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San Antonio with Nasir and Jessica

Last weekend, Jessica and I flew over from Seattle to San Antonio, Texas to visit some of Jessica’s relatives. We were set to stay for a week. Since it was the first time I’d ever been to San Antonio – and I really try to make the most out of wherever I go. So, I decided to make this trip as epic as possible by looking for the best places to go out, eat, sight see, and most importantly, have a really good time.

Six Flags

Iron Rattler

Iron Rattler

I’m the type of guy who likes a good adrenaline rush, so Six Flags Fiesta Texas was definitely number one on my list of things to do in San Antonio. But first – breakfast. We headed down over to Magnolia Pancake house, and I ordered their Bacon Pancakes. The pancake batter had bacon chunks, and that was enough to make me happy. Jessica ordered the Eggs Benedict, and the hollandaise sauce on them was just the right consistency. I ended up having a couple bites of Jessica’s and she had some of mine. Thumbs up for Magnolia Pancake house!

So we got to Six Flags, and we rode all the rides we possibly could. The Iron Rattler literally rattled my bones, and I felt my soul leave my body with the Poltergeist. Jessica didn’t want to ride on the bigger coasters, so she stuck to the Bugs’ White Water Rapids and Crow’s Nest. We both had a blast!

All For Sight-Seeing

The next day, we decided to go biking down the Mission Trail. The landscape was beautiful. Though we’re both avid hikers, we thought bikes would get us there faster. The trail starts at the Alamo and goes as far as nine miles. You can stop and visit the missions if you like, as we went down for a while just to have a look. It was pretty hot, but we had enough water to fuel us enough to make it through, and at the same time enjoy the historical sights.

Biking on the Trail

Biking on the Trail

Jessica and I were pretty tired by the late afternoon, so I wanted to take her out to a nice restaurant and just relax with her. I took her to Fig Tree Restaurant, and thought she’d appreciate the simple elegance of the restaurant. She did! We ordered Avocado stuffed with Shrimp Louis for starters, for entrees I got the Rib Eye, Jessica got the Duck Breast, and finished it off with some Baked Alaska. Everything was sublime, from the cozy ambiance of the restaurant, to the service. We’d definitely go back!

Last Stop

Before going back home, we made sure to visit the Sisters and Grimm Candlelight Ghost Tours. You learn a lot from Eric, the tour guide, as he tells you all about the history of San Antonio; creepy tales about its previous inhabitants. I shook the spook off later on that night by watching an NFL game at The Friendly Spot, which was also a pretty good bar. It was, overall, an epic weekend – and I can’t wait ‘til the next time Jessica has to visit her relatives again.

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Atlanta is Amazing by Jess

Amazing Atlanta

When people think about exploring the different parts of the U.S., the first cities that come to mind are big names; Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, to name a few. But there are so many other parts of the U.S. that are rich with culture, beauty, and history, but are overlooked by people who want to be dazzled by the hustle and bustle of these famous busy cities. So when I told my friends I wanted to discover the sights and sounds of Atlanta, they asked me – “why?”

I asked them, “why not?”

And so I went with Nasir – who is a history buff himself, and I, a nature lover. Needless to say, the city matched our interests, and we had the grandest time! Here is why Atlanta is now one of my most favorite cities.

I Love Trees

Atlanta’s lush greenery scored it extra awesome points for me. In fact, they call Atlanta a “city in a forest” because of how many trees inhabit the area. There’s just something about the way the warm streaks of sunlight go through the array of leaves that is so restful and comforting that automatically made me feel at home! I particularly loved the Stone Mountain theme Park, where you can take the summit skyride all the way to the top and have a gorgeous view of Atlanta city.

History Everywhere

Because Atlanta was part of the civil war (it was actually created because of an intersection between two railroads), it has so much to offer in terms of history. One museum I’d recommend everyone to visit is the Atlanta History Center, which boasts of having one of the most extensive collections of civil war memorabilia across the country. Make sure that you allot enough time when you tour to see the houses that they recommend visiting, such as the Swan House and the Margaret Mitchell House. My favorite was definitely Margaret Mitchell’s house, being a fan of the movie Gone With the Wind!

Home of Big Companies

Because CNN’s global headquarters are found in Atlanta, you can take a tour of their set, and see how one of the biggest media industries does its job! Aside from CNN, you may also take a tour of The World of Coca Cola. Admission is around $17 per person, and you can have all the coke you want towards the end of the tour. If you’re a Coca-Cola fan, this is a definite must.

“City Too Busy to Hate”

While the city has roots as deep as the early 1800’s, much of the progression towards equality for black and white races was formed in this city, deeming it the “city too busy to hate.” Interestingly enough, Martin Luther King was also born in Atlanta, and his house is a national historic site you can visit, and bring your own children to, to teach them about how he fought for human rights.

Good Food

To top off the whole experience, we had some seafood at The Optimist – and it was the fried Oysters I’ve ever had in my life. Definitely worth flying back to Atlanta for, and repeating our entire experience!

 

Spring in New York City Part 1

New York is one of my favorite cities in America, especially in the spring. The amount of diversity in the city is nothing I have ever seen before. Los Angeles and San Francisco have ethnic enclaves for food, culture, and entertainment, but New York blows both of them out of the water.

We took the 7 train from Manhattan and rode it all the way to the end of the line in Queens. When we got out of the subway, it didn’t look anything like the place we started from. Manhattan can be a bit posh and put together, Flushing was the opposite, but very charming and very exciting. Visiting Flushing, New York was almost like visiting another country. The buildings were old, the signs were only in Chinese, and the food was amazingly authentic and real. We stopped by at a small hole in the wall restaurant that had 6 small tables and a husband and wife team that made hand pulled noodles and handmade dumplings/wontons. The place is called White Bear for those interested.

