Weekend Update & Meal Plan

Happy Monday! We had the b.e.s.t. weekend visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Seattle. The last time we saw them was Thanksgiving and Roberto was doing his first round of Whole30 so it has definitely been a while since they were able to actually enjoy his company. We flew up Thursday after work and they took the day off on Friday to hang with us. We visited a bunch of delicious restaurants and went on an epic hike, so I’ll post a round up soon since we bounced around a few of the suburbs outside of Seattle and the Emerald City itself. We were delayed at Sea-Tac yesterday so we had plenty of time to get our meal plan and grocery list organized. All I wanted to do was get in bed when we got home (those Rivera sibs tuckered us out), but we soldiered on to TJs so we’d have a good start on our week. It was a total nightmare and they were out of a lot of a lot of the things we normally grab which reminded us why we always shop on Saturday or first thing Sunday.

Last week we were trying to figure out how much money we actually save by making our meals since our company has a cafeteria that is pretty cheap (we’re able to get hot meals or a salad for under $5 compared to $10+ anywhere else). I like knowing what is in the meals we make and I’m not sure I could do the salad bar five days a week, but we wanted to know if we were saving that much. We decided to do a quick and dirty calculation to get an idea of the cost of each meal. I’m excluding anything we had in our pantry/fridge/freezer such as EVOO, tomato paste, frozen green onions, seasoning etc. and didn’t get fancy enough to factor in the value of our time. With the exception of the Salmon, all of our meals are under $3/serving so that’s pretty tough to beat even with our very affordable cafeteria. When I compare it to what we spend on Starbucks breakfast and coffee it’s not even close. I’m also adding in the calorie and macro information if you’re curious since we normally put it in MyFitnessPal anyway. Let me know if it’s helpful or you have questions!

Here’s the plan:

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 8/21K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Leftover 15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls (2/2)Sous Vide Salmon with Cauliflower Mash (2/4)
Tuesday 8/22K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers (2/4)Sous Vide Salmon with Cauliflower Mash (4/4)
Wednesday 8/23K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers (4/4)Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus and Zucchini (2/4)
Thursday 8/24K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach, Chicken, Strawberry, and Goat Cheese Salad (2/4)Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus and Zucchini (4/4)
Friday 8/25K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese FrittataSpinach, Chicken, Strawberry, and Goat Cheese Salad (2/4)Date Night <3 (surprisingly NOT sushi)

Breakfast

I absolutely loved my frittata last week so we’re stickin’ with that for now. Roberto’s been having the same breakfast for 6 months so no change there…

Cost/Serving of K’s Breakfast: $1.98

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 242cals/14g/21g/6g

Cost/Serving of R’s Breakfast: $2.85

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 320cals/10g/26g/34g

Leftovers

Roberto had a couple work lunches come up last week so we have these bowls left over. They were SO good. Highly recommend.

No cost cause I don’t have the receipt from last week 😬

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 403cals/4g/41g/51g

Sous Vide Salmon with Cauli Mash

My coworker recently posted a video of her cooking dinner in a plastic bag submerged in hot water and I was intrigued immediately. When I asked her for the deets I was disappointed to find out the device was $200, so I put it into my mental “save for” bucket. But then I saw this article pop up and decided I’d be willing to invest for under $100. Sous vide is the process of cooking food in vacuum sealed bags in a temperature controlled water bath and is famous for its ability to cook food evenly (i.e. ensuring the middle is cooked without drying out or overcooking the outside). I looked at a few recipes to get the gist of it and combined my fillets with salt, EVOO, and a few sprigs of thyme. We’re having it tonight so I’ll report back!

Cost/Serving: $4.53

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 246cals/13g/31g/13g

Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers

We’ve been doing a lot of meatballs and turkey burgers lately so we’re switching it up this week. I like this recipe but Roberto normally puts his own spin on it. He insists cooking the peppers before filling them with turkey cuts down on how watery the peppers can be. We haven’ prepped these yet so I’ll have to come back and refine how he ends up actually making them.

Cost/Serving: $2.76

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 293cals/10g/39g/13g

Spinach, Strawberry, Chicken, and Goat Cheese Salad

Yup, we’re doing this again. We were delayed getting home last night and just needed something quick and easy to fall back on. It’s a family fave: Roberto grills the chicken with his magic mix of spices and I hull and chop the strawberries. That’s it.

Cost/Serving: $2.80

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 215cals/4g/30g/11g

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus and Squash

If you read weekly you know this is one of R’s go-tos. The main ingredients for the marinade are Dijon and rosemary, but I couldn’t give you exact ratios (promise I’m working on getting the deets to the secret sauce!!!). Pre-Roberto my go-to was always this fig balsamic one from Skinnytaste since I always had both ingredients in the cupboard.

Cost/Serving: $2.11

Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs: 186cals/5g/32g/8g

This is actually lighter on calories than I realized so maybe we’ll add some quinoa.

Have a great week and let me know if you think we should try!

Weekend Update & Meal Plan

Happy Monday… er Tuesday… little behind over here as usual! This weekend, one of Roberto’s best friends from college came to visit on Friday night with his girlfriend. Even though they’re only a couple of hours away we hadn’t seen them in over 6 months. We put out feelers for what they wanted for dinner earlier in the week and to our delight they chose sushi, which just happens to be our regular Friday night routine. Instead of ordering for pickup or delivery which is our m.o. we headed to our neighborhood favorite, Naked Fish, for a tableful of rolls and nigiri. After dinner, we headed back to our place where Roberto whipped up some Kentucky Mules and we queued up pics from our trip to Peru and Colombia. Our friends are 6,000 times more athletic and outdoorsy so in turn, they showed us incredible pictures from Mt. Whitney. Ever since Roberto and I did the Inca Trail, he’s been trying to convince me to take on the highest summit in the US and seeing some of their incredible photos is making me reconsider the hike. We ended the night watching Valley Uprising, an awesome documentary about the climbing counterculture in Yosemite National Park that began in the late 1950s.

