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Latte Tour of London

London is my absolute favorite city to travel to… I’ve been twice this year and I am already planning another trip back! I love it because of its energy, its people, oh… and its incredibly delicious food and rising wellness scene! My trip to London this last week was a whirlwind trip of fun and adventure, and LATTES! Each cafe seems to be one-upping the next with creative blends and nut-milk alternatives… and I am totally okay with it! Here are some of the lattes I enjoyed last week, and will continue to dream about until I return to my favorite city <3

Aida Shoreditch: I found pictures of their pink latte on Instagram prior to my trip and knew right away I had to make this spot my first stop. This pink drink is made from rose syrup, organic beetroot juice, nut milk, and dried rose petals. The coolest part about the cafe is that it is part cafe, part store! The store sells the coolest clothing and accessories… you had to drag me (and my wallet) out!

Glow Bar London: When I travel, I realize how spoiled I am by all of the amazing health and wellness facilities around me. Infrared saunas on every corner, cryotherapy centers, and cafes who boast their own, homemade nut milks is simply the norm! In asking my London friends for their “wellness oasis” spots in London, I discovered Glow Bar. AND OH MY GOD I AM SO HAPPY I DID.

The drinks: I wanted one of each, but my friend and I settled for three 😉 Pictured above are the Siren (Spirulina, Pearl, Marine Collagen),  Glow (Rose, Beetroot, Schisandra), and Chill (Macqui Berry, Ashwagandha, Lavender). Sip, SWEAT downstairs in their infrared saunas, and shop the best in wellness products! AN ABSOLUTE MUST!  

Jusu Brothers: This matcha latte with coconut milk was the most fresh/pure tasting matcha I had in London! I found this cafe on Instagram and was in awe of its natural light (a blogger’s dream) and delicious avocado food-porn. Enjoy your matcha latte with a gluten-free avocado toast and a few energy balls for dessert. This cafe is Tulum meets Bali… in London!

Farm Girl Cafe: I’d like to say I come to Farm Girl Cafe for its amazing retro vibe and mile high gluten-free avocado toast, but I really come here because they make the best lattes in town. This trip I went to town on the Blue Magic Matcha with almond milk and the Happy Hot Choc- cacao, date syrup, peppermint, matcha, CBD, and hazelnut milk. For the coffee drinkers, the rose latte is a must! FGC serves Rude Health nut milk… this is BY far the best nut milk sold in Europe… I asked for a cup of the hazelnut milk PLAIN!

I go to Farm Girl Cafe EVERY time I am in town… and multiple times each trip! Read more about my favorite cafe, here!

Milk Beach Cafe: A latte too beautiful not to have. This pink masterpiece is made from Beetroot Powder, Chai Spices, and Oat Milk. It was so good I had two! I highly recommend pairing your latte with the Green Bowl, Scrambled eggs, avo, mushrooms, #nobread, gluten-free poke bowl, and acai bowl. OH, make sure you order the bacon… it was AMAZING!

ICEHOTEL

A few weeks ago I was asked to go on the most epic adventure with Under Armour, and told I would be staying at the WORLD FAMOUS ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.

“Cool,” I thought. I’ve always wanted to go to Stockholm, and I’ve seen pictures of the exotic and unique ICEHOTEL! With just days until my trip, I did some research on ICEHOTEL and its surrounding town/city, as I do whenever I travel.

“Oh boy.”

  1. ICEHOTEL is NOT in Stockholm
  2. It is a 1.5 hour flight north of Stockholm… and north of the Arctic Circle!
  3. Those amazing ice sculptures I was seeing in pictures of the hotel rooms? ACTUAL ICE. And the white walls? Again, ICE. The white carpet? Not carpet. You guessed it… ICE!

And so began THE wildest hotel experience of my LIFE.

The ICEHOTEL is a world famous hotel and an art exhibition made of ice and snow. Founded in 1989, it is reborn in a new guise every winter. The hotel consists of cold rooms and warm rooms; the cold rooms are absolutely fascinating… and -5 degrees Celsius!! No that isn’t a typo- negative FIVE degrees celsius.

“How in the world am I going to sleep?! Or SURVIVE?!”

Equipped with Under Armour’s ColdGear apparel, I set off on my adventure.

The COLD Rooms

These pictures don’t do the rooms justice… nothing will do the room’s justice. They are S-P-E-C-T-A-C-U-L-A-R! As is the entire hotel. From my bedrooms steps, to the walls, to the bed frame, everything was made out of ice. On top of my bed frame was a fur blanket and a sleeping bag… so yeah… I was a little nervous! But my nerves quickly faded and I had one of the coolest (literally) night sleeps of my life!

To sleep, I wore UnderArmour Recovery wear. The fabric returns infrared energy to your body, boosting localized blood flow & increasing the amount of oxygen reaching your muscles to restore your muscles faster. It’s insulating properties kept me SO warm during the night. I thought I was going to have to wear layers on layers! My sleeping bag was insulating, too, up to -20 degrees C, so negative 5 degrees was a breeze (okay I’ll stop with the puns).

Before I make myself out to sound like a tough-girl who had no issues in the room, I have to tell you what the best part of the room was. THE HEATED BATHROOM. So yes, I totally hid in the bathroom before going to bed, and during the night I totally got up to use the bathroom, regroup, and go back out into the cold. The bathroom also has a sauna! I didn’t use mine, but definitely was tempted to. In the morning you are woken up by the Hotel with a warm juice 🙂 I truly had such a deep, relaxing sleep!

The WARM Rooms

After my one night stay in the cold room, I was READY for the warm room! If you are like me and think a warm room means 70-75 degrees F, then this room wasn’t THAT warm. I’d give it a solid 65 degrees F… so it was still a little chilly but WAY better than -5 celsius! The rooms are simple and adorable… they do the trick!

The FOOD

The ICEHOTEL is in a pretty remote area, so no need to research local eateries… you will end up having all of your meals onsite at their restaurant. I totally went to town at the breakfast buffet- bacon, sausage, deli meets, a (GF) granola bar, a gluten-free bread basket, and fresh veggies/fruit are several of the gluten-free options.

The staff at the hotel and restaurant couldn’t have been more accommodating when it came to dietary restrictions. For instance, the tray of scrambled eggs contained dairy, so the chef made me my own dairy-free omelette!

The restaurant served the most delicious dinner, too! To start, the salmon appetizer is cornflake crusted and dipped in soy, so NOT gluten-free, but they made me a gluten-free, dairy-free version every night. It was AMAZING! I also ordered the beef tartar appetizer with fries and the asparagus and totally recommend both. For mains, the reindeer stew was gluten-free. Yes… REINDEER stew. I tried a bite… but there was something about having a REINDEER stew that I didn’t vibe with so I didn’t order my own. The steak is another gluten-free option, but I ordered the Arctic Char entree EVERY. NIGHT. It was SOO good! Why does fish (and just everything) taste better in Europe!? The dish came with potatoes and veggies… so filling and such a dream!

