Introducing: Gastrono.me

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Our first night in Vienna we sat silently on the couch in our AirBNB and tried desperately out outlast our jet lag. This was our first three hours in Europe of our 3 week Euro trip—what my friend and I dreamily envisioned as being a grand adventure accented by croissant sandwiches in parks, coffees in quaint corner cafes, and dinners in dimly lit restaurants on side streets that were easy to overlook.

In reality it was definitely in an adventure, but one that consisted of a few meals out and a lot more frozen pizza than we ever could’ve imagined.

If only we would’ve done the research, if only there would’ve been a service who could’ve made that research happen for us. To ensure that we’d have the gastronomic travel experience that we were craving.

There wasn’t. So I started one.

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Gastrono.me exists to spread joy through food and drink no matter where you are, or what you order. A service that provides guidance for those of us who are hungry to experience the world, customized for your unique tastes.

Whether you’re looking for a cozy Italian restaurant in the middle of Boston, the best cheese plates in Boulder, or a curated cocktail crawl through a neighborhood in your own city, Gastrono.me provides travelers and locals with unique food and drink recommendations, based on their own personal tastes, budgets, and comfort zones.

Rather than relying on solely generalized guidebooks and online Must Eat lists, Gastrono.me works to get to know you and your preferences so we can make suggestions that we know you’ll enjoy, helping insure that your getaways, weekends, and staycations are lower in stress and higher in enjoyment.


How do we get to know you? Through an initial questionnaire, follow up conversations, and consultation. All about what and how you like to eat and imbibe.

What kind of guides do you provide? The site advertises guides for short and long trips, guides for eating excursions, and a recommendation subscription plan (coming in 2018!). That said, there are lots of opportunities for us to work together, so don’t hesitate to reach out!


I started Gastrono.me because I believe travel is a powerful experience that has the ability to change hearts and minds, especially with the impact of food. When we’re encouraged to look beyond the lists of standard tourist destinations we are treated with the opportunity of immersing ourselves in parts of a culture we otherwise may have overlooked. We are given the chance to see a place through our own eyes.

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And now it’s official: our website launched today! You can learn more at Gastronome.guide

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments, or collaboration opportunities. I am so looking forward to this next chapter and the people and places it will bring into my life.

Cheers!

Lauren

AUSTIN•TX | 6 dreamy AirBNBs

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As I mentioned before, SXSW is this week and, boy, do I have Austin on the brain. Dying for an adventure and craving to see a new place; all I can think of are taco trucks, sunny patios and thick, boisterous accents from some of our nation’s loudest and proudest (Texans, I’m looking at you).

While I haven’t been to Austin before I do have a whole to do list dreamed up complete with places to stay, things to eat and destinations to see. This trendy city in central Texas has stolen a little bit of my heart and I haven’t even been there yet. Figures.


When I start planning a trip I typically start with where I’ll be spending my nights and instagramming my morning coffee–my accommodations, or more specifically my AirBNB. As I’ve mentioned before AirBNB is my jam; it offers you, the traveler, a chance to stay in a place with character, conveniences past those of a hotel and (sometimes) free cookies.

So, naturally, I’ve scoped out my favorite digs in Austin. I picked places with charm, lots of natural light and plenty of potential for that #vscogood shot.

Click the photos for links to the accomodations! (They vary in price, size and location).

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Lookout on Larry | Cherry Wood: I didn’t have any further questions after I saw the honey-colored wood paneling, the exposed beams and the minimal decor that was saturated with sunshine. 10/10 would sit in that rocking chair with a neat whiskey in my hand and bad jokes pouring out of my mouth.

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Modern Loft | Downtown: Don’t tell me you’re not enticed by this contemporary, industrial haven. Take a look at that light fixture; that very nappable, sophisticated sectional; and those skyline window views! If you think Austin looks good from the window, then you’re in for a real treat when you see it from the roof.

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Garden Cottage | East Austin: Cute, quaint, cozy and complete with a tiny pig running around in the backyard; this backyard bungalow has me dying over it’s eclectic pieces and map lined walls. If I could go on a solo adventure tomorrow I would inquire about this place on the immediate.

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Hip Central Eastside Bungalow: They had me at complimentary bottle of wine or 6 pack of local brews…and maybe the clawfoot tub, Franklin stove and the “perfect back porch for BBQs” had a little something to do with it, too.

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LAST BUT NOT LEAST:

cozyCozyEastAustinHomecozyeastaustin2 Cozy in East Austin: Came for the mugs and porch swing, stayed for the proximity to food trucks.


Stay tuned for my Austin to do list coming up later this week. You probably shouldn’t raise your expectations to extend past fried foods, coffee and places to see the cutest puppies.

Speak to you soon!

x

24 Hours in Vienna | City Guide

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Guten Tag! While I’m currently writing this blog from my couch in Milan, I only arrived here from Vienna yesterday. Finis (my best friend) and I spent a few really lovely days there and I was so excited to share what we saw and did! Even though we were there for four days, I thought I’d narrow it down and tell you about our favorite things in the form of a 24-hour guide for Vienna.

