Author Archives: vegetariantourist

Unexpectedly Blown Away

When I saw the invite for VIP tickets to the traveling show Cavalia Odysseo, I was intrigued, but not exactly sure what it really was. I felt like I had heard of the show before, but clearly did not know much about it. After watching the trailer and reading up a bit on it, I was definitely in.

Cavalia is a live performance with 65 horses and 48 artists performing on a stage bigger than the United Center’s ice rink. I kind of describe it like Cirque du Soleil with horses and let me just tell you, it’s truly a feast for the eyes.

Our VIP tickets included an open bar, wonderful dinner buffet, dessert buffet during intermission and a behind-the scenes visit to the horse stables and stage after the show. Learning more about the entire production of the show and meeting some of the horses really made it that much more amazing and special to me. I can’t even imagine how they put the 2,000 seat stadium together under the big top white tent, transport all the gear and equipment (in addition to the horses and everything they need) and make everything one, seamless, unbelievable experience.

Not only was the show spectacular, the service and staff were top-notch. It’s yet again one of those things that words just do no justice. Cavalia is only something that can be experienced. With that, use the code SOCIAL to get 15% off your tickets. It’s worth every single penny. The show is running in Chicago until May 14, so you have a little less than two weeks. Go!

Here are some pictures from my experience (no photography was allowed during the show, so all my pictures are from before, during intermission and after):

Cavalia Odysseo Chicago

Cavalia Odysseo Chicago

Cavalia Dinner Buffet

Cavalia Dinner Buffet

Cavalia Inside VIP Tent

Cavalia Inside VIP Tent

Beautiful Art Work Throughout Tent Area

Beautiful Art Work Throughout Tent Area

Cavalia Before Show Begins

Cavalia Before Show Begins

Cavalia Dessert Buffet

Cavalia Dessert Buffet

Meeting A Horse After Show

Meeting A Horse After Show

Up Close and Personal With A Horse

Up Close and Personal With A Horse

Beautifully Braided Hair On A Horse

Beautifully Braided Hair On A Horse

Cavalia Outside Tent After Show

Cavalia Outside Tent After Show

Seriously, if you get the chance, I highly recommend seeing this amazing show. Let me know if you go!

 

Please Note: While I was offered the VIP experience, all opinions are my own.

Trying Something New

You know I always enjoy trying something new, especially if it’s vegetarian and healthy! Cue in Chickapea Pasta that is gluten-free, vegan, organic, GMO-free and is packed with protein. What I really appreciate about Chickapea Pasta is that when you read the ingredients, it’s literally just two; organic chickpea flour and organic red lentil flour. That’s it. How nice not to see a bunch of chemicals or weird additives.

Chickapea Pasta

Chickapea Pasta

Chickapea Pasta Ingredients

Chickapea Pasta Ingredients

I’ve been hearing more and more about pastas made from various kinds of lentils, but I’ve actually never tried any until now. I have to say that I was really impressed and liked how filling this pasta is. I made this vegetarian pasta dish after an evening yoga class and I was shocked at how full I was from such a small amount. Being vegetarian, this huge for me, since regular pasta just doesn’t do the trick and I always find myself hungry an hour later. I’m literally hooked on Chickapea Pasta.

My Vegetarian Pasta Creation

My Vegetarian Pasta Creation

Here’s the recipe for the simple dish I created:

Vegetarian Pasta Dish

  • 1 cup Chickapea Pasta
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 cup organic marinara sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • optional- grated parmesan to top pasta

– In large skillet, heat oil and add garlic and onions to saute. Once translucent, add green pepper and zucchini and continue to saute on medium heat. Turn heat down to low and add spinach until all water is evaporated. Add marinara sauce, oregano and black pepper and simmer on low heat.

-Bring water to a boil and prepare Chickapea Pasta as noted on box. I personally like my pasta cooked a little well done, so I boiled my pasta for 10 minutes.

-Add drained and rinsed pasta to vegetable sauce and simmer on low for an additional 5 minutes. Add any additional seasonings to taste such as crushed red pepper or garlic powder.

-Top with grated parmesan if desired.

Chickapea Pasta Served With Garlic Bread

Chickapea Pasta Served With Garlic Bread

As you can see, this recipe was super simple and I was able to sneak in quite a few vegetables to make it extra healthy and low-fat. You can keep this dish vegan by omitting the parmesan, but I enjoyed the little added extra treat on top.

Chickapea Pasta Dish Topped With Parmesan

Chickapea Pasta Dish Topped With Parmesan

Try it out and let me know what you think!

 

Please Note: While this post is in partnership with Chickapea Pasta, all opinions are my own.

Vacation For You, Staycation For Me

I always love finding hidden gems in Chicago and sharing them with you. My latest discovery is Hotel Cass in the heart of River North in downtown Chicago, right off the Magnificent Mile. This quaint, adorable hotel is literally in the middle of all the action in terms of restaurants, bars and shopping. It’s truly a tourist’s paradise, and also quite affordable compared to other hotels in the area.

