Our New Favorite Spots in Paris

Paris is one of those cities that no matter how many times we visit, it will always seem new. While we didn’t have as much time to explore this time around, we did get a chance to eat and drink our way through the city… Here’s a small list of the spots that really stood out to us. If you’re a coffee drinker, this list goes out to you. ;)

MATAMATA COFFEE (58 rue d'Argout, Paris) Our first stop in Paris was at Matamata Coffee, and it was a good one. Located in the Montorgueil neighborhood, Matamata has amazing coffee and delicious, homemade food. Grab a flat white and a breakfast sandwich and know that you are starting your day the best way possible.

ONI COFFEE SHOP (10 Boulevard Saint-Martin, Paris) This cozy little coffee shop couldn’t be cuter. From the decor, to the pottery, to the perfetly displayed coffee and light bites. This is about as Instagrammable as it gets - and everything is just as delicious as it looks. This might be our favorite coffee shop in all of Paris. There, we said it.

HOLY BELLY CAFE (5 Rue Lucien Sampaix, Paris) We received more recommendations for this seasonal breakfast and lunch spot than anywhere else. So obviously we went, and as always, y’all really came through for us. It’s INCREDIBLE. If you love breakfast, go here. And if you don’t love breakfast, go here and you will be changed. It’s the kind of place that we can’t over-hype, because it’s that good. Don’t be deterred by the line out front, it moves quick. And it’s well worth the wait.

OB-LA-DI (54 Rue De Saintonge, Paris) We’ve heard a lot about this tiny little coffee shop in the Le Marais over the years, so we made a point to go there this trip. What we discovered was just what we heard - the coffee is delicious, the interior is quaint, and the food and baked goods looked devine. Whether you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up or a light breakfast, this is your spot.

ANGELINA PARIS (226 Rue De Rivoli, Paris) This is another place that’s been on our radar for years, and being the foodies that we are, we made a mad dash for it as soon as we arrived. We can now confidently say that they serve the best hot chocolate we’ve ever had, and the pastries are TDF (to die for) too! Skip the line to be seated, and simply order your hot chocolate and sweets to go. You’re welcome.

LE SYNDICAT COCKTAIL CLUB (51 Rue Du Faubourg Saint-Denis, Paris) Not only is this hip bar one of the first in Paris to use exclusively French ingredients, it’s also been voted one of the World’s 50 Best Bars! This edgy speakeasy is so discreet, chances are you’ll walk right past it. And that’s exactly why we love it. 

CAFE KITSUNE (51 Galerie de Montpensier, Paris) You’re probably thinking, really, another coffee shop?! But hey - don’t judge us! Coffee shop hopping is one of our favorite things to do when we travel, especially in a destination like Paris where new fun coffee shops are popping up on the daily. This one is on the expensive side, but the high quality and chic styling makes it worth the price. We loved it so much, we went twice!

GYOZA HOUSE PARIS (20 Rue de Chateaudun, Paris) Random, we know. But if you love gyoza as much as we love gyoza, make sure you stop at this place. It’s casual and cheap, but the healthy and homemade gyozas are absolutely phenomenal. We ate ours in about five seconds flat!

SYLON (4bis Rue Piemontesi, Paris) Yep, rounding this list out with one more coffee shop because we can. Tucked away near the Sacre Coeur, this is a true local’s spot - and that’s exactly why we like it. Great coffee, chill ambiance, and really delicious food, too. Try their avocado toast!

Bobby making the tough decisions at Matamata

Matamata was cozy inside and out :)

Can you see Bobby in the window at Oni?

He just wants to drink his coffee :)

Not sure what it is about Holybelly. These pancakes had the PERFECT amount of syrup balanced with delicious bacon and eggs. We hope to be back some day soon!

We probably drank more coffee than water on this trip… Ob-La-Di was a favorite.

No joke… BEST hot chocolate EVER.

Cheers to Le Syndicat

Cafe Kitsune is right by the Louvre!

Tons of flavors at Gyoza House… paradise!

Sylon was great for coffee AND lunch!

Finding Fall with Enterprise

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Enterprise. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

We’re big fans of fall. 

