with picturesque views everywhere you turn (and I am not talking national monuments), cool neighborhoods that each have their own charm, an eclectic mix of eateries to suit every craving, friendly locals, and a big score for walkability and getting around on a bike. So let's dive in! If you are heading to D.C. for the weekend, here are my recommendations for how to spend it.   

After our bike ride to Georgetown in the crazy heat + humidity, sweaty and happy!

After our bike ride to Georgetown in the crazy heat + humidity, sweaty and happy!

FRIDAY NIGHT

Explore the neighborhood you are staying in by going for a walk and picking a restaurant close by.  I arrived at 7pm, dropped off my bags in Adams Morgan and heading to Tail Up Goat. Highly recommend if you can get a reservation or don't mind waiting an hour or so.  Plenty of other places to explore nearby while you wait. 

SATURDAY

Wake up, grab a green juice nearby at JRINK then find the nearest Capital Bikeshare and grab a bike! We biked from Adams Morgan to Georgetown using the Rockway Creek Parkway. Most of the route was downhill and absolutely a beautiful ride with lots to see along the way. You can head directly to the Georgetown Waterfront Park to walk around and enjoy the sites, or if you didn't grab a green juice beforehand you can grab a massive smoothie bowl at South Block in Georgetown. If you are hungry for more, head to Shouk for lunch. 

After dropping your bikes off and eating to your hearts delight, take the time to wander around Georgetown, hike up the stone steps that were used in the filming of the exorcist to satisfy your inner 80s child (and also to work those buns, hun). Explore the campus, or if shopping is your thing, head over to M Street to get your fix. 

After taking a much needed rest after all that biking, eating and walking it's time for dinner and more exploring.  Head to Blagden Alley and put your name in as early as you can at The Dabney. This place was the best meal I had while in town. If there is a long wait, head to Calico Cat to enjoy their amazing outdoor patio in the meantime.  If you are looking for a place to go post dinner, grab an amazing craft cocktail at The Columbia Room or a tiki drink at Lost and Found

The Wharf and Navy Yard

The Wharf and Navy Yard

Smoothies and Waffles at Fruitive

Smoothies and Waffles at Fruitive

SUNDAY

Sleep in and head to DC Harvest or Sally's Middle Name for brunch along the H Street Corridor.  Afterwards walk up to the Union Market to walk around, explore and ooh and ahhh at all the goodies. 

After making your morning all about food, head over to the National Museum of African American History and make your afternoon all about culture. If the weather is not crazy hot, join the tourists and walk along the National Mall past the Washington Monument and to the Lincoln Memorial. 

In the evening head to Dupont Circle. Plenty of things happening here and a good time to rest your wallets and explore some of the amazing and healthy fast casual restaurants. Pick between CAVA and The Little Beet for a dose of nourishing ingredients without breaking the bank. You could even take to go if you need to head to the airport. 

MONDAY - BONUS DAY!

I was lucky to visit D.C. for the Labor Day Holiday weekend, so we had an extra day to explore. Head to Fruitive for smoothies and the most amazing GF and Vegan waffle you will ever have. Then head over to the Wharf and Navy Yard to walk around and check out the sites. Need a smoothie or matcha latte? Head to Toastique for some healthy goodness. 

If you have extra time (or if you flew in via BWI airport) head up to Annapolis, Maryland.  This historic town has so much freaking charm! Walk around, explore the sites and check out Fox Books to hang on their patio. Do yourself a favor while you are there and grab a lobster roll at Masons Famous Lobster Rolls. They also offer a massive lobster salad. 

The cutest little town of Annapolis

The cutest little town of Annapolis

Lobster Roll Heaven

Lobster Roll Heaven


How to Avoid Airport and Travel Anxiety - PACK LIGHT!

Anxiety and travel is one of the topics I talk about most with my clients. A lot of this is centered around food while traveling, and how to make the right choices. But the other side of anxiety comes with airport travel in general. Getting to the airport on time, getting through security quickly and that awful anxious feeling of whether or not there will be overhead bin space left for your bag. In this post, I am talking how to travel and pack light for any weekend trip to help ease some of your travel anxieties.

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What you see in the picture aboce is my usual go-to luggage for a weekend trip (3 days, 2 nights). It has saved me from the crushing anxiety of finding overhead bin space and also saves me mula on crazy carry on and bag check fees. 