I commented to my friends that I was going to leave the trip five pounds heavier or five pounds lighter. I was eating like a truck driver!! Snacks, GF bread; I wanted ALL the carbs. Well I came back way lighter… my body was working in overdrive to keep me warm and burning SO many calories!

Activities:

It goes without saying, if you go to the northern most point in Sweden, you must go see the Northern lights!! In the winter months, these lights dance across the sky in fascinating colors and shapes. We went on the ICEHOTEL’s Northern Lights Tour, and it was a truly amazing experience. Our guide led us on a hike, the only lights coming from our headlights, and we ended at a remote cabin alongside a frozen river.

Looking up at the sky, I saw faint green lines whisk across the sky. Given it was November, we were a month or two early for prime Northern Lights, but I am so happy I was able to see them! I will note… the pictures you see online of Northern Lights… those are NOT from a viewer’s cell phone, ha! What our photographer was able to capture through his veryyy professional lens was astonishing, mind-blowing, incredible… I’ll stop there! The Northern Lights are a must!

Other activities at ICEHOTEL include ice sculpting, a wilderness dinner, dog-sledding, snow-mobiling, and more!

Under Armour ColdGear:

How did I survive this freezing cold experience? No joke, Under Armour’s ColdGear is a SAVIOR! Sleeping in my ice room I wore the UA Recovery Gear. One thin layer literally did the trick, and its insulating abilities kept me so warm and comfortable all night! Pictures 2 and 4 below are of the ColdGear Hybrid Jacket. This jacket is SO light, yet so insulating that I was totally warm in it! In picture number one I am wearing the Balaclava hoodie which is UNREAL for running! It goes over your chin and lips, and has air holes for your mouth so you can run and breath properly without the chill!

THANK YOU UNDER ARMOUR FOR THIS EPIC ADVENTURE. I pushed myself to limits I didn’t know I could push to, and stayed warm and fashionable along the way. If you have the chance to go to the ICEHOTEL in your life you absolutely should. BUCKET LIST, CHECKED!!

xx, Nicole

London

When in Europe, stop in London! Well that’s my motto at least. I’m convinced I will live in London at some point in my life, and this trip to London during the beautiful summer weather has me thinking this move will be sooner rather than later. I stayed in Chiswick, about 30 minutes outside of the action and where I usually stay, but I loved it just as much!

The first place I hit was As Nature Intended for some groceries. This little market is Chiswick’s mini Erewhon. I love going to markets in different countries, because I am introduced to all products I haven’t seen before. I can also judge how far along a country is in the gluten-free, health-foods game by checking out their markets. Some products I found this trip:

  • RAW Seed Crisps- these seed crackers were available in 4 different varieties, and reminded me of my Moon Juice seed crisps that I am addicted to. Protein packed from the seeds!
  • Pulsin- These bars were everywhere… even the local yoga studio I went to! Most of the bars use cashews, which I am intolerant to, so I didn’t indulge, but given they are everywhere they must be pretty popular!
  • Vego chocolate- I didn’t find Vego chocolate this trip. A friend of mine introduced me to Vego about a month ago and forever changed my chocolate eating life. This is the BEST. CHOCOLATE. I. HAVE. EVER. CONSUMED. Sorry Hu Kitchen Hazelnut Butter chocolate, this hazelnut butter chocolate bar has bits of hazelnut in it and tastes like pure fudge! I was so happy to see the bars everywhere in London, and I totally stole a few back to the states with me.
  • The Primal Pantry- I tried three flavors of this bar and LOVED all of them! Made with hemp protein (I’m super into hemp right now) and a few other all-natural ingredients, the bars have flavor, protein, and are low carb.

Every time I go to London, my first stop is Farm Girl Cafe.  Not only is it the most adorable cafe tucked away in an alley in Notting Hill, but the menu is incredibly gluten-friendly. The menu notes gf, df, nf, and v, offers my favorite meal pairings, and serves a whole range of lattes that you can order with almond, coconut, hazelnut, or soy milk! I recommend the matcha, butterfly (blue), beet, charcoal, and turmeric lattes and for the coffee drinkers, the Rose Latte. For meals, I recommend the gluten-free tacos, avocado toast on gluten-free bread (SO much avo!!), Gf tacos, avocado toast, and Farm Salad with pesto and chicken.

After we went to Farm Girl Cafe, we went to Sketch! How have I not heard of this place before- it was so cool and such a treat! Located in Mayfair, Sketch is a tea shop/café/ cocktail bar. They serve their tea menu until 5, and you can also indulge in great cocktails. It has such a cool vibe, especially if you go during happy hour, and make sure you check out the bathrooms- the “egg” stalls look like mini rocket ships!

Chiltern Firehouse is one of my favorite places to go when I am in London. I suggest going for pre- or post-dinner drinks. Tequila and chips, aka fries, for me… always. Sit in the courtyard or at the hotel bar. You will definitely meet some cool people here.

For dinner we went to The Palomar, an Israeli hotspot. Essentially everything is gluten-free except the falafels, and ask for no croutons on the Fattoush Salad and order cucumber with the dips instead of pita. Oh, and no pasta, of course. Check out my full review here to see what I ordered! The staff deserves a A+ for their kindness and service… I HIGHLY recommend going here!

My trip to London was so quick, but in asking my followers for their favorite matcha lattes, I learned of Farmacy. Think Café Gratitude meets a gluten-free oasis. Their menu notes GF, NG, R (raw), and V, and they have the most INCREDIBLE menu of lattes and smoothies. I ordered the matcha latte with coconut milk, and I was happy to see a matcha latte that was more than the standard café 4-6 oz. WHATEVER you do, order the gluten-free and vegan oat-based waffles with homemade nutella and coconut yogurt. These were the best waffles I have ever consumed. Full review here!

London, my trip to you was too short. To say I had anxiety as I left is an understatement- I was freaking out and want so badly to cancel my flight and stay a bit longer! I will be back VERY soon.

Cavo Tagoo Mykonos

Welcome to Cavo Tagoo Mykonos, the most beautiful hotel in Mykonos (full post here). I had seen this property on Instagram before, but never thought I would have the opportunity to stay here. Well, an unfortunate series of events left my friends and I homeless in Mykonos, and Cavo came to our rescue!!

The Property:

 

Cavo describes themselves as a “seductive world of luxury” and this statement sums the resort up to a T. The vibe is sexy and chic, the clientele is sophisticated, the rooms are luxurious and pristine, and the amenities are first class. We were given a two bedroom, two bathroom suite with a common area and outdoor patio complete with daybeds, lounges, and a POOL. Pictures 2, 3, and 4 are of my suite, and picture 1 is of a room that literally has a CAVE built into it. Yes, the pool runs through the suite and under a CAVE. Now THAT is luxury.