We woke up on Saturday and after grabbing some emergency coffee we headed straight to Rose’s for brunch. Amazingly, I had only been to the local café once before despite the fact that it’s a neighborhood staple and just a block away from our church. They are famous for their breakfast pizza, but I went for their Chicken-Tarragon Sausage with Poached Eggs, Polenta, and Spicy Tomato Sauce. SO. GOOD. I’ll be looking for an at home Shakshouka recipe to try to replicate this deliciousness. After digesting we all headed out for a quick run with these fitness freaks and I could barely keep up with the crew.

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing chores and grocery shopping. We recently got rid of a couple bookcases that were seriously messing with our Feng Shui. They were also conveniently holding boxes and boxes of my childhood relics so I spent a majority of Saturday afternoon going through high school homework (and watching Scandal). I am such a hoarder… I got rid of a lot, but still saved some Spanish homework I’m hoping to show off to Roberto and some adorable cursive lessons I’m thinking of framing since they just look so silly and outdated. We ended the day with takeout from Delarosa (pancetta pizza and crab arancini obvi) and watched 13th on Netflix. This documentary has been on my must watch list for a while, but after the hatred, racism, and violence that we saw in Charlottesville this weekend, I was feeling the need to educate myself on the institutionalized racism in this country. It was eye-opening and a must watch if you haven’t seen it. Ideas for what you can actually do to help are here.

The beauty of getting our shopping done on Saturday is that we got right to meal prepping after grabbing coffee and breakfast on Sunday morning rather than cooking late into the night which is what usually ends up happening. We ended with a 4-mile walk up and over the Lyon Street steps which is always our favorite way to get out of the house and end the weekend.

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 8/7K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Leftover Spinach, Chicken, Strawberry, and Goat Cheese Salad (2/2)Leftover Pasta (2/2)
Tuesday 8/8K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls (2/6)Roberto's Turkey Meatballs and Green Beans (2/4)
Wednesday 8/9K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls (4/6)Roberto's Turkey Meatballs and Green Beans (4/4)
Thursday 8/10K - Broccoli, Turkey, Green Onion, and Goat Cheese Frittata
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls (6/6)Travel Meal
Friday 8/11Seattle!Seattle!Seattle!

Breakfast

I have been in a major breakfast rut. My AM salad attempt was a major failure. I think if I could throw a poached egg over some lettuce on the weekend I’d be more into it, but I just didn’t dig it as a make-ahead meal. I went back to my frittata roots this weekend and I was not disappointed in my mix… this week I went with broccoli, green onions, turkey, and goat cheese (which is a recurring theme in my life right now tbh).

Leftovers

How’d we end up here if we planned our meals last week? We grilled the chicken for our salads but hadn’t put everything together in easy grab and go containers and so of course when we were running late (as usual) on Thursday we just couldn’t get it together. On Friday I just brought the whole dang bag of spinach to work and WW helped me hull and chop the strawberries in the kitchen at the office (I shared my lunch with her of course). Roberto was too busy to eat 😞 so we still had two servings leftover for lunch yesterday. Still delish! On Sunday night Roberto whipped up some quick pasta with broccoli, frozen langostino, mushrooms, and alfredo. We made enough servings for us to have last night so we wouldn’t need to make a whole other meal.

15-Minute Chicken Shawarma Bowls

This recipe showed up in my Instagram feed last week and looked so good I immediately saved it to try. The recipe calls for rotisserie chicken, but I obviously wanted to put my new Instant Pot to the test so I took my friend Summer’s advice and within ten minutes had perfectly moist shredded chicken for this dish (I got extra chicken to stretch this into 6 servings). Our new chopper made the cukes a breeze and everything else came together equally as fast. So excited for this lunch today!

Roberto’s Turkey Meatballs and Green Beans

I’ve mentioned these 100 times. So good. Not so secret ingredient: Tomasso’s (we literally bought three jars this week just in casers).

We are off to Seattle this weekend to visit my brother-in-law and sister-in-law (there has to be a shorter grammatically correct way to say that…) so it’s a short week!

Have a good one and as always send any must-try recipes my way!

 

Weekend Update & Meal Plan

Happy Monday… hope you had a great weekend! After trying out Mac’d with friends on Wednesday and hitting up Mission Bowling Club on Thursday with Roberto’s coworkers we were pooped by Friday night (homebody alert). We skipped our normal sushi dinner routine and pretty much got right in bed when we got home. On Saturday we had a family party to celebrate Roberto’s grandfather’s birthday and say farewell to his cousin who’s leaving us for LA. Roberto has lots of family locally, but with everyone’s schedule we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like. These parties are always a good opportunity to see everyone and for Roberto to catch up on some razzing with his cousins. From there we raced back to the city so I could meetup with a couple girlfriends for dinner. One of my bestest friends from college was in town and I hadn’t seen her since our wedding over two years ago (shameful!!!). We headed to Causwells for their famous burger and it was sooo good to catch up. Love it when it feels like no time has passed even when it’s been (way) too long. Love you Macca!
We spent yesterday doing our usual Sunday routine: grocery shopping & meal prepping. We also made the mistake of starting Ozark and got immediately sucked in. I am even more obsessed with Julia Garner after recognizing her from my other current TV obsession:  The Americans (see here).

Anywho, here’s what we’re eating this week:

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 8/7K - Let's be real I had a Chorizo breakfast sandwich from Starbucks this AM #noregrets
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers & Roberto's Shepherd's Salad (2/4)Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower & Peas (2/6)
Tuesday 8/8K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers & Roberto's Shepherd's Salad (4/4)Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower & Peas (4/6)
Wednesday 8/9K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Thai Coconut Shrimp Curry with Spicy Green Beans (2/4)Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower & Peas (6/6)
Thursday 8/10K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach, Goat Cheese, Strawberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad (2/4)Thai Coconut Shrimp Curry with Spicy Green Beans (4/4)
Friday 8/11K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach, Goat Cheese, Strawberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad (2/4)Dinner with Friends!

Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers and Roberto’s Shepherd’s Salad

I never got around to making the skinny tzatziki last week so we had a bunch of cucumbers to use up. We were originally planning on having these stuffed peppers, but went for something a little more Mediterranean to go with Roberto’s Salad (cukes, tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, olive oil). I’ve mentioned this recipe 100 times. Not a ton of ingredients, super delish, grill ’em up and throw some avocado on top. Roberto also got this chopper to speed up his breakfast hash (potatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, etc.) and it came in super handy for all the cukes (we’re kinda obsessed).

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower and Peas

Gina posted a picture of this recipe on her Instagram last week and I immediately mentally bookmarked it for our meal plan this week. The only problem? I didn’t have a pressure cooker. I ran out and grabbed this one yesterday and dove right in. The hardest part of the recipe was measuring out all the spices, but after that it was super quick. You can also make this on the stove top if you double the cooking time, or this slow cooker one from my Whole30 days is great. We’re planning to have this over TJ’s frozen brown rice. Let me know if you have good pressure cooker recipes… so excited to see what this bad boy can do!

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp and Spicy Green Beans

This is another go-to we hadn’t done in a while. Works out well if you’re doing the Chicken Tikka Masala since neither recipe uses a full can of coconut milk on their own. We get the microwaveable green beans from TJs and then Roberto seasons them with some red pepper flakes. So good.

Spinach, Goat Cheese, Strawberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad

Roberto picked out every single blackberry from one of his salads last week after realizing he “doesn’t like blackberries in salad.” Alrightyyyyyy then. So we doing this classic combo. Fast, easy, goat cheese. I picked up these little squeeze bottles since the tiniest piece from this set wasn’t cutting it. Also debating getting these… too extra?

Do you have any awesome instant pot recipes? If so, please share!!!

Cuba Travel Guide: Trinidad

When I think back on our trip, Trinidad definitely represents a turning point for me. Despite the fact that Vinales was an absolute highlight and we loved Havana, those first few days of our trip were stressful as we spent unnecessary time trying to figure out our options for obtaining funds (you can read all about that here). We stopped very briefly in Cienfuegos on our way to Trinidad and I wish we had more time! I would have absolutely stayed a night or at least enjoyed a meal, but we had to keep traveling so we wouldn’t arrive in Trinidad too late. I’m including a few of my favorite pictures from this quick stop because it was so incredibly beautiful. We were there right as a huge storm was rolling in along with a fiery sunset. One of my favorite memories from the trip was watching these kiddos learn to box on the beach:

Stay

A large part of what made our stay in Trinidad so incredible was the hospitality we were offered at Dr. Suarez and Senora Addys lovely casa particular. We hadn’t felt that the staff at our hotel in Havana was particularly helpful which only added to our anxiety so when we arrived late from a day of travel and were greeted so warmly by our hosts it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. It also didn’t hurt that Dr. Suarez is… a doctor… so he had antibiotic ointment and band-aids which relieved Roberto’s worries about me losing my legs (again… the misadventures are all here). So if it’s not incredibly obvious I cannot recommend this hostel enough. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

  1. They had internet access which is a true luxury. Sure you still need your ETECSA card to actually access it, but it means your ability to get online isn’t limited to a street corner.
  2. They served a truly amazing breakfast. Our go-to was omelets filled to the brim with whatever cheese was available and ham accompanied by plates of fresh fruit (of course).
  3. Senora Addys and her staff were able to scrub our dirt covered clothes from Vinales back to life. My converse hadn’t been so white since the day I bought ’em.

You can book with them directly or through Airbnb. I think we were actually turned down on our first attempt (by our I mean Roberto’s since he has the full-time job of the family travel agent), but he tried another avenue and we were so happy to be confirmed.

If you don’t want to stay in a casa particular, the Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad is centrally located and absolutely beautiful (although it’s at least 10-20x the price). After waiting in a standstill line for a wifi card at ETECSA for at least 30 minutes we took refuge in their gorgeous lobby bar. They sold us the internet cards at cost with the purchase of a drink which we enjoyed along with their air conditioning and pineapple chandelier (how do I commission one of these?). We returned later that night to enjoy a cigar while we watched the Warriors game in their smoking salon (haaave I mentioned my husband loves sports?).

Eat and Drink

  • Sol y Son: The indoor of this restaurant is really gorgeous and full of antique treasures. It’s housed in a home that was built in the 1830s and still has all of the charms from that era. We were seated in the courtyard to dine which was lovely in the balmy weather. We got some ridiculous fruity cocktails (I think mine was blue… when in Cuba?), but I honestly don’t remember what we ate. We had a nice dinner and the ambiance was lovely, but it certainly wasn’t our best meal of the trip.
  • Restaurante San Jose: The line here is totally warranted. We showed up to put our name on the list and there were already people waiting outside (they don’t accept reservations). You can order drinks while you wait on the street and people watch/chat with other diners. It wasn’t long before we were seated and finally got to try their insane lobster dish. 100% worth it and would definitely go back.

  • Pizza: Roberto and I initially felt guilty about this and totally abstained in Havana since it’s our go-to at home and felt so touristy, but pizza is everywhere in Cuba. Check out this amazing story about a pizzeria in Havana! We stumbled upon this cute little place that I, of course, can’t find now, but it was the perfect snack mid-afternoon. So don’t be afraid to dabble, it’s what the locals do 😉

  • The Best Mojito: I’ve spent more time on Google Maps than I’d care to admit trying to find this place for you guys (street view isn’t quite what it is in the US). I wrote about it in our one-week itinerary, but it bears repeating that this isn’t just a marketing ploy…. this actually was one of the best mojitos we had in Cuba. Grab one and enjoy it while you watch the sun set over Trinidad… pure magic and such a sweet memory 😍 All the little bars in the area are basically to-go shops that will serve you drinks out of the window… you’ll find this one at the base of the stairs next to the Church of the Holy Trinity.