The bag on my shoulder is a regular Long Champ bag, but I have used other large purses as well measuring 12-14 inches by 18-20 inches. For a recent weekend in LA I brought with me: 2 pairs of pants, one jacket, tennis shoes, slides, 1 pair of yoga pants, 2 sports bras, 1 long sleeve shirt, 3 short sleeve shirts, 1 dressy shirt, 1 tank top, sunglasses, sandals, 1 small purse, toiletries, underwear and socks. On the agenda for the weekend was hiking, yoga, one fancy dinner, casual lunches, walking around and chilling. 

I’ve done weekends in Seattle, Vegas, Portland and even Thailand for 10 days with the same bag (I know, I’m insane but bathing suits and shorts don’t take up too much space!).

So here are my tips. 

1.    Pick a jacket that will go with every outfit that is a neutral color. I packed this Aritzia jacket for my LA trip and wore it on the plane. 

2.    Pants - bring one pair of jeans and one dressier pair or a jumpsuit. I wear my jeans on the plane. I love traveling with a black jumpsuit for its versatility from day to evening.

3.    Activewear - I’m usually fitting in hikes and yoga sessions in my weekend trips. For this I always pack my black yoga pants and two sports bras. I roll these and tuck into any gaps in my shoulder bag. 

4.    Shoes - if you are packing tennis shoes these will take up the majority of your bag without being able to fit other bulky shoes. In this instance, you can wear an easy pair of slides like I have pictured here from madewell (great for day to night with cropped black pants or jumpsuit). Or you can wear your leggings and tennis shoes on the plane and pack your slides plus a pair of heels as well! Sandals are easy to tuck flat in your bag. 

5.    Toiletries - this is key. I bring a small bag that fits deodorant, face moisturizer, toothpaste, toothbrush, mascara, tinted moisturizer, concealer, blush and lipstick. I don’t pack shampoo, conditioner, lotion or body wash. For these items I rely on hotels to provide or friends who I’m staying with.

6.    Buy a cute laptop case (mine is from Society 6) and slide your wallet, phone, headphones and book in there too as your “carry-on” purse. 
 

There you have it! I get a lot of versatility with the mix of items I have listed above. Also, for going up and down escalators to get to terminals in a hurry, you don't have to stand with your luggage, you can walk past every one and up the escalator quickly to get to any connecting flights. Bonus! I will also note that any cold weather travel is much harder with only a large shoulder bag and for these weekend trips I pack more or wear one big jacket onto the plane, layering is key! ;)  Happy traveling for all your fun summer trips!


Mexico City Food Guide

For a giant, sprawling city of almost 9 million people where the most popular dish is the tacos del pastor, made from thinly sliced slow-roasted pork layered atop a fresh tortilla that can be found at just about every street taco stand, there is also a plethora of healthy options that proudly stand out and are made with fresh ingredients and local flavor.  That’s not to say that I didn’t venture off the beaten path to imbibe with the locals, standing on sidewalks in questionable neighborhoods while eating the best tacos I have ever had with juices dripping down my hands while fervently wiping what I could with my single napkin.

I loved how walkable the city was. We did a "choose your own adventure" style of traveling by picking a neighborhood for the day and turning down streets when something caught our eye.

I loved how walkable the city was. We did a "choose your own adventure" style of traveling by picking a neighborhood for the day and turning down streets when something caught our eye.

Let’s not forget that Mexico City recently suffered a major earthquake less than two months ago on the anniversary of the largest one that rocked the city in 1985. Described in this article, by an expat resident whose home split into two in the neighborhood Roma Norte next to where we stayed, as “a dreaded vertical bucking.” Everywhere we walked, rubble was still being cleared and structures rebuilt.  Often times though, you could forget that an earthquake recently ripped through the city, as we were met everywhere we went with resilient smiles and kindness.

While wandering through the city on our second day, we stumbled upon a pop-up open air locals market. Walking through and eyeing all the wares for sale, I also eyed one of the shopkeepers sipping on a green juice.  My heart lept.  I immediately asked in broken Spanish where it was from. Instead of just pointing in the general direction, he left his stall and walked us not only to the right place but put in my order for me complete with a jovial handshake and smile.

This trip was literally all about smiles and even more about saying YES than saying no. I have included a mix of taco joints, healthy joints, bakeries, coffee spots and street food. I thought it would be easier to divide by the neighborhoods we spent most of our time in and elsewhere.