Leaves changing, cozy layers, pumpkin spice lattes, snuggling by the fire… call us basic (and we are), but we love it. There’s something so heartwarming and life-giving about this time of year, and if anything, it means we’re that much closer to Christmas! (Only 62 days away - but who’s counting?)

We just returned from a big 40-day road trip throughout the U.S. We drove through national parks, coastal beach towns, metropolitan cities, and everything in between. Our last stop, and the true cherry-on-top of the trip, was a two-day visit to Lexington, Kentucky. The weather was crisp, the colors were changing, and the scenery could not have been more picturesque. But what really took our time in Lexington to the next level was renting a car from Enterprise. 

We’d been driving our trusty little Prius for thousands of miles and were desperate for some space. It was such a treat to have a newer, larger, and plusher vehicle to explore in, and the entire Enterprise rental process couldn’t have been easier! We dropped our Prius off to get serviced, and the Enterprise rental location was only a short walk away. We walked in, checked in at the counter, found out they were giving us an upgrade (oh no, hehe), and within minutes we were sitting in our spacious Nissan Armada. No disrespect to the Prius, but this was a SERIOUS upgrade. Comfortable seats, space in between us, incredible audio… can we just trade? 

Family photo! Can we keep the Armada and ditch the Prius?

One of our favorite things to do in a new destination is to drive around with no real agenda, and that’s exactly what we did. We stumbled upon charming estates, rolling hills, picturesque farms and stables, and even a castle! (WHO KNEW!) When we wanted to pull over, we would - even just to say hi to some friendly horses that were eagerly following our car. Even our pup Sally got a kick out of it!

Horse country views…

Made a new friend

A luxurious ride calls for a luxurious hotel… castle anyone?

Found a cute little lunch spot and Sally thought the burger was for her :)

Being that it is bourbon country, we also stopped at a few distilleries, whose grounds were just as beautiful and enchanting as the many estates we’d passed. (Two of our favorites were Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace - which also happens to be dog friendly!) We found quaint little cafes scattered throughout the countryside, many of which looked like something one would find in a Hallmark movie… it was all so picturesque!

Exploring the grounds at Buffalo Trace

Woodford Reserve has a stunning property!

Sally couldn’t taste bourbon, but she made friends.

Those couple of days adventuring through Kentucky were absolutely dreamy and ended up being exactly what we needed. And the biggest blessing was getting to do it all in our spacious Enterprise rental car that we jokingly named George. We still talk about George and how much we loved him. It was an experience we won’t soon forget!

We’ll be back to explore soon!

48 Hours in Norfolk, Virginia

Every once and awhile we visit a city that just gets it.

We can tell almost instantly - the downtown is cool and interesting, the culinary scene is popping, there’s an arts and culture scene that’s buzzing, and it just gives us that overall warm-and-fuzzy-feeling. That “we could live here” feeling. And that’s exactly how we felt about Norfolk, Virginia. It’s filled with history and charm, yet is hip and innovative and absolutely great for millennials like ourselves. Our time there was short (too short), but we did, saw, and ate as much as we could. And we’ve got a long list of spots to hit up when we return. Because we’ll definitely go back. (Next time with our little mini traveler!) 

In the meantime, here’s where to go and what to do if you only have 48 hours in Norfolk. We guarantee you’ll fall in love with this city, just as we did!

Family photo from our walk on the Elizabeth River Trail

MORNING

Coffee and pastries at La Brioche: La Brioche is a cozy little coffee and fresh-baked pastry shop will have you feeling like you’ve been transported to a Parisian cafe. Order a cappuccino and a croissant (or two) and snag a table in their upper-level seating area. 

Explore the NEON District: The NEON (New Energy Of Norfolk) Arts District is a must-see, with nearly 100 art murals scattered throughout its colorful streets. We suggest booking a walking tour with Norfolk Tour Company, where NEON District expert Josh will share fascinating stories about the artists and the significance of the artwork. Bring your camera, the photo opportunities are endless!