  • Disco Ayala: Like so many other stories in my life, this one also begins with sports. The Iberostar closed before the Warriors game was over, but the staff told us that there was a resort at the very tippy top of the hill in town that also got this special sports channel. (Reality check this was not the playoffs… just one regular old game of eighty plus). On our way to this resort, we passed all these little bar carts where groups of revelers had stopped to chat and sample mojitos. At the time, we didn’t even know where we were headed, but we couldn’t believe it when we stumbled on a huge line of people waiting outside of what appeared to be a cave. I so regret that we didn’t go inside for a night of dancing, but the line was long and we had had a long day. If you do go (and you should!) wear sensible shoes because it’s a long walk uphill along cobblestone streets! Even just the little bars along the way are fun. We stopped for a chat and mojito on our way home and as our bartender told us about his life he mentioned that his brother had moved to El Salvador (where Roberto’s family is from)… such a small world!

See & Do

  • Casa de Musica: This is the famous outdoor music venue right next to the above-mentioned stairs. You can do the Cuban version of bottle service and buy a bottle and mixers for your table or just grab a drink and squeeze into a spot on the stairs to watch… if you have enough liquid courage you may even join in (my hiney stayed firmly planted in my seat)! Roberto wants me to reiterate that this is a MUST DO!

  • Plaza Mayor: This is really the heart of Trinidad. From here you can watch the sunset and wander the nearby alleys where you’ll find men playing dominos in the street. Be sure to stop here to soak it all in. It’s also where you’ll find the internet…

  • Pedicab Tour: Señora Addys and Dr. Suarez organized this for us (again… angels 😇) and it was a great way to see a lot of Trinidad in a short amount of time. Notable stops included Casa del Alfarero where we had the opportunity to see pottery being made (I think they even offer lessons!) and a cigar factory in town.

  • Calle Desengaño: We rode down this street on our pedicab tour and had to come back to revisit all the brightly colored ‘Punto de Venta’s selling fresh juices, produce, and meat. We spent at least an hour just strolling down this street, watching families shop, and kids get haircuts on their front porches

  • Ancon Beach: When we were planning our trip and trying to figure out where to squeeze in some beach time we considered visiting Ancon Beach which is a quick bike ride from Trinidad. We ended up skipping it and visiting Cayo Santa Maria which I’ll cover next week, but if we had more time I would have loved to check it out. Would be a great choice if you don’t have time for an additional stop in your itinerary.
  • Salto de Caburni: I wanted to stop at these waterfalls on the way from Havana, but we just ran out of daylight. Assuming you’re leaving from Havana with a driver definitely coordinate a visit on your way. You can also organize a day trip from Trinidad if you have the time. It’s only about 30 minutes outside the city, but we only had one full day in Trinidad so we stayed close to town.
  • Romance Museum: OK this is cheeseball, but we totally would have visited if they hadn’t been closed when we were there.

If you have time to explore outside of Havana, promise me you won’t miss Trinidad! 

Bullish On: July

Rabbit, rabbit 🐇🐇! Happy August! I’m bringing back these ‘Bullish On’ posts to round up everything I loved in July:

The Americans

I’m definitely late on this one, but it feels extra relevant given the constant news about Russia lately (at least this version is pretend). The show is set in the early 80s and revolves around two married KGB agents living the suburban life with their two children right outside of Washington D.C. It was actually partially based on real life spies that were discovered living in New Jersey in 2010. It’s a constant thriller and Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys make a great team (on the show and in real life!).

Bluetooth Headphones

In my imaginary life I have these awesome rose gold wireless headphones, but in my real life where I have a budget (and most likely can’t pull off such fancy pants headphones), I have these. I finally gave up the battle of charging vs. listening to music & podcasts (thanks for nothin’ Apple!) and decided I needed to get a pair of wireless headphones. These were highly rated on Amazon and under $40 and they’ve been perfect for everything from my commute to runs.

Aveeno 60 Second In-Shower Facial

I shared my skincare favorites back in April and I’m still using all the same goodies, but I recently added this face wash/treatment to my routine. I picked it up on a whim since it was so cheap and I’m long overdue for a visit to Amanda. This definitely isn’t a replacement for a traditional facial, but it’s a nice pick me up a couple times a week. I’ll use it if I’ve slacked on my skincare routine for a night or two or if I want a refresh and don’t have time for a 15-minute mask. I convinced work wife to try it too and she’s equally addicted.

Hidden Bodies

Okay, this is technically the sequel so obviously read You first, but this series is so creepy and delightful. I read ‘You’ on our trip to Ireland last year and I have no idea why I waited so long to pick up the sequel. I couldn’t put it down and as soon as I finished I started looking for details on a third book. At first, I was disappointed that it didn’t sound like Joe Goldberg was headed for a trilogy, but they are making the series into a Lifetime drama so you know I’ll be there for that. Let me know your sushi order and I’ll save you a seat 😁

Scraping by on $500k a Year

This isn’t a new story, but it’s new to me. It takes a look at a couple making $500,000 in New York and how it’s possible that they’re only ending up with an annual ‘excess’ of $7,300 after all of their expenses. Given the high cost of living in the Bay Area, this definitely feels like a story you could read about locally. So, what are your thoughts? Do you feel sympathy for these young professionals who are making a half million dollars a year and still feel average? Roberto and I are currently working on analyzing our budget for the first half of the year to give ourselves a reality check on where our money is going and this was definitely a good reminder that it’s not how much you make, but how much you save…

Weekend Update & Meal Plan

Happy Sunday… hope you’ve had a great weekend! We were pretty low-key over here. We stayed in on Friday and spent so long trying to decide what movie to watch that it got too late to watch a movie. Are we the only people this happens to? The indecision is real. Let me know if you have any recs for good flicks that are streaming. We’re always afraid to start a new TV series late at night for fear that we’ll stay up till 4 am watching the whole first season, but I feel like I have way more must see TV on my list than movies these days.

