food · travel

Review: Wiz Kid Restaurant

Happy, happy Monday, friends!

After the auction I attended a few days ago (you can read about it here and here), I was famished. I didn’t know how hungry I would be, but I think I underestimated how long my breakfast would stave off hunger (something about travel throws off my ability to correctly gauge when and how much I need to eat, but I digress). In any case, I figured I could probably grab something suitable close by. I looked up nearby restaurants and learned that a vegan restaurant was just around the corner from the auction house. So of course I had to check it out.

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(from the Wiz Kid website)

I stepped into Wiz Kid and was instantly charmed by the intimate size and hits from bygone years playing in the background. The restaurant boasts a small but flavorful vegan menu. I was greeted by a friendly cashier as I looked over the menu. I decided to try the Yucatan chopped salad and rhubarb-ade.

My tasty Yucatan chopped salad

The salad was large and filling. This was a delicious vegan take on the southwestern-style salads that can be found at many popular restaurants. According to the website, the salad features, “black beans, grilled zucchini, pico, poblano, cauliflower, tortilla crumble, cilantro goddess”. I can confirm that all of those ingredients were in my salad, and it came together beautifully.

I really liked the crunch that came from the tortilla crumbles: that variance in texture went a long way in making this salad more interesting. The cilantro goddess dressing was creamy and delicious. I was really impressed with this hearty salad.

The rhubarb-ade was also a hit! Tart, sweet and unique: it was the kind of original take on lemonade that I’m always looking for when I go out. Rhubarb is such an unusual choice: I liked it a lot!

Photo taken from outside of Wiz Kid

Overall, I really enjoyed Wiz Kid. My only wish is that they expand the menu, but I can also appreciate the carefully curated selection. Why mess with a good thing, y’know? So, on that note, I must recommend Wiz Kid in Philadelphia, PA. It’s located at 124 S 19th Street. Make sure you check it out when you’re in the area!

travel

Review: Microtel Inn and Suites, Philadelphia Airport

Even though I adore luxury experiences and love sharing those reviews with you, it’s important that I try a variety of things because you may find it necessary to scale back the luxe and enjoy more economical experiences.

 In this spirit of this, I am reviewing a lower priced hotel in the Philadelphia area. I stayed at the Microtel Inn and Suites near Philadelphia International Airport (on Tinicum Drive). The hotel is modest but boasts a continental breakfast, close proximity to the airport, and free wifi.

I reserved a room with a double bed, and I was impressed with the simplicity and tidiness of the room upon settling in. However, there were a few issues that I want to note, for anyone interested in visiting this location.

 For starters, only the suites have microwaves, coffeemakers and refrigerators. Since my room technically wasn’t a suite, there was no way to preserve the takeout that I ordered. Also, the walls are very thin: I heard the television next to my room for quite a few hours. I know that complete soundproofing isn’t possible – nor is it desirable – but I would have enjoyed a quieter stay (for the record, the room next door did turn off/turn down the TV before 12 AM, so I didn’t have to listen to their set all night).

The main issue came after my first night at the hotel. The following morning, I went to use the internet and . . . it wasn’t working. I contacted the front desk and I was advised that they were aware of the issue but they were waiting on a technician to resolve it. It took nearly 4 hours (from the time I woke up around 6:30 AM to sometime before 11 AM) for the internet to be fixed. It wouldn’t have been a major issue except I needed to access systems for my job and send reports. I ended up using my cell phone as a hot spot, but that is my least favorite way of accessing the internet.

My overall takeaway is this: Microtel Inn and Suites Philadelphia Airport location is fine for one night, two maximum. It works out just fine for someone that may need to rest before continuing on their journey, or if you’re traveler that plans to just crash for the night after having a whirlwind tour of the city.

food · travel

Review: Al Forno Pizzeria

Have you ever had plans to be great – truly great – and life sat you down like, “Maybe next time you’ll be great, but today? Today you need to chill.” That’s precisely what happened to me when I planned to go out and enjoy some of the local eats in Philadelphia. I was too tired from my grueling morning commute and subsequent travel into the City of Brotherly Love.

So instead of going super-luxe, I did a low-key meal delivered to my hotel room. Unfortunately, the delivery options available for visitors staying near the Philadelphia International Airport are truly pathetic (unless you opt for Uber Eats, which was an absolute savior when I decided to use it). I was blown away by how few options were available for delivery to the airport area, especially since Philadelphia is such a large city. Anyway, I kept it simple and ordered Italian food.

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Funny, I don’t mention Italian food on this blog much, because I don’t eat much of it. I love authentic Italian food so most stateside Italian restaurants don’t pass muster.But I decided to take a chance on Al Forno Pizzeria, located in Darby, PA. I ordered the shrimp basket and the ravioli with lobster (I obviously ventured away from my vegetarian preferences), a couple of juices and a slice of strawberry cheesecake.

For starters, the food was good. Now, I wasn’t expecting blow-my-mind deliciousness, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well executed the lobster ravioli was. The dishes definitely didn’t disappoint, and I’m glad I tried this restaurant.