Lunch at Commune: Fresh, made from scratch, local, and downright delicious… there’s no doubt we’d be regulars at Commune if we lived in Norfolk. Their menu changes with the seasons, but it’s the kind of place where you can trust that everything is good. If you’re really hungry, try their famous chicken and waffles!

Morning light at La Brioche

Some of the murals are MASSIVE!

Josh will explain all the interesting details of the murals in the NEON District.

The Bacon Jam Burger at Commune is delicious!

AFTERNOON

Tour the Chrysler Museum of Art: This stunning (and free!) museum has one of the largest glass collections in the country - over 10,000 pieces! Beyond the intricate and extravagant glass displays, the Chrysler Museum also has many interactive and inspiring exhibits, with everything from contemporary art to Civil War photography.  

See a Glass blowing Demonstration: Hop next door to the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, where they offer free glass blowing demonstrations Tuesdays through Sundays at noon. You’ll be amazed at what they can create - right before your very eyes!

Glass blowing demonstration!

EVENING

Brewery Hop in the Chelsea neighborhood: The craft brewery scene is alive and thriving in Norfolk, and many of our favorite spots are walking distance from each other in the eclectic Chelsea neighborhood. Check out Benchtop Brewing, The Birch, Torch Bistro, and grab a drink and/or snack… and bring your pup! Their outdoor patios are puppy-approved!

Woodfire Pizza at Chelsea Bakehouse: End the night with the melt-in-your-mouth pizza from local favorite Chelsea Bakehouse. Eat it there or take it to go, either way you’re in for a real treat.  

Cheers to the Chelsea neighborhood!

We’re always fans of a good pizza!

MORNING

Coffee and Breakfast at Cure Coffeehouse:  Nothing excites us more than finding a good coffee shop in a new destination, and Cure Coffeehouse became our go-to spot while we were in Norfolk. (We went here everyday!) Not only is their coffee top-notch, but their breakfast menu is impressive too. We’re big fans of their avocado toast! 

Walk the Elizabeth River Trail to Ghent:  This 10.5 mile biking and pedestrian trail is not only beautiful, but a perfect way to see Norfolk’s iconic waterfront! We suggest taking it to West Ghent, a historic neighborhood that’s full of character and charm. 

Morning walk to cure with Sally

Morning avocado toast with Alli

Stroling to Ghent on the Elizabeth River Trail

We even found a dog park for Sally to get her wiggles out :)

AFTERNOON

Lunch at The Greenhouse Kitchen: We love a good hearty salad, and Greenhouse Kitchen may have the best salad concept menu we’ve ever seen. Everything from the ambiance to the presentation is inspiring, and we have no doubt that you’ll leave feeling healthy and extremely satisfied. (Note that the servings are LARGE, and that the “Elote Loco” appetizer is a must. A MUST!)

Tour The Nauticus and The Battleship Wisconsin:  We couldn’t get over how incredible this maritime-themed science center and museum were, where you can tour one of the largest and last battleships ever built by the US Navy. You’ll want to dedicate at least a couple of hours to explore, as you can walk through the many rooms, mess halls, cabins, and more. It was easily one of the highlights of our trip!

Greenhouse Kitchen was delicious and picture perfect!

We could have spent all day at the Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin.

We think we were meant for life on the open seas…

EVENING

Happy Hour at Grain: Rain or shine, this rooftop bar is the place to be for a delightful happy hour with gorgeous views of the Norfolk waterfront and both indoor and outdoor seating. Grain has a happy hour Monday-Friday, 5-7pm, and features $4 specialty wines, $4 craft beers, and $5 beer cocktails. You can’t beat the price - or the setting!

Sunset Cruise on the American Rover:  Walk across the street and board the spacious American Rover for a 2-hour sunset cruise along the Norfolk Harbor. You’ll learn about some of the sights along the waterfront, listen to live music, enjoy a drink from the onboard bar, and undoubtedly catch a picture-perfect sunset. Does it get any more romantic than that?

Late dinner at The Grilled Cheese Bistro:  If you love grilled cheese (and who doesn’t), you’ll want to run, not walk, to this fan-favorite bistro. Try “The Gooey” with a side of Tomato Basil Bisque, and prepare yourself for the ultimate comfort meal. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it!