Condesa neighborhood where we stayed

Condesa neighborhood where we stayed

Condesa
Despite being one of the largest cities in the world, we found Mexico City both charming and manageable. This was largely due to where we stayed in the bohemian district of La Condesa, a fashionable area with tree-lined streets with center walkways and a smattering of cute restaurants, cafes and boutiques. This is where our Airbnb was and we loved the proximity to the rest of the city. Here were my favorite spots:

El Califa – definitely a locals spot, but always packed and buzzing. There extensive taco menu is amazing but we went straight for the pastor tacos as well as another local specialty,   with sides of guacamole and grilled nopales (all about eating fresh cactus on this trip).  There are many locations throughout the city, and late night hours for those adjusting to a time change like we were.

The Green Corner – a little hippie haven in the middle of Condesa.  This place doubles as a store where you can pick up produce, snack bars, protein powders and really anything you’d find at a tiny health food store here in the Haight. Perfect to pick up snacks for the plane ride home. The restaurant itself is super casual.  Most of the patrons sat outside with laptops sipping green juices, eating chia seed pudding bowls or Mexican brunch made with fresh and healthy ingredients. I came here twice for the coconut chia pudding bowl.  Made each time with different fruit and crunchy toppings.

The coconut chia pudding bowl at The Green Corner with pineapple, pecans, shredded coconut and maple syrup

The coconut chia pudding bowl at The Green Corner with pineapple, pecans, shredded coconut and maple syrup

Mia Dominecca – a fancy joint with fresh and creative dishes with veggie forward dishes in a city where meat reigns.  The mackerel crudo was a definite standout.

Blend Station – a super hipster coffee joint serving up toasts and breakfast sandwiches.  Loved the vibe and everything is made in house including the bread and also english muffins.  They have salads too but I would recommend the pork belly breakfast sandwich or the vegetarian with refried beans and a perfectly fried egg.

Lardo – my favorite spot. Came here twice as well and only a few blocks from our pad.  Serves one of the best matcha lattes I have ever had (David said the regular latte was muy Bueno tambien). They are known for their fresh baked breads and pastries.  We got a guava and cream pastry, the vegan strawberry and quinoa muffin, the green chilaquiles with fresh mozzarella and poached egg and the croquet madame which was insane.

The bright and airy ambience of Lardo made you want to relax there all day long.

The bright and airy ambience of Lardo made you want to relax there all day long.

Roma
This neighborhood sits next to Condesa, a similarly arty enclave, but with more of a hipster vibe. There is Roma Norte and Roma Sur.

La Zumeria  - the green juice, green smoothie and smoothie bowl menu here is what dreams are made of… errr, at least for the smoothie obsessed like me. I got the Mexi green juice made without fruit, but with the sweet addition of calabaza squash. I also got a green smoothie, I forget the name but I asked for the one that was the greenest.  It was crazy creamy and delicious. Go here!

Getting all the greens at Zumeria Raw Juice Bar

Getting all the greens at Zumeria Raw Juice Bar

Cicatriz – This might be my other favorite place, and according to David the best coffee. The service was slow but the space is beautiful and the food was perfect. Avocado toast on thick slices of fresh bread layed with radish, olive oil and sea salt. Coconut yogurt bowl with house made granola and an artful display of bananas.  Best part, they are a vegan bakery.  I got the carrot, ginger and chia seed break to go. WOWZA.

Vegan baked goods selection at Cicatriz

Vegan baked goods selection at Cicatriz

Hotel Casa Awolly – if anything, points for creativity. This place serves me a green juice cocktail in a glass contraption. Pork ribs served in bone marrow and amazing ceviche with the freshest green marinade complete with avocado and cilantro. Loved sitting here in the afternoon and getting the royal treatment. The space itself is beautiful and totally Instagram worthy.

The prettiest green cocktail I have ever seen or tasted at Hotel Casa Awolly

The prettiest green cocktail I have ever seen or tasted at Hotel Casa Awolly

Elsewhere
Panaderia Rosetta and Café Nin next door – Best baked goods in the city. Hands down. Sit at the counter, order a matcha latte and point to whichever sweet treat suites your fancy when they bring the basket of goods around.  We had a cinnamon roll and some version of a morning bun that was to die for.

Markets – Mercado San Juan and Mercado Merced
A word of advice, hire a guide if you are going to either of these.  Mercado Merced is massive and not in the best area.  We tried to go on our own and overwhelming is an understatement. We got really lost along the rows and rows of the chaos and people, only finding the flower market and the shoe market and completely missing the food market.  Doh! Should have played tourist and hired a guide.

