Travel Guide

Stockholm: island hopping in a fairy tale city.

We fell in love with Stockholm while island hopping and were totally charmed by this archipelago of more than 24,000 islands and islets.  All the islands are connected by trains, ferries and bridges.  The city is beautiful in the summer and gleams in the winter.  Stockholm is easily our favorite place in Europe and here are the spots that we always try to go back to during every visit!

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TO EAT

Hermans  – Fjällgatan 23B, 116 28 Stockholm  We are usually fans of neither buffet nor vegetarian restaurants.  Hermans convinced us that it’s possible for a vegetarian buffet to be exceptionally tasty and delicious!  The restaurant is located on a hill next to the river overlooking the city.  This spot is not to be missed!

Tradition – Tulegatan 10, 113 53 Stockholm  This restaurant has two locations — we went to the beautiful branch on Gamla Stan.  To get a taste of traditional Swedish cuisine, this place is a must!  Go wild with elderberry akvavit (a Scandinavian spirit), smoked heart of reindeer, and Swedish meatballs.  Everything is delicious!

Soldaten Svejk – Östgötagatan 35, 116 25 Stockholm  Our Swedish friends took us to this Czech restaurant during our first trip to Stockholm and we’ve made it a mandatory destination every time we come back to the city.  The must-haves include beer cheese, schnitzel, gulasch, and potato pancakes served with pork and loganberry jam.  And needless to say, get a couple pints of refreshing Czech beers!

Shibumi – 114 25, Kungstensgatan 2, 114 25 Stockholm  This Michelin guide restaurant completely lives up to every expectation. It’s best to share every little thing from the menu.  As with fancy Japanese restaurants, not only is the food at Shibumi delicious, the presentation is also out of this world beautiful.  All the sushi dishes are creative and tasty!

Nook – Åsögatan 176, 116 32 Stockholm  Treat yourself to a three-course menu of heavenly food at Nook!  Two choices of menus cost 350-400SKK (around $42-$50) and features Nordic flavors infused with Asian twists.  Everything is delightful and luscious!

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TO DRINK

19 Glas – Stora Nygatan 19, 111 27 Stockholm  Wonderful wine bar with large selection of wines from all over the world.  Don’t hesitate to ask the bartender (who might also be the owner!) for recommendations!

Mälarpaviljongen – Norr Mälarstrand 64, 112 35 Stockholm  In the summer, the Stockholm waterfront comes alive with opportunities to eat and drink outside while enjoying the 20 hours of daylight. This stylish bar is on a barge and far from any tourist activity.

Cafe af Chapman – Flaggmansvägen 8, 111 49 Stockholm  af Chapman, a ship from the 19th century, is now a hostel and also home to a great bar.  Coming from New York City, we thought a party on af Chapman would requires mingling with all sorts of fancy people in boat shoes.  However, the ambiance was chill, friendly, and perfect for catching up with friends.  And the boat is beautiful!

Pharmarium – Stortorget 7, 111 29 Stockholm  Great bar with delicious drinks.

Mosebacketerrassen – Mosebacke torg 3, 116 46 Stockholm  We came to this bar when it was already starting to get cold at night in Stockholm but could see how wonderful it would be to sit outside at Mosebacketerrassen in the warm summer months to have a beer while enjoying the view of Stockholm.

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TO SEE

Vasa Museum – Galärvarvsvägen 14, 115 21 Stockholm  A maritime museum located on the island of Djurgården, the Vasa is quite impressive not only because it’s the home of a 17th century 64-gun warship but also because of its beautiful architecture.  The museum was built around the ship, which was salvaged 300 years after it sank, and features a stunning copper roof.  

Fotografiska – Stadsgårdshamnen 22, 116 45 Stockholm  An amazing photography museum with rotating exhibitions!  When we were there, the wonderful portraits by Martin Schoeller were on view, which was an awesome treat.  The Fotografiska also has one of the  most beautiful museum cafés we’ve ever seen.  

Monteliusvägen  This quarter mile walking path is a hidden spot overlooking lake Mälaren.   It offers the most beautiful view of Stockholm, especially during sunset!

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Travel Guide

Montréal: eat, drink, and winter jacket shopping.

We tend to end up in Montréal on American holidays — Fourth of July 2009, Fourth of July 2011, and Thanksgiving 2014.  The first time we went to Montréal as poor college students, we decided to find some free housing on Couchsurfing.  It turned out to be an amazing experience as we stayed with four different hosts who so kindly open their homes to us and showed us around.  We became good friends with many people we met on this first trip and fell in love with Montréal.  This city is truly lovely all year round.  Well… it’s really cold there in the winter; but the good new is if you are ready to invest in a good winter jacket — there are some amazing options, designed and/or made locally in Montréal.

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TO EAT

Joe Beef  If you are a meat lover, you will love this place!  So many interesting dishes to try, including the foie gras double down — two slabs of foie gras, breaded with crumbled potato chips, deep-fried, stuffed with bacon, cheddar, and aïoli, and drizzled with maple syrup.  The only advice: don’t try to eat this by yourself.  Otherwise, go crazy and you will not regret it!