Possibly the best views in town at Grain!

Sailing!

Nothing beats a sunset on the water.

This grilled cheese lives up to the hype. Go get one!

Any favorite Norfolk spots we’re missing? Leave a comment and let us know!   

5 Must-Do's on Louisiana's Northshore

We’ll be perfectly honest. We had no idea what to expect when it came to St. Tammany Parish, aka Louisiana Northshore. We hadn’t heard much about it, and our knowledge of the region was pretty scarce. When planning our trip to Louisiana’s Northshore, we figured we’d try some good cajun food, maybe even see a crocodile - but beyond that we really weren’t sure! Located just 40 minutes from New Orleans’ French Quarter, we now wish we would have made it over when we visited NOLA last spring.

We love it when a destination takes us by surprise. 

When a place that we’ve never been and don’t know much about instantly pulls at our heartstrings and embraces us in such a way that we leave saying, “That was SO cool!” That’s what happened with Luisiana’s Northshore. Sure, we ate our weight in cajun home cooking, and we even stumbled upon a few crocodiles (a novelty to us California folks), but it was SO much more than that! Louisiana’s Northshore is filled with charming towns, friendly locals, scenic activities and escapes, and just the kind of flavorful cuisine we’d hoped it would have (more on the food scene, here). 

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While we could’ve easily doubled this list, we’ve narrowed it down to five “Must Do’s” while you’re in Louisiana’s Northshore. Enjoy!

1. TAKE A SUNSET PONTOON RIDE 

There’s no better way to see Louisiana Northshore than by boat, and not just any kind of boat… a pontoon! Our friend Captain Mike at Louisiana Tours and Adventures will not only give you a tour packed with history, random facts (ask him to point out Britney Spears’ old house!), and jaw-dropping sights, but he’ll make sure you’re in the best, most scenic spot just in time to catch the sunset! Make sure to pack a picnic, and plenty of “The Boot” - a Louisiana beer (ONLY Louisiana, because they don’t let this one go outside the boot, aka the state) that’s not to be missed!

New friends!

Dinner and a sunset. See the sun about to dip below the horizon?

2. RIDE BIKES AROUND MANDEVILLE

Mandeville is one of the charming little towns nestled along the water, spacious streets and sidewalks make it perfectly bikeable. Rent a couple of cruisers from the friendly folks at Brook’s Bike Shop, and spend a morning (or an afternoon, whatever you prefer!) riding along the Tammany Trace, a 31 mile “rails to trails” conversion - connecting five Louisiana Northshore communities! After you’re done, do a little boutique shopping on Lakeshore Drive, and don’t forget to stop at The Candy Bank!

3. SEE A JAZZ CONCERT AT DEW DROP JAZZ AND SOCIAL HALL

If you’re an avid jazz fan, chances are you’re familiar with the Dew Drop Jazz and Social Hall. Not only is it the oldest jazz hall in the WORLD, it’s virtually unaltered, looking just as it did more than a century ago! Famous jazz musicians from around the world have played there, from Buddy Petit and Kid Ory - and it still attracts jaw-dropping headliners! Find their concert schedule here. (Oh, and if you’re hungry, grab dinner from the cute little church ladies at the Free Mission next door!) 

4. GO CANOEING WITH CANOE AND TRAIL

Canoeing is always a good idea, especially in the Louisiana wetlands! Rent a canoe (or kayak) from Canoe and Trail, and leisurely float along the river… it’s peaceful, serene, and even dog-friendly, so bring your pup! When you’re done exploring, make sure to end the outing with fresh oysters at The Chimes Covington!

Sally’s first time in a canoe!

5. SHOP THE ANTIQUE STORES IN DOWNTOWN COVINGTON

Founded in 1813, Covington is a charming and historic little town bustling with galleries, boutiques, museums, cafes and you guessed it… antique stores! Located inside quaint converted cottages, Covington’s antique and collectibles shops are absolutely adorable… and you’re sure to find some amazing local gems! Pop into the posh English Tea Room or chic Cypress Bar at the Southern Hotel for a refreshment after!

