I can’t believe I’m home right now. It’s so strange. 20 days straight of book tour makes you forget what real life is like. What a home cooked meal tastes like or what your own bed feels like or just what home smells like. But I’m finally back. Back to grocery shopping, cuddling with my dog, and doing laundry. F*ck doing laundry, it’s just the worst.
Anywho, while on book tour for Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook, I ate at A LOT of restaurants. Think about how many meals 20 days straight is. So many meals. Most of the time we would just eat 1 or 2 meals out to try to save money and snack for the rest of the day, most of the time stopping at Whole Foods along the way. And I tried to still eat healthy while still enjoying myself. So we worked out a ton to make sure we had our lives slightly in order. Then sometimes we went HAM on some food. I haven’t felt uncomfortably full in quite sometime, but I sure made that happen a number of times while on tour. I sure wasn’t going to go to Portland without having a gluten free cinnamon roll at Kyra’s Bake Shop. But wait, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start from the beginning.
I started my book tour in California. San Diego to be exact. Our signing was in La Jolla so before it started, we first wandered around Balboa Park during the day then grabbed tacos at Puesto just down the street from our book signing. The tacos were off the hook. For me, corn doesn’t bother my stomach or seem to flare me up in any way so I eat it whenever I want. But I know that they make me uncomfortably full if I’m not careful, so often times I’ll eat one of the tacos with the tortilla, then just eat the rest without the taco. To me, the food is just as tasty without that taco shell!
The next day I spent some time in the The Orange Circle in Cali. Is that what it’s called? Whatever. While we were shopping there, we stopped at Rutabegorz for a salad. To me, salads are stupid. Just give me the meat and I’ll move on with my day. But this salad wowed me. It was filled with anything your brain could imagine…unless it’s something you don’t see in this picture…and it was topped with the best balsamic vinaigrette. I wish I lived in California only for this salad restaurant. Seriously.
After SD, we moved our way to San Jose. Since Vanessa used to live in San Jose years ago, she knew exactly where to eat. One thing I’ll say about La Vics is it would have been the perfect hangover or drunk cure when I was back in college. These tacos are dangerously good. These were tacos that were stuffed and wedged with so much good stuff, that I ate every last bit of the tacos shells. And the corn shells were so insanely delicious. My lawd, I loved those tacos.
San Francisco was yet ANOTHER taco night. Are you seeing the pattern here? These tacos at Mamacita were loaded so high with toppings that they didn’t even need the taco shell, so I just used a fork instead. This place also had amazing ceviche and guacamole that the table cobbled up. My friends had amazing cocktails there as well if you dig a good margarita!
Now for Portland. If you asked me what my favorite city to visit was, the answer is Portland. Portland has a very Colorado feel, well more of a Boulder feel, but it’s super laid back, super hipster, and super delicious. So it is by far my favorite city. I had great workouts there, great food, and got to meet some awesome people. If it didn’t rain so damn much there, I would totally want to live there. I’ll shut up, let’s talk about what we ate. To start it off, Kyra’s Bake Shop was #1 for eating because not only does my friend Kyra own it, but it’s THE BEST gluten free food around. Sandwiches, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, donuts…anything that you miss while eating a grain free diet, she has it. We spent multiple meals there, have her Chicken Bacon Ranch pressed sandwich, Bacon Bourban Cinnamon Rolls as well as normal ones, the best sprinkled donuts of my life (not pictures because I ate them too quickly) and her Tall, Dark and Handsome Cake. Truly the most rich and delicious cake. We couldn’t stop eating it. At one point, we set it outside our hotel room to not keep stuffing our face with it. Truly decadent.
Even though most of our meals were spent at Kyra’s Bake Shop, we did go out to some of the most amazing restaurant. The two fancier restaurants we went to both included Gluten Free menus. The first one we tried was Andina. Since they are a tapas style restaurant, we grabbed a bunch of different dishes, ended up eating far too much (an uncomfortably stuffed night), then downed two cocktails on top of it. What you need to know about Andina is one small fact: they have the best cocktail you will ever try, in your entire life, ever. Their SACSAYHUAMÁN (I had to copy and paste that from their site because I don’t even know how to say it) was by far the most delicious cocktail I’ve ever had. By far. We ended up going there once more to get the cocktail one more time. So good.
The other nicer restaurant we ended up going to was Departure. I had been there once before and absolutely loved it so freaking much, so I was excited to go back and have my friends try it. The amazing chef Gregory ended up creating a bunch of different dishes for us, we didn’t even have to choose what we wanted to eat! Everything was so flavorful, so fresh, and so spectacular. No seriously, after eating at that restaurant, nothing seemed to compare. We had fish, duck, sushi, chicken and beef skewers, Tom Kai Gai that was truly the best thing I’ve ever eaten (ever), then three desserts that were all dairy free and nut free. Favorite restaurant of all restaurants, by far.