Vienna is in eastern Austria and has a history rich with culture and wiener schnitzel. The home of several renowned artists and political figures, there’s definitely a lot to see within the city. These days, Austria’s bustling with locals and tourists alike. A destination for viennese culture, lovers of classical music and adventure–Vienna is worth a visit.

ACCOMODATIONS:
While Vienna does offer a lot of hotels, we opted to go with airBNB for our time there. We stayed in a really lovely apartment (found here) that was a five minute walk from the Museumsquartier and the Naschmarkt. This was a great area to be in because of how accessible it was to those spots, but also for how close it was to the metro.

*I definitely recommend airBNB for wherever you may be going! It’s a great way to stay somewhere cool for likely an affordable price*

24 HOUR GUIDE:
MORNING
EAT: European breakfast often consists of coffee and a pastry or toast (perhaps with ham or cheese), and that was also the case with Austria. Our favorite place we went was called Cafe Sperl, located near the museumsquartier. The dark wood interior of the room juxtaposed with the light flooding in through the windows made for an elegant but comfortable atmosphere. We sat down at a table near the front door and perused the menu; I decided on the apricot cake (house made) and a latte. Within minutes our table was decorated with beautiful pastries and coffee presented to us on a silver platter. The cafe offers newspapers for its guests, as well as free wifi, and is a charming place to spend a morning.

*YOU SHOULD TRY: Wiener Apfelstrudel | Viennese Apple Strudel.

DO: After grabbing some morning fuel, head over to the Museumsquartier for some culture. The huge square behind the gates is a great place to relax. We visited the Leopold museum: “…one of the world’s most important assemblages of Austrian art. At the heart of the collection are masterpieces of Viennese Art Nouveau, in particular by members of the Vienna Secession founded by Gustav Klimt, and representative works of Austrian Expressionism” -MQ website

The mumok (modern art) looked awesome, although we didn’t get to visit that one. I also heard really great things about the Albertine Museum and the Freud Museum (in a different part of town)  Across the street from the MQ is the national library and it is gorrrrgeous. Floor to ceiling with all the books you can imagine. Definitely block out some time for that as well.

AFTERNOON:
EAT: From the MQ, the Naschmarkt is only about a five minute walk. After sashaying down the aisles of fresh product, local goods and pastries, find a restaurant to stop in for lunch. The variety is vast, spanning everything from traditional Viennese cuisine to Japanese to Italian. If you can’t find something you like within the market there are a lot of delicious options on the streets bordering the market as well.

DO: Hop on the metro and head over to the Leopoldstadt district to visit Prater, an amusement park. The park is most known for it’s giant ferris wheel, but there were some other gems in there as well. Not only are there rides, but there are games and biergartens galore inside the gates. Note: if you don’t like clowns…look out.

Afterwards, jump on back on the metro and head to Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s). This gothic/romanesque cathedral is gorgeous on the inside, but the multicolored roof is a conversation starter in itself.

The cathedral is located in the first district of Vienna, Innere Stadt, which is home to important historic landmarks such as the Erzbischöfliches Palais, the University district (lots of bars and restaurants here), the Burggarten and the Volksgarten, the Palais Pallavicini, the Hofburg palace and SO many other things. Just strolling around (with a map…or a guide) will give you an amazing taste of austria’s history and culture.

Shopping is through the side streets, but most notable on the Kärntner Straße and the Graben.

EVENING:
EAT: While we were headed to the grocery one day we passed a restaurant that had a killer interior called Mark’s, and vowed to go back for dinner. We kept our self-promise and made our way back that night; upon sitting down at a table on the outside patio I knew we had made the right choice. I ordered a spritz (always über refreshing) grilled calamari atop lavender risotto+vanilla butter with a garnish of baby carrots. The flavor isn’t even something I can talk about because of how interesting and delicious it was! Finis ordered the Salmon and it was divine; served with an israeli cous-cous and a bacon, olive jam. Wunderbar.

DO: Vienna is full of exciting nightlife that appeals to a variety of different scenes. Unfortunately I was working most evenings so I had to skip this part, but I did run across a really killer guide with more advice on that topic here.

OTHER CITIES ON MY AUSTRIA BUCKET LIST:
• Salzburg
• Innsbruck

(Hopefully some day I’ll be able to check those out.)

In the mean time, as I told you, we’re in Milano now indulging in the three p’s of Italy: pizza, pasta and paninis. We’ve done some exploring today so I’ll have updates to you soon!

 

Ciao!

 

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Barcelona by Night | Spain Photo Diary

bbnpromo barca14barca10 barca17 barca7barca9  barca8 barca12barca13 barca6 barca16 barca11On our first night in Barcelona we braved the crowds to see the Magic Fountain. Although it was flooded with tourists, the view of the city paired with the music and good friends made every second worth it.