Dining:

Whenever I travel, as convenient as it is to eat at my hotel, I prefer going out and exploring local restaurants and hotspots. At Cavo Tagoo however, I wanted to eat every meal on-site. The food was absolutely AMAZING. From Greek dishes like the Greek Salad (nobread) to the extensive sushi and sashimi options, to classics including Salmon and chicken skewers (no teriyaki), every item on the menu was a TEN. I was apprehensive to order sushi, because why order Asian cuisine when in Greece?! But the fish is SO unbelievably fresh in Greece, that the sushi and sashimi dishes were some of the best I ever had!

Greater Mykonos:

To read more about my Mykonos trip, check out my blog post here!

Mykonos

I first went to Mykonos when I graduated college with a few friends. Everything about Mykonos amazed me. The food was exceptional and the sunsets were next level; the trip honestly felt like a Honeymoon! When a group of friends and I decided to go this summer (7 years later), I was beyond excited. For a full month I anticipated the trip- dreaming of Greek food, the beaches, and of course, the parties!!

Well, our trip was filled with extreme highs and lows. We were staying at a private villa, and robbed silly on our first night. #NOBREAD = #NOPASSPORT. The safe was taken right out of our wall! Thankfully, we were determined to not let this experience ruin the trip, and we made the most of it! The most beautiful hotel I have ever stayed at, Cavo Tagoo Mykonos, adopted us, and thanks to them we had an incredible experience.

Okay burglary talk done. Let’s get to it!

On our first day we went to popular beach, Principote Panormos. The beach club is filled with daybeds by the water, and tables for lunch and dancing are just 50 yards or so back. For lunch we ordered Beef Carpaccio, Octopus on Fava Bean Puree, FRIES, and a bunch of items containing gluten for my gluten-eating friends (fried calamari etc). I was totally pleased with the three items I was able to eat, but I watched in AWE as the tables around me ordered the whole fish (it is de-boned table-side). The fish is ordered by the pound and meant to serve a family/large group. It comes on two HUGE platters- one platter has the fish, and the second is filled with sautéed vegetables and roasted potatoes. This is for sure the way to go!

 

That evening, we went to the perviously mentioned Cavo Tagoo where the owner treated us to drinks and a stunning platter of fruit and dessert. If you are visiting Mykonos and haven’t booked a place to stay, stay here. And if you already have accommodations, go here for sunset!! The cocktails are delicious and the view is literally breathtaking. I talk about it more in my blog post, here, but my go-to NOBREAD orders at Cavo were the skewers with no teriyaki sauce, Salmon Sashimi Salad with no soy sauce, Waygu Burgers with nobread, Greek Salad with nobread, alllll of the SUSHI, and alllll of the fries.

After drinks at Cavo, we hit Sea Satin Market, the absolute coolest, best place EVER. Make a SUPER LATE dinner reservation… like 11PM late. For dinner, order the classics: delicious Whole Sea Bream, Grilled Calamari, Grilled Octopus, and Greek Salad. Then get ready for the ultimate dance party! Around 12:30PM or 1AM, everyone starts throwing their plates on the floor and breaking them, dancing on tables, and getting rowdy! The food here was simple and flavorful, and very gluten-free!

On our second day, after Cavo Tagoo adopted us, we hung out on the property and didn’t hit any of the places recommended to us. We were pretty shook up from our whole ordeal. On our final day, however, we were back at it and went to the beach club next to Scorpios for lunch!

Love the vibe here and the food was delicious. By this point in the trip, I learned that everywhere you go you should order the whole fish with vegetables and potatoes. The fish here was the MOST flavorful I’ve ever had. The skin was perfection and it was served with the most delicious grilled veggies and oregano fries. Post this trip I have a newfound love for oregano.

Going into this vacation I was so excited to check out the infamous “Nammos” and “Scorpios” beach clubs, but sadly because of our incident, we were too exhausted to hit Nammos on Saturday, and we had to leave Sunday night to head to Athens for new passports so we had to miss Scorpios Sunday.

Incident aside, Mykonos was BEAUTIFUL. I will absolutely be back in the future… and next time I’m bringing my own security, ha!

48 Hours in PARIS

Nine years ago I was diagnosed with my gluten allergy. Nine years ago was also my first time in Paris, France. The city of love. Also the city of bread. Needless to say, I was the unhappiest tourist in Paris. Watching my siblings indulge in fresh baked croissants and loaves was quite hard, especially as I munched on rice cakes. Well nine years have passed, and I am excited to report that I had the most incredible 48 hours in Paris. From the delicious gluten-free breads and baked goods to the restaurants and activities… I did 48 hours in Paris RIGHT. And I want you to, too!

My friends and I met in Paris on our way to Mykonos and checked into the Prince de Galles Hotel. Located about ten minutes (walking) from the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and more, the hotel was not only beautiful but also extremely convenient. I am the queen of walking, and if it’s possible, I walked more my two days in Paris than I walk in an average week in Los Angeles. I even gave my New York walking days a run for their money!

First stop- breakfast. Our concierge told us La Belle Ferronniere was one of the most well known cafes in the area, so we gave it a try. Whenever I am in Europe I go to town on eggs, because they are fresh, richer, more flavorful, and the yolks are a nice, dark orange. Aka how eggs should be. I ordered the three egg omelette with herbs, and my friend ordered three fried eggs with prosciutto. Both entrees were absolutely DELICIOUS. There were no added oils or butter (ew) to the eggs, and they tasted so GOOD. It goes to show how food taste is so easily compromised when once processed.

Three bakeries in Paris I was told I must hit were Noglu, Helmut Newcake, and Chambelland. I decided to skip Noglu, as I’ve been to the location in NYC (although I’m told the one in Paris is even better!) and I hit Helmut Newcake on the first day and Chambelland on the second. Helmut Newcake is a 100% gluten-free bakery. It is super tiny, with no seating inside and just 3 small tables out front. I was a kid in a candy shop! The café serves everything from cookies and breads to éclairs and cakes. I am dairy-free, too, and the pastries that were dairy-free were clearly labeled. A good friend of mine told me I MUST order the chocolate éclair. If I wasn’t sold just by her suggestion, I saw the éclair had hazelnuts on it, and chocolate/hazelnut is my favorite combination. I can’t remember the last time I had an éclair!! The filling was so creamy, I had to go back inside and confirm that there really wasn’t any dairy in it. Turns out the dairy-free fillings are made with nut milk instead of cream!

That night for dinner we went to the famous L’Avenue. L’Avenue is most popular (and sceney) at lunch, but given our time crunch we went for dinner. Don’t worry, it’s just as sceney in the evening! Or I should say at night. We dined at 9pm at the tables out front, and it was still bright out! It doesn’t get dark in Paris until about 10pm this time of year!

L’Avenue’s menu is kind of my dream. Think of your favorite French Bistro’s menu, but make the cuisine 100x better. To start we ordered the Pommes Frites- best French Fries I’ve ever had. Just the right amount of salt, and cut shoestring style so you can indulge without feeling too full. We also ordered the sliced avocado, which consisted of two avocado halves sliced super thinly and dressed in olive and salt. Another homerun dish. For mains we ordered the prawns and lobster. My friends also indulged in the burrata (I’m dairy-free so this was a no-go), and the tuna tartar which I also sat out because it had soy.