Le Vin Papillon  Same owner as Joe Beef but with a more “normal” menu.  Everything is amazing — try them all!

Restaurant Le P’tit Plateau  Our friend Manat recommended this amazing tiny little BYOB spot and it did not disappoint!  Bring a couple bottles of wines and buckle down for some of the most well-prepared classic French dishes such as cassoulet and magret de canard.  We had an amazing time and our bellies were quite satisfied!

La Banquise  Poutine  If you have had poutine, you know it’s genius!  If you haven’t, poutine is a Canadian dish (Québecois to be exact) consisting of fries topped with cheese curds and a brown gravy sauce.  At La Banquise, your wildest dream about poutine will come true as they take the poutine toppings to the next level!

Shambala  One of the first friends whom we met in Montréal took us to this little Tibetan restaurant and it remains on our list of favorite places ever since.  This is your chance to try yak meat and salted butter tea!

Schwartz’s  This is a MUST GO in Montréal! The most amazing pastrami!  If there’s a line, don’t worry it moves fast; but try to avoid prime meal times so that you don’t have to wait in line at all!  The meat has the exact amount of fatty bits to keep it moist and is so tender that it melts in your mouth.  The large plate is perfect to share between two people!

Sumac  Wonderful Middle Eastern spot for a quick lunch.  Everything is beautiful and tasty!

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TO DRINK

Big in Japan Bar  Beautiful speakeasy with great cocktails!

Dieu du Ciel  Tasty beers. ‘Nuf said.

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TO SEE

Westmount Greenhouse  Beautiful greenhouse that is open to the public free of charge!  It’s such a hidden gem and a true oasis of nature in the middle of the city.  Come with breakfast or lunch or a snack to take in this beautiful view

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TO SHOP FOR WINTER JACKETS

After four brutal winters in New York City, I always resorted to wearing 4-5 layers when it’s cold and never thought that one jacket would ever be enough.  Then my life was forever changed when I decided to invest in a real winter jacket with a good down layer!  Bye bye layers.  Hello wearing-summer-clothes-under-my-extremely-warm-jacket!  The challenge with finding the ideal outerwear is the perfect marriage between style and warmth.  Check out these awesome local Montréal brands!

m0851

Mackage

Rudsak

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Travel Guide

New Year in Dublin.

After spending three New Year’s Eves in New York City, we were ready for a change and looked tirelessly for an affordable getaway.  Fortunately, a great deal showed up for Dublin where we had never been.  Without much consideration, we took this opportunity to spend a week in the land of ire.  We stayed with an Airbnb host who so graciously invited us to spend an amazing New Year’s Eve with him and his friends.  We took so many long walks, connected with old friends and new friends, frequented many pubs, drank a gazillion beers, and had delicious food.  Here’s our guide to Dublin!

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EAT

Crackbird  New Yorkers are no stranger to Korean fried chicken.  This spot has solid fried chicken PLUS delicious brews from the local Eight Degrees Brewing

Leo Burdock’s  Classic fish & chip.  Fresh and delicious.

Neon  The food is great but what’s the best about this place?  It’s that they give you an ice cream cone with your meal so that you can get a free soft serve afterwards.  Amazing and genius!

Yamamori Izakaya  Great food!

l’Gueuleton  Classic and delicious french food.  The restaurant is also connected to The Bar With No Name, a great hidden spots with outdoor seatings.

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DRINK

Bull and Castle  Classic Irish pub with tons of beers that could only be found in Ireland as well as some global selections.  The extensive selection could be intimidating but stick with the Irish brews as they are delicious!  Galway Hooker, Metalman, Trouble, O’Hara’s, Dingle… — try them all!

The Royal Oak  This pub is so quaint and amazing!  It’s a family-run pub frequented by mostly locals.  After a delicious homemade New Year’s Eve dinner, we stumbled with some new Irish friends to their favorite neighborhood spot and it turned out to be a true hidden gem.  The place is tiny but the beer selection is grand.  It also features a traditional pub snug with private access to the bar.

The Palace Bar  If you wander to Temple Bar and was not feeling the touristy vibe at all, please check out this pub before leaving the tourist trap!  You will feel the difference as soon as you walk in the place — despite its location in the middle of Temple Bar, the crowd consists to all locals and the ambience is nice and perfect for conversations.

Bison Bar & BBQ  We did not try the BBQ but the brews were great!  Another nice & chill pub!

The Porterhouse  We are huge fans of the historic Porterhouse Fraunces Tavern in New York City and couldn’t miss checking out the original Porterhouse in Dublin.  It did not disappoint!

The Library Bar  Hidden and charming bar in The Central Hotel.  Fireplace and brews — what else would one need?

Guinness Storehouse  Free pint with your tour ticket!  We went straight to the Gravity Bar on the top floor to sip our beer while enjoying the 360° view of the city.  Ask the bartender to draw your name on the beer — it’s not exclusive to latte art!