After a couple days in Portland, we had breakfast at one of my favorite brunch spots, Tin Shed. Last time I had the gluten free challah french toast, so this time I went savory with this scrambled egg hash on top of their crazy amazing potato cakes. THE BEST potato cakes!
After filling up with Portland, we grabbed a quick meal in Seattle that’s not even worth writing home about, so we’ll move on right to Chicago. A friend told me about the best burger in town at Kuma’s Corner. So right after a super early morning flight from Seattle to Chicago, we went right to grab a burger and were surprised by the hardcore music blaring. If we hadn’t just flown 3+ hours after sleeping probably only 4 hours, loud music wouldn’t have bothered us. But the music made it tough to thoroughly enjoy. The burger was still super delicious, I would just never take my parents to that spot.
Since we were able to stay in an Airbnb in Chicago, we were able to make our own meals finally! I’ve been craving curry for every single meal, every single day and haven’t really shut up about it. So Vanessa shut me up by making me chicken and sweet potato curry that was seriously SO good. We grabbed everything at Whole Foods and were able to cook quite a few meals at home. It was awesome. If you’re staying anywhere more than 3 days, it’s totally worth getting an Airbnb.
The last meal we had was at the Girl and The Goat. We ended up making a reservation because EVERYONE recommended it. Everyone. So we gave in. Sadly, the service wasn’t really impressive there so that started us off on a bad note. Then we grabbed some small dishes including brussels sprouts & scallops, green beans, pig face, and a couple desserts. The only dish that really wowed with flavor was the dessert. Everything else just felt like it was covered in fat, cheese and salt for flavor, instead of using different flavor components to make the dish pop. I know that sounds snooty, but after eating at Andina and Departure, this one fell flat while being way more expensive. Kind of a bummer since so many people loved it so much.
The last place we ate at in Chicago was breakfast at Tweet. We ended up going there because it was a gluten free friendly restaurant. When we told the server we were gluten free, he brought us this amazing gluten free breakfast treat that was so good. And I ended up getting a low carb dish of steak and eggs on top of spinach. I barely finished it because it was so much food!
Then we moved on to Texas. Just like Portland, Austin is one of my favorite places to go. If I had all the money in the world, I would have a second home in Austin. I just love the town, love the people, and love the restaurants. As soon as we got off the plane, we went straight to our favorite restaurant in town: Salty Sow. We grabbed our normal appetizers including duck fat fries, truffled deviled eggs, then we got a dish to share with pork chops on top of sweet potato puree topped with chimichurri. It was so good that I’m planning to remake it for dinner tonight! Oh yeah duh, we had the brussels sprouts too along with a couple cocktails…and dessert…meaning two. Yeah, we were just a little excited to be there.
The next morning, we stopped by one of our favorite stops in Austin: Picnik. We were on our way to workout so I grabbed a little muffin to settle my stomach then filled up with one of their amazing coffees that keep you full for hours. We ended up going there twice and trying their paleo cookies and my favorite blondie of all time. Seriously, they’re unbelievable.
After a hard workout in Austin, I was starving within 30 minutes so I googled a juice bar that would give me some greens in a drink form. I quickly found Daily Juice and as soon as we walked in, we were welcomed by an amazing staff that was incredibly knowledgable and pleasantly surprised with the amount of food they had in store. I ended up getting a gluten free rice noodle bowl (Buddha Bowl) and grabbed a side of salmon and a green juice. Everything was cooked perfectly and made deliciously. I really wish we had something like this in Denver.
After driving to Dallas and having a book signing right away, we were starving and went to a restaurant close by our signing that someone had recommended on instagram: Urban Taco. We had a passion fruit margarita then yuca fries and tacos wrapped in lettuce. The yuca fries were a little disappointing, they just didn’t seemed fully cooked, but the tacos were delicious and super flavorful!
Our last stop was Houston. After driving 4 hours from Dallas to Houston, we stopped in a Ruggles Black because quite a few people had recommended it and when I looked at their menu, they had A TON of paleo options. So we got a bunch of things to share, as usual. We got their savory creme brûlée, curry soup, the best brussel sprouts maybe ever, and a crab stack. We ended up taking a couple paleo cheesecakes to our hotel to eat in bed since we were so exhausted, but we were kind of disappointed in them so we didn’t eat a ton, but everything else at the restaurant was AMAZING.
The last restaurant we ended our book tour at was Hearsay. Vanessa had found it online and wanted to go there because they looked like they had some great cocktails (and she’s a craft cocktail kind of person). So I grabbed an extra dirty martini, tried their deviled eggs, and got the sea bass on top of mushroom risotto and spinach with crab on top. The entree was crazy delicious and filling. And the restaurant was super pretty inside so it was a good last experience in Houston before we left that next morning.
That’s it!! That all I ate. Just a little food obviously. If you’ve had any delicious meals in any of these cities, share your favorites in the comments section below. I know I would love to have new ideas for when I go back, but I’m sure others would love that as well!