Have a great weekend! More Spain photos to come.

Speak to you soon!

 

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La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary

La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla ChipsWhenever I mentioned that I was making a trip to Barcelona, a popular suggestion I got was to visit La Boqueria. La Boqueria is a huge market filled to the brim with produce, locally made products (cheese, cured meats, olive oils, etc) and counters where you can pick something up or have an authentic meal prepared right in front of you. Our hotel was near La Rambla, we made the market one of our first stops.

Things you should probably pick up at La Boqueria:

1. Fresh Produce – Traveling can often consist of eating heavily for days upon days. A welcome change, for us, was to grab some fresh fruit for breakfast and vegetables to take along with us for lunch. We spent a fraction of what we would’ve at a restaurant and still got to enjoy the local flavors. My favorite things were the vibrant red cherries, juicy peaches and perfectly ripe avocados.

2. Juice – It’s impossible to miss the rows of festive, brightly colored straws that adorn the fresh juices all over the market. From kiwi coconut to mango banana berry, you can pretty much get any combination (or single flavor) that you’re hoping for. Definitely a refreshing treat that would make a hot day maneuvering through the crowds much more bearable.

3. Candy – On a less healthy note, you have got to get your hands on some of the specialty candy in the market. We made a point to go three separate days, each time trying something new. My favorites were the macarons (of course), the truffles,  the coconut bonbons and this circular, toffee and chocolate crispy treat. I really think I could’ve tried anything and would’ve had a shut-my-eyes-in-chocolate-ecstasy moment.

4. Gelato – Gelato isn’t just delicious in Italy; no, I had some of the best gelato I’ve ever had from a counter in the very middle of the market. We got one coconut and one scoop berry (with fresh berries piled on top). The gelato was so good that we actually had to have a seat right in the middle of La Rambla to enjoy it to the fullest extent (send your judgements to my P.O box).

5. Empanadas – Jamón y Queso. Pollo y Queso. Anything. Everything. Get them all.

6. Counter Service – The one thing we didn’t do (and I feel regrettable about) was taking advantage of the in-market food counters. The aromas from the various seafood, tapas and float about the entire market; the sizzle of busy skillets interrupting barter conversations between shopper and stall owner. There was one near the back that was lit with rustic lighting and was serving lobster…I’ve got to get back there some day. It really did seem to good to miss.

Although we did see and do a lot in Barcelona, I felt like the market needed it’s own post. More sites and stories to come!

 

Speak to you soon!

 

x

Two Weeks Until Takeoff

Two Weeks Until Takeoff

 

I’m certain a trip never seems further away than it does as you inch closer and closer to the departure date. The preparations have started, as premature as that may sound. I’ve been scoping out markets, Instagram hunting for must-see cafes and boutiques and doing my best to reconcile my  relationship with the Spanish speaking skills I took for granted in high school. (So far I have a lot of confidence in never forgetting words like “sangria” and “tapas”…the basics, if you will).

 
If you’ve been and have suggestions, drop me a comment below! I’d love your suggestions!
 

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, today is Cinco de Mayo! There could not be a more  appropriate holiday to be celebrating in the midst of this countdown. So grab your friends, a margarita (on the rocks with salt for me) and a set of fiesta speakers; here is your monday playlist:

 
  
 
Hablar con usted más tarde!  
 
 
x
 
PS: Don’t forget to leave me your Spain suggestions!

Nashville Guide: The Essentials

Nashville Weekend Guide | via RLTCSometimes I forget how amazing it is to live in a city full of so much history, ambition and pizazz. Just one internet search about “What to do in Nashville” yields endless results; tours, music, famous bars, places to buy find that single shoe that Johnny Cash wore–once.

Okay maybe not that last one, but you get the drift.

Overhearing conversations at the coffee shop I worked at was often overhearing frustration from travellers (and locals) not knowing where to get the best BBQ or where to hear the best bluegrass or where to get “hot chicken,” whatever that meant…

(IT MEANS the best damn chicken you’ll ever eat. Check yourself. And then promptly drive to Prince’s and feast like you are the fire king).

So without further adieu, I give you my condensed (sort of) Nashville to do list. This idea stemmed from the forthcoming visit from my amazing parents. While sifting through blog posts and trip advisor comments, I just wanted to be able to look at ONE thing. So I made it. I really tried to think from all realms and to fill it with things that would keep you (a traveller OR a local) busy for an afternoon, a day, a weekend…I hope it’s as helpful to you as it was for me!

Discover something new in Nashville.

(Also, please feel free to discover how great the adjective pizazz is. Note to everyone: use it more often.)

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I’ll be a little absent the next few days (spending much needed time with the parental unit) but I’ll be back during the weekend/the beginning of next week with a FLOOD of pictures. There’s a lot coming up for this little blog! Get excited.

Also, thank you guys for all the support and kind words! I’m excited about this new venture and about bringing you on it with me.

 

Speak to you soon!

 

 

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