For lunch we stopped at Pisa Lisa in Sedona. The patio at Pisa Lisa is pet friendly and our waitress brought over a bowl of water for Fred without us asking. We started the meal with the Caesar Brutus Salad (expect for me because it contains dairy). We then ordered Deluxe Semplice which is a vegan pizza. I was also able to order it on their gluten free crust. Everyone else ordered the Melanzane Parmigiana. Everything was delicious but I must go a step further and praise the restaurant for their gluten free crust. My vegan and gluten free pizza was a wonderful texture, salty from the tapenade, savory from the grilled eggplant, a touch of bitterness from arugula, and utterly satisfying! Oh how I wish I could get one of these in Boston!!!
On the way out of the restaurant my parents stopped to by a few items from their store. I noticed some gelato and sorbet and just had to try the coconut lemongrass. It was delicious! Bold in flavor and yet refreshing. I keep saying I would go all the way to Santa Fe for Taco's from El Chile Toreado and I would for sure go to Sedona just for this pizza!!
After lunch we headed up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Last year Greg and I only took pictures from the lower parking area. The Chapel was extremely busy and congested with cars but we were able to find a parking spot. My parents were able to catch a ride with one of the golf carts to the top. Greg, myself, and Fred walked the short distance. Not only is this Chapel unique and beautiful but the views are stunning.
We had dinner reservations for Creekside American Bistro so we headed back to our hotel to freshen up. We arrived at Creekside American Bistro on time and were shown to our table on the pet friendly back patio. The hostess gave each of us our menus....including Fred. Yes Creekside American Bistro offers a dog menu.
We started our meal with drinks, the charred calamari salad and the hummus sampler plate. For entrees we ordered the country style chicken breast, the duck confit, curried lamb adobo, and the seared scallops and pork belly. Fred thoroughly enjoyed his huge portion of steak tartar! The staff at the restaurant are always smiling, knowledgeable about the menu, and understanding when it comes to allergies. The food is beautifully presented, seasoned perfectly, and consistently delicious.
This review took place in October 2016.
We left Santa Fe early in the morning and took a scenic route while heading to Sedona AZ. The Turquoise trail is only a little longer than heading out on the highway and it provides beautiful views and goes right through Madrid NM. Our next stop was for pictures and shopping at The Continental Divide.
Next up we had an unplanned but amazing excursion! We decided to visit Petrified Forest National Park. We stopped at the visitors center for restrooms, souvenirs, and the post office first. We made our way through the park and saw amazing scenery, petrified wood, beautiful colors, and cool petroglyphs! This was truly a first for me! The couple of hours we spent here were well worth it!!
The drive from Flagstaff to Sedona on Route 89A is just beautiful. When you start to enter Sedona it's like a hidden gem among the forest.
We greeted right away at the Sedona Real Inn. We were given our two rooms, a pet bowl, leash, and treats. The new manager was very friendly and very honest about the new changes. I had previously inquired about my allergies and breakfast at the hotel (included in room rate) and received a not so nice response. That individual is no longer with the property and the manager was willing to work with the staff for my allergies.
Our rooms were on the first floor and were spacious, very clean, and nicely decorated. The gated picnic, fire pit, and pet area are really nice and was perfect for our stay. We never had breakfast at the hotel. We went one morning and unfortunately the breakfast area is small and was beyond crowded with people (looked like part of a bus tour) and the room was stuffy. Otherwise we enjoyed our stay.
This review took place in October 2016.
On our 5th day of vacation we spent the day in and around Santa Fe NM. In the morning we drove out to Santuario de Chimayo. We enjoyed the short drive to the church and even found a small farmers market to stop at on the way back to Santa Fe. The church is picturesque, serene, and inspiring. Within the property you will find the church, a gift shop, multiple monuments and more. While there we took lots of photographs, bought some souvenirs, and brought home Holy Water, and Holy Dirt.
Heading back to Santa Fe we found lots of fun places to stop and enjoy on this beautiful day. Our first stop was just down the road. We enjoyed a wine tasting and gourmet shopping at Estrella del Norte Vineyard. The tasting room is pet friendly, offers a nice standing area as well as tables outside. The staff was knowledgeable and social. We all purchased several bottles of wine. Our favorite ended up being the Tempranillo. We highly recommend the stop. Our next stop was at the farmers market for some pinions.