Fried shrimp with a big of ravioli sauce spilledon the outside (takeout isn’t always pretty)

The shrimp basket was your standard fried shrimp and French fries. Bonus points to the restaurant for providing a BIG container of cocktail sauce. The shrimp were tasty and reasonably priced considering the amount of food that I got ($8.50). I wish I could have gotten the fries fresh out of the fryer: even when lukewarm, they were really good. I can only imagine how outstanding they would have been if eaten while piping hot.

The biggest problem with takeout food? Presentation generally stinks LOL!

The lobster ravioli was savory, creamy and satisfying. The portion was huge and the fact that this entree came with a salad made it an excellent choice for the price ($11.95). I ate a bit of this on the first night and finished it the next day in lieu of a traditional breakfast.

The strawberry cheesecake was good: not unique but a solid dessert option. I would have gladly eaten two of them. The price was right for the size ($3). The juices were bottled (by EverMade) so there’s nothing to say about them, other than I enjoyed them like I always do.

My final impression of Al Forno’s Pizzeria is that it’s worth a try. The delivery was fast, the food was good, and the price was right. I was very pleased my meal and I would certainly try another meal from there when I return to the area.

travel

Guess Where I’m Headed This Week?

I’m leaving work early today so I can take a mini-vacay. Can you guess where I’m going? Take a look at the 3 photos below and see if you can figure it out (I think the 3rd photo is a dead giveaway!)

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(courtesy of National Park Services)

SONY DSC

(courtesy of Association for Public Art)

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(courtesy of Wikipedia)

 

If you guessed Philadelphia, you would be correct! It’s been YEARS since I’ve been to Philadelphia (probably about 20 years since my last visit) so I’m overdue. I have plans for several activities in the city, as well as trying some new restaurants. I can’t wait to give you all the details of this trip over the next few days!

international · travel

My First Safari!

No trip to Kenya would be complete without a safari. There are many safari options at different price points, but I decided to go to Nairobi National Park, since it was located within the city limits and is easily accessible. Don’t let the fact that the park is within the city deceive you – it is quite large and many African animals can be seen there. The only noticeablly absent animal is the elephant, though pachyderm devotees can check out the elephant orphanage within the park that gives care to orphaned calves.

There isn’t much to say: the animals were majestic, and I can’t put into words how much I enjoyed this experience.  Here are the photos. Enjoy!

 

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life curation · travel

Review: Drury Inn and Suites Charlotte Arrowood

During my last trip to Charlotte, I stayed at the Drury Inn and Suites in Charlotte’s Arrowood neighborhood. This location is conveniently located directly off of I-77 and is close to lots of Charlotte’s great restaurants and shopping.

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Photo from the Drury Hotels website

There are so many “pros” and only one or two “cons” from my stay. Firstly, the restaurant location is convenient and it has plenty of amenities (indoor AND outdoor pools, whirlpool, 24 hour gym and fitness center, hot breakfast and happy hour, free wi-fi, ample free parking, etc.,).

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The bed, so comfy, and there were plenty of pillows, too.

The room was comfortable and immaculately clean. I really enjoyed the product dispensers in the shower: no more mini-bottles slipping through your fingers when your hands are soapy. For curly girls, the conditioner dispenser is a godsend: you can finally use the hotel conditioner without having to ask housekeeping for extra bottles (ask me how I know about this struggle!)

Photos from the bathroom

The breakfast was tasty and had a lot of variety. Kudos to this hotel for having more than two waffle irons available for customer use. Also, the smell of fresh popcorn in the lobby (it’s available until 9 PM every night) was heavenly.

Now, I did mention that there were one or two “cons”. We contacted housekeeping to receive a few extra clean towels and it took nearly two hours to receive them. To the hotel’s credit, it was earlier in the day, so I’m assuming that the housekeeping staff was just busier than normal. Also, it’s a lower-cost hotel, so don’t expect super luxury. That’s not a true “con” in my opinion: after all, the hotel exceeded my expectations for the price point.

Overall, I loved staying at the Drury Inn and Suites. I recommend them and will stay again in the future!

life curation · travel

Another Weekend in Charlotte, NC

Happy Monday, beautiful ones! I hope your week has gotten off to a pleasant start.

I just returned from a girlfriends getaway in Charlotte, NC. I told you all about a trip that I took to Charlotte a few months ago, but I just visited again over the weekend. It was a good weekend for a trip: St Patrick’s Day festivities and warmer weather were just what I needed.

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We had plans of getting out into nature and spending some time on the trails, but we couldn’t quite get things to work out as we planned. As you know, plans are great but the decider is fate, so we rolled with the schedule changes and still had a blast. After all, it’s really about the COMPANY, and not the activities. And the company I enjoyed on this trip was superb!

We had a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait to return! I’ll post more specifics about our trip in a few days (including a hotel review) but, in the meantime, enjoy this video about Charlotte, the Queen City, that I found on YouTube. Talk to you all soon!