Staying at Studios Nob Hill, Albuquerque

Arriving at Studios Nob Hill in Albuquerque was a jaw dropping experience. I have stayed at many places around the world but Studios Nob Hill was so different. It literally felt as if it was a home away from home….but even better! Immediately upon walking in, one gets this “homely” feeling and you know that you are going to love this place. After staying at so many hotels, it was nice to just relax in an environment that was so welcoming. We loved the fact that the unit was self catering with a fully equipped kitchen, a flat screen TV with tons of channels as well as a laundry area…hello clean washing!

Award-winning designer, Gaye Roth, has helped Roy Solomon with a full renovation of this building in a contemporary retro style. She has designed and remodeled spaces for herself and others and believes that a fun, artistic, hip space will make a guest’s stay much more pleasant. Having traveled extensively, she knows what is needed in a space away from home.

As owner and manager of Studios Nobhill LLC, Gaye makes sure the property is eclectic, contemporary and comfortable in every detail. Her use of color has won attention and awards and has given her projects constant notice.

All 450 square feet of this beautiful studio has been fully remodeled and designed by local award winning designer. Silestone countertops and a fully equipped kitchen, hardwood floors throughout with slate floors in spacious bath. Shower with pebble flooring and accented with dalle de verre colored glass window. Contemporary furnishings by local artists and original art.

Eating at the amazing Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria

We are currently in Albuquerque, New Mexico and would have never imagined that we would find a little piece of Italy right here. Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria sponsored our dinner during our visit to Albuquerque. Their restaurant is located in Nob Hill. Nob Hill is a vibrant district bursting with eclectic shops, swank dining, and chic nightspots. Route 66 neon signs and  architecture combined with predominantly locally-owned shops, galleries and restaurants make Nob Hill a hip and fashionable area located just east of the University.

About the owners

Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria is owned and operated by Gabriel and Kimberly Amador. It’s a family restaurant that is certifiably, authentic Neapolitan — the only hand-made, hand-stretched, Neapolitan pizzeria in the state.

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The food

Gabriel started us of with a Caprese Salad which consisted of Fresh house-made mozzarella, fresh tomato, olive oil, basil and a balsamic reduction. It was so fresh and refreshing and the mozzarella was divine! The portions are so generous and you could definitely share this.

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For mains I had one of the speciality pizzas. I chose the Maestro “Roberto’s Burrata Pie” which had Pecorino Sardonic, Italian white truffle, porcini mushroom, grape tomato, house-made mozzarella, basil and olio. I don’t know where to even begin with this one. This was honestly the best pizza I have ever had. It was truly authentic Italian pizza. The grape tomatoes were so incredibly fresh and so delicious. The pizza is amazing and you definitely do want to share it with anyone…be greedy! It’s so worth it.

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My favourite part of the meal was definitely dessert! Gabriel made us this divine Dolce di Amore Dessert Calzones. It’s a airy pizza dough filled with your choice of filling and topped with confectioner’s sugar. I chose the chocolate hazelnut finished with confectioner’s sugar and fresh strawberries. It was different to what I would normally have for dessert but that’s only because I never knew this amazing dish existed. It was so good that I actually saved some for a midnight snack.

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On a side note, check out their awesome pizza boxes. I am in love with their logo and branding! Definitely the coolest place ever!

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Amore is truly a gem and I encourage everyone to visit this restaurant. The food is authentically Italian and you can just taste the quality. Gabriel is such an amazing person and just makes the vibe in the restaurant even better. He is definitely one of the nicest people I have met on this trip.

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Lunching at Bistronomy B2B in Nob Hill

Upon arriving in Albuquerque we visited Bistronomy B2B for lunch. Their food is served incredibly fresh with everything prepared in-house and all ingredients sourced locally! I tried the Pierre Wild Mushroom Burger with cheese and Cajun Fries. It was mind blowing! The flavours fused together so perfectly and the cajun fries was delicious. The dipping sauces, to go with the fries, was out of this world. 3 Dipping sauces included Smokey Ketchup, Curry Ketchup and Pesto Mayo (which was my absolute favourite).

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I love the personalized branded burger buns, which are also home made and served so fresh and delicious!