For a unique and tasty stop we visited Kakawa Chocolate House. Kakawa Chocolate House offers delicious drinking chocolates in a variety of flavor combinations, handmade chocolates, and desserts. I especially love that they have a large offering of dairy free drinks and chocolates! We ordered drinks and chocolates and enjoyed the sunlight on their pet friendly patio. Since coming home I have also ordered from Kakawa and found the service just as wonderful.
After our snacks we went over to see San Miguel Chapel and the Oldest House in the U.S. After our sightseeing we just had to go back for some more tacos at El Chile Toreado!! On the way back to our hotel we crossed the street and visited the Santuario de Guadalupe. My parents met a very friendly guide inside the church who gave them a tour of the entire property.
For dinner we had reservations at La Plazuela. Unfortunately, I made a mistake regarding the reservation time. However what ensued was outrageous! I contacted the hotel to verify that they were pet friendly. Once I heard they were I made a reservation. The gentlemen I spoke with gave me a very hard time because I wasn't traveling with a service dog. We finally agreed to two tables in the hallway for 4 adults and a small dog.
We checked in and we were early. After explaining this to the same gentlemen he informed me that we would be seated at 7:30. I thought I made it for 7. This part was completely my fault. However there was no we can't seat you earlier, just a constant condescending remark that we would be seated at 7:30. Finally I had to say I am aware that this was my fault there is no reason to keep bringing it up in your condescending tone! I said please cancel our reservation since that would be too late for my parents.
I was so flustered by this interaction I asked to speak to a manager. Gabe Martinez, the very friendly and warm hotel night manager understood my concerns completely. Gabe asked if we would like to return unfortunately we are leaving in the morning. Gabe went a step further and offered us complimentary drinks in the hotel bar. Again, I had to decline as my party was already heading elsewhere. I completely appreciated the sentiment though. Thanks Gabe!
This review is from October 2016
This morning we got an early start so we would have time to explore in the unique cities along the way to Santa Fe NM. It was really nice to see Cadillac Ranch early in the morning. We were practically the only people there, the temperature was cool, and the sun offered us different views of the ranch. As an added bonus we found some paint cans that weren't empty. Naturally we had to contribute to the art!
In Tucumcari NM you will find many original Route 66 locations. On one hand Tucumcari is a little forgotten. There are lot of closed down buildings, a lot of rundown historic sites, and has a small population. With that said Greg and I both really like Tucumcari. We have found the people we met were friendly and cared about the history. We both have said that we would love to move there and restore more of the town.
One of our favorite stops in town is to visit Tee Pee Curios (pet friendly). We stop in for some nice conversation and for some fun souvenirs. The unique pictures we get to take of the outside is just a bonus.
Onward to Santa Fe and to some lunch!! We were getting pretty hungry so the minute we entered Santa Fe NM. We headed to El Chile Toreado!! I can't even begin to express how good these tacos are! These are my favorite tacos I have ever had. We ordered Carnita's, Al Pastor, and Chicharones (soft not crunchy pork fat). The Al Pastor were the favorite in my opinion. They were tender, rich, and not overly sweet from the pineapple. The Carnita's were also very good. A must on the Carnita's is El Chile Toreado's green sauce! YUM!!
Our last stop of the day was to our hotel www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/new-mexico/hilton-santa-fe-historic-plaza.../index.htmlThe Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza. We were welcomed as Diamond Members. We were given 2 Deluxe King Rooms on the 3rd floor (last year we were lucky enough to be upgraded to a suite), breakfast vouchers and access to the executive lounge. Our room was large with a king bed, chair, couch, table, fridge, and coffee machine. The Bathroom door isn't 100% private (similar to a sliding barn door) but it doesn't bother us. This was our 2nd stay at the hotel and we found the staff just as friendly/helpful, the property in great condition, and the rooms comfortable.
During our stay we ordered drinks from the bar a couple of times and enjoyed them out front on the patio furniture and lit fireplaces. Since we had Fred with us we had to take our breakfast to go. The staff helped us with napkins, utensils, and a bag. We again enjoyed our food out front on the patio furniture.