I went to a new workout class yesterday morning (Shockwave at Equinox!) and I’m already sore. I ate healthy for like two hours immediately following so I’m waiting for that six-pack to come in any minute now. Speaking of six packs… queso. We had to cancel Tuesday’s date night, but we made up for it last night with tacos and margs (and obviously a bowl of aforementioned melted cheese) at Tacolicious. We hadn’t been since they moved locations a year ago which is a miracle since we used to order it every dang week for football Sundays. It was also the currency we used to pay our friends to help us paint our house when we first moved in (thank you, friends!!!). It was just as delicious as I remembered with less of the dark cramped feel of their old spot. We ended the night watching John Wick 2. I would never have picked this in a million years, but we watched it with my brother and sister in-laws for Thanksgiving almost two years ago. Well, they watched it and I fell asleep immediately…blame the tryptophan, not poor Keanu. When we saw the second one had been released Roberto insisted I rewatch the original so we could see the sequel. It’s super over the top action packed (and gory!!!) in an almost hilarious way, but both films are 85-90% on Rotten Tomatoes so I’m not the only one who can’t look away from this B-movie series.

Earlier this afternoon I met up with my friend Sara who I haven’t seen in 6,000 years since she’s been off traveling and pretty much just living her best life. We went to Off the Grid’s Presidio Picnic and shared an empanada from El Sur. She also gave me her leftover Chicken Biryani from DUM Truck which I inhaled the minute I got home. So good. Thank you, Sasa! We’re spending the rest of the evening cooking for the week and here’s what’s on deck:

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 7/31K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Greek Meatballs with Greek Salad and Pita and Hummus (2/4)Salmon with Green Goddess Dressing and Bacon Brussels Sprouts (2/4)
Tuesday 8/1K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Greek Meatballs with Greek Salad and Pita and Hummus (4/4)Salmon with Green Goddess Dressing and Bacon Brussels Sprouts (4/4)
Wednesday 8/2K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Basil, Blackberry and Grilled Chicken Salad (2/4)Dinner with Friends 🧀🐹
Thursday 8/3K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Basil, Blackberry and Grilled Chicken Salad (4/4)R - Work Event
K - Shrimp Tacos (1/3)
Friday 8/4K - BLTA Salad with Eggs
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Shrimp Tacos (3/3)TBD, but most likely sushi 😬🍣

BLTA Breakfast Salad with Eggs

While perusing The Defined Dish (see below) I stumbled upon her recent post ‘why you should eat salad for breakfast.’ It’s basically what Roberto has every morning so I figured I would reluctantly try to get some veggies in earlier in the day too. Her first picture with bacon and poached eggs inspired me, but the rest is all Julianne Hough. Let me explain. When I saw this pic of Jules on her honeymoon I needed to know what she ate immediately.  The internet told me she has steamed eggs with tomato and avocado for breakfast (I don’t know what I ever expect the answer to be, but I’m always holding out hope someone found some magical burrito ingredient). Anyways, I set about Googling and found out her method (which is essentially a fry/steam combo) is different than everybody else’s definition of a steamed egg, but the latter sounded like a delicious make-ahead so I’m giving it a go. In summary, yes I’m basing my breakfast on an Instagram picture and fully aware that my “One time Julianne Hough ate tomatoes, avocados, and eggs for breakfast so I ate tomatoes, avocados, and eggs for breakfast” essentially makes her my real life Regina George, but if it gets me to eat more veggies who really cares.

Greek Turkey Meatballs with Roberto’s Shepherd’s Salad

We have lean ground turkey every week and I love Roberto’s traditional meatballs with Tommaso’s, but we’re switching it up and trying these from Skinnytaste this time. We’re planning to serve with what Roberto calls his Shepherd’s Salad: tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, kalamata olives & feta with a drizzle of olive oil. I also plan to make Gina’s skinny tzatziki and have some whole wheat pita and hummus on the side. Reminds me of our honeymoon in Greece 💙🇬🇷 💙

Sheet Pan Green Goddess Salmon with Bacony Brussels Sprouts

Fun fact: we almost spelled brussels sprouts wrong on the menu at our wedding and I still have a panic attack every time I have to write it out. Just more ways vegetables are victimizing me. Anywho, my work wife discovered The Defined Dish while we were doing our Whole30 back in March and still uses her for recipe inspo. She had this salmon last week and said it was amazing so now I obviously have to make it myself 👯. It’s not going to be Whole30 compliant since I’m subbing out what we’ve got (i.e. regular mayo and non-compliant turkey bacon), but it looks quick and easy so I’m hoping it lives up to WWs rave reviews. Love this Goldtouch sheet pan from William Sonoma for sheet pan recipes since practically nothing sticks, but we typically use a Silpat to make things extra easy.

Basil, Blackberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad

Bringing this back this week since it was so delish the first time around AND I remembered the basil this week a.k.a. a key ingredient that’s also in the title. Winner winner chicken dinner (lunch). It’s so quick to just grill thinly sliced chicken breast or shrimp and throw it all in a mason jar so we’ve made these quick and easy salads one of our go-to’s each week. Also, it doesn’t hurt that we’ve deemed goat cheese another key ingredient.

Shrimp Tacos

No, we did not get enough tacos last night. Please stop your judging. We’re just planning to grill up some shrimp and throw them in corn tortillas with cabbage, sour cream, salsa, and avocado for me. I apologize if this is one of those things everyone knew except me (like the whole how to chop an onion debacle), but ever since I learned you could make your own hard shell tortillas it’s been a game changer. We do ’em in our toaster oven since it heats up fast, but any old oven will work.

Let me know if you have an awesome recipe you think I should try and have a great week!

 

Weekend Update

Happy Monday! This weekend was a good one. We worked late on Friday then stayed in with some sushi which is our end of week tradition at this point. Roberto let me pick the movie so I took total advantage and put on Bad Moms. I wasn’t in the mood for anything serious or scary, so it was the perfect way to unwind and end the week with some laughs (plus it reminded we how gorg and charming Mila Kunis is).

On Saturday, we woke up early to set out for what has become an annual summer ritual: wine tasting in Yountville. Typically we rent bikes, which is our favorite way to hop from vineyard to vineyard, but since we only had time for two appointments and weren’t staying the night our friend graciously offered to be our designated driver and shuttle us around (thank you AS!!!).