We then stopped by to get real Chinese crepes. After seeing the video below on Youtube, I made it my mission to try one of these delectable street treats. The lady that made it was really sweet and she offered me extra hot sauce, which I gladly accepted. I didn’t get the name of the place, but I will make an update when I go back later this week.

 

Superbowl Hangover

So, it’s taken me a few months to digest the horrible play at the end of the Superbowl. I am still not happy about it.

 

Superbowl Sunday

Seahawks

Seahawks

As everyone and their mother knows, the Seahawks are back in the Superbowl. I am ecstatic that my team is back in the big game, but thrilled that they face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. As a football fan outside of Massachusetts, I’m sure you understand the strong negative feelings that I have for the Pats and their coaching staff. I want Russell Wilson to cement his name as one of the best in the league as he beats Brady and Bill in the biggest game of the year.

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson

I’m also very excited to see Marshawn “Beastmode” Lynch get another ring and silence the critics. I feel like the league, yes you Mr. Goodell, wants people to have a negative view of Marshawn. They fined him for his crotch grab celebration, but they are hypocritically selling that image to make money for the league. Why would you fine someone for an action, yet condone it by selling it for a profit? I love football, but the NFL doesn’t make a lot of sense sometimes.

Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch

Pete Carroll looks like he will be continuing his winning legacy this Sunday. Multiple college championships with perennial powerhouse, USC, and a potential repeat Superbowl win.

I’ve got my money on the Seahawks this Sunday and I think it will be easiest hundred bucks I make all year. Nasir Shakouri’s prediction: 35 – 17 Seahawks.

CES 2015 in Las Vegas

Is anyone at CES this year? It looks like its going to be an amazing event. Our company got an exclusive sneak peek last night and one of the most intriguing things I saw was that Dish will be offering online streaming of sports games. This may be a game changer and the final dagger in the back for the cable companies. I really hate Comcast and Time Warner. The endless hours on the phone with “customer service” representatives and circular conversations are finally coming to an end. The Dish Sling TV will be offered at $20 a month for a batch of network channels including ESPN. Finally, a cable service that understands the needs of our generation. No one likes cable and everyone wants to unplug. Now, we have an option!

Ok, rant about cable companies over.

SLS Las Vegas

SLS Las Vegas

We are currently staying at the SLS Hotel on the strip, next to the Stratosphere. The Yelp reviews are pretty horrendous for a new Vegas strip resort. I don’t think I would have ever imagined staying anywhere near the Stratosphere hotel, but here we are. The SLS is pretty cool in an LA hipster chic way. The decorations are pretty modern and hip, but it just seems like they put slathered on a new coat of paint to the old Sahara. Jess isnt’ impressed. Also, the wifi connection is horrible and they tried to stick us in the Story Tower. For the uninformed, the Story Tower is a tiny room with yellow highlights, unfinished ceilings, and a tiny bar sink for a bathroom sink. We were horrified when we were first introduced to the room. The bellman asked us how we liked it and we gave him a passive aggressive “ummmmmm”. At least he was cool and moved us into the World Tower. The wifi still sucks, but at least we have a real room now. The rates for the SLS are ridiculous for what it is. The amenities are meh at best, and the casino is tiny. I guess the inflated CES room rates are really pumping up the prices. I don’t think I would stay here in the future.

Umami Burger

Umami Burger

On the plus side, the SLS has an Umami Burger. I’ve been to LA a bunch of times, but it took a trip to Las Vegas to check out the famous burger joint. I really liked the pork burger and skinny fries, but I don’t think I would pay $20 for this in the future. I guess it was nice eating a good burger and playing video poker.

I am looking forward to the next couple days of CES. I will update with any cool new gadgets I see.

 

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Eating Time of the Year!

Our trip to Los Angeles was amazing. I can’t talk about the weather enough. The days walking around in flip flops in November were awesome! We made a couple more trips to Gilbert’s in Santa Monica before we left. The Super Mule Burrito kept calling my name like a siren. One of the servers, Antonio, remembered us on our 3rd trip there and even asked if I was getting the Super Mule again. Needless to say, I said yes and got another humongous burrito for myself. We will be coming back to Los Angeles in February for a wedding, so it looks like I won’t be away for too long before I can stuff my face with more burritos. I thought I took more pictures, but it looks like they were deleted on accident. Sad face.

Thanksgiving was another day for us to pig out and gorge ourselves with cheat meals all day. Our Friendsgiving started with wonderful weather and ended with a fully belly and a sleepy girlfriend. Our friend Anne and her husband Pete hosted Friendsgiving and had the most epic prime rib roast, turkey, ham, and all the fixings. I must have gone up to get food at least 4 times before the night was over. Good food, good wine, and good company equals a great time. I miss my momma’s home cooking, but eating traditional American Thanksgiving food is really an awesome experience that everyone should get to try. I was very thankful for the friends and family that were around to enjoy this bountiful meal.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Look at that spread! #thanksgiving #friendsgiving

We experienced rain in Southern California. People were saying that we were lucky because it has rained 3 times in 2014 and we got to experience it. They were talking about how hard it was raining and how cold it was, but it really wasn’t that bad compared to home in December. The rain didn’t really bother me and it was nice to see a variety of California weather so we know what we are getting into if we decide to move to Los Angeles. I have been loading up on Pinterest images for the move and if you have any home decor suggestions, please send them my way! They say home is where the heart is and Los Angeles is kinda taking over my heart… By the way, we also got lucky enough to see the elusive Los Angeles rainbow while driving down the 405 freeway. Another thankful event in 2014.

Rainbow on the 405

Rainbow on the 405

I hope everyone had a lovely and filling Thanksgiving holiday. I know that Jess and I ate our fill and then some. Time to diet when we get back home? I think so! Or not.