We would definitely stay here a 3rd time and recommend this hotel to others.
For dinner we went to Casa Chimayo which was pet friendly. We were seated right away and had a nice corner table where Fred wouldn't be too much of a bother. Perfect for us! Our waitress was very nice and offered suggestions. To start we ordered chips, salsa, and El Burro's (vanilla bean infused vodka mules). My entree was the Chicken Mole. The Mole was good and plentiful but I was hoping for a little more depth in flavor. Greg enjoyed the Blue Corn Enchilada's which were also featured on The Food Network's Diners, Drive In's and Dives.
My parents stayed back at the hotel that evening so we brought them some dessert. We brought them some Pastelitos's (apples in flaky pastry), and Elena's Sopa (a type of bread pudding).
Driving further west we found ourselves in search of a giant whale! In Catoosa OK you can stop at the Blue Whale of Catoosa where you can walk into the Whale, climb to the 2nd level, and enjoy a picnic at some of the nearby tables. Across the way there is also a taco stand. We didn't try the tacos on this trip but maybe next time.
Our 3rd stop of the day was a bit of a disappointment. Last year Greg and I loved our stop at the pet friendly POP'S Soda Ranch. This year we found that they were no longer pet friendly and that the food wasn't consistent. I thoroughly enjoyed a burger on a dairy free & gluten free bun. The bun was soft and delicious sadly it's not sold in stores. I took my burger to go and sat outside in the sunshine with Greg and Fred. My parents opted to dine inside. Sadly they ended up with entrees that were bland, dry, and not worth the money. We did bring home some interesting soda's though. The ranch, cookies and cream, and bacon soda were the most memorable.
Our next 3 stops were quick pictures and historic landmarks. In Hydro OK we stopped to see Lucille's famous Rte 66 gas station. On both of of our road trips we have stopped here and even though there is always other tourists it's a fun stop for pictures. In Shamrock TX we stopped for pictures at the Tower Station and U Drop Inn Cafe. Nearby you can go and search for a piece of the Blarney Stone (yes the actually one in Ireland). Greg and I found it last year but we were running out of time this year.
Once we were in Texas we stopped at one of our favorite rest areas. At exit 131 westbound on I40 you will find a rest area with beautiful views, unique picnic areas, and clean and modern interiors.
Our final stop of the day was the Home2 Suites in Amarillo TX. We checked into the Home2Suites and were given room 415 a 1 bedroom with living room. The hotel is in a decent area, offers modern decor, and has welcoming staff. Our room was clean and offered plenty of room for the 4 of us to eat and sleep in. Unfortunately, the bathroom was in need of updating. The old shower hardware was removed and poorly replaced. It looked like a horrible patch job. We would stay here again though.
Here's a map of our route for the day!
This review is from October 2016.
We left Dublin OH early in the morning but just had to make a quick stop before leaving town. How can you not stop at a field of concrete corn cobs!!! The giant cobs of corn are a reminder of the area's long history of agriculture.
Our next stop for the day was an unplanned stop at the Warm Glow Candle Outlet Store in Centerville IN. We were thrilled to see that their store was pet friendly! Fred loves to be included in shopping trips! Inside we found unique candles, gifts, foodie finds, clean restrooms, and a cute cafe. We put our purchases into the car and headed to our next stop!
The 2nd stop of the day was to see the Kaskaskia Dragon in Vandalia IL. We went into the liquor store across from the metal dragon and purchased a couple of tokens. These tokens are the way to make the dragon breathe fire. Unfortunately, we were fighting the sun and the wind so pictures of the dragon don't show the fire but it was fun to see in person. For lunch we stopped at Five Guys for burgers and french fries. I know it's not a local spot but it's one of the safest options for me and my allergies.
When I was younger my family always made road trips to Colorado. Each time we headed west we would stop in St Louis MO to see the Gateway Arch. We didn't get out of the car on this trip but it was nice to see the arch again.
For the 3rd stop of the day we visiting the town of Cuba MO. Along route 66 in Cuba you will find the Murals of Cuba. The Murals are out doors and are truly unique and beautiful.