On Day 2 we decided to check out the Eiffel Tower and hit the 10 district (I was told this was the Brooklyn of Paris).

For lunch, after visiting the tower, we stumbled upon Café de L’Alma. The café was beautiful and a bit on the upscale side. The first item listed on the menu was an Aperol Spritz… no shocker there! Throughout the week, everywhere I turned people were sipping on Spritz’. When the waiter came to take our order, my friends ordered their Spritz’s, and when I declined he joked, “why, are you driving?!” Drinking is such a big part of the French/European culture! The menu had everything from King Prawns, sliced avocado, salads and omelettes, to heavier dishes like free range chicken breast and seared sea bream.

I was amazed and impressed at how meat, poultry, and fish are served SIMPLY cooked with fresh oils, unlike America’s desire to drown everything in sauce. PRO TIP: The gluten culprit I had to constantly watch out for in Paris was soy! (And of course, bread). Tuna tartar and tuna dishes are generally dressed in a soy vinaigrette and therefore a no-go.

At the cafe, I ordered the baked eggs with crushed tomato (no cheese) and a side of the sliced avocado. This baked eggs dish was INCREDIBLE. Honestly one of the best I’ve ever had.

In the 10 district, we went to Chez Prune for Spritz and tea. I LOVE the 10 district, and although it was ~30 minutes outside of where we were staying, we were SO happy we made the trip. Sadly we didn’t get to the area in time for the Bastille Market (which is there on Thursday’s and Sunday’s), but we walked up and down the canal, people watched, and enjoyed our stroll.

Chambelland, gluten-free bakery number 3, was in this area! Again, everything is gluten-free, with select items dairy-free, too! I ordered the sugar loaf with chocolate and orange. You can have your loaf served whole or sliced into mini squares. This loaf was SUPER interesting… I’ve never had anything like it! It was somewhere between bread and a pastry, and the orange added just the right amount of sweetness. Contrary to what I had heard, their famous chocolate chip cookie is NOT dairy-free. For my matcha drinkers, they also have matcha/green tea! But no steamed nut milk, so no lattes!

That evening we hit the town. Our first stop was Monsieur Mouche. This beautiful bar on the water was awesome! Delicious cocktails and a cool, trendy vibe- dress to impress! This bar was located right by Crazy Horse, or the “Moulin Rouge for locals.” This was one of the COOLEST burlesque shows I have ever seen. Yes there was nudity, but it was classy AF. I’d go with my parents, friends, boyfriends, whoever! It was SO cool and the highlight of our Paris trip. Tables are served champagne as they watch, and a bread and cheese plate, which I clearly did not indulge in, ha!

The last stop on our Tour de Paris was Hotel Costes, the most recommended destination by all of our friends. For my New Yorkers, think Bowery/Mercer Hotels, and for my Los Angelinos, think Chateau/Sunset Tower. The hotel is dark, the vibe is chic, and the clientele is sophisticated for sure. Hotel Costes might be my new favorite place in Europe! Oh and to top it off, the menu was the same as L’Avenue! Did I mention the menus note a special gluten-free salmon and avocado sandwich?! I didn’t order it on either occasion, but totally plan to on my next trip. We basically ordered all of our favorites from the night before, plus a few additional items and rounds of tequila, because it was our last night in Paris so why not?!

Paris was INCREDIBLE. When it comes to food- order an omelette, prawns, fries, or main course entrée that is simply grilled- you can’t go wrong! When it comes to beverages- order a Spritz- they are everywhere! And when it comes to your experience- do yourself a favor and go with a solid crew like I did. We were all smiles, ALL. THE. TIME.

xx #nobread

NOBREAD Takes Hawaii!

Entering 2018, I told myself that this was going to be the year I traveled to my top 3 bucket list locations: Bali, Tulum, and Hawaii. Well, just two weeks into the year I went to Tulum, and I am happy to report that I just embarked on my first ever trip to HAWAII! And it was a total dream!

Two locations down, one to go!

When Hawaiian Airlines reached out and informed me of their new curated wellness content series accessible through their In-Flight Entertainment System, I was so impressed. To all of my followers with gluten-allergies or other dietary restrictions out there, I’m sure you know what I mean when I say traveling with your restriction can be a total BTCH! Not only can it be tough to find healthy, allergy-friendly meal options on the flight, but when has an airline ever cared if you knew proper pre- and post-flight stretching techniques and other wellness hacks that would get you through your flight comfortably?!

FIRST, I have to discuss my first-class experience! As you can see in the photo above, the seats in first class fully recline into beds! Fun fact- I sometimes have bad anxiety when I fly! I don’t know when it started, but let’s just say small spaces and turbulence are a bad recipe for my anxiety. On both my flight to Hawaii and flight home, I had ZERO anxiety!! Furthermore, I slept like a baby each way! On the way home, my friend told me that we had a 30-minute period of rough air, but I COMPLETELY slept through it! I was THAT comfortable. And this anxious flyer was actually DISAPPOINTED when the pilot came on to announce there were only 30 minutes left in our trip. I could have laid in my seat forever!

The plane staff COULDN’T have been kinder and more accommodating with any of my needs. They were aware of my gluten-allergy, and kept me fully supplied with macadamia nuts and the other gluten-free options as I traveled. Bravo Top Chef Alum, Lee Anne Wong, is the new official Chef for Hawaiian Airlines, which explains how delicious and unique the menu is! Although there is no set gluten-free menu, because the flight offers two options on three occasions throughout the flight, you will be able to eat something! I ordered a rice bowl with an egg on top for breakfast on my way to Hawaii, and snacked on the airlines’ macadamia nuts the entire trip to and from the island!

Stretching videos:

First stop, Maui!

We stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani, and the resort was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The resort has 413 One-Bedroom Suites and 37 Villas (Two or Three-Bedrooms), and also has three swimming pools including one adult-only pool! My suite was so comfortable, and although it was just for me, I totally could have had a family with me! The room had a comfortable living room with a desk, couch, and TV, beautiful bar area, a bathroom meant for a queen, and a master bedroom with a large balcony that spanned the length of the hotel room. With my jet lag, I woke up each morning and enjoyed my smoothie while watching the sunrise from my balcony. It was a dream!

 

The Fairmont launched an Inspire Your Energy program to empower their guests through innovating exercise and motivating workshops. The program provides an integrated approach by enjoying the surroundings of Wailea, distinct mana (energy) and Hawaiian culture.

At the property I received a Customized HydraFacial. The 60 minute treatment cleansed, exfoliated, extracted, and hydrated my skin and the treatment included a Vortex-Fusion of antioxidants, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. This facial was the first facial I’ve ever received where I actually looked in the mirror after and said “WOW.” My skin was glowing, I literally looked younger, and I had NO reaction (which is a shocker given how sensitive my skin is).