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The restaurant does not usually serve dessert but the chef treated us to some Almond and White Chocolate Macarons. I love macarons and these were so so so tasty! My only regret was not asking for some more.

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Get your kicks on Route 66!

Today our route took us alongside the Historic Route 66. U.S. Route 66, also known as the Will Rogers Highway and colloquially known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System.  We visited some great sights on the road today and it was an amazing experience driving down Route 66.

If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, the highway that’s the best.
Get your kicks on Route 66!

Cadillac Ranch

 

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Route 66 Diner and Car Museum

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Visiting Dallas and Amarillo in Texas

We spent the past two days in Texas. Our first night was spent at the Magnolia Hotel in Downtown Dallas. Pegasus, the Flying Red Horse, shines brightly as the icon of Dallas, Texas from atop the downtown Dallas boutique hotel located in the Magnolia Petroleum Company Building, one of the city’s most revered structures. Built in 1922, this 400-foot high, 29-story building was the first high rise in the United States to have air conditioning and the city’s first skyscraper.

Our stay at the Magnolia was great. It was the perfect place for an overnight pit stop before we continued on our journey. The rooms were spacious, the breakfast was delicious and the service was impeccable.

Our next stop was Amarillo. We stayed at the Big Texan Motel which is also part of the Big Texan Steak Ranch. The Big Texan Steak Ranch is home to the Free 72 oz. Steak challenge. Designed to resemble a main street in an old west town, the Big Texan Motel combines the comforts and conveniences of today with the ambiance and decor of the late 1800s. Staying at the motel definitely makes one feel that they are amongst cowboys in the Wild West!

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Falling in love with New Orleans

New Orleans was not originally on our route but after hearing about how amazing this city is, we decided to change our plans completely and made sure to include it. We spent 2 nights in New Orleans at the Dauphine Orleans Hotel. The hotel was perfectly located right next to the famous Bourbon Street. It is an unforgettable boutique hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter. This historic French Quarter Hotel features buildings that date back to the early nineteenth century.

Exploring the city

We had one full day to visit all the sites this city has to offer. One day was definitely not enough but we made sure to see as much as we could. We decided to use the Hop On Hop Off Bus to get around the city but before boarding the bus we joined famous New Orleans Tour Guide, Ernie, on the St Louis Cemetery No. 1 tour. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest and most famous. It was opened in 1789, replacing the city’s older St. Peter Cemetery (no longer in existence) as the main burial ground when the city was redesigned after a fire in 1788.

Famous New Orleanians buried in St. Louis No. 1 include Etienne de Boré, wealthy pioneer of the sugar industry and the first mayor of New Orleans; Homer Plessy, the plaintiff from the landmark 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision on civil rights; and Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial, the first African-American mayor of New Orleans. The renowned Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is believed to be interred in the Glapion family crypt. Delphine LaLaurie, the notoriously cruel slave owner, is also believed to lie in rest here. What is more fascinating is that in 2010, actor Nicolas Cage (who is very much alive) purchased a pyramid shaped tomb to be his future final resting place.

It is not the tour company that makes the difference, it is the tour guide. If you want to guarantee quality, you need to know your tour guide. Ernie conducts cemetery, history, voodoo and ghost tours. He is especially passionate about the cemetery and history tours. If you want to hear fantastic and important stories about New Orleans history, then Ernie’s Tours is perfect for you.

Using the Hop On Hop Off Bus, we visited many parts of the city. New Orleans has so much to offer. We spent the afternoon at the French Market which is located in the French Quarter. From the perfect meal to countless market stalls, the French Market has it all. We explored some of the oldest neighborhoods and drove past houses that were so huge, it warranted its own block!

As the sun went down, the night was coming alive. We were so lucky to be staying only a stones throw away from Bourbon Street. We spent the night walking up and down Bourbon Street just taking it all in. The atmosphere was incredible and the sound of music and smell of Cajun cuisine filled the streets. We ended off the night watching an incredible Jazz band and just enjoyed the nightlife in Bourbon Street. I have officially fallen in love with New Orleans! It oozes culture, history and amazing people!

Next stop… Dallas

Welcome to Nashville, Tennessee – the home of country music

When I think of country music I think of my favourite artists such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. Yes! I think they are awesome! Achy Breaky Heart was my all time favourite childhood song. Visiting Nashville was incredible, everywhere you turned there was something promoting Country Music.


