April 30, 2014

Chapter One

It's not often I get to spend quality time with my little brother but when I do, I
definitely try to make the most of it. We headed out to downtown Santa Ana for a
late brunch.

My brother is many things, but a photographer he is not. It took a lot of arguing for
him to even take this sucker. It's times like these when I wish I had even just one
sister. (Mostly kidding)


The restaurant we chose was Chapter One and appropriately has book themed menu
items and drinks. I especially like the drink menu. It's really the best kind of adventure
book because it involves tasty, delicious drinks. Which is plenty inspiration to get me
hooked in.

We started off with the mac and cheese and the fries baked in duck fat. We couldn't get
them from the bowl to our hands to our mouth fast enough! The duck fat fries are an
absolute must and one of the best part of the meals.




The fries come with a smattering of sauces as well which is perfect for me as I'm a
bit of a condiment whore. You can never have too many. The garlic aioli was my
personal favorite.




I'm all about having plenty of options when it comes to me and my food. The mimosas
here are unlimited and come with pomegranate blueberry juice, pineapple juice and
orange juice.



It's unfortunate that my brother acts like pictures are things that suck up your soul
each time you take one. He absolutely refuses to smile for them. Hopefully, this is
just one of those weird, 21 year old boy things he'll phase out of! Otherwise, we'll be
stuck with pictures of a family member that perpetually looks like he wants to
punch someone. *Sigh


Really, he's a total sweetheart. Doesn't the grimace say so?



And after much grimacing back and forth, we dove in to this mighty thing of a plate-
the doughnut burger.

I have to give credit to whoever thought combining a pastry and a burger would be
a great idea! The doughnut the hamburger patty sits on, isn't as sweet as a normal
doughnut. It's a bit denser and when you bite in to it with the burger and the fried
egg combined, it creates a salty/sweet combo.

It's delicious but feels a bit wrong!





I opted for the salmon omelette.







Next time, I'm aiming to at least snap one picture of my brother smiling! 


Thanks for reading and have a great week! :)

April 29, 2014

A Few Parting Thoughts on Eastern Europe

During the time I was in Budapest, I met a whole host of people, all of them
incredibly funny, lovely, charming, and gracious. I met a couple of Russians,
Siberians, former-Crimeans, Ukranians and even Uzbekistans! Did you know
Uzbekistan was a country? I sure as heck didn't. Don't even try to ask me where it's
located.

And just like me, they worried about how they were going to find a job, how to pay
taxes, where they should rent an apartment and what the actual status of their
relationship with that person they're hooking up with but kind of like. Even across
the world, in the midst of chaotic political situations for their countries, the issues
they most worried about aren't all that different from our issues. As it turns out,
people really are just that-people.

And on a completely unrelated note, here's some pictures of me and Sam, jumping
in front of St. Stephen's Basilica.









































I'm feeling extra hoppy just thinking about being back there!


April 28, 2014

Moscow at Dawn









































Moscow- what a strange city! I arrived at the airport in the dead of night and popped in to 
my capsule hotel, ready to catch a bit of sleep. I woke up a few hours later when it was still

dark, eager to do a bit of touristing during my twelve hour layover in the city.The city was cold
and quiet with hardly a person around. Honestly, it creeped me out a tad and I was like, this is
totally the part where I get killed and chopped up in to little bits.

And with each passing hour, I kept waiting for more people to emerge but, it felt like I had all
of Moscow to myself!






If only New York city subway stations were this clean!




This city really likes their Soviet statues. There's statues of Lenin and Marx literally
everywhere and they're all larger than life like this one. A bit dystopian isn't? It's so
strange to see Communist buildings like this right next to old, more traditional Russian
buildings.



The Red Square



The Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral at dawn. When I first saw this, coming
over a hill, I had to catch my breath for a second (partially because I was freezing
to death and I really hadn't worked out much so the hike was really hard but also
because it was like, oh holy shit! that looks like the real thing!). Really, an amazing
site!








I was amazed at how tiny the actual building was! From pictures, it's always looked 
huge. When I first saw it, I was kind of like, "Oh, well that's cute. It's so wittle."




Thawing off with a delicious cappuccino. There were delicate little chocolates also,
but those didn't last long enough for the picture.




Moscow's not the most tourist friendly city and they do require a visa for entry. I'm glad
I made the effort to stop by Moscow during this layover but it's certainly not the easiest
of pit stops! Thanks Moscow for a very interesting morning!

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April 23, 2014

Baths and Markets: Budapest Day 4-6:

The time I spent in Budapest did truly fly. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to
 wake up late, enjoy a cup of coffee around noon and then set out for a little mini
adventure each day with Sam.

Clearly, being incredibly lazy suits me.



One day we'd pop up to the baths at Szechenyi, immersing ourselves in to the medicinal,thermal waters until our toes and fingers would get all wrinkly. Then the next day, we would set
off to the Central Market where it was food galore. There's so much to see and
do in
Budapest, I'm not sure I could ever get tired of it!










































I'm amazed Budapest isn't more of a must-city for tourists. Food and drinks are 
ridiculously cheap, the museums are good and there's plenty of old world charm.

There's something about this city that made me feel incredibly at home. Which is 
wonderful, but makes it all the the more difficult to leave. (And possibly scheming of
ways to move abroad. A girl's gotta dream right?)

Ah Budapest, you truly are one of a kind.


April 16, 2014

New York Cafe- Budapest Day 3

The New York Cafe, first opened in 1894, was a center for cultural musings,
literature and conversation. It's said that a particularly zealous cafe-goer stole the
keys to the cafe and threw them in to the Danube River so the cafe could be open for
twenty four hours a day, for everyone to enjoy.







































That guy had the right idea. The New York Cafe is a wonderful place to spend the day.
Every part of the hall is covered with ornate decorations and paintings. And before you
have a second to take it all in, the waiter comes and whisks you away to your table.


























If you want to know what heaven tastes like, then I recommend the chocolate raspberry
tart.










































It's a bit like the Plaza isn't it? I think all that's missing is a Hungarian Eloise
traipsing around the halls.










































No reservations necessary for this gem. The New York Cafe is an absolute must for
anyone in Budapest!


April 14, 2014

A Bike Ride Through Budapest- Day 2

Care to join me for a ride through Budapest?

Here's our guide, the lovely Sam. Hold on tight because there's no slowing down with
this one!













Our first stop is  Heroe's Square.




This is Vajahunyad Castle (try saying that 10 times fast!) It was built as part of the 
millenial exhibition and includes all sorts of architectural pieces from different eras.
Unfortunately no dragons or Prince Charming's here but they did have a moat! The 
whole time walking around it, I kept repeating, "It's a castle. It's a freaking castle 
Sam." 

If only I had a proper dragon like Daenarys and could claim the Iron Throne for myself. 
Always a dreamer..











The Shoes on the Danube. For such a beautiful city, it does have such a tragic history.
It's still a marvel to walk around in though and feel so close to the sight of such
important past events.








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