Fairmont Eats:

The two menus I judge extensively when I travel are the brunch menus and pool menus, and I am happy to announce that the Fairmont Kea Lani does both exceptionally well! When I arrived at the resort, I arrived just in time for happy hour/late lunch, and my friend and I indulged in guacamole and pool-side cocktails. For my margarita/fruity drink fans, you HAVE to order “The Pushpop,” which consisted of raspberry, lime, coconut, vodka, and mango puree. This drink was the star of my vacation dreams.

At lunch the following day, while we were hanging out in our pool-side cabana, we were delivered our own personal fruit baskets filled with my favorite fruits (both fresh and dried) and macadamia nuts! I ate so many macadamia nuts this trip that macadamia nuts are my new favorite nut. I also ordered the Maui Chopped Salad with grilled shrimp on top. The lunch portions were SO generous, and the menu had so many more gluten-free options including a Grilled Vegetable Platter (nobread) and a Mahi Mahi sandwich (again, nobread).

Our first morning at the property, we were treated to a healthy breakfast on the Pacific Terrace overlooking the ocean. Fresh juice from the hotel’s juice bar (this bar is a GEM), coconut tapioca pudding served in a fresh coconut, granola and berries served in papaya, fruit galore, eggs, smoked fish, hash browns, BACON, and more!!

In addition to the restaurants, I visited the Fairmont’s cafe several times a day. Each morning, I walked downstairs to the cafe with a collagen packet in hand, and custom ordered one of their two smoothie options to my liking. The cafe also serves coffee and pastries and sells all of the essentials… including larger bottles of almond milk and coconut milk! It’s a great little market, especially if you are staying for longer than a few days or you are traveling with your family! It was here that I discovered my newest obsession, OHi Food Co.! These plant-based, organic bars are native of Hawaii (and expanding to the states!!), and non-gmo, grain-free, gluten-free, paleo, and DELICIOUS!

Ko:

Ko is the fine-dining restaurant at the Fairmont Kea Lani. Chef Tylun Pang’s menu features influences from Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese cuisines. Ko’s signature dish is the Ahi On The Rock with an orange ginger miso sauce. The chef was happy to serve this dish gluten-free! Each order includes the freshest looking tuna chunks served with a hot rock skillet, so that you can sear the tuna to your liking! The concept is so fun and the tuna is NEXT LEVEL!

I typically avoid tuna, but I indulged a few times while staying at The Fairmont. Their cuisine was just too fresh and delicious looking! And tuna poke is one of Hawaii’s signature dishes!

For my main, I ordered a seafood stew that had the most delicious, gluten-free broth, and I went to TOWN on the fried rice. Several of the sushi items were gluten-free, and the team served my sushi with a tamari gluten-free soy sauce, which I appreciated! I quickly learned that shrimp is a staple order in Hawaii, and I’m pretty sure I ordered shrimp at every meal!

* A fill list of Ko’s gluten-free options are listed at the end of this post! 

Grown on Maui Farmer’s Dinner

This feast was such a special experience! My group and I enjoyed panoramic views of the Pacific and sister islands while indulging in the freshest cuisine, made right in front of our eyes! Vegetable skewers, whole prawns, steak, kale salad, and a whole snapper in a ginger broth were on the menu, and each dish was better than the one before it. For dessert, a chocolate gluten-free, dairy-free, NUT-FREE, cake was placed in front of me, and it was after this cake that I realized I, in fact, was in heaven.

Two experiences I really enjoyed at the resort were the Kiakahi Functional Fitness program and canoe ride.  This fitness class was taught by two energetic, fun Hawaiian locals. The class is best described as Polynesian strength training using ancient movements, techniques, and traditions. Oh, and a whole lot of laughs… these guys were amazing! The resort also offers a canoe experience, which is free of charge! Two Hawaiian locals taught us how to paddle and the history of canoeing and its importance in Hawaiian culture. I didn’t see any whales, but I saw a ton of HUGE turtles, urchin, and fish!

Second and final stop, Waikiki!

We stayed at the Moana Surfrider. I didn’t know what to expect on this island and I quickly realized it was the most touristy part of Hawaii. Given how hectic the area was, the Surfrider does a great job of making you feel comfortable and in your own little world away from the hustle & bustle. The hotel sits right on the beach, and I recommend spending a day at the Moana Lani Spa (I had the most amazing 90-minute massage) and then relaxing on the veranda under a banyan tree.

If I had longer than 24 hours on this property, I totally would have taken a surf lesson or taken advantage of the many beach activities offered on-site. I did wake up early enough to hit the hotel’s yoga class, and it was a super nice experience!

When we landed, we went straight to a private workout class at the Wainani Wellness Center taught by Wainani herself! It was one thing to watcher her pre-,in-, and post-flight videos during my travels, but a totally different, and cool, experience to be able to practice the techniques with her in person! Pilates has long been one of my favorite workouts, and her teachings comprise pilates and yoga moves to keep the body flowing and stretched.

Surfrider Eats:

The brunch feast I was served at the Surfrider was pretty exceptional. A gluten-free WAFFLE, eggs benedict (nobread), GF and vegan acai bowl, and bowls and bowls of fruit comprised my lovely brunch spread for one, ha! Set on my balcony, this meal was a highlight of my quick stay.

Waikiki Eats:

BANAN– second picture- This vegan GEM serves banana fro-yo. The ice cream is made out of puréed bananas and a touch of water! I topped mine with strawberries, matcha, dark chocolate, mochi, and puffed quinoa. I could have gone here for every meal, every day. Not only do they serve soft-serve ice cream, but they also make incredible smoothies!

LEAHI HEALTH BAR- first picture- We all know how much I love my smoothies. Smoothies are especially important while traveling because they balance out my unhealthy indulgences. When we landed in Waikiki we were given the menu for Leahi Health Bar, and immediately I knew I was in good hands. I ordered the Green Monster: almond Milk, local greens, banana, almond butter, and coconut nectar. I asked them to use just half of a banana, and per usual, gave them a collagen packet to add to the smoothie. I loved my smoothie so much I went back the next day for lunch on my way to the airport, and ordered the same smoothie, but subbed TARO in for the banana. Using taro was new and SO interesting to me… it gave the smoothie a thickness/creaminess, but without the sugar of fruit. Leahi also offers incredible looking salads… I had major food envy on the last day when my friend took a salad to-go!

Goodbye for now, Hawaii. You were a dream. I will see you soon!

 

Ko at the Fairmont Kea Lani Gluten-Free Options:

From the team, “Below list is everything gluten-free on the Ko menu.  We always ask to be notified of an allergy to avoid cross contamination during preparation.”
 