We were staying at Hotel Preston which is a beautiful hotel located downtown. Our room was so spacious. We checked in and immediately went into the city for dinner.


If you love food and cooking shows then the name Maneet Chauhan would be familiar to you. She is a celebrity chef and recently opened the Chauhan Ale and Masala House in Nashville. I’ve been following her journey for a while and knew we had to eat there! Chauhan Ale & Masala House is devoted to creating a unique dining experience in the bustling food scene in Nashville, TN, and to being recognized across the country as an industry leader in Indian cuisine.

I had the Lamb Vindaloo and Jacques had the Lamb Tikka Masala. My meal was accompanied by Dhal and Calabash. The fusion of spices left me completely speechless, her food is mind blowing. Being Indian myself, my standards for Indian food are very high. But Maneet passed all tests and would be the biggest reason for me to visit Nashville again. The vibe in the restaurant was spectacular. 6 projectors lined the walls all projecting stunning Indian pictures. The staff were so helpful and our waiter Xavier was such a gem!

*All photo’s courtesy of Maneet Chauhan


We headed back to the hotel for some live music and watched as so many of the locals danced the night away. They were so talented and we could not bare to attempt their moves on the dance floor! Before leaving Nashville we visited the Belle Meade Plantation. All our attractions were complimentary courtesy of the Visitors Center. I love history so visiting the Belle Meade Plantation was an incredible experience. The land known today as Belle Meade, has stood witness to centuries of human history.


The mansion will blow your mind. Just walking around and exploring the rooms and imagining how people lived in the early 1800’s was fascinating. It was also a very emotional experience for me because  of the social circumstances such as slavery that also played a big role in this plantation. Coming back to the mansion; the architecture and furniture is still in its original condition. The rooms all depict a story with its individual designs.


Nashville is overall an awesome city and if you’re ever visiting or passing through, please visit the attractions Nashville has to offer.

Next stop….New Orleans

(FYI, today we drove through 4 states, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana)

What did we do in Indianapolis?

We arrived in Indianapolis late Friday night and checked into the Hilton Downtown Hotel. It was conveniently located next to some great places and there was so much to see within walking distance. Our room was incredibly spacious and featured its own lounge and work area. It was such a pity that we didn’t have more time to spend at the hotel or in Indy for that matter.


Before leaving Indianapolis yesterday morning, we visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is the home of the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400. We got to see some pretty awesome cars and also went onto the track for a tour. It was a surreal experience but can only imagine how incredible it is during track days and racing events.

On our way to Nashville we stopped at the National Corvette Museum. Jacques was in his complete element.

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We also drove past “The most awesome flea market in the world” in Kentucky. The market had almost everything for sale including animals, guns and used clothing. Completely random indeed!


Next stop….Nashville

Visiting Pittsburgh and The Parador Inn

We arrived in Pittsburgh early last night and headed straight to The Parador Inn, where we would be spending the night.

The Parador Inn is located in the charming North Shore area of Pittsburgh which is also in very close vicinity to Millionaires Row. The Parador Inn was once home to the Knights of Columbus.

You immediately feel like royalty once stepping into The Parador Inn. The mansion is spectacular. It’s extra large rooms, double volume ceilings and architecture will leave you stunned. The house is extremely old and having seen only 4 owners, it is still in pristine condition.

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Ed Menzer, the owner, has tastefully decorated each section of the mansion with a unique design. Having fell in love with the concept of the Caribbean on his first trip to Puerto Rico, Ed wanted to bring the concept back to Pittsburgh, Ed wanted The Parador Inn to make visitors feel as if they were in the Caribbean.

Each room is themed uniquely and we spent the night in the African Tulip. Our room was amazing! I loved all the furniture in the mansion and if I had my way I would just move in there…permanently! Or just have all the antiques shipped back to South Africa.

Ty, GM at The Parador Inn, welcomed us and showed us around. He was extremely hospitable and made us feel at home straight away. This morning Ed prepared the most amazing 3 course breakfast. Delicious home made cranberry bread, pineapple parfait and stuffed pancakes awaited us. It was absolutely scrumptious. We appreciated the hands on connection with Ty and Ed so much. It’s these personal connections that stay with you forever, it’s something you will never get from staying at chain hotels.