Bobby found a really special antique

Southern Comfort Food at it's Finest on Louisiana's Northshore

This past March we were introduced to cajun cooking in New Orleans, and it’s safe to say that our taste buds have never been the same. The zesty spices, the hearty jambalayas and gumbos, the fusion of fresh seafood and fried, buttery sides.. It’s unlike any other cuisine we’ve had, and it’s absolutely addicting. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it!

While it’s easy to immediately pair Cajun and Creole-influenced cooking and southern comfort food exclusively with New Orleans, this vibrant cuisine can actually be found all over the great state of Louisiana! One particular spot where we’ve found this fare really shines is the Louisiana Northshore - and while we only had a few short days to indulge, we found some not-to-miss spots to eat (and drink)!

HAMBONE

Located right in the heart of Old Mandeville, Hambone is a family-run restaurant that specializes in locally-sourced, creative and fresh dishes served in a casual and homey atmosphere. 

It’s the kind of place where you walk through the doors and you instantly feel like family - and it’s also the kind of place that you can smell from a mile away. (Three words: freshly baked biscuits.) From their Ham and Cheese Croquettes, to their Oysters Marci, to their famous Chicken Biscuit, it’s Southern comfort food at its best. (And we’re happy to report that their outdoor seating is puppy-approved!)

We’d come back for the Chicken Biscuit

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THE CHIMES COVINGTON

You can’t beat the views - or the extensive and hearty menu at The Chimes Covington. Grab a table outside (once again, dog friendly!) and chances are you’ll see their resident goats roaming the property, and maybe even a turtle or two! 

Order some hushpuppies, Louisiana Alligator, Chargrilled Oysters, and maybe even a Crawfish Etouffee - and you’ve got the ultimate Louisiana Northshore lunch experience. (If you’re really hungry, order one of their famous Po’ boy sandwiches too!) You’ll definitely need a nap after this one. 

Hush puppies and alligator… YUM

Hush puppies and alligator… YUM

Chargrilled Oysters… the culinary highlight of Bobby’s trip

THE CYPRESS BAR AT THE SOUTHERN HOTEL 

There’s nothing like a refreshing cocktail (or mocktail - if you’re pregnant like me), after an afternoon of sightseeing and feasting on Southern comfort food. The Cypress Bar at The Southern Hotel in Downtown Covington is as charming as it is inviting, with a cozy sitting area and friendly bartenders that are eager to please. 

They offer everything from specialty cocktails to whiskey tastings, and if you’re lucky, you might even catch some live music! The historic Covington murals on the walls will have you feeling as though you’ve transported to a different era, and the bar snacks are downright tasty, too!

OXLOT 9

Also located inside The Southern Hotel, Oxlot 9 is an upscale southern bistro that specializes in innovative and sophisticated dishes that are fresh, seasonal, and downright delicious. We highly suggest their Sunday Brunch, which features a rotating menu of gulf-inspired classics - from Crab Cake Benedict to Shrimp & Stone Ground Grits!

If you’re feeling adventurous, try their famous Fried Frog Legs, which Chef Jeffrey Hansell prepared when he competed on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay.

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Amazing live music at Oxlot 9

Give us ALL the Crab Cake Benedict

THE LAKEHOUSE MANDEVILLE

Our pick for a romantic and intimate date night, The Lakehouse Mandeville is a favorite among Mandeville locals and visitors alike, and for good reason! Not only do they have breathtaking lake views, but they have an upscale menu that’s both decadent and beautifully presented.

We recommend indulging in their iconic “1840 Supper”, which includes soup or salad, a Hereford Filet or the Gulf Fish of the Day, and their White Chocolate Bread Pudding a la Mode. And yes, that dessert is as rich and gooey and delicious as it sounds!

The Lakehouse Mandeville - a beautiful date night spot

There’s no doubt that the culinary scene in Louisiana's Northshore is impressive, and it’s growing rapidly, too. We can’t wait to return and see what new restaurants have popped up throughout the coast… send us a message and let us know if we missed any of your favorites!