Salads & Soups:
Mauka Harvest
Miso Soup
Portuguese Bean Soup
Taste of Tofu
 
Appetizers:
Black and Blue Ahi Poke
 
Entrees:
Makai Catch (following preparations are GF): Kea Lani Garden Herb, Lemongrass Coconut Broth, Miso Butter, Ti Leaf Wrapped
Shrimp Kare Kare
Angus Ribeye
Coconut Curry Lamb
Tempeh Fried Rice
Vegetarian Fried Rice
Spicy Thai Coconut Curry
 
Breads & Sauces:
Rice Crackers (in the bread display)
Lavender Honey Butter
Eddamamus
 
Dessert:
Coconut Tapioca

Tulum

It’s official, I’ve crossed Tulum off of my travel “Bucket List” (Hawaii and Bali still remain…)! And Tulum is just as beautiful and magical as I knew it would be. All of Tulum’s society (cafes, hotels, shops etc.) takes place right on/off of a single main road, and the town couldn’t be more authentic and charming.

My friends and I stayed at a private villa, Casa Chic, and if you are looking for a villa, I highly recommend it! The 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom private waterfront villa was totally breathtaking. A full pool and deck on top, and private beach access with multiple beach beds down below. Also, given the house was two stories, it never felt too crowded… you wouldn’t have known 10 people were staying there!

The best part about the house was that it came with a private chef who cooked us the most glorious meals! I can sum up the cuisine of Tulum in one word: ceviche. Ceviche was a staple at every meal (both in the house and out at restaurants), and the fresh shrimp, octopus, and white fish soaked in lime and citrus flavors was absolutely incredible everywhere we went.

 

For breakfast each morning a delicious fruit platter was set out and eggs cooked to our liking had us full and ready for the day. Oh, and before I forget, our kitchen came with a blender and it’s safe to say it got a TON of use. Margaritas, anyone?!

Hotspots:

Be Tulum: The first place I went to in Tulum. It only took about 5 seconds to realize that Be Tulum is the nicest/fanciest spot in the town. Keleigh and I arrived in time for a day party, and even though the security tried to turn us down for not being on the guest list, we were able to finagle ourselves an invite 😉 For sure grab a day bed and spend the day relaxing (or partying next to the DJ).

Food-wise the menu is amazing. It was here that I had my first ceviche of the trip, and Keleigh and I treated ourselves to a ceviche/taco feast. I had food-FOMO when the guys at the bed next to us ordered all of the salads… they looked like a dream! Specifically the cucumber cashew one!

We went to Be Tulum for dinner one night, too, with the whole crew! Order the whole fish, lobster, and short rib, and all of the veggie options! When the lobster and whole fish came out we were in AWE of the spread!

In asking for spa referrals, everyone told us to go to Ya’an Wellness… the spa at Be Tulum! The treatments are my dream, and I will absolutely be back for them. My crew and I participated in a shaman healing ritual one night, and it was by far the most special moment of the trip. Sitting in a pitch black cave filled with fire and heat, surrounded by your best friends, forgiving and setting intentions for the year… I have no words to describe how special this was.

Hotel Viento de Mar: My friends and I stumbled upon this beachside hotel when we were out for a walk. Just a couple hundred yards away from our place, the hotel is super casual and offers a full menu of tacos and margaritas. Notable menu items: any of the tacos, guacamole, and mixed ceviche.

Wellness:

Matcha Mama: MY LITERAL OBSESSION. Vegan and gluten-free everything! Smoothies, coconut based matcha ice-cream, latte’s, raw bites, acai bowls, and more!! The cafe is tiny and just steps off of the main road, and between it’s ambiance, hammocks, and swinging seats, you will instantly be transported to your happy place. To my New Yorker’s, it should come as no surprise that the owner of Matcha Mama is the man behind Chalk Point Kitchen, one of my favorite restaurants in New York City!

I ordered the Mamacita Smoothie and altered it a bit! Almond Milk, Matcha, Almond Butter, Banana, NO mango, Add Blueberries. Creamy and filling… just how I like it! I also ordered a coconut milk matcha latte. The matcha latte’s I had here at MM and at Raw Love tasted SO fresh. You could tell there was no added sugar and the coconut milk came straight from the coconut! To round out my order, I tried the matcha ice cream! Coconut milk based, I tried both the classic matcha and matcha with passion fruit. Both were incredible! 

Just look at this place! How fricken adorable!!

Raw Love: Prior to coming to Tulum, all of my friends in the wellness-sphere told me I HAD to go to Raw Love. Vegans, this is the place for you. Set just off the main road, Raw Love feels like an oasis in the middle of the jungle, and is surrounded by calming centers and yoga spots.

Everything on the menu is gluten-free and vegan, and the menu has anything and everything- from coconut milk latte’s and the most INSANELY delicious raw bites, to acai bowls and superfood healing remedies and shots. The photo below is a bowl of raw cookies- coconut macarons, cacao bites, and goji berry bites. AMAZING. Even my gluten-eating, non-vegan friends agreed! Go to Raw Love for lunch, too. The salads are full of greens and a dream.

Nightlife recs:
1. Be Tulum (had cool day parties)
2. Papaya Playa Project
3. Casa Jaguar- for sure THE SPOT of Tulum. Start with dinner and stay for the DJ!

What’s cool about Tulum is that you can visit the city literally ten times in a year and have ten totally different experiences. Given I was with a bunch of friends at a private villa, we stuck around the house for a lot of the trip. On my next trip I want to take advantage of the amazing wellness opportunities in Tulum. Yoga studios are everywhere and all of the cafe’s are so cute and have menus that are SCREAMING my name.

A few places I didn’t get to go to but hear I must try next time!

  1. Coco Hotel
  2. The Real Coconut- organic, GF, DF, grain-free EVERYTHING
  3. Charlie’s Vegan Tacos
  4. Papaya Playa Project- hotel- was told to go here for multiple things throughout the day/night.

OH! And before I sign off… BRING BUG SPRAY. I got EATEN alive. I’m still scratching and I’ve been home for almost a week now!

 

The Publishing House Bed & Breakfast

All it took was one step inside to make me fall in love with The Publishing House Bed & Breakfast. The Urban Loft, located in West Loop, opened just eight weeks ago and is already one of Chicago’s go-to overnight destinations.

Think SoHo House, Neuehouse (or any of the new, trendy “houses” emerging on the scene) but throw in a cute, cozy, living environment that is upscale yet feels totally casual. Lot’s of adjectives in there… so if you’re confused, here are some pics to set the mood!

HOW IT WORKS: 

Publishing House B&B has 11 rooms. Each visitor is given a code to enter the B&B and also given a room key. I stayed in the Harvey Room which was the most beautiful, comfortable hotel room I have stayed in TO DATE. And we all know how much I travel…

A huge bed, super modern and trendy bathroom, mirror wall, large TV, counter, desk space and more, I was told prior to my stay that Harvey was a “nice, small room.” If this is one of the house’s “small” rooms, I need to go back ASAP to see one of the big ones!!

On the top floor you will find the living room and kitchen. See below…

Breakfast is served between 7:30am and 9:30am on weekdays and 8:00am to 10:00am on weekends, with the coffee station opening at 7:00am on both days. Speaking of breakfast, let’s talk about the FOOD!