Outside the Mercado San Juan

Outside the Mercado San Juan

Mercado Roma – go here. Wander around this little hipster market filled with food counters from some of Mexico City’s most popular restaurants and cafes. The tamale de queso con rajas tacos from Azul Antojo are mind blowing.

Street tacos – look for the ones that have stools, people sitting down eating and where you can see the tortillas being made.  If you are wary of the meat, go for the fresh refried beans.  They are fantastic.  At some places the guacamole is free, including the one I went to in El Centro, the address was 20 Calle Ramon Corona. Stumbled here on accident when trying to make our way to the market.  It was the large tub of fresh homemade guacamole that caught my eye. Also the guac was FREE. 

Legit street tacos with chunky, perfect and free guacamole

Legit street tacos with chunky, perfect and free guacamole

Quintonol and Pujol – the highest rated restaurants in Mexico City.  Grab a reservation months in advance, put on your fanciest thangs and ENJOY!!

So are you convinced yet to go to Mexico City??! It’s amazing. We could have easily stayed for another 5 days and continued to eat our way through this beautiful and historical city. But alas, planning the next visit and trying to get my taco fix where I can here in San Francisco.

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Travel, Food GuideMolly Alliman
Why You Should Travel Alone (+ the art of being alone)

In 2008 during the financial crisis I left my job and traveled with my boyfriend at the time for five months.  It was my first time seeing the world (and only the second time I had used my passport), and I travelled with someone that I loved deeply.  We learned a lot about each other.  Fights in Peru, music and bliss in Brazil, laughter and inside jokes in Japan, long stretches of grumpiness in China, silent treatments in Thailand and then compromise and understanding in India. In terms of discovering how a relationship works, we ran the gamut and ultimately learned the importance of communication and trust.  But in terms of discovering myself in unfamiliar places, I had years to go.

Fast forward to present day, after being single for over two years I used the opportunity to travel, reconnect with friends and most importantly reconnect with myself.  The happy relationship that I am in now, only came after taking the time I needed to be alone. And I get it, being alone can be uncomfortable. I used to feel that I had to fill that “space” up with something or someone. I was terrible at being alone, and truthfully I hated it. Most of us just simply aren’t comfortable with the uncomfortable. Uncomfortable silences. Uncomfortable feelings of sadness, self-doubt, confusion or anger. As human beings we crave the presence of others when we are upset to vent, when we are crying to be comforted, and when shit gets complicated we seek advice from those closest to us.  It has been only lately that I have settled into the uncomfortable on my own and embraced it.  But I will let you in on a little secret… this is where the magic happens. When we become comfortable in our own silence and with our emotions, things start to become more clear. When we explore the scary spaces inside ourselves and begin to accept who we are, we ultimately learn to love ourselves.

Traveling alone kicks this up a notch. It hands you the gift of freedom and the ability to make decisions for yourself.  These are two things that most of us have when we are young and then later trade in for a career, marriage, children and settling down. We seek companionship from others, and for the love, stability and comfort that a partner, spouse or even a fulfilling career can offer. But what if you could provide all these things for yourself? And I am not saying that you should be alone forever and be a vagabond without a job, but take the opportunities that you have to explore the world and explore yourself.

Here is the thing about traveling by yourself. It is not as scary as you think it would be. The world is a great big place filled with gracious and giving and kind people. If anything I have learned from traveling alone, it is that kindness is everywhere. People want to help you, and will go out of their way to help you. If you are traveling internationally, you will meet strangers who are filled with pride for their country and will talk your ear off with recommendations, offer help with directions and even a ride to the airport or an empty room to stay when your flight is cancelled and all the hotels for the night are booked. You will also meet other travelers who are on their own and you end up sharing your life story on an overnight bus. These people will become your friends, you may travel with them for a while, part ways, and then keep in touch for the rest of your life.

You also get some really amazing quality time with yourself.  To read without interruption, to write, to journal, to stare off into space… whatever your full and beautiful heart desires. And the best part, simply put, is seeing the world and discovering new places. You will discover that being alone is not the same as loneliness. The world’s beauty becomes your companion and she takes your breath away. To stare in wonder at a sunset perched on a cliff, to hike through waterfalls with only the sound of gushing water surrounding you, to silently gaze at animals in their natural habitat. All these experiences convince you to slow down, to enjoy the moment and the experience. To breathe in life and exhale pure and uninterrupted happiness. To fill your life up with so much joy that can only be discovered in the quiet moments by yourself.

 

TravelMolly Alliman