We started at Saddleback Cellars which we love because they allow food (many wineries don’t). The setting is really casual and not at all stuffy which is more our style. The tastings are hosted at picnic tables right next to the vineyard, which was the perfect place to enjoy our lunch from Yountville Deli in the shade (it was almost 100 degrees!). They are known for their Cabernet Sauvignon, and their winemaker, Nils Venge, was the first American to achieve a 100-point score from wine critic Robert Parker Jr. We enjoyed just about everything we tasted but took home a bottle of their Zinfandel.

The real reason for our trip was to visit Goosecross Cellars where we’re members. We visited them on one of our inaugural bike trips when all of their tastings were hosted in a trailer. The staff is warm and hilarious and we left as wine club members that very first day. They were in the midst of building their new tasting room (hence the trailer) and when they completed the project we couldn’t believe it. Their new space is absolutely gorgeous and the view from the patio is unbeatable. We choose not to have our wine shipped so we have an excuse to visit the property a few times a year. As always it was a lovely afternoon with them.

We returned to the city just in time to catch the US men’s national soccer team play Costa Rica in the Gold Cup. The wine tasting gang hung around to watch and Roberto’s parents came over to watch with us as well. One of our best buds lives downstairs and he had a few friends over so they popped up for a bit too! It was a fun last minute get together and Robertos’ parents cooked us all delicious dinner of shrimp and steak.

Yesterday we did all the regular Sunday chores: grocery shopping, meal-prepping, laundry, etc. I also finally sat down to take a look at how we did on our budget and savings goals for the first half of the year, and I’ll be sharing those details later this week.

After an indulgent weekend I’m ready to get back on track so here’s what we’re eating this week:

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 7/24K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach, Tomato, Strawberry, and Goat Cheese Salad (2/4)Turkey Meatballs and Green Beans (2/4)
Tuesday 7/25K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Spinach, Tomato, Strawberry, and Goat Cheese Salad (4/4)Date Night 😍
Wednesday 7/26K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Turkey Meatballs with Green Beans (4/4)R- Soccer Game 🙄
K - Asparagus, Pea, and Shrimp Salad (1/3)
Thursday 7/27K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Asparagus, Pea, and Shrimp Salad (3/3)Salmon Burgers & Brussels Sprouts (2/4)
Friday 7/28K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Salmon Burgers & Brussels Sprouts (4/4)TBD, but most likely sushi 😬🍣

Salads

We went for simplicity this week so for two of our four meals we’re just throwing together salads in mason jars since we loved the Blackberry and Grilled Chicken Salad we had last week. For one, we’re combining spinach, tomatoes, strawberries, and goat cheese. For the other, I’m trying to recreate this ‘Summer Pea Salad’ from Contrada with arugula, peaches, asparagus, peas, and goat cheese. We’re also throwing in shrimp for protein. Easy peasy.

Turkey Meatballs and Green Beans

Here’s how these things typically go in my house: I find a recipe I like and try it then Roberto gets his hands on it, improves it, and continues to make it all from memory. I’m so envious of his ability to just throw things together! Anywho, the original recipes we used were these from Giada and these from (who else) Skinnytaste’s Gina. We aren’t fussy enough to make our own sauce and instead are addicted to Tomasso’s Marinara which I’ve mentioned here 100 times. You can do these in the slow cooker, but Roberto typically just browns them in our favorite pans before letting them simmer in the sauce on the stovetop.

Salmon Burgers

Like I said last week, we have some kind of burger at least once a week. This week we’re doing salmon burgers which we developed the same way as the meatballs (I found the recipe and Roberto put his own spin on it). He’s been making these for so long that I can’t even remember the original recipe we used, but the ingredients in these from Gina look very similar. She’s even using the same grill pan as us 😁

Let me know if you have a must-try recipe for me and have a great week!

Cuba Travel Guide: Viñales

Roberto and I only had time to visit Viñales for a day trip so I don’t have the same “stay, eat, do” recommendations as I did for Havana, but we loved it so much I felt like it deserved its own post. As a reminder, you can find everything you need to know before you go to Cuba over here and our full one-week itinerary here.

Viñales is two and a half hours west of Havana by car and is known for its lush green valley and the rust colored soil of its tobacco fields. We arranged a tour of the Valley by horseback with Yubier from Riding Viñales, and couldn’t recommend them enough. They offer round trip transportation from Havana for 135 CUC (total for two people). We chose to go with the driver who took us to our hotel from the airport because he was willing to do it for slightly cheaper. Mistake. As we pulled into town we realized that he wanted to take us to his friends’ place of business instead and was disgruntled when Roberto explained that we already had reservations and didn’t want to be taken somewhere else. So the only thing I’d change about our reservation is to make it easy and use them for your transportation as well. The tour is 5 CUC per hour per person and I think we did about 5 hours including lunch. Perfect amount of time and well worth it.Read More

Weekend Update

spruce-cocktail-pepper-whiskey

Happy Monday… hope you had a great weekend! Ours was 100% low-key and just what we needed after a few busy weeks. We hadn’t gone out for a good old fashioned date in a while so on Friday we headed to Spruce for dinner. We normally try not to repeat restaurants since there are so many we haven’t tried in the city, but I’m willing to break that rule for Spruce. Roberto had gotten us a reservation, but we ended up giving up our table so we could sit at the bar instead which is first come first serve. Pretty sure we’re the only crazies who do that, but it’s a livelier vibe and a little less stuffy. We always start with cocktails and Roberto’s tried and true order is the ‘Smoke and Fire’ which has whiskey and chili a.k.a. all his favorite things. I went with the ‘Summer in Provence’ this time which has gin, lavender, and creme de violette which gives it the pretty purple hue. We split a couple dishes and ended with their beignets because of course.

spruce-cocktail-lavender-gin-provence

The rest of the weekend was decidedly less glamorous. We spent it doing some long neglected chores and ordering take-out which leads me to… meal-planning. I’m bringing back our weekly meal plan for selfish reasons because I honestly need it to keep me accountable. I don’t feel like we ever fully got back in the groove after our big trip to Peru and Columbia and that was TWO MONTHS AGO. We’ve been especially bad the last few weeks where we got home late on Sunday from weekends away. We either skipped meal prepping completely or did it halfheartedly. I also got into the convenient habit of ‘forgetting’ my lunch, opting for gargantuan sandwiches instead… no bueño. So we’re back in the saddle this week; Roberto and I divided and conquered on our meals so he went with two of our ‘go-to’s and I grabbed some new recipes I wouldn’t want to forget at home.