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Staying at The Parador Inn was an incredible experience. It is certainly unique in each way possible. If you are looking for a beautiful experience enriched with culture, history and comfort then The Parador Inn should be your first choice! Take a look at a Gallery of The Parador Inn pictures here. All pictures courtesy of The Parador Inn.


Pittsburgh is an overall stunning city. Today we visited the Andy Warhol museum before heading back on the road. Because we were guests at The Parador Inn, we were entitled to a 50% discount on the admission tickets. This 7 floor museum showcases some of Andy Warhols’ best work and artifacts from his life. It was incredible to see. He was the king of pop art and extremely talented.


We didn’t have much time to spend in Pittsburgh but we will definitely be back.

Next stop… Indianapolis

Day 3 in New York City before starting our road trip

It was our last day for sight seeing in New York before starting our road trip and we knew we had to make the most of it. Oh man oh man was it an interesting day.

We started off by catching the Subway to Times Square and walking to the Intrepid sea air & space museum. Make no mistake, it is not close so we stopped at the The Cake Boss cafe along the way for some coffee. It was exciting and overrated at the same time. Exciting because it’s Buddy’s shop but overrated because the baked goods are ridiculously overpriced (R100 for a pastry and R50 for a cupcake). For that kind of money I expected a mouth shattering experience but alas it tasted like any old fancy-ish cupcake to me. Maybe I am not the biggest food connoisseur that I thought I was but I really didn’t think it was the best cake ever!

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Visiting the Intrepid sea air & space museum

Oh my goodness was this a life altering visit or what? Firstly I have to mention that this was one of the attractions you could visit with the New York Pass and once again you can skip the lines and hit the fast track line. Exploring the ship, the aircraft and the Hubble Exhibit was something I have always wanted to do. These things fascinate us both and we throughly enjoyed it. There was so much to see and experience that you could literally just spend hours there. My highlight was definitely the Space Shuttle Pavilion which showcases the space shuttle Enterprise, the prototype NASA orbiter that paved the way for the space shuttle program.

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The aircrafts on board the Intrepid is incredible and will leave you in complete awe. From the Avenger torpedo bomber, a stalwart from Intrepid’s World War II service, to the A-12 Blackbird, the formidable spy plane from the Cold War, the collection reflects some of the greatest achievements in military aviation. If I had more time I would literally detail our entire visit, step by step, it was that exciting!

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As we left the Intrepid it began snowing. Very light snow started falling but it was still snow. I secretly hoped it would increase. My fingers were crossed throughout the rest of the day!

Next stop, The American Museum of Natural History

Our next stop was The American Museum of Natural History which is also included in the New York Pass. But before we got there we created some history for ourselves.

We were catching the Subway to the museum and Jacques made it onto the train just before the doors closed and I missed it. I wasn’t too fussed and I indicated to him that I would catch the next one and meet him there. So, I caught the next one only to discover that the subway line we were waiting for was going in the completely wrong direction. And off course my phone has no signal at this point. So basically after three subway rides and finally getting some signal, we found each other.

So, let’s get back to the museum. Because we only had 2 hours to spend there, we had to race through. There are 4 floors and each floor has about 10 sections of things to see. It really was one of the most greatest things to experience. I enjoyed the fossils and the meteorites the most! The museum is packed with so many artifacts and apparently only 2% of what they own is on display. If you’re a big fan of the movie Night in the Museum, you will fall in love with this place.

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Central Park

Exiting the museum was another highlight of my day. It was snowing! I could uncross my fingers at this stage! We took a long walk through Central Park to get to 5th Avenue. The park was completely covered in snow. It was beyond beautiful and I simply could not contain myself.

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iLove Apple

The next stop was the famous Apple Store. The store is actually underground with a huge glass building with the Apple logo above the ground. We didnt purchase anything (much to my despair) but walked around for ages and just took it all in. Walking into the New York Apple store as an avid Apple fan is like heaven!

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We then caught the Subway back to Parc Hotel where we were staying and physically and mentally prepared for the long journey that awaited us. New York is amazing. I just cannot get enough of it. I felt that way about Thailand a few years ago but this city just provides another kind of high all together. iLove NYC!