Our stopping point for the day was Springfield MO. We booked the DoubleTree Springfield hotel for the night. We were welcomed as Diamond members and given our two rooms we requested online. Thanks to our membership we were given access to the 10th floor lounge and breakfast vouchers. The lounge is 24 hours which we found nice (a few other Hilton properties no longer offer 24 hours). Our rooms were clean and offered the usually amenities that DoubleTree is known for.
For dinner we opted for room service. We ordered Thai Chicken Wings, Char Crusted Ahi Tuna, and a Brentwood Chicken Sandwich. The staff also took note of my allergies. The service was quick and friendly and the food was fresh and flavorful. Breakfast the next morning was also good and the staff allowed my husband to take breakfast back to our room since we had Fred with us.
This review is from October 2016.
3 am wake up call!! Luckily the car was loaded the night before so all we had to do is get dressed and pile into the car! This drive could be a lot of fun if you stop along the way. Upper State New York is filled with natural sights to see and well rated wineries. Unfortunately, we didn't get any of those stops. We decided to make dinner plans with family in Ohio so we need to get to Ohio, check into our hotel, and head to their house asap.
We booked the Homewood Suites in Dublin Ohio for our stay. Greg and I had stayed at this hotel the year before. Sadly the hotel wasn't up to last years standards. As a Diamond member and one using our points for this stay we found the value lacking. The rugs throughout the property were covered in crumbs, the walls and elevators were horribly scraped. We were given room 208 a 1 bedroom suite. The room offered the amenities we needed for a 1 night stay however the room wasn't perfect either. The bedding for the pull out couch was riddled with holes, the curtains were stained, and the desk chair looked dirty.
We did a quick refresh and headed out to visit with family. Before arriving we stopped at Mozart's bakery in Columbus OH for some delicious looking goodies. That night we were a group of 9 and 2 dogs who got to hang out, eat delicious tacos, and have lots of laughs!!
This review is from October 2016.
Greg and I invited my parents on a 2 week road trip back to the Southwest US. Luckily my father has an over-sized SUV for the 4 of us plus Fred! Our road trip is a mix of silly road side attractions, awe inspiring national and state parks, various lodging types, and always delicious food! I'll write about our whole trip (the bad, the good, and the amazing) by writing a day by day diary!
This is roughly the route we took showing the main locations we stayed in. The miles we drove to different sights isn't included nor is Omaha NE our stay on the ride home.
Here are just a few pics from the upcoming posts!!
This review is from January 2017.
Apparently people in western Massachusetts and Connecticut only like Dunkin Donuts. We couldn't find an easily accessible Starbucks for the life of us. With that being said we checked into our hotel and made our way over to Ippodo Tea for a couple Matcha Tea drinks. Greg opted for a strong Matcha (sadly I can't remember the name) while I chose a Matcha Soy latte. A very enjoyable start to the weekend.
Our main reason for our weekend in NYC was so that I could take Greg to some of the museums I've been to. Occasionally we go to New York and I get to explore but poor Greg has to work. On this trip we went to MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) and to The MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Here's some of our favorite moments from MOMA
Both of us are enamored how The MET creates experiences with their collection! Here's some of our faves from The Met
On Saturday January 21st 2017 we were lucky enough to witness and be a small part of the Women's March. We were profoundly happy to see what can be done through solidarity!
This review is from January 2017.
We had been hoping to try Momosan since it's opening. We walked to the restaurant since it was close by and arrived a little before 8 p.m. We were seated right away at a communal style table. We opted to sit next to each other rather than across from one another. We ordered buta kimchi (fermented cabbage and pork jowls) and crispy mimiga (pigs ear) to start our meal. The buta kimchi was mild in spice but for my tastes it was a bit too sour. The crispy mimiga was crunchy, salted, and addictive!
For our entrees Greg chose the tonkotsu ramen (pork) and I opted for the special duck ramen. Both ramens offered flavorful broths, slightly chewy noodles, and tender meat.
We decided to splurge for our "dessert." We ordered two glasses of the Morimoto 10 year aged sake. It was delicious and the perfect end to our meal.
Both of us can't wait to return!