 BreakfastLunchDinner
Monday 7/17K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Basil, Blackberry and Grilled Chicken Salad (2/4)Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers & Watermelon Salad (2/4)
Tuesday 7/18K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
K - Basil, Blackberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad (3/4)
R - Work Conference
K - Giants Game = Ballpark Food!
R - Work Dinner
Wednesday 7/19K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
K - Basil, Blackberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad (4/4)
R - Work Conference
Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers & Watermelon Salad (4/4)
Thursday 7/20K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Roberto's Pork Tenderloin with Brussels Sprouts (2/4)Grilled Mahi Mahi with Lemon Parsley Potatoes (2/4)
Friday 7/21K - Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs and Salsa
R - Arugula, Fried Egg, Sausage and Roasted Potatoes and Veggies
Roberto's Pork Tenderloin with Brussels Sprouts (4/4)Grilled Mahi Mahi with Lemon Parsley Potatoes (4/4)

Basil, Blackberry, and Grilled Chicken Salad

So confession right off the bat here: my version doesn’t have basil. Not on purpose. I literally deliberated at the store between organic and non-organic trying to evaluate which looked the least sad (TJs is so hit or miss for produce). When I got home I looked all over for it convinced I had put it away in the pantry or the freezer (not unusual for me in the least) and finally had to admit to myself that I never grabbed any after all that deliberation. Basil or not this came together super fast and I devoured it for lunch today (delish!). I don’t consider myself a salad girl… that’s never my go-to, but I’m rethinking that after today. As always, I used my favorite grill pan for grilling the chicken indoors (I like to buy the thinly sliced chicken breasts since they cook faster). I also brought back mason jar salads which I had literally every day when I first graduated college. I’m sure my former roommate has nightmares about me psychotically assembling these things every dang week… I’m convinced this period in my life is why I’ve been so anti-salad until now.

Roberto’s Pork Tenderloin

This bad boy remains a mystery to me. I know it involves Dijon and rosemary, but that’s about all I’ve got. That and that Roberto makes it a point to show me how he diligently removes all the silver skin each time, which I always skip because ain’t nobody got time for that. I know he’s hoping if he reminds me enough times I’ll pick it up, but instead, I’m just leaving the pork tenderloin to him. Hot tip from the chef: brown the meat on the stovetop before finishing it in the oven… total game-changer and it makes the lean meat way juicier. We use our favorite non-stick pans, but I admit they’re a little pricey. Using a classic cast iron would achieve the same thing (I still haven’t mastered the cleanup of these yet!).

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Lemon-Parsley Potatoes

This is another one from Cooking Light. I picked up their magazine on a whim last week and everything looked so summery and delicious… I’ll probably be cooking from this for the next few weeks. We gave our grill-pan a workout this weekend… using it in just about every meal except the pork tendy. I have another herb confession on this one: I grabbed the wrong parsley. Who knew there was more than one kind??? Not me. I used the one that is basically for decoration and it made my little sauce super bitter. As usual, Roberto came to my kitchen rescue and salvaged it with his magical abilities. I still had to Google how to cut an onion until this year so progress, not perfection? (If you’re wondering, this is how… I won’t tell anyone you asked.)

Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers & Watermelon-Tomato Salad

We typically have some type of burger once a week because it’s easy, and these are in the running for my favorite. We stopped having buns at home post-Whole30 and instead have been eating these over lettuce. Seems like a responsible swap right? Well, we’ve also been baking up french fries and throwing them into our weird burger salad… totally not in the spirit. This week I decided to skip the fries and instead make this Watermelon-Tomato salad to accompany the burgers Roberto whipped up. Update for those following along on Instagram: I successfully cut up the watermelon and kept all my fingers #winwin. This.salad.was.so.good. Bring it to your potlucks, eat bowls of it by yourself, share it with everyone you know. That good.

Have a great week and let me know if you have any good recipes to get me out of this recipe rut?

Cuba Travel Guide: Havana

If you’re curious about our full Cuba itinerary, head over here, but I wanted to put together a more detailed post on each of the places we visited. Today it’s our first stop: Havana!

Stay

We stayed at Palacio Del Marques De San Felipe Y Santiago de Bejucal (quite the mouthful!), and while nothing was wrong with it per se, I wouldn’t stay there again. I would highly recommend staying in a casa particular for a fraction of the price and you can read more about all the reasons here. If you are dead set on staying in a hotel, I’d splurge on Hotel Saratoga or Hotel Nacional de Cuba. We went in January and paid about $300 per night for the Palacio (essentially the same as what we paid on our most recent trip to La Costa) so our overall feeling was just that it wasn’t a good value when a casa particular is $30-40 per night. If I remember correctly when we were booking our lodging Hotel Nacional was around $500/night and Saratoga was over $700/night (I think they only had suites left), but prices are seasonal so if you can get a better deal it may be worth it!

Eat & Drink

“My mojito in La Bodeguita, My daquiri in El Floridita”

We had breakfast and coffee at our hotel most days so I sadly don’t have any recs for my favorite meal of the day. When we ordered omelets on our first morning the waiter apologized and said the only type of cheese they had was gruyère… um OK! So we suffered through a few days of delicious cheesy omelets and fresh fruit 😉

La Bodeguita del Medio: Totally touristy, but totally worth it. You aren’t going to have your best meal or mojito here, but I’d still recommend popping in for at least a drink to check out this place’s history. It’s famous for being the location of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite mojito with “My mojito in La Bodeguita, My daiquiri in El Floridita” supposedly inscribed by him on the wall. It turns out it may have just been some great marketing, but nevertheless, the place has a fun vibe and live music! The place is covered in signatures and photos of other celebrities from Nat King Cole (they even have his table preserved!) to Pablo Neruda who have visited the funky little spot.