THE FOOD: 

The breakfast at Publishing House is AMAZING. Kimberly, one of the owners, cooks breakfast every morning, offering a selection of homemade pastries and two menu options. For my visit, the buffet bar had gluten-free donuts and GF granola! WIN! The two menu items offered that day were poached eggs on avocado, sweet potato, and quinoa, and an omelette of the day. This type of incredible menu (with rotating dishes) is offered every day!!

Not only did I love the ambiance and all of the features of Publishing House, but I am totally smitten with the area. If (or WHEN) I move to Chicago, I’m without a doubt moving to West Loop. Publishing House is located in-between Randolph and Washington, the two streets in the area with all the best, hotspot restaurants!! So where did I eat?

LOCAL HOTSPOTS:

Au Cheval:
Located a few blocks away is Au Cheval, home of the best burger in the U.S., or so Bon Appetit says! Gluten-Free and worried you won’t be able to indulge because of the bread? Think again! Au Cheval offers their famous burgers on a crispy hash brown bun, and it is life changing!

Lou Malnati’s:
Chicago is FAMOUS for their pizza, specifically their deep-dish crust, and Lou Malnati’s is Chicago’s most well-know pizza spot. Did you know they have a gluten-free deep dish sausage crust, and a gluten-free thin-crust?! Prepare to have your mind BLOWN. Literally. I’ve never seen anything like the sausage crust pizza before, and one bite had me understanding all of the hype!

Real Food Juice Co:
I am on a serious smoothie kick right now, and when I travel, it’s SO hard to maintain my healthy diet given I don’t start my day off with a smoothie. To make up for this, I try to find the smoothie hotspot of whatever destination I am in. Insert Real Food Juice Co, with several locations around Chicago, most of which are within Whole Foods. So up my ally! I went to the local Real Food Juice Co and ordered the ultimate smoothie and couldn’t have been happier!

Beatrix:
I was in Chicago to host an influencer dinner with Nima Sensor, and Beatrix Restaurant in Fulton was so gracious to host! The spacious was so beautiful, and the cuisine was gluten-friendly and top notch. In fact, prior to my trip to Chicago, countless followers told me Beatrix was a must-try while I was there! As proven by my dinner with Nima at Beatrix, the team takes gluten allergies and sensitivities INCREDIBLY seriously, and offers gluten-free diners an amazing experience. Chocolate lovers- try the salmon! It is covered in a chocolate glaze!!

Headed to Chicago soon? Make sure to reserve a room at Publishing House!!

The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa

The Property:

Pools, a golf course, mountain views, a spa, restaurants, and more, The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa is the ultimate weekend escape. I had the opportunity to visit the hotel the other week and given my schedule was hectic, it was the perfect place to come home to in-between the craziness of my meetings and just sit back and relax. Even in the 105 degree heat!!

Whether you are looking for a golf retreat, place to have your next corporate event, or a simple getaway, The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa is for you!

The pools on the property are absolutely beautiful! “Las Brisas” is the main pool and also the largest. It is located closest to the hotel lobby and restaurants making it a fun and convenient area to grab some sun. If you are looking for a quieter afternoon, check out “Las Hadas,” the Adult (18+) pool. Finally there is “La Paloma,” which is the quiet pool!

DINING:

I had the opportunity to dine at the Westin’s main restaurant, Pinzimini, for breakfast, and I was very pleased with their spread! I mean, eggs, avocado, and smoked salmon are the key foods to my heart! The first morning my friend and I dined at the restaurant and the second morning we decided to order our favorites to the room directly.

Note: the hash browns are not gluten free, nor is the granola!

Gluten-free items are noted on the lunch and dinner menus, and some GF options include the Kale Salad, Shrimp Avocado Salad (my go-to whenever I see one offered!), Beetroot Pistachio Ricotta Salata Salad, and a Buffalo Mozzarella Pizza!!

The Westin is also home to the Fireside Lounge, Las Brisas Cafe, Mission Hills Market Cafe, Season’s Grill, and they have in-room dining! 

Not pictured but also on the property are an amazing tennis court and fitness center! I usually don’t workout on vacations, but I hit the gym every day! It was too nice to skip!

Greater Palm Springs:

Our trip to the desert was to gear up for Palm Springs Restaurant Week! This year, PSRW is June 2-11, and I was so amazed to see how many amazing restaurants are up in Palm Springs, and how they are all so accommodating for people with gluten-allergies!!

Here is where we went:


Lulu California Bistro-
Palm Spring’s go-to brunch hotspot. Gluten-free pizza, pasta, salads, and more! The restaurant’s super causal vibe makes it great for any and all occasions, and don’t leave without diving into a mound of cotton candy!
State Fare Bar + Kitchen- One of the most beautiful restaurant’s I’ve been to in the state of California. Watch the sunset while indulging in gluten-free pita and exquisite cuisine.


King’s Highway Diner- This famous ‘diner’ belongs to the Ace Hotel. Eat inside in the adorable diner, or outside by the pool. Gluten-free tacos are a must, and the restaurant goes out of their way to accommodate gluten-allergies! I’m still dreaming on my Oasis Salad and poolside margaritas!
Bonta Restaurant & Bar- Known for their meats and German delicacies, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many gluten-free options were offered!

Huge thanks to Greater Palm Springs for hosting us on this stay! To read more about Restaurant Week and activities in Palm Springs, visit their website, here! https://visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

W Los Angeles – West Beverly Hills

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W Hotels & Resorts is a luxury hotel chain known for their upscale properties with a young, chic vibe. With locations everywhere from Amsterdam to Mexico City, to right here in LA, the W makes its mark in each city that it’s in with its awesome vibe, clientele, and delicious food!

Well, when I found out that the W Los Angeles, West Beverly Hills location, has an Awards Season Package, I had to inquire! What is it, you ask? Guests have the opportunity to host 20 of their friends in the exclusive 1,350 square foot E-WOW Suite which includes its own private gold-cushioned screening room to watch an awards show! I mean, if a gold-cushioned room doesn’t scream Hollywood glam, I don’t know what does!

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The package also includes:

  • Accommodations in the EWOW Suite (sleeps up to 4 guests)
  • Champagne-stocked refrigerator
  • In-room blowouts by beGlammed for up to 20 people
  • Cocktail party at STK for up to 20 people (we had the feast catered in our room!)
  • Private in-room bartender for duration of the award show
  • Late night in-room munchie delivery from STK (burgers, fries etc)
  • Morning after Oxygen Blast at Bliss Spa (up to 4 people)
The Award Season package starts at $11,000/night. Package is based on availability and can be booked by calling (310) 208-8765.

Talk about the ultimate celebrity experience!

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My girls and I couldn’t resist our special offer to take over the E-WOW suite to watch the Grammy awards this past weekend, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun we had. Not only were the food and cocktails flowing, but the suite had us totally mesmerized.