The Long Hall  Another great pub!  Definitely stop by if you’re around.

The Bar With No Name  Connected to the Kellys Hotel and l’Gueuleton restaurant, this place feels like a big house party with multiple rooms and outdoor space.  Great spot!

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COFFEE & SNACKS

Insomnia  They are everywhere!  And they have delicious coffee!  Do check it out if you see one!

Brother Hubbard  Coffee and sweets!

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SEE

Old Jameson Distillery  This spot wasn’t on our list but we stumbled upon it and decided to check it out.  All the tours were full so we just had some drinks in the pretty lobby bar.

Irish Museum of Modern Art (the IMMA) and Phoenix Park   The IMMA was closed for a while a renovation and had just reopened right before we got there – lucky us!  The galleries aren’t huge but the building, which used to be a 17th-century hospital, is truly beautiful.  The museum is connected to the amazing Phoenix Park, a 1700-acre green space in the heart of Dublin.

Howth  Our host kindly drove us to Howth for a quick day trip.  Howth is right outside of Dublin and is a cute little fishing village.  We walked out to the lighthouse, climbed up to Howth Head, then had delicious oysters and guinness at The Bloody Stream.

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SHOP

Designist  Super fun design store where we discover a new favorite local artist Clover Rua.  Check her out as her prints are amazing!

Irish Design Shop  All kinds of beautiful!

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There are still many places on our to-do list that we didn’t get to visit during our short stay.  Check out Phuong’s Foursquare list here!

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Music

LA Cruising Music

When people think LA music, one of the first things to come to mind is the explosion of gangster rap in the late 80s and early 90s. Due to the ever present east coast media bias, a lot of LA hip hop doesn’t see the light of day the further you travel from the coast. Truth is, LA hip hop has never faded away, and there are plenty of young guys making solid tracks on the best coast. I’m sure you have all heard of Odd Future, Kendrick Lamar, and Murs, so in preparation for our trip out west, here are a few other artists we enjoy representing SoCal:

Tiron & Ayomari

Blu & Exile

Paris Jones

For more of a classic LA feel. Definitely check out the homie BAMBU

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Music

Seattle Tunes We Dig, Ya Dig?!

We are traveling to Seattle tomorrow for a short trip. Thought we would post about some of the music we are into from the area! Look out for future posts about regional music.

What’s not to love about Seattle? Crisp clean air, picturesque terrain, clear blue summers, classic grey winters. We could go on and on. The geography of the NW Emerald City never ceases to amaze us, but it’s what the people have created here that really speaks for this city.

It’s taking everything in my power to not bust out a full wiki style blog post about the Seattle music scene and my opinions why it popped off in the Post-War Era. But shout out to the Baby Boomers for making it happen. Everyone in the universe loves Jimi Hendrix, so thats enough evidence. Instead of the boring history lesson, I’ll just share a brief story with y’all.

The year was 2002, I had just started getting into hip hop foreal (when I say foreal I mean listening to my brothers’ collections and never to the radio). Through extensive digging through digital record crates (aka pirating music online), I came across a track “Odds on Favorite” by Boom Bap Project. MY GOD what a track. Ask anyone, we played this jam in our shared bedroom atleast 20x a day. Boom Bap Project became my favorite hip hop artist. Fast forward a little bit, their next album Reprogram came out right as I was about to head off to college. I couldn’t wait to be a Seattle hip hop evangelist for all these southern folks. There was a dude I met in school who was from the 206 named Steve. We chatted it up a little bit about the great NW (by then I had visited quite a few times for various reasons). He told me if I was onto Boom Bap, I HAD to check out some other ish. Per his recommendation I got hooked on Blue Scholars and Gabriel Teodros. I think I still have facebook message he sent me about those guys.

Since then I’ve been shouting to the rooftops about Seattle hip hop. It’s real, it’s honest, it hits, it bumps, it’s unique, and most importantly THEY SUPPORT EACHOTHER. You’d be hard pressed to find these guys trying to emulate. With the recent success of the homie Macklemore, I think people are just now starting to really take a second glance at 206 hip hop. Here is a list of some seattle cats we dig, ya dig?

Blue Scholars

The Physics

Sol

Nacho Picasso

Grynch

Brothers From Another

The list goes on and on. There are many more amazing artists, I suggest you all do a little digging and see if you find anything you like! Here are some bonus indie/rock mentions:

Pretty Girls Make Graves

Minus the Bear

The Blood Brothers

Tried to keep this post as short as I could, but I’m longwinded. Peace.

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In merely a week, we will be in the Northwest, our favorite part of the U.S.  It is always hard to go back somewhere when there are so many places in the world to see.  However, Seattle holds a special place in our little hearts because of the beautiful evergreen trees, the clean air, the people, the Seahawks, and the happening hip hop scene.  Our last trip to Seattle was two years ago and we cannot wait to be back.  Be on the lookout to our  travel guide and music from some of our favorite Seattle-based artists!

Photos

Upcoming Trip: Seattle, October 31 – November 4

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Photos

We feel most at home while on adventures.

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