Hotel Cass Downtown Chicago

Hotel Cass Downtown Chicago

I had the chance to do a mini-staycation with my cousin Jigisha and we had an absolute blast staying at Hotel Cass. The cute decor, friendly staff and amazing location made our stay so fun and so memorable. There is also a hot breakfast buffet included and we were impressed at the number of options, especially being vegetarian! Here are some pictures from our stay:

Checking In At Hotel Cass

Checking In At Hotel Cass

Quaint Hotel Cass Lobby

Quaint Hotel Cass Lobby

Hotel Cass Lobby Hallway

Hotel Cass Lobby Hallway

Hotel Cass King Room

Hotel Cass King Room

Hotel Cass Bathroom

Hotel Cass Bathroom

Jigisha And I At Hotel Cass

Jigisha And I At Hotel Cass

Hotel Cass Hot Breakfast

Hotel Cass Hot Breakfast

View From Hotel Cass Doorstep

View From Hotel Cass Doorstep

If you find yourself staying at the hotel, might I suggest some of my personal favorite locations in the area to grab a bite to eat or a drink for the evening. Each one of these spots is less than 2 blocks from Hotel Cass:

So, I guess I’ve pretty much helped plan your entire stay. You’re welcome (ha ha)! Let me know how your stay goes and which restaurant/bar recommendations you liked best.

 

Please Note: While I was invited to stay at Hotel Cass, all opinions are my own.

Just Another Wednesday Night With Flo Rida

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I have been collaborating with Hyatt Centric to showcase my favorite things to see/eat/do around Chicago. It has been so fun to share some of my favorite gems around the city and see my followers take my recommendations!

This past week, I had the honor of attending an exclusive performance by musical artist Flo Rida at the Hyatt Centric’s newest location right off Michigan Avenue. It was a fun way to promote the newly converted property (called The Hyatt Centric Magnificent Mile) along with local radio station 103.5 KISS FM.

Flo Rida Concert

Flo Rida Concert

Unless you already know me, you probably don’t know that I am a HUGE Flo Rida fan. I absolutely love his catchy songs and have actually been requesting them quite consistently over the past two years at my Flywheel and Peloton cycling classes (just ask my favorite teacher Erin about this). So, you can imagine that I literally let out a scream when the Hyatt Centric team emailed me and not only asked me to attend Flo Rida’s performance, but also come up on stage with famed DJs Fred and Angi from 103.5 KISS FM and announce this year’s Hyatt Centric Explorer Contest winners. It was truly a “pinch-me” kind of moment.

On Stage To Announce Contest Winners With Fred And Angi From 103.5 KISS FM

On Stage To Announce Contest Winners With Fred And Angi From 103.5 KISS FM

The absolute cherry on top was that I was able to bring Erin as my guest for what turned out to be one of the best nights EVER. I jokingly told Erin that it was payback for all those times she obliged (maybe begrudgingly) and played all my Flo Rida song requests at class. She’s an amazing friend and I feel like my world came full circle to have her by my side as we danced and sang in the front row at Flo Rida’s awesome performance.

Here’s my Instastory from Instagram that evening. Just a little snippet of a truly special night that I will never, ever forget. Thank you Hyatt Centric!

 

 

Incredible India!

First of all, my sincerest apologies. I totally fell off the blog bandwagon and for some reason, I’ve had a bit of a hard time getting back on. But, I’m back, and promise not to be gone for so long again.

Part of the reason I was MIA was because I took an unbelievable trip to India for three weeks. It was one of the first times I can remember that it was truly just a trip to hang out and enjoy the Motherland.  And, I have to say it was definitely the trip of a lifetime. I literally did not want to come back home. My trip ended up being the perfect mix of spending time with my parents at their new flat in Ahmedabad, visiting with extended family and traveling to Goa and a few cities in Rajasthan. I shopped, laughed, ate and continued to learn about my culture and heritage on this unbelievable trip.

I have SO much to share, so I thought I’d at least start with some of my favorite pictures from my trip. Most all of these have already been posted on Instagram (vegtourist), but I’ve thrown in a few others just to mix it up. Enjoy and stay tuned for so much more.

At The Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur

At The Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur

View From The At The Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur

View From The At The Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur

Fresh, Organic Produce In The Market

Fresh, Organic Produce In The Market

Stunning Sunset In Goa

Stunning Sunset In Goa

Beautiful All-Marble Jain Temple In Ranakpur

Beautiful All-Marble Jain Temple In Ranakpur

Favorite Street Food Of Sev Puri

Favorite Street Food Of Sev Puri

On The Boat Ride To The Taj Lake Palace

On The Boat Ride To The Taj Lake Palace

Taj Lake Palace

Taj Lake Palace

Breakfast Spread At Taj Lake Palace

Breakfast Spread At Taj Lake Palace

Traditional Rajasthani Dance

Traditional Rajasthani Dance

Loved The Architecture In The Palaces

Loved The Architecture In The Palaces

Market Shopping Pretty Much Everyday

Market Shopping Pretty Much Everyday

Celebrating The Kite Festival Uttrayan In Ahmedabad

Celebrating The Kite Festival Uttrayan In Ahmedabad

I’m already ready to plan my next trip back. Who is coming with me this time?