Our NOBREAD Menu for the night, thanks to STK!

  • Tuna Tartare – avocado / tamari / taro
  • Jumbo Lump Crab Salad – hearts of palm/melon/ginger vinaigrette
  • Beets and Citrus – purple watercress / asian pears/ cypress grove chèvre
  • Truffle Fries – parmesan / chives / truffle
  • Beef Tartare – papadum / Yuzukoshu / pickled mushroom
  • Seared Scallop – smoked sweet potato / bacon / ají amarillo
  • Prime NY Steak – Chive potato/ chimichurri/ point reyes blue cheese
  • Escape – Serrano ham, roasted sweet piquillo peppers, mixed olives,marinated artichokes, house made giardiniera, cypress grove goat cheese, petit basque
  • The Greek – Housemade garlic hummus, baba ganoush, quinoa tabbouleh salad, pita chips, cured olives, feta, raw carrots, tzatziki

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For more of our favorite gluten-free items from STK check out our review, here! 

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Breakfast in Bed:

There is an STK in the hotel, and if that isn’t enough, the in-room dining is pretty amazing! For breakfast, I was stoked to see a range of gluten-free items, most of which are gluten-free when you ask for no toast! We ordered the organic eggs with roasted potatoes and turkey bacon and the So Cal Omelette with avocado and no cheese! And no breakfast spread is complete without a side of fruit and smoked salmon. Breakfast in bed done right.

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In-room dining is available at all hours of the day, so if you’re like me and have late night room-service cravings, you’ll be happy to know there is a late night menu, too (hello late night fresh popped popcorn)!

Poolside Hangs!
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The view from the W is awesome, especially if your room is pool-side. You can see all of Beverly Hills and East LA! Given it’s January and I’m starting to look a little pale, I decided to spend my afternoon by the pool. For lunch, the W has The Backyard, which is part of STK. I recommend the tuna tartar with tamari in place of soy, the shrimp cocktail, or any of the salads with added protein. Note: the Caesar Salad is gluten-free when you ask for no croutons and the STK salad is GF when you ask for no fried shallots. I ordered the STK salad and subbed lobster for the steak, and treated myself to an order of sweet potato fries, too!
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My meal was delivered right to my lounge, which just added to my perfect little afternoon. If you don’t want to dine poolside, you can sit on the patio by the bar, and cool off in the shade!
All in, my experience at the W Los Angeles- West Beverly Hills was great! During the Grammy’s, our in-room bartender and waiter couldn’t have been nicer, ensuring our drinks were flowing and food was refilled throughout the show… and the room was simply outstanding. I highly recommend the Awards Season package… it is worth every penny!

Calamigos Ranch

The Ranch:

It’s official: Calamigos Ranch does it all and brings new meaning to “any occasion.” Equipped with an incredible fitness studio, luxury pools, fire pits, a rehab center, a cafe and more, Calamigos literally has something for everyone. I had the opportunity to stay at the ranch last week, and I’m happy to report my findings!

If you are headed to the ranch for a little staycation or a night or two get-away like I was, Calamigos is the spot for you. The pool and lounge area is tranquil and you feel totally at peace; I had to keep reminding myself that I was only 45 minutes away from home! I went during the week, and had the luxury of seeing the ranch at its quietest, but I am told the ranch is full on the weekends and quite lively.

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There were several attributes that stood out to me about the ranch. First, the farm fresh produce that was growing outside our door! Strawberries and artichokes, two of my favorite foods, were growing in a mini garden just steps away from my bungalow, and I was so tempted each morning to pick my own. Second, the vicinity. Prior to my trip, I heard that Calamigos was the ultimate wedding spot, and now I understand why. The ranch can do up to 4 weddings at a time on the property, and the property is so huge and beautiful; each wedding area has it’s own vibe and charm! Hanging flowers, beautiful trees, nighttime lights, lakes and more create a serene and beautiful ambiance.

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The Food:

We all know that the dining experience makes or breaks a travel experience for me, and I’m happy to announce the dining at Calamigos is super gluten-friendly. There are no formal restaurants at the ranch, but there is a poolside menu and an in-room dining menu. Upon hearing that I was GF and DF, I was flattered to receive my very own menu that featured everything from GF bread and pancakes to fruit bowls and acai bowls, and more!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Calamigos made sure I was fed the ultimate breakfast each morning. My favorites? The crab hash with a poached egg (no hollandaise for me), acai bowl with GF granola and DF yogurt, eggs and grits, GF buckwheat pancakes, and GF bread (made with almond flour)!

I have to talk abut the pancakes! Made with buckwheat flour, these pancakes were sweet and smooth tasting, and HUGE! Anyone who knows me knows that pancakes are my favorite meal to make, and I am newly inspired to make pancakes that big! My friend eats both gluten and dairy, and what amazed me the most about Calamigos was that they made he and I the exact same meals each day, but brought two versions of it. One version had gluten and dairy for him, and the other version lacked the allergens for me! This kind of hospitality reminds me of the days when I was first diagnosed with my food intolerances, and my mom spent hours making me my own version of whatever my family was eating that night.

If you stay at the ranch for the day, the poolside and in-room dining menus offer a plethora of gluten-free options, and I highly recommend the salads!

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Malibu Cafe:

Malibu Cafe is one of the cutest restaurants/cafes I’ve seen to date. It is completely outdoors, and located just a couple hundred yards from the Calamigos Ranch property. The ambiance at Malibu Cafe is great! The sounds of country music fill the space, and between the dining area, life-size games and statues, paddleboats, ping pong tables, and more, it is the perfect venue to bring a date, celebrate a family gathering, take the kids, or host your next event!

Most importantly, Malibu Cafe serves a ton of gluten-free options! At lunch, the salads are the way to go. They are huge, and you can make each salad a bit more filling by adding a protein of your choice. The cobb salad was definitely a stand out, as well as the mixed greens salad with chickpeas and avocado. The brussels sprouts, however, stole the show and I ordered them at every meal! Dressed with balsamic vinaigrette, the sprouts were crispy and tasty. They come with goat cheese, but if you are dairy-free like myself, you can order them with no cheese!

For dinner, I recommend the 8oz salmon with your choice of sides, as well as the chicken. If you order the chicken, be prepared… or be hungry! The chicken is served whole and accompanied by a side of your choice (I love the tricolor cauliflower), and it is a large enough portion to serve 2… or 3 or 4!

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The Helicopter Ride:

Everyone who knows me knows about my fear of heights. So when Calamigos Ranch offered us a helicopter ride, as excited as I was, I was also petrified! But who could turn down a private helicopter tour of Malibu and the West Side of LA?? After going over safety and helicopter etiquette, I was ready to go, and I’m so glad I went! It was such an incredible treat seeing the beautiful LA landscape from the sky, and flying over some of my favorite restaurants and hotspots!

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To learn more about Calamigos Ranch, check out their website, here! Thank you again, team Calamigos, for the wonderful stay. I will absolutely be back soon!