Restaurante Floridita: On the other hand, there is evidence that Hemingway did actually enjoy his daiquiris at El Floridita. It’s equally touristy given its claim to fame, but the daiquiris really are delicious and it’s the perfect way to end a night in Havana with people watching and dancing along with the band. Make sure you get a picture with Hemingway himself!

Esto no es un Cafe: Great spot down a little dead-end alley that doesn’t have people peddling its menu at the corner (the food speaks for itself so they don’t have touts!). We enjoyed lobster and ropa vieja outside and the service was excellent.

El Del Frente: This was hands down the best meal we had in Cuba and we’re so glad we ended up here basically by accident. We weren’t able to get into their sister restaurant across the street (see below), but they made room for us here. Their cocktails are out of this world and all the food was incredible… empanadas, octopus, and of course lobster. They tend to be busy (we were lucky to get squeezed in!), so definitely make a reservation and request the outdoor patio if possible!

Atelier: OK guys… I don’t know if we got them on an off night or what, but I don’t think I’d return to this spot! Roberto called before we left for our trip requesting a reservation on the earlier side and a table outside so we could watch the sunset over the Malecon (romantic right!?😍 ). When we arrived, the restaurant informed us that we could no longer sit outside and just didn’t seem quite ready to serve (the napkins were delivered from the laundromat mid-way through our meal?). It was completely silent in the restaurant and overall just a bizarre experience. As we were leaving we realized that they had displaced us from the patio in favor of a large tour group… I kinda get it, but the whole thing left a bad taste in our mouth. I will say that their dining room is absolutely beautiful and unique and an amazing little collection of treasures. This article is what attracted us to Atelier in the first place, and it’s a really interesting look at the challenges that Cuban restaurant owners face with the scarcity and unpredictability of ingredients. Must read!

Hotel Saratoga: If you aren’t staying here be sure to stop in for a drink at their beautiful bar. Everyone from Madonna to former President Obama has stayed here and their black and white bar is stunning!

Hotel Nacional de Cuba: Another hotel that we didn’t stay in, but snuck into 😬. They have an amazing outdoor bar right on the Malecon overlooking the water. If we had cash we would have grabbed a drink, but we took the freebie route and explored all the history this hotel has to offer instead. Highly recommend reading Havana Nocturne before you check out this old mobster haunt!

See & Do

Old Havana: Much of what we did for sightseeing in Havana was just exploring on foot. Notable stops are below and you can probably hit these all in day depending on how many times you stop to cool off with a mojito 😉

  • Plaza Vieja – This was just a lovely sun-filled plaza close to our hotel and all the alleys leading off of it are quintessential pastel paradise.
  • Plaza de la Catedral – This Cathedral is absolutely beautiful, and right around the corner from both La Bodeguita del Medio and Esto no es un Cafe
  • Plaza de Armas – A great plaza very close to the Malecon with lots of vendors selling antique books and posters.
  • Castillo de la Real Fuerza – This is right next to Plaza de Armas. You can pay a small fee to enter this fort and see the museum inside. At this point, we still weren’t sure we’d have enough money for our meals so were forced to skip it, but I’d definitely check it out if we went again.
  • Parque Central – Surrounded by classic cars and a great spot for people watching. This is where Roberto got wrapped up watching a large group of men argue about the Cuban National Series
  • Gran Teatro de La Habana – Ditto on not paying to go inside, but I so wish we had done our research and planned to attend a show. At the very least the outside is absolutely stunning so don’t miss it!
  • El Capitolio – This isn’t actually the capital as it now houses a planetarium and museum, but it looks an awful lot like another Capital building you may be familiar with.
  • El Malecon – The Malecon is their walkway along the water (kind of sort of similar to the Embarcadero for you San Franciscans). It has amazing views and is the perfect place to perch with a cold Cristal to watch the sun set. They set off a canon each night at 9 pm from the Fortress (see below)

Classic Cars: Taking a ride in a classic car is an absolute must. So much of Old Havana is walkable that we didn’t really find a need for a cab (#fitbitlife), but on our last day we ended up hiring one to take us across (under?) the canal. We went through the tunnel under the water and our guide took us to El Morro and Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña where you can see the remains of a U2 spy plane that was shot down in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the warheads themselves. You’ll also find the former site of Che Guevera’s home and El Cristo de La Habana. So much history and a must visit. Taking a classic car over there is killing two birds with one stone! I still have the contact information for our driver, so let me know if you’d like it and I’d be happy to share! His English and knowledge of the history were excellent.

Museum of the Revolution: This was one of the places where we made an exception for paying an entrance fee and it was so worth it. The building that houses the museum is actually the former Presidential Palace and you can still see bullet holes in the staircase from the storming of the building. Our visit to Cuba highlighted to me how much I don’t know about the history between our two countries and it was especially interesting to see the Cuban side of the story. We had to practically be kicked out of the museum because I was so interested in every single artifact, and I so regret that we didn’t even have time to check out the outdoor area full of planes and other items such as the van that was used to attack the Palace during the Revolution.

For Next Time

304 O’Reilly: Every we know that had been to Havana recommended this spot to us and while we were able to get reservations, TIC happened. I’m so sad we missed a chance to eat here, but El Del Frente was a very happy consolation prize. Be sure to make reservations!

La Guarida: This was one of two restaurants we actually called to make reservations for before we left for Cuba and they didn’t have availability for us on the dates that we were in town. Adding this to the “next time” list as well…

Fabrica de Arte Cubano (FAC): So many friends had recommended this art exhibit/bar to us that we spent money we weren’t sure we had to cab over there. You can imagine our disappointment when we arrived only to find that they were closed. If you are in Havana please go so I can live vicariously through you!

Museo Hemingway Finca Vigia: I so wanted to go here! It’s a little off the beaten path and we just didn’t have time to make the excursion in our limited time in Havana.

Please let me know if you have any questions about Havana! I’d be more than happy to share!